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Archive for May, 2011

Oh, if only Osama bin Laden’s death could solve all our problems. No doubt we’ve dealt a serious blow to al-Qaeda. Unfortunately, Hezbollah, which has cells over the Western Hemisphere — including within U.S. borders — is an even greater long-term danger to us than al-Qaeda is.

In case anyone needs a refresher, Hezbollah is the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization that has dominated Lebanon for many years, having made its first huge splash in 1983, when its suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut killed 241 Americans. Since then, Hezbollah has spread all over the world, and has pulled off some very high-profile terrorist attacks, including the bombing of the largest Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, and the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1998.

Hezbollah has had a growing presence in South America for over twenty years, with its heaviest concentration in the remote, lawless wildlands of South America’s “Tri-Border Area” (TBA), where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay intersect. Although Hezbollah’s chief target is the United States of America, few Americans are even aware of the group’s large and growing presence in our hemisphere. The fact that Iran is now building missile bases in Venezuela has perhaps gotten a few more people’s attention — but the media is not devoting to it anything like the coverage that its significance deserves.

If all that weren’t bad enough, Hezbollah is in Mexico, is actively and successfully recruiting there, and now we find out that its reach extends as far northward as Tijuana. Maybe I missed it, but as far as I can tell, virtually nobody is covering this. There’s one lone TV station down in San Diego that broke the story — and other than a mention on the Fox News website, and a few conservative blogs, the story has gone down a black hole. Barack Obama certainly didn’t mention it when he delivered his little “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, bitter clingers!” speech last week in El Paso.

From Channel 10 News in San Diego:

A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.

“They [Hezbollah] are recognized by many experts as the ‘A’ team of Muslim terrorist organizations,” a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.

From Small Wars Journal, we get the following account that illustrates just how sophisticated Hezbollah is:

Recently, FBI agents went to the Tri-Border Area on a covert mission, only informing a select few officials of the host country with little time before arriving. Hezbollah faxed the FBI New York office pictures of their agents de-boarding their plane, just minutes after it happened. ―The implicit message was clear: We know you‘re here. We‘re watching. It was a classic example of Hezbollah‘s superb counterintelligence, another reason why American officials consider the group so dangerous.

This is what we’re up against, folks. And they’re not just down in the wilds of South America any more. According to the former intelligence agent who spoke to 10News San Diego:

The group is now active much closer to San Diego. “We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico.”

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. policy has focused on al-Qaeda and its offshoots. “They [al-Qaeda] are more shooters than thinkers … it’s a lot of muscles, courage, desire but not a lot of training.”

Hezbollah, he said, is far more advanced.

“Their operators are far more skilled … they are the equals of Russians, Chinese or Cubans,” he said. “I consider Hezbollah much more dangerous in that sense because of strategic thinking; they think more long-term.”

Hezbollah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.

Now, the group is blending into Shi’a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana.

Until a few months ago, when I first started researching Hezbollah’s activities in Latin America, I didn’t even know there were Shi’a Muslim communities in Mexico. But indeed there are — in part, emigres from Muslim countries; in part, Mexican converts to Islam. The 10News story continues:

Other [Hezbollah] pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade .

“They have had clandestine training in how to live in foreign hostile territories,” the agent said.

The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.

He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.

“From money laundering to firearms training and explosives training,” the agent said.

For example, he tracked, along with Mexican intelligence, two Hezbollah operatives in safe houses in Tijuana and Durango.

“I confirmed the participation of cartel members as well as other Hezbollah individuals living and operating out of there,” he said.

One of the things that is crucial to know about Hezbollah is that, although they are affiliated with Iran, each cell is set up to be self-sufficient with respect to personnel and funding. By and large, once a cell is established, it is not getting financial support from Iran. Each cell raises its own funds. This is why Hezbollah has gotten involved with the drug and human-trafficking cartels, along with currency-trading, import-export, and document-forging operations: These are money-makers.

But it’s a two-way street. The drug cartels give Hezbollah a piece of the action with the drug and human-trafficking trades, but on the other hand, Hezbollah’s particular specialties are useful to the Mexican cartels.

