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Former FBI agent: Northern Mexico is a war zone

December 17, 2008

Former FBI agent: Northern Mexico is a war zone

December 17th, 2008 @ 7:04am

by Jim Cross/KTAR

Emerging violence in northern Mexico is similar to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former FBI agent and ABC terrorism consultant Jack Cloonan says.

As the beheadings of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg during the early stages of war in the Middle East shocked Americans, beheadings in northern Mexico have become commonplace, Cloonan said.

“Beheading was an exception. Now, it’s almost becoming matter-of-fact.”

Cloonan said Mexico is “every bit as dangerous as some of the things we’ve been discussing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Frankly, northern Mexico is a war zone.”

The violence has spilled across the border and poses a significant challenge for U.S. law enforcement officers, he said.

He added, “How far it will extend I don’t know. But we’ll see more and more of it. It’s not going to go away.”

Much of the violence is being carried out by rogue Mexican police officers, Cloonan said.

“They are now part of drug cartels Another cartel will come in and delievr a message and cut off heads and stick badges in their mouths. They’ll film executions, they’ll carve insignias on bodies. The level of depravity is unprecedented.”

Not just the super rich are in danger, Cloonan said.

“It could be somebody that controls a couple of gas stations. It could be somebody who controls a jewelry store or a food store or supermarkets, as long as they have access to cash.”

Cloonan said violence in Mexico is being fueled by Americans’ appetites for drugs.

“So long as there is an appetite in the United States for illicit drugs — whether that be heroin or cocaine — we will continue to have this level of violence,” he said.

Violence in northern Mexico is now comparable to the sectarian violence in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, Cloonan said.

www.ktar.com

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