Border Wars

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Border Wars

Postby dis & dat » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:35 pm

In case you believed that the Southern International border was under control:

U.S. Border Patrol agent on the Rio Grande
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Re: Border Wars

Postby dis & dat » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:36 pm

Jorge Carrasco Araizaga, reporter on military and judicial issues for the Mexican news weekly magazine Proceso ( conducted an interview of the Dr Robert J. Bunker pertaining to various elements of US national security and the Mexican cartels. The interview appeared in Proceso Magazine, 6 de noviembre de 2011 (No. 1827) in the article "El imperio busca otros enemigos... en México".

Dr Robert J. Bunker is Adjunct Professor, National Security Studies Program, California State University, San Bernardino, and Professor, Unconventional Warfare, American Military University, Manassas Park, Virginia. He is also a researcher with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College.

The article is based on the following interview questions submitted by Proceso and then responded to by the author in written form.

The entire article in Spanish is posted on the Sendero de Fecal blog site (Proceso is a subscription only website) ... s.html?m=1.

1. What does it mean the information related to the alleged plots against US interests in and from México?

It means either that the Iranian state’s capability to pull off highly successful and complex terrorist bombings has degraded to the point that it requires an Iranian-American used-car salesman operative and Mexican cartel assassins or that the alleged plot itself should be seriously re-examined. I’d go with the later. The best scenario we could come up with would be that of a self-radicalized ‘affinity’ terrorist, Manssor Arbabsiar, seeking to have the Saudi ambassador to the US killed and some embassies attacked. This neither makes him an Iranian state agent nor a member of the proxy Hezbollah terrorist group. We see Al Qaeda ‘affinity’ terrorists arising quite frequently via self and internet influenced radicalization. The fellow was definitely operating above his terrorist planning skill set. Did Arbabsiar have a renegade Al Quds backer? Was it Gholam Shakuri? This may or may not have some validity and is actually of the most concern—it would mean very hard line factions exist in Iran—a nation bent on developing its own nuclear weapons. Still, it does not mean that this was an Iranian state sanctioned operation nor that the Los Zetas cartel would ever be involved in a high profile attack in Washington DC.

2. What are the facts supporting that versions?

The facts are derived from the filing of a Federal case against Arbabsiar and Shakuri. It is based on recordings of Arbabsiar made by the shadowy ‘CS-1’, a paid DEA informant, who posed as Mexican cartel member. Much of this analysis is derived from fragmentary information reported in the media and is thus speculative in nature.

3. The Mexican Navy said the alleged report on the Islamic terrorist was a false paper. Who to believe to? Was an American leak to Borderland Beat or is an Mexican government lie?

We have no idea whom to believe. The first rule in something like this is to deny it, deny it, and then deny it again. I’m sure a forensic analysis of the document could be conducted to try to authenticate it. One of the questions to be asked is, if this is a counterfeit document, who would gain by undertaking this action.

4. On the alleged Iranian plot, many did not gave much credibility, because the main goal of the Mexican Cartel is to make money, and no attack to the US, because they are afraid of retaliations. What do you say to our readers?

The alleged Iranian state plot makes absolutely no sense and appeared to be used by some for ‘political coinage’ in Washington DC. Notice how the story has quickly died down. It sounded like a bad movie plot with elements of differing threat groups thrown together. Neither Iran, Hezbollah (a proxy), or Los Zetas want to put themselves in the direct gunsights of the American giant —strategically, it is far better for Al Qaeda to be allowed to remain the major focus of US attentions. And, yes— the threat of massive and overwhelming retaliation still does have some deterrent value.

5. You have asked for a shift in the American strategic imperative from Iraq/Afganistan to México. Are there the political conditions in Washington to do so or it is taking place, already? That means that Mexican cartels are now as dangerous as Al Qaeda for the US national security?

When I testified before a US Congressional Committee in September 2011, a number of congressmen, both implicitly and on the record, agreed with the assessment that the Mexican cartels—rather than Al Qaeda— should now be considered a greater national security threat to the United States. The view that ‘criminal insurgencies’ were taking place in Mexico, ones in which de facto political control was shifting to the cartels in the ‘areas of impunity’, was also discussed and the perception accepted by a number of the congressmen on the committee. With this said, US foreign policy is much like that of an oil supertanker— altering course is a painfully slow process. Bureaucratic inertia and vested agency interests to continue to focus on Al Qaeda as the #1 threat will mean that change will come slowly—but it will come.

6. How the American experience in Iraq/Afganistan, both military and civilian, can be transferred to México?

The American experience in Iraq and Afghanistan is not something that can be easily transferable to Mexico—nor should it be. Those conflicts encompassed violent radical Islamic groups, tribalism and competing religious Shia and Sunni religious views, the power politics of neighboring states, and the endemic use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and suicide bombers. Much of the American nation-building experience in those conflicts have no relevance to Mexico. The dominant issues for Mexico focus on basic security, corruption, and the challenge of narcoauthority (and culture) to Mexican state sovereignty.

