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You don’t hear much about what’s going on behind the scenes to stop terrorists from coming over the border. Certainly, much of it is classified, because it might compromise sources and methods used to intercept plots. But the left wants you to think there isn’t much of a threat, it’s just hype meant to justify strict border laws that keep out Hispanic illegal immigrants. They ridiculed President Trump for bringing it up, feigning professional outrage. They deny that possible terrorists, identified as “SIAs” or Special Interest Aliens, are crossing the southern border.
Fortunately Professor Todd Bensman, a counterintelligence expert who covered national security as a journalist, has written a book revealing this secret work, America’s Covert Border War: The Untold Story of the Nation’s Battle to Prevent Jihadist Infiltration. He asks why our political leadership on both sides of the aisle set in place an extensive counterterrorism enterprise on the southern border if there was no threat. Due to heightened security measures taken after 9-11, terrorists have turned to coming in through the U.S.-Mexico border instead of flying.
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Bensman discusses how terrorists have been getting into Europe in large numbers, using Europe’s overwhelmed asylum systems, which aren’t that different from ours. Once given asylum, instead of being grateful, some of the new immigrants begin plotting attacks against their host countries. Due to the EU’s lax migration laws, terrorists have been able to quickly move from country to country. Bensman goes over so many terrorist attacks there your eyes glaze over; it is too much to comprehend.
He refutes the notion that low numbers of terrorists and casualties means a low threat, pointing to a RAND study that found additional impacts on trade, investment, related victims and the economy. This had an effect on voting in Europe, leading to election wins for the parties that campaigned against the lax policies. Several of the countries started restricting their border policies beginning in 2016, namely Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. It contributed to Britain leaving the E.U. in BREXIT.
Here is the irony: The reason there have been so few terrorist attacks from SIAs crossing our southern border is because this secretive counterterrorism enterprise is in place. The more the left clamors about racism, the more the efforts are secretized. And because attacks are thwarted, they don’t make headlines.
Compounding the problem is that the number of SIAs who show up on U.S. terror watch lists is classified. Same with the number of “Known or Suspected Terrorists,” or KSTs. DHS lumps them in one category called OTM, Other Than Mexican, and then when it issues lists publicly, only includes Chinese, Central Americans and Indians. What people don’t know is the numbers of SIAs coming into the country have tripled since 2007, thousands per year. A Cato Institute study found that they have quadrupled.
A second prong of this counterterrorism is fighting it outside our borders. A significant effort is being made, but “The American public knows almost nothing of these distant activities.”
Bensman explains that the reason the focus is on our southern border and not our northern border with Canada is not due to racism, but due to the simple fact it’s much more difficult for terrorists to fly into Canada. It’s far easier for them to sneak into Mexico or Central America.
When caught, many are merely deported. It’s hard to track SIAs from Somalia and Libya and put them on watch lists, because their governments are so chaotic many citizens lack birth certificates. Some governments refuse to work with the U.S., including Sudan, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela.
Some SIAs lie to get political asylum. Mohammad Ahmad Dhakane from Somalia made up a story about how he was persecuted for being a Christian. In reality, he was a “senior terrorist group insider, trained as a guerrilla fighter in all the usual armaments” who had “likely derived the granular details of his bogus asylum story from atrocities he himself had perpetrated on others.” An FBI agent complained to Bensman, “You interview them, run every database possible, fingerprints, watch lists, check their stories…. Could we be fooled? Of course.”
One chapter is devoted to the smugglers, known as SIA smuggling kingpins. Very few are caught and prosecuted; only 25 since 2001. They are usually motivated by profit, not jihad ideology. They charge $35,000-$50,000. The money goes for things like paying off police on the way. The stories about smugglers are fascinating and worth reading alone, they sound straight out of a movie. Bensman flew all over the world tracking down sources for firsthand information.
Corrupt government officials aid the smugglers. For example, in Honduras, officials in rural areas of the country sell identification papers to smugglers. Mexico isn’t likely to deport SIAs because it is difficult to secure diplomatic agreements with the home countries and the plane tickets are expensive.
Bensman provides a lengthy list of solutions. What people don’t realize is few of Trump’s border crackdown measures affected SIAs. These counter-infiltration projects have languished without any audit or evaluation. Implementing this is a priority. We must “consider ways to heighten the self-interest so that these countries might actually want to police their foreign consulates and embassies.” He says the U.S. should “substantially increase security assistance, humanitarian development aid, and training program packages to the six key transit countries: Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico” in order to coerce them into assisting. Another key aspect to resolving the problem is increasing the penalties and detention lengths for SIAs.
Unfortunately, under the Biden administration, things are just going to get worse as Democrats reverse tough policies. Even if Republican governors refuse to accept Syrian war refugees and others, they can still go apply for asylum at the border. With the numbers of SIAs crossing the border about to increase even more, it is a pot of water about to boil over.
