US SPECIAL FORCES: Training Mexican Troops in Colorado

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US SPECIAL FORCES: Training Mexican Troops in Colorado

Chivis
Administrator
2 articles...and special forces training videos at bottom...paz..Buela

In a sign of the increasing level of security cooperation between the two countries, an elite United States military unit known as the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) is training Mexican soldiers in counternarcotics operations.


According to a Pentagon source cited by El Universal, the AWG held a joint training exercise in Colorado last April with elements of the Mexican Armed Forces.  Though the exact nature of the exercise is classified, the paper reports that the location was chosen in order to simulate the rugged terrain often favored by drug traffickers.
 
The U.S. army has trained with Mexican armed forces on several other occasions, but according to an anonymous Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official, the AWG is especially suited for Mexico’s drug violence. “Asymmetrical war involves two groups with a significant difference in power whether it be in terms of weapons, tactics, or number, and that we observe in the case of the Mexican cartels and the Mexican Army; so this type of training is useful not just in military terms, but also in terms of intelligence to locate weaknesses and combat them, " the official told El Universal.
 
This revelation comes days after a New York Times investigation said that the U.S. government is sending intelligence operatives and retired military personnel to Mexico to assist in counternarcotics operations in the country for the first time. As InSight Crime has noted, the security relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has reached a new level, due to the $1.4 billion dollar Merida Initiative. Still, seeing as the death toll in the country continues to rise, it is unclear whether the partnership has brought about significant improvements on the ground.
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and this article from last fall (the question in the last sentence is one that is stuck in my mind):

State Department Backing US Troops In Mexico 

Posted by Erin Rosa - October 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm
 
Contracts show School of the Americas, Special Ops Group, Working Inside The Country
 
At the Mexican government's request, the State Department is supporting US military trainings of the Mexican troops inside Mexico, according to federal procurement data and a statement released by the agency.

Procurement data from the Federal Procurement Data System shows that in September the US Embassy in Mexico City paid Sheraton Hotels more than $15,000 for an event featuring the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC, formerly the School of the Americas), a Department of Defense school that specializes in training students from Latin America and has a notorious history of contributing to human rights abuses abroad.
 
The Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), a military school that teaches special operations tactics, is also listed as being involved. The State Department has not disclosed which Sheraton hotels were used, but the procurement data states the contract work was performed in Mexico. Sheraton lists hotel locations in the historic center of Mexico City, the city's wealthy suburb of Santa Fe, the beach resort city of Cancún, and city of Monterrey.

 When asked about the procurement data, embassy spokesman Alexander Featherstone first stated that the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), a military unit created in 2002 for homeland defense missions, is involved in training the Mexican military with help from the State Department.

“At the request of the Mexican government and in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, USNORTHCOM conducts information exchanges and training across a number of broad areas and disciplines,” Featherstone said. “These trainings take place both in Mexico and the U.S.”

 “These training opportunities and exchanges have helped the militaries of Mexico and the United States to build a relationship based on trust, confidence, mutual benefit and mutual respect for sovereignty,” Featherstone added.

 Regarding the hotel payments, Featherstone then said that the Department of Defense, through the Office of Defense Coordination at the U.S. Embassy, uses meeting rooms for “seminars, conferences, and meeting venues,” including for events that focus on “counternarcotics efforts.”

When asked if the funds used by the embassy were part of the Mérida Initiative, a 2008 security pact in which the United States provides training and equipment to Mexican law enforcement and the armed forces to wage the drug war, Featherstone stated that they were not.

“While this military training is not funded with Merida Initiative funds, the expenditure is in the spirit of the Merida Initiative objectives and fully supports the U.S. whole-of-government effort to work closely with Mexico,” Featherstone said.
 
The School of Americas Mobile Training Teams and the Special Forces
 
The State Department has not answered questions seeking to know what exactly WHINSEC and JSOU were doing inside Mexico last month, and the Department of Defense referred inquiries to the Mexico City embassy. WHINSEC is based at the Fort Benning Army base in Georgia and the JSOU is in Hurlburt Field, Florida.

 School of America's Watch, a nonprofit organization that has been monitoring WHINSEC before it changed its name in 2001, found that the school offers Mobile Training Teams (MTTs), which have been deployed to other countries in Latin America. According to a 2004 course list obtained by the nonprofit, the MTTs taught classes on issues like “military instruments of power” and “joint operations.”

