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MSM Ignores Huge Successful Border Effort Against Terrorism

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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.

 

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Rachel Alexander is a conservative political writer and pundit. She is the editor of Intellectual Conservative and a recovering attorney. She was ranked by Right Wing News as one of the 50 Best Conservative Columnists from 2011-2019.



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Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: California and its Epic Wildfires

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California
Photo credit: Patrick Luscri

Like the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s Dixie Fire is epic. It has burned more than 220,000 acres and at least 40 structures. It’s the largest conflagration since the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise. Sadly, California wildfires are becoming as common as Florida hurricanes. Why is this happening and who’s to blame? In a word, California.

By mismanaging its forests and water sources and enabling a power provider to place profits over people, the Golden State has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind.

Why is every California fire season scarier and more destructive than the last? The reasons can be boiled down to these:

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  1. Decades of forest mismanagement caused by environmentalists shaping policy
  2. Co-opted Northern California watersheds and water supply diversion
  3. Hotter temperatures and historic drought conditions caused by climate change
  4. Failing PG&E infrastructure
Forest mismanagement

We live five miles from the southeastern edge of the Dixie Fire. Our little mountain town of Quincy is under an evacuation warning. Many of our fellow residents live in areas of mandatory evacuation and some have lost their homes. Local firefighters and forest experts have known for years this was inevitable.

It’s common sense, really. When forest undergrowth and dead limbs and logs are allowed to pile up between trees, you may as well stack logs at their bases and light a match. Wise forest managers remove forest floor fuels and keep forests from growing dangerously dense.

Foolish forest managers allow undergrowth to flourish in order to “protect” ecological environments of certain species at the expense of overall forest ecology. This hands-off approach is pushed in Sacramento by those who think we’re only one species sharing our environment rather than caretakers of our environment.

Wise gardeners prevent weeds from diverting moisture from produce plants by removing them. This ensures a healthy garden. Why wouldn’t smart forest management include removal of undergrowth and dead or dying trees?

Water diversion

A few years ago, state biologists “gill-netted” vast quantities of fish in our local Silver Lake in order to prevent them from feeding on a certain frog. This decimated the fish population in favor of the frog population. How is this an ecological balance?

Similarly, allowing natural water sources to feed rivers and streams provides better hydration for trees—and raises critical moisture levels for forests. Diverting water from Northern California sources when levels are low exacerbates the deadly dryness of moisture-starved Sierra forests. Shouldn’t there be a better balance based on water levels?

As climate change continues to affect moisture and heat, smart and balanced water management becomes more critical. Yet California continues to base policy decisions reactively rather than proactively. If Northern California watershed areas burn for lack of moisture, poor water management will be partially to blame.

So will California’s reliance on hydroelectric power over traditional (and more effective) fossil-fuel plants. The state gets nearly 2/3 of its power from non-fossil fuel production, which is why it has to buy electricity from states like Oregon, Arizona and others.

Failing PG&E

Failed PG&E power lines are responsible for devastating California wildfires for the last five fire seasons. According to PG&E’s initial report the day the Dixie Fire started, an employee responding to an outage noticed a blown fuse at Cresta Dam in a heavily forested area of Butte County around the Feather River Canyon. He found two blown fuses and a tree leaning on a power conductor. He also found a fire on the ground near the base of the tree.

When the 2018 Camp Fire erupted, a PG&E employee noticed flames caused by a faulty transmission line in Feather River Canyon. Many of these lines are supported by electrical towers from the early 1900s. PG&E customers pay modern rates for modern electricity delivered via century-old towers.

In fairness, PG&E is finally taking steps to modernize its infrastructure with underground line burial and other measures. Sadly, these measures are long overdue and are too little too late for victims of the Camp Fire and now for those dealing with the Dixie Fire. Worse, PG&E seems to be continuing their foot-dragging regarding reporting system failures when they point to a wildfire start.

Closed market

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E ignored regulations that require it to report wildfire-related infrastructure failures within two hours of the event. PG&E took five days to report the Dixie Fire-related failure to CPUC. As a state agency, CPUC answers to Governor Gavin Newsom and Sacramento politicians. PG&E is supposed to answer to CPUC, yet is still failing to follow the rules.

Not only is there a lack of meaningful accountability, the relationship between California and PG&E is dysfunctional. The average citizen wonders why Sacramento continues enabling a repeat offender of a power company. Another question is why California refuses to open up its utility market to competitors in order to force PG&E to modernize its infrastructure.

Something has to change or California will continue to burn every fire season. Close to home, people in our community love living in Northern California, but the Golden State will lose even more citizens if residents have to flee the flames every summer.

 

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The Most Important Scholar You’ve Never Heard Of

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Thomas Sowell is many things. He’s a historian, an economist, philosopher, and more. He also may very possibly be the most important scholar that you haven’t heard of. Thomas started life on his own at age 17 when he moved out into a homeless shelter and later was drafted into the Marine Corps. Later, he graduated from Harvard and went on to study government regulations coming to some remarkable explanations and solutions. PragerU tells Thomas’s inspiring story in this video linked below.

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