Archive for the ‘terrorism. Latin America’ Category
The immediate US national security concern related to Hezbollah activity in Latin America is Mexico, where the terrorist group has ready access to the US border.
• To ward off its international isolation and undermine US influence in the region, Iran, with its Hezbollah proxy in tow, has made a major diplomatic and economic push into the Western Hemisphere.
• Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and other radical anti-American populists have made common cause with Iran and Hezbollah in waging asymmetric warfare against the United States.
• Hezbollah’s criminality in the region has multiplied as it has established deeper relations with transnational criminal organizations.
• Evidence indicates Hezbollah is sharing its terrorist experiences and techniques with Mexican drug cartels along the US borde
Long-term readers of this blog will not be surprised by most of this information, however, this is an excellent report and you must read every word. It’s also available on easy-to-print PDF format.
In today’s news:
Chairman Mack Renews Call for Freedom Loving Americans to Boycott CITGO
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — At today’s hearing of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Chairman Connie Mack (FL-14) again called on the Obama Administration to cease their delaying of placing Venezuela on the “State Sponsor of Terrorism List.” The hearing, “Venezuela’s Sanction able Activity,” was held to provide oversight of sanctions available for the State Department and Treasury Department to dissuade illicit activity in our Hemisphere. To date, the Obama Administration has underutilized these tools allowing ruthless dictator Hugo Chavez to profit from the drug trade, sell fuel to the Iranians, and transport terrorists around the world.
Mack stated, “The State Department said they would name Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism as well as enforce consequential sanctions on their state run oil company if they received proof that Venezuela is demonstrably sanctionable. That proof was again presented to officials of the State and Treasury Department and further delay by the Obama Administration is unacceptable and will only continue to coddle Hugo Chavez.”
Chairman Mack reiterated Venezuela’s repeated support for acts of international terrorism; including the sale of refined fuel to Iran and the actions of Ghazi Nasr al Din, a Venezuelan Diplomat, who was sanctioned by the Treasury Department for facilitating the transfer of funds to Hezbollah and escorted Hezbollah officials to and from Venezuela. Additionally, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) drew sanctions on several Venezuelan senior government officials, Hugo Carvajal Barrios, the Director of Military Intelligence, and Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, General-in-Chief of the Venezuelan Armed Services, for materially assisting and supporting drug trafficking and terrorism activities by the revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
In other, unrelated, news,
Cyberattacks Hit Brazil Government
Key Brazilian government websites have suffered a series of cyberattacks, with the worst occurring early Friday, but there is no evidence of any data loss, the government said.
Presidential spokesman Murilo Gabrielli said the denial-of-service attacks—in which access to a website is disrupted—are being investigated by the government’s Federal Data Processing Service, or Serpro. A Serpro spokesman said the service has established an internal task force to stop the attacks, guarantee security of the sites and restore website access.
The worst attack occurred early Friday, taking down the website of Brazil’s main government statistical institution, the IBGE. The site includes a vast archive of demographic and economic data.
Hackers were able to briefly post their own message on the IBGE’s site early Friday: “This month, the Brazilian government will suffer the highest number of virtual attacks in its history. These attacks are a protest by a nationalist group that desires to transform Brazil into a better country.” The group called itself Fail Shell.
A government cybersecurity expert said the hackers apparently took down the government sites through use of robotic computers. Under this technique, the computers bombard a site with billions of access requests until the site shuts down.
More blogging later.
iran, whose embassy in Bolivia is the largest in our hemisphere, sent Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi to Bolivia at the Bolivian Defense Ministry’s invitation.
While in Bolivia, Vahidi attended a ceremony with President Evo Morales,
The article does not touch on the question of what the nature of Vahidi’s visit to the BDM would be. However, apparently Argentinian officials must have protested, because Bolivia’s foreign minister wrote a letter of apology to the Argentinian foreign minister, and Vahidi was sent out of the country. The apology claimed that
The invitation . . . had been issued by the Bolivian defence ministry which did not know the background to the case and had not co-ordinated with other departments.
Vahidi is wanted for being behind the AMIA bombing.
Iran minister accused of planning Argentina Jewish center bombing told to leave Bolivia
Bolivia sends letter of apology to Argentina for inviting Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who is accused by Argentina of planning the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center that killed 85. (Hat tip: Jewish Bro’s Twitter feed.)
Argentina had previously protested Vahidi’s appointment as Defense Minister, which Iran carefully ignored.
