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Terrorist base south of border
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 12/01/2003 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.
International law-enforcement authorities combating terrorism have growing concerns about a major influx into the Latin American nation of Paraguay of Arabic-speaking visitors carrying European passports.
Some of these “Europeans” could not even speak the language of their so-called mother land, according to a report in the latest issue of Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, an online premium intelligence newsletter published by WND.
Many of the visitors and emigres travel to the triple border region where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. This region, often described as a lawless area, is nicknamed by some intelligence station agents as “The Muslim Triangle meeting zone.”
Intelligence experts have been warning since the late 1990s they had noticed a tendency among Islamic terrorists to operate from Paraguay, a landlocked country in the heart of South America, with a territory slightly smaller than California, and with geographic extremes perfect for hiding illegal activities. Information surrounding such activities arrived in the U.S. before Sept. 11, 2001, but failed to sound any alarms.
Even today, reports G2 Bulletin, dealing seriously with Islamic terrorism in Latin America is not considered to be of high importance.
Muslims have also found their way into Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil and other neighboring countries, and authorities claim most Muslims crystallize into small community clusters, centering mainly in large cities, close to mosques, prayer locations or religious Quran schools known as madrassas. One of the best examples to this trend is the Maicao district, where some 70 percent of all small- and medium-sized businesses belong to Muslims mainly of Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian origin.
A Colombian official told G2 Bulletin: “A fair part of our Muslim community are second- and third-generation immigrants, but the problems arise from recent immigrants who import new jihadi philosophies. These people are also active in Islamic missionary work converting the poor and destitute with promises of a better life under Islam.”
Miguel Angel Toma of the Argentinean intelligence service SIDE last year, and again early this year, visited a number of regional capitals and then traveled also to Washington, Berlin, London and Paris. The purpose of his meetings was to discuss with his counterparts the growing danger, and the urgent need to be aware of, Islamic terrorism known as “Terrorists Muselmanus.”
Toma voiced his warning the difficult economic situation in the continent, galloping inflation, and an increase of corruption and organized crime, are creating “a dangerous greenhouse where poisonous roots are developing.”
The Argentineans expressed their caution by emphasizing the danger is not only local. They reflected on the anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli deadly terror attacks in 1992 and 1994 in Buenos Aires, warning similar events are imminent elsewhere. The Argentineans now claim the attacks against the Jewish Community Center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires are linked to the Iranian intelligence and their Hezbollah proxy.
These terrorists are organized in active cells around the country with safe houses in neighboring Paraguay. An Argentinean document seen by G2 Bulletin describes part of the drug-smuggling trail, as well as that of weapons and people. These elaborate trails run through a web of border crossings pointing also to the complex cooperation between various “smuggling experts.” These belong to jihadi organizations such as al-Qaida, joining forces with local drug lords, developing and oiling their smuggling mechanism all the way to Mexico aiming ultimately to hit the U.S.
The Argentinean intelligence service assessment, privy among others, to European and Middle Eastern agencies, has reached a significant and grave conclusion: They claim that since 9/11, and the partial success in the war against terrorism, mainly in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Central Asia, the jihadi pendulum is tilting more and more toward South America. The reason terrorist cells in Paraguay, whether active or dormant, can continue to grow and flourish, is the fact this nation is considered to be the most corrupt in South America.
The nature of law and order, or rather lawlessness and disorder in Paraguay, enabled operatives of such terrorist groups as al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas to feel safe, even in the heart of Asuncion. These organizations, and probably more, turned Paraguay into a logistical base.
As one local journalist told G2 Bulletin: “It’s easy. At this stage our country is not engulfed in a civil war or guerrilla campaign and, therefore, security forces are more prone to financial kickbacks.”
A Mossad operative talking to G2 Bulletin under the condition of anonymity said his agency is aware of numerous cases in which nothing was done to interfere with jihadi activity, mainly due to lucrative businesses between them and the police, accompanied with the motto, “Now you see me now you don’t.”
A German agent of the Bundes Nachrichten Dienst – Federal Information Service who recently visited a number of Latin American capitals has evaluated the situation in the triple border area as “a ticking time bomb.” He believes the growing pressure exercised on terrorists in Europe, Asia and North America will bring many of them to move their organizational apparatus to countries such as Paraguay.
A source from the Arab community in Asuncion was quoted by a Middle Eastern diplomat as saying: “On the Brazilian border you can buy everything, from a passport to an army general. Most of all you don’t have to be over concerned with Mossad presence.”
The same source described two meetings in Asuncion, which took place between local businessmen, mainly of Arab descent, with visitors from Europe and Asia, including Pakistan and Malaysia. The meetings took place in Hotel Westphalia, some eight kilometers from the Pettirossi Silvio Airport and in the apartment hotel Zapihir, close to the capital’s downtown. Those attending the meeting in the downtown area included visitors from Argentina and at least one Dutch citizen suspected to be a Muslim convert and an al-Qaida operative.
CIA and MI5 agents, who according to the Asuncion police were “hovering over the hotel districts,” were surprised to discover Muslim Paraguayans and some of their guests visiting the large Cathedral Blas San de Dia.
Apparently the alleged terrorists discussed organizational matters while inside the cathedral, hoping to appear as regular worshippers, undisturbed by intelligence agents. A similar practice was reported from other Latin American cities where many suspects of jihad ideologies meet in churches and cathedrals presenting themselves as members of the Christian community. The Israeli experience shows that in the past Arab intelligence services used the disguise of religious Jews to penetrate the Jewish community in Argentina and from there arriving in Israel as “bona fide” immigrants.
At this stage the growing danger is that of militant Islam penetrating Mexico, a country with an increasing Muslim community, including Muslim converts. Some of them have ties to the Mexican community and to illegal immigrants’ smugglers operating in American states bordering Mexico, especially those with connections in the greater Los Angeles area and other major cities.
Intelligence experts now assume the so-called jihadi spider web is moving north fast from Paraguay. It is just a question of time before terrorists use, and quite possibly already have used, the loosely guarded American-Mexican border. It should come as no surprise when, sometime in the not-too-far future, the U.S. will be attacked in a deadly way. Presently this danger, due to the porous southern border, enables easy penetration of the country described by one official as “the largest Swiss cheese in the world.”
Experienced anti-terror experts told G2 Bulletin the Mexican border is the Achilles heel of the Department of Homeland Security.
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