Friday, March 22, 2013

3/22/2013 Naval Interest The Worlds Coast Guards Preventing War or is their New Prominence a Prelude to War Updated 1/9/2016


File:Thetis cutter WMEC-910.jpg
Official USCG Photo, Public Domain.  Coast Guards, Especially Armed Coast Guards Of Different Nations But Most Especially China, Japan, The Philippines, And The Koreas Are Lately The Forces of Choice For Both Aggressors and Defenders in Maritime Territorial Disputes . Closer To Home They Are Needed To Prevent Nation On Nation Conflict Where Cross Border Criminal Activity Reaches Near Military Levels Of Conflict.
Why are Coast Guard and Coast Guard Like Forces So Prominent In Conflicts Lately?

American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies   

 Months ago we brought to you the first stories of the conflict along our own Rio Grande that had reached such proportions that the State of Texas had requested Congress to assure a "Continuing Coast Guard Presence" along the Rio Grande. We have two stories reprinted in their original entirety below that describe the conflict, the forces, and the major events in that conflict. What might bear retelling here is why Texas felt that it was so important to bring the U.S.Coast Guard into the conflict. There was more to it than the fact that the Rio Grande is an international water body shared by the United States and Mexico. 

 The Zeta drug cartel which has been literally inflicting a reign of terror on both sides of the border must be denied access and use of the Rio Grande. The Texas State Guard Marine Battalion and elements of the Texas Rangers, Texas Highway Department, Marine Element, and Texas State Parks Police probably can effectively patrol the river and are doing so. The demand for U.S.Coast Guard forces is not just due to the fact that border control is primarily a federal responsibility and Texas is spending tens of millions defending itself in the Federal vacuum. 

 The real issue is the long history between Mexico and Texas. Texas  
was a breakaway province of Mexico and Mexico didn't respect the border in the early days of the Texas Republic. Later Mexican based outlaws like now, plagued the border regions. Neither the outlaws nor the Texas rangers paid much attention to the river as a border. The Rangers would regularly continue hot pursuit across the border after the bandits. Sometimes the Rangers would plan and execute cross border raids to deny the bandits safe havens. Now however, due to the abdication of Federal responsibility, Texas state military department members and Texas state law enforcement members are pursuing the same quarry as the Mexican Army is on the other side of the river. Only a few yards of river separate the forces of Texas and the Army of Mexico. If there are any trans-border incursions by either side there is a high probability of firing on each other , especially since the ZETAS evolved out of Mexican Army special forces units and it is widely known that elements of the very army sent in to collect the Zetas is in fact on the take from them. Mexico has begun to rely on its Navy for much of the anti Zeta work. Both Texas and Mexico would like to get the U.S.Coast Guard in between the Mexican Army and the Texas Rangers et al.

 So here in the United States we are trying to use our armed Coast Guard as a peace keeper/law enforcer to prevent government on government armed incidents. In the High Arctic Russia is utilizing its Coast Guard like forces to under write claims of "effective administration" over territories it is not entitled to but is litigating before the UN for. The U.S. Coast Guard is again being challenged, and so far is failing, to establish an "effective presence" in the High Arctic while Canada contemplates arming its so far unarmed Coast Guard. Coast Guard forces often armed, carrying naval rank, and empowered with civil and criminal law enforcement duties are often in the public mind most associated with search and rescue.  Coast Guard forces though often quite capable of deadly force when engaged in confrontations with each other or commercial vessels of another nation just seem to remove the war like element that the same activity carried out by regular naval vessels would impart to the public. 

 Coast Guard forces, however are a two edged sword. They can be valuable in de-conflicting a contested area, but they can also be abused by a thug state to cover an aggressive territorial theft in a veneer of legality. In the Japan/China and Philippines/ China island disputes we see both uses of Coast Guard like forces. China routinely makes incursions into waters legitimate under the sovereignty of the Philippines or Japan via their now coalescing Coast Guard like forces and while the Philippine or Japanese naval forces could easily sink these Chinese intruders both nations routinely respond with Coast Guard forces. These forces have engaged in deliberate "running scrapes" (glancing collisions) and even water cannon fights. At one point Chinese vessels "locked on" to Japanese force elements with target acquisition radar. Had that been an incident between naval vessels the locked on vessel more probably than not would have opened fire. 

