Friday, 30 July 2010

Terrorist Smuggling Into U.S. a Real Concern

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border bridgeRichard Stana, the Government Accounting Office’s (GAO) Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, testified before a congressional subcommittee on July 22 that “alien smuggling along the southwest border is an increasing threat to the security of the United States and Mexico as well as to the safety of both law enforcement and smuggled aliens.”

“According to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s (NDIC) 2008 National Drug Threat Assessment, the southwest border region is the principal entry point for smuggled aliens from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Aliens from countries of special interest to the United States such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan (known as special-interest aliens) also illegally enter the United States through the region,” Stana stated in prepared testimony before the House Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism He also warned that “some Mexican drug trafficking organizations specialize in smuggling special-interest aliens into the United States."

Particularly noteworthy in the director’s testimony is his statement that “violence associated with alien smuggling has also increased in recent years, particularly in Arizona.” This is an unusually frank statement in light of President Obama’s repeated assurances that the southern border is “is more secure today than at any time in the past 20 years.”

The New American reported recently on an anti-illegal immigration ordinance that was passed in June by the citizens of Fremont, Nebraska. Opponents of the law mocked the town for its Quixotic efforts to combat illegal immigration in a locale over a thousand miles distant from the border with Mexico. But The GAO has a different opinion: “communities across the country are at risk since among those individuals illegally crossing the border are criminal aliens and gang members who pose public safety concerns for communities throughout the country.”

Richard Stana was similarly forthcoming with regard to the state of Arizona’s efforts to combat human smuggling. According to the report of the testimony, Arizona’s attorney general established a specialized task force to eviscerate the economic strength of these traffickers. Far from suggesting that Arizona get out of the business of acting in a federal arena, Stana claimed, “ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officials stated that a fuller examination of Arizona’s financial investigative techniques and their potential to be used at the federal level would be useful.” Somehow the favorable opinion of Arizona’s tactics felt by local ICE officers hasn’t percolated up to their bosses in Washington.

The GAO’s pointed emphasis on the issue of the smuggling of terrorists through the southern border brings to mind other similar stories of suspected terrorists infiltrating the United States through Mexican way stations. In May, for example, the Department of Homeland Security alerted local Texas law enforcement that “a renowned Al Qaeda terrorist is planning to sneak into the U.S. through Mexico.” The upshot of the memo was that Islamic extremists were seeping into the United States through the porous southern border.

Although the mainstream media generally ignore the story, less traditional sources of information continue to chronicle the influx of aliens with ties to al-Qaeda and other Middle Eastern terrorist organizations.
 
Judicial Watch, the organization founded by Larry Klayman in 1994, over the past couple of years has documented the ongoing efforts of Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern extremists to cooperate in the transport and sale of weapons and trafficking of terrorists into the United States.

According to a story posted on their website, a few years ago the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published details of how Islamic terrorists and violent Mexican drug gangs were combining resources and intelligence to illegally enter the United States as well as invest money made in the trade of humans and drugs in building and outfitting terror networks in the Middle East. Additionally, the top Homeland Security official in Texas confirmed that aliens with ties to Hezbollah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda have been arrested by local law enforcement and Border Patrol agents while attempting to cross into the Lone Star State across its lengthy, porous border with Mexico.

These revelations by the U.S. government demonstrates irrefutably that officials have knowledge of the use of Mexico as a conduit through which persons known to have ties to Islamic terror organizations make their way into the interior of our country.

In a recent Homeland Security alert documented by Judicial Watch, officials of the Department of Homeland Security warned Houston authorities “to be on the lookout for a member of a Somalia-based al-Qaeda group called Al Shabab who plans to cross the Mexican border.” Intelligence possessed by DHS indicates that he has ties to a Somali living in Texas who was indicted for operating a large-scale smuggling ring that illegally transported into the United States hundreds of Somalis with terrorist ties from Brazil, through South America and across the Mexican border.

A related case in Virginia demonstrates the scope of these illicit operations and their the apparent success they are enjoying thanks to federal stupor. In Virginia, a man with admitted ties to Al Shabab is being prosecuted for managing an international outfit believed to have facilitated the smuggling of more than 200 Somalis across the Mexican border. Upon crossing the border into the United States, law enforcement believes that the Somalis fanned out across the country and are insinuating themselves into neighborhoods nationwide.

Other internet-based sources describe another possible portal through which terrorists are walking into the country unmolested. About a month ago, for example, Cancun's former mayor, Gregorio Sánchez, who was also running for governor of Mexico's state of Quintana Roo (which includes Cancun and the Mayan Riviera), was arrested and charged with a list of crimes including money-laundering and trafficking in drugs and illegal immigrants. Such behavior on the part of Mexican politicians (and those north of the border) is not particularly newsworthy. In the case of Mr. Sanchez, however, there is a bit more to the story.

Sanchez is married to a Cuban woman named Niurka Sáliva, daughter of one of Fidel Castro's top Intelligence officials. While neither being Cuban nor marrying a Cuban is a criminal offense nor is it evidence of the sponsorship of terrorism, there are other points of interest that indicate there may exist a covert triangle of terror with Cuba, Mexico, and the Middle East forming the angles.

There are stories describing how one man, Anthony Joseph Tracy, 35, was released from custody after pleading guilty to trafficking in illegal aliens. Tracy, a former confidential informant to U.S. intelligence agencies, was arrested at JFK Airport in New York City last January. He related to police a tale in which he participated in the smuggling of 272 Somalis into the United States via Kenya and  Cuba. It is believed that Tracy helped the Somali aliens obtain travel visas. After traveling from Kenya to Dubai to Moscow to Cuba, they then went to South America before reaching their final destination — the United States — by crossing the border in Mexico.

A link between intelligence agencies in Communist Cuba and organized crime syndicates operating in Latin America may have been uncovered by Mexican investigative reporter José Antonio Pérez Stuart. Stuart also draws lines connecting these criminal cartels and their Cuban allies to “the international  publicity campaign against Arizona.”

While many of the links may seem tenuous and some of the lines connecting the dots may be only faintly drawn, there appears to be a sufficient nexus among the enemies of the United States in Cuba, Mexico, and the Middle East. And, given the lack of attention these elaborate smuggling operations receive from the mainstream American media and the government that props it up, there may be other, as yet unindicted though undeniably powerful, co-conspirators yet to be identified.

Photo of International Bridge #2 connecting U.S. & Mexico: AP Images