A leak of more than 4 million documents from Mexico’s Department of Defense [SEDENA] continues to uncover new allegations including collusion between high-level military officials and the drug cartels. Known as the ‘Guacamaya Leaks’, the confidential documents from the Mexican government show how military officials sold technical equipment, weapons, and key information about rival gangs to cartels.
“After the revelation of the hacking, the intellectual capacities of the SEDENA, including the National Guard, are severely compromised,” warned Mexican national security expert Alejandro Hope. “
Hope told Fox News Digital: “For one thing, their information-gathering methods may have been exposed, essentially throwing away several million dollars of technology investment. Likewise, the relationship with any informant that military intelligence has is seriously damaged, even if those names are not among the stolen information [the informants do not know it.] Similarly, the exchange of information with foreign agencies will be difficult due to well-founded fears that SEDENA’s systems are not secure.”
The leaks are especially relevant at a time when the government has been accused by critics of militarizing public security by granting extraordinary powers to the army, despite condemnation and anger from citizens and dozens of civil society organizations. Observers fear that the country’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who promised to bring peace and take the army to the barracks, has given them the highest budget and unlimited power that no other president had previously conferred on them.
Hope cautioned “this is a fundamental reason to deny more power, faculties, and budget to SEDENA: it is an institution that simply refuses to submit to democratic controls.”
Luis Rubio, Chairman of México Evalúa, a think tank based in Mexico City, told Fox News Digital the leaks “exhibit an army with little sophistication in general, very basic in its approaches, little knowledge of the world in which they live and less of the rest of the planet. Military officials are very concerned and sensitive to any external criticism. Specifically, they retain the very “sovereignist” vision that the Americans are a danger, a threat to Mexico’s natural resources, especially oil.”
President López Obrador minimized the scandal and stated at the time: “There’s nothing that isn’t known.” He said the intrusion apparently occurred during a change of Defense Department systems. According to his critics, his objective is to keep intact his relationship with the criminal groups that can guarantee him resources and support to maintain his political ambitions into the 2024 presidential elections. Some observers say for him, the army plays a fundamental role in his electoral and political agenda, and that is why he is willing to protect them and to cover any scandal at any price.
“The three lessons I take from Guacamaya leaks are The Army’s inability to understand and relate to society in general, their displeasure with the responsibilities that have been assigned to them but that, as a structure that answers to their boss, they discipline themselves.” He said that “Perhaps the most important, is that their loyalty is to the President, not to the State or the Constitution” México Evalúa chairman Rubio said.
Experts fear that this complicity will continue to deteriorate security and weaken the rule of law even more. As the leaks reveal, there are links between former SEDENA pilots and drug traffickers, and at least 70 criminal groups are responsible for the violence and crimes in Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. The government assigns seven times more soldiers to detain migrants than to fight Huachicol or fuel theft.
In a report titled “Results of Air Intelligence,” dated September 2020, SEDENA stated that “organized crime uses the airport infrastructure and the national airspace, taking advantage of the vacuum of authority due to the lack of capabilities of some agencies, lack of a legal framework and inefficient administrative processes”.
Observers expect that a lot of key findings will come out in the following weeks, as the leaks continue to reveal how the government has been spying on citizens, journalists, activists, and politicians. Mexican digital rights organization R3D, or Red en Los Defensa de Los Derechos Digitales, has identified Pegasus infections against journalists and human rights defenders taking place between 2019 and 2021. The cases occurred after the Mexican president assured the public that the government no longer used the spyware and that there would be no further abuses.
Source: El Financiero