Friday, July 5, 2013

Fast and Furious: The Ball Still Rolls

Even though Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to release the documents which will likely prove that he lied about the Fast and Furious scandal, we do learn a little more about this iconic ATF activity directed by the Obama Administration every day.

The latest revelation is that one of those guns the ATF allowed to be sold to the Mexican Drug Cartels was used to kill a Mexican Police Chef. 

The LA Times read  that some internal Department of Justice records showing that a high powered rifle allowed to "walk" was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year. The bulk of the Fast and Furious weapon sales were orchestrated on the cartel side by Nicolas Balcazar Lopez aka El Bronco, a police commandant turned narco. Oddly enough, he lived in Jalisco until the Mexican Government arrested him last year. He's been awaiting trial in Mexico City, but nobody expects that the matter will be tried anytime soon.
Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death January 29, 2013 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. His wife  was with him in the car at the time. She was injured. One bodyguard was killed in the car and a second one was injured. 

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region. 
A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL – KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.” 
The WASR used in Jalisco was purchased on Feb. 22, 2010, about three months into the Fast and Furious operation, by 26-year-old Jacob A. Montelongo of Phoenix. He later pleaded guilty to conspiracy, making false statements and smuggling goods from the United States and was sentenced to 41 months in prison. 
Court records show Montelongo personally obtained at least 109 firearms during Fast and Furious. How the WASR ended up in the state of Jalisco, which is deep in central Mexico and includes the country’s second-largest metropolis, Guadalajara, remained unclear. 
After the shooting in Jalisco, local officials said some of the suspects confessed to two other shootouts in the area, including one that left seven people dead, all part of the continuing feud by rival cartel members.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Valor por Tamaulipas

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.

There are a lot of courageous people in Mexico who push back on the drug dealers and corrupt government officials who keep them in business. Valor por Tamaulipas ("Courage for Tamaulipas") is a Facebook page that covers security updates in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It was founded by an anonymous user on 1 January 2012, shares information with other social-media users on the drug-related violence across Tamaulipas and through adjoining regions.

Valor por Tamaulipas routinely posts messages and photos of crime scenes on their page. In a country where many journalists have been assassinated for writing about drug trafficking and organized crime, the page survives under anonymity, but it has not been immune to threats.

In early 2013, a Mexican drug trafficking organization issued fliers offering a reward of $600,000 pesos ($46,000 USD) for anyone that could give out information to locate the admin of Valor por Tamaulipas, or any of his family members. The admin, however, openly defied the criminal organization's threat.

This is a tribute to that Facebook site and to courage.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Russian Federation- Spies in Latin America

The Russians are Back!
General Victor Ivanov

Those of us who check traffic on narco-blogs have noticed a regular increase in the number of hits from the Russian Federation, which is taking a much greater interest in North America and Latin American affairs (through the Internet) than they have since the fall of the old Soviet Union. Some of the readers here may find this interesting and others may say, "Yesterday's News".

The Russian Federation is funding an anti-narcotics and intelligence training center in Nicaragua. I'm not sure when it will stand up, but my sense is that it should be operational by the end of summer. The Russians want it to be a fusion center for law enforcement throughout Central America. Since the US-Mexican relationship has been 'frosty' since Presidente Pena Nieto took office, the Mexicans are likely to send people to be trained there too. Russian Federal Drug Control Service Chief, Victor Ivanov stated that thirty Russian subject matter/police experts will train about 100 Latin American police students every year. (more information on this)

This blog has shared information on the details of the trafficking arrangements with Russian Mafia groups who purchase drugs from Mexican Drug Cartels in the past. The Russians are taking their efforts to control the nearly one billion metric tons of cocaine that flow through Central America on an annual basis. Most of the cocaine that moves through Central America lands in the United States and Canada. The cocaine that makes its way to Russia either moves from Brazil and through Africa to Russia or from Ecuador and Peru to Russia. 
Panamanian President Manuel Noreaga
wears his Israeli jump wings proudly.

Is Central America a big hub for Russian-bound cocaine? No, not so much. But Russia and Nicaragua have old ties so it makes sense that the center goes there.

What is the REAL reason for setting up this academy? The Russians are taking a play from the Israeli playbook. The students develop personal friendships with their teachers and the Russians provide a turn-key intelligence system that they use. The Russians then develop reliable local government sources in Latin America. It works. They simply re-inventing the Israeli wheel. (note defunct Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreaga, left)

I give the Russians high marks for having the wisdom and foresight for getting back in the game. If I was a Russian (and I'm not), I'd do the same thing. The cost of seeding people with whom you have a relationship in their own governments is much cheaper and more effective than cold recruiting.

Russia is moving big on Brazil in terms of both intelligence collection and economic ties as is China. While the Chinese are not so obtuse as to put an intelligence/anti-narcotics training center in Nicaragua, they simply work differently than the Russians. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Obama LIES on the Stump in Mexico (again)

President Obama has been beating up Americans again while on the stump in Mexico, he lies when he does it, and it's irritating. 
(Fox News) "Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States," Obama told the crowd. "I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will. But at the same time, as I've said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people.  
"That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States," he said.  
Most narcos carry fully automatic AK-47 rifles. Last I heard, those were illegal in the United States in just the same way as they are in Mexico. The same goes for RPG-7's (that the Mexicans all call "bazookas" - not to be confused with the American Rocket Launcher M1A1 - made famous in the Second World War).

