Dead Argentine prosecutor was zeroing in on a terror threat to the entire Western Hemisphere

Alberto Nisman

Alberto Nisman

Business Insider, by LINETTE LOPEZ, March 20, 2015:

Iran and its proxies are well positioned in several Middle Eastern countries.

As days go by, the mystery surrounding the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman – who was found shot in the head in his locked apartment two months ago – becomes murkier.

But we’re learning a lot more about the explosive findings of his decade-long investigation.

Testimony from journalists and government officials suggest that in addition to describing Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s hand in protecting the perpetrators of a 1994 Buenos Aires terrorist attack, Nisman was also working to blow the lid off the workings of Iran’s terrorist organization in Latin America.

Nisman’s decade of work on the subject pointed to Iran.

And according to the testimonies, it appears Nisman was working to blow the lid off the entire workings of Iran’s terrorist organization in Latin America.

‘Export Iran’s Islamic Revolution’

In a written statement on Wednesday, Brazilian investigative journalist Leonardo Coutinho walked members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs through the findings of his years of work looking into Iran’s penetration of Brazil.

In a statement titled “Brazil as an operational hub for Iran and Islamic Terrorism,” Coutinho discusses not only his findings while working for Brazil’s Veja magazine, but also Nisman’s tireless work.

“Official investigations carried out by Argentine, American, and Brazilian authorities have revealed how Brazil figures into the intricate network set up to ‘export Iran’s Islamic Revolution’ to the West, by both establishing legitimacy and regional support while simultaneously organizing and planning terrorist attacks,” Coutinho said (emphasis ours).

“Despite the fact that Brazil has never been the target of one of these terrorist attacks, the country plays the role of a safe haven for Islamic extremist groups, as explained below.”

He went on to note that Nisman’s 502-page dictum on the 1994 Buenos Aires terrorist attack “not only describes the operations of the network responsible for this terrorist attack, it also names those who carried it out. Consequently, the document lists twelve people in Brazil with ties to [Iran’s Lebanese proxy] Hezbollah, who reside or resided in Brazil. Seven of these operatives had either direct or indirect participation in the AMIA bombing.”

To put these astounding assertions into perspective, consider that Iranian military mastermind Qassem Suleimani recently said, “We are witnessing the export of the Islamic Revolution throughout the region. From Bahrain and Iraq to Syria, Yemen and North Africa.”

Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explains what Suleimani, head of the foreign arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, meant by this:

“When he talks about exporting the Islamic Revolution, Suleimani is referring to a very specific template.

“It’s the template that the Khomeinist revolutionaries first set up in Lebanon 36 years ago by cloning the various instruments that were burgeoning in Iran as the Islamic revolutionary regime consolidated its power.”

And now, according to reporting from Veja and Nisman, Iran and Hezbollah have been attempting the same in Latin America.

Nisman dug deep

Nisman had been working on Iran’s involvement in Latin America since 2005, when Nestor Kirchner, then Argentina’s president, asked him to investigate a 1994 terrorist attack on a Buenos Aires Jewish Center, AMIA. The attack killed 85 people.

Around the same time, according to reports, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, had allegedly ensured that Iranian and Hezbollah agents were furnished with passports and flights that would allow them to move freely around South America and to Iran.

From there, it was a matter of fund-raising for Iran’s agents – co-opting drug cartels, and sometimes hiding in remote, lawless parts of Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and other countries that lack the infrastructural, legal, and economic resources to root out Iran’s agents of terror.

“Iran and Hezbollah, two forces hostile to US interests, have made significant inroads in Peru, almost without detection, in part because of our weak institutions, prevalent criminal enterprise, and various stateless areas,” Peru’s former vice interior minister told Wednesday’s House hearing, noting that Peru was not hostile to the US. “These elements are particularly weak in the southern mountainous region of my country.”

AMIA bombing argentina

Remains of the AMIA after the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Wikipedia

Nisman’s findings alleged that Hezbollah and top government officials in Iran orchestrated the AMIA attack. Nisman’s investigation was lauded by international parties – current President (and Nestor’s widow) Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said so herself.

But things changed after Nestor left office in 2007. Argentina’s prolonged ostracization from international markets made it a cash-strapped nation, and the popularity of the Kirchners domestically waned below ecstatic.

That meant Fernandez would have to fight to hold on to power, and that fight would take money. According to Coutinho’s work, that’s when things changed. He interviewed three defected officials of Chavez’s regime who said they witnessed a conversation between the Venezuelan president and his then-Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in January 2007.

Ahmadinejad and Chavez reportedly planned to coerce Argentina into sharing nuclear technology with Iran – which Argentina had done in the 1980s and again in the early 1990s after the AMIA bombing – and stopping the hunt for the perpetrators of the AMIA bombing in exchange for cash, some of it to finance Fernandez’s political aims. It’s unclear whether Fernandez knew where this money was coming from, according to Coutinho.

In any case, The New York Times recently reported that intercepted conversations between Argentine and Iranian officials “point to a long pattern of secret negotiations to reach a deal in which Argentina would receive oil in exchange for shielding Iranian officials” from being formally accused of orchestrating the terror attack.

If genuine, The Times noted, the conversation transcripts show “a concerted effort by representatives of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government to shift suspicions away from Iran in order to gain access to Iranian markets and to ease Argentina’s energy troubles.”

Hugo Chavez, Nestor Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with her husband, Nestor, right, and, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in Buenos Aires in 2007. Reuters

After that, analysts at the US-based think tank Strategy Center note that there was a significant shift in Argentina’s policy toward Iran:

Later in 2012, Ahmadinejad made a speech at the UN, and for the first time in years the Argentine delegation did not walk out. The Argentine administration eventually cast Nisman’s findings on AMIA, Iran, and Hezbollah aside.

AMIA suspects

Moshen Rabbani and another original suspect in the AMIA bombing, Ahmad Reza Ashgari, from a 2006 handout released by an Argentine court. Reuters

Through all of this, Nisman continued digging. He tried to track the network of Mohsen Rabbani, who he believed led Iran’s cell in Latin America and was an architect of the AMIA attack.

>Brazilian authorities tried and failed to arrest Rabbani, whose main contact in Brazil at the time of the attacks, according to Nisman, was a cleric named Taleb Hussein al-Khazraji.

And that connection shows how Iran’s “intricate network set up to ‘export Iran’s Islamic Revolution’ to the West” touched the United States.

Both al-Khazraji and Rabbani were in contact with Abdul Kadir, a former politician from the South American country of Guyana who is now serving a sentence of life in prison in the US for plotting to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport in 2007.

The FBI said Kadir was caught trying to board a plane in Trinidad bound for Venezuela and eventually to Tehran.

Kadir was prosecuted, with some assistance from Nisman, by none other than US attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch

US Attorney Loretta Lynch. Reuters

“The sentence imposed on Abdul Kadir sends a powerful and clear message,” Lynch said in a statement at the time. “We will bring to justice those who plot to attack the United States of America.”

