May 12-18, 2022 | Issue 8 - NORTHCOM
Savannah Fellows, Gabriel Mariotti, Maria Ruehl, Rhiannon Thomas, NORTHCOM Team
Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff
Mexico’s National Bank
Date: May 12, 2022
Parties involved: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador; Mexican government; Mexican Supreme Court; Mexican Finance Ministry; Mexican law enforcement; Mexican citizens
The event: The Mexican Supreme Court issued a ruling permitting tax and financial authorities to gain access to citizens’ and companies’ banking information without a warrant. The ruling came after the Finance Ministry was accused of violating an individual’s right to privacy for requesting bank documents over tax fraud suspicions. The court argued that financial privacy comes second to preventing money laundering, tax fraud, and other financial abuses and that the new rule will be applied carefully. President Lopez Obrador views the ruling as a victory, previously arguing for tax agencies to be tougher on big companies’ taxes. Cartels are also heavily involved with money laundering, where tracking money flows through banks has been very helpful in the past for identifying and stopping laundering efforts. Opposition to the ruling argues that the ruling is a transgression of the privacy of Mexican citizens.
Analysis & Implications:
The decision to remove the necessity of obtaining a warrant will likely lead to increased corruption for political gain if the Mexican Supreme Court or government does not monitor warrant usage. Due to the Mexican Supreme Court likely experiencing political unrest and pressure from politicians supporting banking rights, there is a roughly even chance the Supreme Court will amend warrant terms, likely requiring the use of warrants for less extreme criminal activity. The Mexican Supreme Court will likely handle unrest and potential corruption by creating a case-by-case system in regards to warrants needed for banking information access, likely to form a balance between privacy rights and combating money laundering.
There is a roughly even chance that access to individuals' and companies' banking information without a warrant will decrease cartel money laundering and tax fraud. A decrease in these areas will very likely impede cartels from accessing and using their finances from drug sales. This will almost certainly weaken the cartels' ability to retain power through bribery, such as to police and government officials, likely making it harder to smuggle drugs and operate without more government attention.
International relations will likely be strained due to rising distrust in Mexican banks. This will very likely affect business investments domestically and internationally due to different banking privacy laws and views in the country and abroad. Mexico’s international relations will likely see investment in the Mexican financial system to be high risk for governments and corporations due to the lack of regulation for citizens’ private banking information. This will likely result in Mexico and its allies experiencing negative economic implications, like a decrease in commercial trade, due to reduced monetary investment in the country.
Date: May 15, 2022
Location: Laguna Woods, California, USA
Parties involved: US government; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Orange County Police Department; US law enforcement; US citizens; Perpetrator David Chou
The event: At about 1330 local time, David Chou entered Geneva Presbyterian Church and opened fire on around 40 luncheon attendees, who were primarily Taiwanese. Before the attack, Chou stored Molotov cocktails at the church and chained and glued the entrances to prevent attendees from escaping. One individual was killed and five others were injured in the attack, each of Taiwanese heritage. The attack was motivated by the shooter’s hatred of Taiwan and recent tensions between Taiwan and China regarding Taiwan’s claim to independence. The suspect is in police custody and the FBI has opened a hate crime investigation into the case.
Analysis & Implications:
The attack was likely motivated by the recent increase in tensions between Taiwan and China over China’s One China policy. Increased attention on China-Taiwan relations will likely re-ignite negative feelings between Chinese and Taiwanese people because of the dispute over Taiwan’s independence. Increased tensions will have a roughly even chance to lead to increased tensions between Taiwanese and Chinese individuals in the US, which will have a roughly even chance of leading to more attacks between the two groups.
The attack almost certainly continues a rising trend of hate crimes in the US, notably violent firearm attacks. The trend will very likely continue as it is likely some individuals hold similar views to Chou, and there is a roughly even chance they will conduct their own attacks. Individuals of Asian heritage very likely feel marginalized and unsafe following numerous attacks against them during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising trend is very likely to further increase feelings of insecurity. Those of Asian heritage will likely perceive security policies of local law enforcement and local government as ineffective, with a roughly even chance of individuals seeking personal safety measures for self-defense.
The rising trend of hate crimes in the US targeting locations perceived by minority communities as safe spaces, such as churches, will very likely create social unrest as feelings of insecurity among minorities will very likely continue to increase. There is a roughly even chance of demonstrations occurring to pressure the US government to implement security measures to combat rising hate crimes and ensure the safety of minorities in the US. Counter-protests, very likely attended by white supremacist groups and sympathizers, will likely occur to oppose those attending protests against hate crimes. With the counter-protestors present, violence among protesting individuals is more likely to occur.
________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)
 Money-laundering methods of drug cartels and the capture of El Chapo, Reuters, https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/insights/white-papers/money-laundering-methods-of-drug-cartels-and-the-capture-of-el-chapo
 Privacy advocates slam Mexico court ruling over access to bank data, Reuters, May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/privacy-advocates-slam-mexico-court-ruling-over-access-bank-data-2022-05-12/
 California church shooter was motivated by hate, politics, Reuters, May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/suspect-california-church-shooting-identified-booked-one-count-murder-2022-05-16/