Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation from her post as Secretary of Homeland Security announced yesterday by President Trump on Twitter to be replaced by Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan comes at a pivotal time in the border and humanitarian crisis. For months now, wave on wave of migrant caravans driven by cartels trafficking in humans have assaulted the US-Mexico border taking advantage of vulnerabilities while they can, probing for weaknesses and testing US response. They have made a deliberate show of retaliation against tighter US policy aimed at intimidating authorities and inciting public pressure. Ongoing arrests of illegal migrants in the US is no doubt damaging the cartel’s bottom line that relies on open borders to conduct global illicit trafficking in humans, narcotics, weapons, and other illicit commodities. Other invested interests include organized crime, gangs, and terrorist organizations as well as their state sponsors. The trafficking war is being fought in part using psychological operations, or psyops.
“Cartels have effectively adapted propaganda into their illicit business blurring the lines between criminality, insurgency, and terrorism further raising the national security importance of this topic.” America Y. Guevara
Psychological warfare “involves the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups,” according to Rand Corporation. In a 2012 research paper, America Y. Guevara states “cartels have effectively adapted propaganda into their illicit business blurring the lines between criminality, insurgency, and terrorism further raising the national security importance of this topic.” She goes on to describe the global establishment of narco-culture. Narco-culture glorifies the underground markets trafficking in humans, narcotics, weapons, and other restricted sales items, portrays participants as sympathetic victims should they be apprehended and prosecuted, and champions political figures fighting for aligned causes while shaming and smearing opposition. The psyop tactics of cartels utilize “strategy advocating neoliberal policies in both the United States and Mexico,” according to Guevara.
Spinning trafficking threats into legitimate human rights concerns for migrant refugees suppresses public awareness on other aspects of global trafficking such as supply chain and logistics and promotes democrat agendas for open borders, legalized drugs, and restricted gun rights that serve the interests of both progressives and criminal organizations. Last week, Kirstjen Nielsen discussed child recycling rings being used by traffickers at the US Mexico border while flooded with migrant groups posing as parents and children not their own to gain access into the US. The media responded with headlines, “These Are Families” reporting on ICE arrests of 280 illegal migrants working at CVE Technology Group in the Allen, TX. Joined by countless journalists and democratic politicians spinning the news to push for open borders with the legalization of migrants inside the U.S.. One such contributor responsible for the quote was senior staff attorney for the organization, RAICES, which provides legal services to migrants, Farheen Siddiqi, also a member of National Association of Muslim Lawyers. The fundamental breakdown in the left and right schools of thought is that the left doesn’t see illegal immigration as a crime because it’s not of ‘serious enough nature’. Justifications from both illegal immigrants and the left are as many as one can concoct, but what is discussed here are the parameters of influence that benefit criminal organizations including Drug-Trafficking Organizations (DTOs), Transnational Organized Crime (TOC), and interest groups with ties to terrorism. What took the killing of journalists in Mexico for cartels to claim the territory of the media can be done in the U.S. with a few well paid PR firms.
Rand Corporation according to a recent study shows the decision to “[shift] from drug trafficking to human trafficking [is] because profits are higher, humans are easier to move and store, and there are fewer risks.” Out of an estimated 25 million cargo containers that enter U.S. ports each year, it is estimated that less than 10% are inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Senior Financial Crimes Intelligence Specialist, IBM Red Cell, Steven D’Alfonso states, “the increased globalization of trade, communication and logistics has helped TCO evolve into sophisticated organizations not unlike a multinational corporation. The same policies like open borders that serve the globalization of trade also serve transnational organized crime. However, global crime networks span between the diplomatic spheres of western countries to realms of countries hostile to the U.S. and where U.S. presence is underutilized. Derek Maltz, former head of the DEA’s Special Operations Division explains that the same cartels from Mexico and other Latin American countries that have infiltrated every major city in the U.S. are also operating in over 50 other countries including the West Africa drug trade that supplies funding to terrorist groups.
“Hezbollah laid the groundwork for the effective use of information warfare, which is the ability to gain an advantage over an adversary through the management of information.” Colin P. Clarke, Adjunct Political Scientist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Some law enforcement personnel recommend relabeling cartels from DTO and TOC to terrorist organizations to change the way law enforcement, military, and the courts will be able to challenge their use of force, infiltration, and information warfare. Regardless, the deployment of cartel organized psyops pose new problems for many US and multinational companies across several industries and law enforcement agencies that require new technology to protect public and private sector interests. Archival Institute is working to achieve develop new systems that will lead to more intelligent borders, immigration and visa processes, transportation logistics, and FCC standards to secure the U.S. and allied partners from infiltration and exploitation.
Key logistical components for “these global networks rely on Mexican drug cartel tunnels have increasingly become more advanced with the addition of ventilation, lighting, high ceilings, medical facilities, dormitories and other high-tech features. The engineering features in these tunnels are believed to be the work of Hezbollah, which has created a vast network of tunnels in Lebanon to protect its members from Israeli airstrikes,” explains D’Alfonso. According to Colin P. Clarke, Adjunct Political Scientist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School, Hezbollah also “laid the groundwork for the effective use of information warfare, which is the ability to gain an advantage over an adversary through the management of information.” An al-Qaeda recruiting video from 2009 boasted that the best way to smuggle biological weapons into the U.S. was through these tunnels. In an article written by Colonel (Ret.) Ken Allard and former dean of the National War College, the video tells recruits that four pounds of anthrax in a suitcase will kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour. Cartels and their affiliates have spent decades forging this gauntlet into the U.S. in the absence of border security scaled to meet the level of threat by employing the use of force with propaganda to control and dominate the information space. Topics important for TOCs and DTOs are increasingly infiltrating all types of media, research, and entertainment even the arts, government elections and reform items, and disrupting corporate practices on multiple sides.
DTOs and TOC invest in the latest technology in communications, transportation, and defense and often have superior technology to most military and law enforcement operations. Illicit trafficking continues to utilize asymmetric and urban warfare and combines with terrorist operations also blurring the psychological warfare objectives applied throughout the information space and theater of operation. This will continue to drive technology solutions, interagency action, and military assistance. Archival Institute is working to develop more intelligent borders, immigration and visa processes, transportation logistics, and FCC standards to secure the U.S. and allied partners from infiltration and exploitation.