Hezbollah Smuggling Across US – Mexican Border

March 30, 2009

 

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Here is the first in my series of “Reports from America” where I cover issues affecting the US that you probably won’t hear about in Britain. As you probably already know America’s southern border with Mexico is porous, allowing in tens of thousands of illegal immigrants every year. However this boarder is more than just an entry point for Mexican drug cartels and people traffickers — the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah has been smuggling drugs and people into the US as well.

 

Hezbollah has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America, and is now using the same routes into the US that the Mexican cartels use for smuggling, according to a report in The Washington Times.

 

The group relies on “the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers, and transportation experts as the drug cartels,” said Michael Braun, who recently retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He goes on to say that “They work together. They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.”  

 

“The Mexican cartels have no loyalty to anyone,” another official told the Times. “They will willingly or unknowingly aid other nefarious groups’ [entry] into the US through the routes they control. It has already happened. That’s why the border is such a serious national security issue.”

 

Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006, funds its operations in part from drug smuggling, people trafficking and other criminal enterprises. One such Hezbollah operative was Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a Mexican of Lebanese descent, who was arrested in 2002 for smuggling 200 people, including Hezbollah supporters, into the US

 

Adm. James Stavridis, commander of US Southern Command, recently told a House committee that the connection between drug traffickers and “Islamic radical terrorism” is a growing threat to the US Braun said members of the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been operating in South America and “could be commanding and controlling Hezbollah’s criminal enterprises from there.” And a senior US defence official said that in addition to Hezbollah, al-Qaida could also use the Mexican cartels’ trafficking routes to smuggle operatives into the US

 

The boarder is a major problem and needs to be secured now! The drug wars between the Mexican cartels have claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people since January 2008, and have destabilized the Mexican government as it continues to fail in dealing with the threat. The Mexican boarder strip is lawless and effectively a failed state within a state. It has the potential to become like the tribal areas in Pakistan, and under these conditions terrorists could use the region as a launch pad into the US to carry out acts of terrorism there. All this has prompted President Barack Obama to send additional agents there and to promise additional funding and help for the Mexican government in its fight against the cartels.

 

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Obama to meet Cameron

March 29, 2009

 

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I arrived in the US last night and immediately I noticed a few changes. Security has stepped up at immigration, you’re now required to have a full set of finger print scans on arrival, whereas you just needed both index fingers before. So much for labelling the Republicans as security freaks and civil liberty wreckers, seems the Democrats are just as keen at this. The petrol (gas) price is at $1.99 a gallon! No one is complaining about that anymore, but why do we in Britain still pay +£0.90 a litre? It’s obviously not just tax, it also highlights the appalling exchange rate between the dollar (the currency oil is traded in) and the pound. The other thing I noticed is that Obama’s poll rating is falling faster than Bush’s did over his first 70 days. That one seems to have escaped the British media’s attention, but I guess you can’t label him the messiah and an idiot at the same time.

 

Back in Blighty things are not looking good for Gordon Brown either. As Brown left South America, he might have thought, “at least nothing else can go wrong now” in what was a terrible week for the PM. Dan Hannan had kicked it off with his now-famous speech in Strasbourg; then Brown was introduced in New York as a man who became PM in 2007 “and it was all downhill ever since”; then to Brazil where he was snubbed by Pele and ribbed by the president; then to Chile to be given lessons in Keynsian economics. So what was Brown’s reaction I wonder when he heard of Cameron’s hour long meeting with Obama on Wednesday? Watch the repairmen enter No 10 on Monday and time how long they spend there, this should give some indication as to how badly he took the news. 

 

According to the Telegraph’s Toby Harnden, Barack Obama will take time to meet David Cameron when he comes over to London for the G20 summit next week. The pair have met before, but that was before Obama became US President. Surely, a meeting now will be taken as a sign that the US administration thinks Brown is on his way out.  Some summit this is turning out to be for Gordon…

 

Maybe when Cameron meets Obama on Wednesday he should do so with a bit of caution and approach the meeting with a completely different attitude to that of Brown’s schoolgirl crush approach. Cameron should in the nicest possible way tell Obama that what he is doing to stimulate the economy is wrong, and that he should stop his administration drifting, he needs to get his house in order and staff the Treasury department now, for gods sake! As Cameron said a while ago “we are of course friends with America, but we should be critical friends, free to point out when we think they are going wrong.”


