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Diplomacy in Action

Newsletter: The INL Beat, Winter 2012


Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
   
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In This Issue:
 


Community Workshop Teaches Community Policing To Youth Leaders
 

Date: 10/2011 Description: Gharm youth and police work together to create safer communities. - State Dept Image
Gharm youth and police work together to create safer communities.

In October, the INL section at the U.S. Embassy Dushanbe, Tajikistan and the Gharm Community Policing Partnership Team hosted a workshop for youth leaders at one of the newly opened Community Policing Centers. The workshop brought together 30 regional youth leaders with 10 police officers and civil society leaders in an effort to identify and develop responses to common youth problems.

Youth participants tackled their problems such as access to education focusing on girls’ needs, the prevention of drug use, anti-social behavior, and promoting their involvement in environmental protection. 

Date: 10/2011 Description: Over 100 townspeople joined police officers from several different operational units, for the opening of the Community Policing Center (CPC) in Rasht District. - State Dept Image
Over 100 townspeople joined police officers from several different operational units, for the opening of the Community Policing Center (CPC) in Rasht District.
This program received great feedback as participants appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues with police officers. As one youth leader remarked, “It was interesting to learn more about youth issues in different communities and how they solve their problems. It was useful to discuss what we can do together, as young people, and in partnership with the police, to make our communities safer.” These programs take the important step of bringing these two groups together as they start working on their common goals.


Reaching Flooded Guatemalan Villages
 

Date: 10/2011 Description: NAS helicopters flew in coordination with the Government of Guatemala to deliver approximately 17,000 pounds of foodstuffs to isolated areas in southern Guatemala as well as in the Peten of the far north. - State Dept Image
NAS helicopters flew in coordination with the Government of Guatemala to deliver approximately 17,000 pounds of foodstuffs to isolated areas in southern Guatemala as well as in the Peten of the far north.
Stories from Guatemala showcase INL Air Wing’s versatility, knowledge of the land, and community involvement.

During the year’s second crisis in October, NAS helicopters flew again in coordination with the Government of Guatemala and delivered approximately 17,000 pounds of foodstuffs to isolated areas in southern Guatemala as well as in the Peten of the far north. NAS aircraft also evacuated 36 personnel from flooded areas and was on standby to evacuate many more, but the local populace elected not to leave their homes and just received the food support.

Their success was built upon the earlier double natural disaster, when on May 27th, the volcano Pacaya erupted, covering Guatemala City with thick ash clouds. The international airport closed as a result, and extensive efforts were required to clean up the ramp to allow for flight operations. Just two days later, Tropical Storm Agatha made landfall in Guatemala, causing extensive damage and flooding, isolating remote communities.

On the morning of the third day of the crisis, the weather conditions improved sufficiently for INL helicopter flight operations to begin assistance to the mountainous region west of the capital. A Huey-II delivered 2,300 pounds of food to Pachalun Quiche and conducted aerial reconnaissance of Pachalu Quiche and Solola. 

Date: 10/2011 Description: Flooded Guatemalan villages. - State Dept Image
Flooded Guatemalan villages.
On May 31st, the fourth day, they provided aerial reconnaissance of Izabal Province on the Gulf Coast and rescued 150 persons trapped on precarious roofs due to flooding of the Rio Motagua. They also overflew the south coast for damage assessment. Returning, they delivered 4,500 pounds of food to Pachalun, and attempted to deliver food to San Lucas Toleman, but had to abort due to inclement weather. On the fifth day, they transported 11,100 pounds of food to the three towns of San Lucas Toliman/Solola, San Jose Poaquil, and Paquil/Chimaltenango. To assist relief efforts, they conducted a reconnaissance flight to check for broken bridges and flood damage along the Motagua and Polochic Rivers.


A Speedboat + A Canoe Is Not Equal to A Helicopter + Night-goggles 
 

Date: 12/18/2011 Description: Pictured on the helicopter is the seizure of 94 colorful packages of cocaine weighing 107 kgs in total. - State Dept Image
Pictured on the helicopter is the seizure of 94 colorful packages of cocaine weighing 107 kgs in total.
An interdiction with DEA assistance, occurred on December 18 on the north coast of Jamaica, which is on the route often used by maritime traffickers between Central America and the U.S.

