Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pentagon Talk...Is Mexico Next?

http://www.annunciationhouse.org/bae/image001.jpg Downtown El Paso viewed from Cuidad Juarez
Ciudad Juarez of Chihuahua with an estimated population of 1,512,354. It stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), across the border from El Paso, Texas. The two cities form a Metroplex metropolitan area of over 2,700,000 making it the largest international border community in which the first and third worlds meet in such a close proximity.

"The Pentagon is prepared to help the Mexican military employ the same tactics that US forces have applied in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Bill Van Auken reports:
Obama and US commander discuss military intervention in Mexico

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen briefed President Barack Obama over the weekend on the so-called drug war in Mexico and the prospect of increased US military involvement in the conflict south of the border.

Mullen had just returned from a six-day tour of Latin America, which took him on his last and most important stop to Mexico City. There he held meetings with Mexico's secretary of national defense and other top military officials and discussed proposals for rushing increased US aid to Mexico under the auspices of Plan Merida, a three-year, $1.4 billion package designed to provide equipment, training and other assistance to the Mexican armed forces.

In a telephone press conference conducted as he returned from Mexico, Mullen said that the Pentagon was prepared to help the Mexican military employ the same tactics that US forces have applied in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US military, he said, was "sharing a lot of lessons we have learned, how we've developed similar capabilities over the last three or four years in our counterinsurgency efforts as we have fought terrorist networks." He added, "There are an awful lot of similarities."

With US backing, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has increasingly militarized the country, deploying tens of thousands of troops in areas ranging from Matamoros and Reynosa in the east to Tijuana, Guerrero, Michoacán and Sinaloa in the west.

On the eve of Mullen's visit, the Mexican military poured some 5,000 additional troops into Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, redoubling patrols by combat-equipped units and effectively sealing the city off with roadblocks. Some 2,500 troops had already been deployed in the city last spring.

He said that in his meetings with Mexican military officials he had discussed US aid focusing on "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance," or ISR in US military parlance.

He indicated that intelligence-sharing had already been implemented, but that "there are additional assets that could be brought to bear across the full ISR spectrum."

In the first instance, this could mean the deployment of US manned surveillance aircraft as well as unmanned drones over Mexican territory. It could likewise suggest the deployment of Special Forces units or military "contractors."

Mullen refused to answer when questioned whether unmanned drones had already been deployed over Ciudad Juarez and other Mexican cities.

read the rest at wsws.org

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From Drug War Doublespeak

Through late February and early March, a blitzkrieg of declarations from U.S. government and military officials and pundits hit the media, claiming that Mexico was alternately at risk of being a failed state, on the verge of civil war, losing control of its territory, and posing a threat to U.S. national security.

In the same breath, we're told that President Calderon with the aid of the U.S. government is winning the war on drugs, significantly weakening organized crime, and restoring order and legality.

None of these claims is true. Instead they are critical elements in waging the hypocritical drug war in Mexico.

Drug-war doublespeak pervades and defines the U.S.-Mexico relationship today. The discourse aims not to win the war on drugs, but to assure funding and public support for the military model of combating illegal drug trafficking, despite the losses and overwhelming evidence that current strategies are not working.

Sorting Reality from Hype

Mexico, and particularly border cities and other key points along the drug routes, has a serious problem. In these places, violence characterizes daily life. But Mexico is not a failed state. It is a tragic example of the results of failed policies-on both sides of the border. Both governments want to obscure this simple fact.

In the past, exaggerated risk assessments, amplified by the media and accompanied by dire warnings to the public, prepare the ground for military intervention. They usually pack hyperbole or outright lies, the most recent example being the "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq.

While military intervention in Mexico is not on the horizon, the recent hype has been accompanied by requests for military build-up on the border. Texas Governor Rick Perry jetted to Washington to ask for $135 million and 1,000 soldiers. Talk of sending more National Guard troops circulated, along with mentions of a border "surge." The Texas state government announced a rapid-mobilization plan in case Mexico "collapsed," replete with tanks and aircraft.

After outgoing Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff spoke of a contingency plan for the border, the media wondered aloud whether incoming head Janet Napolitano would be tough enough. She responded by calling the situation a "top priority." Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called the Mexican drug war "a serious problem." He raised a maelstrom of protest in Mexico with the announcement that the disappearance of Mexico's anti-Pentagon biases had cleared the way for tighter cooperation. The U.S. Embassy was forced to issue a press release declaring that the United States had no intention of sending troops into Mexico.

Congress also leapt to respond to the rhetoric. Hearings have been called in both houses, including the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee under Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) who, according to news reports, will be looking for "potential implications for increased terrorist activity." The committees will likely hear testimony primarily from persons who confirm the perceived threat in lurid and imprecise terms.

the entire article is at Drug War Doublespeak

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The Drug War: An Old Mission for the Pentagon

by Jacob G. Hornberger

As the Berlin Wall came crashing down, the Pentagon was desperately in search of a mission. Given the demise of the Soviet Union, which had been the excuse for an ever-growing military-industrial complex for decades, the talk of a “peace dividend” was in the air. “What do we need all that military spending for if the communist threat is now nonexistent?” people were asking.

Wait a minute, cried the Pentagon. We can still find something to do. Just don’t cut our budget. Among the things they proposed was to help wage the “war on drugs.” Of course, that was long before U.S. foreign policy produced the terrorist blowback that resulted in the “war on terrorism” and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Given the decreasing enthusiasm for the perpetual war on terrorism and the 6-year and 7-year occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan among the American people, the Pentagon is now returning to the old mission that it spoke about soon after the demise of the Berlin Wall. That would be the drug war.

