Creative smuggling: We build a fence, they fly over it

April 29, 2011

Cartel smugglers may be walking pustules who profit by selling poison and wreak havoc on their own nation(1), but give hem credit for adaptability: Border-control advocates have been screaming for years about building a fence along the Mexican border? Fine The drug-smugglers will just find another way across — or over:

The visiting British pilots were training near a naval air station one night this month when their helicopter came within about 150 feet of an ultralight plane flying without lights. The ultralight darted away toward Mexico without a trace.

The near-disaster over the Southern California desert was an example of drug smugglers using low-flying aircraft that look like motorized hang gliders to circumvent new fences along the U.S. border with Mexico. The planes, which began appearing in Arizona three years ago, are now turning up in remote parts of California and New Mexico.

And in a new twist, the planes rarely touch the ground. Pilots simply pull levers that drop aluminum bins filled with about 200 pounds of marijuana for drivers who are waiting on the ground with blinking lights or glow-sticks. Within a few minutes, the pilots are back in Mexico.

“It’s like dropping a bomb from an aircraft,” said Jeffrey Calhoon, chief of the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, which stretches through alfalfa farms, desert scrub and sand dunes in southeast California.

The Border Patrol has erected hundreds of miles of fences and vehicle barriers along the border and added thousands of new agents, so drug smugglers are going over, under and around.

I particularly like the “bombing run” aspect.

While the use of ultra-lights is perhaps the most unusual development in the chess match along the border, it’s not the only one: cartel smugglers also use tunnels under the border and boats on the Pacific coast to go around it.

In one sense, it’s an illustration of markets in action: with demand so high in the US, the cartels are going to do their darnedest to make sure they get their goods to the buyers.

Move and counter, thrust and parry.

AFTERTHOUGHT: If drugs are being passed over the border via ultralight, what —or who— else is making it across?

TANGENT:

(1) In fact, that’s just what they are.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Allen West at CPAC: Burnin’ down the house!

February 13, 2011

Congressman and retired Lt. Colonel Allen West (R-FL) gave the closing address to the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, and it’s safe to say they liked him… a lot. Like Bolton, Representative West “gets it;” he recognizes America as an exceptional place and a force for good in the world, and is not shy or diffident about his willingness to defend our nation’s interests and allies.

Thirty-six minutes long. Get yourself a cup of coffee or a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and enjoy, my friends:

Somehow, I don’t think Congressman West would be taking a reset button to negotiations in Moscow.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Border Patrol Agent killed in southern Arizona

December 15, 2010

The federal government is suing the state of Arizona for trying to do the job the Obama administration refuses to do: control illegal border crossings.

This is the result of federal abdication:

The U.S. Border Patrol says that one of its agents has been shot to death after a confrontation in southern Arizona.

Border Patrol spokesman Eric Cantu confirmed the agent’s death to The Associated Press on Wednesday morning.

Cantu tells KTVK-TV the agent is identified as Brian Terry. Cantu says Terry was shot and killed after confronting several suspects near Rio Rico north of Nogales.

At least four people are in custody and possibly one more remains at large.

There are no details about the arrested people, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Agent Terry had come across drug smugglers, who are often heavily armed — and even maintain bases inside US territory.

Earlier this year, a rancher in Arizona was gunned down on his own property, perhaps by a cartel scout. A few months ago, a man enjoying some sightseeing with his wife on Falcon Lake in Texas had his head blown off by cartel gunmen.  Now a Border Patrol agent has been shot dead.

While it would be an overstatement to say the situation in our southern borderlands is a war, it is increasingly lawless and dangerous. There are even areas of American parklands that Americans are warned not to enter, for fear of Mexican drug smugglers.

Local and state law enforcement agencies are being overwhelmed, as is the undermanned Border Patrol. Rather than trying to take over whole swathes of the economy, shouldn’t the President of the United States be doing the job he’s been assigned?

Oh, wait. I forgot the guy in the Oval Office doesn’t really want the job.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the day: Sarah Palin on the Wikileaks fiasco

November 30, 2010

Palin. Nightstick. Boom:

The White House has now issued orders to federal departments and agencies asking them to take immediate steps to ensure that no more leaks like this happen again. It’s of course important that we do all we can to prevent similar massive document leaks in the future. But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July? What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?

We are at war. American soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting to protect our freedoms. They are serious about keeping America safe. It would be great if they could count on their government being equally serious about that vital task.

Think that has some heads exploding in the White House?

You betcha.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What we believe: Immigration

November 14, 2010

In part six of his series of video essays, Bill Whittle examines what American conservatives believe about immigration, the rival concepts of the US as a melting pot versus a mosaic, and who the real racists are:

There are those who say that it’s difficult to balance openness to immigrants with laws that control immigration, to which I reply “nonsense.” While a nation of immigrants, we are also founded on the rule of law and equality under the law; as Whittle points out, how is turning a blind eye to illegal immigration and granting amnesty to those here illegally in any way fair and just to those who have played by the rules? And, in an age when terrorists actively wage war against us, can we be so foolish as to ignore the armed men who cross our borders nightly? Indeed, at the most basic level, how can a nation that cannot control its own borders truly call itself “sovereign?”

