Comment Last Three
July 18, 2010
The Obama administration and the Secretary of DHS say that our southern border is secure and there is little cross-border violence. Really? Why is Arizona tops in the nation with human trafficking, kidnapping, and car thefts? Why is Texas having so many criminal issues and American citizens being killed, raped, or threatened? I contend that our southern border is more violent than the borders in Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan.
The first successful car bombing by a drug cartel brings a new dimension of terror to a Mexican border region already shocked by random street battles, bodies dangling from bridges and highway checkpoints mounted by heavily armed criminals. Look at the types of weapons and the no-prisoner mentality of the drug cartels.
The attack, seemingly lifted from an al-Qaida playbook, demonstrated once again that the cartels are a step ahead of both an already guarded public and federal police, who have recently taken over command from the military of the battle against traffickers in Ciudad Juarez, a city across the border from El Paso, Texas. "It's a lot like Iraq," said Claudio Arjon, who owns a restaurant near the scene of the attack and was surveying the damage from behind police lines Saturday morning. "Now, things are very different. It's very different. It's very ugly."
People in Ciudad Juarez already live under siege. Like many restaurant owners, Arjon closes his business long before dark every day to avoid criminal gangs that threaten him and his clientele. Parents take separate cars to the same place so one can warn the other of dangers up ahead. Ambulance drivers and emergency room doctors come under fire from gang members trying to finish off wounded rivals.
A street gang tied to the Juarez cartel lured federal officers and paramedics to the site of the bomb by dressing a bound, wounded man in a police uniform and calling in a false report of an officer shot, said Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes. Among the three people killed was a private doctor who rushed to the scene to help treat the wounded man. Among the injured was a local TV cameraman who had been filming the paramedics treating the man. Even in a country where beheadings and drive-by shootings are routine, they could not imagine the cartels would choose that vulnerable moment to strike.
Federal police said the bombing attack was in retaliation for the arrest earlier in the day of a top leader of the La Linea gang, which works for the Juarez drug cartel. Investigators were still trying to determine what type of explosives the attackers used. Brig. Gen. Eduardo Zarate, the commander of the regional military zone, said as much as 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of explosives might have been used. He said it might have been detonated remotely, adding that burned batteries connecting to a mobile phone were found at the scene.
A senior U.S. law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Mexican investigation is ongoing, said it is possible Mexican drug cartels were receiving bomb training from foreign groups — but it is just as likely they are learning on their own. "They could be looking at the Internet, and there are publications out there," he said. The cartels have an amazing intelligence capability and they are far ahead of law enforcement. DHS has captured unknown persons on the border from terrorist countries.
Last month, cartel gunmen killed 12 federal police in the western state of Michoacan. A jailed suspect later described the carefully planned ambush to police, making it clear the gang knew exactly where the police patrol was going to be and when. Also, a US embassy person was killed due to her issuing visas to drug runners.
And in another first, suspected cartel gunmen assassinated two candidates during campaigning last month for local and state elections, including the leading contender for governor of the northern border state of Tamaulipas. Never before had drug gangs killed such a high-ranking electoral candidate. Hand grenades and many other military type weapons are being used---which requires our US military to be an enforcer on our southern border.
Is our southern border really safe Mr. President and Madam Secretary?