Inside the ISIS-U.S. border scare

Inside the ISIS-U.S. border scare.

U.S.-Mexico border

TEL AVIV – While U.S. government agencies have strongly denied a Judicial Watch report claiming there are ISIS camps near the U.S. border with Mexico, lawmakers have expressed fears the global jihadist organization is linking up with deadly Mexican drug cartels.

Such a partnership would not only help to facilitate the smuggling of jihadists into the U.S. but could ultimately translate into a devastating terrorist attack on American soil, such as an Electro Magnetic Pulse, or EMP, catastrophe.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Northern Command and the Texas Department of Public Safety all have denied the April 14 Judicial Watch report citing unnamed “sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector.”

The sources claimed ISIS “has established its base around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as ‘Anapra’ situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.”

Judicial Watch further reported on an ISIS camp west of Juarez, which the organization said was planning to attack towns in New Mexico.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, said he contacted the Mexican government, DHS and the U.S. Northern Command, all of whom told him they have no intelligence indicating ISIS is operating on the U.S.-Mexico border. O’Rourke represents the border city of El Paso and the surrounding area.

The free WND special report “ISIS Rising,” by Middle East expert and former Department of Defense analyst Michael Maloof, will answer your questions about the jihadist army threatening the West.

“Stories like these are good at scaring people and getting attention for those who spread them,” wrote O’Rourke on his Facebook page. “But they are terrible for the country’s image of the border, for El Paso’s ability to recruit talent, and for our region’s opportunity to capitalize on the benefits of being the largest bi-national community in the world.”

Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Robert J. Bodisch also denied the Judicial Watch claims.

“The Department of Public Safety and its intelligence community partners have no such credible information to corroborate or validate this today,” Bodisch wrote in an agency memo.

It’s not the first Judicial Watch report claiming ISIS was using Mexico as a base to stage attacks in the U.S.

Last August, the watchdog reported “Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices,” citing anonymous “high-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources.”

In a report that made headlines last October, two Republican lawmakers told BuzzFeed that suspected terrorists had infiltrated the U.S.–Mexico border and as many as 10 jihadists were captured. The DHS at the time denied the claims.

Numerous U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly warned about ISIS teaming up with drug cartels.

In October, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., warned in a town hall conversation that “groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism.”

“They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas.”

Cotton was likely referencing the Judicial Watch report.

In August, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a member of the House Judiciary Committee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, was asked on Newmax TV’s “America’s Forum” whether there was an ISIS-Mexican drug cartel connection.

“My opinion is yes,” he replied. “There seems to be at least a talking to each other. How much? I don’t know. But … drug cartels use the same operational plan as terrorist groups do. They kill their opponents, they behead their opponents, they brag about it and they have operational control of many portions of the southern border of the United States. Mexico doesn’t.

“The United States doesn’t,” he continued. “Otherwise they wouldn’t be crossing daily with their drugs. They’re as vicious as some of these other terrorist organizations. We need to recognize them that this is an organized international crime group. And we have to deal with them as such.”

The reports of terrorists trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border also took center stage during the 2012 presidential campaign, when candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney both warned terrorists infiltrating via Mexico posed a significant threat to U.S. national security.

Texas’s O’Rourke, however, was the public face of the Democrats in responding to those claims. He stated Republicans were simply trying to gin up opposition to immigration reform.

“There’s a longstanding history in this country of projecting whatever fears we have onto the border,” stated O’Rourke.

“In the absence of understanding the border, they insert their fears. Before it was Iran and al-Qaida. Now it’s ISIS. They just reach the conclusion that invasion is imminent, and it never is.”

Electrical grid

If terrorists are teaming up with Mexican drug cartels, the implications could be cataclysmic.

Not only do Mexican drug gangs maintain sophisticated smuggling routes, some of the more dangerous Mexican group have evidenced guerrilla-like tactics already used in terrorist-style attacks.

On Oct. 27, 2013, for example, the criminal drug cartel known as the Knights Templars attacked electrical facilities and blacked out Mexico’s Michoacan state, which boasts a population of 420,000. During the blackout, the Knights Templars reportedly entered towns and villages at will, terrorized the citizens and police, and publicly executed leaders opposed to the drug trade.

In an attack still largely unexplained, on April 16, 2013, a sophisticated assault was carried out on PG&E Corp’s Metcalf Transmission Substation outside of San Jose, California, which supplies power to San Francisco and other areas. A team of gunmen fired sniper and assault rifles on the substation, severely damaging 17 transformers.

