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U.S.A. sends ships to Caribbean, General announces at press conference
April 3, 2020
6:20 pm
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Straight Zeke the Geek
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Pentagon deploys ships, aircraft and troops to Caribbean, eastern Pacific to help stop drug traffickers

https://www.stripes.com/news/u.....15#gallery

 
By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: April 1, 2020
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has deployed several ships, aircraft and thousands of troops to strengthen counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean and help prevent drugs from coming into the United States, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Wednesday.

Esper made the announcement at the White House alongside President Donald Trump, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, and Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant.

The operation, which started Wednesday, is being conducted as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to stop the flow of drugs into the country, Esper said.

“We came upon some intelligence some time ago that the drug cartels, as a result of [the coronavirus], were going to try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country,” Milley said.

Marines, Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard are now under the leadership of Adm. Craig Faller, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, for the operation, Milley said. Ships and aircraft involved in the operation include several Navy destroyers, littoral combat ships, Coast Guard cutters and P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft.
Some of the personnel, ships, and aircraft have already arrived in the Caribbean.

“This is the United States military, you will not penetrate this country, you will not get past Jump Street, you're not going to come in here and kill additional Americans and we will marshal whatever assets are required to prevent your entry into this country to kill Americans,” Milley said.

Esper pointed to Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro’s government for using the illicit drug trade to keep hold of its power.

“These enhanced counter-narcotic operations that are now underway will further disrupt the flow of illicit drugs to America, deny our adversaries the financial resources they depend on and build the capacity of our partner nations throughout the region,” he said.

The operation also involves 22 partner nations who are assisting the United States with stopping the drug cartel organizations, Esper said, without naming the countries.

Drug cartels are taking advantage of the United States focus on responding to the coronavirus outbreak, Trump said, and America needs to return to stopping the flow of drugs.

“I don’t think we're losing ground, but we don't want to lose ground. That’s why we're doing it. I don't want to lose ground. It's a big fight,” Trump said.

Esper would not say how long the operation would last, only that it would be run “for some matter of time.

Aliens, traitors and mortal enemies would oppose me and attack me but not my loved ones, my family, my countrymen or my allies.

April 7, 2020
3:52 pm
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Straight Zeke the Geek
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Here is another article on this topic.

Trump’s Plan to Deploy Anti-Drug Mission in Caribbean Sparks Backlash in Pentagon

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020.....-pentagon/

The Department of Defense is set to send Navy destroyers and small combat ships to the region to ramp up counter-drug efforts.

elcome to Foreign Policy’s Security Brief. We hope all of our readers are staying safe and healthy and doing their part to flatten the curve. What’s on tap today: Some in the Pentagon are pushing back on Trump’s directive for a counter-narcotics deployment in the Caribbean, the U.S. military is pulling out of more bases in Iraq, and the U.S. Space Force ramps up spending.

Pentagon Pushes Back on Trump’s Caribbean Counter-Drug Mission

The U.S. Defense Department has pushed back sharply against President Donald Trump’s decision to send a phalanx of naval assets to interdict drug shipments in the Caribbean Sea, a former senior administration official told Foreign Policy. Resources are somewhat limited: The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged a U.S. aircraft carrier in Asia and sidelined thousands of troops.

Trump apparently ignored the opposition. “DoD was against it. Didn’t matter to POTUS,” the former senior administration official said, adding it was “all politics.” The assets heading out for the counter-narcotics mission include U.S. Navy destroyers and littoral combat ships, as well as Coast Guard cutters, helicopters, reconnaissance, and patrol planes.

Distraction? The former official added that the timing was off, coming as the White House released projections showing that as many as 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus. Trump, the official said, wants to be able to tout the administration’s work on building the southern border wall and stopping the flow of drugs from South America. It comes after the United States indicted Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro last week on charges of narco-terrorism conspiracy and drug trafficking.

Pivoting assets? Though Trump’s announcement came as a surprise to some Pentagon officials, another former defense official said there has been a growing conversation about sending Navy assets to support U.S. Southern Command. With the Pentagon likely pausing some deployments due to the impacts of COVID-19 and Trump facing re-election, pivoting assets for the drug fight could be another blow to the administration’s strategy to get ready for a potential future war with China.

Aliens, traitors and mortal enemies would oppose me and attack me but not my loved ones, my family, my countrymen or my allies.

April 11, 2020
12:33 pm
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Straight Zeke the Geek
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Military deployment to Caribbean isn't about drugs, it's about Venezuela

https://www.washingtonexaminer.....-venezuela

It's not about drug interdiction, it's about intimidating Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.

That's the top line to the new U.S. military deployment to interdict drug smugglers in the Caribbean. Announced by President Trump on Wednesday, the plan will double the U.S. military assets in the American part of the Southern Hemisphere.

Military deployment to Caribbean isn't about drugs, it's about Venezuela

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It's not about drug interdiction, it's about intimidating Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.

That's the top line to the new U.S. military deployment to interdict drug smugglers in the Caribbean. Announced by President Trump on Wednesday, the plan will double the U.S. military assets in the American part of the Southern Hemisphere.

Yet, we shouldn't give too much weight to Trump's claim that this is about stopping Maduro's supply of drugs to our shores. That's the excuse to gain the buy-in of the 22 other nations supporting this effort. What's really going on here is that Trump is trying to increase pressure on Maduro to step down. The new deployments, especially the Navy destroyers being sent south, are designed to make Maduro believe America will interdict his oil exports or even overthrow his regime if he persists in holding onto power.

Why are the drugs a sideshow

Well, put simply, because the U.S. war on drugs is long-running and long unsuccessful. Vast quantities of cocaine and other illegal narcotics continue to enter America every day. And, while U.S. counterdrug forces deserve credit for their courage and their seizures, their impact is inherently limited by the voracious American demand for drugs. In turn, no one in the Pentagon and the White House seriously believes that sending a few more ships, planes, and drones into the Caribbean is going to win the drug war suddenly. Or even move the needle significantly.

But, as I say, that's not the point here. The point is to scare Maduro

In that regard, the timing of this announcement is quite striking. After all, it follows the U.S. announcement earlier this week of a new deal for Maduro and Venezuela. Offering sanctions relief as the carrot, that deal would require Maduro to step down and accept a ruling transitional government made up of five ministers in his place. Fresh elections would then be held, with international election monitors ensuring the probity of results.

But the gambit hasn't paid off. Maduro has rejected the deal and is instead boosting his harassment of legitimate interim president Juan Guaido

So, while these deployments are designed to deter Maduro from attacking Guaido's person, they're also intended as a response to his rejection of the U.S. offer. The Trump administration wants Maduro to believe that his continuing intransigence will lead only to a more painful fate.

Considering the justifiably limited appetite in Washington for military intervention in Venezuela, however, I'd suggest that Maduro still retains the cards. If and until Cuba abandons him and the military flips against him, the dictator will continue to sit relatively secure in power

.

Aliens, traitors and mortal enemies would oppose me and attack me but not my loved ones, my family, my countrymen or my allies.

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