Judicial Watch • Mexico

Mexico Archives | Judicial Watch

Keeping with the Obama family’s penchant for costly vacations, the president’s 13-year-old daughter enjoyed spring break in a country plagued by so much violence that the State Department has issued travel warnings to discourage Americans from going there.

But, unlike regular Americans or college spring breakers, Malia Obama and her teenage pals were guarded by an army of Secret Service agents at U.S. taxpayer expense. This is not a story you will see in U.S. media outlets, but one foreign newspaper reported it this week though the link seems to have mysteriously vanished from its website. In fact, the White House has admitted pressuring it to take the story down. 

No worries. We’ll recount the story of Malia’s spring break jaunt to Mexico, which appeared in Britain’s Telegraph this week and quotes Mexican authorities. Malia and 12 buddies were guarded by 25 U.S. Secret Service agents as well as local police, while in the historic Mexican city of Oaxaca, the report says. The group of teens stayed at a downtown hotel and visited the area’s famous archeological sites. 

Never mind that the State Department has repeatedly warned Americans about travel to Mexico, which is rife with drug-cartel violence. Many U.S. colleges are also discouraging students from vacationing south of the border, a once-popular destination for spring breakers. When your dad’s government warns you against traveling to a country that it has a cozy relationship with, perhaps it’s a good idea to pay attention. 

Crime and violence are serious problems throughout Mexico and can occur anywhere, according to a State Department bulletin issued just weeks before the first daughter’s jaunt. It goes on to say that U.S. citizens have fallen victims to drug traffickers, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery. In the last few years nearly 50,000 people have been killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico, according to the government warning. 

Gun battles take place in towns and cities, in broad daylight, on streets and in other public venues such as restaurants and clubs. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped because drug lords create road blocks that prevent even the military and police from responding to criminal activity. Furthermore, the location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable, the State Department warns, after revealing that the rising number of kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico is of particular concern.

Sounds like a war zone rather than a vacation destination. It’s likely that no responsible parent would let their teenage daughter travel to such a place…without an army of Secret Service agents to guard them. 







Middle Eastern terrorists have infiltrated Latin American countries—especially Mexico—to plan an attack against the United States, according to an alarming exposé broadcast this week by the world’s largest Spanish news network.

The Univision documentary, “La Amenaza Irani,” (Iranian Threat), uses undercover, never-before-seen video footage to illustrate how Iran’s growing political, economic and military ties to Latin America threaten U.S. security. The videos were part of a seven-month investigation in which college-aged Mexicans infiltrated diplomatic circles in Mexico to obtain recordings that prove diplomats from Iran, Venezuela and Cuba planned a cybernetic attack against the White House, FBI, Pentagon and U.S. nuclear plants.

The documentary also features secret video taken by extremists linked to Iran and footage from an undercover journalist who infiltrated Venezuelan military camps where terrorists trained. The news network’s investigative team also tracked the expansion of Iranian interests in the hemisphere, including money-laundering and drug-trafficking activities by terrorist groups supported by Iran.

A segment is dedicated to the connection between Mexican drug cartels and the foiled plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. a few months ago. One of the Iranians charged had been ordered by that country’s Special Forces to travel to Mexico to recruit members of the notorious drug cartel “Los Zetas” to carry out the plot. The massive scheme against U.S. government information and computer systems had been in the works years earlier, the documentary reveals.

The ties between Middle Eastern terrorists and Latin America are nothing new, though specific plots against the U.S. from the region have likely not been exposed in this manner. Since 1982 Cuba has appeared on the State Department’s list of countries that have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism, which means restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales and other financial restrictions.

Earlier this year the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which examines issues for federal lawmakers, published areport on Latin American terrorist concerns to the United States. It points out that, while Latin America has not been the focal point of the U.S. war on terrorism, the region has struggled with domestic terrorism for decades and international terrorist groups have used it as a battle ground to advance their causes.

The report specifically mentions Iran’s increasing activities in Latin America in its attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions as well as its ties to the radical Lebanon-based Islamic group Hezbollah. In fact, the CRS report quotes a separate State Department antiterrorism document that says the U.S. remains concerned that sympathizers of Hezbollah and the Sunni Muslim Palestinian group Hamas are raising money among the sizable Middle Eastern communities in the tri-border area of Argentina.