Vahidi is not the only Iranian accused of being connected to the AMIA bombing who travels to Latin America. As you may recall, Mohsen Rabbani, who is also wanted for the bombings, is recruiting in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Argentina continues to press the case on the 1994 AMIA and the 1992 Israeli embassy bombings.
Cross-posted at Real Clear World.
At least according to this report, Terrorist Group Setting Up Operations Near Border
Hezbollah Considered To Be More Advanced Than Al-Qaida
A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.
“They are recognized by many experts as the ‘A’ team of Muslim terrorist organizations,” a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.
Hezbolah 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. Other 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.
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 points to Hezbollah’s involvement.
While one should take unnamed sources with a grain of salt, Hezbollah has maintained a presence in Latin America for decades. It’s hardly surprising that they’re getting closer to the US border.
Border security is national security.
UPDATED, Friday 6 May,
Welcome, The Other McCain readers! You will probably find today’s follow-up post interesting: The Middle East-Latin America Terrorism Connection.
I’ve been blogging about these flights for a couple of years – now apparently the flights have ceased:
Fox News has the report,
EXCLUSIVE: Venezuela Cancels Round-Trip ‘Terror Flight’ to Syria and Iran
Venezuelan airline’s “mystery” flight that shuttled among the capitals of three of the world’s most terror-friendly nations — Venezuela, Syria and Iran — has abruptly canceled its regularly scheduled departures amid accusations that it was used primarily to transport spies, terrorists and lethal cargo among the pariah counties.
“I am sorry, but we are no longer flying to Tehran and I do not know when the flights will resume. It was a flight that left Caracas on Tuesdays, but it no longer does,” Jenny Gil Romero, who handles international departures for Conviasa, the national airline that operates the flight, said in a message to FOX News.
Messages to the airline seeking further information went unanswered.
Romero’s comments came in response to FOXNews.com’s efforts to buy tickets on the regularly scheduled, 48-hour round trip from Caracas to Damascus to Tehran, then back again.
Intelligence analysts with both the CIA and Israel said that, despite the listing of the flight as a regular commercial route and a code share with Iran air — Flight IR744 is also Flight VO3744 — there was no way that anyone could buy a ticket and travel without being vetted by the Venezuelan or Iranian government. And without passport controls, flight manifests and other documents, it meant some of the world’s most dangerous men could travel without fear of being uncovered.
This is what the flights are about:
For the past three years, every other Tuesday, Flight VO3744 would roll out to a secluded loading platform at Simon Bolivar Airport in Caracas. Shrouded from public view and unencumbered by the normal exit procedures, a select passenger list would board the flight.
Over the next 48 hours, according to Western intelligence agencies, Venezuelan opposition figures and a former Iran-based spy for the CIA, the flight would carry illicit, lethal cargoes — such as explosives and possibly radioactive materials — and provide safe passage to terrorists, spies, weapons experts, senior Iranian intelligence operatives and members of both Hezbollah and Hamas.
Reza Kahlili, the pseudonym for an Iranian who the CIA has confirmed once spied for the United States as a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, told FoxNews.com these “special flights” have been “instrumental in creating an Iranian dominated worldwide terror network that now reaches the United States.” He said the flights were used to expand Iran’s efforts to create a base of operations in the Western Hemisphere.
Peter Brookes, a former Defense Department analyst and CIA employee now with the Heritage Foundation, said there was a steady stream of elite Al Quds officers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who were transported to Venezuela aboard the flight and took up positions in the Latin American country’s intelligence service.
“We can’t say for sure what is going on, but it is clandestine and secretive,” he said.
Intelligence agencies are known to suspect the flight may be part of Iran’s program to build nuclear weapons. Venezuela has large deposits of uranium, and — while raw uranium transport is unlikely by plane — an Internet page in Caracas used by airline employees stated that the flights carried “radioactive materials.” The page was quickly shut down after the allegation was made, according to El Pais, a newspaper in Madrid, Spain.
Experts and Venezuelan opposition figures also say the influx of Iranians, as well as Hezbollah and Hamas operatives, into Venezuela on the flight was to prepare for a retaliatory strike against the U.S. if there was an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
With so much at stake, does anyone expect the flights to have permanently ceased?
Anyone waiting for the State Department to add Venezuela to its list of states sponsoring terrorism, please stand in line.