Adventures In Obamaland

March 27, 2009

 

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I am off to Obamaland (formerly known as the USA) tomorrow for a well earned break, so there will naturally be a reduction in posts over Easter but I will try to maintain a reasonable level of output. I will be in the states for a month, so expect the blog to take on a more American perspective covering news stories you probably won’t hear in Britain. However I will also keep myself informed of what’s going on in Britain, but with parliament on yet another long holiday – 4 weeks – there will surely be a reduction in news stories, with the exception of the G20 summit.

I will be staying with my family at our home in central Florida and it will be nice to see some old friends and family over there, get a bit of a tan and enjoy the pool. Plus I can watch all the Fox News I want – fair and balanced news at last. I was last out there over Christmas for the final days of the Bush Presidency, so it will be interesting to see what changes there will be.


Pakistan – The New Front Line In The War On Terror

March 26, 2009

 

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It would appear as though Pakistan has now conclusively replaced Afghanistan as the engine room of Islamic fundamentalism. The northern tribal areas of Pakistan have now become totally dominated by the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They are now free to use these areas to recruit and train terrorists which is undermining the work of our military in Afghanistan. President Asif Ali Zardari, has claimed that no terrorist training camps actually exist in these tribal areas. How the hell would he know, he never leaves his compound. The Americans give him around $1billion a year in military aid, including F-16 fighter jets, and still he seems utterly incapable of even containing the spread of Taliban rule, never mind defeating them.

The sad truth is that the ideology of Islamic fundamentalism is just as much of a threat in Islamabad as the Taliban are in the north. Elements of the police and security services are clearly sympathetic to the Taliban and are present at all levels of Mr. Zardari’s government, undermining it at every turn.

Due to this failure/unwillingness of the Pakistani government to get a grip of the situation we should be repeating to them what Bush made clear in 2001, “you’re either with us or you’re against us”. Barack Hussein Obama however seems to be taking a very different approach. In the wake of his YouTube video to Iran it seems that he is willing to negotiate with the Taliban. This would involve distinguishing between Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the hope that doing a deal with the Taliban would isolate Al Qaeda. This is inherently naive for three reasons:

1. The Taliban are not politically motivated like the IRA but are motivated by their ideology which calls for the destruction of the west. Even if a deal could be reached it would be temporary unless the Taliban elders and spiritual leaders became more moderate, which is impossible to imagine.

2. The alliance the Taliban have with Al Qaeda is highly beneficial for them. Fundamentalists around the world see Osama bin Laden as a holy warrior, and the Taliban’s association with his cause brings them finance and fighters from around the world, even the UK.

3. The US has nothing to negotiate with so how can there be a negotiation. The operational infrastructure of the Taliban remains very much intact and despite the best efforts of Britain and America their influence is actually expanding. Consequently how can the Taliban be expected to give up violence, when that violence has brought them so much success.

You can not appease the Taliban, because their only goal is to destroy the west. They hate our freedom and our way of life, they are fanatics who have no regard for human life and will stop at nothing to impose a global caliphate. Pakistan needs our support. The government is weak and unable to act. They are loosing their next generation to extremists who are brain washing kids as young as 8 in madrassas to become terrorist fighters and suicide bombers.

The Pakistan army supported by allied forces need to drive the Taliban out of the tribal areas at whatever cost. In synergy to this NATO must deploy comprehensively along the border with Afghanistan to cut off their supply and escape routes. Taliban forces will inevitably pass through the net, such is the nature of counter insurgency warfare, but at least the free-flowing supplies which the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have enjoyed will be severely limited.

We know that our ideals are inherently superior to the evil views held by the Taliban, but as Margaret Thatcher once said, “ideals by themselves are not enough, only military superiority, and the will to use it.” We must be resolute in their destruction, as George W. Bush said after 9/11 “we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”

By Sam Pryde


The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government

March 25, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday Gordon Brown was in Strasbourg to drum up support from the Europeans for a global fiscal stimulus package ahead of the vital G20 summit in London next month. I am happy to report that the European leaders don’t seem very keen on a further stimulus package and could cause the G20 summit to fail. After delivering his speech to the EU Parliament he was ambushed by the brilliant Conservative MEP – Dan Hannan and UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Hannan, oratorical genius that he is, served up some great home truths in reply to Brown’s address to the European Parliament. Hannan’s speech was just three and a half minutes long, but what a tour-de-force. Gordon was reduced to a grinning, squirming, wreck, as he endured the bombardment. Not so easy without Gorbals Mick is it Gordon?

 

The speech was ignored by the BBC but it has already had more than eighty thousand views on YouTube, Downing Street’s video of Brown’s address on the other hand has had only 219 views. It is currently the most watched video of the day and has even been featured on the Drudge Report.

