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PROCESO (Mexico), AMERICA ECONOMIA (Latin America)

Worldcrunch

MEXICO CITY - It is being hailed as the first-ever Mexican counterpart to the CIA. But for this new “superministry” of government, established secretly over the past few weeks by just-installed President Enrique Peña Nieto, the main targets are the powerful and bloody organized crime networks that control the vast drug trade.

The objective of the National Intelligence Center (CNI) is to gather all the information generated by every Mexican governmental body linked to security and law enforcement.

The project has been in planning stages since Peña Nieto’s campaign for the presidency began last year, but details have only now been revealed by Mexican news magazine Proceso.

Government officials who spoke anonymously with Proceso say they fear the Mexican Government lacks the necessary knowledge to face a task of this magnitude. Indeed several U.S. government agencies had tried to make something similar happen in Mexico under the last administration of President Felipe Calderon.

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Enrique Peña Nieto and US President Barack Obama - (photo: The White House)

According to the sources, Peña Nieto’s aim is to emulate the intelligence operations, tactics and spy activities of the CIA, which centralizes relevant information in one single entity. According to Santiago-based America Economia, another task that will be handled by the CNI will be to take over all the missing people cases related to organized crime.

Peña Nieto is hoping to maintain one of his central electoral promises of slowly demilitarizing the fight against organized crime undertaken by Calderon. The CNI will help, for example, in the studying of different options and scenarios before launching any type of operative against a certain cartel, drug trafficker or element of organized crime.

According to Proceso, shortly after being elected, Peña Nieto asked Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, who he later named Interior Minister, to hire U.S. consulting agencies specialized in intelligence and security to help build the new agency, which should be officially inaugurated later this year.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

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However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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