CIA-DoD Death Squads & Mexican corruption intertwined, War for Drugs Continues
05-31-2012, 09:13 PM (This post was last modified: 06-19-2012 11:19 PM by h3rm35.)
CIA-DoD Death Squads & Mexican corruption intertwined, War for Drugs Continues
In Bad Company: Mexico Arrests Three Army Generals, U.S. War for Drugs Continues
Earlier this month, the Mexican government arrested three high-ranking Army generals "including a former second in command at the Defense Ministry," The New York Times reported.
According to multiple press reports, Tomás Ángeles Dauahare, who retired in 2008, was an under secretary at the Defense Ministry during the first two years of President Felipe Calderón's "war" against some narcotrafficking cartels and had even been mentioned as a "possible choice for the top job."
The Times disclosed that in the early 1990s Ángeles "served as the defense attaché at the Mexican Embassy in Washington," a plum position with plenty of perks awarded to someone thought by his Pentagon brethren to have impeccable credentials; that is, if smoothing the way the for drugs to flow can be viewed as a bright spot on one's résumé.
The other top military men detained in Mexico City were "Brig. Gen. Roberto Dawe González, assigned to a base in Colima State, and Gen. Ricardo Escorcia Vargas, who is retired."
Reuters reported that "Dawe headed an army division in the Pacific state of Colima, which lies on a key smuggling route for drugs heading to the United States, and had also served in the violent border state of Chihuahua."
When queried at a May 18 press conference in Washington, "whether and to what extent" these officers participated in the $1.6 billion taxpayer-financed boondoggle known as the Mérida Initiative or had received American training, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Robert L. Ditchey II tersely told reporters, "We are not going to get into those specifics."
Inquiring minds can't help but wonder what does the Pentagon, or certain three-lettered secret state agencies, have to hide?
CIA-Pentagon Death Squads
Although little explored by corporate media, the CIA and Defense Department's role in escalating violence across Mexico is part of a long-standing strategy by American policy planners to deploy what the late Col. L. Fletcher Prouty called The Secret Team, "skilled professionals under the direct control of someone higher up." According to Prouty, "Team members are like lawyers and agents, they work for someone. They generally do not plan their work. They do what their client tells them to do."
In the context of the misbegotten "War on Drugs," that "client" is the U.S. government and the nexus of bent banks, crooked cops, shady airplane brokers, chemical manufacturers, and spooky defense and surveillance firms who all profit from the chaos they help sustain.
As Narco News disclosed last summer, "A small but growing proxy war is underway in Mexico pitting US-assisted assassin teams composed of elite Mexican special operations soldiers against the leadership of an emerging cadre of independent drug organizations that are far more ruthless than the old-guard Mexican 'cartels' that gave birth to them."
"These Mexican assassin teams now in the field for at least half a year, sources tell Narco News, are supported by a sophisticated US intelligence network composed of CIA and civilian US military operatives as well as covert special-forces soldiers under Pentagon command--which are helping to identify targets for the Mexican hit teams."
"So it should be no surprise," Bill Conroy wrote, "that information is now surfacing from reliable sources indicating that the US government is once again employing a long-running counter-insurgency strategy that has been pulled off the shelf and deployed in conflicts dating back to Vietnam in the 1960s, in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s, and beyond, and in more recent conflicts, such as in Iraq."
That strategy, as numerous journalists and researchers have reported, provides specialized training and heavy-weapons to neocolonial clients that the imperial Godfather believes will do their bidding. More often than not however, there are serious consequences for doing so.
As The Brownsville Herald revealed nearly a decade ago, the Zetas were the former enforcement arm of Juan García Ábrego's Gulf Cartel; then Mexico's richest and most powerful drug trafficking organization.
During the 1980s, the Gulf group negotiated an alliance with Colombia's Cali Cartel, amongst the CIA's staunchest drug-trafficking allies during the Iran-Contra period. By the 1990s, the Mexican Attorney General's Office estimated that the organization handled as much as "one-third of all cocaine shipments" into the United States from their suppliers and were worth an estimated $10 billion.
But as the Herald disclosed, the Zetas, now considered by the U.S. government to be the "most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico" were "once part of an elite division of the Mexican Army, the Special Air Mobile Force Group. At least one-third of this battalion's deserters was trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., according to documents from the Mexican secretary of defense."
By 2010, the Zetas had broken with their former Gulf partners to become one of the most formidable, and brutal, DTOs in the area. According to published reports, the organization's core operatives include corrupt former federal, state and local police officers, renegade soldiers and ex-Kabiles, the CIA and Pentagon-trained Special Forces of the Guatemalan military, responsible for horrendous atrocities during that country's U.S.-sponsored "scorched earth" campaign against leftist guerrillas; a war which killed an estimated 250,000 people, largely at the hands of the military and right-wing death squads.
Perhaps this is one reason why the Pentagon "won't get into" the "specifics" behind the generals' recent arrests, nor will the Justice Department come clean about the "quid-pro-quo immunity deal with the US government in which they [the Sinaloa Cartel] were guaranteed protection from prosecution in exchange for providing US law enforcers and intelligence agencies with information that could be used to compromise rival Mexican cartels and their operations," as Narco News reported.
While the implications of these policies may be scandalous to the average citizen, they're part of a recurring pattern, one might even say a modus operandi reproduced ad nauseam.
More than three decades ago we learned from Danish journalist Henrik Krüger in The Great Heroin Coup, that the CIA was at the center of the "remarkable shift from Marseilles (Corsican) to Southeast Asian and Mexican (Mafia) heroin in the United States," and that the legendary take-down of the "French Connection" actually represented "a deliberate move to reconstruct and redirect the heroin trade... not to eliminate it." (emphasis added)
A similar process is underway in Mexico today as drug distribution networks battle it out for control over the multibillion dollar market flooding Europe and North America with processed cocaine from South America's fabled Crystal Triangle. In fact, the illicit trade would be nigh impossible without official complicity and corruption, on both sides of the border, and at the highest levels of what sociologist C. Wright Mills called the Power Elite.
Without batting an eye however, the Times told us that the arrest of Mexico's top "drug fighting" generals "is sure to rattle American law enforcement and military officers, who in the best of times often work warily with their Mexican counterparts, typically subjecting them to screening for any criminal ties."
Not if a U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Field Manual (FM 3-05.130), titled Unconventional Warfare, serves as a guide for the Pentagon's current strategic thinking on the conflict in Mexico. Published in 2008 by WikiLeaks, the anonymous authors informed us that:
Irregulars, or irregular forces, are individuals or groups of individuals who are not members of a regular armed force, police, or other internal security force. They are usually nonstate-sponsored and unconstrained by sovereign nation legalities and boundaries. These forces may include, but are not limited to, specific paramilitary forces, contractors, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistance or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political "undesirables." (Unconventional Warfare, p. 1-3)
From this perspective such "irregular forces" sound suspiciously like today's army of professional contract killers or sicarios, who act as mercenaries for the cartels and as political enforcers for local elites.
According to carefully-crafted media fairy tales, we're to believe that unlike corrupt Federal and local police, the Army, which has deployed nearly 50,000 troops across Mexico are somehow magically immune to the global tide of corruption associated with an illicit trade worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
However, ubiquitous facts on the ground tell a different tale. Like their U.S. counterparts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Mexican Army stands accused of serious human rights violations. And, like marauding U.S. imperial invaders, Mexico's Army regularly carry out illegal detentions, extortion, extrajudicial killings, torture along with the "disappearance" of indigenous and left-wing activists.
Indeed, like their American and NATO counterparts in Afghanistan today, some elements within the Mexican Army have forged highly-profitable alliances with drug traffickers, especially among organized crime groups afforded "cover" by the CIA. But unlike the global godfathers in Washington however, Mexican authorities have brought criminal charges against corrupt officials.
In the Times' report we're informed that "a retired general, Juan Manuel Barragán Espinosa, was detained in February, accused of having leaked information to a drug gang. Another general, Manuel Moreno Avina, and several soldiers he commanded are on charges of murder, torture and drug trafficking in a border town in northern Mexico."
The Houston Chronicle disclosed that the "investigation of the generals reportedly was spurred by informants' testimony linked to the August 2010 arrest of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, the Laredo native known as La Barbie who served as the Beltran Leyva's top enforcer."
According to the Chronicle, "accusations of political motivation--by the generals' wives, lawyers and others--have been raised because of prosecutors' nearly two-year delay in acting on the informant's testimony and because the arrests come less than six weeks ahead of Mexico's presidential elections."
In fact, just days before being taken into custody, Ángeles "participated in a national security conference organized by supporters of presidential front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto, candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI."
But Ángeles' inconvenient arrest just weeks before contentious national elections isn't the only problem that PRI front-runner Peña Nieto has to worry about.
The Associated Press reported that Peña Nieto's one-time ally, the former governor of the violence-plagued state of Tamaulipas, Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba, has been accused in a civil action filed by federal prosecutors in Texas that he "'acquired millions of dollars in payments' while in public office from drug cartels 'and from various extortion or bribery schemes'."
"Yarrington," AP disclosed, "then used various front men and businesses 'to become a major real estate investor through various money laundering mechanisms,' according to documents filed in Corpus Christi."
The former governor "was also named earlier this year in the federal indictment of Antonio Peña Arguelles, who was also charged with money laundering in San Antonio. That indictment alleged that leaders of the Gulf and Zetas cartels paid millions to Institutional Revolutionary Party members, including Yarrington," AP reported.
Curiously enough however, that AP report failed to mention Yarrington's close political ties to politicians on this side of the border. Indeed, according to Digital Journal writer Lynn Herrmann, "Yarrington was at Texas Governor Rick Perry's swearing into office for his first full term in 2003. Prior to that, the Tamaulipas governor was a recipient of a Texas Senate resolution honoring him."
