iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

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Five South Koreans Kidnapped in Mexico For Ransom

July 22, 2008

Five South Koreans, one woman and four men, were kidnapped while driving in Reynosa, a Mexican border city across the border from McAllen, Texas, police and embassy officials said Tuesday, and their captors reportedly are demanding a $30,000 ransom.

According to the South Korean Yonhap news agency, the captors falsely identified themselves as police, a common practice among criminals in Mexico. Mexican officials are investigating but had no leads in the case yet. In a statement made by a South Korean Embassy spokesman, the ransom had not been paid. He added that the kidnapped group had been looking into working in Mexico but did not elaborate. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the five were alive, but Kim said officials were still trying to confirm that. Mexico has one of the highest rates of kidnappings for ransom in the world.

Many abductions are never reported to police, in part for fear officials themselves might be involved or that they would bungle a possible rescue.

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Mexican Police Torture Video Causes Uproar

July 2, 2008


Videos showing Leon police practicing torture techniques on a fellow officer and dragging another through vomit at the instruction of a U.S. adviser created an uproar Tuesday in Mexico, which has struggled to eliminate torture in law enforcement.

Two of the videos – broadcast by national television networks and displayed on newspaper Internet sites – showed what Leon city Police Chief Carlos Tornero described as training for an elite unit that must face “real-life, high-stress situations,” such as kidnapping and torture by organized crime groups.

But many Mexicans saw a sinister side, especially at a moment when police and soldiers across the country are struggling with scandals over alleged abuses.

“They are teaching police … to torture!” read the headline in the Mexico City newspaper Reforma.

Human rights investigators in Guanajuato state, where Leon is located, are looking into the tapes, and the National Human Rights Commission also expressed concerned.

“It’s very worrisome that there may be training courses that teach people to torture,” said Raul Plascencia, one of the commission’s top inspectors.

One of the videos, first obtained by the newspaper El Heraldo de Leon, shows police appearing to squirt water up a man’s nose – a technique once notorious among Mexican police. Then they dunk his head in a hole said to be full of excrement and rats. The man gasps for air and moans repeatedly.

In another video, an unidentified English-speaking trainer has an exhausted agent roll into his own vomit. Other officers then drag him through the mess.

“These are no more than training exercises for certain situations, but I want to stress that we are not showing people how to use these methods,” Tornero said.

He said the English-speaking man was part of a private U.S. security company helping to train the agents, but he refused to give details.

A third video transmitted by the Televisa network showed officers jumping on the ribs of a suspect curled into a fetal position in the bed of a pickup truck. Tornero said that the case, which occurred several months earlier, was under investigation and that the officers involved had disappeared.

Mexican police often find themselves in the midst of brutal battles between drug gangs. Officials say that 450 police, soldiers and prosecutors have lost their lives in the fight against organized crime since December 2006.

At the same time, several recent high-profile scandals over alleged thuggery and ineptness have reignited criticisms of police conduct. In Mexico City last month, 12 people died in a botched police raid on a disco.

The National Human Rights Commission has documented 634 cases of military abuse since President Felipe Calderon sent more than 20,000 soldiers across the nation to battle drug gangs.

And $400 million in drug-war aid for Mexico that was just signed into law by President George W. Bush doesn’t require the U.S. to independently verify that the military has cleaned up its fight, as many American lawmakers and Mexican human rights groups had insisted.

The videos may seem shocking, but training police to withstand being captured is not unusual, said Robert McCue, the director of the private, U.S. firm IES Interactive Training, which provides computer-based training systems in Mexico.

“With the attacks on police and security forces in Mexico that have increased due to the drug cartel wars, I’m not surprised to see this specialized kind of training in resisting and surviving captivity and torture,” he said.

Originally found @ AssociatedPress.com

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


20 Million Dollar Border Fence Scrapped

April 23, 2008

The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted “virtual fence” on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said.

This 98-foot tower, seen last year in Avirica, Arizona, has radar, sensors and sophisticated cameras.

The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by The Boeing Co. The fence consists of nine electronic surveillance towers along a 28-mile section of border southwest of Tucson.

Boeing is to replace the so-called Project 28 prototype with a series of towers equipped with communications systems, cameras and radar capability, officials said.

Less than a week after Chertoff accepted Project 28 on February 22, the Government Accountability Office told Congress it “did not fully meet user needs and the project’s design will not be used as the basis for future” developments.

A glaring shortcoming of the project was the time lag between the electronic detection of movement along the border and the transmission of a camera image to agents patrolling the area, the GAO reported.

Although the fence continues to operate, it hasn’t come close to meeting the Border Patrol’s goals, said Kelly Good, deputy director of the Secure Border Initiative program office in Washington.

“Probably not to the level that Border Patrol agents on the ground thought that they were going to get. So it didn’t meet their expectations.”

The rest of the story can be found @ CNN.com

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