Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

Visit Douglas Farah's
author page at

Press Releases

The Danger of Exploiting the Border
A tip of the hat (actually, two tips) to Todd Bensman of the San Antonio Express-News for two articles (one in his paper and one one his website)
on the reality that Islamist terrorists have crossed the U.S. border, and are likely to do so again.

Bensman is one of the few investigative journalists left with a staff job who takes these investigations seriously. As much of newspaper world, in particular, slash their investigative capabilities, these gems will grow ever more rare.

Bensman looks at the recent case of three Afghanistan national with genuine Mexican passports seeking to enter the United States. The good news is that the Mexicans are willing and able partners in investigating these potential breaches. The bad news is that they nonetheless had real passports, which makes getting caught much harder.

In his other story Bensman looks at the 10 cases of terrorists who made it across the border, including al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas operatives. This is the first time I have seen the cases laid out in some detail and linked to terrorist groups.

What is of greater concern to me than Mexico, per se, as I have written earlier, is the number of Latin American countries where terrorists and their sympathizers, particularly but not limited to Hezbollah, can likely acquire legitimate travel documents that do not arouse much suspicion.

These include Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, all with greatly strengthened ties to Iran in the past two years. Nicaragua has already sent at least one contingent of about a dozen people to Iran for "diplomatic training," which is likely to be little but intelligence training. Venezuela regularly receives and sends high-level delegations to Iran, and I would bet the price of oil is not the only thing on the agenda.

It is also interesting to remember that, just as Daniel Ortega was leaving from his last term as president in 1990 he granted Nicaraguan citizenship and passports to dozens of internationally-wanted terrorists, including Red Brigade and ETA members. Few also remember that, as the 9/11 Commission reported, close allies of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman of the first World Trade Center bombing, had obtained Nicaraguan passports.

The history is important because it can, and I believe in this case does, give us a window into how Ortega not only operated in the past, but will continue to operate in future.

He allowed the Sandinista intelligence services to run factories for making documents for all of his allies in Latin America (remember Lori Berenson, now serving life in prison in Peru?). While the revolutionary solidarity may have been understandable at the time, the stakes are far higher now with radical Islamists, and Ortega has given no signs of having reformed in his 17 years out of office.

So, real Mexican passports may be the least of our worries, given that Mexico at least tries to maintain control and has punished those who have sold passports in the past. Of far greater concern are the passport rings operating with government approval and acquiescence, where there is no intention at all of slowing people down.

Somalia: The Festering War That Will Not End
Bin Laden's New Message
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC