Friday, July 30, 2004

Breaking Silence over a Possible Terror Threat

Here's an important article from defense watch http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=DefenseWatch.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=575&rnd=492.24187143059936 There have been a progression of arrests and incidents in the southwest during the past month.

By J. David Galland

A sobering and scary development is allegedly taking place along the southwest border of the United States.

In Arizona, in the area the many refer to as the Naco Strip, our international border with Mexico in recent weeks has become a primary route of illegal entry by significant numbers of Arab-speaking males. The porous frontier, harried U.S. government officials say, is beginning to look a lot like the left lane on a European Autobahn. It doesn’t take a master spy to conclude that we may be seeing a large-scale influx of al Qaeda terrorists into the country.

This stunning disclosure has been made by a small-town weekly newspaper in Arizona, the Tombstone Tumbleweed, whose editor, Chris Simcox, posted an article on the paper’s website last week revealing the presence of Arab-speaking males amid the waves of recently-captured illegals. The article is based on separate, first-hand interviews with three U.S. government agents who confirmed that males of possible Syrian and Iranian descent have been detained in the past few weeks.

I have acquaintances who are Border Patrol agents in the southern Arizona region. Based on their take of ground truth, I believe the problem stems from distance, assets, manpower and equipment. I am personally convinced that our overworked Border Patrol agents are doing all they can with what they have.

Their patrol area is massive. It extends easterly to the New Mexico line. By the time agents can act on a request for assistance and get to the scene, hours have passed – again, because of the vast distances involved.

One might say, “So what is new?” Mexican illegals have been jumping the border for years. Even Pancho Villa and his bandit Army launched armed incursions into the American southwest in 1916. Today, in deference to his aggression, the City of Tucson honors the bandit with a life-size statue. In a Tucson city park, Villa reigns from a full gallop, not un-reminiscent of how he spread havoc and fear in southern Arizona, for an eternity to observe and apparently admire.

But today we are at war with an ideology that poses a far deeper peril to our national security than the Mexican revolutionary ever did. The Islamofascists of al Qaeda seek to kill men, women and children without distinction and ultimately overcome and ultimately destroy the concept of American freedom itself.

The task of securing our borders from the porous history of the past is absolutely critical. And it is not happening.

The influx of thousands of illegal aliens, including members of the infamous drug cartels, is bad enough. But others are slipping into the United States as well.

A Border Patrol spokesman has confirmed that since Oct. 1, 2003, 5,510 illegal aliens designated as “Other Than Mexican” (OTM) have been apprehended while crossing the rugged terrain in southern Arizona. The term actually means “other than Mexico or other central and South American countries,” the spokesman said.

So just who are, and from where, is this invading force of encroachers coming from?

“Can’t tell you that”, said Border Patrol spokesman Andy Adame when queried by the Tombstone newspaper on June 21. Agent Adame declined to say what countries the OTM illegals are from, although he admitted detainees include “people from all over the world.” Adame added, “We apprehend them, process them, and turn them over to [the U.S. Department of] Homeland Security and the FBI and that is all I can say.”

Fasten your seatbelt: It gets considerably worse!

Three independent sources within the Border Patrol’s uniformed division – agents who patrol the Arizona outback in the dark of night – told the Tombstone Tumbleweed that a significant amount of the OTMs are of Middle Eastern extraction.

When confronted with this information by the newspaper, Agent Adame denied that anybody of Middle Eastern origin was a part of the figure of 5,510. But Border Patrol sources are adamant that this is indeed the case.

Editor Simcox of the Tombstone newspaper could not identify his sources, but told DefenseWatch they are serving Border Patrol agents who were involved in the apprehension and detention of OTMs, suspected to be Iranian or Syrian nationals.

Recently, the border patrol has stepped up its enforcement in the southeast quadrant of Arizona, which includes the area of the Huachuca Mountains in Cochise County. The Cochise County seat is in Bisbee, an artsy copper mining town, with a colorful past, located just a few miles north of the America’s southern border with Mexico.

Southeast Arizona has other high-visibility and potential high payoff targets, of profound terrorist relevance. At the foot of the Huachuca Mountains lies Fort Huachuca, the home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Command and school.

Putting yourself in the mind of a terrorist, as a good intelligence analyst must do when seeking to establish a potential “symbolic target list” that a terrorist may covet, there exists no more desirable an objective than the Army’s Intelligence School. Fort Huachuca is a modern version of a 19th Century cavalry outpost that is nestled on the western edge of Sierra Vista Arizona. Also, it is only a short distance from the Mexican border.

In fact, only a few weeks ago Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge visited Fort Huachuca to press the flesh with the troops and to get the “skinny” on the Border Patrol’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles as an aid to enforcement. (If the reader believes that the Border Patrol is employing UAV technology merely to catch some errant migrant workers then I have a bridge in Brooklyn just for you.

But once across the border, they could be going anywhere.

According to the Tombstone editor’s sources, on June 13, 2004, Border Patrol agents from the Wilcox, Ariz., patrol station encountered a large group of illegal border crossers in the Chiricaucha Mountain foothills, just east of what is known as The Sanders Ranch. Agents estimated that the group comprised about 100 people.

Border Patrol sources who were present at this mass apprehension state that they seized 71 illegal aliens, of whom 53 were males of Middle Eastern decent. The suspects did not speak Spanish and spoke only poor English, sources told the newspaper.

In fact, after a group of the detainees had been placed in a transport van, one Border Patrol agents on the scene who speaks Arabic and Farsi, the native language of Iran, clearly overheard the detainees speaking Arabic through an air vent in the transport vehicle.

Higher-ups in the Border Patrol allegedly ordered these agents involved not to say a thing to the news media.

“But I have to,” one of the agents told the Tombstone editor, obviously acting out of concern of the potential terrorism threat as every American should be.

The agents involved in the June 13th incident noted that these suspects wore garb and clothing that is normally worn by migrants: baseball caps, tennis shoes, jeans, T-shirts even with patriotic American slogans.

But the agents said what was particularly odd was that all the clothing worn by the Middle Eastern males was brand new. Each one in the group looked to have had just been to a barber shop with fresh new haircuts, all clean cut, with the exact style and cut of mustaches.

Border Patrol sources, at the risk of being in violation of orders and losing their jobs, offered a subsequent chilling revelation. On June 21, 2004, they and their colleagues from the Wilcox Border Patrol station apprehended another 24 Arabic-speaking males in the area of Pierce/Sunsites. These small towns are approximately 25 miles northeast of Tombstone and not far from the Chiricaucha foothills.

Even more worrisome, the agents say, is that the 24 men who were seized were only part of a larger group. At least half of the group apparently escaped capture and remain on the loose in the United States.

Today, the 9/11 Commission formally released its report that catalogs the “failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management” that enabled the terrorists to kill over 3,000 Americans. Is our nation’s failure to seal up the porous border with Mexico setting us up for another 9/11-type attack?

J. David Galland is Deputy Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at defensewatch02@yahoo.com. Please send Feedback responses to dwfeedback@yahoo.com

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