Previous posts in this discussion:
PostIS/Daesh on Mexican Border? (Enrique Torner, USA, 04/16/15 3:29 am)
In August of last year, I was criticized for my opinion that ISIS was a threat to the US. Well, now it seems the are near Juárez, Mexico, ready to cross into Texas! The government is dismissing or ignoring it, as is the New York Times, but many others are stating the opposite, including authorities in Texas. Check out these links:
And I remember Tor Guimaraes stating back then that ISIS was being squeezed out, and there was no way they could get even remotely close to the US! What are Tor's thoughts now?
JE comments: We haven't heard from Tor in a couple of weeks. It's examination time in US universities, and we're all feeling the crunch.
So is IS/Daesh poised to invade Texas? Judicial Watch and Fox are convinced they are. The cartel-linked "coyote" smugglers would be only too glad to assist for a price. But see the second link, above. Sheriff Gary Painter has promised to "send them to hell." I believe him.
How do you say "Don't Mess with Texas" in Arabic?
IS/Daesh on Mexican Border?
(Tor Guimaraes, USA
04/16/15 8:26 AM)
Thanks for missing me. My opinion has been and continues to be that ISIS is too crazy to go anywhere. I am sure that Iran and the rest of the world (even other Sunni organizations) will keep them in check. The most they will do is become the limited "nasty bad cop" in the Middle East neighborhood. So those who play "good cops" trying to curry favor with the rich US government won't totally destroy ISIS but will keep them in check for "ransom."
I am much more worried about our beloved America going rotten from the inside: too much corruption and waste of taxpayer money, average standard of living melting away fast, too many drugs, too much self-indulgence, etc., and no end in sight. As if that is not bad enough, our democracy is disappearing, our leaders keep selling us out to special interests, not enough science, education, innovation and entrepreneurship, our national infrastructure is going rotten, etc.
Thus, please pardon me for not giving a damn about ISIS. To me they are the extreme result from our own stupid foreign policy in the Middle East for the last several decades. I am glad today that the US government is wasting as few resources as possible attacking them and letting the regional coalition do the job. Regarding the probably ISIS presence in Mexico, I believe that talking about the importance of national security without tight border control makes it a joke. Maybe the US government will take illegal border crossing more seriously; it is about time.
Last, I have been studying English history lately and could not help but see ISIS psychology behind how some English kings would chop some of their political/military enemies to little pieces to terrorize everybody. This seems just like ISIS, and it seemed to have worked then. But, I don't think it is going to work as well for ISIS today. Our fears will be replaced by anger and self-righteousness.
JE comments: I second most of Tor's concerns about the US, except for the entrepreneurship part. From what I've observed, it's as healthy as ever. And higher education is also very robust, although egregiously overpriced.
IS/Daesh on Mexican Border? Reflections on Tax Season; From Ric Mauricio
(John Eipper, USA
04/16/15 8:32 PM)
JE: Tax Day is over! Our friend Ric Mauricio catches his breath and sends the following:
"We have met the enemy, and they are us." --Oliver Hazard Perry
If we look at history, we see that every Empire has produced good and great innovations. From the Chinese dynasties and Mongolian empire, from the Byzantine to the Persian, from the Ottoman to the Roman, from the British to the American, the Mayans and the Incans, the Spanish and Egyptians, all contributed mightily to mankind. However, all eventually succumb to arrogance, which leads to their downfall. It is human to err. It is also very human to become arrogant.
But the question is: is ISIS crazy enough to try to expand beyond their area? Maybe, but I agree, there is a home team advantage to the cartels in Mexico. But remember, the Spaniards were not the home team when they invaded Latin America. But I make the argument that the Mayans were already being destroyed from within, again succumbing to the disease that inflicts great civilizations.
Today, I clean up the debris from a very stressful and contentious tax season. Last night and today, I continue addressing software glitches, brought upon us by software released before its time plus the addition of tax changes that brought even more complexity to tax preparation. I had one gentleman who attempted to prepare his taxes online and after his result had him owing $17k in the Federal and $3k in California, he came to me. The result was he owed $1.4k in the Federal and got a $3k refund in California.
A very interesting question was brought up by a gentleman who met a girl in the PRC and wanted to marry her (although she would continue to work in the PRC). Aha, complexity plus. You see, now that they are married, her income now flows to the US tax return (we are taxed on worldwide income). I pointed out to him that although I can utilize foreign exemptions, foreign tax credits and housing, it would result in a more complex tax situation (resulting in a much more expensive return ... like the TV shows warn, do not try this at home). Don't even get me started on the estate tax situation if he were to pass away, unless she becomes a US citizen. And they will now be subject to FBAR and FATCA reporting.
