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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

FBI: Iraqis and other Middle Eastern individuals being smuggled across the Rio Grande

ABC's The Blotter is reporting this morning that the FBI has warned that 'Iraqis and other Middle Eastern individuals' are being smuggled across the Rio Grande from Mexico.
The FBI report, issued last week, says the smuggling organization "used to smuggle Mexicans, but decided to smuggle Iraqi or other Middle Eastern individuals because it was more lucrative." Each individual would be charged a fee of $20,000 to $25,000, according to the report.

The people to be smuggled would "gather at a house on the Mexican side of the border" and then cross the Rio Grande into the U.S., the report says.

"Unidentified individuals would then transport them to train stations in El Paso, Texas or Belen, New Mexico," according to the FBI document.

A spokesman in Albuquerque said the FBI had "no viable information" that could lead to a case.

Until recently, the United States has kept its doors all but shut to the estimated two million refugees fleeing the violence in Iraq. Until this year, the country had taken in fewer than 800 Iraqi refugees, according to the State Department. This May, the Bush administration pledged to resettle 7,000 Iraqi refugees here by the end of the year.
Well it's about time they got around to noticing. I reported that story in April 2006. Let's face it folks, 'Middle Eastern individuals' isn't referring to Israelis. It's referring to terrorists (and in the story I originally reported, they came from Hezbullah). But this gives me a chance to discuss something else that I've been meaning to bring up for a couple of weeks.

I took the picture at the top of this post at the Coolidge Corner trolley car station in Brookline, Mass. on June 24, 2006. If you blow it up, you will see that it refers to 'suspicious packages' and the like. I don't recall ever seeing any signs like that in the US, but signs like that are now all over the Boston subway system. It's the kind of sign you might have seen in Israel thirty years ago, but much fancier. And while I did not see handbags being checked in stores, restaurants, shopping malls or places of entertainment (other than Fenway Park and bars) on this trip, I suspect that may not be long in coming.

I actually think this is a positive development for Israelis (and that's the connection between this post and what goes on in Israel). In the aftermath of 9/11, many of us felt, "NOW the Americans will get it. NOW they will understand what we go through every time there is a terror attack. NOW they will support us. NOW they will understand why we cannot concede anything to the 'Palestinians.' NOW they will understand that they are in the same battle that we are and it's against militant Islam. NOW they will understand that it has nothing to do with borders or territories." Some Americans did get it. Some Americans had an epiphany that day and jumped out of their leftist, liberal holes. Others either never jumped out or quickly stuck their heads back in the sand. The hope that Americans would 'get it' en masse died with President Bush's reaction to Ariel Sharon's Czechoslovakia speech three and a half weeks after 9/11.
"The prime minister's comments are unacceptable," [then White House spokesman Ari] Fleischer said. "Israel has no stronger friend and ally in the world than the United States. President Bush is an especially close friend of Israel."

He added: "The United States has been working for months to press the parties to end the violence and return to a political dialogue. The United States will continue to press both Israel and the Palestinians to move forward."

Earlier [that] week, an unidentified administration official leaked to the news media that Bush's security team was working on a plan for a Palestinian state and that it would keep pushing its own proposals.

In the meantime, under prodding by [then-] Secretary of State Colin Powell, Israel and the Palestinian Authority resumed security talks without waiting for a period free of terrorist attacks, as demanded by Sharon.

Fleischer responded, "The United States is not doing anything to try to appease the Arabs at Israel's expense."
That day, the President's moral clarity, the "you're with us or you're with the terrorists," died. That day was a deep disappointment to all Israelis. The President of the United States didn't get it.

But for most Americans, within a short period of time, 9/11 was having no effect on their daily lives. If Americans have to start living with what we suffer as a matter of course - the searches before entering public buildings, the evacuation of buildings and street corners every time a child forgets a school bag, arriving at the airport three hours before the flight and not having curbside check-in, looking at every other passenger on a bus or train with suspicious eyes, the constant vigilance that can sometimes save your life... will they get it? Time will tell.


At 11:15 PM, Blogger Gershon said...

<<"NOW the Americans will get it>>

Right. I'd be happy if Olmert Livni and company got it.


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