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

Blood from Stones

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The World of Passports in the Criminal/Terrorist Nexus
Seems that the UK is tightening its entry requirements for South Africa. The reason:

Britain has threatened to impose a visa regime on visitors from South Africa amidst fears that the country is being used as a transit point by al-Qaeda operatives to gain easy entry to the UK.

The Government is also concerned that the country is being used by people smugglers to bring non-South Africans into the UK.

There it is: the criminal/terrorist network. Both groups need the same thing and acquire them from the same place, with the same fixers running the shadow infrastructure that will service anyone who can pay.

Yesterday I attended a conference at the Wilson International Center for Scholars where Félix Maradiaga, Senior Researcher, Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP), Nicaragua, discussed how Iranians were flooding into his country because visa controls had been relaxed.

Disturbingly, those who enter Nicaragua without control can then travel without visas to the rest Central America, who, like the EU, have a free transit zone in the region.

Those transiting to Britain with South African documents are inside the EU. They have breached the one and only wall to keep them out. Anywhere from there is basically free.

Iran has weekly flights to Caracas, Venezuela, and those passengers from Iran and Syria don't need visas either, and there are effectively no way to find out who has come and gone, even for the nation's immigration authorities.

Terrorists and criminals need several things that states can offer, and one of the primary items is identification papers. Passports that hide the true identity and/or nationality of a person are very valuable commodities.

Criminals want the same thing, the ability to move themselves and people who will pay them thousands of dollars, across borders with minimal risk. This entails having travel documents that are authentic or look authentic enough to pass muster, and enough corrupt officials on all sides of the pipeline to allow the enterprise to flourish with minimal risk.

These are the nexus that we must begin to pay more serious attention to. Consular offices now are understaffed, delays for visas are long and frustrating, and the system is still highly vulnerable. Until we confront this problem, so are our borders.
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