It's pretty crazy how there's been this shit happening in Mexico for *13* fucking years and no one has reported the whole story even though it's entirely out in the open. And now it's the dumbest, sloppiest people who aren't even trying to be sneaky about it. And still nothing.
In 2007 Gov. Rick Perry appoints Fred Burton to the head of the Border Security Council. Fred Burton is a former cop and Diplomatic Security Service guy who worked at private intelligence firm Stratfor. They're like a private CIA for corporate clients.
2007 is also when Felipe Calderon begins his military offensive against the drug cartels in Mexico. This is when the violence in Mexico fucking explodes. (h/t @Stratfor for the graph).
The Border Security Council (BSC) was a lobbying group originating in Texas which used discretionary funds from DHS (including for the protection of US food supplies...?) to come up with policy recommendations for addressing the threat of drug cartels in TX.
In 2010, Los Zetas (LZ), the former Mexican air-mobile infantry soldiers-turned-enforcers for the Gulf Cartel (CDG) split from their former partners and war between the two groups began throughout NE Mexico. Some of the worst atrocities happened during this time.
In 2011, following the advice of the BSC, the Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples commissioned a report, Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment (TBS), written by former DoD big-shots Barry McAffrey and Robert Scales.
The TBS assesment included a list of policy recommendations for securing the TX border from the threat of "Narco-Terrorism".
Some notable policy recommendations from the TBS assessment:
• creation of partnerships between US and MX law enforcement (LE)
• increased intelligence sharing between fed, state & local LE
• designation of cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO)
For the sake of simplicity, we have to skip through time some but lets look at each of these starting with increased intelligence sharing. For years, CBP (part of DHS) has lobbied to get the same priviliges to operate secretly the same way that DEA and FBI are allowed to do.
In January 2020, they finally got what they've been wanting for years.
For years, CBP has worked in the shadow of their federal LE counterparts at DEA and FBI. Part of the reason for that is partly due to the fact that they've had more cases of corruption than all the other federal LE agencies combined.
One of the biggest challenges for them have been Posse Comitatus statutes, which forbid the Department of Defense (DoD) and it's agencies such as the NSA and DIA, from sharing intelligence for use with LE with a few exceptions.
One notable exception is the El Paso Regional Intelligence Center (EPIC), a fusion center established in 1974 in El Paso, TX. Fusion centers utilize assets from various LE and intelligence agencies in a collaborative mission, usually counterterror and/or counternarcotics.
The number fusion centers in the US dramatically increased after 9/11 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Critics have long warned about their potential for mission creep.
Mission creep is the gradual expansion and evolution of a mission beyond its original mandate. For instance, what may have started as a counterterror mission, over time, expands to include all basic policing functions.
Fusion centers therefor reperesent a buildup of capabilities for a variety of LE, national security and intelligence functions.
One notable multiagency partnership is DHS Joint Task Force-West (JTF-W), which began from a directive on November 20, 2014 issued by the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. This is a key event in this story.
Remember how CBP has always been the red-headed stepchild of federal law enforcement? JTF-W effectively put an end to that. Following the midterm elections on Nov 4, 2014, when the Republicans took the Senate & held onto the House of Representatives, the GOP saw an opportunity.
They controlled both chambers of congress and anticipated (correctly) a victory against Hillary Clinton in 2016. They immediately got to work laying the foundation for some of the policies they anticipated would be possible when they took the Whitehouse in 2016.
JTF-W significantly expanded CBP's capabilities (remember mission creep?) under the pretext of combatting the evolving threat to national security, according to CBP, posed by illegal immigration and drug and human trafficking organizations. *Important*:
According to CBP, JTF-W would also serve as "a key player in relations with Mexico by contributing to discussions between the two governments to improve security on both sides of the border."
This brings us back to the second notable policy recommendation mentioned earlier from the TBS assessment: cooperative partnerships between US and MX LE.
The history of US LE in Mexico is beyond the scope of this thread. Generally, relations have been strained from deception and corruption and a population in MX who correctly note how much worse the violence has gotten in their country from the War on Drugs. H/t to @Stratfor again
Although not all police are corrupt in MX, systemic corruption is a significant problem among police. Inadequate training, low salaries, lack of accountability mechanisms and bad political leadership all contribute to the problem.
It's not just state and municipal police, either. The corruption reaches the highest levels of law enforcement in the country.
