ISIS camps in Mexico near Texas and New Mexico borders?

April 14, 2015
Seal of the new Caliphate

They’re here?

That’s the frightening report from Judicial Watch, an anti-corruption group that’s built a good reputation for forcing government departments to give up information they’d rather the public not see. This is a little out of their bailiwick, but nonetheless a cause for concern:

ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, according to Judicial Watch sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector.

The exact location where the terrorist group has established its base is around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Another ISIS cell to the west of Ciudad Juárez, in Puerto Palomas, targets the New Mexico towns of Columbus and Deming for easy access to the United States, the same knowledgeable sources confirm.

During the course of a joint operation last week, Mexican Army and federal law enforcement officials discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

That ISIS would like to strike the United States is a given, and the choice of setting for these bases is a good one: Mexico has little control over this area (some would argue the narco-traficantes really run the border region), and the areas on the US side are understaffed for law enforcement, the terrain is hard to monitor, and the routes are already popular with human and drug smugglers, who I’m sure wouldn’t be averse to taking the caliphate’s cash. Once past the border, there’s a wealth of targets, from schools, to towns, to casinos in Vegas and military bases — a veritable smorgasbord for Muslims waging jihad fi sabil Allah.

It’s not as if this is a new threat, either. Representative Duncan Hunter claimed ISIS fighters were caught sneaking into the US some time last year. A Hizbullah network was broken up in Tijuana, just south of California, while jihadist groups are actively trying to gain converts among disaffected Mexicans. And that’s just in Mexico: Hizbullah is active in Venezuela and the border region between Brazil and Paraguay. It shouldn’t be at all surprising that ISIS would look to our southern border as an avenue of attack. We should only be wondering when we’ll be hit, not if.

Is ISIS staring at us from south of the Border? I don’t know, and it’s fair to point out that Judicial Watch’s sources are unidentified. But, given what we know about our enemies and their goals, it’s also all too plausible.

That’s a reason so many of us are border hawks: not so much illegal immigration per se, but who might be hiding among the immigrants.

via The Blaze


Recognizing Cuba: what do we get out of the deal?

December 19, 2014
"Pues, yo venci."

“Yo venci.”

It was announced a couple of days ago that the Obama administration had concluded months of secret negotiations (facilitated by Canada and the Vatican) leading to the diplomatic recognition of Communist Cuba. The deal includes the exchange of ambassadors; the humanitarian release of an American held unjustly in Cuba; an exchange of captured spies (three of theirs for one of ours); and the easing of some economic and financial restrictions. President Obama will also ask Congress to end the half-century old embargo against the neo-Stalinist island.

Now, to be clear, I’m not unshakably opposed to opening relations with Cuba. Few policies are etched in stone, and, as circumstances change, so should policy if it no longer serves American interests. And there are rational arguments to be made in favor of relaxation. For example, my friend Jazz Shaw is of the “it wasn’t working, so let’s try something else” school, while analyst Tom Nichols makes “The Conservative Case” for normalizing relations. (For cogent rebuttals, please read Andrew McCarthy and Fausta)

So, like I said, there are rational arguments on both sides of the matter.

But, look at it another way. Try looking at it like a good capitalist would and ask yourself “What’s in this for us?”

A deal like this is a transaction in which each party gives up something of value to get something it values. What you’re getting is (or should be) worth as much or more to you than what you gave up. Otherwise, why are you making the deal?

And that’s where I’m stumped; I can’t figure out what we got that’s worth anything like what we are giving away. Consider:

If the agreement is carried out, the US gives up:

  • Official recognition of the Castro regime
  • Permission to export to US markets, potentially worth billions
  • Access to US financial markets, see above
  • Lots of US tourists and the dollars they’ll bring

Cuba gives up:

  • An unjustly held American
  • A spy who had been working for us.

Cuba gets:

  • See what the US gives up, and remember this will probably strengthen and shore up the regime, since all those dollars have to flow through them, first.

The USA gets:

  • ???

In other words,”What, exactly?” American recognition and the end of the embargo is of incredible value to Cuba’s struggling totalitarian regime, possibly guaranteeing its survival for decades to come. Is giving all that up worth what amounts to an ornament for Obama’s legacy? I don’t think we’re getting a good deal for our side.

Jazz and others argue that times have changed and that Obama was right to change policies from something that wasn’t working.

