Patterico's Pontifications

10/3/2010

Site Where Mexican Pirates Killed American Citizen Was Target of Mexican Terrorists

Filed under: General,International — Patterico @ 10:12 pm

Earlier today I posted about the murder of an American citizen by Mexican pirates on the Falcon Lake reservoir, which spans the U.S.-Mexican border.

A reader passes along this story from the San Antonio Express-News (originally published in the Houston Chronicle) from June:

An alleged plot by a Mexican drug cartel to blow up a dam along the Texas border — and unleash billions of gallons of water into a region with millions of residents — sent American police, federal agents and local disaster officials scrambling last month to thwart such an attack, authorities confirmed Wednesday.

Whether the cartel, which is known to have stolen bulk quantities of gunpowder and dynamite, could have taken down the five-mile-long Falcon Dam may never be known.

But it may have been derailed by a stepped-up presence by the Mexican military, acting in part on intelligence from the U.S. government, sources said.

As with most cartel violence, this was not ideological in nature, but directed at rival cartels:

The warning was based on what the federal government contends were “serious and reliable sources” and prompted the Homeland Security Department to sound the alarm to first responders all along the South Texas-Mexico border.

Mexico’s Zeta cartel was planning to destroy the dam not to terrorize civilians, but to get back at its rival and former ally, the Gulf cartel, which controls smuggling routes from the reservoir to the Gulf of Mexico, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez and others familiar with the alleged plot said.

Destroying the dam, however, also would have flooded large areas of agricultural land, as well as significant parts of a region with about 4 million border residents in Texas and Mexico.

Another reminder that our issues with Mexico go a little deeper than a few people who want to come here to work and make sure our lettuce is cheap and we don’t have to mow our own lawns.

7/27/2010

France Declares War on Al Qaeda in North Africa

Filed under: International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

France has declared war on Al Qaeda in North Africa following the murder of a French hostage:

“We are at war with al-Qaida,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the death of 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau.
***
Fillon refused to say how France would act. “But we will,” he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.”

Call me crazy but I believe him.

MORE: The AP reports Germaneau was murdered in retaliation for a failed rescue attempt.

– DRJ

7/25/2010

Corruption Alleged at a Mexican Prison

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mexican prosecutors believe officials at a northern state prison provided arms and vehicles to prisoners so they could carry out drug cartel attacks:

“Guards and officials at a prison in northern Mexico allegedly let inmates out, lent them guns and allowed them to use official vehicles to carry out drug-related killings, including the massacre of 17 people last week, prosecutors said Sunday.

After carrying out the killings the inmates would return to their cells, the Attorney General’s Office said in a revelation that was shocking even for a country wearied by years of drug violence and corruption.”

The article also reports on the government’s inability to stop cartel theft of large quantities of fuel oil and the discovery of the “bullet-ridden bodies” of six men, including three recent kidnap victims. Each of these stories would be major news items in most countries. In Mexico’s violence-ridden society, they’re footnotes.

– DRJ

Wikileaks Documents Indicate Pakistan Supports the Taliban (Updated)

Filed under: International,War — DRJ @ 5:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to the New York Times:

“The documents, made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.”

This is one reason why many experts think America can never win in Afghanistan, but I doubt the New York Times would have published this without the knowledge or even the approval of the Obama Administration — so this may signal the government/military is finally willing to do something about Pakistan.

– DRJ

UPDATE: The White House condemned the release of documents by Wikileaks.

Obama Preferred Lockerbie Bomber Release to Libyan Prison

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 2:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Doesn’t it seem like just the other day President Obama criticized our friends across the pond for releasing the Lockerbie bomber, al-Megrahi, to return to Libya?

“I think all of us here were surprised, disappointed and angry about the release of the Lockerbie bomber,’ he said.

‘We should have all the facts, they should be laid out there. I have confidence Prime Minister Cameron’s government will be co-operative.

‘The decision ran contrary to how we should be treating terrorists.”

That was President Obama in a White House press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on July 21, 2010. What a difference a week makes, not to mention independent journalism:

“THE US government secretly advised Scottish ministers it would be “far preferable” to free the Lockerbie bomber than jail him in Libya.”

H/T Dmac.

– DRJ

7/11/2010

Violence Edges Closer to the Border

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 10:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An auto accident in El Paso, Texas, apparently led to an hour-long gun battle near the Zaragoza International Bridge that links El Paso to Juarez. The FBI is investigating because U.S. officers at the bridge may have shot at the SUV as it fled across the Zaragoza bridge into Juárez.