All of this suggests Alberto Nisman was a marked man for years. But for years he managed to do extraordinary work uncovering Iran’s terrorist network in Latin America.

It’s no wonder that confusion about what happened, who did it, and why has taken over Argentina’s news cycle. Reports have little to say or do with Nisman’s part in fighting international terrorism in Latin America.

Michael B. Kelley contributed to this report.

Also see:

New photos reveal expanding reach of Iran in Venezuela and other parts of Latin America

new imagesFox News, by Catherine Herridge, March 17, 2015:

As the Obama administration seeks a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, new congressional testimony, documents and photos show Tehran is expanding its reach into South America by advising rogue regimes on suppressing anti-government protests and financing secretive military facilities.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Republican from South Carolina, cited this evidence when questioning the notion that Iran has changed its ways as President Barack Obama and his team advance negotiations which may include dropping Iran from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

“We have a negotiation going on with Iran,” Duncan told Fox News. “We don’t want anything to interfere with that.”

“And so we’re going to say their influence in this hemisphere is waning,”  Duncan said, referring to the administration’s argument. “The narrative doesn’t work when you start looking at all the pieces of the puzzle that fit together of Iran’s activity in this hemisphere”

Joseph Humire, who is executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society and who will testify before Duncan and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s subcommittees on the Western Hemisphere as well as the Middle East and North Africa this week, says there is growing cooperation between Venezuela and Iran.

He pointed to a meeting between the Iranian commander of the notorious Basij paramilitary force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Nadqi, and the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, believed to have taken place in 2009.

Humire found evidence of striking similarities between the death of Neda Agha-Soltan — an Iranian student protestor who became the face of the green revolution in 2009, after she was shot in the chest by the Basij militias – and the murder in February last year of a 22-year-old Venezuelan student Genesis Carmona, a former beauty queen, who was killed at the hands of pro-government civilian militias.

The assessment is that Teheran advised Venezuela on the development and use of brutal civilian militias known as “colectivos” that were modelled after the Iranian Basij units.

“There’s a lot of similarities in the actual results, the killings, there’s also similarities in the tactics, clandestine communication techniques that these colectivos didn’t have previously, espionage, intelligence, the ability to infiltrate student movements like they didn’t before,” Humire explained.

And Iran allegedly helped build a UAV facility in Maracay, Venezuela, with documents reviewed by Fox News suggesting potential dual use technology.

After an unexplained explosion in 2011, Humire says sections of the plant, reinforced with ceramic plates at Teheran’s insistence, were largely intact.

“I believe the Iranian UAV program is a cover for something that is more illicit,” he said. “Perhaps something that’s sanctioned and mostly likely involves Iran’s strategic programs, its–nuclear program and ballistic missiles.”

Humire found other examples, in Bolivia, with photos showing a government site, alleged to have received backing from Iran. Before 2011, it housed a UN Peacekeeping unit, but since it has been replaced by an air defense command that is heavily secured, with some areas strictly off limits.

new images 2

Duncan, who authored the Countering the Iran Threat in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012, signed by Obama, called on the State Department to assess Iranian activity, and its intentions, but the five-page unclassified report was a cursory review.

“It was a five-page report, (and) said the Iranian influence was waning,” he said. “But everyone I talked to in the intelligence community, differ from that whether it’s General Kelly with SouthCOM or whether it’s other independent, intelligence organizations.”

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Also see:

Iran’s Expansive Role In The Middle East And Latin America, And The Nuclear Negotiations

333893762CSP, by Nancy Menges Luis Fleischman, Feb. 26, 2015:

As negotiations move forward on a nuclear arms agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States along with the P5+1 appears to be oblivious to activities of Iran in the Western Hemisphere and other regions of the world.

In the Middle East, Iran has most recently supported insurgencies in both Bahrain and Yemen. The pro-Iranian Houthis just overthrew the American backed government in Yemen which we were working with on terrorism related issues.

In Syria, Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, continue to support the Bashar Al Assad regime with Hezbollah fighting together with Assad’s forces. So far 200,000 people have been killed in Syria with millions dispersed in refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. Hezbollah now has a perfect excuse to be involved in supporting Assad by invoking the need to defeat the bloody Islamic State. Hezbollah may think that this card could play well in the West which is trying to avoid direct intervention to defeat ISIS and would prefer that local forces to do the fighting.

In Iraq, hundreds of thousands of young Shiites are fighting as part of Iranian-backed militias, with a Shiite sectarian orientation likely to aggravate the sectarian strife prevailing in the country. These militias outnumber the Iraqi security forces, and in addition members of the Iranian revolutionary guards, the pro-Iranian Badr organization, and the pro-Iran Katain Hezbollah are heavily involved, mostly operating outside of Iraqi government control.

In Latin America ever since the election of the late Hugo Chavez to the presidency of Venezuela in 1998, Iran has become more embedded in the region in an effort to spread its influence. Several episodes and activities are illustrative of this point.

A few years ago the late Argentinean prosecutor, Alberto Nisman reported in a 500 page document the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah cells in twelve countries in South America.

For at least ten years if not longer, there have been direct airline flights from Caracas to Tehran. Though these are commercial airlines no passengers are allowed and no one seems to know the cargo they carry but it is believed that weapons and members of Hezbollah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards might be on those flights. Hezbollah has reportedly trained Venezuelan and other guerillas and has strengthened relations with a number of revolutionary regimes in the region. Likewise, tunnels built across the Mexican-American border are akin to those built by Hezbollah along the Israeli/Lebanese border.

In 2011, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder accused the Iranian Quds Force of plotting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. Though Iran vehemently denied complicity, the American government pointed to high officials in the Iranian hierarchy with having approved the plan.

Another Iranian activity that goes largely unnoticed is Iran’s outreach to several small Caribbean nations. In return for financial assistance, these nations have issued passports to Iranian citizens who wish to enter the United States but could not do so using their Iranian passports. Venezuela and a number of other countries connected directly or indirectly to ALBA countries are providing passports to Iranians. One of those holding such a passport is Moshen Rabbani, the man believed to be behind the terrorist attacks against the Argentinean Jewish Community Center (AMIA) in 1994.

Iran has also been the recipient of uranium from Venezuela.

Most recently the government of Uruguay confirmed that an Iranian diplomat left the country after Uruguayan security suspected him of collecting intelligence about the Israeli embassy in Montevideo.

The diplomat was thought to have placed an explosive device near the Israeli embassy early in January. The device was not particularly powerful but investigations carried out by Uruguayan intelligence indicated the possibility of Iran’s involvement in this serious incident. It was not clear to the authorities whether the device was intended to do harm or was just testing their ability to respond.