Tunnels the cartels have built that cross from Mexico into the U.S. have grown increasingly sophisticated. It is a learned skill, the agent said, [that] points to Hezbollah’s involvement.

“Where are the knowledgeable tunnel builders? Certainly in the Middle East,” he said.

Why have Americans not heard more about Hezbollah’s activities happening so close to the border?

That’s a very, very good question. Could it be (as I suspect) just good old-fashioned denial — i.e., we’re dealing with a threat so horrible, and seemingly so intractable, that deep down, we really just don’t want to know? A variation on that is that news media — and the interests that control them — are afraid of creating a panic. Regrettable, but understandable.

“If they [Hezbollah] really wanted to start blowing stuff up, they could do it,” the agent said.

According to the agent, the organization sees the U.S. as their “cash cow,” with illegal drug and immigration operations. Many senior Hezbollah leaders are wealthy businessmen, the agent said.

“The money they are sending back to Lebanon is too important right now to jeopardize those operations.”

The agent said the real concern is the group’s long-term goal of radicalizing Muslim communities.

“They’re focusing on developing … infiltrating communities within North America.”

Counterterrorism professionals tell us that Hezbollah already has cells in the United States. And we know that their operatives are continuing to enter the U.S. via Mexico. Obama and others like to make it sound as if Mexicans are the only people coming over our unsecured border. But every year, thousands of OTMs (other than Mexican) cross the border as well. According to the Dept. of Homeland Security,

federal law enforcement agencies detained 791,568 deportable aliens in fiscal year 2008 – and 5,506 of them were from 14 “special-interest countries”… Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen … [and terror sponsors] Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran.

Although only three of the thirteen Muslim countries on that list are listed as “terror sponsors,” Yemen is now al-Qaeda’s strongest base of operations, Somalia is the home base of the vicious terrorist group al-Shabaab, and we hardly need comment on the terror groups based in, funded by, or otherwise connected with Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Now consider: If border security personnel managed to catch 5,506, how many successfully got through without being caught?

The problem is bad enough that even Eric Holder’s Justice Department admits that terrorists have been crossing our borders.

There are nearly 2,000 mosques in the U.S.. Even if only one percent of them shelter Hezbollah operatives, that would still be 20 American cities that could be attacked simultaneously if the command went out.

Just the imaginative figments of spy-thriller authors? Hardly. This is actually the way Hezbollah works, according to counterterrorism expert Cyrus Miryetka. Hezbollah cells play “the long game,” biding their time for years or decades, waiting for the signal to do what they’ve trained for years to do. When the signal comes, we could see multiple Beirut-barracks type bombings. Or Mumbai-style massacres. Or Beslan-type massacres of schoolchildren. Or some combination of all the above. Or something we haven’t seen before and can’t even imagine. But the one thing we can almost surely count on, according to intelligence experts, is that it would be multiple attacks in multiple cities happening nearly simultaneously.

A useful analogy is red imported fire ants. Anyone who’s lived in the southern U.S. will know what I’m talking about. The tactic of those vicious, meat-eating insects — which have killed off much of the ground-nesting bird population in Texas and other states, and have even killed larger animals such as calves — is to crawl up your leg by the dozens or hundreds before you even know they’re on you — and then, upon the release of a pheromone signal by the first one to sting, they all sting simultaneously. The pain is excruciating.

Right now, Hezbollah operatives are figuratively crawling up our leg, infiltrating one cell after another into our country, getting in place, getting ready, awaiting the signal.

Frightening, depressing stuff — no wonder nobody wants to talk about it. But if a wildfire were headed directly toward your home as you slept, wouldn’t you want someone to call and wake you up, so you could survive, and possibly even save your home? We may be in for tragic events, but surely our odds of surviving or even preventing them are better if we’re aware and informed about the danger. Forewarned is forearmed.

So, what to do?

