May 05-11, 2022 | Issue 7 - NORTHCOM
Savannah Fellows, Jan García, Gabriel Mariotti, Maria Ruehl, Rhiannon Thomas, NORTHCOM Team
Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff
Protests on violence against Mexican journalists
Date: May 6, 2022
Location: Culiacán, Sinaloa state, Mexico
Parties involved: Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador; Luis Enrique Ramirez Ramos; Mexican journalists; Mexican cartels; Mexican citizens; Mexican law enforcement
The event: On Thursday, May 6, Ramirez Ramos was found dead on a dirt road near a junkyard, becoming the ninth journalist killed in Mexico this year. Mexican cartels often target Mexican journalists for linking cartels to local politicians and police forces. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has previously defended the government’s criticism of journalists by calling journalists “conservatives” and “mercenaries.”
Analysis & Implications:
The frequency of killings will likely discourage other journalists from covering topics related to cartels and politics to maintain their safety. Violence against journalists will almost certainly continue to reduce media coverage, very likely enabling cartels to conceal illegal activity, which will likely result in cartels gaining more influence with less public pressure on their operations. This pattern is almost certainly a threat to human rights, like free speech and press, as public access to certain news coverage is likely threatened. Citizens will likely make the faulty assumption that cartel activity has decreased due to the decline of reports, and will likely be less cautious in public as a result, almost certainly increasing their chance of being injured or killed from cartels.
President López Obrador’s criticism of journalists likely indicates a lack of government support for their safety, likely resulting in continued cartel violence against journalists. The President’s criticism has a roughly even chance of being interpreted by cartels as government complacency with cartel activities. Limited response from the government will likely result in increased criminal activity, likely threatening public security and increasing pressure on law enforcement.
Mexican citizens will very likely hold President López Obrador accountable for the deaths of journalists, likely due to the government’s insufficient response to cartel violence. Increased crime rates and violence will likely result in social unrest, with extortion and pressure from cartels likely reducing the populations ability to express its concerns. Citizens’ demands for increased investigations into cartel activities will unlikely be met, likely due to the Mexican government's fear of becoming a target of cartel violence. Social unrest and protests against cartel control will likely occur at government buildings if citizens’ demands are not met, with a roughly even chance of turning violent between security and protesters, almost certainly increasing their risk of injuries and deaths.
Date: May 9, 2022
Location: Sasabe, Arizona, USA
Parties involved: QAnon followers; US Border Patrol; US Human Trafficking Task Force; Interagency Task Force; US citizens; Biden Administration; Former US President Donald Trump; Sex-traffickers; Migrant children; Far-right extremist groups; Individual extremists; Mexican cartels
The event: A group of QAnon conspiracy theory movement followers has been camping near the US-Mexico border to protect migrant children from sex-trafficking rings. The far-right conspiracy theory group, which supports former President Trump, believes there is an elite class of pedophiles mainly run by Democrats who are targeting unaccompanied minors. QAnon followers at the border have been asking children for the home addresses and phone numbers of their relatives in the US.
Analysis & Implications:
QAnon followers helping migrant children will very likely use the current border situation to spread propaganda and distrust in the Biden administration, likely aiming to increase support for Trump in the 2024 presidential election. Individuals who align with QAnon ideology and want to help stop sex trafficking will likely be recruited by QAnon members, almost certainly increasing group membership. QAnon’s influence will likely expand beyond far-right individuals as less extreme conservatives and some independents will likely positively view QAnon’s attempt’s to stop sex trafficking. This will almost certainly increase QAnon’s influence in the US, very likely raising the threat posed by the group to US security.
US far-right extremist groups, individual extremists, or far-right sympathizers with similar beliefs to QAnon, like the Proud Boys, will likely collaborate with QAnon at the border, likely creating larger camps. Unqualified citizens acting as border security agents will very likely lead to immigration mismanagement in US Border control agencies, likely resulting in increased tensions between US Border Patrol and QAnon members and sympathizers at the border.
QAnon has a roughly even chance of using the information collected from migrant children at the border for illicit purposes, like identity fraud or kidnapping for ransom. Phone numbers and addresses collected have a roughly even chance of being used to identify illegal immigrants in the US. Illegal immigrants will likely be targeted if the information is used by QAnon supporters who are anti-immigration. This will likely lead to harassment and potential violence against illegal immigrants by QAnon followers who will likely take border security into their own hands.
US citizens will likely push for more stringent border policies to protect children crossing the border, with a roughly even chance of protests occurring to pressure the Biden administration. Trafficking task forces in the US and Mexico, like the US Human Trafficking Task Force and the Interagency Task Force, will likely strengthen security partnerships and increase information sharing regarding border crossings and sex trafficking rings. Increased security measures and collaborative efforts from both countries will likely reduce drug and arms smuggling along the border, likely impacting cartel operations in Mexico.
________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)
 Mexican journalist killed; 9th media worker slain this year, Al Jazeera, May 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/6/ninth-mexican-media-worker-killed-in-particularly-deadly-year
 Journalist killed in Mexico, eighth so far this year, Associated Press, March 2022, https://apnews.com/article/mexico-media-journalists-mexico-city-butterflies-8d22fe943b22f34429c69802b2a38336
 QAnon Followers Intercept Migrant Kids at Border Amid Trafficking Worries, Newsweek, May 2022, https://www.newsweek.com/qanon-followers-intercept-migrant-kids-border-amid-trafficking-worries-1704830