But what is astonishing about this story is that two months earlier another incident occurred which was intentionally kept out of the public eye by the Uruguayan government. Indeed, on November 24, somebody placed a suitcase near the building that belonged to the old Israeli embassy in Montevideo. Although the suitcase was empty, cameras located a car belonging to the Iranian embassy nearby. Inside there was a man that the police could not identify immediately but it was assumed he was an Iranian diplomat. The police concluded that the empty suitcase was aimed at testing Uruguayan security forces’ ability to respond.

The Uruguayan government apparently decided to expel the diplomat, who himself, is an appointee of the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That appointee was a vocal anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier and apparently served as a translator in the conversations between Ahmadinejad and the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. Furthermore, the man was reportedly working in Uruguay with Muslim converts that have been activists in a radical left wing party. These individuals could well have been potential candidates for terrorist recruitment; an activity Iran has been systematically performing.

Interestingly enough, Uruguay has been and is a friendly country towards Iran (without being a close ally like Venezuela and the other ALBA countries). Uruguay’s outgoing president, Jose Mujica, declared in the past that his country would pursue relations with Iran because it is good and convenient for the country. The Uruguayan foreign minister Luis Almagro was a commercial attaché in Teheran for about five years and under his watch commercial relations between the two countries flourished. Likewise, a Uruguayan parliamentary delegation visited Teheran to strengthen relations and Almagro himself defined Uruguay and Iran as “two countries that fight against injustice and oppression”. (Almagro is the most likely candidate to be the next Secretary General of the Organization of American States).

The incident in Uruguay is another instance where Iran once again displays its nature as a terrorist entity that does not hesitate in using its embassies and the good faith of the host countries to apply its lethal methods. This is what Iran did in Argentina previous to the two deadly terrorist attacks against the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community center.

Why shouldn’t Iran be doing so if there is no demand for Iran to stop supporting and encouraging terrorism? After all, a year ago Argentina signed a memorandum with Iran where representatives from that country would be part of the investigation into a terrorist attack where Iran remains the main suspect. By the same token, the chief investigator of the terrorist attack, Mr. Nisman, is dead because he dared to investigate a suspected cover up by the Argentinean government-a government that allegedly wanted to exonerate Iran.

Furthermore, the Argentinean foreign minister Hector Timerman summoned the American and Israeli Ambassadors and asked that these two countries stop meddling in Argentinean internal affairs and stop bringing Middle East conflicts to Argentina. The irony of this statement is that Iran chose Argentina as the target of its’ own intense hatred and violence.

Iranians probably laugh at these events where they are being given a pass over and over again. So, the fact that Iranians may have considered an attack on the Israeli Embassy in a country that is friendly to them such as Uruguay shows the ruthless nature of the regime and how little relations or agreements mean to them.

The negotiations between Iran and the P 5 +1 are mainly focused on Iran’s nuclear program. Thus, Iran is treated as a partner in a negotiation over a specific issue but Iran’s terrorist and treacherous nature is not a factor being considered in this equation.

At this point the U.S. strategy could well be to try to reach an agreement with Iran where the latter would be allowed to enrich uranium at a low level. However, there could be a possibility that if Iran decides to develop nuclear weapons, it could take the Iranians a short time to develop them from the moment they make the decision to do so.

The examples of Iran’s activities show several negative signs. First, if Iran can betray friendly countries like Uruguay, why wouldn’t it betray the P5+1? Likewise, what makes us think that we can live with a terrorist subversive Iran that not only has good chances of having a dominant role in a post-ISIS Syria and Iraq but also expands its influence and activities beyond the Middle East including regions as far as Latin America (from where Iran can strike the U.S. via a terrorist attack or by placing missiles in friendly countries such as Venezuela or Nicaragua)?

Iran presents a very complex challenge. Iran’s non –nuclear, threat is not being discussed, nor considered. This possible nuclear arms agreement should not be treated, as if it were something comparable to a commercial transaction. After all, as a nation state, Iran for the last thirty five years has been the foremost exporter of terrorism.. As the United States along with the P5+1 continues with its negotiations with Iran, they might question whether as a non-nuclear power, Iran presents a threat to world peace and stability and if so how will that play out once they were to become a nuclear power.

In Latin America, radical Islamic presence flourishes while key countries downplay the threat

86886005CSP, by Luis Fleischman, January 17, 2015:

As a result of last week’s heinous terrorist attack in France that took the lives of 16 innocent people, President Barack Obama has set in motion plans for a counter-terrorism summit to be held on February 18th in Washington DC.

It is likely that mostly North American and European countries will attend this summit meeting despite the fact that there have been recent terrorist attacks in other parts of the world such as those in Ottawa, Canada and Sidney, Australia and the northern region of Nigeria. In other words, simple logic indicates that these types of attacks could take place anywhere.

Before September 11, 2001 , the deadliest terrorist attacks in the Western Hemisphere took place in Argentina against the Israeli embassy in 1992 and then the Argentinean Jewish community headquarters in 1994.

However, we do not have to go back two decades .to stress the very real presence of terrorism in Latin America.

Most recently the Peruvian authorities foiled a terrorist plot against Jews and Israelis. The attacker was a Lebanese member of Hezbollah’s foreign terror operations branch. He reportedly planned to attack locations popular among Israeli backpackers as well as against the Israeli embassy in Lima and other institutions of the Peruvian Jewish community.

As a result of his arrest by the Peruvian authorities early in November, Brazilian police uncovered documents according to which Lebanese traffickers who are members of Hezbollah have helped the Brazilian gang known as First Capital Command (PCC) obtain weapons. Hezbollah provided the PCC with access to arms smugglers. Most of these Hezbollah operatives were based in the tri-border area (where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina’s borders meet), a place known as being a big center of Hezbollah’s fundraising and other operations.

Of course, the connections between criminal and drug cartels with terrorist groups have been reported for a long time. The problem is not only limited to the fact that terrorist groups and criminal gangs or cartels logistically cooperate to advance their respective goals. The problem is also that criminals and jails are sources of recruitment for future terrorists.

It is enough to look at Amedy Coulibaly, the man suspected of killing a trainee police officer in Southern Paris on January 8th and also the person responsible for the seizing of the kosher supermarket on January 9th. Coulibaly was a petty criminal before he became a monstruous jihadist. He had six previous convictions, one for robbery and one for drugs. While in jail he was mentored by Djamel Beghal, a jihadist imprisoned in 2001 for planning an attack against the U.S. embassy in Paris. It was in jail where he met one of the Kouachi brothers, who were responsible for the attack on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

Given what we have seen so far of the radicalization of criminals, would it not be plausible for criminal elements from the Brazilian PCC to turn into Jihadists? Should it be ruled out that these Jihadists could attack a magazine such as “Veja” known for its’ anti-terrorist views or even carry out an attack on an American or European embassy or institution in Brazil?

So, what has been the attitude of the Brazilin authorities?

Brazil has denied that there is any terrorist activity in Brazil despite the fact that Hezbollah has major cells operating in the country and even some Al Qaeda operatives. They have been the least cooperative country in tracking activities in the tri-border area.

