A Pentagon document has come to light that confirms the U.S. has put special operations troops on the ground in Mexico as the drug war there continues to escalate, notching some 40,000 murders since late 2006.
The document is a Department of Defense briefing presented in mid-May 2009 in Washington, D.C., to a group of business and political leaders from northwest Florida. The “Unclassified/For Official Use Only” briefing reveals the 18 Latin American nations where 7th Special Forces Group soldiers [Airborne Green Berets] were deployed as of fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, 2009. Among those nations, according to the briefing document, was Mexico.
The document also indicates a 7th Special Forces unit was deployed in Mexico in 1996 as well, as part of a “counter-narcotics” mission. The revelations in the briefing material are important because, to date, neither the Pentagon nor the State Department has confirmed that U.S. special forces have been deployed inside Mexico — a politically volatile subject in that Latin American nation given the rising drug-war death toll there and the “Yankee” history of U.S. Gunboat Diplomacy in the region.
From the vantage point of U.S. policymakers, the deployment of covert Pentagon special forces inside Mexico also is fraught with political peril, given the discovery of such operations by the targets, narco-traffickers in this case, could result in blowback against U.S. agents and interests in Mexico. It also could strain relations with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who is already feeling increasingly isolated due to his disastrous drug-war policy.
The 7th Special Forces Group (SFG) has played a key role since the 1980s in the bellicose history of Latin America, according to the briefing document and other sources. The 7th SFG has participated in numerous “counter-insurgency” missions in Central America as well as in the invasion of Panama in late 1989. It also has been quite active over the years in counter-narcotics missions in the South America Andean Ridge Countries of Colombia, Venezuela, Peru Ecuador and Bolivia; and more recently in hostage rescue operations in Colombia.
The latter operation, according information in the briefing document, involved the participation of the 7th SFG in the July 2008 rescue of three DoD contractors and noted Colombian activist and politician Ingrid Betancourt, among others, who were being held as hostages by the leftist FARC guerrillas.
this story originally appeared in NarcoNews, U.S. Special Ops Troops Deployed in Mexico, Leaked Briefing Confirms
The confirmation that U.S. special forces are now in the mix of the drug-war violence, which Mexican citizens by the millions now see as senseless and resulting in far too much collateral damage (the death and disappearances of thousands of innocent victims), is certain to enhance the public outrage in that land — given the quite visible U.S. role as the major consumer of the drugs and the major exporter of weapons and policies fueling the drug war.
Given this madness, and the inherent duplicity, treachery and buffoonery marking the drug war, it should come as no surprise to anyone, even if their sympathies are not with the U.S. special-forces in Mexico whose lives are jeopardized due to leaks and other security lapses, that the source of those transgressions (intentional or not) is, in part, traceable to the U.S. side of the border.
The briefing document revealing the extent of the 7th SFG operations in Latin America in fiscal 2009 – in 18 countries involving 21 missions and 165 soldiers, including Mexico — was made public by a Florida business group whose membership includes a number of defense contractors. That group, the Economic Development Council for Okaloosa County (EDC), via its Defense Support Initiative, made the May 14, 2009, briefing available on its Web site for all to see and download — including WikiLeaks and some media in Latin America who made it available in Spanish to their audiences (almost assuring that the narco-trafficking organizations being targeted by covert U.S. special forces also were tipped off to their presence in Mexico).
This occurred despite the fact that the briefing document was marked “For Official Use Only,” which, according to Ken McGraw, spokesman for the Pentagon’s U.S. Special Operations Command, means the document was “not to be released publicly.” McGraw adds that he does not “know the specifics” of the 7th SFG operation referred to in the briefing document, explaining that “by the end of the year, we [USSOCOM] will have operations in 120 countries.”
That briefing was prepared by the 7th SFG at the request of U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, a far-right Republican with Tea Party leanings whose Florida district is about to become the new home for the 7th SFG (which is relocating from Ft. Bragg in North Carolina to Elgin Air Force Base in Florida’s panhandle).