Posts Tagged ‘DEA’

The rise of SOCOM – to train proxy forces in all the places where US projects its power – is alarming.

The recent news of a possible shift in the operation of drones from the CIA to the Department of Defense was by and large received with a shrug. Given that the programme would likely be operated by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and under conditions of strictest secrecy, and probably launched from inaccessible “floating bases” on especially configured naval vessels, the shift is not an indicator of a change in the US’ assassination policy. And to the putative victims of the drone strikes, it is largely an irrelevant organisational change.

The reason, however, that the shift is of relevance more broadly is that it signals the irresistible rise of the special operations community in the post-counterinsurgency era.  More than a year ago, in January 2012, President Obama inaugurated the US Defense Strategic Guidance. The document was strategically significant because it announced the “pivot to Asia” alongside continued commitments to the oil sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf.

Militarily, it clearly signalled the end of large-scale invasion and occupation of troublesome or intransigent countries in favour of the kind of operations in which the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and its counterterrorism component, the JSOC, excel. This ascendancy is confirmed by the planned expansion of the SOCOM by around 7.5 percent by 2015, from 66,100 civilian and military personnel in 2011 to 71,100 by 2015.

This expansion of the force, at a time when most US government departments – including the Pentagon itself – are contemplating possible sequestrations, speaks to the increasing importance of a force which can act in the shadows, leaving a “light footprint”.

A recent report by the Center for a New American Security describes the light footprints as a “minimalist” and “non-intrusive” approach to asymmetric warfare combining “air power, special operators, intelligence agents, indigenous armed groups and contractors, often leveraging relationships with allies and enabling partner militaries to take more active roles”. US Special Operations Command is perfectly suited for such tasks and is increasingly consolidating its hold over the broad spectrum of military tactics it entails.

‘Minimalist and non-intrusive’ approach

Established in 1980 and 1987 respectively, JSOC and SOCOM both have their origins in the US military’s failed hostage rescue mission in Iran in 1980.

The most prominent operations in which the SOCOM has participated or had leading roles have included the invasion of Grenada (1983), rescue operations during the Achille Lauro hijacking (1985), the invasion of Panama and the kidnapping of Manuel Noriega (1989), the Mideast during the Gulf War (1991), the operation to arrest Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Somalia (1993), re-installation of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti (1994), classified missions in Bosnia and Kosovo (1996-2002), and of course Afghanistan (2001-present) and Iraq (2003-present).

The USSOCOM draws from the special operators of the various branches of the US military, including the US Navy SEALs, the Army’s Green Berets and the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Regiment, and the Air Force’s special operators.

The JSOC, the wholly classified sub-unit of the SOCOM, includes even smaller and more elite groups of the Delta Force and the US Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group (or DEVGRU) which was responsible for the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. But while such operations capture the attention of mainstream media and Hollywood producers, other functions of the SOCOM are less commented upon but just as important.

In both the aforementioned CNAS report and the 2011 Congressional testimony of Admiral William McRaven, the SOCOM chief, such visible direct operations are said best complemented by indirect approaches.

The direct special operations approach usually includes the drone-led assassination programme, and secret special operations forays into a variety of official, unofficial and unannounced battlegrounds in countries around the world. At last count, these countries numbered 71, up from around 60 during the Bush administration.

Although these operations get the press, and certainly seem to have a kind of pop culture glamour – with Hollywood clamouring to make films about special operators – the CNAS report helpfully tells us that:

“Drones and commando raids are the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Surgical strikes [sic] are only the most visible (and extreme) part of a deeper, longer-term strategy that takes many years to develop, cannot be grown after a crisis and relies heavily on human intelligence networks, the training of indigenous forces and close collaboration with civilian diplomats and development workers.”

The latter few items of the series above count as the kind of indirect operations that both McRaven and CNAS consider crucially important. The indirect tasks primarily include training and advising foreign security forces in a broad range of countries and operating alongside them. Altogether, by March 2012, according to Admiral McRaven, the US Special Operations Forces were present in some 100 countries.