– DRJ

Beheadings on the Border (Updated)

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 12:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Tom Maguire considers Arizona Governor Jan Brewer “claim that the collapse of border security and spillover of violence from Mexico had led to beheadings in Arizona,” and finds minimal/vague support for her claim. Here’s an article from the November 24th, 2009, edition of the El Paso Times that may be related:

“In Juárez, daytime shootings on busy streets, massacres inside bars and grisly mutilations and beheadings have become a common occurrence as drug traffickers battle for control of a lucrative smuggling corridor.
***
Phil Jordan, a retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official from El Paso, said the safe city label for El Paso is misleading because cartels operate on both sides of the border.

“The narcotraffickers will not kill somebody in El Paso unless they absolutely have to,” Jordan said. “They will kidnap an individual, take them to Mexico, torture and kill them. There won’t be an investigation and the person will simply disappear.

I don’t know what’s happening in Arizona but in the border areas of Texas, it seems murders and beheadings are occurring in Mexico but that doesn’t mean the victims are all from Mexico.

[EDIT: Note that Maguire was responding to a column by WaPo's Dana Milbank questioning and criticizing Brewer's claims as "tall tales." H/T daleyrocks.]

– DRJ

UPDATE Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner has a report of an American-side-of-the-border beheading:

“A friend on the Hill read Milbank’s piece and pronounced it “utter BS,” then produced a copy of a July 8, 2010, letter to Brewer from Arizona rancher J. David Lowell describing a recent incident involving one of his ranch hands:

“In January 2010, Congressman Rob Bishop visited our ranch here in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. During that visit, I related to him an incident that occurred on June 27, 2008, in one of our pastures west of the ranch house.

“On that day, one of our ranch hands was working horseback and discovered a human head near a trail believed to be used by drug and alien smugglers.

“Although the head was missing the lower jaw, it was immediately apparent that much of the mass and flesh of the head was still present. The cowboy searched the area in hopes of finding the remainder of the body to no avail.

“The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office was notified and they took possession of the head on that same date. We suspect that the head may have been placed along side the trail as a warning to other drug and alien traffickers using the trail.”

A spokesman for Rep. Bishop told me they had confirmed the details of the incident described by Lowell.”

H/T commenter Mark.

7/9/2010

Wrapping Up the Russian Illegals Program

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 12:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP summarizes the Russian spy swap story (emphasis supplied):

The Russian agents had been under observation by U.S. authorities for a decade. The decision to move against them was precipitated by indications that some planned to leave the United States this summer, the official said.
***
Within days of the arrests on June 27, the United States offered to talk with Russia about an exchange of the 10 people in custody for four people held in Russian on charges that they had spied for the United States. CIA Director Leon Panetta and Russia’s spy chief worked out the exchange, the largest spy swap since the Cold War, a separate U.S. official said.

Panetta had already developed a sound relationship with Mikhail Fradkov, head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, that allowed them to quickly clinch the deal, which traded the 10 Russian sleeper agents for the four prisoners in Russia.”

Credit to Leon Panetta, whose group apparently came up with the idea and helped implement it.

– DRJ

7/8/2010

U.S.-Russia Spy Swap (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 12:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The U.S. and Russian governments may be preparing for a multi-person spy swap:

“The largest Russia-U.S. spy swap since the Cold War appeared to be in motion Thursday, with up to 10 guilty pleas expected in New York by defendants accused of spying for Russia in exchange for the release of convicted Russian spies. A Russian convicted of spying for the United States was reportedly plucked from a Moscow prison and flown to Vienna.”

This makes no sense. The U.S. won’t have time to fully interrogate and check the stories of the Russian spies, while the Russians have completely vetted their captives — some of whom may not even be U.S. sympathizers. It’s a win for Russia and it saves the Obama DOJ a lot of work, but that doesn’t make it a win for the U.S.

Maybe President Obama thinks the Russians will owe him one.

– DRJ

UPDATE — Fox News reports it will be a 10-for-4 swap: 10 Russians for 4 people who may or may not be Americans.

7/7/2010

Homes and Homeless in El Paso

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:51 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Even though they live in Mexico, the new Mayor of Juarez and his wife have claimed a homestead exemption on their El Paso, Texas, residence for 13 years. This is a good example of how the dividing line between Juarez and El Paso is becoming increasingly blurred, but this El Paso homeless man knows the difference:

H/T A Friend.

– DRJ

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