Brazil has been ruled by the leftist Workers Party since 2003. For them counter-terrorist activities are associated with Brazil’s military dictatorship of the mid 1960’s and 70’sthat carried out a heavy war against local guerillas and other subversive and dissenting activists.. Since that war brought about major human rights violations and loss of lives, Brazil has viewed the war on terror as something negative.

Brazil does not consider Hezbollah, Hamas, or even the familiar Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as terrorist entities. By the same token, an Al Qaeda suspect was released by a Brazilian judge.

Yet, it is interesting that the government of the Workers Party under Dilma Rousseff considered an ill-conceived anti-terorrism law in the wake of the massive anti-government protests in the summer of 2013.

The debate was highly controversial and for very good reasons. The Brazilian anti-terrorist bill was aimed at controlling unrest, particularly as the World Cup was approaching. The bill was aimed at social control. It had nothing to do with terrorism. Terrorism was used cynically. The bill defined terrorism very vaguely such as “provoking or infusing generalized terror or panic through offense or attempt at offense to life, physical integrity, health or deprivation of liberty of a person”. This general definition could easily criminalize social protests and other acts that are significantly below any act of terrorism.

In Argentina, President Cristina Kirchner and her associates seriously tried to apply anti-terrorist laws against American investment funds known as “vulture funds” for causing debt in Argentina and for applying “financial terror”. In fact, Kirchner absurdly tried to impose the anti-terror law against a company that declared bankruptcy since that decision created “economic chaos”.

Even worse than that, on January 15th, the prosecutor for the terrorist attacks against the Jewish headquarters in Argentina, Alberto Nisman, filed a 300-page complaint accusing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and other political figures associated with the government of “covering up” for Iranian operatives allegedly involved in the deadly 1994 attack. According to Nisman, the Kirchner Administration attempted to remove Iran from any incrimination related to the terrorist attack that left 85 people dead and hundreds of Argentinean citizens injured. The idea was to strengthen trade relations with Iran in order to alleviate the energy crisis by exchanging “oil for grains”. However, such trade could not be done without removing the accusations against Iran.

Between Brazil’s cynical approach to terrorism and Argentina’s de-facto alliance with it, the situation in the region is very serious.

As terrorist organizations have a strong presence in countries such as Venezuela, Latin America cannot be excluded from the anti-terrorist summit and cannot be ignored. Venezuela and a number of other countries are selling passports to Iranians as well as other individuals from the Middle East. (http://www.theamericasreport.com/2013/10/15/irans-presence-is-multifaceted-and-reaches-remote-places-in-latin-america/ ).

Furthermore, a few years ago Nisman reported in a 500 page document the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah cells in several countries in South America and that Iran plans to establish intelligence bases in every country in order to carry out, promote, and sponsor terrorists.

Furthermore, if there is a campaign to uproot radical Islam from Europe altogether, it is likely that terrorists will shift their operations to other areas where they won’t be bothered and can still do harm to Western targets. Latin America’s neutrality towards Islamic terrorism makes the region one of the most likely areas of choice for them, particularly when terrorists already have a well rooted presence.

President Obama needs to develop a real global strategy on the war against terrorism. The countries of Latin America should not be neglected. The Latin American regional block bears responsibility to protect every resident and institution that exists within their borders. Their cynical and manipulative attitude towards terrorism needs to be challenged. It is in America’s interest.

Dr. Luis Fleischman is a Senior adviser to the Menges Hemispheric Security Project at the Center for Security Policy in Washington DC. He is also an adjunct professor of Political Science and Sociology at Wilkes Honor College at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of the upcoming book, “Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era: The Security Threat to the United States.”

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Some Facts and Notes About The Situation on the Border: From the Jihadi Threat Perspective

h2Terror Trends Bulletin, By Christopher Holton, July 27.2014:

• Hezbollah has a major presence in North, Central and South America.

• Hezbollah is embedded in the Lebanese Muslim community in the US and enjoys protection from a neighborhood watch-type program that serves as a countersurveillance and counterintelligence operation. They also are embedded in multiple Shia mosques, some of which are directly tied to the Iranian regime.

• In 2003, then-CIA director George Tenet testified before Congress that 12 Hezbollah cells has been identified as operating in the US conducting surveillance.

• A Congressional Research Service report published in 2011 indicated that Hezbollah was present in 15 US cities, including Houston and Nashville.

• Hezbollah’s activities in the US primarily center around drug trafficking and criminal schemes and scams.

dea-used-car-scam

Picture-117

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• In Operation Smokescreen from 1995-2002, a Hezbollah cell in North Carolina that was bootlegging cigarettes to raise money was broken up. This was detailed in the excellent book, “Lightning Out of Lebanon.”

• In Operation Tobacco Road, 16 Muslim in the US were indicted for trafficking bootleg cigarettes in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. The proceeds are believed to have gone to Hezbollah and/or HAMAS.

tobacco-road-1

• In 2011, 70 car dealerships in Florida and elsewhere were uncovered laundering cars for sale in West Africa to raise money for Hezbollah.

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• Hezbollah has two major networks operating in Latin America:

1. The Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Rabbani Network

2. The Ghazi Atef Salameh Nassereddine Network

• Rabbani is an Iranian diplomatic official who was formerly the cultural attache’ to Argentina when Hezbollah attacked two Jewish targets there in 1992 and 1994. He is wanted on an Interpol Red Notice.

Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Rabbani

• Nassereddine was born in Lebanon, became a Venezuelan citizen in 2000-2001 and became Venezuela’s number 2 diplomat to Syria.

Ghazi Atef Salameh Nassereddine

• Hezbollah’s Rabbani network operates in Brazil and Venezuela and is linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and has been identified as operating cocaine labs and providing security for drug operations.

The Southern Border of the US

• Former DEA Operations Chief, Michael Braun, has testified about Hezbollah’s extensive operations in Latin America:

–Hezbollah has exploited America’s porous southern border for years.

–Hezbollah has close relations with Mexican cartels.

• Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman detailed Hezbollah’s Latin American operations in his indictment of Iranian officials for the 1992 and 1994 Buenos Aires bombings:

–9 Latin American countries have Hezbollah deeply embedded.

20130220_hezbollah_south_america

–The origin of Hezbollah’s presence in Latin America was the heavy emigration out of Lebanon from 1975-1990.

–Hezbollah initially set up operations in the lawless “Tri-border” area where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay come together.

The lawless "Tri-Border Area" in South America

• Hezbollah has a particularly heavy presence in Venezuela, especially on Margarita Island, where Hezbollah operates a training camp and has banking assets

hezbollah776283

• Hezbollah operates in Mexico and has relations with the Los Zetas cartel.

• In Mexico, Hezbollah’s operations include drug and human trafficking and providing explosives and tunneling training for the cartels. Hezbollah originally provided explosives training to Al Qaeda in Sudan in the 1990s and they have extensive experience in tunneling operations on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Hezbollah tunnel

• In July 2010, acting on intelligence provided by the US, Mexican authorities arrested a Hezbollah operative in Tijuana.