In all accounts extolling the use of the “foreign internal defence” programmes, the special operators and their supporters like to use the training of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and participation in Plan Colombia as their exemplary cases.

In the Philippines, the special operators continue a long tradition of intervention in the country which began with the effective colonisation of the Philippines Islands between 1898 and 1946 and continued with counterinsurgency activities in the 1950s. Through this long period, the US forces have fought the Moros of southern Philippines in a variety of guises, both directly and indirectly.

The most recent incarnation of the fight has entailed the SOCOM training of the Philippines Special Operations Forces, and fighting alongside them against the Abu Sayyaf Islamists in southern Philippines.

The training began with the initial insertion of 1,200 Special Operations Forces into the country for advising, training and eventually engaging in military operations. Although the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines is still active in the Philippines, they now maintain a much lower profile.

Indirect approach and training programmes

Plan Colombia brought together the US State Department, USAID and more importantly, the US special operators, the DEA, the CIA and military contractors to train the Colombian military and the police to both fight the FARC guerrillas and assist the US in the interdiction of cocaine in Colombia (although the extent to which the intelligence agencies have been involved in interdicting drugs has been laid open to question when a plane previously used for rendition – presumably by the CIA – crashed in Mexico carrying Colombia cocaine).

The connections built in Colombia are particularly close and the US special operations activities there are so crucial that CNAS fellow and influential pundit Robert Kaplan has claimed that:

“The future of military conflict [is] better gauged in Colombia than in Iraq… In Colombia I was introduced to the tactics that the US would employ to manage an unruly world.”

Other regions of the world will follow the model established in Colombia and the Philippines in the first decade of the 21st century.

The US Special Operations Forces are now operating in Uganda, Libya, Mali, Yemen, and out of the US bases in and near hotspots throughout the world. Where they engage in training or special operations, their fields of activity become useful laboratories for development of special operations tactics and honing of special skills.

But the indirect approach and training programmes also establish long-term connections between military officers of various countries and their counterparts in the USSOCOM.  The CNAS report on “light footprints” hopefully offers, “as American advisers maintain relationships with their foreign counterparts over the years, lieutenants become captains, then colonels, then generals, and they begin to influence the partner nation’s military from within”.

Another cheerleader for the use of indirect approach by special operators, journalist Linda Robinson, tell us that:

“Colombian special operators act as valuable force multipliers since they speak the language and understand the culture of these places in ways that US forces might not. These Colombians are part of an expanding network of US-trained Special Operators that also includes forces from Middle Eastern and Eastern European countries and whose members are now participating in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere alongside traditional US partners from Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.”

In the same article, she recognises that the local forces trained and supported by the US can be corrupt, “incompetent or abusive”, but she argues that the use of these proxy forces is the “only realistic course for US security policy” short of expensive and unpopular large-scale military intervention.

The rise of US Special Operations Forces engaging in kinetic operations and direct action or in using their extensive military, psychological operations and war-fighting skills to train proxy forces in all the places where the US projects its power is alarming.

The ascendance of an elite clique of ultra-warriors protected by the cloak of secrecy and pushing off responsibility for acts of violence to their proxies and allies, means that the tip of the imperial spear can tear through the social fabric of many a country without associated costs in blood and treasure and hidden from the view of the press and the public.

And because such special operations do not require the sacrifices of an expansive force, the special operators can largely act without public outrage or demand for accountability.  The old/new military philosophy of a light footprint is useful precisely because it allows for the war in the shadows to continue unabated and with impunity.
 

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A crime scene in Monterrey, Mexico, last week. Drug-related violence has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people since late 2006, Mexican officials say.

Published: December 3, 2011

WASHINGTON — Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.

The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.

They said agents had deposited the drug proceeds in accounts designated by traffickers, or in shell accounts set up by agents.

The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests.

Agency officials declined to publicly discuss details of their work, citing concerns about compromising their investigations. But Michael S. Vigil, a former senior agency official who is currently working for a private contracting company called Mission Essential Personnel, said, “We tried to make sure there was always close supervision of these operations so that we were accomplishing our objectives, and agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money.”

Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”

Those are precisely the kinds of concerns members of Congress have raised about a gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious, in which agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed people suspected of being low-level smugglers to buy and transport guns across the border in the hope that they would lead to higher-level operatives working for Mexican cartels. After the agency lost track of hundreds of weapons, some later turned up in Mexico; two were found on the United States side of the border where an American Border Patrol agent had been shot to death.

Former D.E.A. officials rejected comparisons between letting guns and money walk away. Money, they said, poses far less of a threat to public safety. And unlike guns, it can lead more directly to the top ranks of criminal organizations.

“These are not the people whose faces are known on the street,” said Robert Mazur, a former D.E.A. agent and the author of a book about his years as an undercover agent inside the Medellín cartel in Colombia. “They are super-insulated. And the only way to get to them is to follow their money.”

Another former drug agency official offered this explanation for the laundering operations: “Building up the evidence to connect the cash to drugs, and connect the first cash pickup to a cartel’s command and control, is a very time consuming process. These people aren’t running a drugstore in downtown L.A. that we can go and lock the doors and place a seizure sticker on the window. These are sophisticated, international operations that practice very tight security. And as far as the Mexican cartels go, they operate in a corrupt country, from cities that the cops can’t even go into.”

The laundering operations that the United States conducts elsewhere — about 50 so-called Attorney General Exempt Operations are under way around the world — had been forbidden in Mexico after American customs agents conducted a cross-border sting without notifying Mexican authorities in 1998, which was how most American undercover work was conducted there up to that point.

But that changed in recent years after President Felipe Calderóndeclared war against the country’s drug cartels and enlisted the United States to play a leading role in fighting them because of concerns that his security forces had little experience and long histories of corruption.

Today, in operations supervised by the Justice Department and orchestrated to get around sovereignty restrictions, the United States is running numerous undercover laundering investigations against Mexico’s most powerful cartels. One D.E.A. official said it was not unusual for American agents to pick up two or three loads of Mexican drug money each week. A second official said that as Mexican cartels extended their operations from Latin America to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the reach of the operations had grown as well. When asked how much money had been laundered as a part of the operations, the official would only say, “A lot.”

“If you’re going to get into the business of laundering money,” the official added, “then you have to be able to launder money.”

Former counternarcotics officials, who also would speak only on the condition of anonymity about clandestine operations, offered a clearer glimpse of their scale and how they worked. In some cases, the officials said, Mexican agents, posing as smugglers and accompanied by American authorities, pick up traffickers’ cash in Mexico. American agents transport the cash on government flights to the United States, where it is deposited into traffickers’ accounts, and then wired to companies that provide goods and services to the cartel.

In other cases, D.E.A. agents, posing as launderers, pick up drug proceeds in the United States, deposit them in banks in this country and then wire them to the traffickers in Mexico.

The former officials said that the drug agency tried to seize as much money as it laundered — partly in the fees the operatives charged traffickers for their services and another part in carefully choreographed arrests at pickup points identified by their undercover operatives.

And the former officials said that federal law enforcement agencies had to seek Justice Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation. But they said that the cap was treated more as a guideline than a rule, and that it had been waived on many occasions to attract the interest of high-value targets.

“They tell you they’re bringing you $250,000, and they bring you a million,” one former agent said of the traffickers. “What’s the agent supposed to do then, tell them no, he can’t do it? They’ll kill him.”

It is not clear whether such operations are worth the risks. So far there are few signs that following the money has disrupted the cartels’ operations, and little evidence that Mexican drug traffickers are feeling any serious financial pain. Last year, the D.E.A. seized about $1 billion in cash and drug assets, while Mexico seized an estimated $26 million in money laundering investigations, a tiny fraction of the estimated $18 billion to $39 billion in drug money that flows between the countries each year.

Mexico has tightened restrictions on large cash purchases and on bank deposits in dollars in the past five years. But a proposed overhaul of the Mexican attorney general’s office has stalled, its architects said, as have proposed laws that would crack down on money laundered through big corporations and retail chains.