  • Insist that our elected officials cease their willful ignorance of this problem, fulfill their constitutional duty to inform themselves about the enemy within, and in turn, inform the public. We have been bound and gagged by leftist-imposed “political correctness”; those gags need to come off, and quickly.
  • Immediately shut down all jihadist training camps in the United States. It is scandalous that people openly training for the violent overthrow of the United States are permitted to operate here at all. On the contrary, these people should be put on trial for sedition and punished accordingly. And the people living in nearby communities should be alerted to the camps’ existence. It’s simply wrong to keep people in the dark about the presence of such dangerous enemies in their vicinity. We have laws requiring that people be notified about sexual predators in their neighborhood; why not about people who mean to kill them and their children?
  • Vigorously investigate every mosque and Islamic center in the United States. Numerous intrepid researchers have already documented the nefarious purposes for which these centers are used. Shut down the guilty ones and deport their imams. Again, “political correctness” is just a euphemism for national suicide. We are facing a threat to our continued existence, both as a country and as individuals “guilty” of being “infidels.”
  • Last but certainly not least : Seal the borders. (Mexico first, but don’t forget Canada.)

There are many more tactics in an effective strategy; these are just the most obvious ones to an amateur. Our intelligence agencies will know full well what to do; we just need to listen to them, and to free our law-enforcement personnel to implement life-saving measures.

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What exactly is the nature of Islam?

Specifically:

  • Is Islam itself evil — or only certain interpretations of it?
  • Can Islam be reformed — or is that impossible by its very nature?
  • Should we encourage “moderate” Muslims — or is that just wasted effort?

Ever since 9/11, Americans have been asking themselves these questions.

Christians often ask an additional question:

  • Is it worthwhile, or even morally right, for the Church to “dialogue” with Muslims — or should all our effort be focused on converting them?

Personally, I’ve gone back and forth on these questions more times than Barack Obama’s head goes back and forth when he gives a speech. As a Christian, and particularly as a Catholic, I feel like I get mixed messages from Scripture, history, Church teaching, and reason. Christians from St. Thomas Aquinas to C.S. Lewis, and all the way back to St. Paul (see Romans 1:19-20; Acts 17:22-28), have explained that God reveals Himself even to those who have never heard the name of Jesus, and that glimmerings of truth exist within other religions. In the words of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II declaration on the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions,

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. [emphasis mine]

Of Muslims (note: Muslim persons, not Islam itself) the document states:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth….

On the other hand, St. Paul said to “test the spirits” to discern whether they’re good or evil, and Jesus said we can judge a tree by its fruit.

Roy H. Schoeman, a Jewish Catholic, in his book Salvation Is from the Jews, has this to say about Islam:

[Satan] has one goal — to deprive man of salvation, of eternal happiness — and one of the ways to achieve that is through the propagation of false religion, the primary victims of which are its own adherents…. Of all the major religions of the world, only Islam arose after God’s full revelation of Himself to man in His incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ…. Only Islam’s revelation came after Christ, aware of Christianity yet contradicting it. Hence one must ask what the source of the revelation was — was it of human or of supernatural origin? If of supernatural origin, did it come from God or from fallen spirits?… One must ask just what spiritual entity lies behind the revelation of Islam. [pp. 295-300]

And yet… I believe that beauty is one of God’s attributes, and I have personally seen and heard things within Islam that are stunningly beautiful — Sufi dancing (in which I have even participated), the poetry of Rumi, the goosebump-inducing sound of certain Muslim melodies.

On the other hand, when I tried to read the Qur’an for myself, I had to stop, because it so disgusted and outraged me that I could not continue. It’s as if someone tore all the pages out of the Bible, discarded 90% of them, put the remaining 10% through a shredder, cut and pasted the shreds together randomly, then tried to cover the ugliness of the pastiche by throwing a lot of overly flowery language over it. But that’s just my subjective opinion. If we want to stick to more objective criteria, we can look at the statistics on the cold, hard facts of life in Islamic countries, such as clitorectomy, polygamy, burqas, honor killings, forced child marriages, wife-beating, domestic imprisonment, acid attacks, gang rapes, and other cruelties toward Muslim women and girls.

