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Viewing cable 09MONTERREY14, ATTACK ON TELEVISA TV STATION INCREASES PRESS INTIMIDATION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MONTERREY14 2009-01-12 19:07 2011-02-10 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Monterrey
Appears in these articles:
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/02/10/index.php?section=politica&article=006n1pol
VZCZCXRO5000
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0014/01 0121954
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121954Z JAN 09
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3415
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 4458
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 8957
186763
2009-01-12 19:54:00
09MONTERREY14
Consulate Monterrey
CONFIDENTIAL
08MONTERREY390
VZCZCXRO5000
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0014/01 0121954
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121954Z JAN 09
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3415
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 4458
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 8957

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000014 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT PASS TO ATF 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  1/12/2019 
TAGS: SNAR ASEC PGOV KCRM PHUM MX
SUBJECT: ATTACK ON TELEVISA TV STATION INCREASES PRESS INTIMIDATION 
 
REF: 2008 MONTERREY 390 
 
MONTERREY 00000014  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Bruce Williamson, Consul General, Monterrey, 
State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
1.  (C ) Summary. On January 6 the Televisa TV station in 
Monterrey was attacked by unknown assailants, who shot eight .40 
caliber rounds into the station wall and threw a grenade over a 
fence into the parking lot, which exploded but did not injure 
anyone. The attack occurred while Televisa was broadcasting its 
nightly news show live from the station. The federal Attorney 
General's office (PGR) has concluded that most likely this was 
an attack by a drug cartel, and we agree with this assessment. 
Although no one was injured and it is unknown why Televisa was 
targeted, this attack increases the pressure on journalists to 
avoid reporting on drug cartel related issues. End Summary. 
 
The Attack on Televisa 
 
        2.  (SBU) The evening of January 6 at least two assailants 
attacked Televisa in a red car, and one of them got out and 
placed a message on a nearby parked car. They escaped, but their 
Pontiac Grand Am was found the following morning only 500 meters 
from the attack. State and federal police investigators found a 
.40 caliber Glock pistol in the car, along with clothes and 
shell casings. The attackers' written message left at Televisa 
said "Stop reporting just on us. Report on narco-officials. This 
is a warning."  Although no one was injured in the attack, the 
assailants could not have known if anyone was in the parking lot 
when they threw the grenade over Televisa's wall. The grenade's 
explosion left a crater one foot deep. The state police 
subsequently increased security for media outlets, and the local 
Mexican military on its initiative volunteered sent additional 
security to protect the Consulate. Note. The Consulate was 
attacked in a similar manner on October 11, 2008, and is located 
approximately one mile from the Televisa station. End Note. 
 
        3.  ( C) The investigation into this attack is being 
conducted by the federal Attorney General's office, the same 
office handling the October 11 attack on the Consulate. They 
have received strong cooperation from Consulate law enforcement 
personnel. The Consulate was contacted the night of the attack, 
and the RSO, DEA RAC and an ATF agent searched the crime scene. 
They recovered shell casings, which were analyzed by the Nuevo 
Leon State Crime Laboratory with an IBIS ballistic imaging 
machine, utilizing training provided by ATF. Those shell casings 
will be forwarded to the ATF lab for further analysis. Consulate 
officials took a soil sample, which will also be sent to the ATF 
lab for study. ATF traced the firearms recovered from the site 
and discovered that these guns were purchased in Texas one year 
ago. ATF has the specific information on the purchasers and will 
coordinate its investigation with the ATF Houston Field Office. 
The investigators recovered the grenade fuse spoon, which 
appears to be from a US military M67 fragmentation grenade. ATF 
is investigating if any M67 grenades from this lot were exported 
to foreign militaries. The M67 grenade is different than the M26 
grenade used to attack the Consulate on October 11, but five M67 
grenades were recovered during a raid several days after the 
Consulate attack in a Gulf Cartel warehouse. 
 
Unclear Why Televisa was Targeted 
 
        4.  (C ) Televisa news anchor XXXXXXXXXXXX (strictly 
protect) told PAO and Poloff that Televisa had not received any 
threats prior to the attack. Indeed, XXXXXXXXXXXX commented that the 
drug war has quieted down in Monterrey, and he could not think 
of any Televisa news stories which could have prompted an 
assault. XXXXXXXXXXXX thought that Televisa was attacked as a media 
symbol, not for any specific story. Moreover, he opined thought 
that the attack was for political purposes, designed to create 
instability and thereby undermine the current PRI Governor Jose 
Natividad Gonzalez Paras, and the Governor's favored candidate 
to succeed him in the July 2009 elections, his young Secretary 
of Government Rodrigo Medina. Note, the PRI has not chosen its 
candidate for Governor, but this has been a bad week for 
pre-candidate Medina. On the same day of the attack, there were 
several anonymous signs put up criticizing the Governor for lack 
of action against gangs, organized crime, public debt and 
traffic, and asking why should people vote for the Governor's 
candidate, widely assumed to be Medina. End Note. 
 
Interesting Trends in News Coverage 
 
        5.  (C ) XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that although news reporters and 
their families were worried, Televisa reporters still were going 
about their jobs. Televisa also denounced the attack in its 
national news program. The leading newspaper El Norte splashed 
the story all over its front page, with a picture of the crime 
scene. Curiously, the second leading newspaper Milenio led with 
an economic story, with only a lead at the bottom of the page, 
and the only description of the attack was a small story on page 
 
MONTERREY 00000014  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
15. Poloff reviewed the internet sites of Milenio, and found 
that the Mexico City and Guadalajara versions led with the 
attack on Televisa in Monterrey (including a picture), but the 
Monterrey and Torreon sites led with other stories, and the 
story on the attack did not include a picture. 
 
        6.  (C ) Although this was the first attack on the media 
in Monterrey, the attack on Televisa follows a pattern of 
intimidation against journalists. As described in reftel, the 
leading newspaper El Norte has received many threats from drug 
cartels, leading the publisher to relocate his family to the 
United States. El Norte has continued to print stories, 
including in the January 4 Sunday edition (with no byline) 
discussing how drug cartels have branched out into extortion in 
the state of Veracruz. However, El Norte knows that the drug 
cartels have compromised some of its reporters (see reftel) and 
recently El Norte leadership told us that they are using 
substantial resources to follow some of their reporters to learn 
if they are connected to drug cartels. Given this, it seems 
likely that some Televisa reporters could also be compromised. 
FSN media specialist recalled a case where two Televisa 
reporters disappeared several years ago, and press colleagues 
thought they were tied to one of the drug cartels. 
 
        7.  (C ) Comment. The Televisa incident is an escalation 
over the October 11 attack on the Consulate. It was conducted 
during working hours, the assailants pulled the pin on the 
grenade, and the attack could well have killed or injured a 
Televisa employee. It is hard to fully interpret the message 
left at the scene, although clearly it is designed to intimidate 
journalists from reporting on narcotics crimes. As explained in 
reftel, news reporters are in a quandary, since if they report 
narco-killings by one cartel, that cartel is mad with them. But 
if they fail to report the crime the rival cartel may threaten 
them. Although the Monterrey press report on narcotics related 
killings, they do not investigate the influence of the drug 
cartels in politics. The message referring to 
narco-officeholders appears to point to Governor Gonzalez Paras. 
One cartel may think that his administration is protecting the 
other. End Comment. 
WILLIAMSONB