"Even closer was the relationship between Yarrington and President George W. Bush," Herrmann wrote, "a relationship apparently developed when junior was governor of Texas. In 2000, the Los Angeles Times quoted Bush as saying, 'Tomás is terrific, worked with him a lot'."
Now why wouldn't the AP report that?!
While one cannot dismiss that political motivations may lie behind the arrests, salient facts coloring these latest examples of drug war shenanigans again betray that this phony war is being waged not to stamp-out the grim trade but over who controls it.
Another Day, Another Bent General
The arrests were hardly precedent setting if truth be told. Indeed, the best known case of collaboration between the Army and the Cartels was that of Gen. José de Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo.
After having risen in the ranks to become a Three-Star Divisional Commander in the 1990s, Gutiérrez was appointed by the Attorney General of Mexico during the reign of President Ernesto Zedillo, currently a director of the drug-tainted financial black hole Citigroup, accused of laundering tens of millions of dollars in drug money for Raúl Salinas de Gortari, the brother of Carlos Salinas, the former president of Mexico. With powerful connections, the general became that country's top-ranking drug interdiction officer as head of the Instituto Nacional para el Combate a las Drogas (INCD).
From his perch, Gutiérrez had access to intelligence provided to the government by Mexican and U.S. secret state agencies. The treasure trove of data available to the general and his patrons included files on antidrug investigations, wiretaps on cartel leaders and informant identities.
There was just one small problem.
After receiving a tip that Gutiérrez had moved into an upscale Mexico City neighborhood in an apartment "whose rent could not be paid for with the wage received by a public servant," the Attorney General's Office opened an investigation.
It turned out that Gutiérrez had moved into palatial digs owned by a confederate of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the legendary head of the Juárez Cartel and "Lord of the Heavens." The drug lord earned that moniker because he moved vast quantities of cocaine into the U.S. aboard a fleet of airplanes purchased from bent brokers on the American side of the border. This too is a recurring pattern, as Daniel Hopsicker revealed during his investigation into the secret history of a fleet of fifty drug planes bought with hot money laundered through U.S. banks.
During the course of their investigation, Mexican authorities obtained a recording of Gutiérrez and Carrillo Fuentes which discussed payments to the General; remuneration for his role in leaving the Juárez Cartel alone, then Mexico's largest drug corporation.
In a 1997 interview with The Boston Globe, Francisco Molina, the former head of the anti-narcotics unit, said that during the change of command, "he personally handed over to Gutiérrez all of Mexico's 'most delicate' drug-fighting information."
"The files included thousands of documents on open investigations," the Globe reported, "pending operations, wire taps and voluminous material on Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the trafficker to whom Gutiérrez was linked."
That information, Molina said, "places many people at risk, and it throws into the garbage the huge amount of resources, money, and time that were spent" on operations. "It's like letting the enemy in to dig around in the files."
And with the U.S. State Department poised to expand the Mexican secret state's access to the latest in communications' intercept technologies as Antifascist Calling recently reported, the Cartels may soon have even more information at their disposal and the wherewithal to strike their adversaries with ruthless efficiency.
'Dirty Warrior' and 'Lord of the Heavens' United in the Great Beyond
It remains to be seen whether the accused military men will suffer the fate of another narco-linked Army commander, retired Gen. Mario Acosta Chaparro.
The Latin American Herald Tribune reported last month that Acosta, "who was convicted of drug-gang ties a decade ago but subsequently exonerated, has died of wounds suffered in a gunshot attack, sources with the capital's district attorney's office said."
According to McClatchy's "Mexico Unmasked" blog, the general was killed "as he descended from his chauffeured vehicle to pick up his Mercedes Benz (how many generals can afford to buy MBs?) in a suburban area of Mexico City. A guy in a motorcycle fired 3 rounds from a 9mm handgun into Acosta's head."
As Antifascist Calling reported in 2010, this was the same general who was shot and wounded in Mexico City during an alleged "robbery attempt." At the time, El Universal reported that police claimed a thief wanted to "steal the general's watch" and shot him several times in the abdomen when he resisted.
It must have been a nice watch.
But with last month's murder it appears that Acosta's past caught up with him. "In 2007," Antifascist Calling reported, "after a six-year imprisonment on charges of providing protection to late drug trafficking kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes ... Acosta Chaparro was released from custody after his conviction was overturned on appeal."
Freed on technicalities despite testimony by witnesses under the protection of the Mexican government, documents published by WikiLeaks revealed that the Swiss Bank Julius Baer's Cayman Islands unit hid "several million dollars" of funds controlled by Acosta and his wife, Silvia, through a firm known as Symac Investments.
WikiLeaks wondered whether Mexican authorities would "want to know whether the several millions of USD had anything to do with the allegations that Mr Chaparro, a former police chief from the Mexican state of Guerrero, stopped chasing his local drug dealers and joined them in business."
The secret-spilling web site averred: "With the assistance of Julius Baer, Mr Chaparro was able to invest several millions of USD in Symac with all the secrecy which the Caymans allowed and to draw out some $12,000 a month until he suddenly stopped it in July 1998. The following year, a particularly notorious colleague from the Mexican police became an FBI informer and offered new evidence against him."
During his 2002 trial on drug trafficking and corruption charges one of the witnesses, Gustavo Tarín Chávez testified that Acosta answered a phone call and a voice on the other end of the line said: "Son! How are you? Son!" Tarín Chávez told the court that the only person who called the general "son" was none other then Amado Carrillo Fuentes.
During that call, the late drug lord told Acosta that he had spoken with Rubén Figueroa Alcocer, the former governor of Guerrero, and that "everything was settled."
Multiple reports in the Mexican press subsequently revealed that the general had been given orders to pick up fifty AK-47 assault rifles, thirty semiautomatic pistols, twenty two-way radios and a SUV from Carrillo Fuentes and deliver them to the governor.
Talk about a high-priced errand boy!
Tarín Chávez also testified that Acosta did all the technical planning for the Juárez group and made arrangements for the arrival of Colombian aircraft loaded with cocaine and that this logistics work involved the delivery of vehicles, cash and communications' equipment to other military officers who worked for the drug lord.
Though his case was tossed out by the Mexican Supreme Court due to a "lack of evidence" (perhaps one or all of those witnesses lost their "protection" and "vanished," into an unmarked grave perhaps?), like other close U.S. allies in the "War on Drugs," Acosta had been linked to Mexico's "dirty war" against the left during the 1970s under the administration of President Luis Echeverría.
Echeverría was Interior Minister during President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz's corrupt, repressive regime. Díaz, with much encouragement from the Pentagon, State Department and the CIA, ordered the murders of hundreds of student protesters in the now-infamous Tlatelolco Plaza massacre a few days before the start of the 1968 Summer Olympics.
In 2006, investigative journalist Jefferson Morley and The National Security Archive obtained previously classified documents which revealed "CIA recruitment of agents within the upper echelons of the Mexican government between 1956 and 1969. The informants used in this secret program included President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and future President Luis Echeverría."
Those documents detailed "the relationships cultivated between senior CIA officers, such as chief of station Winston Scott, and Mexican government officials through a secret spy network code-named 'LITEMPO.' Operating out of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Scott used the LITEMPO project to provide 'an unofficial channel for the exchange of selected sensitive political information which each government wanted the other to receive but not through public protocol exchanges'."
Scott, a strident anticommunist who saw Moscow's "hidden hand" everywhere, suspected that student protests were "a communist controlled rebellion," and argued that the movement represented "a classic example of the Communists' ability to divert a peaceful demonstration into a major riot." Never mind that radical students despised the Stalinist Communist Party of Mexico and viewed them as conservative sell-outs; for Scott and his CIA masters, the fable of an International Communist Conspiracy directed by the Kremlin had to be maintained at all costs.
"As the student protests grew larger," Morley wrote, "Scott's information from the LITEMPO agents informed Ambassador Freeman's increasingly dire cables to Washington, which noted that Díaz Ordaz and the people around him were talking tougher. The government 'implicitly accepts consequence that this will produce casualties,' the ambassador wrote. 'Leaders of student agitation have been and are being taken into custody....In other words, the [government] offensive against student disorder has opened on physical and psychological fronts'."
The rest, as they say, is history. Army units stationed around the perimeter of Tlatelolco Plaza and in the windows of adjoining buildings began to open fire on the protesters; hundreds were killed and more than fifteen hundred people were arrested, many of whom were subsequently tortured and then "disappeared."
Heroin Coups and Iran-Contra Connections
Díaz and Echeverría did more than just ignore crimes perpetrated by the drug and CIA-linked intelligence agency, the Direcciòn Federal de Seguridad, or DFS; in the wake of the massacre, they handed DFS and the Army a blank check to carry out an anti-leftist purge which claimed thousands of lives.
Analyzing the CIA's role in global drug trafficking networks, researcher Peter Dale Scott wrote: "One of the most crime-ridden CIA assets we know of is the Mexican DFS, which the US helped to create. From its foundation in the 1940s, the DFS, like other similar kryptocracies in Latin America, was deeply involved with international drug-traffickers. By the 1980s possession of a DFS card was recognized by DEA agents as a 'license to traffic'."
According to Scott, "DFS agents rode security for drug truck convoys, and used their police radios to check of signs of American police surveillance. Eventually the DFS became so identified with the criminal drug-trafficking organizations it managed and protected, that in the 1980s the DFS was (at least officially) closed down."
Though 90 at the time of this writing, Echeverría, until recently, was considered the éminence grise of Mexican politics. He continued to wield considerable power long after his presidential term ended, mostly through his influence over the "old guard" of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI, the special police and army forces stood up under his watch, along with his alleged ties to the drug cartels.
