NorthCom’s stated mandate is to “provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need.”
“coordinated response to national requests for military assistance [from civil authorities] in the event of a threat, attack, or civil emergency in the US or Canada.”
Its borders will be controlled by US officials and confidential information on Canadians will be shared with Homeland Security. US troops and Special Forces will be able to enter Canada as a result of a binational arrangement. Canadian citizens can be arrested by US officials, acting on behalf of their Canadian counterparts and vice versa. But there is something perhaps even more fundamental in defining and understanding where Canada and Canadians stand as a Nation.
By Shaun WatermanUPIJune 28, 2005WASHINGTON ~ The United States and its North American neighbours say they will set up a trusted traveler scheme for the whole continent by 2008, and will this year develop a plan to respond together to major terror attacks and other incidents.Trusted traveler programs enable people who provide biometric personal data ~ like fingerprints or iris scans ~ pay a fee and submit to background checks to use special travel lanes at border crossings.The idea is to speed processing for those travelers not thought security risks, and whose identity can be verified biometrically.A Department of Homeland Security statement Monday said that air and sea ports would also be included.The program, first unveiled last week at a House panel by homeland security official Elaine Dezenski, would incorporate both NEXUS and SENTRI ~ the two trusted traveler programs currently run at the U.S. border.DHS spokesman Russ Knocke told United Press International that details of the scheme ~ including whether it would employ biometrics ~ have yet to be finalized, but added that biometrics was “the direction everything’s moving in, identity-wise.”Answering reporters’ questions about the scheme in Ottawa Monday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said “the way forward ultimately, not just with respect to North America, but with respect to the world, is biometrics.”The program is part of a hugely ambitious initiative launched by President Bush, Mexican President Vincente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on March 23 this year, following their summit at the president’s Crawford, Texas ranch.Ultimately, the Security and Prosperity Partnership for North America, as it is called, aims to standardize border admissions procedures ~ watchlist checks, visa processing and document standards ~ to the point where “all travelers arriving in North America will experience a comparable level of screening,” according to a homeland security fact sheet.The program was announced Monday following a meeting in Ottawa, Canada, between Chertoff and his opposite numbers ~ Mexican Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Anne McLellan.The three were joined by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Canadian Minister of Industry David Emerson and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Fernando Canales.The meeting, the first in a series of planned follow-ons to the March summit, also agreed that the three nations would work towards “compatible biometric border and immigration systems,” announced the elimination of a series of regulatory barriers and other impediments to cross-border commerce, and committed to a comprehensive plan for responding together to major terror attacks and other incidents.Within 12 months, the fact sheet says, the three nations will have established “protocols for incident management that impact border operations (and for) maritime incidents, cross-border public health emergencies and cross-border law enforcement response.”Co-operation on incident response will also include “interoperable communications systems” and joint preparedness exercises, including one ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.The United States and Mexico also agreed to form joint intelligence-sharing task forces along their border “to target criminal gang and trafficking organizations.”The three countries also committed to work towards “compatible criteria for the posting of lookouts of suspected terrorists and criminals” and “real time information sharing on high risk individuals and cargos.”This last element of the plans may prove controversial in Canada, where public opinion seems concerned that a closer security relationship with the United States might jeopardize Canada’s traditionally welcoming attitude toward asylum seekers or require an unnerving degree of information sharing.The case of Maher Arar has dramatized Canadian concerns about counter-terror cooperation. Arar is a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was shipped to Syria ~ where he was tortured ~ by U.S. authorities after Canadian intelligence identified him to them as a suspected associate of a suspected terrorist.“The real time sharing of information with U.S. security agencies about a foreigner visiting Vancouver with no intention of entering the United States seems certain to cause a stir,” opined the Toronto Globe and Mail earlier this year, adding that just such transparency would be necessary to the most ambitious visions of a common U.S.-Canadian security frontier.In Mexico, attention is fixed on different questions about the partnership ~ which Mexican officials refer to as the Security, Prosperity and Quality of Life Partnership.“Why has the initiative not included funding provisions for reducing the economic gap between Mexico and the United States and Canada?” asked a Mexican reporter of Chertoff and Gutierrez.Copyright UPI, 2005
CNN, June 10, 2005ExcerptDOBBS: Border security is arguably the critical issue in this country’s fight against radical Islamist terrorism. But our borders remain porous. So porous that three million illegal aliens entered this country last year, nearly all of them from Mexico.Now, incredibly, a panel sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations wants the United States to focus not on the defense of our own borders, but rather create what effectively would be a common border that includes Mexico and Canada.Christine Romans has the report.RELATED: Internationalizing US Roads