I barely survived this tax season. Like Tor Guimaraes fears, the US is destroying itself from within ... the Tax Code is but just one indication of this. It is placing a tremendous non-productive burden on everyone. Even though I am very well compensated for advising my clients, I realize that I really am not producing anything. If the Tax Code were simplified (ha, yeah, right) where I was no longer needed, it would not cause me great lamentations.
In fact, in January, my daughter and I (and of course, being a community property state, my wife) purchased a commercial gym. Now this is a productive and worthwhile pursuit, bringing healthy exercise to others, in the form of resistance and cardio exercises, as well as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Zumba (and I am looking for a Yoga instructor). You are all invited to visit my SNAP Fitness gym in San Mateo when you are in the neighborhood.
JE comments: I will do just that, Ric! I hope to be in your area in June.
"We Have Met the Enemy..."
(Cameron Sawyer, Russia
04/17/15 3:31 AM)
In response to Ric Mauricio (16 April), the Oliver Hazard Perry quote is, correctly: "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."
The other, "...and they are us," is from Walt Kelly's Pogo comic strip, a play on the above.
JE comments: Don't know how I let that one slip by me, especially because we've discussed the Pogo quote at length. See, for example, this 2009 post from our dear friend, the late Gene Franklin:
IS/Daesh on Mexican Border? From Gary Moore
(John Eipper, USA
04/18/15 3:00 AM)
JE: Gary Moore sends this response to Enrique Torner (16 April):
Cameron Sawyer (17 April) beat me to the punch on the Pogo quote, but in
response to the ISIS-on-the-Mexican-border questions,
those rumors have been around for years (like the parallel
rumors of Mexican cartel armies pushing over the border).
I think Timothy Brown's valuable comments about Noel
Guerrero et al. illustrate this issue: There was more Soviet
intrigue in Mexico/Central America than the dominant media
narrative admitted. But at the same time it didn't turn out to be
as apocalyptic as the competing Reagan-related narrative maintained.
A sleeper cell in Ensenada gazing toward Hoover Dam is not such
a fantastic idea as Narrative A might make it seem--but then Hoover
Dam is still there. What were the factors Timothy would see that
caused this cell never to activate?
And as to the Isis-at-El-Paso story,
the rumor in this case has been dusted off by Judicial Watch, citing
two unnamed Mexican law enforcement officials. This is a suspect
source further discrediting itself by acting as if lawmen can't tell
rumors, too. It would take extreme inexperience in Mexican law
enforcement affairs--or willful blindness--to think such thin sourcing
hasn't been disproved many times before. It sounds like Mexico is a
hobgoblin to Judicial Watch that might contain, oh, just about anything.
Their report was apparently far too fastidious to actually go to Anapra
and ask around.
JE comments: Anapra is one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods of Juárez.
Gary Moore has put his finger on the Mexico "hobgoblin" concept--it has long been a place upon which the US projects its anxieties. It would be only logical to add a IS/Daesh twist to the formula.
(After this posting from Gary Moore, I'll be away from the Internet for the next 30 hours or so. WAIS will resume tomorrow/Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, Pax et Lux to all. I would say "enjoy the break from WAIS," but we know that's impossible!)
IS/Daesh and the Mexican Cartels
(Massoud Malek, USA
04/19/15 5:40 PM)
Is ISIS committing more atrocities than Mexican drug cartels?
The right-wing media and some US policymakers who hate anything related to Islam are inflating the ISIS threat to the United States. They characterized ISIS crimes as unique, no longer practiced anywhere else in the civilized world. But most Americans are unaware of the scale of the atrocities committed by Mexican drug cartels and the threat they pose to the United States.
On 7 October 2014 Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter told a Fox News reporter:
"ISIS is coming across the southern border. They aren't flying B1 bombers bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico. I know that at least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas. Border Patrol agents caught those ISIS insurgents but there's going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol."
Clearly, this was completely unfounded. Most stories about ISIS in Mexico originates from the organization Judicial Watch (JW).
In September 2014, JW reported that "ISIS members are operating a camp near El Paso and have been arrested trying to cross the US-Mexico border." On 14 April of this year, JW reported: "ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, according to Judicial Watch sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector."
While the Islamic militants have killed some journalists, the cartels have murdered as many as 57 since 2006 for reporting on cartel crimes or exposing government complicity with the criminals. They carry out hundreds of beheadings every year. In addition to decapitations, the cartels are known to dismember and otherwise mutilate the corpses of their victims--displaying piles of bodies prominently in towns to terrorize the public into compliance. They routinely target women and children to further intimidate communities. Like ISIS, the cartels use social media to post graphic images of their atrocious crimes.