As Scott and Jonathan Marshall disclosed in Cocaine Politics, the "failure" of various anti-trafficking programs such as Operation Condor "were inevitable given the records of the two Mexican presidents" who oversaw the operation.
"Luis Echeverría, under whom the program began," Scott and Marshall wrote, "appears to have been linked to [drug trafficker and CIA asset Alberto] Sicilia Falcón through his wife, whose family members had suspected ties to the European heroin trade." And when José López Portillo "took charge in 1976," Scott and Marshall averred, he "reportedly amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal profits and bought large estates in Spain with the proceeds."
As Henrik Krüger related in The Great Heroin Coup, when he was arrested in 1975, Sicilia Falcón "claimed to be an agent of the CIA, and that his drug ring had been set up on orders and with the support of the agency."
"Part of his profits," Krüger wrote, "were to go towards the purchase of weapons and ammunition for distribution throughout Central America for the destabilization of 'undesirable' governments. If true, U.S. heroin addicts were again footing the bill for clandestine paramilitary operations and anti-Communist terror campaigns."
But the former president's shady connections didn't stop there. Indeed, Echeverría's brother-in-law, Rubén Zuno Arce, was convicted in U.S. Federal District Court in California in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison for his role as a top-tier leader of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo's Guadalajara drug cartel and for the torture-murder of U.S. DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena in 1985.
Camarena had amassed evidence that the CIA and U.S. State Department considered Gallardo "untouchable" because of the "special relationship" forged by the Agency amongst drug traffickers and the Nicaraguan Contras. Scott and Marshall disclosed that "Mexico's biggest smuggler, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, responsible for moving four tons of cocaine a month into the United States, was also 'a big supporter' of the Contras, according to his pilot Werner Lotz. Lotz told the DEA that his boss advanced him more than $150,000 to pass on to the Contras."
In an 1996 PBS interview with former DEA deep-cover specialist turned whistleblower, Michael Levine, the co-host of The Expert Witness Radio Show, Levine related that "Camarena was a DEA agent working on high level drug investigations. He was stationed in Guadalajara, Mexico and his investigations were taking him right into the Contra resupply lines, that is, the Contras trafficking in drugs with the support of the Hondurans, the Mexicans, and everybody else and Enrique was down there working this case with an informer and suddenly he's arrested in broad daylight by Mexican police. He's taken to a ranch of a top Mexican criminal and slowly tortured to death over a 24 hour period."
"And later what is... what's found is Enrique was investigating [Honduran drug lord Juan Ramón] Matta-Ballesteros and Matta-Ballesteros' partner Gallardo and Matta-Ballesteros, by the way, was on the State Department payroll... in spite of being a documented heavy drug trafficker. His airline that we knew was used to traffic drugs, was used on the US government payroll to fly these Contra resupply mission. So here's this murderer who was later convicted of murdering... or conspiring to murder Kiki Camarena and he was on the US government payroll in spite of the fact that the DEA called him a drug trafficker, in spite of the fact that Kiki Camarena was investigating him. Now here's Kiki Camarena investigating the Oliver North supply line and he's tortured to death."
As investigative journalist Robert Parry revealed two years later on the Consortium News web site, Matta-Ballesteros' airline, SETCO, "emerged as the principal company for ferrying supplies to the contras in Honduras."
"During congressional Iran-contra hearings, FDN political leader Adolfo Calero testified that SETCO was paid from bank accounts controlled by Oliver North. SETCO also received $185,924 from the State Department for ferrying supplies to the contras in 1986."
Let's get this straight: Ollie North, a convicted felon who turned a blind eye to drug trafficking Contra networks he helped stand up runs for the U.S. Senate, hosts a "national defense" program on Fox News and earns millions of dollars. "Kiki" Camarena, who's investigating North's criminal assets is brutally murdered by those same "resistance" fighters.
Curiously enough, when Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán escaped in 2001 from a maximum-security prison during the "reform" administration of Vicente Fox, then the leader of the neoliberal Partido Acción Nacional, or PAN, and whose Federal Police chief was recommended by Luis Echeverría, it emerged that Guzmán once worked for Matta-Ballesteros, Gallardo and Zuno Acre's Guadalajara Cartel.
But then again, with the CIA suppressing evidence that they negotiated a quid-pro-quo with the Sinaloa Cartel and can't talk about it because of "national security," or that an FBI drug-trafficking informant was at the center of the Justice Department's gun-walking "Fast and Furious" fiasco and can't be prosecuted, perhaps controlled chaos is just what the Global Godfather wants.
A bent general or two is the least of our problems.
06-15-2012, 09:30 PM (This post was last modified: 06-16-2012 12:08 AM by h3rm35.)
RE: CIA-Pentagon Death Squads, Mexico Arrests 3 Army Gen´s, U.S. War for Drugs Continues
the next installment:
American Narcos: The Real 'Masters of Paradise'
Massacre in the Moskitia
The DEA and the Return of the Death Squads
by GREG McCLAIN
The US is once again hell bent on establishing death squads in its militarization of Central America. This is a stark reminder of the 1980s when Ronald Reagan and Ollie North were funding the contras with drug money, but now it is reinforced with lessons learned in terrorizing the people of Iraq and Afghanistan through night raids and counterinsurgency tactics. Another tactic that the current US administration has reinvigorated comes from the “War on Drugs” playbook of past administrations: by using the DEA as a front for creating and sustaining havoc, it can attempt to justify the military buildup and control the policies of the host country while manipulating the flow of drugs, all the while appeasing the tax payers back home and the folks in the host country who see the build up as necessary. Not abating by any measure the flow of narcotics into the U.S., the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ has actually increased the narcotics industry in Central America and provided a bogus rationale for the increased militarization of yet another Latin American county; this time Honduras.
On May 11th on the Rio Patuca near Ahuas, a small municipality in the Moskitia, a helicopter titled to the US State Department sprayed bullets into a pipante, a long, narrow dugout canoe, which carried sixteen locals. Four people were killed: 28-year-old Juana Jackson (six months pregnant), 48-year-old Candelaria Pratt Nelson (five months pregnant), 14-year-old Hasked Brooks Wood, and 21-year-old Emerson Martínez Henríquez. At least four more were seriously injured. The DEA confirms that its Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST) participated in the operation supporting a Honduran National Police Tactical Response Team.
I first heard of the tragedy while in the process of preparing for a human rights delegation to Honduras coordinated by the Alliance for Global Justice and led by Karen Spring from Rights Action. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press have all published stories glorifying the role of the DEA in seizing a huge quantity of drugs in the incident. They not only down played the killing and injuring of innocent people (some reports even questioned if there even were casualties), but also some of the news reports stated that those shot were actually involved in drug trafficking. In typical mainstream media fashion there was over-the-top anonymous quoting of US and Honduran officials and not much fact checking.
I arrived in Honduras on May 18th for the delegation. The original itinerary focused on the struggles of the campesinas and campesinos of the Aguan Valley and their fight to win back the land stolen from them by the oligarchs with the backing of the illegitimate post-coup government of Pepe Lobo. As important as the land rights struggle is to us, it did not take long for the delegation (made up of academics, human rights and labor activists, Canadian and U.S. citizens, several with extensive experience in Honduras) to agree that the massacre in the Moskitia was of a greater urgency especially in light of the contradictory reports coming from the US State Department and the DEA.
We spent our time in Ahuas talking to the survivors of the incident and families of those slaughtered by the US supplied M-60 bullets. We also spoke to several village leaders, the Mayor of Ahuas, and to many locals in order to piece together as best we could the incident and the aftermath. What we got was a startling look into how our government conducts its military adventurism and then obfuscates in order to cover up its crimes. We also witnessed the increased militarization of the region as platoons of masked Honduran soldiers, automatic weapons slung across their chests, patrolled up and down the muddied streets of Ahuas. An older commanding officer, whose Velcro name and rank patches were blank, stated that they would be there “for as long as necessary,” another chilling echo from the Iraq/Afghanistan quagmires.
Getting to Ahuas is no easy feat. We took a small plane from La Ceiba, closer to the Western end of the Caribbean coast of Honduras, to Puerto Lempira, which is on the Laguna Catrasco in the Moskitia on the Eastern side of the country near the Nicaraguan border. Once in Puerto Lempira we hired a small lancha, a motorboat with a capacity of about 15 people, to take us across the Lagunas. It was approximately an hour and a half in the scorching midday sun before we reached the port. Once there, we loaded into a giant pickup truck fastened with wooden planks for seating, which are placed across the truck bed, for the thirty-minute bumpy ride into Ahuas.
After our boat ride across the Laguna and through the rivers, which act as highways for the local people, it became clear to us what one of the survivors had been quoted as saying in the press, and that we were later to hear first hand. The reason that the pipante had been on the river at 2 AM was because they waited until the sun had set to take the boat home in order to avoid the mid-day heat. This is significant in light of the statement by the Honduran foreign minister, Arturo Corrales. He was quoted in the New York Times (05/18/12) as saying “it was totally dark, in a place that is not a fishing spot.” He added, “It’s in the jungle. It is very hard to believe that at 2 a.m., in the jungle, the people in a boat that is beside another boat with 400 kilograms of cocaine were fishing,” the implication being that they, the victims, were drug smugglers.
The ill-fated pipante had disembarked way downstream at the mouth of the river where it runs into the Caribbean, fighting against the current in order to get to Ahuas. Those that we interviewed said that they had been on the river for 8 hours. The owners of the boat had dropped off lobstermen at the opening of the Caribbean earlier in the day and waited for the sun to begin to set before heading back to Ahuas. This is a routine that they have been undertaking daily for 25 years. As they returned, heading into the current, they picked up other passengers along the way, some heading home and some heading toward jobs or to visit relatives. Many of them slept during the journey only to be awakened by the sounds of gunfire and the burning feeling of having M-60 rounds rip through their bodies.