7. US soldiers are sharing that experience with Mexico, already?

Where immediate lessons learned will come into play will be with the use of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for real time intelligence support/targeting identification for Mexican Federal forces. They will not, however, be used for the actual elimination (targeted killing) of cartel personnel. Also the US military has quite a bit of experience in the use of social networking analysis applied to insurgent forces. This would be very useful as an intelligence support function for the Mexican authorities as they analyze the various cartel networks.

8. What kind of contributions can make the US contractors In México?

US contractors can provide logistical, intelligence, analytical, and training support. This would place them in a general contracting role and they would be up against domestic Mexican and foreign corporations also competing to fulfill these services. The Mexican government would probably would keep a strict limit on how many US contractors they might use but private and public Mexican corporations and the multinationals with operations in Mexico will go with the best deals they can cut in a globalized and highly competitive business environment.

9. One concern in Mexico is the possibility of American mercenaries come dawn to the country via the private security contractors, in order to confront the cartels. Are there reasons to believe that?

As military contracts begin to dry up in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would only be natural for American private military corporations to look at the conflict in Mexico as a new area for business development. I believe private Colombian organizations also have an eye on this emerging market. This is no different than the Blackwater (later Xe) Corporation seeking to provide security services, and providing them, in post-Katrina New Orleans in 2005. I’m guessing that Mexican owned and manned private security corporations are doing a booming contract business already. Given the cost-effectiveness, cultural and language factors, and far greater political acceptability of using local security companies, immense barriers of entry would exist for foreign private security contractors. Also, I don’t think Mexico wants or needs them. This of course assumes that the majority of the Mexican security companies remain uncorrupted by cartel influences.

10. What is your opinion on the Fast and Furious Operation and the Vicente Zambada criminal case in Chicago, who says the Sinaloa cartel had a deal with the DEA?

a. Opinion on the Fast and Furious Operation:

It appeared to originate at a relatively high management level in the US BATF. It would definitely require authorization much higher than that of the regional level. Apparently, at least eleven BATF Agents and senior managers protested this operation during its earliest stages. This, unfortunately, is a prime case of one or more high level BATF manager(s) being out of touch with tactical and operational realities. Cartel confederates purchased possibly over fifty Barrett .50 caliber rifles and about 2,500 other firearms, including AK-47 semi-automatic rifles. The purported purpose for this operation was to track the path of the weapons once they entered Mexico. It is extremely difficult to understand from any law enforcement perspective what value, if any, could be realized from such an operation.

b. Opinion on Vicente Zambada criminal case in Chicago, who says the Sinaloa cartel had a deal with the DEA?

He has absolutely nothing to lose by saying this since he is looking at considerable prison time. Possibly he is trying to cut a deal for a reduced sentence. Strategically, if the DEA gave the suppression of the Sinaloa cartel a lower priority in its operations—as opposed to the other cartels— this would make some sense. It would represent a law enforcement triage approach to contending with these threats—this, however, would not mean that the DEA had a hand shake deal with the Sinaloa cartel. Any notion that the DEA is working with that cartel strikes me as a conspiracy theory. The DEA does not inherently like or will favor one cartel over another— the Enrique “Kiki” Camarena saga from the mid-1980s shows the lengths that organization will go to avenge the death of its agents and its inherent loathing for drug trafficking organizations in general.

11. Giving the evolution of the Mexican cartels, it is correct to say that the Mexican intelligence services, both civilian and military, were surpassed?

My estimate is that these intelligence services were initially blindsided by Calderon’s military deployments/initiatives in December 2006 against the cartels in areas of the country over which the state was losing control. They surely were not given much early warning of what was coming via the new administration’s policies. They have since had to recover and have done so fairly well—though they keep facing cartel counter-moves and unintended second order effects of the governmental policies. Cartel movement into parts of Central America to set up safe havens/logistical bases is a prime example of a counter-move. The morphing of the cartels from illicit narcotics based (drug gangs) to multiple illicit revenue streams via street taxation, kidnapping, bulk fuel theft, human smuggling (making them polygot criminal entities) and the development of a larger illicit narcotics market in Mexico represent unintended second order effects. The cartels exist in that ‘blurring between crime and war’ arena—this is maddening from a criminal intelligence (policing) and military intelligence (warfighting) perspective. The cartels, as criminal-soldier based entities, are difficult for intelligence services to contend with because a blended form of intelligence is required to counter them.

12. Could you point out the strategic and tactical errors of the Mexican government fighting the cartels, as well theirs achievements?