At the beginning of the year, WHINSEC announced that it had deployed these teams to El Salvador, Colombia, Panama and the Dominican Republic for military trainings.

 In the last 60 years, WHINSEC has gained a dark reputation as a place where human rights abuses are born. SOA Watch has documented numerous cases where “thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,' massacred, and forced into refugee” by by graduates of the school.

 The JSOU teaches special forces training. A report published by the school in March, titled “U.S. Military Engagement with Mexico,” states that “Despite little public notice, U.S.-Mexican military relations have changed fundamentally in recent years.” While discussing the threat of “narcoguer­rillas” in Mexico, the document says “Mexican Special Operations Forces (SOF) in particular—as well as selected law enforcement components—have received substantial U.S. military support.”

Other sources have previously told Narco News that a special operations task force under the command of the Pentagon is operating inside Mexico and taking “direct action” against narco-trafficking organizations.

“The level of communication and cooperation between U.S. and Mexican armed forces has increased dramatically over the past two years and represents an historic high,” Featherstone said.
 
More Human Rights Complaints in Mexico
 
In Mexico, the military has been plagued with complaints of human rights abuses and corruption with drug traffickers. There have been more human rights complaints against the military during Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s administration than ever before. Of the 4,035 complaints that have been reported since 2006, 56 members of the military have been disciplined.

 In September, the State Department announced it was withholding $26 million in Merida Initiative funds due to concerns over abuses committed by the Mexican military. That same month, four soldiers were arrested in the northern state of Nuevo León after they shot and killed two civilians who they claimed failed to stop at a check point on the highway.

 The Zetas, a relatively new drug trafficking group of ex-soldiers from the Mexican special forces, routinely make headlines in Mexico for clashes with the federal government and military. Since Calderón used the military to crack down on drug trafficking groups, violence has only increased in the country, with 28,000 people killed due to drug violence since 2007.

 The questions remain as to what exactly the US military and State Department are training Mexican soldiers and special forces to do.

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see special forces training videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcRCXaCHJj4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10ed6Jq1VDs

DD OF FORUM POSTED INFO FROM THE NYT ARTICLE:

http://borderland-beat.924382.n3.nabble.com/CIA-and-DEA-on-the-ground-in-MX-td3239998.html
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: US SPECIAL FORCES: Training Mexican Troops in Colorado

drattler
So whats the point you are damned if you do damned if you don't???
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Re: US SPECIAL FORCES: Training Mexican Troops in Colorado

Chivis
Administrator
Hola Drattler...

If you are speaking to me, my point is simple; why this type of training?  Why not train Mx police and troops in the training we use for narco projects such as the one that just occurred netting over 500 middle operators?  I bet not one of those intelligence personel had training in special forces combat.  very few situations call for such training.  Not to say special forces training would not be great...at some point, but honestly intelligence training, police training, communications, data, financial intelligence all should come first.

now in CA they could use that training.  where many operations are conducted in the mountains.

MDC
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
jp
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Re: US SPECIAL FORCES: Training Mexican Troops in Colorado

jp
Buela:

 I bet not one of those intelligence personel had training in special forces combat.  very few situations call for such training.
 

Many agencies have prior Special Forces personel in their ranks.
It takes a lot to become one they are for the most part highly trained well vetted and motivated. The good managers will hire them in a heartbeat if they have the opportunity.
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Re: US SPECIAL FORCES: Training Mexican Troops in Colorado

Chivis
Administrator
perhaps...but more often intelligence training

my point is this...we had a plan of action with mexico to provide specified training to combat the drug war of mexico and Intrinsic issues that led to manifestation.  Police training...a must...financial intelligence training...a must...Prosecutorial training...a must etc...no where in sight was special forces training.  whereas I think it is a good thing, its putting the cart before the horse.  Police training by US police and prosecutorial training has just begun, no where in sight in financial intelligence, which should have been first out the gate...

imo
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
jp
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Re: US SPECIAL FORCES: Training Mexican Troops in Colorado

jp
The financial intel is the important factor in the war against the cartels and a less bloody way of confronting and constraining them. It should be placed at the top of the list. There are lessons to be learned from the asset trackers who have been working on the counter terrorism task forces.