“Mexico still thinks the best way to seize dirty money is to arrest a trafficker, then turn him upside down to see how much change falls out of his pockets,” said Sergio Ferragut, a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico and the author of a book on money laundering, which he said was “still a sensitive subject for Mexican authorities.”

Mr. Calderón boasts that his government’s efforts — deploying the military across the country — have fractured many of the country’s powerful cartels and led to the arrests of about two dozen high-level and midlevel traffickers.

But there has been no significant dip in the volume of drugs moving across the country. Reports of human rights violations by police officers and soldiers have soared. And drug-related violence has left more than 40,000 people dead since Mr. Calderón took office in December 2006.

The death toll is greater than in any period since Mexico’s revolution a century ago, and the policy of close cooperation with Washington may not survive.

“We need to concentrate all our efforts on combating violence and crime that affects people, instead of concentrating on the drug issue,” said a former foreign minister, Jorge G. Castañeda, at a conference hosted last month by the Cato Institute in Washington. “It makes absolutely no sense for us to put up 50,000 body bags to stop drugs from entering the United States.”

November 24, 2012

  • Allegations that the White House and CIA ordered the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to cease investigating Afghanistan president Ahmed Karzai’s brother for drug trafficking that funded terrorism. The email reads in part: “For political reasons, DEA has been told to backoff [sic] by the White House and CIA. DEA is seeing a direct nexus between terrorism and narcotics in Afghanistan with narcotics sales being used to fund jihadist operations.”
  • References to the Obama war on whistleblowers. One email, dated September 2010, reads in full: “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources. Note — There is specific tasker from the WH to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode…”
  • A breakdown of the FBI’s major “Going Dark” concerns, as laid out by the Albany field office. The FBI has been publicly hinting at what it says are major impediments to its “legal electronic surveillance” operations. (For an interrogation of the supposed “legality” of the FBI’s surveillance, read this.) In a document prepared for law enforcement, the Albany field office of the FBI listed the Tor network, encryption and anonymous remailers as technologies that impede total information awareness. Take a look at the document here.
  • Possible Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) attacks on Mexican drug cartel leaders. A May 2011 email reads: “Have been told by a very good contact that JSOC is looking at unilateral actions in MX targeting cartel HVT’s.”
  • An assessment that DHS fusion centers amount to “freaking amature [sic] hour.”
  • Problems with the TSA and its reliance on contractors. One email claims a “senior agent at DHS” said: “Another issue is that DHS in general has too many contractors whose first interest is furthering their company’s interests, and many of these folks couldn’t find their bottoms with both hands and a mirror. Unfortunately, the few direct hire staff end up overwhelmed by their contractor majority staffs….Contractor footnote: have observed that the contractors are extremely adept at showing up at meetings in large numbers, eating the donuts and drinking the beverages without contributing anything more than body count.”
  • DHS’ assessment of the Occupy Wall Street movements. One Stratfor email contains a link to a DHS bulletin for law enforcement and the intelligence community on OWS. The last sentence of that bulletin reads: “Due to the location of the protests in major metropolitan areas, heightened and continuous situational awareness for security personnel across all CI sectors is encouraged.”

On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

Re: [alpha] read this one – INSIGHT – EGYPT/ISRAEL -Eilatattackswas joint PRC-Sinai Salafist operation?

Released on 2012-11-17 02:00 GMT

Email-ID 110906
Date 2011-08-22 02:15:53
From bayless.parsley@stratfor.com
To alpha@stratfor.com
List-Name alpha@stratfor.com
also jibes with the fact that Hamas has agreed to a ceasefire starting tonight (so long as isr agrees to stop its attacks), whereas PRC refused (as did PIJ) On 2011 Ago 21, at 18:29, “Kamran Bokhari” <bokhari@stratfor.com

> wrote:

This jives with what we have heard from Hamas and the Egyptian foreign ministry.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

———————————————————————-

From: “George Friedman” <friedman@att.blackberry.net

> Sender: alpha-bounces@stratfor.com

Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 18:25:19 -0500 (CDT) To: Alpha List<alpha@stratfor.com

> ReplyTo: Alpha List <alpha@stratfor.com

> Subject: Re: [alpha] read this one – INSIGHT – EGYPT/ISRAEL -Eilat attackswas joint PRC-Sinai Salafist operation? So this means that hamas intelligebce failed to monitor prc, a group that was threatening the cease fire that hamas wanted to preserve. Hamas that has baffled mossad over and over simply couldn’t keep track of prc.

