sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mexican Police - New Headquarters for Intelligence

On November 25, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna officially opened the Center of Intelligence of the Federal Police.

It is located on the campus of the Public Security Secretariat headquarters in the Alvaro Obregon delegation of Mexico City. The building is complete with underground facilities and reportedly energy independent from the rest of the SSP campus. It includes four departments: security, operations, national alerts and strategic installations. The center is directly connected to over 600 state and municipal offices as well as 169 Federal Police (PF) stations throughout the country. 

President Calderon boldly stated that this new intelligence center represents a step forward in the PF’s ability to battle organized crime across Mexico, but its true security and effectiveness remain questionable. The center has been operating for the last four months, allowing the staff to identify problems and make appropriate changes before the official opening. The center is designed to be interoperable with Colombian and U.S. systems to allow a free flow of information among the three countries. However, the necessary information-sharing agreements reportedly are still in the works. Nobody really believes that that what is managed within the inner sanctum will remain secure from the cartels - and particularly The Federation (the cartel that controls and manages the narcotics trafficking in well over half of Mexico).

In many states within Mexico, the cartels are the de-facto government. A senior member of a very influential cartel told me that roughly one third of the businesses in a state in Mexico operate because of loans made from "the cartel". To the extent that's true, the cartel operates within that particular state in Mexico as a guarantor for loans well in excess of any other single lender. I also am left with the distinct impression that the federal police within that particular state work as the enforcement arm of the cartel. Arrested persons are therefore predominantly comprised of people who were not serving the interests of the cartel.

The new Federal Police Intelligence Center is similar to Special Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) utilized by the United States government. The centralization of sensitive information on cartel activity in this facility will undoubtedly make it a high-priority target for cartels to penetrate, if they haven’t already. 

The Policia Federal Preventivia (Federal Prevention Police) (badge above - right) were instituted to protect against kidnapping. While well managed at the outset, they've been plagued by corruption more recently.

Hunger & Food Banks

There should be no hunger in America. 
I can't speak to other nations' means, but I can speak to ours. 

GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS HAVE FAILED and they will continue to fail to feed the needy, no matter who is president or who sits in the legislature. I am not talking about food stamps, which are regularly traded for drugs (going rate is $1 foodstamp for $.30 worth of narcotics on the street). I'm not talking about government subsidies, which have had a checkered past and limited value. I am talking about food and food banks which survive based on the charity of good people.  To cite a well used metaphor, the government couldn't pour sand out of boot if the instructions were on the heel. You'd be paying three times the value of a can of beans for the government to hand it out.

I returned a few minutes ago from the local food bank and there was a long line of people waiting for a bag of food each (fresh fruit) and a bag of food each (canned goods). Those people were not standing in line because they had a dark motive for a hand out. They were standing there because they were hungry.

Our family has a practice. When we go to Costco or a warehouse store, we buy a flat or two of canned goods or peanut butter each time. Every month or so we drop that bounty off at the food bank.

Government hand-outs at taxpayer expense provide the excuse or perception that the poor are cared for. In most states, we're tapped by the federal and state government at an obscene level to "care for the poor". What we do is create massive bureaucracies with vast overhead costs so that 90% (or so) of the money is consumed by the government jobs and a trickle goes out the other end to the poor. People feel as though the thousands of dollars they pay annually for the sake of the poor actually go to the poor. People feel as though they've done enough when they look at their check stub (what they earned, minus what they pay in tax) and for a long time I felt the same way.

Sadly, it's not enough. We need to do what we can, when we can, because there is no excuse for hunger in America.