All of these issues and more have nothing to do with race or ethnicity, yet everything to do with whether American citizens, freeborn and naturalized, truly rule in their own land.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The end of the Royal Navy?

October 8, 2010

 

The Royal Navy's "White Ensign"

The White Ensign of the Royal Navy

 

 

This is sad news. Because of the budgetary crisis brought on by profligate government spending and the recent recession, the Royal Navy has offered to reduce itself to its smallest size in over 450 years, when Henry VIII was King:

The Navy is set to be reduced to the smallest size in its history after admirals yesterday offered drastic reductions in the fleet in order to save two new aircraft carriers from defence cuts.

Under the plans, the number of warships would be cut by almost half to just 25, with frigates, destroyers, submarines, minesweepers and all amphibious craft scrapped.

(…)

It is understood that the Navy has offered to slim down to as few as 12 surface ships, leaving it with six Type 45 destroyers and six Type 23 frigates. In addition, its submarine fleet would reduce to seven Astute hunter-killers plus the four Trident nuclear deterrent boats. With the two carriers, this would reduce the fleet by half from its current total of 42 ships.

“If we want the two carriers it means we have to mortgage everything and by that I mean reducing the fleet by almost a half,” said a senior Navy source.

Navy analysts warned that the cuts would mean Britain reducing its fleet to the size of the Italian navy and almost half the size of the French.

Emphasis added. This is what the heirs of the victors of Trafalgar are reduced to? Oh, the shame.

The Admiralty apparently is offering to make these cuts because they want to complete the construction of two new aircraft carriers, which they claim is essential to maintaining Britain’s status as a world power. Perhaps so, but I’m not sure what good carriers are if you don’t have enough other ships to protect them. Besides, as the article points out, Her Majesty’s Government may not even be able to afford to put any planes on them.

So, they’re gutting the Royal Navy to build floating planter boxes?

It’s a depressing turn for what was once one of the greatest naval forces to ever sail the oceans. Along with its great battle victories, the Royal Navy essentially ended the transatlantic slave trade and guaranteed freedom of the seas, until we took over that latter role. Indeed, the US Navy took many of its traditions from the Royal Navy, and for the last 100 years the two have fought side-by-side against the deadly enemies of both nations.

And now it’s come to this: just 25 ships, a fleet that’s little better than a coastal defense force.  Great Britain thus leaves itself reliant on the EU and soft power for its security.

Nelson and Churchill weep.

LINKS: This possibility was first discussed roughly three years ago; I wrote about it then, too, and the observations I made then seem just as true today.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Fingers crossed: Islam, taqiyya, and the oath of citizenship

October 7, 2010

There was a good (in the sense of “informative while disturbing”) post at Power Line yesterday by John Hinderaker about the words spoken by convicted Times Square bomber Feisal Shahzad at his sentencing about Islam’s jihad against the West and his oath as an American citizen:

Much could be said of yesterday’s events, but I will note just two points. First, this exchange about Shahzad’s naturalization as an American citizen:

  • The judge cut him off at one point to ask if he had sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen last year.
  • “I did swear, but I did not mean it,” Shahzad said.

I believe the Koran approves of such oath-taking with one’s fingers crossed.

(Emphasis added)

John’s right: the Qur’an does approve of such deception to protect oneself while in “infidel” lands. It’s called “taqiyya,” the religiously sanctioned deception of unbelievers. Raymond Ibrahim has written an article explaining taqiyya that should be must-reading:

Taqiyya offers two basic uses. The better known revolves around dissembling over one’s religious identity when in fear of persecution. Such has been the historical usage of taqiyya among Shi’i communities whenever and wherever their Sunni rivals have outnumbered and thus threatened them. Conversely, Sunni Muslims, far from suffering persecution have, whenever capability allowed, waged jihad against the realm of unbelief; and it is here that they have deployed taqiyya—not as dissimulation but as active deceit. In fact, deceit, which is doctrinally grounded in Islam, is often depicted as being equal—sometimes superior—to other universal military virtues, such as courage, fortitude, or self-sacrifice.

Yet if Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, how can deceit not only be prevalent but have divine sanction? What exactly is taqiyya? How is it justified by scholars and those who make use of it? How does it fit into a broader conception of Islam’s code of ethics, especially in relation to the non-Muslim? More to the point, what ramifications does the doctrine of taqiyya have for all interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims?

Ibrahim has written two other articles I commend to your attention: “Nidal Hasan and Fort Hood: A Study in Muslim Doctrine,” part one and part two. Not only does he discuss taqiyya, but also concepts we need to understand such as “loyalty and enmity” (who exactly Muslims can be friends with), and Da’wa (active proselytizing), one of only two reasons pious Muslims are allowed to live among infidels.  (The other is jihad.)

This is far from saying all Muslims are secret jihadists or want to implement sharia law (though the number of the latter is larger than apologists want to admit). But, with committed enemies who feel it is fine to lie and practice deceit in order to hide among the larger population that simply wants to lead a quiet life, we are engaging in a fight with one eye shut when we refuse to understand the doctrines by which they justify their actions.

And, until we (and, especially, those charged with protecting us) do acknowledge and understand these doctrines, we will keep on being surprised and puzzled again and again by declarations like Shazad’s.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)