As most everyone knows, the drug war has produced untold violence on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands of people, including both government officials and private individuals, are being killed in an all-out war between the drug cartels and Mexican law-enforcement officials. The violence has gotten so bad that it is threatening to spill over into the United States.

Not surprisingly, the crisis is causing U.S. officials, especially those in the Pentagon, to call for U.S. intervention to fix the problem. “The drug cartels are a threat to national security,” U.S. officials are exclaiming. Just recently, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, flew to Mexico to discuss rushing military assistance to Mexico. “We have a sense of urgency about this, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a Republican, has jumped on the crisis bandwagon by calling on President Obama to send U.S. troops to the border, perhaps in the hope that they’ll wage the war on drugs in the way they’ve waged the war on terrorism — by busting people’s doors down without warrants, confiscating guns, incarcerating people without due process and trial, and maybe even torturing them into talking about pending drug deals.

Here is how the system works. U.S. government policy produces the conditions for a crisis, which then is used as the excuse for military intervention, which means ever-growing budgets for government officials.

For years, the U.S. government has been exhorting the Mexican government to ramp up the drug war, despite warnings from libertarians and others that doing so would only increase the level of violence.

Now that the Mexican government has complied with U.S. wishes, producing the predictable results, the U.S. government, especially the Pentagon, is now responding in the predictable way — by calling for military intervention, which means ever-increasing budgets for you-know-who.

What’s the 35-year-old drug war really all about? It’s about money and power. Let’s face it: These people are not stupid enough to believe that doing the same thing they’ve done for 35 years is going to produce a different result. The fact is that there are lots of people making big money from the drug war. And no, it’s not just the drug dealers and corrupt Mexican government officials. It’s also corrupt federal, state, and local officials on the U.S. side of the border.

First and foremost are the bribes, especially to law-enforcement people along the border who are paid big money to look the other way. But there is also the “legitimate” money that people make from the drug war — the nice salaries paid to judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, marshals, clerks, and staffs. And, of course, let’s not forget the budgets for the military and the military-industrial complex.

Oh, I forget to mention the other big money that is being made from the drug war — the asset-forfeiture crowd. Those are the public officials whose budgets have soared from the money they have confiscated and stolen from countless people, in the name of the war on drugs. Just ask African-Americans who have had the misfortune of traveling through Tenaha, Texas. They’ve had thousands of dollars taken from them by the cops, without any charges ever being filed against them. What better example of highway robbery than that?

Don’t count on public officials to willingly bring an end to the war on drugs. Like those drug cartels they’re fighting, they’re benefitting too much from it, in terms of bribes, salaries, budgets, and power. The drug-war idiocy will come to an end only when the American people finally declare that enough is enough and demand that the drug war be ended, immediately.

Source: The Future of Freedom Foundation

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Let's not forget that the central banks have a vested interest in the drug trade.

UN Crime Office Says Illegal Drug Money Floated Bank Stocks

The United Nations' crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis.

Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in an interview released by Austrian weekly Profil that drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiralled out of control last year.

"In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital," Costa was quoted as saying by Profil. "In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor." source

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And of course our own CIA is involved in drug trafficking and has been for a very long time.
They can't let the competition get out of hand.

The CIA's Drug-Trafficking Activities

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While allowing some to continue and control the drug trade, the prison system benefits from the low-level busts and imprisonment of 'patsies.' A racket of immense proportions.

From Ziofascism: The Prison Lobby

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There's possibly one way to stop all of this madness.
Legalize drugs without taxing them.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition shows some sanity.

COPS SAY LEGALIZE DRUGS!
ASK US WHY

After nearly four decades of fueling the U.S. policy of a war on drugs with over a trillion tax dollars and 37 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses, our confined population has quadrupled making building prisons the fastest growing industry in the United States. More than 2.2 million of our citizens are currently incarcerated and every year we arrest an additional 1.9 million more guaranteeing those prisons will be bursting at their seams. Every year we choose to continue this war will cost U.S. taxpayers another 69 billion dollars. Despite all the lives we have destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and far easier to get than they were 35 years ago at the beginning of the war on drugs. Meanwhile, people continue dying in our streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer than ever before. We would suggest that this scenario must be the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!

The stated goals of current U.S.drug policy -- reducing crime, drug addiction, and juvenile drug use -- have not been achieved, even after nearly four decades of a policy of "war on drugs". This policy, fueled by over a trillion of our tax dollars has had little or no effect on the levels of drug addiction among our fellow citizens, but has instead resulted in a tremendous increase in crime and in the numbers of Americans in our prisons and jails. With 4.6% of the world's population, America today has 22.5% of the worlds prisoners. But, after all that time, after all the destroyed lives and after all the wasted resources, prohibited drugs today are cheaper, stronger, and easier to get than they were thirty-five years ago at the beginning of the so-called "war on drugs". With this in mind, we current and former members of law enforcement have created a drug-policy reform movement -- LEAP. We believe that to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction. as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition. LEAP believes that a system of regulation and control of production and distribution will be far more effective and ethical than one of prohibition. We do this in hopes that we in Law Enforcement can regain the public's respect and trust, which have been greatly diminished by our involvement in imposing drug prohibition. Please consider joining us. source

http://holayadios.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/a-las-muertas-de-juarez.jpg

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