Last week, striking footage emerged of about 2,000 heavily tattooed Salvadoran inmates, their heads shaved and bowed, wearing nothing but white boxer shorts and packed together like sardines while being herded at gunpoint to a spanking-new prison that will become by far the world’s largest when it reaches full capacity.
The law-and-order keyboard warriors were cackling with sadistic glee at this spectacle, because that’s what law-and-order keyboard warriors do. “FOREVER CRUSH THE DYSGENIC NUTS OF THESE INCORRIGIBLE VERMIN UNDER THE STATE’S IRON HAND!” they shouted, or something to that effect.
The world’s “human rights” activists, as is their wont, were crying foul over things such as suspension of due process and cruel and unusual punishment, although we all know that the world’s “human rights” activists wouldn’t last a minute alone with a Salvadoran inmate before having their throats slit dry.
The super-mega-ultra-max facility where these inmates were being shepherded with great public fanfare is officially known as the Terrorism Confinement Center. It began construction in July 2022 and finally opened at the end of January. Built on the barren plains near the Las Chiches volcano, it can hold 40,000 inmates at full capacity in a sterile environment far from the madding crowds of the capital city of San Salvador. Inmates will be under 24-hour electronic surveillance and won’t be able to fart without an extensive digital record of their insubordinate flatulence. They will be completely cut off from the outside world due to signal-jamming equipment, and will thus be deprived of the drugs and PlayStations and visitors and tweets and rectally-cloistered paper messages and all the amenities that previous inmates of this bite-sized Central American nation were accustomed to enjoying.
Construction began on the prison shortly after El Salvador’s national legislature declared a state of emergency in March of last year in response to the endless bloodshed and extortion rained upon the country’s pauperized residents by the nation’s two main gangs, MS-13 and 18th Street.
El Salvador is the tiniest country in Central America, slightly smaller than New Jersey and with a population roughly equivalent to the greater Atlanta metro area. Since last year’s declaration of a state of emergency — which has been extended 11 times at last count — officials have arrested an estimated 65,000 Salvadoran gangsters and have been able to lock them away on decades-long sentences based on trials that are completely closed from public scrutiny.
In early February, El Salvador’s tough-talking President Nayib Bukele — who, with his slicked-back hair, beard, and air of general sweatiness, resembles a Central American Donald Trump, Jr. — unveiled the behemoth penitentiary. He shared a 35-minute video of himself touring the massive facility, which includes a solitary-confinement area where prisoners are held in total darkness.
There are rumors that [gang members] want to start taking revenge on random, honest people. If they do that, there won’t even be one meal in prisons. I swear to God, they won’t eat a grain of rice, and let’s see how long they last.
Upon the inaugural transfer of inmates to the new mega-prison, Bukele gloated:
Today at dawn, in a single operation, we transferred the first 2,000 gang members to the Center for the Confinement of Terrorism (CECOT). This will be their new house, where they will live for decades, mixed up, unable to do any more harm to the population.
Bukele’s showboating has earned him massively high approval ratings among his countrymen. He was elected to the presidency in 2019 after a stint as San Salvador’s mayor from 2015-2018. In 2015, El Salvador had a homicide rate of 103 per 100,000 inhabitants — the highest in the world — which statistics say dipped thirteenfold by 2022 due in large part to Bukele’s anti-gang crackdowns.
Interestingly, El Salvador’s two main gangs both originated not in the motherland but in Los Angeles in the 1980s, just west of downtown — MS-13 in the Pico-Union district and 18th Street in the Rampart district. MS-13 is by far the most notorious of the two gangs, although 18th Street has more members and probably more international clout. Many of MS-13’s original members were not native Angelenos but were refugees from the El Salvadoran civil war from 1979-1992. The US government had meddled in the war, just as the US government seems to meddle in every war across the globe, in this case by funding the anti-communist government. After the war ended and the feds began deporting Salvadoran gangsters back to their homeland, LA-style gang culture took root in El Salvador, with disastrous effects for the pauperized, vulnerable, and war-weary locals.
MS-13 — the “MS” stands for “Mara Salvatrucha” — has a horrifyingly theatrical flair for grabbing attention. The gang originated among ethnic Salvadorans in LA during the 1980s as a means of protecting themselves against attacks by the city’s more established Mexican and black gangs. Their early core membership consisted of kids who listened to heavy metal music, and they are unique among Hispanic gangs in their eager adoption of occultic imagery. They are known for wantonly slaying infants, women, entire families, and sometimes even entire busloads of people.
Compared to other gangs, American factions of MS-13 don’t commit a disproportionate share of homicides; they simply do it with a psychotic gruesomeness that makes them seem far more ruthless than other groups.
According to New York District Attorney Madeline Singas:
The crimes that we’re talking about are brutal. Their weapon of choice is a machete. We end up seeing people with injuries that I’ve never seen before. You know, limbs hacked off. And that’s what the bodies look like that we’re recovering. So they’re brutal.
No act seems beneath them — including kidnapping, torture, child prostitution, and stabbing pregnant informants to death. In 2014, they defaced a Vietnam memorial with gang tags and the phrase “kill whites.”
“In my 30 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen a more violent gang out there,” stated Frank Hughes of the Massachusetts State Police in 2016. “These are very, very violent individuals. The violence is unspeakable.”
According to former US Attorney General Bill Barr:
MS-13 is somewhat unique in this sense: They have the street savagery that you would see in a gang [that] is not driven by commercial interests the way, for example, the Mafia traditionally was. It’s about honor of being the most savage, bloodthirsty person you can be and building up a reputation as a killer.
It’s difficult to discern whether MS-13 or 18th Street is more powerful in El Salvador, but part of President Bukele’s plan is to place them both in the new prison and let them work out their squabbles among themselves.
By promising to transfer gang leaders to less oppressive prisons in 2012, El Salvador’s Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FLMN) government reached a truce with the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs which saw a dip in the official homicide rates. In August of 2015, El Salvador’s Supreme Court designated both MS-13 and 18th Street as terrorist organizations, allowing the government more leeway to apprehend and confine them.
What’s not being reported in the recent hubbub about Bukele’s Giant House of Anti-Terrorist Horrors is that previous administrations have been accused of making truces with gangs not to actually cut down violence but to maintain an equilibrium that allowed both the government and the gangs to continue along their assigned paths of corruption. Some question whether the lower homicide rates were genuine or whether the gangs simply got better at hiding corpses.
There are murmurs that Bukele made an “informal pact” with gangs that started during his tenure as San Salvador’s mayor from 2015-2018 and that helped him get elected as the country’s president in 2019. And some have suggested that Bukele isn’t jailing high-ranking members who are affiliated with drug cartels, only their foot soldiers.
Only a day before Bukele’s 35-minute public relations video was released, touting the new prison as the Final Solution for El Salvador’s gang problem, a “damning US indictment” was unsealed in which “US attorneys accused members of Bukele’s government of masking themselves in order to secretly enter prisons in the country and conduct secret talks with MS-13 gang leaders.” It may not be that the country’s homicide rates have dipped at all, only that gang leaders have become more efficient at burying the bodies in such a way as to avoid public detection.
As someone with a searing distrust of governments, journalists, gangsters, tough-on-crime blowhards, and “human rights” activists, what mostly concerns me is that these mass jailings are being performed under the pretense of fighting “terrorism.”
I seem to recall that our own government has repeatedly declared that its biggest “terrorist” threat is “Right-wing extremism,” particularly of the pro-white kind.
I’d be careful about cheering over what’s happening in El Salvador. Before you know it, the feds may declare a national emergency and begin packing 40,000 white sardines into one prison.
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