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ARTICLES - HOT OFF THE FAGGOT

Examining the Terrorist Threat from America's Southern Border


By Scott Stewart
Stratfor Security Weekly
 
On July 21, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he was deploying 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to the Mexican border to help strengthen border security. The move is the latest in a chain of events involving the emigration of Central Americans that has become heavily publicized -- and politicized.

Clearly, illegal immigration flows are shifting from Arizona and California to Texas. In fiscal year 2013 (all Border Patrol data is recorded by fiscal year), the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector surpassed Tucson as the leading sector for the number of apprehensions (154,453 in Rio Grande Valley versus 120,939 for Tucson). Also, between fiscal years 2011 and 2013, the number of Border Patrol determined "other than Mexicans" -- mostly Central Americans -- apprehended by the Rio Grande Valley sector increased by more than 360 percent, from 20,890 to 96,829. (By comparison, the Tucson sector apprehended 19,847 "other than Mexicans" in 2013.) Significantly, minors constituted a large percentage of the "other than Mexicans" apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley in 2013: 21,553 (compared to 9,070 in Tucson sector). However, the majority (84 percent) of those labeled Unaccompanied Alien Children by the Border Patrol are teenage minors and not younger children.

 
Lost in all the media hype over this "border crisis" is the fact that in 2013 overall immigration was down significantly from historical levels. According to U.S. Border Patrol apprehension statistics, there were only 420,789 apprehensions in 2013 compared to 1,160,395 in 2004. In fact, from fiscal 1976 to 2010, apprehensions never dropped below 500,000. During that same period, the Border Patrol averaged 1,083,495 apprehensions per year compared to just 420,789 last year.

Of course, apprehension statistics are not an accurate count of total immigration and do not account for those who cross without being caught, and the statistics are also slightly skewed by the fact that Unaccompanied Alien Minors are far more likely to surrender to authorities rather than attempt to avoid them. In 2011, the Border Patrol apprehended 4,059 unaccompanied children; by 2013 that number had reached 38,759. Year to date, the Border Patrol has apprehended more than 46,000 unaccompanied children and estimates it will apprehend around 60,000 total in 2014. Still, overall, the Border Patrol will apprehend and process hundreds of thousands fewer people this year than it did each fiscal year from 1976 until 2010.

 
This type of hype and politicization of the U.S.-Mexico border is not new. It is something that has surfaced at irregular intervals for years now, along with scaremongering using the boogeyman of terrorism, and it appears to be happening again.

I've recently done a number of media interviews regarding immigration, and during several of these interviews, reporters have asked me the question: "Does the crisis on the border give terrorists an opportunity to sneak into the country?" While other border security analysts have told reporters that they believe terrorists would take advantage of the border crisis and that the cartels would be willing to work with terrorists for the right price, I disagree. I believe that an analysis of the history of plots directed against the U.S. homeland from overseas and an examination of the changes in the dynamics of transnational terrorism show such claims to be unfounded.

No Link to the U.S.-Mexico Border

As chaos has wracked Mexican towns just south of the U.S. border such as Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Juarez and Tijuana, there has been repeated speculation that al Qaeda could partner with some street gang or Mexican cartel to smuggle terrorist operatives or weapons into the United States to conduct a spectacular terrorist attack.

For example, in 2005, rumors were frequently published on a popular web media outlet claiming that al Qaeda had smuggled several tactical nuclear devices into the United States with the help of the Salvadoran Mara Salvatrucha street gang. According to the rumors, al Qaeda was planning to launch a horrific surprise nuclear attack against several U.S. cities in what was termed "American Hiroshima." Clearly this never happened.

But American fearmongers are not the only ones who can cause a panic. In a 2009 speech, radical Kuwaiti university professor Abdullah al-Nafisi talked about the possibility that jihadists could smuggle anthrax in a suitcase through a drug tunnel on the U.S.-Mexico border, a claim that sparked considerable concern because it came on the heels of other hyped-up anthrax threats.