According to the most recent data available from Human Rights Watch, more than 60,000 people have been killed from 2006 to 2012. The Mexican government has been fighting a war with drug traffickers since December 2006. In 2013 drug cartels murdered 16,736 people in Mexico alone, an estimated 16 percent decrease from the 20,010 that occurred during the same period in 2012. Many more people die violently in Mexico than in Iraq. According to the official figures released by the Mexican government, at least 50 people were intentionally murdered per day in 2013 as of the end of November--a rate of more than one killing every half hour. The crime rate in Honduras is only two per day.
According to a recent study, drug war violence drove at least 160,000 Mexicans from their homes in 2011, a displaced population that the government largely refuses to acknowledge.
According to CNN, there are approximated 6,700 licensed firearms dealers in the United States along the US-Mexico border. There is only one legal firearms retailer in Mexico. Nearly 70% of guns recovered from Mexican criminal activity from 2007 to 2011, and traced by the US government, originated from sales in the United States.
Although Muslim barbarism is a favorite subject in WAISdom, I seldom see any post mentioning the atrocities committed by Mexican Drug Cartels.
JE comments: The myth-busting website Snopes (second link, above) has determined that the "ISIS camp on the US border" claim is false.
My Mexican friends report that cartel-related violence is slowly declining, although it is still at crisis levels. But why don't the cartels raise the same level of panic in the US that ISIS does? One possible answer: the cartels are money-making entities that don't want to destroy "our" way of life. In fact, they depend on the political and economic status quo to keep their businesses viable.
Or is it Islamophobia plain and simple, as Massoud Malek argues?
Mexican Drug Cartels: Gaze Not on the Face of Evil (from Gary Moore)
(John Eipper, USA
04/20/15 1:54 PM)
Gary Moore sends this response to Massoud Malek (19 April):
The cartel atrocities in Mexico, as Massoud suggests,
remind that to compare levels of cultural denial can get dicey.
If we're blind (or numb) to next-door Mexican cartel beheadings,
why should we shout about distant jihadist beheadings?
I think there's a reason. Why is it so hard to articulate?
(By the way the Mexican cartels apparently started ritual beheading
in early 2006--before the Mexican government started its all-out drug war--and there's reason to think they may have been copying templates
of opportunity from the East:--Daniel Pearl in 2002, Nick Berg in 2004.)
Below is the 49-torsos story that helped get me out of border reporting.
It wasn't that I had sensitivity enough to be squeamish, but that suddenly
I realized there was no way to ask people to be reading about this stuff.
For a Fodor's Guide to body parts, try:
JE comments: Gary Moore's 2012 essay reflects on the discovery of 49 mutilated bodies dumped along Highway 40 in NE Mexico. With incisive, even poetic prose, Gary tries to grasp the meaning of this utterly senseless event. The inability of the authorities to determine the perpetrators of the crime generated all sorts of absurdist theories--such as the possibility that the Zetas gang carried out the execution but tried to make it look like a rival gang attempting a false-flag operation to frame the Zetas. There is even the metaphysical belief that Mexican history erupts in convulsions once each century: consider the Independence movement post-1810, the 1910-20 revolution, and the present wave of cartel killings.
The brutality of Gary's subject makes for tough reading, but his reflections on Mexican history and understanding are worth the investment.
- KGB Sleeper Cells (Timothy Brown, USA 04/19/15 6:28 PM)
As my fellow WAISers know, Mitrokin was the keeper of the crown jewels of the KGB, and the documents he brought out when he defected included both the code and real names of KGB agents operating outside the Soviet Union.
According to the Mitrokin documents, these included agents in place as sleeper cells. A sleeper cell being just that--for security reasons inactive until activated, and this only when conditions warrant their use because, once activated they're rather like an ICBM, an extremely dangerous single-shot weapon until used, at which point they have been expended.
The Andara y Ubeda cell was just one of many disclosed by the Miktrokin papers, and not the only one located in Mexico. Many more were located in western Europe. It's my understanding that when the existence of these sleeper cells were discovered, the western Europeans successfully rolled up most of those located in their countries, but the US investigation of the Andara y Ubeda cell was abruptly abandoned without explanation soon after it started. Why? As the Latin Americans would say, "quién sabe?"
JE comments: I hope Tim Brown will tell us more about Soviet sleeper cells in Latin America. Were any of them ever "activated"?
Were Any KGB Sleeper Cells "Activated"?