Yes there are handguns that originate in the US and make it across the border into Mexico and yes, they are used in roughly 8% of the firearms related crimes in Mexico. If you include firearms possession crimes (where the only crime is possession), that number is about 20%.

And then there is the Obama Administration and Operation Fast and Furious, where they specifically armed the drug cartels with weapons made in America for the purpose of supporting their thesis that US weapons were used by drug cartels to commit crimes. Obama's hands are dirty -- and he continually distorts the truth when it comes to firearms statistics. The truth today is that Mexico is a net IMPORTER of illegal firearms into the US, not the other way around. Why is that? Because the Obama Campaign has caused an increase in the price of firearms in the US and it's profitable to smuggle them north of the border.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Another dead narco lawyer

There is a shelf life to Mexican cartel attorneys and Roberto Navarro-Vázquez expired today in the usual way - six bullets to different parts of his body. They found the body in Lomas de Agua Caliente, Tijuana. Roberto Navarro was best known for his defense of Benjamin Arellano Felix.

Since Benjamin went away for twenty years  and a fifty million dollar fine, he's been working with Joaquin Guzman Loera's organization in Tijuana in conjunction with Francisco Ochoa, another narco lawyer. 

Ochoa still lives, but for how long? That may be for his direct patron Oscar Andres Rodriguez Gurrero to decide.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cartels Arming Americans - Cartels with MANPADS

The headline reads like this: Mexican drug cartels reportedly dispatching agents deep inside US

Associated Press and carried by Fox News
CHICAGO – Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States -- an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world's most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.
...A wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast. 
"It's probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime," said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago office.
It's not news to anybody who follows the drug trade, but it was apparently new enough for the Associated Press to run a story on it.

What they fail to mention is that the cartels are also running AK-47's:

AK-74's and RPK-74's:

RPG-7's (both the launcher and rockets):

Into the United States to buyers who are concerned about government tyranny and feel as though they need to have something to shoot back when DHS shows up. I personally discount many of the conspiracy theories, but what I do or don't do doesn't matter.

Los Caballeros Templarios (was La Familia Michoacan) and The Sinaloa Federation (Chapo/Mayo Faction) have also recently acquired Chinese FN-6 man portable air defense systems (MANPADS), also referred to as shoulder-launched surface to air missiles (SAM's). Those same MANPADS have recently also shown up in Syria in the hands of rebels, indicating wider proliferation than the Chinese are comfortable taking public credit for.
(Wikipedia) FN-6 (FN = FeiNu, 飞弩, meaning Flying Crossbow), is a third generation passive infrared (IR) man portable air defence system (MANPADS). It was developed by China, and is their most advanced surface-to-air missile offered in the international market[citation needed]. Specially designed to engage low flying targets, it has a range of 6 km and a maximum altitude of 3.5 km. The FN-6 is in service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and has also been exported to Malaysia, Cambodia, Sudan and Peru. Based on FN-6, China has developed a number of other MANPADS, such as HN and FY series, as well as other vehicle-based short-range air defense systems such as FN and FB series.
But before you express the slightest bit of alarm, the Obama Administration has shown a surprising degree of apathy in helping the Mexicans take these dangerous weapons (that can down nearly any aircraft) off the street.  Yes, it's a low priority. Or at least it is at the moment. Even though the Sinaloa Federation is unlikely to move them across the US-Mexico Border into the United States, Los Caballeros Templario (LCT) has no no such scruples. Blackmail, and retribution is a likely use for at least half of the one dozen FN-6 missiles that LCT has been vetted to have in their position. At least four travel with Servando (La Tuta) Gomez Martinez, current operational leader of LCT.

When the crap hits the fan, you can refer back here and know that you read about the warning on this lonely blog.

BATFE's Operation Fast and Furious sold firearms to cartels to demonstrate (erroneously) that America was arming the cartels, when the reality is quite different. Cartels are arming concerned Americans. And they are bringing a new dynamic to the game with MANPADS.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Man-in-the-Middle Hack/Attack

The man-in-the-middle attack (MITM) or Janus attack is a form of active eavesdropping in which the
attacker makes independent connections with the victims and relays messages between them, making them believe that they are talking directly to each other over a private connection, when in fact the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker. It was designed to defeat public key cryptography first introduced to the internet as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).
PGP can be used to send messages confidentially. For this, PGP combines symmetric-key encryption and public-key encryption. The message is encrypted using a symmetric encryption algorithm, which requires a symmetric key. Each symmetric key is used only once and is also called a session key. The session key is protected by encrypting it with the receiver's public key, therefore ensuring that only the receiver can decrypt the session key. The encrypted message and encrypted session key are sent to the receiver.
Early PGP software was pretty good until MIT bought the license, worked the software under a program funded by the National Security Agency and sold it to the public with a back door. A back door in cryptospeak is an engineered solution in the algorithm that will allow a third party to crack the cypher and thus, read your mail. The FBI and other federal law enforcement jumped on this MITM solution in the mid-1990's. Possibly as early as 1995 according to EPIC (see link below). 

This is now news because the FBI's use of Stingray, which facilitates a government-initiated MITM attack, is going to court. (EPIC Lawsuit) In the case, which you can read for yourself at the Electronic Privacy Information Center's website. 

The technology took quite a bit longer to reach Mexico, though it has been in use for at least the past three years. It will never be illegal for the government to use in Mexico, but explains why nobody is talking on cell phones.