The details of what exactly prompted the occupants of the helicopters to fire on the pipante are murky at best. The reports from the State Dept. and the DEA have not been consistent and leave out many details which calls into question their depiction of the events of that night. While witness and victim testimonies have been consistent, the U.S. government versions are shrouded in a haze of information that cannot be divulged, parsed statements that are obviously leading, and “facts” that do not shed light on the operation and the role of U.S. government agents in it. COFADEH (Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared), a Honduran human rights group, put it most succinctly in a press release days after the incident, “To keep an act of terror covered up in the midst of media confusion was always a strategy of psychological warfare, a special chapter of state terrorism. We should not accept this.” Audio recordings of communications from the helicopters that evening or surveillance video, if it exists, could potentially clarify much of these issues. The release of such recordings is something that the delegation would like to see Congress demand in any congressional investigation that it conducts. Until such data surfaces, we will never know the true motivation of those in the helicopters who pulled the trigger nor what they were truly doing on the Rio Patuca.
The events of the immediate aftermath became clearer once our delegation took the time to interview numerous witnesses to the shooting and those who rushed to the river upon hearing that loved ones had been shot at. We spoke to Hilda Rosa Lezama Kenreth, 53, laid up in the Ahuas hospital, an underfunded facility run by an evangelical church. She stated that as the shots were being fired from the helicopter she felt a pain across both of her thighs. A bullet had ripped through her left leg and cut across her right leaving huge gaping wounds. She instinctively jumped from the pipante and swam as best she could for cover in the reeds that hugged the bank of the river. She stayed there clinging to the reeds for at least two hours while going in and out of consciousness waiting for help.
Hilda’s son and daughter, Hilder and Elmina, who had been in town when they heard of the shooting, and were awaiting family members to arrive, rushed to the landing, a small sandy area where pipantes and other riverboats were moored. When they got there a helicopter was landing on an open area near were the boats were moored. Before Hilder could begin to search for his mother and brother-in-law he was approached by what he described as three large white men in uniforms who spoke to each other in English. The soldiers ordered him, in broken Spanish, to sit down while pointing guns at his and his sister’s head and chest. They asked him where gasoline was stored. He told them that there was a building nearby that had gas for the boats. They ordered him at gunpoint to take them there often hitting him in the back of the head causing him to fall. When they arrived, the tall white soldiers kicked in the door of the building and stole two 18-gallon barrels of gas. They returned to the landing and ordered Hilder to fill a boat motor with the gas. He did so and then was ordered to get in the boat. They went down river to where the massacre had occurred and Hilder saw a boat with two more tall white soldiers sitting in it. Once they got along side this boat he was further ordered to move bags from it to the boat they had arrived in. He stated that the soldiers told him in broken Spanish to “move the drugs.” Once he was finished he and the five soldiers returned to the landing with the drugs. The soldiers then moved the bags from the boat to the helicopter, not allowing Hilder to look for his mother and brother-in-law. Instead, they hit him again and handcuffed him with plastic zip ties and forced him sit until they left. Once they were gone, another villager cut the ties from his hand. He found the body of his brother-in-law and loaded it onto a boat. He then searched for his mother and was able to find Hilda in the water semi-conscious, but alive several hours after he had gotten there and was detained by the soldiers.
Another survivor, Clara Wood Rivas watched as bullets shattered her fourteen-year-old son Hasked’s skull. As she described the tragedy, she lifted her arm in the air to show the downward trajectory of the bullets, motioning her hand toward the top of her own head and passing it downward mimicking the bullets exiting Hasked’s chin. She stated that he had been shot so many times that she couldn’t recognize his face. Her son slumped over and fell into the water. Ms Wood jumped in to avoid the rain of bullets. Unable to find her son, she swam to shore. When she made it to the landing, “tall gringos” who did not speak Spanish pointed guns at her. She saw her nephew, who had come to the landing to meet her, handcuffed with zip ties and also being held at gunpoint. Through tears she told us, “I thought they were going to kill me. I passed through a war there. I’m blessed to be alive. I’ll never see my son again!”
Traveling with Clara and Hasked was Walter Wilmer, also aged14. We were unable to meet with him in the hospital in La Ceiba. According to the preliminary report put out by COFADEH, at the time when the bullets began riddling the pipante Wilmer was asleep. He awoke to sounds of screams and blasts of gunfire. He managed to escape the boat unharmed, but the helicopter gunners aimed at him in the water, destroying his left hand. Wilmer managed to swim using only his right until he reached the bank of the river. He could still see the helicopters hovering over the river so he ran through the darkness making it to the hospital in Ahuas. He was later transferred, at great expense to his family, to the hospital in La Ceiba, but it was too late to save his hand.
Members of our delegation were able to meet with Lucio Adnan Nelson, 22, in the hospital at La Ceiba. He had been shot in the back and in his right elbow where he still has bullet fragments. Under sedation he was able to speak to us, but only briefly. Lucio jumped from the boat when it was fired upon. He felt a burning pain in his back as he clung onto a tree branch sticking out of the river. He managed to swim to shore using one hand and ran through the woods until someone found him and helped him to the hospital. Lucio’s father stated that they had to sell some of their livestock in order to pay for the transportation to La Ceiba hospital. He also stated that if his son doesn’t recover fully, which he most likely won’t, he fears that Lucio’s only option in life is to become a beggar in the street.
The AP and the New York Times have revised their reports many times since the incident. The AP in particular has given a clearer picture of the events, but the overarching bent is still on the justification of the DEA and Honduran military’s presence in the Moskitia. They continue to imply that it was simply a tragic mistake in identity, an example of collateral damage in the War on Drugs. I spoke with a Honduran lawyer who represents the interests of the people of the Moskitia. He stated that there have been several reports of US and Honduran military drug interdictions in that region. The common link to these reports is that in all of them the narcotraffickers have gotten away, but the military have seized the drugs. This raises serious questions, not just to the efficacy of the military in drug interdiction, but indeed, what truly is the US and Honduran militaries’ role in the trafficking. In the wake of the DEA’s implication in drug trafficking as related to Plan Colombia and Plan Mexico, as well as the nefarious scheme of the ATF in supplying arms to drug lords in Mexico, plus the rampant corruption of the Honduran military and police and their interrelationship to narcotraffickers, the questions linger as to the true motivations of the US military/DEA presence in Honduras.
The US’s military motivations come under sharper scrutiny when the issue of recently discovered oil reserves in the Moskitia region are brought to light. Texas based Honduras Tejas Oil and Gas Company, who is pursuing an oil and gas concession in La Moskitia, estimate that there are six to eight billion barrels of oil reserves there. Honduras Tejas has lobbying ties to Tea Party nut job Rep. Louis Ghomert (R. TX), who introduced legislation on their behave, HR 532 (110th): Recognizing the energy and economic partnership between the United States and Honduras. Its ties to the Honduran government as well as the US State Department need to be further investigated.
Many people we spoke with, including representatives of indigenous organizations, are deeply concerned that militarization and violence generated by the “drug war” are negatively impacting their communities and are focused where there are significant natural resources, rivers with hydroelectric potential, petroleum, gold, and forests with many of these natural resources being privatized.
In light of what our delegation observed on our visit and the concerns raised, we demand:
That the U.S Congress investigate and hold hearings about the U.S. role in the events of May 11, 2012 in La Moskitia.
That serious and independent investigations take place exploring the role and responsibility of agents of the U.S. government in the May 11 massacre in Ahuas, be they DEA agents, private security contractors under the direction or contracted by agencies of the U.S. government or other security forces. This investigation should include identifying criminal responsibility of specific individuals.
That the rights and decisions of indigenous communities and popular movements be respected rather than treated as drug traffickers and insurgents with complete disregard to fundamental human rights.
That the U.S. government speaks out publicly against the presence of individuals widely known to have involvement in drug trafficking and death squads within the Honduran justice system today.
That in light of the abuses we documented, the U.S. government must withdraw all U.S. security forces including DEA and private contractors from Honduras, cease military assistance and training, and stop promoting remilitarization in Central America.
On June 6th the State Dept. was asked to provide an update on the DEA agent investigation in Honduras and on what is being done to assist the victims?
“DEA’s internal investigation is ongoing and should be completed in the next few weeks and we refer you to the Department of Justice for further information. A Honduran special task force conducted an initial investigation and we understand their preliminary conclusion is that the Honduran security forces were justified in firing in self-defense. The Honduran Government referred the investigation to their Attorney General’s office. The U.S. government is working closely with the Government of Honduras and offered transportation for investigators and additional assistance.
All Honduran citizens are eligible to receive care through the Honduran public health system.”
After four weeks of inadequate care in Honduran hospitals where horror stories are common, such as the lack of sutures for routine stitching procedures let alone for major surgery, The International Red Cross and UNICEF have agreed to intervene and pay for the surgeries of Walter Wilmer and Lucio Nelson at La Ceiba Hospital. Meanwhile, the other survivors are left in the care of an inefficient underfunded healthcare system, while the family members of the deceased have not even received so much as an official apology from U.S. or Honduran government officials.
With the ever escalating US military presence in Honduras, we can expect the events described above to become commonplace, just as the horror stories that have come out of Iraq and Afghanistan are never ending. Can drone attacks be far behind?
Cocaine Death Squads and the War On Terror
Regular listeners to our broadcast know – we have repeatedly made the point that the war on drugs doesn’t work – nor has it ever. Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Dr. Oliver Villar, co-author of “Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia”, who has spent over a decade researching the subject, and has some eye-opening observations on not only why it doesn’t work, but also on why it’s supposed to work that way.
