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Al-Qaida “communities,” like the one busted in Lodi, Calif., have direct ties to other networks in Mexico and Central America, where jihadi terrorists are not viewed as a local threat, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
“South of the Rio Grande Valley there exists a dire situation,” said an intelligence researcher who took part in an academic meeting in west Canada.
Intelligence sources and researchers agree there is hardly any effective cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence establishment of Mexico’s President Vicente Fox.
Mexican agencies charged with intelligence and counter-terrorism, such as the Office of Coordination of the Presidency and the Center for Research on National Security, CISEN, do little more than offer half-hearted monitoring of militant Islamic activity, say G2 Bulletin sources.
Mexico is facing a national crisis in dealing with drug lords who are killing elected officials, police chiefs and innocent civilians. Officials there have little interest and fewer resources to devote to law enforcement and intelligence activities that threaten the U.S., not Mexico.
As WND reported last week, Islam is on the move in Mexico and throughout Latin America, making dramatic gains in converting the native population, increasing immigration, establishing businesses and charities and attracting attention from U.S. government officials who have asked their neighbors to the south to keep an eye on foreign Muslim groups.
While Mexico has pledged to monitor these activities on behalf of the U.S., those familiar with the recruitment practices and the Mexican government’s oversight say the U.S. has reasons for concern.
For instance, Gen. Jorge Serrano, the head of the Attorney General Office’s special terrorism investigation unit, says no Muslim terrorists have been found living in Mexico.
Yet intelligence sources in the U.S. and Canada say Islamic jihadists have been working with zealots in Mexico for more than 20 years. Early activities were sponsored by Iran. Later, the recruitment activities got support from the Egyptian, Pakistani and Saudi embassies. It is known the Egyptians paid the rent for a prayer hall and allocated funds for students who wanted to study at the Islamic al-Azhar University in Cairo. The Pakistanis organized Muslim converts and others to visit madrassas in Pakistan, a golden opportunity offered to the Taliban and al-Qaida to reach a larger pool of recruitment candidates. Saudi funds created a range of activities linked to Hajj or studies in Saudi Arabia where young zealots established contacts with Sufi and Wahabi activists one way or another connected to master terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Mexican authorities revealed in 2002 they knew Spanish Muslim converts of Basque origin were present in Chiapas state preaching the ideas of Islam and jihad as they mingled with local aboriginals. At least in two cases Mexican authorities, unable to determine the whereabouts of Basque Muslims, sent letters to their last known address informing them their stay in the country was illegal. According to a CISEN official, most Basque and Spanish Muslims were linked to the North African-based al-Murabitun World Tzotzil Movement, known for its blend of socialism and Islam. Information on Basque activity in Mexico is regularly collected by the Spanish government, but is not shared with the U.S. by the Mexicans.
Small, sometimes clandestine Islamic clubs in Mexico, usually disguised as cultural groupings, are on the increase. Information on ways to cross the U.S. and Mexican border and where to go, including recommended U.S. states and so-called asylum cities has actually already reached all corners of the jihadi Khalifat world. Some documents found in Pakistan, and more information from Iraq and Lebanon, proves jihadists are aware they are in danger of being detected when they use legitimate ports of entry to the U.S. Therefore they prefer to reach their sympathizers in Mexico and then penetrate the U.S. together with hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, drug lords and gang members.
As one Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer familiar with the situation in Mexico said: “What’s the point of having old ladies remove their shoes at airport security checks, when all it takes to carry a small package of the potent ricin poison into the U.S. is a friendly Mexican jihadist escorting you on a dark moonless night across the porous U.S.-Mexican border.”