Ok.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

———————————————————————-

From: Fred Burton <burton@stratfor.com

> Sender: alpha-bounces@stratfor.com

Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 18:22:54 -0500 (CDT) To: <alpha@stratfor.com

> ReplyTo: Alpha List <alpha@stratfor.com

> Subject: Re: [alpha] read this one – INSIGHT – EGYPT/ISRAEL -Eilat attacks was joint PRC-Sinai Salafist operation? Great intel Reva. Pls pass along our thanks to ME1 for a job well done.

On 8/21/2011 6:15 PM, Reva Bhalla wrote:

———————————————————————-

From: “Reva Bhalla” <bhalla@stratfor.com

> To: “Alpha List” <alpha@stratfor.com

> Sent: Sunday, August 21, 2011 6:14:38 PM Subject: [alpha] NSIGHT – EGYPT/ISRAEL -Eilat attacks was joint PRC-Sinai Salafist operation?

SOURCE: sub-source via ME1 ATTRIBUTION: STRATFOR source SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon via ME1 PUBLICATION: Yes SOURCE RELIABILITY: C ITEM CREDIBILITY: B SPECIAL HANDLING: Alpha SOURCE HANDLER: Reva

** below is a back and forth I had with ME1 and his Egyptian diplomat source. note the shift in his assessment

The source exonerates Hamas from any involvement in the attack that targeted Eilat and he puts the entire blame on the PRC and their military wing an-Nasser Salah el Din. He says Hamas is doing all it could to be on Egypt’s good side and they would simply not commit themselves to such a rash and counterproductive raid. The second source (Hamas representative in Lebanon) says Hamas would respond in Lebanon, and not in Sinai or Eilat, against Ali Abbas’s intention to go to NY to seek recognition for the Palestinian state. Inviting another Israeli offensive against Gaza is Hamas’s worst nightmare since they have not been allowed to recover from the disastrous consequences of the Cast Lead Operation. He says the anti-Fateh Islamic forces are mobilizing their forces in Ain al-Hilwa Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon. He also claims the PRC an-Nasser Salah el Din’s militants came to the attack site near Eilat from Rafah after crossing a tunnel.

MY QUESTION – ————— What happened to the claim that the Eilat attack was committed by Salafist-jihadist types that have been active in the Sinai recently? The Egyptian diplomat seems to have shifted his opinion on this. Why?

ME1 response – The Egyptian diplomat revised his version on the basis of new information he received from the military attache. What I gathered from him was that the attacks near Eilat were a joint operation. PRC militants have better fighting experience and know how to set up ambushes to IDF troops. Sinai salafists provided transportation and and access to the Nejev desert to launch the attacks, but the actual attackers came from the Gaza Strip. I would not discount the possibility that the diplomat had received instructions from his government to modify his version. It makes more sense for the Egyptians to disseminate information about the attack being carried out by a group coming from an area outside their jurisdiction (Gaza). The Egyptians would not look good if they were to admit that their control over Sinai is loosening. I think the diplomat was convincing when he said it was a joint operation because Sinai’s salafis do not have the experience to launch carefully planned and well-timed attacks. I think it would make sense to argue that the PRC would have not been able to carry out the attacks without assistance from Sinai’s salafis. There were subsequent clashes inside Sinai between the salafis and government forces, including a suicide attack.

previous insight

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From: “Benjamin Preisler” <ben.preisler@stratfor.com

> To: “Alpha List” <alpha@stratfor.com

> Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:56:58 AM Subject: [alpha] INSIGHT – EGYPT/ISRAEL – Egyptian take on Israel attacks – ME1*

SOURCE: sub-source via ME1 ATTRIBUTION: STRATFOR source SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Egyptian diplomat in Lebanon PUBLICATION: Yes SOURCE RELIABILITY: C ITEM CREDIBILITY: B-C SPECIAL HANDLING: Alpha SOURCE HANDLER: Reva

