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Column 011209 Brewer

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Western Hemisphere Struggles on the Edge of an
Abyss

By Jerry Brewer

From the standpoint of a situational threat assessment of Latin
America as a whole, it is impossible to not link North America
with Canada as a necessary part of the entire acute focus of
this vast hemisphere. An operational and strategic analysis of
events of death and violence associated with narcoterrorists,
criminal syndicates, guerrillas, and related radicalized
insurgents from Argentina to Canada demonstrate this
continued potential.

Over the past fifteen years Canada has witnessed a trend of
terrorists involved in procurement and fundraising, as well as
planning and preparing terrorist acts from Canadian territory.
Although violence on this scale is very uncommon in Canada,
terrorist movement and related supporters are described as
"using intimidation and other coercive methods in immigrant
communities." Too, Canada is described as a "primary venue
of opportunity to support, plan, or mount terrorist attacks."

The threats from transnational and radicalized criminal
syndicates are just as real against citizens of these countries
overseas as well as at home. Over the past few years there
have been terrorist attacks against U.S. and other Western
interests within the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, Turkey, and
northern Africa. These attacks have included U.S.-based
businesses and non-governmental organizations.

A significant incident occurred in Mumbai, India, with the latest
attack on landmark hotels and a Jewish community center,
among others. This showing increasing terrorist threats not just
in India, but too it represents broader concerns for visitor
industry safety worldwide.
A world stage is now the primary target for the enemy armed
combatants. It is a global phenomenon. Recent variations and
new modus operandi include maritime piracy off of the coast of
Somalia within the Gulf of Aden. Over 120 such incidents were
reported in 2008.

This is similar in potential for Latin American shipping and
tourist lanes.

Murder with impunity by Mexican drug cartels against police
officials, government officials, and innocent women and children
have been prolific. The cowardly grenade attack at a national
holiday event clearly demonstrated their propensity for
uncivilized and barbaric acts of deviance. Nearly 6,000 people
were reported to have been killed at the hands of these
narcoterrorists in 2008.

The response by Mexico's security and senior political officials
against the criminal syndicates has been justifiably reported as
"remarkable leadership, courage, strength, and dedication as
they seek to assert the rule of law throughout the state…."
President Felipe Calderon has demonstrably challenged the
cartels for what is described as a mortal threat to the rule of law
across Mexico.

A failure to contain and successfully engage the organized
criminals has severe repercussions to each of Mexico's
neighbors and each country's national security. This failure to
end the lawlessness and ever increasing death toll could
possibly result in a mass exodus of refugees fleeing for their
lives. The democratic nation is indeed fighting for survival.

Proactive and innovative tactical police operations and
strategies in Brazil are paying off. In recent times Rio de
Janeiro slum areas were essentially occupied and murderously
controlled by drug gangs. Their superior firepower simply ran
the responding police off.

The Brazilian strategy involves what is called "saturation and
containment." In essence, the police move in, take back the
streets, and occupy them. The criminal elements are not
necessarily defeated but they are quickly moved out or
displaced. Reactive and specialized units pursue, along with
neighboring jurisdictions. Criminal influence and ability to profit
on any level from their previous bases of operation are taken
away and subsequently denied. It is humiliating to the criminal
element, and the power structure is reformed to the rule of law.
Police are reporting a decline in murders, robberies and other
crimes.

The strategy is one that some savvy U.S. law enforcement
leaders have implemented within their jurisdictions, as did the
U.S. military eventually in Iraq.

One successful model in Chihuahua City, Mexico, allows human
rights workers "24-hour access to live images of prison life," as
police within that jurisdiction gain an advantage in securing
accountability and a "rare reputation for honesty and
competency" within the municipal jail. The municipal police
were actually structured, monitored, evaluated, and awarded
accreditation by a U.S.-based law enforcement certification
process for above average performance and standards.

Disrupting, deterring, and defeating organized criminal networks
of gangs, narcoterrorists, rebel-type guerrillas, and radicalized
transnational insurgents requires a linear process of creative,
strategic, aggressive and tactically driven initiatives. The
political leadership within the respective nations in the western
hemisphere holds the future resiliency of their populace by their
ability to take back their country street by street.

——————————
Jerry Brewer is Vice President of Criminal Justice International
Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Miami,
Florida. jbrewer@cjiausa.org