About the guest:
Dr. Oliver Villar is a lecturer in Politics at Charles Sturt University. For the past decade his research has been devoted to this book. Much of the research is based on his PhD dissertation on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade. He has published broadly on the Inter-American cocaine drug trade, the U.S. War on Drugs and Terror in Colombia, and U.S.-Colombian relations.
Oliver was born in Mendoza, Argentina and has lived in Sydney for most of his life. In 2008 he completed his PhD on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade at the then UWS Latin American Research Group (LARG). Whilst completing his PhD, Oliver’s research interests in political economy, Latin America and the global drug trade followed teaching positions in politics at UWS and Macquarie University. His academic interests have involved an engagement with the sizeable Latin American immigrant community in Sydney and Melbourne and international concerns, such as with political and policy concerns over the ‘globalisation’ of crime and terrorism and the underlying causes of the processes involved.
At CSU Oliver’s research interests continue to focus on the vast and dynamic reservoir of political economy and the study of class analysis and class relations. This abiding interest extends across economic thought, economic development and the development of social and political relationships between the First World and Third World (in particular between the United States and Latin America) and the impact of neoliberal economic globalisation.
06-16-2012, 02:03 AM
RE: CIA-Pentagon Death Squads, Mexico Arrests 3 Army Gen´s, U.S. War for Drugs Continues
Violence, Human Rights Abuses, and Corruption Exploded After Mexico's Military Entered the Drug War
By Michael Busch, June 14, 2012
The New York Times reported Monday on the positions of each of the three candidates for Mexico’s presidency, an election which will be decided on July 1. The core argument of the article is that each candidate is promising a “major shift” away from the drug war policy of Mexico’s current president, Felipe Calderón. They each are placing, according to the Times,
a higher priority on reducing the violence in Mexico than on using arrests and seizures to block the flow of drugs to the United States. The candidates, while vowing to continue to fight drug trafficking, say they intend to eventually withdraw the Mexican Army from the drug fight. They are concerned that it has proved unfit for police work and has contributed to the high death toll, which has exceeded 50,000 since the departing president, Felipe Calderón, made the military a cornerstone of his battle against drug traffickers more than five years ago.
This sounds well enough and good. Doubly so if it were true which, in all likelihood, it isn’t. The Times article, to its credit, suggests as much itself, noting that Enrique Peña Nieto–who will almost certainly walk away with an easy victory–has lately ”suggested that while Mexico should continue to work with the United States government against organized crime, it should not ‘subordinate to the strategies of other countries. The task of the state, what should be its priority from my point of view, and what I have called for in this campaign, is to reduce the levels of violence,’ he said in an interview.”
But the reality is that Washington isn’t having it. “One senior Obama administration official said on Friday that Mr. Peña Nieto’s demand that the United States respect Mexican priorities ‘is a sound bite he is using for obvious political purposes.’ In private meetings, the official said, ‘what we basically get is that he fully appreciates and understands that if/when he wins, he is going to keep working with us.’
The article then goes on to discuss fears that a Peña Nieto presidency–under the banner of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)–would possibly return Mexico to the bad old days of PRI authoritarianism. For his part, Peña Nieto
insisted in an interview that he was a fresh face representing a new democratic era for the party — going as far as to say he has never tried any illicit drug. But he nevertheless defended the PRI, saying the other parties have had their share of bad apples and suggesting that the return of the party would be another sign of Mexico’s maturing democracy.
Even if he was lying, many believe that the institutional arrangement of Mexico in the post-PRI authoritarian era would prevent a return to the old way of doing things. “They can get some of the guys at the top, but now you’ve got all these other guys running around doing whatever they want, and the state and local police can’t handle it,” said an American official who requested anonymity because of the political sensitivities….“What’s really quite clear is that the presidency is not what it used to be,” said Arturo Valenzuela, a Georgetown University professor and former top State Department official in the region. He added: “If the PRI comes back, it’s not going to be the way the PRI governed before, because the country is just so different. So the question is how will they run the country? They will have to function in a very complicated electoral democracy.”
The Council on Foreign Relations’ Shannon O’Neil makes much the same point, and in greater detail, in a post at ForeignAffairs.com:
On a broader scale, over the last 12 years, power has been increasingly decentralized, making a return to the PRI’s historical hallmark, the “imperial presidency,” virtually impossible. Once upon a time, a leader such as Carlos Salinas — president from 1988 to 1994 — could dismiss half of the sitting governors during his term without a hint of blowback. Today states and their elected leaders are autonomous, both politically and increasingly economically, from the federal government.
In fact, states wield great power at the national level through their federal senators and representatives (who now often depend on the favor of the governor to stand for office). Peña Nieto knows this — he spent six years as governor of the State of Mexico. Although many scholars argue that this decentralization has not in fact been good for democracy — protecting the last bastions of authoritarianism in less electorally competitive states — it will nevertheless deter a return to the old political model in which Los Pinos could steamroll regional-level executives.
Civil society is stronger in Mexico today, too. A few decades ago, if the PRI found itself displeased with news coverage, it could literally stop the presses, as it held a monopoly on newsprint. Now Mexico has developed a vibrant and fiercely independent press, led by El Universal, Reforma, and La Jornada. Mexican voters and society have also gained a stronger voice, using social media and information now publicly available through Mexico’s freedom of information law to shame corrupt bureaucrats and politicians.
This is all true. But what is left out of these discussions, curiously, is the fact that the intersection between security and representative government is precisely the spot where Mexico is at its most deeply undemocratic. The Mexican military is not under civilian control, nor is it really under the unified command of a single military figure save the president who technically is the highest ranking member of all. In this sense, then, Mexico’s much-touted democratic transition has been incomplete, a fact that relates directly to the questions at hand about the current election.
Until recently, the military high command has not been directly involved in fighting drug trafficking. Its entrance into the country’s drug wars have resulted in three chief outcomes–skyrocketing violence, human rights abuses, and corruption of the military ranks. None of these can be effectively checked without proper civilian oversight, and the third may prove to be most pernicious of all as the military’s ability to carry out its objectives, no matter how questionable, gets compromised by the personal interests of those at the top. Selective application of military power for the purposes of fighting certain cartels, and protecting others, is the worry here which holds out the possibility of the kind of complicity between government operators and the monied interests of drug traffickers that were a hallmark of the authoritarian era.
And yet the incomplete transition to democracy in Mexico is never discussed. A deeper conversation about the threats facing the country would move beyond the recognition that greater representative governance has been a positive step for Mexico–which in many ways it has–and shine the light on those pockets where there is still much work to be done, and problems to be tackled. Some of those challenges, including asserting greater civilian control of the military–a prerequisite, after all, in any fully democratic context–may prove frighteningly intractable. This is especially true when we consider polling data that suggests Mexicans don’t have a problem with the military as is so much as the way in which it has been ineffectively deployed by the president.
But the future of the country lies in such considerations, not in a hoped-for balance of power within the Mexican Congress or further decentralization of decision making in the name of some phantom democracy. And until these debates are fully engaged, we can expect more of the same from whomever becomes Mexico’s next president and worse from a military quickly disintegrating under the weight of inexorable corruption.
06-19-2012, 11:16 PM (This post was last modified: 06-19-2012 11:34 PM by h3rm35.)
RE: CIA-Pentagon Death Squads, Mexico Arrests 3 Army Gen´s, U.S. War for Drugs Continues
US Lawsuit vs. Staff of Mexican Presidential Candidate Peña Nieto Reveals Apparent Violation of US Law
No Foreign Agent Complied With Requirement to Register in US on Behalf of the PRI Candidate’s Campaign
By Bill Conroy & Al Giordano
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
June 19, 2012
A civil lawsuit filed this month in US court against several Mexican companies and three top officials from the campaign of Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto alleges the parties engaged in a conspiracy to convert campaign funds derived from narco-traffickers to their own personal use by employing a scheme to defraud a US company.
The lawsuit also alleges that Peña Nieto campaign operatives threatened a plaintiff that the money “was funded from companies owned by drug cartels and it was further stated that Jose Aquino [owner of Frontera Television Network] must be very careful not to make any noise or his life is in danger.”
The complaint charges the defendants with two counts of “racketeering” under the RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization”) laws, plus charges of Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Negligent Representation. It seeks $100 million dollars in punitive damages from the defendants.
Narco News today makes the court documents and evidence available for review by citizens and journalists of both countries, and internationally.
In the extensive court documents are two contracts:
The first was signed in Mexico on November 28, 2011 and agrees to pay $15 million dollar to the US company Frontera Television Network, represented by José Aquino, and is signed by representatives of two Mexican companies, GM Global Media, represented by Mario Ignacio Moran Jimenez, and Jiramos, represented by Alejandro Carillo Garza.
A second contract, which replaced the initial pact, that is evidence in the lawsuit was for more than $50 million dollars in advertising and publicity services, signed on January 6, 2012 between two Mexican companies and a US media company. It details an ambitious advertising and public relations campaign on US television, radio, Internet and print media, plus billboards and other media that would reach Spanish-speaking Mexicans living in the United States. The company Intelimedia S.A. DE C.V., represented by the signature of José Aquino on the contract, would serve as an ad agency and public relations manager for a Mexican company called Servicios Integrales al Sector Agropecuario, represented by the signature of Alejandro Ramírez González. Multi-million dollar categories ($25 million for television advertising alone) totaling some $56 million were detailed in four sections of the contract, each page initialed by the signatories, according “Exhibit A” in the lawsuit.
The common thread in both contracts is the signature of José Aquino, on behalf of Frontera Television Network in the first contract and Intelimedia in the second.
