Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mexico Red Zone: A Funded Program, Shelved.

 
Jerry Seper, the Washington Times reporter lauded by Tony Blankley for his accurate reporting on the Mexican border situation, says today that an Arizona Congressional representative, Rick Renzi, wrote to Secretary of State Rice describing the events at our border with Mexico as "narco-terrorism in its purest form:"
     "Our borders are under attack by sophisticated organizations that have no qualms about firing on our Border Patrol units," Mr. Renzi said. "As we get tougher and more committed, so do the organizations committed to smuggling death and terror our borders."
The State Department responded with Foggy Bottom Speak, claiming that:

  • they are "in touch with the Mexican government when incidents occur,"
  • "they are usually resolved at that time at the local level."
Oh, of course. Nothing going on here. So what about Homeland Security’s take on the subject? Well, director Michael Chertoff claims that:

  • “Mexican military incursions average about 20 a year, but were declining.
  • concern over the issue is "overblown" and "scare tactics."
  • significant number of these incursions were "innocent,"
  • Mexican police or military may step across the border chasing criminals because they don't know where the line is." (despite their GPS units??)
  • Sometimes criminals are dressed in military-type clothing and thus may appear to be soldiers when they’re just crooks.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rep. Renzi has different information:
     The U.S. Border Patrol recently warned agents in Arizona of military incursions by Mexican soldiers "trained to escape, evade and counter-ambush" if detected. The warning follows increased sightings of what authorities describe as heavily armed Mexican military units on the U.S. side of the border.
While the Mexican government has vigorously denied that its military is crossing into the U.S., Mr. Renzi said that during a tour of the Arizona border last month in a U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) helicopter, the pilot showed him military-style humvees lining up at dusk just south of the border to move drugs into the U.S.
He said the preparations occur nightly, noting that 50 percent of the drugs coming into this country pass though the Arizona desert.
Renzi is rightly concerned. As are other states that share borders with Mexico:
    "The Border Patrol knows they're coming but they are outmanned and outgunned," he said. "We need military technology to combat these military operations."
Mr. Renzi also said states such as Arizona should be able to supplement federal border enforcement with federally financed state border guard units. He said states can react quickly to new border threats, and that the federal government is unable to graduate enough new agents.
"Border states are tired of waiting for a secure border," he said.
Now who are you going to believe? The State Department and Homeland Security or the U.S. Border Patrol and Representative Renzi’s lying eyes?

Renzi is not just pushing air through his lungs. He has a program, ready to go:

     Mr. Renzi said radar-equipped aerostat balloons now on the border have forced airplanes that previously brought drugs into the United States to "land short," about 120 miles south of the border where the drugs are transferred to vehicles to be driven across the border. He said the balloons could be mounted with sensors to detect the approach of drug smugglers and "the muscle that protects them."
He is the author of a $50 million border intelligence pilot program known as "Red Zone Defense," which was included in the Department of Homeland Security's appropriation bill. It would coordinate the sharing of intelligence on border security information in Cochise County, Ariz., an area of the border that has become the nation's most popular drug and alien smuggling corridor.
Mr. Renzi said the two-year program would use airships, aerostats and unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance that could pinpoint the exact location of drug smugglers on the border. He said that would give Border Patrol agents increased security.
The program, although funded, has not been implemented.
REPEAT: The program, although funded, has not been implemented.

8 comments:

Jesse Clark said...

Baron and Dymphna,

Thanks for your continued reporting on this situation. I have heard positively zero coverage on this anywhere else, and I'm quite frustrated about that. (Maybe I'm irritated easily, but something about this story gets me going. Perhaps it's the 'sovereign US territory' and 'act of war' parts. Or maybe I'm misunderstood and I just need a hug, some milk chocolate, and fewer Clancy novels. Grrrrr!)

Like the Jamaat ul-Fuqra issue, I'm hoping we can 'shine the light' on these incursions and get something done. I've already sent my share of e-mails to politicians and media people. Maybe a flare gun would be in order....

Bill said...

I have ranted on this topic before, pointing out our political leaders' playing patty-cake with President Fox. Anything to buy the Hispanic vote, including total sacrifice of all principle.

Not one of my posts ever had a commment. Too many people still don't care.

dune runner said...

I'm afraid the real problem on our border with Mexico is that the administrations of both countries are committed to ultimately eliminating the border all together.

What they envision is a North American Union with the U.S., Canada and Mexico as one political entity, with goods and people moving freely between all three.

There are many powerful people in this country, including our president in my belief, that see this as the way of the future and a necessary economic counter to a successful European Union.

As a resident of Arizona, I have heard this argument for years. I didn't used to believe it, but anymore I honestly can't think of any other explaination for this administration's failure to do anything at all about border security with Mexico.

Dymphna said...

The lack of info is really irritating. I don't know what Renzi can do to get things moving. I feel sorry for the border states but Virginia is feeling the influx, too. And the crime that goes with it.

Dune runner-- I don't see that happening. Canada is a wimp country but they hate us too much to ever allow our borders to meld. They'll let their own country go down the tube, but their envy is too great to permit anything like that.

As for Mexico -- they've got some real heavy resentments playing out, and some revisionist history they want to play out. "Take back our territory" is the tune.

My greatest disappointment in Bush is his silence on this issue. He's had some of the worst issues to deal with of any recent President, but he could at least *say* something about our sovereignty.

Dymphna said...

Oh-- and Bill's right. It's about buying the Hispanic vote. As the Baron said this morning at breakfast, the Repub. "majority" is so razor-thin that they can't afford to lose any of the Hispanic vote they've managed to garner. So it's Dems or Dose Mexicans.

Nice choice.

dune runner said...

I don't know about pandering to the Hispanic vote. At least in Arizona, many Hispanic citizens are no happier about the border problems than the rest of us. They are losing what used to be good paying jobs to illegals in large numbers, particularly in the construction industry. And the increase in crime by illegals probably hits their community more than it does the rest of us.

When we passed Prop 200 last year to try and restrict illegals from any state benefits (of course it was later gutted by the way the state chose to interpret it, but the people were trying to do something about the border), 47% of our Hispanic voters voted in favor of it.

I hope your right and I'm wrong about the North American Union idea. Your post at least got me thinking about it enough to do some more research on the idea for a future blog of my own :)

bordergal said...

Dune Runner-

Look up the Council on Foreign Relations site.

They are the driving force behind the "EU of the Americas".

Eleanor © said...

A Mexican counsel based in New York make an interesting comment on Hannity and Colmes regarding the border problem. To paraphrase, the loss of many millions of young, vigorous workers is bad for Mexico.

However, he said nothing of the billions of remittance dollars sent back each year. He said nothing of dual-citizenship process that allows Mexican citizens to live in the U.S., vote in Mexican elections, and even run for office while living in the United States. He said nothing of the other costs to U.S. citizens: the degredation of schools and healthcare, the security problem and so on. As was stated above: neither government is really trying to solve problem as there are powerful interests on both sides that are working toward the merger of both countries. After all, the remitance monies are the mainstay of the Mexican economy and Mexican workers seem to be the mainstay of the American economy. Well-paid, "high-living" Americans will suffer in the long and short run as the standard of living will drop along as does the pay scale...