I find it interesting how people complain nothing is being done to stem the tide of illegal immigration and general lawlessness along our southern border, yet, people then complain when some government agency actually tries do to something about it, misconstruing what is being done.
Perhaps it is time to do another post here at the blog.
First, I would like to review some previous material, with a focus on a series dealing with issues just south of the border.
In So Far from God, Part 1 we saw how President Calderón's escalation in the war on drugs helped fuel a dramatic increase in violence and instability in Mexico, so much so that surrender of Ciudad Juarez to the cartels was beginning to become somewhat politically palatable. If it went that route, I wondered where things would end.
In So Far from God, Part 2, we considered what actually gets smuggled - narcotics, weapons, and other merchandise, including people - and saw how Ciudad Juarez connects to El Paso which, in turn, connects to the major trafficking routes in Texas. We also saw how the cartels are using military grade weapons, and this caused us to question common reports that 90 percent of the weapons used in Mexico come from gun sales in the United States: how can this be so, when the weapons being used - automatic weapons, crew-served weapons, grenades, grenade launchers, and other military-grade weapons - are not being sold in gun shops and guns shows north of the border? Also, we saw how, with the cartels now armed almost as heavily as the Mexican military, President Calderón had begun to explain the unrest in Mexico as a battle for the government of Mexico to exert control over sovereign Mexican territory - which, by the way, is one way to describe a civil war. In the comments, we clarified the origin of the "90%" figure.
In So Far from God, Part 3, we saw how foreign sources account for the military-grade weapons, as well as outright theft from the Mexican government of weapons sold by the US government. We also saw how these foreign suppliers are even providing radars and submarines to the cartels; there's no way the Obama Administration can blame these items on gun shops along the border! More significantly, though, is that Islamic terrorist groups have helped supervise the training of cartel gunmen in special camps near the US border.
With So Far from God, Part 4 we began to see how Africa is increasingly becoming a transit area for South American cocaine destined for Europe and beyond, and we also saw how there was a westward flow of precursor chemicals for methamphetamines, as well as other suspicious cargo. This is significant, considering how we developed in other posts the concept of the Saharan and Sahelian regions of North Africa as a crossroads for smuggling all kinds of goods as well as for the interactions of various Islamic terrorist groups going as far east as the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
We pause in our review of past posts to introduce some new information not previously covered at this blog and to examine information that has been presented from a new perspective.
One key aspect to what we learned in Part 4 - though not developed as a concept in the post, but rather seen in a new light now - is that the Mexican cartels have come to have significant influence in Africa, with ties going all the way to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Whether this grew out of a desire to grow their business, or out of necessity due to increased pressure by government forces in Mexico, is not important; the fact is, Mexican cartels are tied in with the trafficking of arms, drugs and Islamic terrorism that occurs across the Saharan/Sahelian region of Africa.
This is interesting.
If cocaine is going one way, and arms and expertise to fight against government forces are coming the other way, that means Islamic terrorist organizations have bases and allies, not just in this hemisphere, but immediately along our southern border.
This is not a theoretical threat. We have extensive evidence that we are actually being infiltrated by Islamic terrorists across our southern border. Here are excerpts from A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border, a House committee report not specifically dated but apparently finalized in late 2006:
Items have been found by law enforcement officials along the banks of the Rio Grande River and inland that indicate possible ties to a terrorist organization or member of military units of Mexico.106 A jacket with patches from countries where al Qa'ida is known to operate was found in Jim Hogg County, Texas by the Border Patrol. The patches on the jacket show an Arabic military badge with one depicting an airplane flying over a building and heading towards a tower, and another showing an image of a lion's head with wings and a parachute emanating from the animal. The bottom of one patch read "martyr," "way to eternal life" or "way to immortality."107
Members of Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization, have already entered to the United States across our Southwest border. On March 1, 2005, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani pleaded guilty to providing material support to Hezbollah.111 Kourani is an illegal alien who had been smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border after bribing a Mexican consular official in Beirut for a visa to travel to Mexico. Kourani and a Middle Eastern traveling partner then paid coyotes in Mexico to guide them into the United States. Kourani established residence among the Lebanese expatriate community in Dearborn, Michigan and began soliciting funds for Hezbollah terrorists back home in Lebanon. He is the brother of the Hezbollah chief of military operations in southern Lebanon.