Re: the attack on an Israeli bus and other vehicles near Eilat that caused many casualties. He says the information available to the Egyptian authorities indicate that it was carried out by the newly founded al-Qaeda in Sinai. This group, which wants to create an Islamic emirate in Sinai, works closely with Gaza’s slafi-Jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam and Sinai bedouins. The attack comes as a response to the Egyptian army’s military campaign against armed groups there, who are blamed for attacking the gas pipeline to Israel. Eliminating terrorists from Sinai is impossible, but the Egyptian security forces have no option but to pursue them. He says the Egyptian government will send additional troops to Sinai and will expand its “al-Nisr” military operation

11 January, 2012

Marijuana plants are burned during an anti-drug operation in Guatemala (AFP Photo / Getty Images)

Marijuana plants are burned during an anti-drug operation in Guatemala (AFP Photo / Getty Images)

The Mexican Drug War has so far yielded around 50,000 deaths and has become one of the biggest problems poised on North America during the last century.

It might be a tremendous tally of lost lives, but just as impressive though is the amount of money that the US has invested in the war. Since attempting to cooperate in the battle against dangerous cartels in the south, the United States has moved millions of dollars of narcotics and profits around the world in a money laundering scheme meant to infiltrate the seedy underbelly of Mexico’s drug trade.

What America did, instead, was consequentially fund a deadly campaign that has left a bodycount built with the massacre of thousands of journalists, officers, agents and civilians.

Recent reports obtained by the New York Times reveals that American drug enforcement agents posed as money launderers in an elaborate scheme that was meant to install men within the ranks of the cartels and take them down from the inside. The documents suggest that American agents worked hand-in-hand with Mexican law enforcement officials and a Colombian informant working undercover in 2007 to try to get to the inside. Doing so, they participated in massive felonies, moving millions worth of contraband and cash all over the world.

According to the documents made possible through an extradition order by the Mexican Foreign Ministry, US efforts in conjunction with Mexican and Columbia contacts included a plethora of wire transfers of tens of thousands of dollars at a time and the illegal smuggling of millions of dollars in cold, hard cash. The Times reports that there was also at least one in-depth international incident that led to American agents accompanying a massive coke shipment from Ecuador, into Dallas, Texas and then Madrid,

Five years down the road, however, the Mexican drug war has been incredibly disastrous and all too deadly. While the number of drug war-related deaths in 2007 peaked short of 3,000, that statistic only worsened for the next several years, with 2011 showing the only significant decrease in casualties since then.

Even still, an estimated 12,000 people were killed during the war in 2011 alone.
By 2006, the Mexican drug cartels had already infiltrated American soil, operating out of an estimated 100 US cities. In 2007, the DEA-led initiative attempted to curb that distribution, but two years later the US Department of Justice upgraded the scope of the drug cartels’ presence in the US to 200 diverse markets. Between 2006 and 2007, assaults against Border Patrol agents on the US/Mexican boundary rose by 46 percent, with attacks on US authorities leaving at least two dead on US soil in the two years that followed.

While the DEA was conducting their attempted sting, agents were forced to improvise their moves in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. While one official close to the matter talking on condition of anonymity tells the Times that such stings involve an “enormously complicated undertaking when it involves money laundering, wires, everything,” others add that the massive campaigns that seem to have failed massively required a strategy that left agents scrambling by the seat of their pants.
“The same rules required domestically do not apply when agencies are operating overseas,” Morris Panner of the Center for International Criminal Justice at Harvard tells the Times, “so the agencies can be forced to make up the rules as they go along.”

Panner acknowledges the dangers created by working in such grey territory, adding that “If it’s not careful, the United States could end up helping the bad guys more than hurting them.”

Only less than five years after the operation has ended, America is just seeing by way of the document leak that their attempted investigation might have really been detrimental to their efforts.