So… Is Islam the direct work of the devil, and was Muhammad possessed by demons? Or, is Islam merely a very faulty instrument through which God in His omnipotence and mercy can nevertheless reach people — the way a cheap toy flute, with misspaced holes and flimsy keys, might still make music in the hands of a master?

Should Western Christians band together with virtuous atheists, such as the late Oriana Fallaci, to fight the anti-human cult of Islam? Or, should we join forces with Muslims of goodwill in order to combat what may be the even greater evil of secularism, what Pope Benedict XVI termed the “dictatorship of relativism”?

Can Islam be reformed and made compatible with the modern world of progress, liberty and individual rights? Or, is it inherently unreformable?

To stage a debate on that last question, you’d be hard-pressed to find two more qualified and articulate principals than the two men you’ll see in the video below.

For the affirmative, we have Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, who is, hands down, my favorite Muslim in public life. He’s earnest, likable, accomplished, patriotic, has integrity and goodwill, and is engagingly smart and articulate. A medical doctor and formerly an officer in the U.S. Navy, Jasser is founder and head of a group called the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), whose goal is genuine Islamic reformation. He has started programs to inculcate young Muslim Americans with the principles of our Founding Fathers, a love of liberty, and commitment to the Constitutional rule of law, and separation of mosque and state.

If you can’t watch the whole debate, try to at least watch from the 5:10 mark to the 10:20 mark, which is the first segment in which Dr. Jasser comments. If you’ve never seen Jasser interviewed or read his articles, you owe it to yourself to hear his views, for he is an entirely different breed from the duplicitous, seditious CAIR types who dominate the discussion of Islam in our media. I don’t agree with everything Jasser says, but I appreciate having his perspective; he makes me think. I believe he is completely sincere — which makes him a very brave man.

On the other side is Dr. Robert Spencer, head of Jihad Watch, co-founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), and one of my longtime personal heroes — right up there with Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, all of whom face constant death threats because of their leadership in the fight to defend liberty and human rights against the creeping imposition of shariah all over the globe.

Moderating the discussion is Andrew McCarthy, author of Willful Blindness and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. McCarthy headed the legal team that prosecuted and convicted Sheikh Abdel Rahman, “the blind sheikh,” who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy knows more about Islam than 99% of Americans — but on the questions raised in my first paragraph, he freely admits he’s ambivalent. Introducing the debate topic, he says, “I’ve been having this argument with myself for about eighteen years!”

I’ll be honest. Although I, like McCarthy, am ambivalent, I mostly tend to think that, while countless individual Muslims are good people, Islam itself is an evil ideology, Muhammad was demonically possessed, and the Twelfth Imam in Iran is probably the Antichrist. There. I’ve said it.

But, if there is anyone who could make me doubt all that, it would be Zuhdi Jasser.

The debate took place on April 3 at a retreat sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Enjoy!

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYK3uicC%5D

UPDATE: Walid Shoebat, former Muslim, has given a lot of thought to this issue, particularly to Dr. Jasser’s arguments, which Shoebat rebuts in his piece “The Problem With Reforming Islam.”

Cross-posted at Creative Tension

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Nothing should shock me anymore about the depth of humanity’s oldest hatred — nevertheless I am in shock. The next Holocaust is being prepared — as the world looks on. And does nothing.

On Wednesday, in Cairo, Fatah — the terrorist group founded by Yasser Arafat that now styles itself as “moderate” and runs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank — signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, the terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip. The signing was accompanied — as these things always are — by enough pomp and ceremony to disguise, for most onlookers, the monstrous evil taking place. It was attended by representatives not only of the Arab League, but of the E.U. and the U.N. That means us. Scandalously, the U.S. is not only a member of the U.N., but its chief financial contributor. So when “representatives of the U.N.” show up to cheer the consolidation of Palestinian power against Israel, they are doing that in our name.

From Big Peace:

The reconciliation agreement is an important step on the way to getting the United Nations General Assembly to unilaterally create a Palestinian state in September by international mandate. A reconciliation is an important prerequisite.

