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Mexican cartel’s founding members trained at Fort Bragg: report

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The US military may have inadvertently taught one of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels advanced military tactics, an al-Jazeera investigation alleges.

In the early 1990s, members of an elite Mexican military squad were trained at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics techniques. Ironically, somewhere between 30 and 200 of the approximately 500 Mexican soldiers who trained there went on to form the Zetas drug cartel, al-Jazeera reports.

Craig Deare, whom al-Jazeera describes as “a former US special operations commander,” told the news network that the Mexican soldiers “were given map reading courses, communications, standard special forces training, light to heavy weapons, machine guns and automatic weapons.”

Al-Jazeera reports:

The Mexican personnel who received US training and later formed the Zetas came from the Airmobile Special Forces Group (GAFE), which is considered an elite division of the Mexican military….

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After US training, GAFE operatives defected from the Mexican military to become hired guns, providing security to the Gulf cartel, a well established trafficking organization, according to Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas program of the International Relations Center.

“They split from the Gulf cartel and formed as a cartel in their own right,” Carlsen, based in Mexico City, told Al Jazeera.

The Zetas’ alleged current leaders, Heriberto Lazcano, known as Z-3 and Miguel Trevino, or Z-40, were first recruited by Osiel Cardenas, the now-jailed leader of the Gulf cartel. The name “Zetas” originates from the radio code “Z” used by top military commanders in Mexico.

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“Military forces from around the world train at Ft. Bragg, so there is nothing unique about Mexican operatives learning counter-insurgency tactics at the facility,” the news network notes. “However, critics say the specific skills learned by the Zetas primed them for careers as contract killers and drug dealers.”

An estimated 29,000 people have been killed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in 2006.

In recent months the war has been marked with increasingly brazen and violent attacks, such as the slaughter of 72 migrants on the US-Mexico border in August. Police say the massacre may have been related to a dispute between the Zetas cartel and the group they spawned from, the Gulf Cartel.

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In September, 27 gunmen believed to have links to cartels were found dead in Ciudad Mier. They were on property owned by the Zetas.

Last year, gunmen believed to be working for the Zetas broke 53 people out of a prison, part of a pattern of prison break-puts allegedly orchestrated by the group.


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GUILTY: Jury rules Michael Flynn’s former business partner is guilty of lobbying for Turkey

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Michael Flynn's former business partner Bijan Kian was found guilty by a jury for illegally lobbying for a foreign country.

The information was uncovered as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and as the Justice Department's crackdown on illegal foreign lobbying, CNN explained.

Flynn has had a difficult go in his court case, but information Flynn gave was helpful, according to the DOJ.

Kian is an Iranian-American businessman who was charged with conspiring to hide his lobbying work for Turkey without registering as a foreign agent for the Turkish government.

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“It’s as bad as it looks”: Pelosi under fire for debt ceiling deal that hands GOP power to kneecap progressive agenda

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"It sets up a crisis of the first year of the next president's administration," said a former congressional staffer. "We're letting them light the fuse on another bomb and place it squarely in the middle of the next president's first year."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have helped temporarily avert a looming fiscal crisis on Tuesday by striking a budget deal with the Trump administration, but progressives warned the agreement hands Republicans power to kneecap the next president's agenda by suspending the debt ceiling until after the 2020 elections.

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FLASHBACK: Mueller makes GOP lawmaker look like an absolute fool during 2013 hearing

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While previewing former special counsel Robert Mueller's upcoming testimony before the House of Representatives, CNN on Tuesday played a clip from six years ago showing Mueller schooling Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who tried to corner the then-FBI director about his agency's work on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

During the hearing, Gohmert tried to get Mueller to explain why the FBI supposedly hadn't visited the mosque that was frequented by the Tsarnaev brothers, the two American citizens of Chechen descent who carried out the attack.

"Why did no one go to the mosque and say, who are these guys?" Gohmert asked. "Why was that not done?"

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