Mexico’s human rights agency says police murdered 22 at ranch

Federal police killed at least 22 people on a ranch last year, then moved bodies and planted guns to corroborate the official account that the deaths happened in a gunbattle, Mexico’s human rights commission said Thursday.

One police officer was killed in the confrontation in the western state of Michoacan on May 22, 2015. The government has said the dead were drug cartel suspects who were hiding out on the ranch in Tanhuato, near the border with Jalisco state.

The National Human Rights Commission said there were also two cases of torture and four more deaths caused by excessive force. It said it could not establish satisfactorily the circumstances of 15 others who were shot to death…

Mexico’s national security commissioner, Renato Sales, who oversees the federal police, denied the accusations, holding his own news conference before the rights commission had finished its own…

“The use of weapons was necessary and proportional against the real and imminent and unlawful aggression,” Sales said. “That is to say, in our minds they acted in legitimate defense.”

Thirteen of the 22 people the commission said were killed had been shot in the back…

Law and order in our southern neighbor. A police state is a police state – even when they’re killing criminal suspects – without a trial.

New Army manual warns soldiers about store-bought drones

With easy access via online storefronts and similar sources, terrorists and rebels and even government forces from Iraq and Syria to Ukraine’s breakaway Donbass region have been increasingly using small drones. With little training, insurgents can use these tiny flying machines to spy on their opponents, direct artillery strikes or even possible attack targets directly.

Now, the U.S. Army is warning troops to be on the lookout for these specific threats in a new manual.

In July, the ground combat branch released a new publication called Techniques for Combined Arms for Air Defense. The handbook includes sections specifically dealing with drones…

…Two types of pilotless aircraft are “the greatest challenges for Army forces,” the manual declares. “The smaller platform … provides the user with the ability to meet reconnaissance, surveillance and information collection requirements without being noticed.”

The Pentagon describes the first category as remote control aircraft generally weighing fewer than 20 pounds that routinely fly below 1,200 feet. The next level up are craft up to 55 pounds that can travel up to 3,500 feet in the air. Troops shouldn’t expect drones in either group to fly faster than 300 miles per hour…

The category covers an ever increasing number of commercial types already available to hobbyists and private citizens. The most common variants are miniature helicopters with four, six or even eight separate rotors, which can cost anywhere between around $100 and $500 depending on the particular configuration.

These are obviously the kind of drones the Army was thinking about when it drafted the manual. The graphics inserted into the text clearly show a commercial quadcopter design.

The manual says these drones present four basic types of threats, from spying to indirect and direct attacks to swarming friendly troops. The possibility of enemy fighters snooping on American positions is a very real concern…

On top of traditional surveillance, the Army air defense manual points out that enemy fighters could use the drones to watch troops approach a roadside bomb or other hazard. With the remote controlled camera overhead, they could set off these improvised explosives at the best possible moment without having to be nearby…The Army is worried that militants could turn these amateur flying spooks into remote controlled bombs, too.

Sooner or later a $500 drone is going to take down a $500 million military aircraft. Ain’t economic democracy something to behold?