The first strategic error is continuing to characterize and respond to the cartels as simple organized criminals—they are much more than that. They are criminal insurgents and are gaining de facto political power via campaigns of violence and corruption —in some regions the local cartel bosses look a lot like medieval warlords. The second strategic error is the ongoing centralization of the effort against the cartels. Eliminating local police forces in favor of state or national level forces only would be a great mistake. While a centralized effort is required and should be coordinated from Mexico City, it has to be blended with a bottom up and local operational area networked response. Strategic achievements have been the targeting and elimination (arrest or killing) of much of the higher level cartel leadership of the various cartels and what appears to be the policy of targeting the most violent cartels—La Familia and Los Zetas—first. This strategy was undertaken in Colombia years ago with first the elimination of the more violent Medellin cartel followed by the elimination of the more subtle Cali cartel. Note— tactical errors are of little consequence. Also— I think, in retrospect historians, will be very kind to President Calderon, but it might take some decades. He saw what needed to be done and did it. The majority of Americans really respect that. He will probably always be considered a failure as a politician—but then great statesmen such as Calderon put the good of their nation above party politics.

Source: ... -note-no-7

Dr Bunkers testimony on the evolution of Mexican drug cartels before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on September 13, 2011
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Re: Border Wars

Postby dis & dat » Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:00 am

Zeta soldiers launched Mexico-style attack in Harris County

The mission was supposed to be a textbook "controlled delivery" - a routine trap by law enforcement officers using a secret operative posing as a truck driver to bust drug traffickers when their narcotics are delivered to a rendezvous point.

Instead, things spun out of control. Shortly before the marijuana delivery was to be made Monday afternoon, three sport-utility vehicles carrying Zetas cartel gunmen seemingly came out of nowhere and cut off the tanker truck as it rumbled through northwest Harris County, sources told the Chronicle.

They sprayed the cab with bullets, killing the civilian driver, who was secretly working with the government. A sheriff's deputy, who was driving nearby in another vehicle, was wounded, possibly by friendly fire.

The Chronicle has learned that investigators believe the deputy's shooting was the result of confusing radio communications between the multiple agencies that responded. Some of the arriving officers may have thought the deputy was one of the culprits when in fact he was a member of the surveillance team watching the truck.

For some at the scene, it seemed all too similar to what has been playing out in Mexico, where drug cartels operate with near impunity as they clash with each other and with the military and police.

"We are not going to tolerate these types of thugs out there using their weapons like the Wild, Wild West," said Javier Pena, the new head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Houston Division. "We are going after them."

A load of pot

"Everybody is surprised at the brazenness," Pena continued as he stressed a full court press by the DEA, the sheriff and police. "We haven't seen this type of violence, which concerns us."

Sources discussed aspects of the shoot-out on the condition that they not be identified publicly due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

A contingent of law-enforcement officers had been covertly shadowing the truck as it eased its way through the Houston area to deliver a load of marijuana fresh from the Rio Grande Valley.

Officers open fire

As the gunmen attacked, officers quickly jumped into the fray and also opened fire on the attackers. The truck kept rolling until it careened off the roadway and came to a halt.

Dozens of law-enforcement officers descended on the scene as well as fanned out in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Four suspects, all believed to be citizens of Mexico, were arrested and charged Monday with capital murder in connection with the shooting.

They are Eric De Luna, 23; Fernando Tavera, 19; Ricardo Ramirez, 35 and Rolando Resendiz, 34.

Full recovery expected

The sheriff's deputy, who has not yet been identified publicly, was hit in the knee during the melee, which involved several cars and guns.

The eight-year veteran was expected to spend Thursday night in the hospital, but make a full recovery.

Christina Garza, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Sheriff's Office, said much of the inci- dent remains under investigation, including who shot the deputy and the driver.

"Until we get that forensic analysis back we won't know for sure," she said. "There were several people firing weapons. As for who shot who, that is still under investigation."

Authorities would not discuss how the deceased driver, who in addition to being a confidential informant and holding a job as a commercial truck driver, first made contact with the traffickers.

Not the wisest choice

While some of the arrested attackers have allegedly admitted to an affiliation with the Mexico-based Zetas, authorities said they are trying to determine why such a bold and risky attack was launched over just 300 pounds of marijuana.

Sources, who concede this case is especially puzzling, said that if the Zetas had learned the truck driver was an informant and wanted him dead, there were smarter ways to get him, rather than risk an assault on a truck watched so closely by law enforcement.

"If it was a straight assassination, there were points in this controlled delivery where he would have just been a sitting duck," said a law-enforcement source speaking on the condition of anonymity.

A theory being closely looked at is that someone from the drug underworld knew what the truck looked like and knew where it was going, and decided to get crew together to stage a rip-off, but thought much more marijuana was hidden in the truck.

"Pretty brazen to kill a man over 300 pounds of grass," the law-enforcement source said.
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Re: Border Wars

Postby Wornout99 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:47 am

Border Wars is a documentary television show that follows officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and other divisions of the Department of Homeland Security as they investigate and apprehend illegal aliens, drug smugglers, and other criminals violating U.S. immigration and customs laws. It airs on the National Geographic Channel. As of July 30, 2011 there are 29 episodes of Border Wars, but the director is still filming new episodes.
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Re: Border Wars

Postby Turtleone » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:28 am

We just commented the other nite how it was interesting at first showings but after awhie it gets boring as they are doing the same things all the time. Same Ol -Same Ol. :roll: :roll:
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