(Timothy Brown, USA
04/20/15 12:21 PM)
In response to JE's question of 19 April: to my knowledge no KGB sleeper cell in Latin America was ever activated. But, since these cells are, at least in theory, only to be activated in case of a general war, that may/might have been the case. But there are other interesting questions related to them. For example, what happened to their members when the Cold War ended?
JE comments: Presumably most just melted into the wider society? The more ambitious may have contracted their services to other employers in need of their particular "skill set."
- IS/Daesh on Mexican Border? (Timothy Brown, USA 04/16/15 8:45 PM)
In response to Enrique Torner and Tor Guimaraes (16 April), the best approach to any strategic threat is to pray for the best but prepare for the worst.
Unfortunately, Americans almost always ignore or downplay potential threats to the US from Mexico. But during the Cold War, the Soviet bloc did not make the same mistake.
One documented example, revealed in the Mitrokin archives, was the existence during the Cold War of KGB sabotage sleeper cells in Mexico aimed at US targets. One such cell was located on the US-Mexico border in Ensenada. It was headed by a Nicaraguan/Mexican doctor, Manuel de Jesús Andara y Ubeda. Andara y Ubeda was trained in guerrilla warfare by Noel Guerrero. As noted in Chapter 2 of my book Diplomarine, shortly after the triumph of the Cuban revolution, Noel Guerrero was working as Che Guevara's senior advisor on organizing guerrilla wars, and was later assigned by Che to organize and train the first Sandinista guerrilla group. Andara y Ubeda was one of the members of that group. But just before they deployed into Nicaragua, Andara y Ubeda was pulled out of the group and sent to the Soviet Union where he spent a year being trained in Line F Sabotage operations before returning to Mexico to head a KGB sabotage cell on the US-Mexico border, targeted at key installations in the US southwest, including Hoover Dam.
To my amazement, I discovered during my interview of him, that I had actually met Guerrero in Nicaragua while I was a teenaged Marine Embassy Guard. Contrary to the cover story of how the Sandinista Front was created, Guerrero, not Carlos Fonseca, was the original leader of the Sandinista Front and the Sandinista Front was organized in Havana, not Central America. General Humberto Ortega, the brother of Daniel Ortega, confirms this in his most recent book. The photo of Guerrero in Diplomarine, and in my new video trailer now on YouTube (search Diplomarine) may be the only photo of him ever published.
Guerrero was a founding director of Nicaragua's Communist (Socialist) Party in the 1930s, and told me he'd worked as a Communist union organizer in the US shortly before the outbreak of WWII. I was introduced to Guerrero by José "Pepe" Obidio Puente León, who tells part of Guerrero's story in Chapter 2, "The Road from Sandino to Sandinismo and Back" in my earlier book When the AK-47s Fall Silent (Hoover: 2000) and, in a later videotaped interview (not yet published), Guerrero confirmed this and more, as did Pepe Puente, who was also present at the creation of the Sandinista Front in Havana and was, in its earliest two decades, a National Director of that Front.
I found an April 17, 1965 handwritten letter from Andara y Ubeda to Puente in a collection of documents of the pre-Revolution Sandinista Front I was able to collect for the Hoover Archives.
In my opinion, for many reasons, including our national defense, Mexico is the most important country in the world to the US, and we underestimate its importance to our own domestic tranquility at our peril.
JE comments: Great job on the video, Tim! Here's your assignment, WAISers: click on this link:
- Daesh vs Mexican Cartels? (John Heelan, UK 04/16/15 8:33 AM)
In response to Enrique Torner (16 April), the Mexican drug cartels are pretty good at eliminating rivals and more vicious than ISIS. The Islamists would have little chance against them.
JE comments: If this nightmare "axis" exists, it certainly wouldn't last. In a Daesh-Cartel showdown, the home field advantage would determine the victor. I don't think the Zetas or the Sinaloans would do very well in Syria, either.
- IS/Daesh on Mexican Border? (Timothy Brown, USA 04/16/15 8:45 PM)
- KGB Sleeper Cells (Timothy Brown, USA 04/19/15 6:28 PM)
- Mexican Drug Cartels: Gaze Not on the Face of Evil (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 04/20/15 1:54 PM)
- IS/Daesh and the Mexican Cartels (Massoud Malek, USA 04/19/15 5:40 PM)
- IS/Daesh on Mexican Border? From Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 04/18/15 3:00 AM)
- "We Have Met the Enemy..." (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 04/17/15 3:31 AM)
- IS/Daesh on Mexican Border? Reflections on Tax Season; From Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA 04/16/15 8:32 PM)