• The two main north-south routes for Hezbollah trafficking operations are I-35 and Highway 59.

interstate-35-map

US Highway 59

• US LE and Border Patrol have reported an increase in detainees with Farsi language tattoos and Hezbollah imagery on tattoos in recent years.

Source: fortressoffaith.org

• It has become increasingly common for Muslims in Mexico to change their Islamic surnames to Hispanic sounding names to facilitate moving across the border. Apologists claim this is simply to avoid discrimination. 

• Cartels have been involved in trafficking Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and Hezbollah operatives into the US.

• From 2008-2010, an estimated 180,000 OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) were believed to have crossed the border illegaly.

• In that same period, 1,918 “Special Interest” OTMs were apprehended on the border. “Special Interest” means they originated from nations of terrorism concern, such as Middle Eastern Islamic nations.

• In January 2011, a Farsi language book was found on the border in Arizona. It was named “In Memory of Our Martyrs.” It was an anthology of Jihadis killed in martyrdom operations.

English language translation of "In Memory of Our Martyrs" published by Iran's Qods Force and available on Amazon in the UK

• In April 2005, then-FBI director Robert Mueller reported that Hezbollah was involved in human trafficking on the southern border.

• In July of 2012, six Special Interest aliens from Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen were arrested in Laredo, TX. Each had 60,000 Iraqi dinars.

Information on general enforcement conditions on the Mexican border:

• There are constraints on border control. The Border Patrol is forbidden from patrolling on federal land. The Border Patrol reports receiving instructions to avoid detaining and processing illegal aliens.

• The majority of border crossers are NOT economic immigrants.

• Cartels are buying real estate on both sides of the border to set up staging areas and camps.

• The cartels employ high-tech comm gear superior to that in the hands of US LE.

• Cartels and coyotes employ scouts and snipers on the high ground along trafficking routes.

• The Mexican army has in fact provided surveillance and cover fire FOR traffickers on more than one occasion.

• Arizona ranchers are afraid to use their cell phones in the open because cartel snipers might think they are calling in reports to LE and kill them. Even US LE are careful about using comm gear in the open on the southern border. It is believed that the cartels have snipers and scouts in the high ground all the way to Phoenix.

• In 2010, an indictment in San Antonio involved the human smuggling of 100 or more Al Shabaab members from Somalia.

In short, the border is not secure, not at all. Any politician that says otherwise is LYING. In significant portions of the border, for much of the day/night, the border is completely controlled by cartels who have known ties to Jihadis, such as Hezbollah.

Christopher Holton is Director of Education and Outreach at ACT! for America. Holton joined ACT! for America after serving for 10 years at the Center for Security Policy, where he directed the Center’s Divest Terror Initiative and Shariah Risk Due Diligence Program. He has been involved in legislation in twenty states to divest taxpayer supported pension systems from foreign companies that do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic as well as passage of American Laws for American Courts and several other forms of state level legislation in dozens of states. In 2005, he was a co-author of War Footing, published by the US Naval Institute Press. Holton’s work has also been published by National Review, Human Events, The American Thinker, Family Security Matters, Big Peace, World Tribune, World Net Daily, and NewsMax. Before joining the Center, Chris was President of Blanchard and Company, a two hundred million dollar per year investment firm, and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit.

Experts: Iran Exerting Troubling Influence in Latin America

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC / AP

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC / AP

By :

Iran and its terrorist proxy groups’ influence in Latin America remains a troubling security threat to the region and world, experts said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group based in Lebanon and sponsored by Iran, has established illicit networks in Latin America in the last few decades to provide millions annually for its global operations, experts on the region told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

Those networks involve money laundering, counterfeiting, piracy, and drug trafficking in cooperation with local criminal groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Celina Realuyo, assistant professor of national security affairs at the National Defense University, said the “convergence” of terror and crime networks in Latin America presents a significant threat to regional and global security.

“These types of illicit actors, terror providers, and criminals, a lot of them are offering and brokering services but may not espouse the ideological fervor that other groups have,” she said. “But they’re offering a lot of special services—a terror pipeline—where you see this very unholy alliance between terror groups and criminal groups who have a win-win.”

The witnesses’ testimony on Tuesday appeared to contradict a State Departmentreport issued last year that downplayed the threat of Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere and was sharply criticized by some lawmakers and terrorism experts.

Realuyo said a lot of fundraising for Hezbollah in the region cannot be “separated out” from the illicit operations of local criminal groups.

Douglas Farah, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program, added that just because ties between Hezbollah and groups like FARC seem opaque does not mean they are nonexistent.

“It’s hard to get through the policy perception that [they’re] not there,” he said.

Realuyo pointed to three recent cases as evidence of the links between Hezbollah and criminal groups in Latin America.

Read more at Free Beacon

More on Hezbollah activities in Latin America: http://counterjihadreport.com/category/latin-america/

Jihadists exploit Latin America to finance terror

imagesCAH4IYW8Money Jihad:

Latin America has experienced a possible increase in terror financing activities by radical Islamists throughout 2012.  Consider the developments that have been revealed this year:

  • In September, published reports indicated that a Hezbollah camp in Nicaragua is training 30 operatives and is laundering money.
  • The Venezuela chapter of Hezbollah is using Panama for bulk cash smuggling for follow-on transfer to Beirut.
  • Some goods, possibly even missile components, are being exported via Panama directly to Iran.
  • The use of the Venezuelan air carrier Conviasa to smuggle contraband through Africa to Europe earned it an “operational ban” from the EU in April.  Hezbollah profited from the Conviasa flights.  It is unclear whether the ban interferes with Conviasa’s African flights.
  • Cuba was listed again by the U.S. in 2012 as a state sponsor of terrorism partly for the continued safe haven Cuba provides to terrorist groups FARC and ETA.  Havana is now also letting IHH, the radical Islamist Turkish charity that has been banned by Germany for its financing of Hamas, build a mosque in Cuba.
  • A trio of Hezbollah agents in Mexico was exposed during an arrest of one operative who had previously been convicted in the U.S. for credit card fraud that funded terrorism.
  • Ecuador was blacklisted in June by FATF, the international financial watchdog, for failing to make progress against money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • In its annual report in July, the U.S. State Department said, “Brazil has not criminalized terrorist financing in a manner that is consistent with the FATF Special Recommendation II.”

Given its Western heritage and deep Catholic faith, Latin America can and should be a natural ally in the war against Islamic terror.  Its energy resources make it a natural counterweight to the oil powerhouse of the Middle East.

But this wonderful opportunity to present a united trans-American front against jihad is being jeopardized by attitudes of permissiveness, ignorance, and political correctness.  American politicians like Michelle Bachman and Connie Mack who recognize the threat are written off as know-nothing xenophobes.  But the news this year indicates that they are correct.

