Mexican police operating from US soil

August 27, 2011

At some point, someone in authority is going to have to admit there is a war going on in Mexico and that our national security is at stake, because we’re already fighting it:

The Obama administration has expanded its role in Mexico’s fight against organized crime by allowing the Mexican police to stage cross-border drug raids from inside the United States, according to senior administration and military officials.

Mexican commandos have discreetly traveled to the United States, assembled at designated areas and dispatched helicopter missions back across the border aimed at suspected drug traffickers. The Drug Enforcement Administration provides logistical support on the American side of the border, officials said, arranging staging areas and sharing intelligence that helps guide Mexico’s decisions about targets and tactics.

Officials said these so-called boomerang operations were intended to evade the surveillance — and corrupting influences — of the criminal organizations that closely monitor the movements of security forces inside Mexico. And they said the efforts were meant to provide settings with tight security for American and Mexican law enforcement officers to collaborate in their pursuit of criminals who operate on both sides of the border.

Although the operations remain rare, they are part of a broadening American campaign aimed at blunting the power of Mexican cartels that have built criminal networks spanning the world and have started a wave of violence in Mexico that has left more than 35,000 people dead.

Many aspects of the campaign remain secret, because of legal and political sensitivities. But in recent months, details have begun to emerge, revealing efforts that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, who was elected in 2006, has broken with his country’s historic suspicion of the United States and has enlisted Washington’s help in defeating the cartels, a central priority for his government.

American Predator and Global Hawk drones now fly deep over Mexico to capture video of drug production facilities and smuggling routes. Manned American aircraft fly over Mexican targets to eavesdrop on cellphone communications. And the D.E.A. has set up an intelligence outpost — staffed by Central Intelligence Agency operatives and retired American military personnel — on a Mexican military base.

Two things I’ll say about this. The first is that I’m glad it’s happening. For too long Mexico has hidden behind a chest-thumping nationalism (1) and refused almost any serious cooperation. That the Calderon administration is changing this policy, albeit quietly, at great political risk to itself shows they recognize the serious problem they have, that it’s also a military and no longer just a law-enforcement problem, and that they need help. While Mexico is not yet a failed state, the danger signs are there.

Second, while I’m glad we’re cooperating with the Mexicans and giving them help, it would be really nice if our own government would admit there is a serious security problem on our southern border and make a credible effort to secure it, including fencing where appropriate and Border Patrol forward operating bases (FOBs) in others.

And if the US government really wants to help Mexico, maybe it should stop helping to arm the cartels.

So, when do we resume cavalry patrols?

via Big Peace

Footnotes:
(1) Just because of that little dust-up in 1846 that cost them half their country. Jeez, what grouches.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I think I’d quit, too

October 27, 2010

The entire police force of Los Ramones, Mexico resigned last Tuesday. They told their boss “Tome este trabajo y empujarlo!”

Why, you may ask?

Oh, gosh. Maybe it has something to do with criminals blasting  1,000 rounds of ammunition at their new headquarters:

Los Ramones Mayor Santos Salinas said nobody was injured in Monday night’s attack, during which gunmen fired more than 1,000 bullets at the building’s facade, according to Noroeste newspaper’s website. Six grenades, of which three detonated, were also flung at the building, the newspaper reported.

“Fortunately, those who were inside the building threw themselves on the ground and nobody was hurt,” Salinas told the newspaper.

The AP tried to contact the police to get a comment on the story, but, um… no one was answering the phone.

But I’m sure the authorities have the situation well in hand.

Via The Mexico Institute.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexico, a failing state?

September 19, 2010

One of the marks of a dying polity, at least in my estimation, is when the criminals no longer fear the police. When that happens, the government can no longer enforce law and order and a state of anarchy prevails. Mexico may not be a failed state –yet– but there are numerous and growing signs of breakdown, such as the kidnapping and murder of the police, themselves:

Police in Mexico say eight officers who were abducted by gunmen in the southern state of Guerrero on Friday have been found shot dead.

A ninth member of the unit has been found alive with wounds to his head. The bodies of some of the dead officers are reported to have been mutilated.

The police patrol was investigating a murder when it was ambushed.

Guerrero state has been a focus of the drugs-related violence that has killed more than 28,000 Mexicans since 2006.

The nine agents from the federal investigative police had travelled to the Teloloapan district after a man was reported shot dead.

As they went in pursuit of the suspected killers they were stopped by a large group of gunmen.

Two officers were found shot dead close to where they were abducted. The other six bodies were found about 15km away after a search by police and troops.

Note that these were federal cops, Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI or Justice Department investigators. Imagine if a group of FBI agents were kidnapped and executed in the US. This isn’t just criminal activity; it’s insurrection. These cartels are not just running drugs, they’re denying the authority of the government itself and saying they rule, instead.

In one of the rare times I’ll ever agree with Hillary Clinton on anything, she was right to say Mexico more and more resembles Colombia as it was 20 years ago.

Only this time the problem is right on our border, rather than 3,500 miles away.

LINKS: The AP has an earlier article on the kidnapping and murder.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


When crooks no longer fear the cops

August 2, 2010

President Obama’s hometown of Chicago has a problem: a declining clearance rate for violent crime has lead to an increase in crimes such as robbery and murder, which is further fed by declining morale in an underfunded, undermanned police department. The situation is so bad, even the cops themselves are being gunned down in the streets:

And it gets worse. Three Chicago police officers have been murdered in the last two months, the most recent of whom was Michael Bailey, who at age 62 was only weeks away from retirement. On the morning of July 18, Bailey had finished an overnight shift guarding the home of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and was in front of his own home cleaning his new car, which he had bought as an early retirement gift to himself. He was still dressed in his police uniform when someone tried to rob him. Police officers everywhere accept the risks to life and limb attendant to the job, but it’s generally taken for granted among cops that the uniform will serve as a deterrent against being robbed on the street. What level of depravity has a city reached when a uniformed police officer is no safer from a street robbery than anyone else? More important, what is to be done about it?

Other problems come to mind besides the lack of money and competent leadership that Dunphy talks about in his article: Chicago is a city with an absolute ban on handgun ownership, though that’s now been overturned in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. Chicago. Criminals know that their victims are likely to be unarmed and that itself makes violent crime a less risky proposition for the criminal. In effect, gun control increases crime. Perhaps if the City of Chicago would stop fighting its residents rights under the Constitution, violent crime rates would drop.

The other problem that comes to mind is the notorious corruption of Chicago, itself. It’s not surprising that the cities Dunphy mentions as having worse murder rates than Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit, both also have serious problems with corruption. Corruption not only steals the public’s money and cheats them of the services for which they’ve paid, but it also saps morale among those who serve the public and aren’t corrupt themselves, inevitably making problems such a city’s crime rate worse.

To turn back to Chicago, how bad must the decline of law and order be, when criminals don’t fear even the police? Bad enough that one of its own cops says the city is on the fast track to anarchy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)