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Capitol Hill, testimony calling for Americans to start thinking like citizens of North America and treat the U.S., Mexico and Canada like one big country.ROBERT PASTOR, IND. TASK FORCE ON NORTH AMERICA: The best way to secure the United States today is not at our two borders with Mexico and Canada, but at the borders of North America as a whole.ROMANS: That’s the view in a report called “Building a North American Community.” It envisions a common border around the U.S., Mexico and Canada in just five years, a border pass for residents of the three countries, and a freer flow of goods and people.PASTOR: What we hope to accomplish by 2010 is a common external tariff which will mean that goods can move easily across the border. We want a common security perimeter around all of North America, so as to ease the travel of people within North America.ROMANS: Buried in 49 pages of recommendations from the task force, the brief mention, “We must maintain respect for each other’s sovereignty.” But security experts say folding Mexico and Canada into the U.S. is a grave breach of that sovereignty.FRANK GAFFNEY, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: That’s what would happen if anybody serious were to embrace this strategy for homogenizing the United States and its sovereignty with the very different systems existing today in Canada and Mexico.RESOURCES: AZTLAN – the plan for ‘reconquista’.ROMANS: Especially considering Mexico’s problems with drug trafficking, human smuggling and poverty. Critics say the country is just too far behind the U.S. and Canada to be included in a so-called common community. But the task force wants military and law enforcement cooperation between all three countries.UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Indeed, an exchange of personnel that bring Canadians and Mexicans into the Department of Homeland Security.ROMANS: And it wants temporary migrant worker programs expanded with full mobility of labour between the three countries in the next five years.ROMANS: The idea here is to make North America more like the European Union. Yet, just this week, voters in two major countries in the European Union voted against upgrading ~ updating the European constitution. So clearly, this is not the best week to be trying to sell that idea.DOBBS: Americans must think that our political and academic elites have gone utterly mad at a time when three-and-a-half years, approaching four years after September 11, we still don’t have border security. And this group of elites is talking about not defending our borders, finally, but rather creating new ones. It’s astonishing.ROMANS: The theory here is that we are stronger together, three countries in one, rather than alone.DOBBS: Well, it’s a ~ it’s a mind-boggling concept. Christine Romans, thank you, as always.
Alejandro Dominguez, seen here at his swearing-in ceremony, was ambushed by a number of gunmen several hours just after that ceremony as he left his office. The assassins fired more than three dozen rounds that struck Dominguez.
He was the only person who volunteered to become Nuevo Laredo’s police chief. The position has been vacant for weeks after the previous chief of police resigned. The town is at the center of what is a violent war between Mexican drug lords. The State Department has issued two travel warnings for Americans about that area just this year. And amazingly, the Mexican government calls those State Department warnings unnecessary.
Still ahead, the military recruiting crisis is escalating. New questions tonight about the viability of the all-volunteer military. General David Grange is our guest.
RECOGNIZING the contributions of the OAS and other regional and sub-regional mechanisms to the promotion and consolidation of democracy in the Americas;…
MEXICO AND U.S. PUT “SECURITY PERIMETER” ON FAST-TRACK
By José Carreño, Mexidata,
May 20, 2005
Washington, D.C. ~ Task force groups from the U.S. and Mexico are working together, on a fast-track basis, on in-depth reforms to national security relations between the two countries.
The delegations are working on the creation of a “North American Security Perimeter,” that among other factors includes the identification of targets vulnerable to terrorism along the common border.
Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Foreign Relations said that the negotiations are going well, with an initial session for proposals scheduled for June.
The border area security plan is being discussed at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Mexican National Security and Investigation/Research Center (Cisen) levels.
National security officials and analysts noted that authorities in both countries have suggested the possibility of terrorist attacks on tourist destinations frequented by U.S. citizens
Copyright Mexidata 2005
And be it further enacted, That the following articles are hereby proposed, and from the date of the proclamation of the President of the United States shall take effect, as irrevocable conditions of the admission of the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and the future States of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, to wit:
All public lands not sold or granted; canals, public harbours, light-houses, and piers; river and lake improvements; railway stocks, mortgages, and other debts due by railway companies to the provinces; custom-houses and post offices, shall vest in the United States; but all other public works and property shall belong to the State governments respectively, hereby constituted, together with all sums due from purchasers or lessees of lands, mines, or minerals at the time of the union.
