Wednesday, July 30, 2014

America Switches Sides

I like Stratfor.  I am not a worshiper at their strategic alter, but I think they have about as good a network of global contacts as is available in open source literature. And they make a serious effort to produce politically objective analysis.  They are about the only source to take the threat of transnational crime seriously.  However, in some areas they draw heavily from the thinking of the traditional foreign policy elite and so are sometimes blinded by the same hubris. They focus on rational actions and actors, and have a hard time coming to grips with the realities of religious belief -- which is increasingly the central motivator of important actions world wide.
At the risk of my own hubris, I suggest that it misses one important point -- a point I have been arguing for more than a year. It misses the reality that this Administration has led the United States to change sides in the war currently raging between "Traditional Islam Influenced" states (like Mubarak's Egypt), and "Emerging Islam Dominated" states and organizations (like the Muslim Brotherhood’s Egypt).
In its modern incarnation, this war has been ongoing for decades -- since even before the Muslim Brotherhood gave it a face and organizing concept in the 1920's.  The West was able to largely ignore the war for decades because the "Traditional Islam Influenced" states (mostly dictators with a few royal families thrown in) had enough power to keep the "Emerging Islam Dominated" radicals down. With the end of the Cold War and the increasing flow of weapons and technology to the radicals, that balance of power began to shift. Today the simmering war has broken into the open in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Gaza, etc. etc. etc.
Bin Laden (remember  him?) was different from other radicals because he saw that the Traditional Islamic Influenced states drew much of their power from a position in the world order, dominated and supported by the United States.  So Bin Laden (and Al Qaeda) set out to break the link between the US and the "Traditional Islam Influenced" states by violence -- striking the US physically and economically and forcing it back inside its own borders.  They miscalculated badly, and were largely disassembled for their efforts.
But a different approach -- mounted by some in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, in the US, and elsewhere -- has been more effective. That approach has sought influence inside the Western "Holy of Holies" -- academia, and the foreign policy elite it produces.  And when possible in the halls of political power. 
President Obama and his Administration officials represent the greatest success to date of this approach. Over the last six years, they have guided the United States (and other parts of the Western World -- but especially the US) in switching sides in the war.  NOT the war against the US, but the war between states influenced by Islam, and organizations dominated by Islam.  Obama's military, intelligence, economic and foreign policy machine called the challenges to the Traditional Islam Influenced states "The Arab Spring." The US supported the supposed "moderates" in the Spring, by undermining and helping to overthrow the bad Traditional Islam Influenced leaders. Then the US threw its weight behind what has turned out to be the even worse Emerging Islam Dominated leaders.
And so we find ourselves:
·       Standing aside silently while the American creation-by-inaction, the Islamic State, conducts ethnic cleansing of Christians who predate Muslims in Iraq by 700 years;
·       Scolding Israel for taking the only action possible to reduce attacks on civilians by rockets and assassins smuggled in through tunnels;
·       Looking politely away while US embassy and intelligence officials run for their lives in Libya;
·       Hoping no one will notice while radical groups take heart and prepare to seize other states from Turkey to the Mideast to Africa.
Obama and company played a risky game. They bet they could align themselves with the Emerging Islam Dominated forces, show good will, and bring the radicals into the community of nations.  Surprise, surprise.  That's not the way radical religion works. 
And so here we are -- holding Hamas' coat while an astonished Israel says, "Whose side are you on, anyway!"  Well, as it turns out, the Emerging Islam Dominated forces don't want us on their side -- they just want us neutralized.  And they have largely gotten what they wanted.  
So thanks to clever maneuvering by the Administration and the US foreign policy aristocracy (to include inside academia), as the world burns and the fire spreads, we are not on anybody's side.  Not even our own.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Plot Thickens – 10 Questions about the Border Crisis

Last week I posted 10 facts about the border crisis leading to an unhappy conclusion. At best the US government saw this “invasion of innocents” building, and let it happen in order to create political momentum for a “comprehensive immigration solution.” (Read amnesty)  At worse, it actually colluded with the governments and cartels to our south to make this happen.  The combination of inaction, counterproductive action, and secret action over the last week raises some serious follow-on questions.

1) Who created the story that all these children are running from a spike in violence in Central America? Federal officials have pushed the story, and the Main Stream Media (MSM) embraced it as a reason to offer asylum. In fact, a redacted version of what appears to be a recent report from the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC)  – charged with tracking exactly this sort of issue --  concludes that violence in Central America is in fact DOWN. In interviews, most immigrants listed the reason for the wave of new assaults on the border as stories about the end of US deportation activities, based on President Obama’s recent actions, as the reason for their travel across the US border. US embassies in the region could not have missed these local press reports, or the likely result. But they did nothing to counter them.   

This false story used by the MSM to create a false narrative pointing away from US government culpability looks disturbingly familiar.  Have we been Benghazied again?