 So one side uses Coast Guard forces to cover aggression and cloak it in a claim of legitimate law enforcement, while others use their Coast Guard forces to respond to what would otherwise clearly be acts of war.  In short, sometimes the arrival of Coast Guard forces indicates a lowering of the crisis level, sometimes an enemy is simply preparing the battle ground. It is clear either way that globally 2013 is shaping up as "The Year of the Coast Guards". In this "Year of the Coast Guards" it is clear that the convergence of the Coast Guards of two different nations into a single area is no longer a sign of cooperative search and rescue but a possible prelude to war..

 We've been bringing you the Far East examples of this for weeks. Below are some descriptions of our on going situation on the Rio Grande up dated.

Big Bend  U.S. National Park Area of the Rio Grande

American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies   

In my former job, among many other duties, I was charged with monitoring and reporting on Congressional hearings into maritime physical security issues. There seems to be a difference of opinion between the Department of Homeland Security of the United States and the Departments of Homeland Security and Public Safety of the State of Texas. The present Secretary of the DHS has stated in sworn testimony before Congress that "the Southwest Border has never been more secure." Later testimony by Texas State law enforcement and military department officials describe Texas counties bordering the Rio Grande as "virtual war zone". When I wrote about this apparent difference in views between Congressional witnesses I was admonished to refrain from writing "unsolicited, lengthy missives". 

 The most violent enemy in this "war" unacknowledged by the DHS are known as the ZETAS. Click here for a short video explaining their origin, methodology and role, then click on the YouTube "back" arrow in the upper left hand corner to return here:

Here is the view of the Texas Rangers on border security along the Rio Grande:

Our first presentation to the public about the problems on the Rio Grande, an international boundary water and the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard was via a guest blog by Vic Socotra months ago. Our research indicates that the DHS is still in denial and nothing (* Now, perhaps we might say little) has materially changed. Below is Vic's unique view of the situation. You will be hearing more about this issue as time goes on here in cyber space. We'll try to avoid another charge of "unsolicited lengthy missives"by using more videos. But we have to warn you the truth is graphic and not for the feint of heart.

By Guest Blogger Vic Socotra


(A Littoral Combat Ship- this one the USS Independence fitting out. Navy Photo.)

It is easy to get my buddy Boats going. He is a crusty old Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate from the Hooligan Navy- the proud and ironic title used by member of the United States Coast Guard.

He told me one time that the Marines and the Coast Guard work very well together, since the two Services operate (in wartime for the Coasties) as part of the Department of the Navy, who is the real enemy.

Increasingly, my old service is involved in real important things like commissioning ships in memory of the cantankerous Earmark King of Pennsylvania, Rep. John Murtha, labor activist and hero of La Raza, Cesar Chavez, and most recently, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

But don’t get me going on this. I will just say that the ship named for her Gabby will be the Navy’s 10th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), another good idea whose time may have passed. It is designed to bring the Navy fighting power into brown water coastal areas.  The first two ships in this class were called Freedom and Independence, but the conventional naming practice since has been to use American cities.

SECNAV Mabus said the naming is appropriate for “someone who has become synonymous with courage, who has inspired the nation with remarkable resiliency and showed the possibilities of the human spirit.”

That is all true, and the Congresswoman’s husband was a Naval Aviator and Astronaut, but c’mon. A victim of gun violence being honored with the legacy of a heavily-armed littoral combat ship? There are plenty of Medal of Honor winners whose names have not been used.
Just for the record, I want to say that I opposed the naming of the Nimitz-class carrier George H.W. Bush, the Seawolf-class submarine Jimmie Carter, or the Senator Richard C. Shelby Center for Missile and Space Analysis for that matter.

You are supposed to be dead to qualify for the honor, like the USS Gerald Ford. But like I said, this is a new world and all sorts of new fun.

So I was worked up anyway, and heard the news on CNN, and poked Boats about the Texas Navy. We had been talking about the largely moribund concept of state Naval Militias. Michigan doesn’t need one, at the moment, and the Coast Guard seems to take care of Florida in a fairly business-like manner.

But the word that the Texas Department of Public Safety will deploy the first of a fleet of six gunboats on the Rio Grande, the river that delineates the international frontier with our neighbor to the south.
(I don’t know what the name of this particular warship is, but note the machine gun on the foredeck. Photo Texas DPS.)

