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July 14, 2004
Mexican Anti-Kidnapping Technology -- Why Not In Iraq?

CNN reports on a new development for Mexico's war on internal terror, as it has started inoculating its political class against abductions:

Mexico's attorney general said on Monday he had had a microchip inserted under the skin of one of his arms to give him access to a new crime database and also enable him to be traced if he is ever abducted. ...

"The system is here and I already have it. It's solely for access, for safety and so that I can be located at any moment wherever I am," he said, admitting the chip hurt "a little." The chips would enable the wearer to be found anywhere inside Mexico, in the event of an assault or kidnapping, said Macedo.

And kidnapping is a huge problem here. From 1992 to 2002, Mexico saw some 15,000 kidnappings, second only to war-torn Colombia, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

The article doesn't get into technical explanations of the implant or the tracking system which locates it when necessary, but that isn't really the point. Mexico has decided to implement a human Lo/Jack system for its most vulnerable citizens, mostly because so many kidnappings occur and also because the police are so corrupt that the likelihood of them actively searching for the victim apparently equates that of them being in on it, or at least paid to not look very hard.

Putting aside the inevitable, paranoid "mark of the Beast" arguments, this technology could prove very valuable in an area where we face our own vulnerabilities to abduction -- in Iraq. I don't know what the cost might be, and cost would be a consideration given that we have hundreds of thousands of troops and support personnel in Iraq now. But tagging each person with a unique locating device, one that can't be found or removed, would prove invaluable for immediately discovering an abductee and the terrorists who perpetrate these crimes. In fact, once the technique became widely used, the kidnappings would just stop althogether. After catching and killing a couple of gangs of lunatics, word would get around.

And here's another use. Those detainees who cannot be held for one reason or another, but are considered to be higher-risk suspects for terror, could be tagged and tracked. Discovering their movements would give the Iraqis and the Coalition tremendous intelligence on the movement of terrorists in and out of the country. It would also allow security forces to grab terrorists whenever and wherever they gather. Even if there wouldn't be enough to charge them at the time of arrest, such gambits would disrupt planning and preparation for attacks. Foreign terrorists would probably quickly leave the country to avoid being tagged by the Coalition.

It occurs to me that the second scenario may already be in play. If not, we should look to our southern neighbor to determine if this technology couldn't give us the edge we need to destroy the terrorists and their networks.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 14, 2004 5:49 AM

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