Allegations and arrests of officials for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and more happen almost every week somewhere in Mexico. NE MX in particular has had a long history of official corruption in the last 20 years.
One of the biggest problems in Tamaulipas has been the state's corrupt governors, which brings us to this guy: Francisco GarcĂ­a Cabeza de Vaca (CDV), the current governor of Tamaulipas. CDV has a *long* history of links to organized crime since his time as mayor of Reynosa.
According to testimony from Antonio Peña Argüelles, AKA Angeles, a former money launderer for Los Zetas and protected witness in a US federal case, CDV has been compromised by organized crime since at least 2006 when he accepted $500,000 for his mayoral campaign.
But you'd never know it reading Breitbart's Cartel Chronicles, even though the corrupt Mexican politician is one of their favorite narratives. According to them, CDV is standing up against the evil Los Zetas, which haven't been around since 2014 or so.
Or from reading the FoxNews website. Check out this editorial from Nelson Balido, perhaps the single most important character in this story:
According to Balido, a career lobbyist and politico with ties to both DHS and Ted Cruz (more on that later), Cabeza de Vaca—mentioned 23 times in the Peña Arguelles sworn testimony—is "clean as a whistle"
One other extremely important line in Balido's opinion piece is this: "In Cabeza de Vaca, the United States finally finds someone who wants to collaborate at the state level.
Darby: "Under the Merida Initiative, it seems to be counterproductive to operate hand in hand with Mexican federal forces, as the Mexican president himself could (and seems) to have links with the cartels. Perhaps it would be much better to selectively interact with state govts."
But let's back up a little bit, remember JTF-W? Well, in June 2016 right after Cabeza de Vaca won the governor's race, CBP Rio Grande Valley Sector announced the launch of the "Se Busca Informacion" (Seeking Information) initiative targeting the 10 most wanted crooks in the area.
And remember how and when JTF-W was formed? The US presidential race truly starts after the midterms, & banking on the fact that the country was tired of a (D) President after 8 years & with Hillary Clinton the presumtive nominee, the GOP correctly saw the race as theirs to lose.
The presumptive frontrunner heading into the Republican primaries was prolific masturbator Ted Cruz. Cruz should have had everything needed to take the nomination, like the coveted Balido endorsement. Like he did with CDV, Balido wrote a glowing piece on why Cruz actually is good
Steve Bannon, former owner of Breitbart News was also an early supporter of Cruz. A lot of people forget that. Bannon and Breitbart, before Bannon joined the Trump campaign on August 21 2016, were Cruz supporters.
Someone else in Cruz's orbit we need to mention is this guy, Joseph Wade Miller, an early follower of mine on Twitter. Miller was Cruz's chief political strategist until 2018 I think. We'll get back to Miller in a little while.
This is Mexico’s Burgos Basin, a deposit rich in natural gas and other hydrocarbons. In July 2017 it was opened for the first time to development by private companies. In March of 2018, the petroleum company Repsol secured a dev. contract for $2.4b in the Monterrey-Reynosa block.
In June 2018, JTF-W announces a multiagency cooperative partnership with the state government of Tamaulipas under Gov. CDV known as the "Campaña de Seguridad y Prosperidad" (Campaign for Security and Prosperity).
But not everything has been secure and prosperous in Tamaulipas. Two of the most important border cities, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo, have been disputed between the state and various factions of the CDG and Los Zetas since 2010.
Nuevo Laredo is one of the most important cities in the state because of the enormous volume of commerce that passes through there (40% of all US-bound commercial traffic). Currently it's controlled by the remnants of the Treviños faction of LZ (AKA Nectar Lima, CDN)
Reynosa is the largest city in Tamaulipas and also one of the most important. The state government, as well as the criminal rivals of the CDN and Los Metros (i.e. CDG Matamoros), are both interested in retaking control of these valuable territories.
In Tamaulipas, political power is inextricably linked to organized crime and has been for many years. The reasons for that are beyond the scope of this thread. In short, the battle for influence through both official and extraofficial means comprises politics in Tamaulipas.
The state government is primarily focused on retaking control of Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa. At least part of the reason for that is because the state government (GobTam) gives preferential treatment to the factions of the CDG in Matamoros. Why CDG in Matamoros?
According to the GobTam, the reason the CDN and Metros (who are also rumored to have an alliance with CJNG) are the highest priority is because they are the most violent and dangerous groups in the state. But that's not exactly true.
