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Column 120604 Thompson

Monday, December 6, 2004

World distrust of Mexican intelligence agencies claimed

By Barnard R. Thompson

Welsh born author and former foreign correspondent Gordon Thomas visited the northern city of Monterrey, Mexico, in late November, where he met with an exclusive group of Mexican businesspersons.  Over the years Thomas has frequently written about national intelligence services, especially agencies like the Mossad and CIA, as well as terrorists, their international webs and other despicable miscreants and movements.


In Mexico, columns by Thomas periodically appear in Reforma Group newspapers, including El Norte of Monterrey that is one of the group’s flagship dailies.  As to the private meeting with the maybe two dozen invited business and industry leaders from different parts of Mexico, Thomas was to discuss how extremist groups like Al-Qaeda can use organized crime and those who suffer acute marginalization.


Thomas was also interviewed for the Reforma Group newspapers, in a piece that was quickly challenged and criticized by the head of Mexico’s main intelligence and security apparatus.  But first some excerpts from the published questions and responses (that are probably being translated back into English).


The headline read, “The U.S. mistrusts Mexican intelligence,” with a subtitle “Writer Gordon Thomas states that the world’s intelligence services distrust the Mexicans due to their ties with narcotics and corruption.”


And if that were not enough to get blood boiling, candid comments by Thomas must have taken care of the rest.


“Mexico should pay more attention to terrorism, given that the climate of corruption that breathes freely in this country could bring members of Al-Qaeda here to plan an attack against the U.S., warned intelligence expert Gordon Thomas during a visit to Monterrey.


“The writer said in an interview … that China is a threat to the world insofar as its top intelligence officials maintain ties with Al-Qaeda, and the Asian power is initiating a ‘long-term war of economic domination.’


“Complicating the world panorama even more, the U.S. will launch a war against Iran due to its presumed nuclear activity according to Thomas.

“At present Mexico is seen as a major source for laundering money, billions and billions arrive here and disappear on their trip around the world.  The banks are happy because they receive money, no one says anything, (and) few questions are asked about that corruption.

“They figure ‘this is Mexico (and) we don’t have a nuclear bomb, we don’t cause problems for anyone,’ and while this is true there are other problems (as this is) a corruption center, and as long as that problem is not resolved and while they do not work together….  What I want to say is that there are many intelligence services here, there is army intelligence, navy intelligence, God knows what else, but they never work together as far as I can see.

“What exactly is the threat to Mexico, to its business environment?  The risk of terrorism is not what one thinks, like a bomb or something similar, (the risk is) that terrorism could see Mexico as a good place to be — ‘we can operate from here, we can plot a course from here.’

“Al-Qaeda is very intelligent, it could use [Mexico] in order to cross the border and then the U.S. will get tough with you.  The U.S. has a problem, which is the terrorist risk for you (if) they perceive no action is being taken.

“The North Americans of course are so nervous they are afraid of everything.  The Assistant Director of Counterintelligence of the FBI, David Szady, told me that the situation is of high risk and it could strongly impair not only national security and the economic development of the U.S., but that too of its neighbors Canada and Mexico, and beyond Mexico other Latin American nations.”

Thomas went on to mention biological weapons, considering the ease with which they could be smuggled across the border.

Plus he elaborated on the growing threat of China; its goals in Latin America; the claimed links between high-level Chinese officials and Al-Qaeda; and possible U.S. reactions if threatening Chinese links with Mexico were sensed.

Eduardo Medina Mora, General Director of the National Security and Investigation Center (Cisen), Mexico’s CIA counterpart, responded immediately.  He categorically denied claims by Thomas of international mistrust of Mexican intelligence services due to alleged ties with narcotics trafficking.

“The opinion of Mr. Gordon (sic) appears totally unfounded to us, which is verified by the very close cooperation and court decisions that result from working together amongst authorities and agencies in compliance with the intelligence law of the U.S. as it applies to our country,” Medina stated.

Gordon Thomas