Currently There Are More People Being Thrown Under The Bus Than Are On The Bus

Politico is not a right-wing website. Generally, it leans left. So why are they throwing President Obama under the bus? I don’t know, but Politico posted an article yesterday detailing how the Obama Administration blocked an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States. This is part of the price President Obama was willing to pay to get the Iranian nuclear treaty.

The article at Politico is long, but it is worth reading. I will try to summarize the main points, but I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire story.

The article reports:

…Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.

They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

The article quotes someone involved in the investigation as saying that the program was blocked from the top.

The article further reports:

Obama had entered office in 2009 promising to improve relations with Iran as part of a broader rapprochement with the Muslim world. On the campaign trail, he had asserted repeatedly that the Bush administration’s policy of pressuring Iran to stop its illicit nuclear program wasn’t working, and that he would reach out to Tehran to reduce tensions.

The man who would become Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and then CIA director, John BrennanJohn BrennanObama’s White House counterterrorism adviser, who became CIA director in 2013., went further. He recommended in a policy paper that “the next president has the opportunity to set a new course for relations between the two countries” through not only a direct dialogue, but “greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system.”

Anyone who knows the history of Lebanon understands that Hezbollah is not a force for  peace, freedom, or stability.

The article goes on to detail money laundering by Hezbollah and  the fact that Hezbollah has operatives in America planning terrorist attacks. It is very obvious in reading the article that the activities of the Obama Administration put Americans at risk. The efforts at ending the drug trafficking and money laundering will resume under the Trump Administration. At a time when America has major drug problems, it would be a really good idea to shut down any traffickers we can.

An Interesting Question

CNS News posted a very interesting article today. The article asks the question, “Why No Warning Label on Marijuana?” That is a fascinating question. The government puts warning labels on everything–my hairdryer reminds me not to use it in the shower, my iron reminds me that it can get hot, the coffee I buy at Dunkin’ Donuts (I did live in Massachusetts for a very long time) tells me on the cup that the contents may be hot. So why is marijuana exempt from big daddy government?

The article reports:

The best known warning label, of course, is the one that the United States Surgeon General has required on cigarette packs since 1966. Also well-known is the warning label on alcoholic beverage containers, which states that drinking alcohol during pregnancy may cause birth defects, that people should not drink and drive, and that alcohol may cause other health problems.

That marijuana is a drug there is no doubt. The FDA states that “marijuana and marijuana-derived products” are “drugs.”

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana is “the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.” According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug.”

The Surgeon General’s 1996 report entitled “Facing Addiction in America” describes marijuana as one of the “addictive drugs.”

Likewise, marijuana is not safe.

Despite all the recent changes in many state laws over the last five years and the massive public advocacy and lobbying of the emerging multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry, the FDA has not changed its position on marijuana but continues to hold that it “has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication.” Now, within the last nine months, two new reports on the dangers of marijuana have been issued.

So why are reports of the dangers not resulting in warning labels?

The article contains on example of the warning that would be appropriate for marijuana:

WARNING. Using cannabis can lead to the development of schizophrenia, other psychoses and other mental-health problems. Cannabis can cause hallucinations, delusions, and panic attacks. Cannabis can cause an increase in suicide ideation and suicide attempts. Smoking cannabis can worsen respiratory infections and bronchitis episodes. Using cannabis can lead to an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes. Maternal cannabis smoking is associated with the lower birth weight of babies.

The crusade against cigarettes included both warning labels and an extensive public-education campaign. Today, public education about marijuana consists in emphasizing that legalized marijuana will supply both “jobs and taxes.”

The usual answer to the type of question the article asks is ‘follow the money.’ In this case, it seems that many states are more interested in the tax money they will receive from the legalization of marijuana than the damage it will cause to the people using it. I don’t object to the legitimate use of marijuana for medical purposes, but if you look at the ads in the back of the newspaper in states where medical marijuana is legal, you quickly realize that an unethical doctor can write a prescription for marijuana to cure an ingrown toenail. There are so many areas where the government interferes to ‘protect’ Americans, it is interesting that the government chooses to remain silent about a danger that is rapidly becoming socially acceptable.