However, an examination of all jihadist plots since the first such attack in the United States -- the November 1990 assassination of the radical founder of the Jewish Defense League, Meir Kahane -- shows that none had any U.S.-Mexico border link. Indeed, as we've noted elsewhere, there have been more plots against the U.S. homeland that have involved the U.S.-Canada border, including the 1997 plot to bomb the New York Subway and the Millennium Bomb Plot. But by and large, most terrorists, including those behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks, have entered the United States by flying directly to the country. There is not one jihadist attack or thwarted plot in which Mexican criminal organizations smuggled the operative into the United States.

There was one bumbling plot by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in which Manssor Arbabsiar, a U.S. citizen born in Iran and residing in Texas, traveled to Mexico in an attempt to contract a team of Mexican cartel hit men to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Instead of Los Zetas, he encountered a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant and was set up for a sting. There is no evidence that an actual Mexican cartel leader would have accepted the money Arbabsiar offered for the assassination.

Mexican criminal leaders have witnessed U.S. government operations against al Qaeda and the pressure that the U.S. government can put on an organization that has been involved in an attack on the U.S. homeland. Mexican organized crime bosses are businessmen, and even if they were morally willing to work with terrorists -- a questionable assumption -- working with a terrorist group would be bad for business. It is quite doubtful that Mexican crime bosses would risk their multibillion-dollar smuggling empires for a one-time payment from a terrorist group. It is also doubtful that an ideologically driven militant group like a jihadist organization would trust a Mexican criminal organization with its weapons and personnel.

Changes in Terrorist Dynamics

Another factor to consider is the changes in the way militant groups have operated against the United States since 9/11. Because of increased counterterrorism operations and changes in immigration policies intended to help combat terrorist travel, it has become increasingly difficult for terrorist groups to get trained operatives into the United States.

Even jihadist groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have been forced to undertake remote operations involving bombs placed aboard aircraft overseas rather than placing operatives in the country. This indicates that the group does not have the ability or the network to support such operatives. In addition to remote operations launched from its base in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has also undertaken efforts to radicalize grassroots operatives residing in the United States, equipping them with easy-to-follow instructions for attack through its English-language magazine, Inspire.

This focus on radicalizing and equipping grassroots operatives is also reflected in the fact that the majority of the attacks and failed plots inside the United States since 2001 have involved such grassroots operatives rather than trained terrorists. These operatives are either U.S. citizens, such as Nidal Hasan, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Faisal Shahzad, or resident aliens such as Najibullah Zazi. Failed shoe bomber Richard Reid was traveling on a British passport (no U.S. visa required) and the would-be underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had obtained a valid U.S. visa. The operatives had the ability to legally reside in the United States or to enter the country legally without having to sneak across the border from Mexico.
 
Could a terrorist operative take advantage of the U.S.-Mexico border? Possibly. Is one likely to attempt such a crossing when so much publicity and extra enforcement has been directed to that border? Probably not.


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6 Illegals Kill Black Homeless Man: Thanks Obama!

Malaysian Plane 'Shot Down With 295 On Board'

Malaysian Plane 'Shot Down With 295 On Board'

Brat — The protesting Protestant?



By Robert Lehrman, contributor


There's an early Philip Roth story about a bunch of Jewish kids in Hebrew school trying to figure out whether Jesus lived or not.

"The Catholics," Itzie Lieberman says, "they believe in Jesus Christ, that he's God."

Lieberman, Roth adds, "used 'the Catholics' in its broadest sense — to include the Protestants."

I confess, when I was a kid in a largely Jewish town, I was similarly confused.

I think I have it straight, now. But I was confused again this week, reading about Dave Brat's surprising primary election win over Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), because of what I learned about Brat's certainty that what makes America great is not just God, or even Christianity. It's Protestantism.
Reporters have mentioned Brat's embrace of both "Ayn Rand and Protestantism," but this view hasn't gotten enough attention. He's held it for a long time.

"Don't underestimate the value of Protestants," he warned now former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in 2005. "Give me a country in 1600 that had a Protestant-led contest for religious and political power," he said, "and I will show you a country that is rich today."