The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.

Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of more than 1,000 guns which have been used in numerous crimes. In Terry’s case, five illegal immigrants armed with at least two semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and Terry got hit.

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We know this only because Washington D.C.’s conservative newspaper , the Washington Times, got ahold of the court documents before the government suddenly made them off limits. The now-sealed federal grand jury indictment tells the frightening story of how Terry was gunned down by Mexican drug smugglers patrolling the rugged desert with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.  

You can see why the administration wants to keep this information from the public and the media, considering the smugglers were essentially armed by the U.S. government. Truth is, no one will know the reason for the confiscation of public court records in this case because the judge’s decision to seal it was also sealed, according to the news story. That means the public or media won’t have access to any new or old evidence, filings, rulings or arguments.

A number of high-ranking Border Patrol officials are questioning how the case is being handled. For instance, they wonder why the defendant (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes) hasn’t been tried even though it’s been almost a year since Terry’s murder. They also have concerns about the lack of transparency in the investigation, not to mention the recent sealing of the court case.

Osorio-Arellanes is charged with second-degree murder. The four other drug smugglers fled the scene and their names were blacked out in the indictment. In 2006 Osorio-Arellanes had been convicted in Phoenix of felony aggravated assault and in 2010 he was twice detained for being in the U.S. illegally.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this month to address the flawed gun-tracking program, Attorney General Eric Holder said it’s not fair to assume that mistakes in Operation Fast and Furious led to Terry’s death. Holder also expressed regret to the federal agent’s family, saying that he can only imagine their pain.






Janet Napolitano spent much of the spring sounding like a broken record ensuring that the U.S.-Mexico border is safe when the reality is that stretches are controlled by drug-trafficking organizations.A new federal report exposing the ugly truth about the southern border has left President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary with egg on her face. Published by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, the document contradicts much of what Napolitano has preached in the last few months during highly publicized jaunts to the crime-infested region.Remember this? The Mexican border “is as secure as it has ever been.” Or what about this; violence along the Mexican border is merely a mistaken “perception” because the Obama Administration has successfully fostered a “secure and prosperous” region. Napolitano also said that “misinformation about safety” is negatively impacting border communities and that the U.S.-Mexico border is not “overrun or out of control.”The truth is that Mexican drug cartels do in fact “control access to the U.S.-Mexico border” and the “smuggling routes across it,” according to the Justice Department’s drug assessment, which has been kept quiet by the administration. No press conferences or photo ops to promote this report, which concludes that the “unprecedented levels of violence in Mexico”  will continue for years to come.The crisis has also flowed north because cartels—including Sinaloa, Los Zetas and Juarez—have joined forces with U.S. street gangs that operate in more than 1,000 cities throughout the country, according to the report. Together they run profitable enterprises that sell cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines brought into the U.S. through the southern border. This sort of “collaboration between U.S. gangs and Mexican-based” criminal organizations will continue to increase, facilitating wholesale drug trafficking into and within the United States, the report says.This is hardly shocking news. The National Drug Intelligence Center has for years determined that Mexican drug trafficking organizations represent the greatest crime threat to the United States. In fact, the agency’s2009 report says that the violence, intimidation, theft and financial crimes carried out by the illicit operations “pose a significant threat” to the nation as a whole.

Weeks before the Obama Administration starts letting Mexican cargo trucks travel deep into the U.S., the Texas Department of Public Safety reveals that, in the last few years, trucks coming from Mexico had more than 1 million safety violations.This is hardly earth-shattering news since Mexican trucks have long failed to meet U.S. safety standards. That’s why they aren’t allowed to travel freely throughout the country, but rather in restricted zones within 25 miles of the southern border. Even within their limited boundary, they have created a huge risk to Americans’ safety, according to the Transportation Department Inspector General.Regardless, the Obama Administration carved out a deal to allow Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. highways as part of a 17-year-old international trade pact known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In a few weeks Mexican trucks will be allowed to travel into the interior of the United States, even though it could endanger American lives.In Texas alone, 1.2 million Mexican trucks had safety violations between 2007 and 2011, according to an El Paso newspaper report that quotes official statistics from state public safety officials. Among the safety violations in trucks coming from Mexico were bad brakes, flat tires, axle problems and defective lights. During that period inspectors placed more than 30,000 trucks and 625 drivers out of service.Federal transportation officials claim that, under the new cross-border trucking program, all Mexican vehicles will be thoroughly inspected and all must comply with rigid U.S. safety standards. The Mexican trucks, notorious for their dismal, third-world country safety standards, must also be equipped with electronic monitoring systems to keep track of drivers’ service hours.Don’t be surprised if U.S. taxpayers get stuck with the tab. After all, earlier this year the Obama Administrationpaid to upgrade outdated Mexican trucks that hemorrhage illegal amounts of exhaust when they deliver merchandise near the border. Generous Uncle Sam stepped in for the sake of improving air quality on both sides of the border by replacing old mufflers on dozens of Mexican trucks at a cost of $1,600 each. U.S. truck drivers are required to have the type of converters that Mexicans are getting from the government but they must pay for theirs.