New and troubling motive for Team Obama’s illegal gunrunning scheme

August 11, 2011

Why did the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) let criminals buy firearms, smuggle them across the Mexican border and deliver them into the hands of vicious drug cartels? The ATF claims it launched its now-disgraced Operation Fast and Furious in 2009 to catch the “big fish.” Fast and Furious was designed to stem the “Iron River” flowing from American gun stores into the cartels’ arsenals. The bureau says it allowed gun smuggling so it could track the firearms and arrest the cartel members downstream. Not true.

During the course of Operation Fast and Furious, about 2,000 weapons moved from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug cartels – exactly as intended.

In congressional testimony, William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division, testified that the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were “full partners” in Operation Fast and Furious. Mr. Newell’s list left out the most important player: the CIA. According to a CIA insider, the agency had a strong hand in creating, orchestrating and exploiting Operation Fast and Furious.

The CIA’s motive is clear enough: The U.S. government is afraid the Los Zetas drug cartel will mount a successful coup d’etat against the government of Felipe Calderon.

Founded by ex-Mexican special forces, the Zetas already control huge swaths of Mexican territory. They have the organization, arms and money needed to take over the entire country.

Former CIA pilot Robert Plumlee and former CIA operative and DEA Director Phil Jordan recently said the brutally efficient Mexican drug cartel has stockpiled thousands of weapons to disrupt and influence Mexico’s national elections in 2012. There’s a very real chance the Zetas cartel could subvert the political process completely, as it has throughout the regions it controls.

In an effort to prevent a Los Zetas takeover, Uncle Sam has gotten into bed with the rival Sinaloa cartel, which has close ties to the Mexican military. Recent court filings by former Sinaloa cartel member Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, currently in U.S. custody, reveal that the United States allowed the Sinaloas to fly a 747 cargo plane packed with cocaine into American airspace – unmolested.

The CIA made sure the trade wasn’t one-way. It persuaded the ATF to create Operation Fast and Furious – a “no strings attached” variation of the agency’s previous firearms sting. By design, the ATF operation armed the Mexican government’s preferred cartel on the street level near the American border, where the Zetas are most active.

Operation Fast and Furious may not have been the only way the CIA helped put lethal weapons into the hands of the Sinaloa cartel and its allies, but it certainly was an effective strategy. If drug thugs hadn’t murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with an ATF- provided weapon, who knows how many thousands more guns would have crossed the U.S. border?

To be sure, Operation Fast and Furious suited the ATF’s needs. It was all too willing to let guns walk to increase its power, prestige and budget in Washington. It actively recruited so-called straw purchasers and happily used American gun dealers as pawns. And it was only one agency in a mosaic of federal agencies helping the CIA actualize its covert plans.

The fact that Operation Fast and Furious was part of the CIA’s black-bag job in Mexico does not excuse the ATF for violating the very federal laws it was created to enforce; for contributing to the deaths of hundreds of innocent citizens, including a Border Patrol agent trying to live up to his oath; or for being unrepentant, uncooperative and unresponsive to the wishes of the American people for honesty, integrity and loyalty to the U.S. Constitution.

Nor should the FBI get a free pass for subverting the criminal-background-check system designed to prevent illegal firearms purchases. The Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department – all major players in the CIA’s grand schemes – should not escape scrutiny, either. In fact, we should not shrug off the activities of any of our federal agencies that broke the law on the Sinaloa’s – and thus the Mexican government’s – behalf.

The Obama administration clearly thinks the entire federal government should help keep the profoundly corrupt Calderon government in power – no matter what. If that means sending lawyers, guns and money to unconscionable criminals, so be it. In this, Obama officials are wrong.

By choosing sides in a brutal war between opposing criminal syndicates rather than sealing our southern border, the Obama administration is fueling brutality and carnage and killing any hope of Mexican democracy. All that aside, either we are a nation of laws or we are not. If we live by our principles, Congress must appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the people in the Obama administration who enabled this reckless gun scheme.

July 31, 2012

Federal Judge Bonner and Former head of the DEA reveals he intercepted CIA cocaine shipments

This news reports reveals how Federal Judge Bonner intercepted CIA cocaine shipments when he was the head of the DEA

In this video reveals the CIA is working the Venezuela military to smuggle drugs into the United States.