Brat has also made it clear why: the Protestant "work ethic." In the campaign he stressed the need for a religious-based approach to "ethics.” ("I believe in telling the truth.")

It is a reflex in American politics to praise God, religion and sometimes Christianity. To boast about the superiority of one Christian denomination? That's unusual in modern politics.

To be fair, there's no evidence that Brat seems bent on exterminating less productive sects. And while, to this Jewish person, there's a suspicious whiff of anti-Semitism in the way he warned Bernanke, a Jew, and gave it prominence in this year's race against Cantor, also Jewish, that might be coincidence. Brat is also a Rand enthusiast. Alisa Rosenbaum (her real name) was, like Cantor and Bernanke, a Jew.

But isn't there a double standard here? Let's say Cantor went around touting the superior work ethic of Jews? What if President Kennedy had based his famous appeal to mainstream Protestant ministers at the 1960 Houston Ministerial Association conference by arguing not that he had a right to run, but that really Catholics made America rich? How would that have gone over?

Now, Brat is an economist. He looks at data. Protestantism makes the United States rich? Maybe he's right. Maybe we should see whether Protestants are richer than other religious groups, say, when it comes to family income.

I looked up the Pew Foundation research on U.S. income by religion. Black Protestant church members are at the bottom, not surprising considering this country's long history of racism. Surely Brat's group — evangelical Protestants — does well.

As I scroll down the list of eleven, at the top are Jews, then Hindus ... Orthodox Christians ... Buddhists ... Ah! Mainline Protestants finish fifth. Not bad.

Keep going: Catholics ... Muslims ... Mormons.

Here they are: evangelical Protestants, ninth, deep in the second division.

Of course, there might be other ways to find support for Brat's idea. So I went back to find more detail about what Brat himself has argued.

Brat's attack on Bernanke came because Bernanke had written about factors influencing prosperity.

Brat agreed that his list included sensible ones but missed the big reason: "the Protestant religious establishment" and Protestantism's "efficient set of property rights."

Space doesn't allow for a full discussion of this notion or of the more sophisticated argument he makes in his research, some of which I'm not equipped to dispute.

But I can see what it lacks. Among them the woefully inadequate use of comparative data, discussion of confounders, and detailed rebuttal of those who disagree.

Am I alone in finding the campaign version not just badly argued, but offensive?

By contrast, look back to another discussion of religion and politics: that JFK appearance 54 years ago. It's remarkable not just for what Kennedy said in his speech but for his full and usually thoughtful answers to the hostile, patronizing views of the Protestant ministers questioning him.

After one answer, the questioner said, "Do you say that with the permission of the Vatican?"

You can hear Kennedy keeping his voice calm. "I don't have to have approval in that sense."

At the end, Kennedy tried to sum things up. First, having barely concealed his anger about the meeting, he lied ("I am delighted to come here today"). But then he said something sensible.

"This fight for religious freedom is basic in the establishment of the American system, and therefore any candidate for the office ... should submit himself to the questions of any reasonable man."

Here are some for Brat.

Where's the nuanced discussion of alternate possibilities?

Where's the thorough look at comparative data that show Protestantism promotes "rich" countries better than others?

How do you contend with the vast amount of research on different variables, such as the influence of climate, argued by people like Jared Diamond?

And then there are other questions.

Brat, the truth-teller, links his views on religion to "ethics." I encourage people to look at Brat's campaign stump speech to see what he means by truth.

Is immigration reform really only the idea of what Brat calls "Zuckerberg and the big boys?" Hmm. Another Jew, because they want "cheap labor?”

How about this? "Number one principle Eric runs on is stability in Washington — kick the can down the road."

I'm amazed to find myself defending Cantor. But Brat isn't telling the truth. If anything, Cantor thinks we don't need to deal with many of those cans at all. He's not kicking cans down the road. He wants to discard them.

And "stability" from someone who urged a government shutdown? Even allowing for the hyperbole of politics, that's not "telling the truth," either. Not close.