Aquino’s Frontera Television Network filed the lawsuit on June 7 in the US District Court of Central California against the aforementioned companies plus three high officials in the presidential campaign of Enrique Peña Nieto: Erwin Lino, the candidate’s personal secretary, David López, the candidate’s communications director and Roberto Calleja, spokesman for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, in its Spanish initials), which has nominated Peña Nieto as its presidential candidate in the July 1 election.
One of the Court documents in the Frontera litigation mentions Pena Nieto specifically, indicating that he “may have a direct, pecuniary [monetary] interest in the outcome of this case.”
The court pleadings allege that the $56 million media promotion contract was breached and the money never delivered to Frontera and its affiliates, but instead the funds were diverted to the personal use of Pena Nieto’s operatives.
Did Peña Nieto Violate US Law?
What is not mentioned in the litigation is a US law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires agents representing foreign entities (such as political parties like the PRI) to register with and make specific disclosures to the US Department of Justice.
The DOJ Web site says the following about FARA:
The purpose of FARA is to insure that the U.S. Government and the people of the United States are informed of the source of information (propaganda) and the identity of persons attempting to influence U.S. public opinion, policy, and laws. In 1938, FARA was Congress’ response to the large number of German propaganda agents in the pre-WWII U.S.
Failure to comply with FARA, the DOJ Web site states, is punishable, upon conviction, “by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years.”
Narco News checked the online filing database for FARA registrants and also contacted the DOJ FARA office to determine whether any of the parties central to the Frontera lawsuit had registered under the act. The online database check revealed no such filings and a spokesman for the FARA office indicated he also was unaware of the litigation — and even asked for the case number for the Frontera lawsuit.
Based on a reading of the FARA statute, it would appear a case could be made that, at a minimum, Frontera Television Network, as well as the companies alleged to have links to Pena Nieto’s presidential campaign and who were signatories to the media propaganda contract (included as an exhibit in the lawsuit) should have registered under FARA — assuming the allegations in the court pleadings are truthful.
Narco News contacted Frontera’s attorney, Maxwell C. Agha, but he was unavailable for comment on the FARA requirements.
The catch in all of this, however, is the veracity of the alleged contract included in the litigation, and whether it can be proven that PRI Party operatives were behind it.
A FARA office spokesman says in order for FARA to be invoked, it has to be shown that the businesses involved in such an alleged contract “were under the direction and control of a foreign government or political party.”
Determining the truth of the matter will be at the heart of that litigation, but clearly the stakes for Pena Nieto could be quite high should a jury rule in Frontera’s favor in the litigation, given it may well open the door to an inquiry from DOJ as to whether Pena Nieto and/or his staff members violated a US criminal law (FARA) — not a good outcome should Pena Nieto be elected president, and one that could provide US officials additional influence, personally and legally, over a possible President Peña Nieto when it comes to pressuring Mexican officials to hand over sovereign decisions to the neighbor up north.
The explosive charges were made public three weeks before the July 1 Mexican presidential election and are being vehemently denied by Pena Nieto, whose spokesman contends, according to a story in the Mexican publication Proceso, that he is, in fact, the one who is the target of a fraud perpetrated by the US company and its representatives.
The Proceso story states that Pena Nieto —the 2012 Mexican presidential candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, in its Spanish initials) — has called on Mexico’s Attorney General to prosecute the plaintiffs for having brought the lawsuit in the United States.
The central charge in the lawsuit, filed in US federal court in Riverside, Calif., is that several companies and individuals linked to the Pena Nieto presidential bid diverted campaign funds obtained from “drug cartels” to their own “personal use.”
To cover up the alleged money laundering scheme, pleadings in the lawsuit claim, the Pena Nieto operatives contracted with Nevada –based Frontera Television Network LLP — and later one of its affiliates — to design a media campaign to promote Pena Nieto’s presidential run in US-based media. Many Mexicans have cable TV and Internet connections and watch Univision and CNN Español and even English-language channels. In addition, Mexicans living along the Mexican/US border, in places such as Juarez, Tijuana or Nuevo Laredo, watch TV broadcasts from US stations.
The supposed truth to be revealed through the litigation, according to the Frontera lawsuit, is that two Mexican companies and their representatives inked a multi-million contract in November 2011 with Frontera Television Network on behalf of PRI officials “David Lopes, Erwin Lino … and Roberto Calleja….”
The contract called for Frontera to design a “political advertising” campaign for Pena Nieto that would make use of US “magazines, radio, television, Internet and social networks.”
That initial contract was replaced in early January 2012 with a similar pact that, according to the litigation, included as signatories an affiliate of Frontera, called Intelimedia, and a company created by the defendants, called Servicios Integrales Al Sector Agropecuario S.C.. But, the pleadings assert, that contract also was breached and the same diversion scheme remained in place.
From Frontera’s complaint in the lawsuit:
… Each of [the defendants] refused to pay for the advertising campaign for PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto. Defendants … concealed the fact that they converted the [$56 million in] advertising funds for their own private and personal use.
… The United States for PRI campaign for the political presidential candidacy of Enrique Pena Nieto continues to operate in Mexico, and there is a continuing threat of criminal activity until the United States for PRI campaign for the political presidential candidacy of Enrique Pena Nieto Enterprise has accomplished its goal of converting campaign funds for it’s own private and personal use including funds contributed by drug cartels.
… Frontera Television Network LLP through it’s authorized agents contacted the PRI officials David Lopez, Erwin Lino, Roberto Callejas, Alfredo Carrillo, and Jose Carrillo, and Plaintiff Frontera Television Network LLP through it’s authorized agents were threaten by it being stated that the money that was originated was funded from companies owned by drug cartels and it was further stated that Jose Aquino [owner of Frontera Television Network] must be very careful not to make any noise or his life is in danger.
The plaintiff, Frontera Television Network, is seeking compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial plus $100 million in punitive damages, as well as an injunction “prohibiting any disbursements of any [Pena Nieto] campaign funds pending the hearing on this matter,” the legal pleadings state.
The defendants, including the officials allegedly representing Pena Nieto, have not yet filed a response with the US court.
Court Documents of public interest:
– Text of lawsuit complaint seeking $100 million in damages (English).
– Notice of Interest for Enrique Peña Nieto (English).
– “Exhibit A”: Multi-million dollar contracts for media campaign in US (Spanish).
American Drug Lords
06-20-2012, 05:11 PM
RE: CIA-DoD Death Squads & Mexican corruption intertwined, War for Drugs Continues
Obama Asserts Executive Privilege Over The Department Of Justice's Gun Running Scandal
President Barack Obama has exerted executive privilege over documents related to the Fast & Furious gunrunning operation, stepping into the stand-off between Attorney General Eric Holder and House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa.
The Oversight Committee is demanding previously undisclosed documents about the DOJ's response to Fast and Furious, a gunrunning operation in which U.S. agents allowed guns to "walk" across the border and into the hands of Mexico's drug cartels.
Obama's move today is surprising —this is the first time that he has invoked executive privilege — and comes on the same day that the Oversight Committee is set to vote on whether to hold Holder in contempt over the Department of Justice's involvement in the botched operation.
Holder has so far declined to turn over the documents, and an attempt to break the stalemate failed last night after Issa rejected Holder's offer to brief members of Congress on those documents. Obama's executive privilege order will protect the Fast & Furious documents from being subpoenaed by Congress.
Here's the full text of the letter from the Department of Justice to House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa, courtesy of Think Progress:
Dear Mr. Chairman:
After you rejected the Department's recent offers of additional accommodations, you stated that the Committee intends to proceed with its scheduled meeting to consider a resolution citing the Attorney General for contempt for failing to comply with the Committee's subpoena of October 11, 2011. I write now to inform you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents.
We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee's concerns and to accommodate the Committee's legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Although we are deeply disappointed that the Committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the Department remains willing to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.
Over the last fourteen months, the Department has provided a significant amount of information to the Committee in an extraordinary effort to accommodate the Committee's legitimate oversight interests. The Department has provided the Committee with over 7,600 pages of documents and has made numerous high-level officials available for public congressional testimony, transcribed interviews, and briefings. Attorney General Holder has answered congressional questions about Fast and Furious during nine public hearings, including two before the Committee. The Department has devoted substantial resources to responding to these congressional inquiries.
In addition, upon learning of questions about the tactics used in Fast and Furious, the Attorney General promptly asked the Department's Acting Inspector General to open an investigation into the operation. This investigation continues today. We expect that the Inspector General's report will further help the Department to understand how these mistakes occurred and to ensure that they do not occur again.
Finally, the Department has instituted a number of significant reforms to ensure that the mistakes made in Fast and Furious are not repeated. For example, a directive was issued to the field prohibiting the flawed tactics used in that operation from being used in future law enforcement operations. Leadership and staffing at ATF and the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office were reorganized, and ATF instituted new policies to ensure closer supervision by ATF management of significant gun trafficking cases. The Criminal Division refined its process for reviewing wiretap authorization requests by its Office of Enforcement Operations. And component heads were directed to take additional care to provide accurate information in response to congressional requests, including by soliciting information directly from employees with detailed personal knowledge of the subject matter at issue.
The Committee's original report accompanying its contempt resolution identified three "main categories" of interest: (1) "Who at Justice Department Headquarters Should Have Known of the Reckless Tactics"; (2) "How the Department Concluded that Fast and Furious was 'Fundamentally Flawed"'; and (3) "How the Inter-Agency Task Force Failed." Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, Report at 39-40 (June 15, 20 12). With respect to the first category, the thousands of pages of documents and other information we have provided establish that the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious were initiated and carried out by personnel in the field over several years and were not initiated or authorized by Department leadership. We have also provided the Committee with significant information with respect to the third category. In a revised report issued late last week, the Committee has made clear that these categories will not be the subject of the contempt vote. See Report at 41.