The gentlemanly cartel is a myth popularized in the canon of narco entertainment and journalism. In reality, it does not exist. They are all killers, kidnappers, extorsionists, thieves and generally huge pieces of shit.
The complex relationship between organized crime and politics is the actual reason these groups are prioritized. The CDG in Matamoros has claimed publicly to have given $10 million to the current governor and his brother, the PAN senator Ismael CDV, for their campaigns.
The security strategy of @fgcabezadevaca is one of pacification of certain groups who pay to conduct their business without being disturbed by the government, and prosecution of the rivals of the favored groups. Armando Arteaga Chavez is the liason in charge of overseeing this.
But the support for this strategy doesn't seem to be limited to Tamaulipas. Both Breitbart and even a sitting United States Congressman, Chip Roy (R-TX), seem to be in favor of the prioritization strategy.
In fact, Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) (and 15 co-sponsors) favor the prioritization strategy so much that they've even authored a bill ( #HR1700) which, if passed, would codify this strategy as the official policy of the United States.
Remember our old friend Joseph Wade Miller, one of my first followers after I did another thread last year about this stuff (pinned on my TL)? After he parted ways with Ted Cruz, he went to work for Chip Roy as his new chief of staff. Small world, right?
Back to #HR1700, the bill which, if passed, would direct the Secretary of State to designate CDN, Los Metros, and CJNG (a group without a large presence in Tamaulipas at the moment but who are rumored to have an alliance with Los Metros) as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO).
This leads us into a discussion of the third notable policy recommendation from the 2011 paper, Texas Border Security: a Strategic Military Assessment; designate drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.
The term "narcoterrorism", introduced in 1983, was originally applied to violent drug trafficking organizations in Colombia and Peru. In Mexico, the concept of narcoterrorism has gained popularity in academic literature since at least 2008, primarily in reference to Los Zetas.
This 2009 paper, apparently written as a part of graduate coursework at the online American Military University, suggests creating an interagency task force for sharing intelligence in an effort to combat the threat posed to US LE by "the Los Zetas narco-terrorist organization"
In Mexico, hundreds of anonymous accounts which post crime scene photos and execution videos (often for 18 or more hours a day) also sometimes refer to the violence in Mexico as "narco-terrorism"
These accounts—which first began appearing in the late '00s/early '10s after the Arab Spring when the modern Drug War began in earnest and at the height of Los Zetas' power—claim to be "citizen journalists" bringing an uncensored look at the violence in MX. Which is half true.
This topic could be a dissertation project but, long story short, the game is fairly simple:
>post extremely violent content obtained mostly from police in private WhatsApp groups
>gain tens of thousands of followers
>work political messages into the content
>get paid for it
So who is paying them? It's hard to say definitively, but look at the content of the political messages they post and it's pretty obvious. One source we know for sure is paying them is Breitbart. Brandon Darby has admitted as much publicly on several occasions.
See for yourself in this video (watch from 1:05-2:12)
Transcript of the video from December 23, 2019 (excerpted from 1:05-2:35). **Note that Breitbart's Cartel Chronicles have only been around since 2014, yet according to Darby, they've been paying "citizen journalists" since ~2011-2012.
The proposal to designate cartels as terrorist organization has recently received support from President Trump, who in the aftermath of the killings of the Mormon family last year in Agua Prieta indicated his intention to designate cartels as FTO.
The proposal seems to have stalled for now. Part of the reason is that FTO designation could in theory justify claims for asylum at the border.
But incidental consequences aside, the justification for an FTO designation specifically for the aforementioned groups—2 of which have no significant presence outside of NE Mexico—is hard to justify based on recent data about violent crime in Mexico.
In fact, the NE MX states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, which #HR1700 is primarily targeting, are all below the national average for homicide and violent crime and have been for the last several years. From 2018-2019, homicide numbers were comparable or even went down.
So why exactly do they want to designate these specific groups as FTO? Why all the policy papers and fusion centers and US-MX collaborations? I'll let Brandon Darby explain. (source: 36:15)
It is, and has always been, about this.
On September 14, 2016, three months after he was elected governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco GarcĂ­a Cabeza de Vaca travelled to the Texas capital and met with the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller. The Governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott, refused to meet with him.
Just last week, it was announced that the "Se Busca Informacion" initiatiative was expanding to Coahuila.
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