An unlucky Colombian speedboat on a drug transfer lost its engine; it also lost hope of success. They called upon a local fishing canoe in Jamaica to try to discretely unload the illicit cargo to the safety of land, only to be spotted by a local law enforcement patrol at night.

When the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) are involved in narcotics seizures and eradication efforts, they routinely use NAS-provided equipment, commodities and training, such as Toyota Fielder; Motorola XTS radios and Patriot Night Vision Goggles on this bust. Pictured on the helicopter is the seizure of 94 colorful packages of cocaine weighing 107 kgs in total. They arrested five Jamaican nationals, one Colombian and one Dominican Republic national.


Palestinians Fight Tragic Fire in Israel 
 

Date: 2011 Description: Palestinian CD forces in training exercises. - State Dept Image
Palestinian CD forces in training exercises.
When a tragic fire struck the northern city of Carmel, Israel on December 2, 2010, both Israeli and Palestinian firefighters were brought together to fight the blaze.

The Palestinian Authority supported Israeli efforts by dispatching 21 Palestinian firefighters from the Palestinian Civil Defense (CD). Tragically, 44 Israelis were killed, including 37 prison service officers who were en route to Damun Prison to evacuate prisoners when their bus was caught in the blaze. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated: “Our neighbors faced a tragedy and it was our duty to do humanitarian work toward our neighbors to protect the environment and human life.”

In a special expression of gratitude, Prime Minister Netanyahu conveyed the appreciation of the State of Israel “to the Special Delegation from the Palestinian Authority for the invaluable contribution and exemplary courage in battling the blaze on Mt. Carmel.”

Some of the responding Palestinian firemen were graduates of INL/United States Security Coordinator (USSC) training program, which is designed to support the Palestinian CD and improve its capacity to assist civilians during fire and other rescue emergencies.

INL, in partnership with USSC, began training and equipping the West Bank Palestinian Civil Defense service in 2009. To date approximately 300 Palestinian firefighters have received basic training on fire fighting techniques and search and rescue. The CD now includes approximately 330 firefighters in 26 civil defense stations in the West Bank. Currently three new civil defense stations are under construction, with construction on an additional eight scheduled to begin this year. INL and USSC support also included basic equipment, such as breathing apparatuses, first aid bags, ladders, ambulance blankets, fire gloves, boots and new fire trucks.

INL’s support to Palestinian Civil Defense in the West Bank is part of a broad range of INL and USSC projects designed to improve security in the West Bank and help build effective and credible justice and security institutions which respect human rights and improve citizen confidence in the rule of law.


Airlifting Wounded Police Who are Taking Down Jungle Drug-labs 
 

Date: 2011 Description: Photo collage shows NAS-donated helicopter (top, right) and camouflaged drug labs. - State Dept Image
Photo collage shows NAS-donated helicopter (top, right) and camouflaged drug labs.
The Bolivian police and approximately 25 well-armed drug traffickers, including Colombians, engaged in a vicious 20-hour gun battle deep in the jungles of Bolivia. NAS-donated helicopters transported Bolivian reinforcements to and from the fight, with one helicopter sustaining direct fire.

Wounded Bolivian officers were also medevaced by the same helicopters to safety. Sadly, one Bolivian police officer died, and several were injured, while one Colombian was killed and another injured and captured.

As you can see in this camouflaged drug lab, so easy to build and setup, the operation was so quick and successful at swooping in that most of the equipment and drugs were unable to be removed, even though most combatants melted into the jungle during the fight.