The 34-foot-long boats, each powered by three, 300-horsepower outboard engines that can operate in water as shallow as two feet. They will also be armored and tote six machine guns apiece, not unlike the river patrol boats the Navy used during the Vietnam War. In fact, the new boats are intended to augment two Swift Boats someone cobbled together from the war in SE Asia.

The six boats will be named after Texas state troopers killed in the line of duty. The first was DPS Jerry Don Davis, who was shot and killed in 1980. The second will be named in honor of trooper David Irvine Rucker, who was killed in 1981.

Boats wrote me back, clearly agitated. “What I predicted for over a year is coming true. The DHS has refused to protect Texas. The report that Congress demanded for January 2011 still sits on Secretary Napolitano’s desk. She promised a "persistent Coast Guard presence" on the Rio Grande that she has not been able to deliver.”

“There have been two "Swift Boats" operating on the big impoundments like Falcon Lake for about a year, where that couple was assaulted by druggies a while back. The six new ones are intended to patrol the lower river.”

“To support them, two heavily armed companies of Texas Rangers have been trained to act as RECON units. They have been in the valley for a year.”

“The real story isn't drug smuggling though the Zeta drug organization is at the heart of the problem. The problem has been military like attacks by the Zetas on the Texas side of the border against remote ranchers defending their property, private citizens and law enforcement personnel. As much as a year ago I was predicting that it would come to this and the eventual consequences.”

The Texas DPS wants to change the "rules of engagement" away from standard law enforcement practices to military-type rules based on the law of armed conflict. This would avoid the type of lunacy described before Congress by Sheriff Sigfried Gonzales where the Sheriff is supposed to stand in the road with his 38 cal. revolver facing a Zeta manned Humvee with a tripod mounted 50 cal. machine gun and ask them to stop so he can read them their Marinda rights. If Texas had received the change they asked for Texas Ranger Recon units could lay in ambush and open fire on known Zeta targets like that armed Humvee.”
“Texas wanted to avoid direct risk of confrontation between their own military and paramilitary forces like the Texas Rangers and Texas State Guard with the Mexican Military patrolling just a few hundred yards away on the other side of the river. This is why Texas asked for but was refused a "persistent Coast Guard presence on the Rio Grande." 
“So, now Texas State Gun boats and two companies of militarized Texas Rangers are in the area and the Texas State paramilitary presence is growing. Read your Texas history. Texas in the end always controls its borders and a main feature of that control has been a willingness, almost an enthusiasm, for crossing the river and eliminating any sanctuaries of the enemy.”
The problem today is that on the South side of the river the Mexican Army is on patrol looking for the same bad guys but would fire without hesitation on a Texas uniform. Due to DC based stupidity we are growing ever closer to the danger of exchanges of gunfire between governmental forces.”
“The situation screams for federal control but its not coming. Texas is on its own that's why it's building gunboats. In no time we will see at least nine Texas-owned machinegun mounted gunboats on this international river, and the valley will largely be protected by forces with a historical habit of eventually denying sanctuary to their enemy even if they must cross the Rio Grande to root them out.”
“This time, though, the Mexican regular army is on the far side.  It is even possible that Texas DPS paramilitary forces independent of the Texas National Guard could conceivably defeat the Mexican Regulars. But remember, even if Texas wins, the U.S. loses in such a confrontation. It is time for that "persistent Coast Guard presence" asked for by Texas. It' s time for federal forces to cover the ground in the valley.”
I think that is perfectly reasonable; but I also don’t think that is going to happen. I wrote him back to say so. “We are ignoring a war in progress on our southern boarder that has killed more than 34,000 Mexicans, assassinated dozens of mayors and police, and killed a hundred American citizens, including federal agents.
Boats doesn’t think our government is going to step up to do anything about it. I have always believed defense of the borders was a Federal and not a State thing, and we ought to treat it that way.
The right thing is for the Hooligan Navy to be directed to do its job. In the meantime, he thinks people ought not to mess with Texas. The names of the ships in their little fleet send exactly that message. What on earth are we going to do it Texas goes to war again on its own?

 Texas Swift Boat.jpg .jpg
Copyright 2012 Vic Socotra
www.vicsocotra.comThe "War" in Texas

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