'Security Cooperation' Bill Includes Mexican Oil Production Measure
Among its many provisions is a vague proposal to increase information sharing among the three nations; a slightly more detailed proposal to develop "national" biometric databases to track suspected terrorists, smugglers, and illegal aliens; and the suggestion to identify opportunities "to increase cooperation" in the detection of smuggled nuclear and radioactive materials.
Upon closer inspection of the bill is a segment focusing on a "security" issue that deviates from the usual terrorist/alien/smuggler concerns.
That issue involves oil production. Specifically, it is a plan to increase the level of oil drilling and foreign investment in Mexico exclusively. For the sake of North American security, that is.
The sponsor of the bill is none other than Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), the former Florida Secretary of State who simultaneously oversaw the Bush vs. Gore 2000 Presidential election debacle and served as state co-chairwoman of the Bush-Cheney campaign committee.
Within H.R. 2672 , under a section titled Improving the Exchange of Information on North American Security (Sec. 3), is a segment called Cooperative Energy Policy. It proposes that Canadian and U.S. taxpayers foot the bill to provide financial and logistical support to Mexico in order to:
(I) increase Mexico's crude oil and natural gas production by obtaining the technology and financial resources needed by Mexico for energy sector development;
(ii) attract sufficient private direct investment in the upstream sector, within the constitutional framework of Mexico, to foster the development of additional crude oil and natural gas production; and
(iii) attract sufficient private direct investment in the downstream sector, within the domestic legal framework of Mexico, to foster the development of additional domestic refining capacity to reduce costs for consumers and to move Mexico toward self-sufficiency in meeting its domestic energy needs.
Separately, the legislation would provide technical and equipment support to Mexico to bolster security at its border with Guatemala and Belize, while encouraging those two nations to share information with its northern neighbors about gang members.
Meanwhile, this proposed framework for cooperation among Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., continues further south even further than the borders Guatemala and Belize. Might as well as keep going until we reach Panama, according to the reasoning of Rep. Harris and cosponsoring Reps. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Chris Shays (R-Conn.)
Under the section, Aerial Interdiction of Narcotrafficking Through Central America and Panama, the U.S. State Dept. "shall examine the feasibility of entering into an agreement with Panama and with other Central American countries regarding the establishment of an aerial interdiction program that in similar contexts is commonly referred to as 'Airbridge Denial.'"
Airbridge Denial refers to the surveillance and interdiction of civil aircraft suspected of participating in illicit drug smuggling operations. The Airbridge Denial program in Colombia, for example, was suspended but later re-implemented after the April 20, 2001, downing of an airplane that killed U.S. missionary Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter, Charity.
The U.S. House on June 6 sent H.R. 2672 to the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. Portions of the bill also must undergo review by the House International Relations and Armed Services committees, respectively.