2) Why hasn’t the media sent reporters to check the facts of the 800 mile journey the illegal crossers are supposedly taking? They seem to be able to send reporters to the edge of conflict in Egypt, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Nigeria, and the Ukraine. Why not to the capital cities of El Salvador or Guatemala to see who is leaving and how they are traveling? Why no reporters sent to view road and rail routes in Mexico? Why can’t the media confirm the simple of question of whether thousands of children are coming from relatives or orphanages? Because of restrictions by DHS, reporters aren’t even reporting directly from the holding areas on our side of the border.  The MSM is simply repeating whatever story and pictures the US government provides. Since when is our investigative media so trusting, and willing to report government handouts as fact without secondary confirmation?

3) Why does everybody keep saying that all these children require separate hearings to determine their safety before deportation?  According to a June 23d, 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service ( ), under the law, only  Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) deserve such special treatment.  If children cross with a parent or adult guardian,  they can be deported immediately just like any other illegal invader. By extension,  if they are delivered to a parent inside the US (as current ICE policy directs) then they are no longer unaccompanied – and they qualify for immediate deportation.   Continuing to treat them as UAC AFTER LINKING THEM UP WITH A PARENT is a US POLICY – not a legal requirement.  If we end up with 65,000+ children clogging the US immigration courts with their cases, it will be because President Obama has made this policy decision with his phone and his pen – not because the law requires it.   

4) Every person suspected of wrong doing and taken into custody in most US  jurisdictions is scanned and photographed for gang tattoos, and separated out for gang activity if so identified. Is this happening with those taken into custody as part of this invasion?  If so, gang members should qualify for immediate deportation, under the President’s announced risk policies. Is that happening?  How many times?

5) Why are all these people being moved in secret and in the dead of night?  Is it to disguise who they are? Is it to prevent local people from knowing about the impact on their community?  Is it to place them in republican districts in order to change the voter balance? Before you laugh at that last question, note that the first community to stage protests about large numbers of aliens being placed with them secretly was a small republican bastion in a sea of democratic jurisdictions in California. How was the small republican town selected as a destination?

6) Why have there been no diplomatic efforts to reduce the flow of people out of Central America and through Mexico to our border?  (If in fact, that’s where the people are coming from. We have no independent confirmation of government reports.)  The President, Vice-President and Secretary of State are quick to engage leaders overseas when the sovereignty of other countries is at risk. At this moment our President has his national security team working to rally European sanctions against the prospect of a single Russian soldier setting foot in the Ukraine. But apparently no one has made a single call to the leadership of Mexico or any Central American country asking for help reducing and controlling the flow of thousands of people along an 800 mile route to our border. Why not?

7) Bravo to the reporters who have noticed that this movement is leaving large parts of the border uncovered. In military terms this would be called a feint or diversion – pull the enemy out of the way of your main attack.  Do any experts have any thoughts on how much money is being made as drugs and other contraband pour through our undefended border while the Border Patrol is changing diapers?

8) And where is all the money going? The recent level of violence in Chicago is astonishing.  It begins to remind of Juarez years ago as the quantity and value of smuggled goods began to rise, and gangs and cartels began to fight over territory, routes, and distribution points. Can our experts identify any connections between increased smuggling across our border, and increased violence in our heartland?

9) What exactly could the National Guard do if deployed as Governor Perry has requested of the President? True, Guard presence would not change the flow of illegal immigrants rushing to surrender after crossing the Rio Grande. But the Guard might cover the parts of the border abandoned by an overcommitted Border Patrol now seeking to collect and safeguard tens of thousands of children. The problem is not with sending the Texas National Guard – the governor can do that himself. The problem is with paying for their service. Since the Guard would be addressing a national problem which the Federal Government is incapable of handling, the Governor really wants the President to pay for the Guard’s deployment. If the President deploys the Guard under Title 10 of US code, they work for him, the Feds pay the bill,  and the soldiers can have no direct law enforcement role (IAW the Posse Commitatus Act).  But if the President merely authorizes the deployment under the governor’s direction, as Title 32 of US law allows, then the Federal government will pay the cost. Which is only fair as they seem to have created the problem to begin with. So why doesn’t Governor Perry specifically request this, and the President grant it, as the law allows?