Congressional report ties Middle East terrorists to Mexican drug cartels

Iran Quds force

By Matthew Boyle

A new congressional report from the House  Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and  Management ties Middle East terror organizations to Mexican drug cartels.

The report, released Thursday, is titled “A Line in the Sand: Countering  Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border.” It found that the “Southwest border has now become the greatest threat of terrorist infiltration  into the United States.” It specifically cites a “growing influence” from  Iranian and Hezbollah terror forces in Latin America.

“The presence of Hezbollah in Latin America is partially explained by the  large Lebanese diaspora in South America,” the report reads. “In general,  Hezbollah enjoys support by many in the Lebanese world community in part because  of the numerous social programs it provides in Lebanon that include schools,  hospitals, utilities and welfare.”

The congressional report, prepared by the subcommittee’s chairman, Texas  Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, argues that the “explanation for Iranian  presence in Latin America begins with its symbiotic relationship with  Hezbollah.”

“United in their dedication to the destruction of Israel, Iran has helped  Hezbollah grow from a small group of untrained guerrillas into what is arguably  the most highly trained, organized and equipped terrorist organization in the  world,” the report reads. “In return, Hezbollah has served as an ideal proxy for  Iranian military force – particularly against Israel – which affords Iran  plausible deniability diplomatically. Hence wherever Hezbollah is entrenched,  Iran will be as well and vice-versa.”

Read more at Daily Caller

Election in Venezuela: A Wild Card for US National Security

Venezuela’s opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles

By Luis Fleischman:

The upcoming October 7th elections in Venezuela do not  constitute just another round of elections in another country. These  elections are crucial for the future of Latin America and for the  security of the United States. In fact, it is no exaggeration to point  out that the Venezuelan drama should be as great a  concern as the   elections in the young democracies of the Middle East that emerged in  the aftermath of the Arab spring.

Unfortunately, the Venezuelan electoral process  has been  characterized by intimidation of the opposition and the press, violence,  and indiscriminate use of state resources, all this with the objective  of providing an advantage to Hugo Chavez.

In fact,  two supporters of Henrique Capriles Radonsky, the  opposition candidate  challenging the President,  were recently shot to  death.

**********

The U.S needs to exercise leadership among countries in the  Hemisphere but making sure that the Democratic Charter signed by members  of the Organization of American States (OAS) is implemented. The U.S  must exercise its influence to take democratic leadership in the region  or allow another key country to do so. It would be ideal if Brazil could  be persuaded to take such leadership as the country is a growing  democracy and economic power.

I would add that the struggle for democracy in our hemisphere should  not be merely based on moral principles. The struggle for democracy  needs to be understood as a major strategic tool of national security.  Democracy promotion creates a culture of peace and tolerance. A real  democracy includes substantive components that reject elements such as  alliances with rogue states.

As Venezuela continues to ally itself with Iran, Belarus, Russia  and China, the security threat on the United States aggravates. Chavez  has brought his Bolivarian allies in the hemisphere including Presidents  Rafael Correa from Ecuador, Evo Morales from Bolivia and Daniel Ortega  from Nicaragua into similar alliances with Iran. If Iran turns nuclear,  it is likely that missiles will be posted on Venezuelan soil creating a  major threat to our security.

Chavez has built an illiberal democracy that includes  regular  elections but  nothing else: no rule of law, no reasonable dialogue  between the factions, no free press and abundant violence and  intimidation. Chavez, nonetheless, rules because he continues to be  elected. This is the card he holds to maintain his legitimacy. This is  why Western Hemisphere  countries have accepted Venezuela as a  democracy,  as have  the Organization of American States (OAS) and   Mercosur (The South American Common Market). In both organizations  democracy is a pre-condition to become a member. However, Venezuela does  not seem to fall under the category of non-democratic countries because  Chavez  elections are held and Chavez has been “democratically  elected”..

If Chavez continues in power,  he will consolidate his regime to the  point where it will survive his death. Moreover, both China and Russia  have  major interests in perpetuating the Chavez government for a number  of reasons including an ability to counteract U.S. influence in the  hemisphere.

The United States cannot treat the Venezuelan case as it has treated the Syrian case. Our national security is at stake.

U.S. policy should be as determined and aggressive as possible with  the purpose of restoring genuine democracy to Venezuela and the  hemisphere. The morning after the election will be the real test for the  region and for the United States.

Read it all at Center For Security Policy

 

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Congressman Jeff Duncan’s First Bill Passes US House

 A big victory for ACT! for America! One of their high priority bills, Congressman Jeff Duncan’s Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act (HR 3783), passed the full House.

Washington, DC—South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan achieved a major legislative victory on Wednesday afternoon after one of his bills, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act (HR 3783), passed the full House with unanimous support. Duncan’s legislation addresses a growing concern among security experts that Iran is increasing its sphere of influence in Latin America. The legislation passes the House of Representatives just two weeks after an Israeli news organization revealed that Iran has established a Hezbollah terrorist training base in northern Nicaragua, and one week after the media reported that three suspected Hezbollah terrorists were arrested in Merida, Mexico.

“One of the ways we can honor the memory of those who lost their lives during the War on Terror is to be vigilant in protecting against new threats here at home,” said Duncan. “In the shadow of Iran’s growing nuclear ambitions, there’s another threat emerging of an Iranian-backed terror network in our own hemisphere.”

“From the deployment of an Iranian television network in Latin America, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s frequent trips to the region; Iran’s made their interest in the region well known,” said Duncan. “Recent developments including arresting suspected Hezbollah terrorists in Mexico, and evidence showing terrorist networks potentially working closely with Mexican drug cartels is even more disturbing.”

With Duncan’s bill clearing the House of Representatives without a single Democrat objection, the legislation has a chance of passing out of the United States Senate.

“Iran’s actions in our neighborhood represent a real threat to our safety and security,” said Duncan. “This bill provides the first step to countering Iran’s hostile presence right here at home, and I’m hopeful that this measure will move quickly through the Senate.”

Duncan’s legislation:

  • This legislation establishes a strong U.S. posture, policy, and relationship with Latin American countries
  • Protects U.S. interests and assets in the Western Hemisphere such as embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines, and cultural organizations, including threats to U.S. allies
  • Addresses the vital national security interests of the United States by ensuring that energy supplies from the Western Hemisphere are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets
  • Requires a secure U.S. border with the U.S. working in coordination with the governments of Mexico and Canada to prevent Iranian operatives from entering the U.S. Counters efforts by foreign persons, entities, and governments in the region to assist Iran in evading U.S. and international sanctions

Iran Courts Latin America

by Ilan Berman

Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2012, pp. 63-69 (view PDF)

In October 2011, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller revealed the thwarting of an elaborate plot by elements in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington at a posh D.C. eatery, utilizing members of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel.[1]

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) hosted an Iftar (fast breaking) ceremony on Ramadan in Tehran, September 3, 2009, which was attended by Bolivian president Evo Morales (right) during a two-day official visit. Tehran is now believed to be extracting uranium from as many as eleven different sites in Bolivia close to the country’s industrial capital of Santa Cruz.