My argument is that since the policy (embargo and non-recognition) was not significantly harming us; since lifting it probably won’t measurably help the Cuban people (what incentive to liberalize do the Castros have now?), but does reinforce the idea that we will bargain for hostages; and since we aren’t getting anything of equal or greater value, why not keep the policy in place? It isn’t as if we’re talking about China or Russia, where other factors would outweigh our outrage at their barbaric record on political and economic liberty. American recognition and trade is an incredibly valuable asset worth far more than what Cuba offers (even if they do make great cigars); the Castros need us far more than we need them. If they want it, let them give us something big. Here’s what I would ask for at a minimum:

  • The release of all political prisoners
  • An end to media censorship
  • Tolerance for and free participation by opposition political parties
  • Religious liberty

I suspect the Fidel and Raul would turn down my offer.

The making of bad deals, however, is a trademark of the Obama administration. Senator Rubio (R-Fl), who’s livid over the agreement, puts it succinctly:

“I think the people of Cuba have a right, if they are free, to choose any economic system they want. Nothing the president will announce today will further that goal. It is ironic a week after he imposed sanctions on human rights violators in Venezuela, we are lifting sanctions on the government that has taught the Venezuelans how to commit these human rights violations,” Rubio continued. “It’s absurd, and it’s part of long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established.”

“It’s par for the course and administration possibly giving away unilateral concessions for Iran or Cuba in exchange for nothing,” said the Florida senator. “His foreign policy is, at a minimum, naive, and perhaps truly counterproductive to the future of democracy in the region.”

Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president since at least Jimmy Carter, and maybe in the modern history of this country,” Rubio concluded.

Yes. Yes he is. Rubio could also have mentioned the bizarre trade of five vicious Taliban warlords in return for one alleged deserter, Bowe Bergdahl.

The question is, why? Why make a deal with Cuban oligarchs that gives away the store in return for bupkis? Aside from Obama’s general leftist affinity for Socialist tyrannies and aside from political changes in the younger generation of Cuban-Americans that leads then to care less and less about the issue, I have another sneaking suspicion. Way back in the 60s and 70s, the leadership of the Weather Underground were great fans of the Cuban revolution and, especially, of Che Guevara. One of those leaders was Bill Ayers, who became a professor at the University of Chicago and then became close with one Barack Obama.

And now, years later, President Obama showers gifts on Cuba.

Just sayin’…

RELATED READING: The Diplomad: “The Castros pull it off again.” Elliott Abrams: The triumph of ideology over US national interests. McCarthy: Rewarding Castro in return for nothing. Rubio: Not so fast with that embassy construction, bud. Sean Davis: Free trade with Cuba is a fantasy. Mike Gonzalez: Obama didn’t tell the whole story about Cuba. Legal Insurrection: Is this the opening of Rubio’s campaign for president?

UPDATE: Reader SteveInTN links to an analysis at Stratfor suggesting major problems for Venezuela arising from this deal. One can only hope.


Greenpeace: We Spit on Your Sacred Spaces

December 14, 2014

The clueless narcissism of the self-proclaimed “activist” is at once both infuriating and amazing.

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Desecrating cultural and religious monuments is normal Greenpeace behaviour.

Nasca_lines_greenpeace screengrab from the BBC website (click)

Activism is about persuasion. It’s about using moral arguments to change people’s minds which, in turn, changes the world.

For moral arguments to be successful, we need to already inhabit the same approximate moral universe. Some things are sacred. The ends don’t justify the means. This isn’t rocket science, but apparently it’s news to Greenpeace.

In Peru, where a UN climate summit is currently taking place, the Ministry of Culture says Greenpeace activists have desecrated an important cultural monument.

The NazcaLines are a collection of approximately 300 figures etched into the Peruvian desert more than 1,500 years ago. In the words of vice-minister Luis Jaime Castillo, an archeologist by training, the figures

are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to…

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Immigration: the Mexican president is a two-faced hypocrite

October 6, 2014
"Do as I say..."

“Do as I say…”

Ya gotta love the the guy’s brass, lecturing us on immigration policy and “discrimination,” when his own nation enshrines far worse in its constitution.

Here’s Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in a CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria (1):

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto decried a “discriminatory” nature to the immigration reform debate in the U.S., telling CNN the relationship between the two countries is “a lot broader” than the one issue.

“The number of daily crossings, legal crossings, every day. About a million people every day, legal crossings that come. People coming and going from one country to the other because of work and trade and the trade level that we have which is so broad which we will probably talk about,” the president said.

When asked by Fareed Zakaria if some of the rhetoric around the debate was “racist,” Nieto replied, “I think it’s discriminatory, yes, and I think it’s unfortunate for a country whose formation and historic origin relies so much on the migration flows of many parts, Europe, Asia, for instance.”

“I think this is a country whose origin to a great extent is one of migration and that’s why it’s unfortunate to hear this exclusionary and discriminatory tone regarding the migration flows into the United States,” he continued. “Today we have to recognize that the migration that comes from Mexico to the United States has fallen.”