Rather, the Committee has said that the contempt vote will address only the second category, "How the Department Concluded that Fast and Furious was 'Fundamentally Flawed." See Report at 42; Letter for Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, from Darrell E. Issa, Chairman at 1-2 (June 13, 2012) ("Chairman's Letter"). In this regard, your letter of June 13 stated that the Committee is now "focused on" "documents from after February 4, 2011, related to the Department's response to Congress and whistleblower allegations" concerning Operation Fast and Furious, in order to "examine the Department's mismanagement of its response to Operation Fast and Furious." !d. The Committee has explained that it needs these post-February 4 documents, including "those relating to actions the Department took to silence or retaliate against Fast and Furious whistleblowers," so that it can determine "what the Department knew about Fast and Furious, including when and how it discovered its February 4 letter was false, and the
Department's efforts to conceal that information from Congress and the public." Report at 33.
The Department has gone to great lengths to accommodate the Committee's legitimate interest in the Department's management of its response to congressional inquiries into Fast and Furious. The information provided to the Committee shows clearly that the Department leadership did not intend to mislead Congress in the February 4 letter or in any other statements concerning Fast and Furious. The Department has already shared with the Committee all internal documents concerning the drafting of the February 4 letter, and numerous Department officials and employees, including the Attorney General, have provided testimony, transcribed interviews, briefings, and other statements concerning the drafting and subsequent withdrawal of that letter.
This substantial record shows that Department officials involved in drafting the February 4 letter turned to senior officials of components with supervisory responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious - the leadership of ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona - and were told in clear and definitive terms that the allegations in Ranking Member Grassley's letters were false. After the February 4 letter was sent, such assurances continued but were at odds with information being provided by Congress and the media, and the Attorney General therefore referred the matter to the Acting Inspector General for review.
As the Department's review proceeded over the next several months, Department leaders publicly indicated that the facts surrounding Fast and Furious were uncertain and that the Department had significant doubts about the assertions in the February 4 letter. For example, at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3, 2011, the Attorney General testified that the Department's Acting Inspector General was reviewing "whether or not Fast and Furious was conducted in a way that's consistent with" Department policy, stating "that's one of the questions that we'll have to see." The next day, May 4, 2011, in response to a question from Senator Grassley at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about allegations that ATF had not interdicted weapons, the Attorney General said, " I frankly don' t know. That's what the [Inspector General's] investigation . . . will tell us." As you have acknowledged, Department staff reiterated these doubts during a briefing for Committee staff on May 5, 2011. Testifying before the Committee in June 2011, Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, acknowledged that "obviously allegations from the ATF agents . . . have given rise to serious questions about how ATF conducted this operation." He added that "we're not clinging to the statements" in the February 4 letter.
In October 2011, the Attorney General told the Committee that Fast and Furious was "fundamentally flawed." This statement reflected the conclusion that Department leaders had reached based on the significant effort over the prior months to understand the facts of Fast and Furious and the other Arizona-based law enforcement operations. The Attorney General reiterated this conclusion while testifying before Congress in November 2011. The Department's many public statements culminated in the formal withdrawal of the February 4 letter on December 2, 2011.
The Department has substantially complied with the outstanding subpoena. The documents responsive to the remaining subpoena items pertain to sensitive law enforcement activities, including ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions, or were generated by Department officials in the course of responding to congressional investigations or media inquiries about this matter that are generally not appropriate for disclosure.
In addition to these productions, we made extraordinary accommodations with respect to the drafting and subsequent withdrawal of the February 4 letter, producing to the Committee 1,364 pages of deliberative documents. And we accepted your June 13 letter's invitation to "mak[ e] a serious offer" of further accommodation in hopes of reaching " an agreement that renders the process of contempt unnecessary." Chairman's Letter at 2. Specifically, we offered to provide the Committee with a briefing, based on documents that the Committee could retain, explaining further how the Department's understanding of the facts of Fast and Furious evolved during the post-February 4 period, as well as the process that led to the withdrawal of the February 4 letter. See Letter for Darrell E. Issa, Chairman, from Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General at 1 (June 14, 2012). We also offered to provide you with an understanding of the documents that we could not produce and to address any remaining questions that you had after you received the briefing and the documents on which it was based. We believe that this additional accommodation would have fully satisfied the Committee's requests for information. We are therefore disappointed that the Committee has not accepted our offer and has chosen instead to proceed with the scheduled contempt vote.
As I noted at the outset, the President, in light of the Committee's decision to hold the contempt vote, has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4 documents. The legal basis for the President's assertion of executive privilege is set forth in the enclosed letter to the President from the Attorney General. In brief, the compelled production to Congress of these internal Executive Branch documents generated in the course of the deliberative process concerning the Department's response to congressional oversight and related media inquiries would have significant, damaging consequences. As I explained at our meeting yesterday, it would inhibit the candor of such Executive Branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the Executive Branch's ability to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight. Such compelled disclosure would be inconsistent with the separation of powers established in the Constitution and would potentially create an imbalance in the relationship between these two.co-equal branches of the Government.
In closing, while we are deeply disappointed that the Committee intends to move forward with consideration of a contempt citation, I stress that the Department remains willing to work toward a mutually satisfactory resolution of this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact this office if we can be assistance.
James M. Cole
Deputy Attorney General
06-24-2012, 09:38 AM
RE: CIA-DoD Death Squads & Mexican corruption intertwined, War for Drugs Continues
Maxwell Agha, attorney for Aquino, has had his license to practice Law suspended a couple of times, check out his record with the CALBAR. Also, he at some time owned a license to operate a TV Channel on cable TV. COincidence? Also, Note that Frontera was incorporated around Oct or Nov 2011, just before the time the alleged contracts were made with the Mexicans. Smell fishy? Why nobody is looking into this, it is beyond me. But it seems like they themselves were involved in something dirty and it backfired, and now, they want money, even though the contract was clearly illegal, under US and Mexican Laws.
Also, note the contracts state that the Mexican Courts have exclusive jurisdiction....
Mod edit: Extremely long and unecessary quote of a previous post deleted
06-24-2012, 10:04 PM (This post was last modified: 06-24-2012 10:14 PM by h3rm35.)
RE: CIA-DoD Death Squads & Mexican corruption intertwined, War for Drugs Continues
"Why nobody is looking into this, it is beyond me."
Almost nobody is looking into a lot of the info on this thread, mostly (I would guess,) because of CIA involvement, collusion of media, and their tendency to make people who look into their activities disappear. They've got a lot invested in this shit going back farther that the War for Drugs' inception.
09-06-2012, 12:35 AM
RE: CIA-DoD Death Squads & Mexican corruption intertwined, War for Drugs Continues
''Managing' the Plaza: America's Secret Deal with Mexican Drug Cartels
In a story which should have made front page headlines, Narco News investigative journalist Bill Conroy revealed that "A high-ranking Sinaloa narco-trafficking organization member's claim that US officials have struck a deal with the leadership of the Mexican 'cartel' appears to be corroborated in large part by the statements of a Mexican diplomat in email correspondence made public recently by the nonprofit media group WikiLeaks."
A series of some five million emails, The Global Intelligence Files, were obtained by the secret-spilling organization as a result of last year's hack by Anonymous of the Texas-based "global intelligence" firm Stratfor.
Bad tradecraft aside, the Stratfor dump offer readers insight into a shadowy world where information is sold to the highest bidder through a "a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world."
One of those informants was a Mexican intelligence officer with the Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional, or CISEN, Mexico's equivalent to the CIA. Dubbed "MX1" by Stratfor, he operates under diplomatic cover at the Mexican consulate in Phoenix, Arizona after a similar posting at the consulate in El Paso, Texas.
His cover was blown by the intelligence grifters when they identified him in their correspondence as Fernando de la Mora, described by Stratfor as "being molded to be the Mexican 'tip of the spear' in the U.S."
In an earlier Narco News story, Conroy revealed that "US soldiers are operating inside Mexico as part of the drug war and the Mexican government provided critical intelligence to US agents in the now-discredited Fast and Furious gun-running operation," the Mexican diplomat claimed in email correspondence.
Those emails disclosed "details of a secret meeting between US and Mexican officials held in 2010 at Fort Bliss, a US Army installation located near El Paso, Texas. The meeting was part of an effort to create better communications between US undercover operatives in Mexico and the Mexican federal police, the Mexican diplomat reveals."
"However," Conroy wrote, "the diplomat expresses concern that the Fort Bliss meeting was infiltrated by the 'cartels,' whom he contends have 'penetrated both US and Mexican law enforcement'."
Such misgivings are thoroughly justified given the fact, as Antifascist Calling reported last spring, that the Mexican government had arrested three high-ranking Army generals over their links to narcotrafficking organizations.
In Conroy's latest piece the journalist disclosed that the "Mexican diplomat's assessment of the US and Mexican strategy in the war on drugs, as revealed by the email trail, paints a picture of a 'simulated war' in which the Mexican and US governments are willing to show favor to a dominant narco-trafficking organization in order to minimize the violence and business disruption in the major drug plazas, or markets."
A "simulated war"? Where have we heard that before? Like the bogus "War on Terror" which arms and unleashes throat-slitting terrorists from the CIA's favorite all-purpose zombie army of "Islamist extremists," Al Qaeda, similarly, America's fraudulent "War on Drugs" has been a splendid means of managing the global drug trade in the interest of securing geopolitical advantage over their rivals.
That major financial powerhouses in Europe and the U.S. (can you say Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, HSBC, ING and Wachovia) have been accused of reaping the lions' share of profits derived from the grim trade, now a veritable Narco-Industrial Complex, the public continues to be regaled with tales that this ersatz war is being "won."