The foiled terrorist plot, with its Latin American connections, focused new attention on what had until then been a largely overlooked political phenomenon: the intrusion of the Islamic Republic of Iran into the Western Hemisphere. An examination of Tehran’s behavioral pattern in the region over the past several years reveals four distinct strategic objectives: loosening the U.S.-led international noose to prevent it from building nuclear weapons; obtaining vital resources for its nuclear project; creating informal networks for influence projection and sanctions evasion; and establishing a terror infrastructure that could target the U.S. homeland.

Building Western Hemisphere Alliances

Outreach to Latin America is seen by the Iranian regime first and foremost as a means to lessen its deepening international isolation. Since 2003, when its previously clandestine nuclear program became a pressing international issue, Tehran has sought to mitigate the mounting political and economic restrictions levied against it by the United States and its allies through intensified diplomatic outreach abroad.

Due to its favorable geopolitical climate—typified by vast ungoverned areas and widespread anti-Americanism—Latin America has become an important focus of this effort. Over the past decade, the regime has nearly doubled the number of embassies in the region (from six in 2005 to ten in 2010) and has devoted considerable energy to forging economic bonds with sympathetic regional governments.[2]

Far and away the most prominent such partnership has been with Venezuela. Since Hugo Chavez became president in 1999, alignment with Tehran has emerged as a cardinal tenet of Caracas’s foreign policy. The subsequent election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Iranian presidency in 2005 kicked cooperation into high gear with dramatic results. Today, the two countries enjoy an extensive and vibrant strategic partnership. Venezuela has emerged as an important source of material assistance for Tehran’s sprawling nuclear program as well as a vocal diplomatic backer of its right to atomic power.[3] The Chavez regime also has become a safe haven and source of financial support for Hezbollah, Iran’s most powerful terrorist proxy.[4] In turn, Tehran’s feared Revolutionary Guard has become involved in training Venezuela’s secret services and police.[5] Economic contacts between Caracas and Tehran likewise have exploded—expanding from virtually nil in the early 2000s to more than $20 billion in total trade and cooperation agreements today.[6]

Just as significantly, Venezuela has served as Iran’s gateway for further economic and diplomatic expansion into the region. Aided by its partnership with Caracas and bolstered by a shared anti-American outlook, Tehran has succeeded in forging significant strategic, economic, and political links with the regime of Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. Even Iran’s relations with Argentina, where Iranian-supported terrorists carried out major bombings in 1992 and 1994, have improved in recent times, as the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has hewed a more conciliatory line toward Tehran.[7]

It would be a mistake, however, to view these contacts as simply pragmatic—or strictly defensive. The Iranian regime’s sustained systematic outreach to regional states suggests that it sees the Western Hemisphere as a crucial strategic theater for expanding its own influence and reducing that of the United States. Indeed, a 2009 dossier prepared by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that “since Ahmadinejad’s rise to power, Tehran has been promoting an aggressive policy aimed at bolstering its ties with Latin American countries with the declared goal of ‘bringing America to its knees.'”[8] This view is increasingly shared by the U.S. military: In its 2010 report on Iranian military power, the Office of the Secretary of Defense noted that “Iran seeks to increase its stature by countering U.S. influence and expanding ties with regional actors” in Latin America.[9]

To this end, Tehran is ramping up its strategic messaging to the region. In late January, on the heels of Ahmadinejad’s very public four-country tour of Latin America, the Iranian regime formally launched HispanTV, a Spanish-language analogue to its English-language Press TV channel.[10] The television outlet has been depicted by Ahmadinejad as part of his government’s efforts to “limit the ground for supremacy of dominance seekers”—a thinly-veiled reference to U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.[11]

As Ahmadinejad’s statement indicates, Tehran is pursuing a strategy that promotes its own ideology and influence in Latin America at Washington’s expense. In this endeavor, it has been greatly aided by Chavez, who himself has worked diligently to diminish U.S. political and economic presence in the region under the banner of a new “Bolivarian” revolution.

Read more

Iran’s Offensive in America’s Backyard

By Clare Lopez:

While much attention lately has rightly been focused on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the mullahs have also been busy elsewhere—especially in America’s own backyard. During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two-term presidency, Iran has expanded its activity in the Western Hemisphere to an alarming degree.

Tehran has found hospitable terrain among some of Latin America’s most anti-American regimes, including in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The jihadist regime’s hundreds of commercial, diplomatic and security ventures across the region not only help it break out of isolation, evade U.S. and international sanctions and forge relationships that provide access to needed resources, but also gain a foothold for Iranian intelligence, military and terrorist operations within striking distance of the American homeland.

Since Ahmadinejad took over the Iranian presidency in 2005, his administration has expanded Iran’s diplomatic facilities in Latin America from five to 11 and set up 17 “cultural centers.” Every one of these provides cover slots for operatives of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Quds Force and intelligence service (MOIS – Ministry of Intelligence and Security).

Their job is to manage relationships with narcotrafficking, organized crime and terrorist organizations. Riding the vector of a bourgeoning Lebanese Shi’ite immigrant population in South America dating to the 1970’s, Hizballah has made the region a focus of its attack plotting, fundraising, money laundering, proselytizing, recruitment and terror training activities.

Evidence also is mounting that Hizballah cells, with members in the hundreds, increasingly are working in cooperation with Mexican drug cartels, sharing terrorist expertise with them, and moving northward, across the border and up into the U.S. and Canada.

Reza Khalili, a former IRGC officer and CIA spy, says that IRGC units are running operations out of U.S. mosques and Islamic Centers. Toronto authorities have just discovered antisemitic, jihadist passages from Iranian sources in public school textbooks.

To date, though, U.S. leadership, fixated on negotiating Iranian compliance on nuclear issues, has been reluctant to see Iran’s Western Hemisphere activities as the critical national security threat that they are.

Read more

Mexican Jihad

by Raymond Ibrahim:

As the United States considers the Islamic jihadi threats confronting it from all sides, it would do well to focus on its southern neighbor, Mexico, which has been targeted by Islamists and jihadists, who, through a number of tactics—from engaging in da’wa, converting Mexicans to Islam, to smuggling and the drug cartel, simple extortion, kidnappings and enslavement—have been subverting Mexico in order to empower Islam and sabotage the U.S.

According to a 2010 report, “Close to home: Hezbollah terrorists are plotting right on the U.S. border,” which appeared in the NY Daily News:

Mexican authorities have rolled up a Hezbollah network being built in Tijuana … closer to American homes than the terrorist hideouts in the Bekaa Valley are to Israel. Its goal, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper that reported on the investigation: to strike targets in Israel and the West. Over the years, Hezbollah—rich with Iranian oil money and narcocash—has generated revenue by cozying up with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs and people into the U.S. In this, it has shadowed the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Tehran, which has been forging close ties with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who in turn supports the narcoterrorist organization FARC, which wreaks all kinds of havoc throughout the region.

