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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:27 PM

STRATEGIES OF A NEW COLD WAR

STRATEGIES OF A NEW COLD WAR
US Marines and the Drug War in Guatemala
by Dawn Paley, Toward Freedom

GUATEMALA CITY — The news broke in the United States during the lazy summer days of late August: 200 US Marines were stationed in Guatemala as part of the war on drugs. The deployment of US combat troops to Guatemala was part of Operation Martillo, a military plan meant to disrupt cocaine trafficking routes that pass through Central America on their way from Colombia to the United States.

Fighting organized crime and drug trafficking is the most recent justification for US incursions in Guatemala, also serving to justify the increased activity of Guatemalan military around the country. This militarization is taking place in areas where there are fierce social and land conflicts related to the imposition of mega-resource extraction projects, such as in mining and oil industries. In addition, communities that resist displacement and the extractive industries have been tarred with accusations that they are involved in the organized crime; in some cases entire peasant villages have even been labeled "narco-communities."

"We have the sense that is a pretext to return to the level of military deployment that was maintained during the height of the armed conflict, which resulted in acts of genocide," said Iduvina Hernandez Batres, of the Guatemala City-based NGO Security and Democracy (Sedem). The Guatemalan army, which is still formally ineligible for receiving US military assistance, was responsible for the vast majority of the 200,000 killed and the 50,000 disappeared during the internal armed conflict, which officially ended in 1996.

The Guatemalan army was called upon "to put an end to the external threats and contribute to neutralizing illegal armed groups by means of military power," by Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina the day after his inauguration in January 2012. Pérez Molina, a former General and head of army intelligence, also promised to increase military spending. So far, he has kept his promise. According to Plaza Publica, a Guatemalan investigative journalism outlet, projected spending on military and security equipment in 2013 alone will surpass all such spending between 2004 and 2012.

More:
http://ww4report.com/node/11949

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Reply STRATEGIES OF A NEW COLD WAR (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:09 AM

1. Here’s What Your $97 Million Drug War in Central America Actually Bought

Here’s What Your $97 Million Drug War in Central America Actually Bought
By Robert Beckhusen
02.01.13
6:11 PM

The U.S. isn’t just shoveling cash to stem the tide of narcotics in Mexico and Colombia. Quietly, it’s built up its drug war in Central America, too — spending nearly $100 million over four years on advanced gear for local forces. Not that Washington has any idea what it’s gotten for its money.

A new report from the Government Accountability Office provides a rare glimpse into the Central American war on drugs. Between 2008 and 2011, the report finds, the government spent $97 million for gear and training for its Central American partners. On the plus side, it’s laughably low compared to the more than $640 billion (and rising) the U.S. has spent on the war in Afghanistan.

Most of the drug war money is spent on equipment such as vehicles — like aircraft and patrol boats — night-vision goggles, body armor, radios and weapons, and X-ray equipment for scanning cargo containers. The Central American Regional Security Initiative, the government program funneling the money south, also funds counter-drug units, or TAG (Transnational Anti-Gang) teams comprised of agents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, who partner up with local police to investigate drug trafficking, weapons smuggling and money laundering.

That’s not all. The FBI has used funds to develop “fingerprint and biometric capabilities” (.pdf) in Central America, according to a 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service. Beyond biometrics, the U.S. has implemented a gun-tracing system called eTrace, built facilities for wiretapping, and installed an 85-camera surveillance system in Guatemala City.

More:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/central-america-drug-war/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Top+Stories%29

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