Defend Free Speech & Cyber-Liberty

Banamex vs. Narco News? or...

Drug War On Trial

Your Support Will Decide

To Our Readers:

The Narco News Bulletin is an all-volunteer work of on-line journalism that, without seeking any profit or advertising, has reported on the drug war from Latin America since April 18, 2000.

Narco News has broken the information blockade many times. True to our mission statement, we continue to force Latin American stories about the abuses and absurdities of the drug war onto the coverage of the English-language press.

We have never asked you, our readers, for your hard-earned money before. Today, it causes us great humility to ask you to support our legal defense fund and show the narco-censors that we do not stand alone in a battle for our First Amendment rights.

Among our hundreds of stories on the drug war, we reported the facts about drug-trafficking on the Caribbean properties of a billionaire, Mexico's most powerful banker and political fundraiser, Roberto Hernández Ramírez, the owner of Banamex.

We reported the facts about the public officials and media powers that protected him, and on his efforts to persecute the Mexican journalists who first published the photos and the facts. We reported on how the banker and his bank failed, three times, before Mexican judges to silence the great veteran journalist Mario Menéndez Rodríguez, who is now our co-defendant in New York. One of the judges stated in his ruling that all the reports by Menéndez "were based on the facts."

Unable to prevail in its efforts to abuse the courts in its own country (despite bank owner Hernández's close personal power relationships with the last three presidents of Mexico, and and the official protection granted to him as host to a US president and a US Ambassador to Mexico), Banamex, the National Bank of Mexico is "forum shopping."

They are trying to get a US court to do what three Mexican courts already refused to do: to silence authentic journalism on the drug war. They are spending a fortune with one of the world's most expensive lawyer-lobbyist firms to sue us in New York City. They have a very weak case, as noted by free speech defense attorneys Martin Garbus and Thomas Lesser. But they have a lot of money.

They are abusing the laws and the judicial system of the United States to try and spend us out of existence.

This case will have a profound impact on freedom of speech and of the press, especially on the Internet.

The difference between victory and defeat will be whether we can raise sufficient funds to mount a strong defense against this attack. In a United States civil lawsuit, transcripts of depositions cost $500 each. If they must be translated officially from Spanish, the cost doubles. Court translators cost $300 a day. And so much of the evidence that proves the truth of our reports is in Spanish. Their gamble is that we won't be able to pay those costs. They know we can't do it alone.

Today, The Narco News Bulletin and its publisher officially enter the court case. Although Banamex's overpaid lawyers were unable to serve us as the law requires to bring this suit, they did serve Mario Menéndez, and we don't leave our friends and colleagues alone in a battle for basic rights. We have just signed "waiver of service" forms and sent them to the Banamex lawyers at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld to answer their attack. We have entered this case voluntarily to say that the Constitution protects those who criticize the drug war, that the courts shall not be abused, nor justice bought, by the highest bidder.

We believe that our readers, in that same spirit, will not leave don Mario and us to fight alone against this abuse of the legal system.

The drug war goes on trial in New York City. As we defend free speech and cyber-liberty, we are going to bring the facts to light about the narco-trafficking on Mr. Hernández's properties, and the behavior of his bank and law firm in trying to censor press freedom. And we will also show how these powers are not working alone. We will explain who protects them in their dirty work by bringing forward the facts. This case will provide a window into the corrupt war on drugs in our hemisphere: waged by governments, industry, political fundraising and lobbying entities, criminals and some media, and the harm done to all the people by their complicity. Never before has a single case brought them all together so obviously.

Every dollar and peso that you donate to the defense fund will go exclusively for the costs of defending free speech and cyber-liberty. We will only accept contributions that are legal and not from any dirty source. That's why we ask you to help out, because we know that you, our valued reader, is an honest and decent person like we always strive to be. In almost ten months of publishing we have never made an appeal for funds. But the defense of our freedom, and that of all citizens to speak, write and report the facts on the drug war, must now be mounted.

At stake, along with our right to publish the facts, is your right to know the truth.

We ask you, kind reader, to:

1. Study the Facts on this Case:

Visit The Narco News

Department of Defense

This new page contains Full Coverage of the Lawsuit: links to the lawsuit text, the exhibits, the reports in dispute, the players involved, and what journalists across América are saying about this attack on press freedom. It will be updated throughout the proceedings so that you may know what is happening in this public case.

2. Please Contribute To Our Defense Fund

Checks can be made out to:

"Drug War On Trial"

And sent to:

Drug War On Trial

c/o Attorney Thomas Lesser

Lesser, Newman, Souweine & Nasser

39 Main Street

Northampton, MA 01060

If you would like to receive confirmation of your donation please send an email to with the amount pledged and your email address. When your contribution arrives we'll send a thank you note confirming its receipt.