He’s right that illegal migration to the US has slowed, both because of our own economic troubles and a growth of opportunities in Mexico. But, that’s not the point. What galls me is that Mexico has far worse discrimination hardwired into its national charter. Article 32 of the Mexican constitution contains the following:

“Only Mexicans by birth can perform all government employments, positions, or commissions in which the status of citizenship is indispensable. During peacetime, foreigners shall neither serve in the Army nor in the police bodies. During peacetime, only Mexicans by birth can serve in the Army, in the Navy or in the Air Force as well can perform any employment or commission within such corporations.

The same condition applies to captains, pilots, skippers, ship engineers, flight engineers and, in general, to every crew member in a ship or an airplane carrying the Mexican flag. In the same way, only Mexicans by birth can be port harbormasters, steersmen and airport superintendents.

Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners, under equal circumstances, for all kind of concessions, employments, positions or commissions of the government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable.”

And here’s an excerpt from Article 33:

“The President of the Republic shall have the power to expel from national territory any foreigner, according to the law and after a hearing. The law shall establish the administrative procedure for this purpose, as well as the place where the foreigner should be detained and the time for that. Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.”

Unless these articles were repealed or substantially liberalized after President Peña Nieto came to power, I call bulls… “foul” on his criticisms of the United States, which has trouble even enforcing its own immigration laws, a problem Mexico doesn’t have.

Before you criticize how we handle our affairs, señor Presidente, straighten out your own house, first.

Footnote:
(1) A noted accused plagiarist, by the way.

 


Central American gangs cash in from extortion

July 29, 2014

Part of the reason we’re seeing this sudden influx of minors at the border.

Money Jihad

Guatemalan crooks net $61 million annually

Contributing to the exodus from the Northern Triangle to the U.S. border, gangs and copycat criminals are shaking down Central American businessmen for hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Guatemalans alone are being hosed for $61 million a year according to that country’s interior ministry.  Shares of the extortion proceeds are sent up the chain of command to key regional gangs including Barrio 18, Mara Salvatrucha, and Los Paisas, which perpetuates the cycle of violence.

Previous attempts to bring the extortion rackets under control have been unsuccessful.

The violence and extortion problem contribute to the flight of illegal immigrants toward North America.  Human smuggling “coyotes” have successfully recruited children to make the trip, telling them that they would be granted legal status in the U.S. based on the Obama administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy.  Besides, there are few opportunities locally other…

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Will Chile’s Politicians Ruin the Latin Tiger?

May 25, 2014

Sigh. The Left never learns. I wonder what “Killing the goose that laid the golden egg” is in Spanish?

International Liberty

There aren’t any nations with pure libertarian economic policy, but there are a handful of jurisdictions that deserve praise, either because they have comparatively low levels of statism or because they have made big strides in the right direction.

Hong Kong and Singapore are examples of the former, and Switzerland deserves honorable mention.

And if we look at nations that have moved in the right direction, then Chile is definitely a success story.

The free-market revolution in Chile is remarkable. If you look at the Economic Freedom of the Worldrankings, Chile was in last place in 1970 and third from the bottom in 1975. But then reforms began. It climbed to 60th place in 1980, 40th place in 1985, 28th place in 2000, and Chile now has one of the world’s freest economies, hovering around 10th place.

And the results are amazing. Now known as the Latin…

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(Video) Senator Rubio makes a fool out Senator Harkin over Cuba

February 25, 2014

This is truly a popcorn-worthy use of your time, my friends.

Background: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the leading progressives in the Senate, took a trip to Cuba recently. Perfectly legal, members of Congress can go on such fact-finding missions when they wish. The senator must have visited an alternate-Earth Cuba, however, because, when he came back, he had nothing but praise for the Communist dictatorship:

It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”

This was all a bit much for Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself the son of Cuban refugees who had to flee the island to escape that wonderful health system, and so much else. (1) So, in a speech before the Senate, he proceeded to mop the floor with Harkin’s useful idiocy. From the Miami Herald:

This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.

Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.

Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.

For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.

Enjoy:

My only question is at what point did Harkin sneak out in embarrassment?

I know Rubio has lost his luster with conservatives because of his support for the Senate immigration bill last year. Indeed, he’s fallen well-off my own short list, as I came to question his judgment. But, in this speech on Cuba and Venezuela, on the fecklessness of the Obama administration’s policy in the region, and the fatuousness of Castro apologists such as Tom Harkin, all I can say is “Viva, Marco!”

RELATED: More at Hot Air.

Footnote:
(1) If you want to read one of the best books about what life under the Castro brothers has really been like, I recommend Armando Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope.” I’m tempted to send Tom Harkin a copy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)