First Aid Training in Pakistan: Saving Lives from Day One 
 

Date: 2011 Description: Daphna Blacksea, a former New York City transit police Lieutenant and registered nurse, demonstrates blood loss prevention at an INL/ICITAP-sponsored first aid and CPR training course for Islamabad traffic police. - State Dept Image
Daphna Blacksea, a former New York City transit police Lieutenant and registered nurse, demonstrates blood loss prevention at an INL/ICITAP-sponsored first aid and CPR training course for Islamabad traffic police.
As a means to build confidence and basic skills among law enforcement officials in Pakistan, First Aid and CPR training courses have evolved into much more than anticipated. Each course taught by ICITAP trainers generates numerous stories from officers who heroically step in to save lives, when previously they would have been too afraid and helpless to assist traffic accident victims and others in life-threatening situations.

Five days into his two-week First Aid and CPR course, Mr. Syed Shah of the Islamabad Traffic Police encountered a gruesome motorcycle accident. Officer Shah assessed the victim from “head-to-toe,” as he had learned just days earlier, determining that the victim’s severed foot, connected to the leg only by some skin, was the most life-threatening injury. Using a shirt and an ink pen, he applied a tourniquet to the victim’s leg, stopping 95% of the bleeding before an ambulance arrived.

In his own words, Officer Shah admits, “before attending First Aid course I was unable to do anything at accident and incidents but now I am very much confident that I can save life with this knowledge and I have also learnt about first golden hour in which we can do a lot to save a life.” Muhammad Imran, another police officer who administered First Aid twice within weeks of completing his training wrote of the pride in his work that his new skills give him, “I could not sleep that night and kept thinking about my deed. I felt how much internal satisfaction is achieved by helping human[-ity]. Thanks to you again, and thanks to God who chose me for this noble work.” Many officers have also reported that the public perception of police and their role in society improves among the crowds that inevitably gather at accident scenes and witness police in their first responder roles.

As a result of these training courses, INL is helping Pakistan achieve the goal of more capable and professional law enforcement which enjoys greater public confidence. Since 2009, NAS Islamabad has trained 536 Pakistani police in First Aid and CPR—including 54 women—from Police Service Pakistan, Islamabad Police, Islamabad Traffic Police, National Highways and Motorways police, Punjab police, and Quetta police.


Radio PSAs Help Victims of Domestic Violence  

Sometimes it only takes a few words of encouragement to guide you out of a difficult situation and get your life safely back on track. In many parts of the world, radios are the only means to reach a wide public.

As part of the public awareness campaign to promote the three new Violence Against Women (VAW) Units that opened with INL funding in November, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) aired radio public service announcements (PSAs) that showed powerful results.

According to the manager of Radio Nehad in Balkh, a young woman with visible bruises came to the station after the PSAs aired, requesting help out of a forced marriage to a much older man who beats her regularly. She said she was illiterate and did not own a phone, but had heard the PSAs and asked the station manager for help. A second young woman came to Radio Nehad and said she was part of a “baad” agreement (the practice of giving a woman to settle a dispute). “I came here because I listened to some messages [on the radio] that if a woman is under torture and violation, then there is VAW Unit to support and protect her from injustice,” she said. The manager took both women to the VAW Unit to report their cases.

Radio Nehad voluntarily aired the PSAs far beyond the paid-for schedule because they provided such useful information to their listeners. IDLO also shared the PSAs with the Embassy Public Affairs Section to air nationwide as part of their “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign in December.


Healthy Smiles and Fun in the Sun 
 

Date: 12/2011 Description: Children from the day care zone during a free medical clinic held in Condoto, Colombia. - State Dept Image
Children from the day care zone during a free medical clinic held in Condoto, Colombia.
Here are some children from the day care zone during a free medical clinic held in Condoto, Colombia in December. The program was sponsored by the Narcotic Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy, the National Narcotics Agency, and the Ministry of Justice.