In consideration of the public lands, works, and property vested as aforesaid in the United States, the United States will assume and discharge the funded debt and contingent liabilities of the late provinces, at rates of interest not exceeding five per centum, to the amount of eighty-five million seven hundred thousand dollars, apportioned as follows: To Canada West, thirty-six million five hundred thousand dollars; to Canada East, twenty-nine million dollars; to Nova Scotia, eight million dollars; to New Brunswick, seven million dollars; to Newfoundland, three million two hundred thousand dollars; and to Prince Edward Island, two million dollars; and in further consideration of the transfer by said provinces to the United States of the power to levy import and export duties, the United States will make an annual grant of one million six hundred and forty-six thousand dollars in aid of local expenditures, to be apportioned as follows: To Canada West, seven hundred thousand dollars; to Canada East, five hundred and fifty thousand dollars; to Nova Scotia, one hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars; to New Brunswick, one hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars; to Newfoundland, sixty-five thousand dollars; to Prince Edward Island, forty thousand dollars.
For all purposes of State organization and representation in the Congress of the United States, Newfoundland shall be part of Canada East, and Prince Edward Island shall be part of Nova Scotia, except that each shall always be a separate representative district, and entitled to elect at least one member of the House of Representatives, and except, also, that the municipal authorities of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island shall receive the indemnities agreed to be paid by the United States in Article II.
ARTICLE V.(1) New Brunswick, with its present limits;(2) Nova Scotia, with the addition of Prince Edward Island;(3) Canada East, with the addition of Newfoundland and all territory east of longitude eighty degrees and south of Hudson’s strait;(4) Canada West, with the addition of territory south of Hudson’s bay and between longitude eighty degrees longitude ninety degrees;(5) Selkirk Territory, bounded east by longitude ninety degrees, south by the late boundary of the United States, west by longitude one hundred and five degrees, and north by the Arctic Circle;(6) Saskatchewan Territory, bounded east by longitude one hundred and five degrees, south by latitude forty-nine degrees, west by the Rocky mountains, and north by latitude seventy degrees;(7) Columbia Territory, including Vancouver’s Island, and Queen Charlotte’s island, and bounded east and north by the Rocky mountains, south by latitude forty-nine degrees, and west by the Pacific ocean and Russian America. But Congress reserves the right of changing the limits and subdividing the areas of the western territories at discretion.
The Congress of the United States shall enact, in favour of the proposed Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, all the provisions of the act organizing the Territory of Montana, so far as they can be made applicable.
The United States, by the construction of new canals, or the enlargement of existing canals, and by the improvement of shoals, will so aid the navigation of the Saint Lawrence river and the great lakes that vessels of fifteen hundred tons burden shall pass from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to Lakes Superior and Michigan: Provided, That the expenditure under this article shall not exceed fifty millions of dollars.
The United States will appropriate and pay to “The European and North American Railway Company of Maine” the sum of two millions of dollars upon the construction of a continuous line of railroad from Bangor, in Maine, to Saint John’s, in New Brunswick: Provided, That said “The European and North American Railway Company of Maine” shall release the government of the United States from all claims held by it as assignee of the States of Maine and Massachusetts.
To aid the construction of a railway from Truro, in Nova Scotia, to Riviere du Loup, in Canada East, and a railway from the city of Ottawa, by way of Sault Ste. Marie, Bayfield, and Superior, in Wisconsin, Pembina, and Fort Garry, on the Red River of the North, and the valley of the North Saskatchewan river to some point on the Pacific ocean north of latitude forty-nine degrees, the United States will grant lands along the lines of said roads to the amount of twenty sections, or twelve thousand eight hundred acres, per mile, to be selected and sold in the manner prescribed in the act to aid the construction of the Northern Pacific railroad, approved July two, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and acts amendatory thereof; and in addition to said grants of lands, the United States will further guarantee dividends of five per centum upon the stock of the company or companies which may be authorized by Congress to undertake the construction of said railways: Provided, That such guarantee of stock shall not exceed the sum of thirty thousand dollars per mile, and Congress shall regulate the securities for advances on account thereof.
The public lands in the late provinces, as far as practicable, shall be surveyed according to the rectangular system of the General Land office of the United States; and in the Territories west of longitude ninety degrees, or the western boundary of Canada West, sections sixteen and thirty-six shall be granted for the encouragement of schools, and after the organization of the Territories into States, five per centum of the net proceeds of sales of public lands shall be paid into their treasuries as a fund for the improvement of roads and rivers.
The United States will pay ten millions of dollars to the Hudson Bay Company in full discharge of all claims to territory or jurisdiction in North America, whether founded on the charter of the company or any treaty, law, or usage.
It shall be devolved upon the legislatures of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Canada East, and Canada West, to conform the tenure of office and the local institutions of said States to the Constitution and laws of the United States, subject to revision by Congress.