The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued requests for proposals for prototypes for Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border, saying the wall facing the U.S. side should be “aesthetically pleasing in color,” though it makes no mention of how the controversial should look on the Mexican side.
A wall to stem undocumented migration was one of Trump’s main campaign promises and has been highly controversial. The president has vowed to make Mexico reimburse the United States for its cost but Mexico has repeatedly said it will not do so.
Earlier this week, the White House requested US$3 billion more for Homeland Security, with some of that intended for planning and building the border wall.
According to one document posted online by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Friday night, the wall should be 30 feet high, built using concrete and “physically imposing.” However, it says designs over 18 feet. 5.5 meters, high could be acceptable.
“Designs with heights of less than 18 feet are not acceptable,” the document said. It said the wall should have features that do not allow people to climb over it and should prevent digging below the wall.
“The wall shall prevent/deter for a minimum of 1 hour the creation of a physical breach of the wall (e.g., punching through the wall) larger than 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter or square using sledgehammer, car jack, pickaxe, chisel, battery-operated impact tools, battery-operated cutting tools, oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools,” it said.
The other document requesting proposals has many of the same requirements but it does not specify that it be solid concrete.
How French Anti-Drug Chief Set up a Drug-Trafficking Ring
A book written by a former French informant that infiltrated Mexican drug cartels reveals how France’s agency fighting drug-trafficking organized its own drug ring, local media reported Sunday.
Recently divorced, Hubert Avoine served the French intelligence service between 2007 and 2014, after some time in prison in exchange for judicial support to obtain custody of his children, according to online magazine Les Inrocks.
As part of the operation to dismantle Mexican drug lord El Chapo’s ring, Avoine found out after several years of service that the agency was using him and other non-official informants to bring drugs into French territory.
The book titled, “The Infiltrated,” released on Thursday, names commissioner Francois Thierry specifically, head of the Central Office for the Suppression of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs.
As suspicions started rising over the agency in 2015, Avoine decided to turn to Attorney General Francois Molins, resulting in the opening of an investigation and the arrest of Thierry just last week.
The book also describes how French intelligence services sent him to Mexico — officially as a mediator for the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt held as a hostage in Colombia by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — where he met various drug lords in order to obtain information about her health, as then-President Nicolas Sarkozy made her liberation a political priority.
Among them, he met Ivan Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel, and Gabriella Vazquez, in charge of the cartel’s money-laundering in Swiss banks.
“Such objective collusion between dirty money and big banks raise another question: do the (United) States have the political will to fight crime in finance?” he wonders, evoking the scandal that affected HSBC, sentenced to pay a US$1.9 billion fine in 2012.
As for Thierry’s drug-trafficking ring, it was initially and officially set up as bait to attract customers before arresting them when they came back into France with drugs. But Avoine soon realized that all of them were not being arrested, but instead were supplying France with drugs with the covert support of the Octris in exchange for a small commission on the profits.
The book denounces the consequences of a result-driven policy, intensified during Sarkozy’s term, which encourages anti-drug services to invent cases in order to satisfy the government, at the expense of many cases of abuse and human rights violations.