 

Today Brown continues his world tour today by visiting New York to drum up yet more support. Yet back in Britain the Governor of the Bank of England – Mervin King, has let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that we can’t afford another fiscal stimulus. King’s comments bring him into direct confrontation with the government, and align him with the Conservative’s position that we should not increase national debt further. The Bonds market seems to agree, as it went on strike today, unwilling to pay for the dodgy debt.

 

UPDATE – The video has now been viewed more than 260,000 times!


Brown Holds Secret Falklands Talks

March 23, 2009

 

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This week Gordon Brown is leaving all his troubles behind by going on a tour of South America, which will involve a visit to a lefty love-in at a so called “progressive politics” conference in Chile. More like “regressive politics” if you ask me. Many issues will be discussed on this tour but one issue in particular is causing me great concern. It is believed that Brown will be holding secret, one-to-one talks with Argentine president Cristina Kirchner about the future of the Falkland Islands.

 

It has been confirmed by diplomatic sources that “sovereignty is on their agenda.” Kirchner – like all Argentinean dictators…sorry leaders, is an implacable opponent of British rule over the South Atlantic archipelago and wants nothing less than full sovereignty. The meeting is understood to have been arranged by diplomats in an attempt to prevent a row over the Falklands flaring up at the G20 Summit in London next month, where she had planned to raise the issue.

 

Typical Argentina eh, the economy is in the s### and the leader is struggling to stay in control, so what’s the answer – Las Malvinas of course. In this context it’s no wonder that this issue has flared up again, but the redeployment of HMS Northumberland from the Falklands to Somalia does not send out the right sort of signals. This is the first time since 1982 that the Falklands have not been protected by a Royal Navy ship. This is a huge error on Browns part, the Argentineans have interpreted it as you would expect – as a sign of weakness. Remember it was the removal of the naval presence from the islands in the early 80’s that lead to the invasion. It’s outrageous that the Navy has been cut to the bone under Labour, they’re now spread so thin that they can’t even deploy a ship to protect the Falklands.

 

David Lidington, Shadow Foreign Office Minister, said: “We want good relations with Argentina, but the Prime Minister must make it very clear that the democratic rights of the Falkland Islanders must come first. Gordon Brown should be urging Argentina to accept the reality of the Falkland Islands’ wishes and to normalise their relations with the people there.”

 

Any talk of handing over, or even sharing sovereignty of the islands, is a gross betrayal and an insult to the memory of the 255 British service personnel, who gave their lives for Queen and Country, in the 1982 liberation of the Falklands.  If Brown were anything like a leader he would remind the Argentineans of this. These islands are British, populated by British citizens. The islands were never part of Argentina, and although they were discovered by the Spanish, no settlement had taken place when we first settled the islands. Argentina has no right to them what-so-ever!


The Gloss Is Coming Off

March 21, 2009

 

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In an earlier post I said that if Obama was not careful he would become the new Jimmy Carter. Simon Heffer writing in the Times agrees, and says that there is a growing feeling in America that the President does not have a clue.

 

“There are whispers around the political and business class here that if Mr Obama is not careful, he will emulate Jimmy Carter, and be a one-term president. That will depend not so much on his ill-fortune in office, I fear, as on that of those who would seek to remove him from it.

 

Conversations with that distinguished minority of Americans who understand foreign policy show a worrying consensus. Mr Obama expected his main challenge to be Iran, to whom he has sent a YouTube video. Instead it is Pakistan, whose president appears to be the prisoner of various insane factions, and whose reputation as a training and breeding ground for terrorism grows by the day.

 

No one here has the slightest conviction that the administration understands the gravity of the problem, or knows what to do about it. Having been on the receiving end of a sophisticated bit of foreign policy ourselves – the gift of 25 tacky DVDs to our visiting Prime Minister, and the valedictory assertion by a senior official that there was no Special Relationship – we might reflect that if these people can’t deal properly with their friends, they haven’t a prayer of dealing properly with their enemies.”

 

If Obama’s administration continues like this the good will of the American people will quickly evaporate. Obama won the last US election because he offered change and conveyed his message well with soaring rhetoric and passionate speeches. However the gloss is quickly coming off, where’s the substance? People need action, not words. Everything Obama has done has been muddled and ill thought through. Those DVDs Brown received as his gifts were just tat. I bet Obama’s team totally forgot they needed to exchange gifts when Brown came to visit. Obama probably just sent some researcher down to the nearest store with a list he drew up on the spot. If things don’t improve fast then 2012 might not be such a daunting prospect for the Republicans.