In December 2002, Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a café owner in Tijuana, Mexico, was arrested for illegally smuggling more than two hundred Lebanese illegally into the United States, including several believed to have terrorist ties to Hezbollah.112 Just last month Robert L. Boatwright, Assistant Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Texas Sector, reported, "We have apprehended people from countries that support terrorism... they were thoroughly debriefed and there was a tremendous amount of information collected from them."113
Statements made by high-ranking Mexican officials prior to and following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks indicate that one or more Islamic terrorist organizations has sought to establish a presence in Mexico. In May 2001, former Mexican National security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, reported, that "Spanish and Islamic terrorist groups are using Mexico as a refuge."114
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller has confirmed in testimony "that there are individuals from countries with known al-Qa'ida connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic immigrants."115
These examples highlight the dangerous intersection between traditional transnational criminal activities, such as human and drug smuggling, and more ominous threats to national security. Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez summed it up this way: "I dare to say that at any given time, daytime or nighttime, one can get on a boat and traverse back and forth between Texas and Mexico and not get caught. If smugglers can bring in tons of marijuana and cocaine at one time and can smuggle 20 to 30 persons at one time, one can just imagine how easy it would be to bring in 2 to 3 terrorists or their weapons of mass destruction across the river and not be detected. Chances of apprehension are very slim."116
So, before this series continues - even before we finish our review of the previous series - I would like to address the matter that sparked my desire to start writing again at the blog: the advent of heavily armed patrol boats in the Rio Grande River, manned by Texas State Police. Actually, this is old news - from a little more than a year ago - but it is now really making the rounds on Facebook.
From Heavily-armed Texas gunboats now patrol Rio Grande, June 28, 2012:
"Typically, the boats operating in the Rio Grande River are operating with six M-240, 30-caliber automatic machine guns," explains Lt. Charley Goble, the DPS officer in command of the newly deployed force of gunboats on the Rio Grande.
Texas now has a small navy of gunboats patrolling the Rio Grande and the Intercoastal Waterway. Right now, the DPS has four of the 34-foot shallow water vessels, but the fleet will soon grow to six. Each of the boats, equipped with armor-plating, night vision equipment and a small arsenal of weaponry, costs about $580,000 in state and federal funds.
Troopers patrolling the border say the expense is justified, considering the ruthless nature of their adversaries in the Mexican drug cartels. What they fear, more than anything else, is the prospect of an ambush.
An ambush may seem particularly threatening, considering what we know, not covered in the article, about the presence of terrorists infiltrating the border and training cartel gunmen along the border. These terrorists have developed their skills ambushing US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. They downed our Blackhawk helicopter in Somalia - "Blackhawk Down" - using techniques they had developed fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. These guys have decades of corporate experience successfully ambushing superior forces.
And now they're here.
From "Texas Navy" fights drug traffickers' escapes on the Rio Grande, June 25, 2012:
Video from Texas State Police shows officers chasing a pick-up truck, its bed loaded down with drugs destined for sale in the United States.
The drug runners, once cornered, race back to the border to escape capture.
"They do not care who they run over," said Lt. Charlie Goble, who patrols the Rio Grande Valley. "They do not care how many felonies they commit while they're doing so, their goal is to get away from law enforcement."
The cartels' latest escape technique is something called a "splashdown."
"They just splash their vehicle right into the river," Goble said. "We have seen them jump off 30-foot cliffs into the river."
After the drug runners abandon their vehicles in the river, other cartel members in boats rush in to save their bales of drugs, and whisk them back to the Mexican side of the river, determined to get the drugs back to Mexico.
"The cartels that are controlling these situations -- they're very ruthless," Goble said. "Their life literally depends on them either getting the load to where it's going, or safely getting it back."
Police say the drug traffickers have made these splashdown getaways at least 65 times in the past three years. Texas police don't have the boats they need to stop them -- and the drug runners know it.
"They know once they get back into the water, they're safe," Goble. Said. "All they gotta do is swim home."
The Texas-style solution? Launching its own mini-navy. Six boats, each equipped with multiple machine guns, will soon be patrolling a 54-mile stretch of the Rio Grande.
From Have You Seen the Bulletproof Texas Gunboats Equipped With Automatic Machine Guns That Will Battle Drug Cartels on the Water?, July 4, 2012:
Maj. Bob Bailey of the Texas Highway Patrol’s Special Ops Division told Fox News the boats would be another tool for law enforcement on top of ground units, helicopters and various weapons being used to battle the ruthless cartels who seem to always find a way to get their product into the United States. He says the cartels have access to “unlimited” funds and firepower.
Trafficking cocaine is extremely lucrative, and we have already seen how the cartels are getting firepower far beyond what is available in a local gun show on this side of the border - contrary to the lies the Obama Administration spread regarding this situation.
All in all, I think Texas authorities would be irresponsible, foolish and derelict in their duties if they were not doing something like this; I applaud the Texas government for deploying its heavily-armed patrol boats, I hope they will be safe and effective, and I would further add that if Obama were on the right side of this issue, federal vessels would also be patroling this international waterway.
More to follow as this series continues.