Another 2010 article appearing in the Washington Times asserts that, “with fresh evidence of Hezbollah activity just south of the border [in Mexico], and numerous reports of Muslims from various countries posing as Mexicans and crossing into the United States from Mexico, our porous southern border is a national security nightmare waiting to happen.” This is in keeping with a recent study done by Georgetown University, which revealed that the number of immigrants from Lebanon and Syria living in Mexico exceeds 200,000. Syria, along with Iran, is one of Hezbollah’s strongest financial and political supporters, and Lebanon is the immigrants’ country of origin. Just like only 19 jihadists were necessary to cause the devastation of September 11, 2001, only a handful of these 200,000 are necessary to wreak havoc north of the border.

A jihadist cell in Mexico was recently found to have a weapons cache of 100 M-16 assault rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2,500 hand grenades, C4 explosives and antitank munitions. The weapons, it turned out, had been smuggled by Muslims from Iraq. According to this report, “obvious concerns have arisen concerning Hezbollah’s presence in Mexico and possible ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTO’s) operating along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

As far back as 2005, an article entitled “Islam is gaining a Foothold in Chiapas” showcased the inroads of Islam in Mexico:

Long a bastion of Catholicism, southern Mexico is quickly turning into a battleground for soul-savers. Islam, too, is gaining a foothold and the indigenous Mayans are converting by the hundreds. The Mexican government is worried about a culture clash in their own backyard… Muslim women in headscarves have become a common sight….

To appreciate the significance of the fact that Muslim headscarves “have become a common sight” in Mexico, consider the words of former jihadist Tawfik Hamid, who personally knew al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri. In his book, Inside Jihad, he writes: “The proliferation of the hijab [Muslim headscarves] is strongly correlated with increased terrorism…. Terrorism became much more frequent in such societies as Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria, and the U.K. after the hijab became prevalent among Muslim women living in those communities.”

After discussing an increase in converts to Islam, the article continues by saying: “It’s a development that is beginning to worry the Mexican government. Indeed, the government even suspects the new converts of subversive activity and has already set the secret service onto the track of the Mayan Muslims. Mexican President Vincente Fox has even gone so far as to say he fears the influence of the radical fundamentalists of al-Qaida” [emphasis added].

Kidnappings, as part of a drug cartel or as part of a jihadist operation, which legitimizes crimes such as kidnapping and child slavery, have become increasingly common. To convert non-Muslims to their cause, Islamists also whip up—and then exploit—a sense of “grievance” against the “white man.”

In addition, according to counterterrorism experts in this report, Islamic terrorists blend in better with Mexicans than with Europeans, thereby enabling them to sneak into the U.S. across the southwest border. This Muslim cleric, for example, discusses how easy it is to smuggle a briefcase containing anthrax from Mexico into America, thereby killing at least some 330,000 Americans in a single hour.

Read more

Middle East Terrorists Operating along Arizona Southern Border

By Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D. at FSM:

The southern border of Arizona remains unsecure with a growing threat from those who detest America in every way and intend to destroy our country. This threat is not simply Mexican drug dealers, although they are posing an ever increasing and violent presence as they move into Arizona, and then launch their activities into 257 known American cities, according to the National Association for Retired Border Patrol Officers.  A more ominous threat of the unsecure southern border into the U.S. is the increased activity of Middle Eastern terrorists. Since Oct, 2003, Border Patrol agents in the Tucson, AZ sector apprehended 5,510 illegals from countries other than Mexico, Central or South America. 

In this Tucson sector, captured illegals were Middle Eastern and spoke Farsi or Arabic. A large number of these that were apprehended escaped capture and disappeared into the United States

The Arizona desert is littered with evidence of illegals coming from countries that are violently opposed to and stated enemies of America; especially countries like Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, and the spreading al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Further evidence demonstrates the growing relationship and cooperation by these terrorist groups and drug cartels, as well as criminal gangs like MS-13. 

Much of this activity stems from miles of open borders in Arizona, and the fierce open miles of desert unique to southern Arizona. One cannot fully appreciate, much less understand, the rough and unforgiving regions of desert unless you actually have been there – pictures alone will not suffice. Cartels and gangs have taken up residence on multiple pathways, created desert roadways, mountains and command activity within their dedicated region or sector. With military grade weapons, satellite communications, high powered vision aide, these scouts and small pockets of “soldiers” are becoming increasingly formidable. This aids in the movement of small groups of suspected terrorists through the desert deep into Arizona, and then to a final destination.

FOR YOUR ANALYSIS AND CONSIDERATION

 
1.        The U.S. Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs received testimony on February 2nd, 2012, that demonstrated Iran’s growing influence along the U.S. Border south of Arizona. Michael Braun, a former chief of operations for DEA, testified that Hezbollah has developed strong and sophisticated relationships with Mexican drug cartels. One dimension to this relationship is the control of the southern Border of Arizona, then corridors into every region of America.
 
2.        There is growing “chatter” that Iran will strike the United States from within if Iran’s nuclear program is attacked. Once again, the southern Border of Arizona comes into focus, as a significant corridor for assets hostile to America to travel.
 
3.        Besides Iran and Hezbollah, South American satellite terrorist-sponsoring nations like Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua are assisting with the massing and training of terrorists, weapons (including medium-range missiles), logistics and other support. Latin America is quickly becoming a platform from which an attack against the United States can be launched. This includes moving aforesaid terrorist groups, with cooperation from Mexican drug cartels, right up to the border south of Arizona and into Arizona, an activity that was revealed in testimony before the U.S. Congress Committee on Homeland Security, subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on 7 July 2011.
 
4.        Back in 2005, a captured ranking al-Qaeda agent revealed the plan to move nuclear materials from South America through the border and into America for attacks at a later date. Adnan ash-Shukrijumah, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, it was learned, was chosen by bin Laden to serve as the field commander for the terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The code name: “The American Hiroshima” plan was affixed. This plan purportedly is to launch simultaneous explosions on American cities. American law enforcement agencies have been seriously looking for Adnan ash-Shukrijumah since 2005. The latest “FBI Most Wanted” reports (1/19/2012) indicate that Shukrijumah is still at large.    
 
5.        The Federal Government is proclaiming how border apprehensions are down 40%. This is misleading. What is not being shared with the public is the fact that Fed policy is to count only selected groups and allow others to go free or to turn south back to Mexico counting neither category.
 

 

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D. is a frequent contributor to RFFM.org. Rapacki is private-sector intelligence analyst. The head of SENTINEL INTELLIGENCE SERVICES, LLC, Rapacki receives and disseminates critical intelligence and policy information from and to law enforcement, intelligence and homeland security officials, and government and community leaders; Rapacki is the author of dozens of white papers, bulletins and briefings, and he is frequently called on to share his expertise with public and private security directors and organizations. He serves as a Special Advisor to select members of the Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives on matters of Intelligence and state security.