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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Drugs financing terror and weapons of mass destruction

A US State Department official has warned of the connection between the drug trade and terror activities.
"The sums of money involved are growing in extraordinary amounts, and that raises the possibility, because of the sums and the areas in which these groups have begun to operate, for that opportunity to be exploited," said David Johnson, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

"Some of these criminal syndicates have the organizational and financial wherewithal that could potentially allow them to acquire and sell radioactive material, biological and chemical weapons, and technologies used for weapons of mass destruction."

Johnson, who was speaking at the Washington Institute of Near East Affairs, attributed the massive growth in drug profits to increasing demand and supply in the worldwide market.

"The supply particularly of heroin is growing in ways that are hard to fathom," he said.

When it comes to the Middle East, however, Johnson said that most of the major terror organizations get their funding from state sponsors rather than drugs and other criminal activities.

"If you're looking at the areas around Israel, you're talking about state sponsors driving the organizations and this being more opportunistic rather than a direct impact on what they're doing," Johnson assessed, calculating that even the drugs grown in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon are not a major source of income for Hezbollah.

"It's more the case of criminal groups producing products and providing services that are quite useful to these groups that are engaged in even more nefarious activities," he said, pointing specifically to smuggling and border crossing as a useful form of support criminal groups provide. He also spoke of the nexus of contraband and terror activity running through the tunnels Hamas has dug from Gaza into Egypt.
The picture at the top is an Israeli anti-drug ad featuring Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

By the way, it's that time of year here in Jerusalem when we do our little bit to support the terrorists. Purim is about five weeks away, and I'm surprised we've heard very few firecrackers and their offspring as of now. I'd bet they'll start in earnest pretty soon. Unfortunately, the religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem are usually full of the illegal fireworks, most of which come from the 'Palestinians' and finance the terror organizations. Most of my neighbors don't want to hear that.


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