Thursday, December 4, 2008

World Police Blotter

One of the popular sections found in many local newspapers in the United States, used to be the "Crime Report" or "Police Blotter" that listed the crimes and police calls during the past week.

Today, in our global world, newspaper headlines and the blogs have taken on the same persona. A laundry list of crimes seem to have crowded war and economic woes off the front pages. To illustrate that point are the following stories. John Robb, author of the book Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization, had this to say about Mexico in an interview with Danger Room, Inside the Brave New War, Part 1 » . "Groups like the Zetas are fighting a war to make Mexico ungovernable. They are taking stuff right out of the Al Qaeda in Iraq handbook. Video Executions. Beheadings. Assassination. Weakening the state. It’s the same as Iraq but in Mexico." Robbs thesis is.

That the shift from state-against-state conflicts to wars against small, ad hoc bands of like-minded insurgents will lead to a world with as many tiny armies as there are causes to fight for. Our new enemies are looking for gaps in vital systems where a small, cheap action—blowing up an oil pipeline or knocking out a power grid—will generate a huge return.

Much of the news below mirrors the scenarios that Robb predicted. The question is how the nations and people of the world unite to confront this new threat.

As we review our version of the "World Police Blotter" we begin by visiting Galrahn of Information Dissemination who writes this about the latest in confronting the pirate threat in the Horn of Africa.

His take on China being urged to join the fight.

I think that might be the smell of maturity. Just one more interesting footnote in what looks to be an evolving PLAN maritime strategy in the second part of 2008. They really are poised for a breakout into the blue next year. It will be interesting to watch, not just what they do, but how we react.
More.....PLA General: We Should Fight Pirates

And his comments on the the UN moving against piracy.

Yesterday (Dec. 2, 2008), the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed UNSCR 1846. From our perspective, the most significant aspect of this resolution is its inclusion of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts (SUA) clause. This clause, based on the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, provides an immediately available instrument for logistically effective consequence delivery applicable to 78% of the world's States (those nations who have signed the Convention).

More....What A Cooperative Maritime Strategy Looks Like

Not to be left out the Washington Post's Peter Fromuth offers this.

Somali pirates hijack another boat -- or two or three -- every day despite the best efforts of the U.S. 5th Fleet, NATO, Russia, India and others. This is not new; pirates have been frustrating the mighty for at least 2,000 years -- since snatching Julius Caesar, then ransoming him for 50 talents, and leading Alexander the Great on a wild goose chase around the Mediterranean. As the U.N. Security Council grapples with Somali piracy, its members are in venerable company. Read the rest...Fighting Pirates - Washington Post opinion

Mumbai continues to lead with stories like the following.

President Asif Ali Zardari says his government has no concrete evidence of Pakistani involvement in the attacks, and American officials have not established a direct link to the government. But as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice landed in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Thursday morning, pressure was building on the government to confront the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which Indian and American officials say carried out the Mumbai attacks.
Read the whole story...Mumbai Attack Is Test of Pakistan’s Ability to Curb Militants - Jane Perlez and Somini Sengupta, New York Times

And as noted in an earlier post. Death closer to home should sweep away all concerns about pirates and Indo/Pak conflicts. My post Bloody Thanksgiving Weekend was no sooner posted when news came in that Tijuana suffered 37 murders over this past weekend.

The article by William Booth, in the Washington Post begins.

MEXICO CITY -- The death squads of the drug cartels are killing in spectacularly gruesome ways, using the violence as a language to deliver a message to society.

Increasingly, bodies show unmistakable signs of torture. Videos of executions are posted on the Internet, as taunts, as warnings. Corpses are dumped on playgrounds, with neatly printed notes beside them. And very often, the heads have been removed.

When someone rolled five heads onto the dance floor in a cantina in Michoacan state two years ago, even the most hardened Mexicans were shocked. Now ritual mutilations are routine. In the border city of Tijuana, 37 people were slain over the weekend, including four children. Nine of the adults were decapitated, including three police officers whose badges were stuffed in their mouths.

Note the same words used above, by John Robb, Video Executions. Beheadings. Assassination. Weakening the state. It’s the same as Iraq but in Mexico."

Read the whole story: Mexico Drug Cartels Send A Message of Chaos, Death - William Booth, Washington Post

Regarding this threat on our southern border, comes this welcome news.

Chief among its recommendations is merging the National Security and Homeland Security councils and creating a director for national security who would manage implementation of the president's policies rather than just coordinate the views of Cabinet members and present them to the president, as the national security adviser currently does.

And this from the New York Times.

The United States formally released on Wednesday the first part of a $400 million aid package to help Mexico fight drug trafficking, a sign of how much more involved the United States is becoming in Mexico’s brutal drug war.

This article from the New York Times December 4, 2008 opens with this chilling introduction.
TIJUANA, Mexico — The sedated patient, his bullet wounds still fresh from a shootout the night before, was lying on a gurney in the intensive care unit of a prestigious private hospital here late last month with intravenous fluids dripping into his arm. Suddenly, steel-faced gunmen barged in and filled him with even more bullets. This time, he was dead for sure.
Finally, this from EagleOne about something he heard on the way home from work.
If this post seems redundant from Sunday's post it is because the problems persist and threaten connectivity in insidious ways. They seem to grow larger by the day. The answer to two of these issues, piracy and drug wars in Mexico are tied to economics. People will do what they must to make a living. Once one goes beyond the law, greed, just as it effects unregulated businesses everywhere will know no bounds. Laws that govern society and ensure a form of fairness, like taxes, regulatory controls, and community and social pressure set up the ruleset that allows for advancement through education, connectivity and fair and free competition.
Many of the links and people listed in the blogroll are involved is trying to connect the world. Others are working to protect and maintain those important rulesets that have led to the advancements that have helped billions to a better future. Their efforts and voices are a tool to inform the public and help build a consensus for combating the threats of the 21st century.
The criminal insurgency in Mexico will test our resolve to refrain from walling ourselves off. The answer lies in engagement and confronting evil. We have shown the world that our system of government is unique and for a brief window we may have been given a shot at using our bully pulpit, to lead the world by example.

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