The left is coming after conservatives on every platform. It’s not just social media users but the owners of those companies and other platforms. GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site that launched in 2015 to help Christians raise money for things like mission trips and medical bills, has been dragged into the fray merely for allowing a fundraiser for Kyle Rittenhouse. The left wants to shut the site down, hacking it and trying to get payment processors and hosting companies to drop the site. There were 700 complaints to GiveSendGo’s hosting provider in January alone. The left smears GiveSendGo by calling it “a platform for Trumpist hate.” Discover Card will not allow its customers to use the card for donations, and Facebook banned links to the Rittenhouse fundraiser.
I spoke with siblings Jacob Wells and Heather Wilson who founded and run the site.
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GiveSendGo is different from the narcissistic GoFundMe in that the focus of fundraising is tied to sharing the hope that you have. It’s not divorced from the money. The pair generously donate 10% of the proceeds they receive to fundraisers on the site.
The site could have ducked taking on fundraisers for controversial people like Rittenhouse, but once the siblings observed “death by deplatforming” they knew they had to take a stand. Jake Gardner was a Nebraska bar owner who committed suicide after being indicted in the fatal shooting of a black protester. The tragic series of events began during riots after the death of George Floyd. Gardner’s dad pushed a protester who would not leave the area near the bar. The protester pushed back, and so the younger Gardner displayed his handgun. Two protesters jumped on his back and he fired two warning shots. They left, but James Scurlock, a young black man who had been involved in vandalism earlier, tackled him and put him in a headlock. Gardner begged Scurlock to release him, but he didn’t, so he shot him.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine wasn’t even going to press charges at first, believing Gardner had acted in self defense. But obviously due to public pressure, he asked a grand jury to review his decision. Meanwhile, Gardner was trying to raise money for his defense, but was being deplatformed everywhere. People like Nebraska State Sen. Megan Hunt piled on and incited more hate by calling him a white supremacist. His bar was known for hosting Republican events, which no doubt intensified the vicious reaction. But he wasn’t a hateful person, in 2017 he went to the Trump inauguration and was interviewed about the Women’s March, and he said they have a right to be out there protesting.
Gardner moved to California to escape the hate. A decorated veteran who had served two tours in Iraq, he suffered two brain injuries. He found out about GiveSendGo due to the publicity surrounding Rittenhouse, but it was too late. Just two days after the fundraiser was started, the jury indicted him for manslaughter and other felonies, and he killed himself. The Jake Gardner family has since set up its own GiveSendGo fundraiser.
Wells and Wilson said “never again.” GiveSendGo is going to stand and allow people on both sides of a legal battle to raise funds for legal fees, instead of censoring people they don’t think are worthy, they are going to be a platform that provides hope, forgiveness and second chances. They do not feel the court of public opinion should override the justice system. Fortunately the Rittenhouse fundraiser, which is what first put GiveSendGo in the spotlight, helped the young man when needed. Rittenhouse said the fundraiser is what got him through the time when he was locked up in jail.
And it hasn’t been easy. Wilson had to change her phone number after the calls started coming in swearing at her and calling her a white supremacist. One left-wing activist used the site to raise money for a radical LGBT cause clearly to harass them. But he ended up being surprised at how kindly he was treated, admitting on Facebook that they really do stand for freedom.
Other famous conservatives who have been targeted who use the site include Trump attorney Sidney Powell, former USPS employee Richard Hopkins, who told Project Veritas about voter fraud, and Melissa Carone, the elections worker who testified during Michigan legislative hearings about voter fraud. Matt Braynard, former Director of Data and Strategy for the Trump campaign, raised $675,437 for his Voter Integrity Project to investigate election fraud, exceeding his goal of $590,000. The left has figured out that GiveSendGo isn’t going to shut down these types of fundraisers, and has stopped bombarding them with complaints about them.
The siblings are still feeling out the parameters of what is acceptable content. While the site focuses on allowing free speech, they have standards, so profanity is not allowed. They have a prayer team, which calls people when they start a campaign as their prayer partner. There’s a prayer button that people can select instead of contributing money, and a prayer wall for people to post requests for prayer.
Wells and Wilson tell me they are well-prepared for attempts to shut them down. They have backup plans ready to go at the flip of a switch, such as alternative hosting servers. They are beginning to incorporate cryptocurrency. The frustrating thing they have noticed is that 90% of the complaints come from fake email addresses — it’s just a very small number of activists faking all the outrage against them.
It’s a hypocritical double standard that GoFundMe allows fundraisers for all kinds of evil people, but won’t let a lot of regular conservatives fundraise. It’s even more appalling that the left is trying to destroy alternative platforms like GiveSendGo. We must stay vigilant, shedding light on the situation and supporting those who dare to stand up to the woke crowd like GiveSendGo, because eventually they’re coming for the rest of us too.
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