Scouting a Course for Prepared Youth 
 

Date: 12/2011 Description: Scouting programs are great ways to teach valuable life-skills, camaraderie and virtues  to children and youth who wish to build stronger communities. - State Dept Image
Scouting programs are great ways to teach valuable life-skills, camaraderie and virtues to children and youth who wish to build stronger communities.
Scouting programs are great ways to teach valuable life-skills, camaraderie and virtues to children and youth who wish to build stronger communities. In December, Ambassador Hans G. Klemm, opened a ceremony in Kabul launching the “Police and Justice Sector Outreach Program to Afghan Scouts,” in collaboration with PARSA, a local NGO. More than 200 Scouts and Cub Scouts attended along with representatives from the Ministry of Interior and the Afghan Scout Association.

Trumpeting the Cause Against Drugs 
 

Date: 2011 Description: A scene from 2011's Junior Junkanoo--similar to Carnival. - State Dept Image
A scene from 2011's Junior Junkanoo--similar to Carnival.
A scene from 2011’s Junior Junkanoo (similar to Carnival). NAS funded National Drug Council marched with Embassy children and Chargé D-Affaires of the mission. They marched behind a school that the Embassy has “adopted,” Woodcock Primary School, which won first prize and marched on a U.S.-Bahamas joint theme.

Art Against Drugs “Draws” Great Participation 
 

Date: 11/29/2011 Description: DARE Col. Lucia, Drug Demand Program Officer James Story, and a talented winner stand next to the DARE lion mascot with her winning drawing and a bicycle. - State Dept Image
DARE Col. Lucia, Drug Demand Program Officer James Story, and a talented winner stand next to the DARE lion mascot with her winning drawing and a bicycle.
Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) in Bogota supported another great national contest attracting 61,000 children to “Draw for a Drug-Free Country”. All participants belong to schools that use the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, managed by CNP’s Anti-Narcotics Directive and supported by our NAS. On November 29, thirty-two winners (one for each of the country’s departments) were honored at a prize ceremony in Bogota, receiving a bicycle. NAS Director James Story invited them to view the bicycles as symbols of the road ahead: the constant choice towards the bright path of opportunity and away from drugs.

Tajik Police Get An Up-Close Demonstration of Community Policing 
 

Date: 2011 Description: Study tour participants are being briefed by Steven Williams, Superintendent of Cambridge Police Department. He's sporting a Tajik police officer's hat for the photo. - State Dept Image
Study tour participants are being briefed by Steven Williams, Superintendent of Cambridge Police Department. He's sporting a Tajik police officer's hat for the photo.
During a study tour to the United States, 16 Tajik police and community participants observed the Cambridge Massachusetts Police Department using community policing techniques as they reacted to an actual public demonstration at a hotel boycott rally near Boston. Police arrested 35 demonstrators for trespassing, engaging with the protestors respectfully and explaining to the Tajik police what they were doing.

Next, the Tajikistan Ministry of Internal Affairs representatives attended an operational briefing in the police department’s command center where they were involved in real-time planning and decision making. Other participants attended a shift roll call, which included a briefing on the demonstration.

A Boston Globe photojournalist remarked that he had never seen police behave so cooperatively during a demonstration, to which one of the Tajik participants responded, “This is the community policing way, according to democratic principles.”


A Chance To Rebuild, Recover and Shape-Up 
 

Date: 12/2011 Description: Ambassador Karen Stewart opens two new dormitories in December to houserecovering drug addicts at the Somsanga Drug Treatment Center near Vientianecity in Laos. - State Dept Image
Ambassador Karen Stewart opens two new dormitories in December to houserecovering drug addicts at the Somsanga Drug Treatment Center near Vientianecity in Laos.
Ambassador Karen Stewart opened two new dormitories in December to house recovering drug addicts at the Somsanga Drug Treatment Center near Vientiane city in Laos. The buildings, one for adults and the other for juveniles, were constructed with $240,000 in INL funds. “These new facilities,” said Ambassador Stewart, “will allow Somsanga Center to provide clean and safe living conditions to Lao adults and youth who come here to be treated for drug addiction, and to relieve the crowded conditions in the main facilities.” The government of Laos has committed to demand reduction as an important element of its national strategy to fight illegal drugs. Since the beginning of our relationship with Somsanga, INL has provided over $600,000 to support vocational training and facilities improvements.



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