Please note there will be no podcast today since I have laryngitis
I’ve been stating for a while that securing the border with Mexico is a matter of national security. Long-term readers of this blog also know that Hezbollah is carrying out operations in Latin America, frequently associated with drugs. Now this,
Hezbollah leader living across US border in Tijuana
My my… more evidence bubbles to the surface that the US-Mexican border war is about more than the civil rights of illegal immigrants… or the anticipated built in voter bloc for desperate Dems. Today brings good news that the Mexican police are actively working to thwart Hezbollah’s attempt to gain a foothold there. A surveillance operation focused on Hezbollah leader, Jameel Nasr, resulted in his arrest at his Tijuana home. Nasr employed Mexican nationals with family ties to Lebanon for his Hezbollah/Mexico network.
Mexico foiled an attempt by Hezbollah to establish a network in South America, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Hezbollah operatives employed Mexicans nationals with family ties to Lebanon to set up the network, designed to target Israel and the West, the Al-Seyassah daily said.
According to the report, Mexican police mounted a surveillance operation on the group’s leader, Jameel Nasr, who traveled frequently to Lebanon to receive information and instructions from Hezbollah commanders there.
Police say Nasr also made frequent trips to other countries in Latin America, including a two-month stay in Venezuela in the summer of 2008.
Nasr was living in Tijuana, Mexico at the time of his arrest, the report said.
Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R- NC) had written to the Dept. of Homeland Security
In June, a U.S. congresswoman wrote to the Department of Homeland Security to warn that Hezbollah was increasing its presence in Central and South America.
In her letter, Congresswoman Sue Myrick called on the U.S. to work with Mexican forces, as there was intelligence that Hezbollah was working in conjunction with Mexican drug cartels on the U.S.-Mexico border.
I wonder what happened to her request.
Meanwhile, what is the Obama administration doing?
The Department of Justice is suing Arizona over its immigration law. Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion posted the complaint, which you can read below the fold:
In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern,
Venezuela plotted to kill Colombia president, Spain judge says
A Spanish judge on Monday charged that Venezuela plotted to kill Colombia President Álvaro Uribe, collaborating with rebel groups ETA and FARC to kill other political officials as well.
The story in headlines, yet, ignored by American mainstream media.
In Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern, and while we are focused on Tiger Woods’s marital travails,
Noticias 24/AFP report that students, workers, indigenous movements, and other leftist groups met in Caracas this week to create the Movimiento Continental Bolivariano (Continental Bolivarian Movement), which promotes “the union of the peoples of the Americas” against the “imperialist aggression” of the USA, for the purpose of “defending the Venezuelan revolution from the imperialist threats”, and “to reinforce the struggle against the Yankee military bases in Colombia.”
The meeting read a letter by FARC leader Alfonso Cano in which he pointed to “the horizon of the combative union of our peoples in defense of their dignity, independence, history, values, culture, territory, human resources, natural resources, and the inalienable right to forge their sovereign future”.
Little noticed by the outside world, Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez is hosting a gathering of global terrorist organizations in Caracas, featuring Colombia’s FARC, Spain’s ETA, the Communist Party of El Salvador, remnants of the Red Brigade and other armed groups seeking violent revolution in Latin America and beyond.
The conference shows how closely tied Chávez is to the FARC and other terrorist groups, despite the overwhelming evidence of the FARC’s enormous involvement in drug trafficking, its thousands of kidnappings, endless attacks against the civilian population and its kidnapping of children and women to serve as sex slaves.
The second global convention of the Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana (Bolivarian Continental Coordinator-CCB), founded by the FARC in Venezuela in 2004 and newly renamed the Bolivarian Continental Movement, has as its primary stated purpose to militarily support the Venezuelan revolution and contribute to the struggle against Yankee bases in Colombia. Its platform also vows to overthrow the United States and its “moribund capitalist system.”
Strategy Page has more on the Colombia-Venezuela-FARC situation,
The Colombian 8th Infantry Division has been moved to the Venezuelan border. Not in response to more Venezuelan saber rattling, but because the growing number of FARC camps across the border in Venezuela, which has led to an increase in FARC activity on the Colombian side of the frontier. Apparently FARC plans to use its growing number of Venezuelan bases to support a new offensive. FARC will wage guerilla war, using the Venezuelan bases as a sanctuary (where rebels can be trained, recuperate and receive supplies.) The Venezuelan army will keep Colombian troops away from the FARC camps. Venezuela denies any evidence to the contrary, and continues to insist that it’s build up on the Colombian border is in preparation for the coming U.S.-Colombian invasion.
The meeting was held at Caraca’s Parque Central auditorium, and was blessed by father Luís Barrios, who spoke about “God’s Communist Party.”
Hugo Chávez is in Argentina, bloviating about South American unification (video in Spanish)