While the Mexican body count continues to rise (nearly 120,000 dead since 2006 according to the latest estimates published by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, or INEGI, as reported by the Paris daily Le Monde in a recent editorial) the United States is escalating its not-so-covert military involvement in Mexico and putting proverbial boots on the ground as part of the $1.6 billion U.S.-financed Mérida Initiative.
But have such "initiatives" (in actuality, taxpayer-funded boondoggles for giant military contractors), turned the corner in the drug war? Not if estimates published the United Nations are accurate.
According to the 2011 World Drug Report, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): "US authorities have estimated for the last couple of years that some 90% of the cocaine consumed in North America comes from Colombia, supplemented by some cocaine from Peru and limited amounts from the Plurinational State of Bolivia. For the year 2009, results of the US Cocaine Signature Program, based on an analysis of approximately 3,000 cocaine HCl samples, revealed that 95.5% originated in Colombia (down from 99% in 2002) and 1.7% in Peru; for the rest (2.8%), the origin could not be determined. The trafficking of cocaine into the United States is nowadays largely controlled by various Mexican drug cartels, while until the mid-1990s, large Colombian cartels dominated these operations."
Despite more than $8 billion lavished on programs such as Plan Colombia, and despite evidence that leading Colombian politicians, including former President Álvaro Uribe and his entourage had documented links to major drug trafficking organizations that go back decades, the myth persists that pouring money into the drug war sinkhole will somehow turn the tide.
But drug seizures by U.S. agencies only partially tell the tale.
As UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov pointed out in the introduction to the agency's 2011 report, Estimating Illicit Financial Flows Resulting from Drug Trafficking and Other Transnational Crimes, "all criminal proceeds are likely to have amounted to some 3.6 per cent of GDP (2.3-5.5 per cent) or around US$2.1 trillion in 2009."
UNODC analysts disclosed that illicit money flows related to "transnational organized crime, represent the equivalent of some 1.5 percent of global GDP, 70 percent of which would have been available for laundering through the financial system. The largest income for transnational organized crime seems to come from illicit drugs, accounting for a fifth of all crime proceeds."
"If only flows related to drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime activities were considered," UNODC asserted, "related proceeds would have been equivalent to around US$650 billion per year in the first decade of the new millennium, equivalent to 1.5% of global GDP or US$870 billion in 2009 assuming that the proportions remained unchanged. The funds available for laundering through the financial system would have been equivalent to some 1% of global GDP or US$580 billion in 2009."
"The results," according to UNODC, "also suggest that the 'interception rate' for anti-money-laundering efforts at the global level remains low. Globally, it appears that much less than 1% (probably around 0.2%) of the proceeds of crime laundered via the financial system are seized and frozen."
Commenting on the nexus between global drug mafias and our capitalist overlords, former UNODC director Antonio Maria Costa told The Observer in 2009, "that the proceeds of organised crime were 'the only liquid investment capital' available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result."
Would there be an incentive then, for U.S. officials to dismantle a global business that benefits their real constituents, the blood-sucking gangsters at the apex of the capitalist financial pyramid? Hardly.
Nor would there be any incentive for American drug warriors to target organizations that inflate the balance sheets of the big banks. Wouldn't they be more likely then, given the enormous flows of illicit cash flooding the system, to negotiate an "arrangement" with the biggest players, particularly the Sinaloa Cartel run by fugitive billionaire Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán?
In fact, as Narco News disclosed last December, a "quid-pro-quo arrangement is precisely what indicted narco-trafficker Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, who is slated to stand trial in Chicago this fall, alleges was agreed to by the US government and the leaders of the Sinaloa 'Cartel'--the dominant narco-trafficking organization in Mexico. The US government, however, denies that any such arrangement exists."
Narco News reported that according to "Zambada Niebla, he and the rest of the Sinaloa leadership, through the US informant Loya Castro, negotiated an immunity deal with the US government in which they were guaranteed protection from prosecution in exchange for providing US law enforcers and intelligence agencies with information that could be used to compromise rival Mexican cartels and their operations."
In court pleadings, Zambada Niebla's attorneys argued that "the United States government considered the arrangements with the Sinaloa Cartel an acceptable price to pay, because the principal objective was the destruction and dismantling of rival cartels by using the assistance of the Sinaloa Cartel--without regard for the fact that tons of illicit drugs continued to be smuggled into Chicago and other parts of the United States and consumption continued virtually unabated."
Those assertions seem to be borne out by emails released by WikiLeaks. Conroy disclosed: "In a Stratfor email dated April 19, 2010, MX1 lays out the Mexican government's negotiating, or 'signaling,' strategy with respect to the major narco-trafficking organizations as follows:
The Mexican strategy is not to negotiate directly.
In any event, "negotiations" would take place as follows:
Assuming a non-disputed plaza [a major drug market, such as Ciudad Juarez]:
• [If] they [a big narco-trafficking group] bring [in] some drugs, transport some drugs, [and] they are discrete, they don't bother anyone, [then] no one gets hurt;
• [And the] government turns the other way.
• [If] they [the narco-traffickers] kill someone or do something violent, [then the] government responds by taking down [the] drug network or making arrests.
(Now, assuming a disputed plaza
• [A narco-trafficking] group comes [into a plaza], [then the] government waits to see how dominant cartel responds.
• If [the] dominant cartel fights them [the new narco-trafficking group], [then the] government takes them down.
• If [the] dominant cartel is allied [with the new group], no problem.
• If [a new] group comes in and start[s] committing violence, they get taken down: first by the government letting the dominant cartel do their thing, then [by] punishing both cartels.
"MX1," Narco News revealed, "then goes on to describe what he interprets as the US strategy in negotiating with the major narco-trafficking players in Ciudad Juarez--a major Mexican narco-trafficking 'plaza' located across the border from El Paso, Texas:"
... This is how "negotiations" take place with cartels, through signals. There are no meetings, etc. ...
So, the MX [Mexican] strategy is not to negotiate. However, I think the US [recently] sent a signal that could be construed as follows:
"To the VCF [the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes] and Sinaloa cartels: Thank you for providing our market with drugs over the years. We are now concerned about your perpetration of violence, and would like to see you stop that. In this regard, please know that Sinaloa is bigger and better than [the] VCF. Also note that CDJ [Juarez] is very important to us, as is the whole border. In this light, please talk amongst yourselves and lets all get back to business. Again, we recognize that Sinaloa is bigger and better, so either VCF gets in line or we will mess you up."
I don't know what the US strategy is, but I can tell you that if the message was understood by Sinaloa and VCF as I described above, the Mexican government would not be opposed at all.
In sum, I have a gut feeling that the US agencies tried to send a signal telling the cartels to negotiate themselves. They unilaterally declared a winner [the Sinaloa Cartel], and this is unprecedented, and deserves analysis. If there was no strategy behind this, and it was simply a leaked report, then I will be interested to see how it plays out in the coming months.
Keep in mind that this "analysis" is from a senior CISEN officer describing U.S. "strategy" for managing, not putting a stop to the flood of narcotics crossing the border.
"In a separate Stratfor email dated April 15, 2010," Conroy wrote, "MX1's views on the US strategy with respect to the drug organizations in Juarez, essentially favoring the Sinaloa 'Cartel,' is referenced yet again:"
We believe that when the US made an announcement that was corroborated by several federal spokespersons simultaneously (that Sinaloa controlled CDJ [Juarez]), it was a message that the DEA wanted to send to Sinaloa. The message was that the US recognized Sinaloa's dominance in the area [Juarez], although it was not absolute. It was meant to be read by the cartels as a sort of ultimatum: negotiate and put your house in order once and for all.
One dissenting analyst thinks that the message is the opposite, telling Sinaloa to take what it had and to leave what remains of VCF. Regardless, the reports are saying that the US message to the cartels was to negotiate and stop the violence. It says that the US has never before pronounced that a cartel controls a particular plaza, so it is an unusual event.
"Unusual" perhaps, but not surprising given the secret state's documented history of close collaboration with major drug trafficking networks that serve as unofficial, though highly-effective instruments, for advancing U.S. imperial strategies.
In a recent piece published by Global Research, analyst Peter Dale Scott observed that America's two "self-generating wars" on "terror" and "drugs" have "in effect become one."
"By launching a War on Drugs in Colombia and Mexico," Scott wrote, "America has contributed to a parastate of organized terror in Colombia (the so-called AUC, United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia) and an even bloodier reign of terror in Mexico (with 50,000 killed in the last six years)."
And by "launching a War on Terror in Afghanistan in 2001, America has contributed to a doubling of opium production there, making Afghanistan now the source of 90 percent of the world's heroin and most of the world's hashish."
"Americans should be aware of the overall pattern that drug production repeatedly rises where America intervenes militarily--Southeast Asia in the 1950s and 60s, Colombia and Afghanistan since then," Scott noted. "(Opium cultivation also increased in Iraq after the 2003 US invasion.) And the opposite is also true: where America ceases to intervene militarily, notably in Southeast Asia since the 1970s, drug production declines."
"Both of America's self-generating wars are lucrative to the private interests that lobby for their continuance," Scott averred. "At the same time, both of these self-generating wars contribute to increasing insecurity and destabilization in America and in the world."
In this light, Narco News revelations make perfect sense. As the global financial crisis deepens, brought on in no small part by the massive frauds perpetrated by leading capitalist institutions, they have inflated their balance sheets with a veritable tsunami of hot cash generated by the Narco-Industrial Complex.
In turn, the American secret state, working to recapitalize financial markets beset by a seemingly insolvable liquidity crisis resulting from massive bank frauds, turn a blind eye as these same institutions become major centers of organized crime, monopoly enterprises which could not survive without the trillions of dollars of illicit funds parked in offshore accounts.
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