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Column 120808 Brewer

Monday, December 8, 2008

Latin America and the World Face Evolving Radical Threats

By Jerry Brewer

As if Mexico and many other regions of Latin America have not
seen and experienced an abundance of radicalized terror and
bloodshed, this prolific trend is advancing at an alarming rate.

The beheadings and similar carnage throughout Mexico has
been morbidly topped by the recent terror attacks in Mumbai
(formerly Bombay), India. Approximately 174 people were killed
and around 239 injured, in attacks that many intelligence
officials believe were perpetrated by a Pakistani-based
extremist group.

Intelligence sources further revealed that Israeli pathologists
confirmed torture by the "Islamist terrorist captors." They were
bound together and "killed in cold blood." The torture was
further described by a veteran Indian doctor who conducted
postmortems: "It was so bad that I do not want to go over the
details even in my head again. It was shocking and disturbing."

The significance of the modus operandi of the Mumbai event
must be correlated with the radical methods and terror that is
becoming quite prevalent throughout Latin America. In
particular, the only gunman and interrogated member of the
attack team, Ajmal Amir Kasab (21) of Pakistan, had been a day
laborer before being recruited. He and nine gunmen that were
killed had been handpicked after "intensive" terrorist training.
The gunmen were given amphetamines "to stay alert during the

The attack plan was an intrinsic terrorist operational act carried
out with proficiency. Results of the ongoing investigation and
interrogation have revealed that a 10-man team chartered a
cargo ship out of Karachi; they avoided detection by the Indian
Coast Guard by hijacking a fishing trawler; and they utilized
inflatable rafts to go ashore.

The attack was quick, with AK-47s and grenades aimed at large
groups, and then retreating from security officials to engage
other targets. The firing was indiscriminate. Hostages were
rounded up with many executed rapidly.

Attackers were "very familiar with the layout" of the targeted
areas and may have pre-positioned supplies and weapons in
rented rooms and other locations. Explosives were found
leftover at the Mumbai main train station.

This style of frontal attack and assault designed for maximum
casualties is becoming common place within Mexico, as well as
the taking of hostages to be rapidly tortured and executed.

As with the Mexican Zetas, and special military operations of
Guatemalan-based and trained Kaibiles, the Pakistani gunman,
Kasab, described prior training in close-combat techniques,
hostage-taking, the handling of explosives, and satellite
navigation. Intelligence officials called this training "meticulous
and rigorous."

Many regions of the Western Hemisphere are susceptible to
waterborne assault. As well, the U.S. border with Mexico has
shown graphic evidence of terrorist-style and sophisticated
tactics in surveillance, countersurveillance, cover and
concealment techniques, uses of global positioning devices, as
well as sophisticated automatic weapons and explosives.

The correlation of the Mumbai attacks and other previous
international terrorist events graphically demonstrate the need
for the use of military and military intervention to act with resolve
and urgency in interdicting these threats. From the seizing of
maritime vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean by
terrorists described as "pirates," to other potential attacks from
the air and further ground attacks, they equate the need for air,
land, and sea vigilance to prevent systematic failures in
homeland security.

With increasingly sophisticated armed violence throughout the
world, including Latin America, it is always difficult to place an
identifier's label as to the official affiliation of a terror-style event
to the actual organization. And with small terror cells and
related radicalized elements, many events have the identifying
signatures and characteristics of the cowardly death and
destruction carried out by al-Qaida.

Terror is terror, and easily recognized by the innocent victims
that have stood in harm's way. Terror training by the multitudes
of world armed criminal combatants, insurgents, and enforcers
of drug trafficking organizations is common place and becoming
somewhat standardized. Each of their particular missions and
beliefs may be quite diverse in nature, but indiscriminately
inflicting torture and death is the common calling card.

The road map ahead for leaders within Latin America and North
America will not be just designed from a simple "threat matrix,"
or the President's Daily Brief. Instead, an unbiased free
media/press must continue to report in detail on the senseless
tragedies and the failure to value human life and freedom by
those that terrorize, and on those governments that support
them or fail to act or assist others.

Facing the new U.S. president is not just the familiar escalation
of world regional conflicts between super powers and rogue
leftist regimes, but too a real and deadly threat to all human
beings regardless of ethnicity or belief system.

Jerry Brewer is Vice President of Criminal Justice International
Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Miami,