Why Policy Matters

The Los Angeles Times posted an article today about the stretch of wild brushland between the Rio Grande and the sprawling Texas border cities of Hidalgo and McAllen. That deserted piece of land was one a bustling crossing point for illegals coming into the United States. It is now very quiet.

The article reports:

Across the Southwest border, the number of immigrants caught crossing illegally into the United States has dropped dramatically. Fewer than 12,200 people were apprehended in March, a 64% decrease from the same time last year, and the lowest monthly number in at least 17 years.

…”We don’t really have a normal anymore,” said Castro, who has worked for Customs and Border Protection for nearly 20 years. She insists agents are not doing anything differently; the Trump administration’s executive orders are simply enforcing laws already on the books.

“Are you going to risk a 1,000-mile journey and pay $8,000 to be smuggled if you’re not sure you’ll get to stay?” Castro said, offering a reason she thinks fewer asylum seekers are crossing over. “I wouldn’t.”

Some of the reasons people are fleeing Mexico and countries south of there are the drug cartels and the gangs. It would make sense to work with some of the governments involved to clean up the drug cartels and the gangs. Unfortunately, that is very dangerous work, and the corruption runs deep. South American politicians who take on either the drug cartels or the gangs tend not to live very long. However, that is the answer. Ultimately, we need a wall to stop illegal immigration, but we also need a way to help stop the drug cartels and the gangs and to help the economies of our southern neighbors. We also need to understand that by not securing our borders, we are encouraging the drug cartels and the gangs to invade our country.

 

Things That Are Not Conducive To A Good Night’s Sleep

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research posted a report this month on the growing Hezbollah Threat in Latin America. The report is written by Roger Noriega, a senior State Department official from 2001 to 2005, a visiting fellow at AEI and managing director of Vision Americas LLC, which represents foreign and domestic clients.

Some of the highlights of the report:

Hezbollah’s presence in Latin America dates to the mid-1980s, when it began sending operatives into the notoriously lawless region known as the tri-border area (TBA)—where the borders of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet—to use it as a principal safe haven for fundraising, money laundering, recruitment, training, plotting, and other terrorist-related activities.Their activity also includes drug and arms trafficking, counterfeiting, forging travel documents, and pirating software and music. Their resulting proselytizing has led to the creation of numerous Hezbollah cells, with an estimated 460 operatives in the TBA by mid-2000.

Hugo Chávez’s track record of anti-Americanism and support for terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is well-established, but his making common cause with a radical Islamic theocracy in waging asymmetric warfare (unconventional and irregular methods used by a weaker opponent against a stronger opponent) against the United States truly speaks to the depths of his fanaticism. He has allowed Iran to mine uranium in Venezuela and has worked assiduously to undermine economic sanctions against the Iranian regime (for which Venezuela has, in turn, been sanctioned). In recent years, moreover, Venezuela’s Margarita Island has eclipsed the infamous TBA as the principal safe haven and center of Hezbollah operations in the Americas.

The report concludes:

US and other government authorities have identified and sanctioned some of the leaders of these networks, and US law enforcement agencies—led by the Drug Enforcement Administration—have made great efforts to assess and confront this threat by building cases against foreign officials and sanctioning commercial entities that provide support to this criminal terror organization. However, this dangerous network requires a whole-government strategy, beginning with an interagency review to understand and assess the transnational, multifaceted nature of the problem; educate friendly governments; and implement effective measures unilaterally and with willing partners to disrupt and dismantle their operations.

The stakes are clear. In a May 2011 visit to Bolivia, Iranian Defense Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi proclaimed that in the event of any military confrontation between Iran and the United States, “The strong Iran is ready for enemy-crushing and tough response in case of any illogical and violent behavior by the U.S.”  There is every reason to believe that such a response would utilize every weapon in Iran’s arsenal, including Hezbollah. But we do not have to wait until an outbreak of military hostilities between the United States and Iran to confront Hezbollah’s continuing efforts to consolidate its presence and expand its influence in the Western Hemisphere. The United States and responsible governments in Latin America need to act now, precisely so that we do not have to respond later.

Please follow the above link and read the entire report. The report is footnoted and contains a lot of information Americans are not hearing from the American press. We need to wake up and start paying attention.

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