Now that a federal agent has been murdered by a drug gang in Mexico, the Obama Administration promises to “look into” the crime-infested nation’s policy banningU.S. law enforcement officers from carrying weapons during official missions.That, of course, means that the U.S. government deploys federal agents intoMexico’s most violent regions unarmed. This may seem inconceivable considering that heavily armed drug cartels have taken over chunks of the country and Uncle Sam must send its overwhelmed government help to combat the growing crisis.In the last few years more than 34,000 murders have been associated with drug cartels and in 2010 serious crime connected to illicit narcotics operations hit record levels in scale and brutality. More than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexicoin disturbing and cruel ways not commonly seen in previous years, according to a report by a major newspaper in a border state. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actually compared the drug-related violence in Mexico to a Colombia-style insurgency that devastated that South American nation a few decades ago.Earlier this week the ruthless Zetas cartel ambushed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stationed at the American Embassy in Mexico City as part of a human smuggling and border security enforcement task force. A 32-year-old special agent, Jaime Zapata, was murdered and another, Victor Avila, was shot twice in the leg. The men were traveling on a rural highway in an armored sports utility vehicle.In the aftermath of the vicious attack, Attorney General Erick Holder vows to look into perhaps changing the policy forbidding American law enforcement officers from carrying guns in Mexico. “We will look at this and we’ll do . . . an analysis of what it is that we need to do to make sure that everybody is as safe down there as we can make them,” Holder said during a news conference this week. Reading between the lines it’s probably best not to hold your breathe.Besides having around 30 ICE agents in Mexico, the U.S. has showered the country with more than $1 billion in the last few years to combat drug violence. The American tax dollars will keep pouring in under a multi-year program (known as theMerida Initiative) that also helps Central American nations, the Dominican Republicand Haiti fight crime. A disproportionate chunk of the cash goes to Mexico, however.

A few months after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared drug-related violence in Mexico to an insurgency, she’s praising the country for battling the cartels even though bloodshed remains at an all-time high.The amusing about-face comes amid record levels of drug violence and just days after seven people were murdered in Ciudad Juarez, where the situation is so serious that bullets from shootouts among rival smugglers regularly spill into theU.S. In last week’s incident, drug lords used assault weapons to spray gunfire on a public soccer field.In the meantime, Uncle Sam has showered Mexico with more than $1 billion to combat serious crime associated with illicit narcotics operations, which incidentally hit record levels in scale and brutality in 2010. More than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexico in disturbing and cruel ways not commonly seen in previous years while the U.S. keeps sending cash to deal with the issue.Never the less, Clinton assures that “we are seeing real results on both sides of the border.” During a brief jaunt to Mexico this week, Madame Secretary commended our southern neighbor for combating the drug cartels and called Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s leadership “very courageous.” That “courageous” leadership is one of the reasons why we are making some important gains, according to Clinton, who failed to offer any concrete examples.After all, Clinton told her Mexican counterpart (Patricia Espinosa) that “we are part of the same family, we share the same land as our common home and our children will inherit a common future.” The contributions that Mexicans have made are a “fundamental part of the fabric of the United Sates,” Clinton said during the schmooze fest in Guanajuato this week.Sounds like Clinton was making amends for rattling Mexican officials by comparing the country’s drug cartels to a Colombia-style insurgency that devastated that South American nation a few decades ago. Offended Mexican government officials rejected the notion, claiming that the only similarities are a high demand for drugs in theU.S.

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