Abbas said that they had forever turned “the black page of divisions.” Meshall spelled out Hamas’s goal:

“Our aim is to establish a free and completely sovereign Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any settlers and without giving up a single inch of land and without giving up on the right of return [of Palestinian refugees].”

In fact, several years ago, the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, European Union) set three conditions for Hamas: recognize the state of Israel; renounce violence; and honor past Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Hamas has said that it will not agree to any of these conditions.

Well, of course it won’t. That would go against their whole reason for being. Hamas has been committed, from its origins, to the utter elimination of the Jews of Israel. Their very charter, Hamas’s founding document, is a declaration of war — against Israel, and against all of non-Muslim humanity. Here is the second paragraph of the Hamas charter in its entirety:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

And do not suppose that Hamas intends to fold up shop once they’ve obliterated Israel. The charter is a manifesto of global Islamic conquest. Here’s a sample, from Article 7, which appears under the heading “The Universality of the Islamic Resistance Movement”:

As a result of the fact that those Muslims who adhere to the ways of the Islamic Resistance Movement spread all over the world, rally support for it and its stands, strive towards enhancing its struggle, the Movement is a universal one.

And what would life be like in Hamas’ utopia? Poor, nasty, brutish and short. That’s the only kind of life unmitigated hatred can yield.

I will never forget the heartbreaking scenes in 2005 as Israeli soldiers evicted their own fellow Jews from their homes in Gaza, so that Israel could give the whole Gaza Strip to the Palestinians — in hopes of peace. And I’ll never forget how sick I felt as that gift was trashed by its recipients.

Before

After

The Jewish settlers in Gaza had built some of the most state-of-the-art agricultural facilities in the world, exporting flowers, fruit and vegetables to Europe and elsewhere, and employing thousands of Palestinians, Israelis, and others. Wealthy Jewish philanthropists in the U.S. (as well as a couple of prominent non-Jewish ones such as Bill Gates) bought the Gush Katif hothouses for $14 million and donated them to the Palestinian Authority. The hothouses had taken years to build, but as PA police looked on, Palestinian mobs ransacked them within hours of the Israeli exit. They stripped them of their glass, wiring, computer and electronic equipment and irrigation pipes and timers, destroying a vital source of employment for Gaza Palestinians in the process.

Jewish minds had conceived and designed the greenhouses, Jewish hands had built them, Jewish families had earned their livings in them. Therefore they must be destroyed. Don’t want anything that’s been contaminated by the filthy Jews!

It would seem that the most well-honed skill in Gaza now is the art of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The mentality of the suicide bomber.

There is only one way out of this pit. The late, great Israeli prime minister Golda Meir saw what it was. She said:

“Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

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Many psychologists and pundits have commented, over the years, on Barack Obama’s aloofness, stiffness, weird sense of humor and apparent emotional disconnect from those he is supposed to be serving. In the last few days, this topic has again come to the fore, as many Americans have noted the rather strange discrepancy between Obama’s knowing, as of Friday, about the planned attack on Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and the jolly, partying, normal (for him) way he spent the weekend — even having to be called in from the golf course on Sunday (after only nine holes!) to be present in the White House situation room to follow the unfolding events.

Frankly, though, nothing ever surprises me about Obama’s “emotional disconnect” — because way back, in the fall of 2008, I saw this:
[Click on image to see video]

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From The Jawa Report:

Islampolicy, the website run by former members of Revolution Muslim, had this reaction to Osama bin Laden’s death. The image of Osama bin Laden you see is from a YouTube video they embedded. It is a nasheed (hymn) dedicated to bin Laden.

islampolicy_osama_bin_laden.jpg
A coblogger, Yusuf in New York, didn’t want to believe the news and had this to say:

But if it is true than May Allah accept him as a Martyr and may he be in the highest level of Jannah. Ameen

Yeah, but you don’t support al Qaeda.

Can we get SEAL Team Six to Queens? STAT!!

My sentiments exactly.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit

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