10) Which take us to the big question that almost everybody is missing.  There is big money to be made here – hundreds of millions from smuggling drugs and other goods.  Who is making it?  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

10 Facts About the Border Crisis

Actually it is hard to know anything for certain about the crisis on our southern border. The federal government has had much better success at keeping news from getting out than at preventing invaders from getting in. And the main stream news (Fox partially excluded) has raised few objections and made little effort to get at the important parts of the story.  But operational realities tell us some irrefutable facts, and lead to some important strategic conclusions.
FACT #1: Moving tens of thousands of people 900 miles is a huge logistical endeavor. It requires large numbers of trucks, busses, assembly points, drivers, fuel, food, way stations, communications, and parts and maintenance personnel. It requires planning, money and time. It requires guards and guides. Children are actually harder to manage and move than adults. As terrorist groups who have tried to hold children for long periods of time have discovered, it is harder to control and (after a while) intimidate children than adults.  And even a hardened cartel member can’t ride next to a stinky diaper for 6 weeks. Moving tens of thousands of children a thousand miles requires lots of preparation.
FACT #2: The trafficking of thousands of people across this enormous distance cannot take place without the cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement and political officials in Mexico and multiple Central American countries. You could not move 1000 children across Tennessee by bus without attracting the attention of state and local police. The same is true south of our border.  Everyone moving along the “underground railroad” pays a tax (bribe) to every jurisdiction along the way.
FACT #3:  We have a huge intelligence apparatus operating in Mexico and Central America, and on the airwaves and internet linkages that would be used to coordinate such a massive movement.  NSA, CIA, DIA, DEA, DNI, FBI, Department of State, Department of Defense, DHS, Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, etc. – the list of intel agencies watching cartel and other illegal action south of our border is long.  Unless we have the dumbest intel operatives and analysts in the world (and that’s not the case – they are very good), the US federal government saw this coming in considerable detail weeks before the surge of illegal children began.
Fact #4:  These agencies did not “sit” on this information. Given sensitivities about intel in Iraq, against domestic terror threats, etc., you can bet that the intel agents and agencies who saw this wave coming reported it right up to highest levels. No one wanted to be blamed for failure to anticipate this event . . . and in fact, no one has been blamed. Because it was anticipated – and reported – right up the chain of command.  
FACT #5:  This leads to an inescapable conclusion. Senior US federal officials knew about the pending invasion weeks and perhaps months before it began.  AT BEST, they ignored the situation, waiting for it to become a crisis, so it could be used for political leverage. AT WORST, our senior officials actively colluded with the perpetrators (to include foreign governments and the cartels) to create a politically useful crisis.
FACT #6: The recent historical record supports the idea that US government leaders (both within the Administration, and in Congress on both sides of the aisle) planned a major combined effort to push through comprehensive immigration reform  in early to mid-summer – precisely as the wave of illegal immigration began to crest. Aside from the famous federal job announcement in Jan 2014, seeking escorts for 65,000 immigrant children (a curiously accurate figure) to be in place by summer, news outlets carried many stories last spring on the growing consensus between democrats and republicans that early summer was the right time for such a political push.  It was timed to be passed into law before the August recess – before Congress went home in August, and before campaigning began in earnest in September.  Media reports also repeatedly highlighted the strong support of the American Chamber of Commerce for such action.
FACT #7: As broadly reported by media, this effort fell apart when the #2 Republican leader in the House (Eric Cantor) lost his primary fight in early June to an opponent who stressed Cantor’s openness to immigration reform. Political experts within both parties immediately declared immigration reform dead for this year – again a curiously abrupt conclusion about nationwide impact, given the mainstream story that Cantor had simply lost touch with his district. What few outside the senior leadership knew on the date of the primary was that the trip from Central America takes 6 weeks.  The huge wave young illegals was already on the way.  There was no way to turn it back. And it was going to arrive just as anti-immigration groups had shown national level clout.
FACT #8:  And how do we know that the Administration knew about the impending wave? Because the unclassified publically available executive order for DHS, FEMA, and DOD to prepare to receive the mass of humanity was dated weeks before the huge numbers began to arrive. In fact, the President declared a “Humanitarian Disaster” well before the situation reached that stage.  So he knew it was coming, and he took no action at all to forestall or diminish it. No action to correct the newspaper ads and public pronouncements in Central America that the door was open. No action to ask Mexico to intervene. No action to direct the busses be stopped at the border. No action except to hide the actual event from the press, and begin shuttling the invaders as rapidly as possible to as many locations as possible within the United States.
FACT #9:  While our border defenses are completely overwhelmed changing diapers, washing children, trying to arrange humane living conditions, and shuttling them around the nation to people who may be family members (try to find a birth certificate or accurate identification card in the press of humanity), the known crossing routes for drugs, sexual trafficking, and very bad people are wide open.  A lot of money is being made here. Wonder where it is going.
FACT #10: The logic train of these irrefutable facts can lead to only one conclusion.  The senior political leaders of the United States in both political parties knew exactly what was about to happen along our southern border, before the children ever boarded the busses headed north.  Our leaders either chose to ignore the situation, or actively encouraged it.
Political motivations are matters of conjecture, and not my area of expertise. But the operational facts and strategic logic are clear. We do not face an unpredicted disaster – a tsunami of people unexpectedly washed up on our shore. This is a well-planned, well-funded, and logically organized movement, expected by next Fall to be nearly as large as the force we launched out of Kuwait in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
You are free to debate the political implications of this last fact. But it is a fact, whether we like it or not.