Answers, Mr. Brat?

The primary's over, But Itzie Lieberman might still like to know.

Lehrman is the former White House chief speechwriter to Vice President Gore and has published four novels and the widely used Political Speechwriter's Companion. He teaches public speaking and political speechwriting at American University and writes often about politics. This is his second piece for thehill.com.

TV Preachers Glowingly Describe Meeting with Pope to Tear Down ‘Walls of Division’

For 500 years all Protestants knew Rome to be antichrist. Now they are bowing down.

Meeting with the Pope 

ROME – Two controversial TV preachers recently met Pope Francis in an effort to work toward tearing down the ‘walls of division’ between Catholics and Protestants.

Kenneth Copeland and James Robison are two religious leaders in northeast Texas known for drawing huge crowds to their services and events, and who were a part of leading the group identifying as a “delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders” in its meeting with the Roman Catholic pontiff late last month.

Copeland heads Kenneth Copeland Ministries and Eagle Mountain International Church, while Robison is an “apostolic elder” at Gateway Church and co-hosts the Life Today TV program.

In 2008, CBS News released a detailed report on Kenneth Copeland Ministries, saying an investigation “raises serious questions about the Copeland’s religious empire.” For example, according to the report, the “ministry” operates private jets which are often used for vacation trips.

“In my viewpoint,” one of the Copelands’ former employees told CBS News, “I believe that they were using a lot of the ministry’s assets for personal businesses.”

The Copelands have also been accused of promoting the so-called “prosperity gospel.”

“God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you,” Copeland’s wife, Gloria, once preached, according to The New York Times.

Like the Copelands, Robison has been criticized for straying from traditional biblical teaching. He once invited “Father” Jonathan Morris to his Life Today TV program and praised his Catholic beliefs and practices.

“As a Protestant, every time you talk—every time I see you, I see Jesus,” Robison told Morris, according to Ken Silva at Apprising.org.

“I wish most Protestant preachers had the sensitivity, and discernment, and gift to communicate that you have,” Robison added.

This month, Copeland and Robison are once again the focus of controversy after news surfaced that they both visited Pope Francis at the Vatican in late June. Afterward, Robison said the meeting was an answered prayer, describing it as a “supernatural gathering” and “an unprecedented moment between evangelicals and the Catholic Pope.”

“On [June 24], for nearly three hours, a few of us were blessed to meet in an intimate circle of prayerful discussion,” Robison wrote in a blog post.

Several other evangelicals, including Robison’s wife, were present at the meeting, which was organized by an Episcopal bishop.

“This meeting was a miracle,” Robison told Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram after returning from Rome.

“This is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together.”

Pope High-Five
Robison gives Pope high-five


“The world is suffering,” Robison added. “We as Christians have too much love to share without fighting one another.”

Robison said he enjoyed every moment with the leader of the Roman Catholic church, saying he even gave Pope Francis a friendly high-five.

“We continued in such glorious fellowship that words could never begin to describe it,” he wrote. “I am fighting back tears even as I write, so glorious was the manifest presence of Jesus.”

Copeland shared similarly positive sentiments about the visit. According to Robison’s blog post, Copeland “lovingly” spoke “a few words of encouragement” to Pope Francis, afterward praying for him.

When news of the ecumenical get-together at the Vatican was publicized, many Christians expressed disappointment, saying it was unwise for the evangelical leaders to meet with Pope Francis.

“What fellowship does light have with darkness?” one commenter asked. “Roman Catholicism has never been and never will be Christian. You cannot unite what is not the same—that is called being unequally yoked!”

“We should bear in mind [that] Catholic doctrine can never marry with the doctrine of Jesus Christ,” another argued.

“There is a huge difference between loving and helping your neighbor and adopting their heresies,” a third asserted.

As previously reported, megachurch speaker Joel Osteen similarly met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in early June. After the meeting, Osteen praised the Pope’s attempts to make the church “more inclusive.”

Photos: JamesRobison.net
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