Peter Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, believes the assault could have been part of a terrorist group’s preparation for a future attack on the U.S. electrical grid.

Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the U.S. agency responsible for grid security, also warned that the Metcalf attack was likely a dry run for a future large-scale attack.

On the same day as the Metcalf assault, North Korea flew its KSM-3 satellite on the optimum trajectory and altitude to evade U.S. radars and carry out a potential EMP attack drill.

Networks within U.S. cities

An ISIS-Mexican drug cartel alliance could cause pandemonium in U.S. cities. Mexican drug cartels have established major networks within the U.S.

Earlier this month it was reported that federal agents arrested 976 suspected gang members across scores of American cities in a large-scale operation in February and March. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said 199 of those arrested were foreign nationals.

Criminal street gangs are responsible for the majority of violent crimes within the U.S. and are the primary distributors of most illicit drugs, according to a previous report by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, or NDIC.

The NDIC was a task force established in 1993 to coordinate law enforcement actions to stop drug trafficking and to curb the growing threat of violent gangs in the U.S. The agency was closed by the Obama administration in June 2011.

In October 2011, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that in 2009 and 2010 it arrested 5,270 illegal alien gang members across all 50 states.

A 2011 FBI report draws a far dimmer picture of the nature of criminal gangs operating domestically. According to the FBI, criminal street gangs – mostly comprised of illegal aliens – are acquiring high-powered, military-style weapons to engage in lethal encounters with law enforcement members and citizens alike.

States the report: “There are an estimated 1.4 million active street, prison and outlaw motorcycle gang members in more than 33,000 gangs operating in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.”

The report notes those numbers reflect an increase from 2009 figures due “primarily to more comprehensive reporting from law enforcement and enhanced gang recruiting efforts.”

In July 2014, WND reported the risk of ISIS infiltrating from Mexico, perhaps with the help of drug gangs.

WND senior staff writer Michael Maloof, a U.S. Defense Department analyst under President Bush, warned ISIS could use the Mexican border to infiltrate America, and it could happen “sooner rather than later.”

“MS-13 already are in over 1,100 U.S. cities, and, as a consequence, the infiltration capabilities are very, very high and the threat from them can be sooner rather than later,” Maloof warned at the time.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/the-deadly-truth-isis-and-mexican-drug-gangs/#0KQDVIh2WMAdeVXD.99

Judge opens door for cops to storm your home

Judge opens door for cops to storm your home.

SWAT

The Third Amendment, which guards against the quartering of soldiers in citizens’ homes – and which came into being because of the abuse of British troops against American patriots – has just been dinged by a judge who ruled the provision doesn’t apply to police.

In essence, that means police on official business could claim the legal right to bust into a private citizen’s home and occupy it.

The determination from federal district court Judge Andrew Gordon was rendered when he dismissed a Third Amendment claim from a Henderson, Nevada, family who suffered that very fate.

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Anthony Mitchell and his parents Michael and Linda Mitchell sued the City of Henderson and several police agents in federal court for a July 2011 incident they described in court papers.

Volokh reported: “On the morning of July 10, 2011, officers from the Henderson Police Department responded to a domestic violence call at a neighbor’s residence. … [Police] told [Mitchell] police needed to occupy his home in order to gain a ‘tactical advantage’ against the occupant of the neighboring house. Anthony Mitchell told the officer that he did not want to become involved and that he did not want police to enter his residence.”

Police went to the Mitchell family house anyway, and “banged forcefully on the door and loudly commanded Anthony Mitchell to open the door to his residence,” his complaint read.

Mitchell then reportedly contacted his mother to let her know what was going on – and police “smashed open” his door with a metal ram, court documents indicated.

From there, the situation grew even more chaotic. Mitchell wrote in court papers police pepperballed him and his dog, gave him conflicting orders and ultimately arrested him. He was released the next day from jail.

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But Mitchell and his parents turned around and sued, alleging their Third and Fourth Amendment rights had been violated – the Third, because the police were acting like members of the military. The case was closely watched by legal minds, given the unusual nature of the Third Amendment alleged violation.

But Gordon dismissed that claim in a court action that fell largely under the nation’s radar.

He wrote, the Washington Post reported: “Various officers … entered into and occupied Linda’s and Michael’s home for an unspecified amount of time (seemingly nine hours), but certainly for less than 24 hours. The relevant questions are thus whether municipal police should be considered soldiers, and whether the time they spent in the house could be considered quartering. To both questions, the answer must be no. I hold that a municipal police officer is not a soldier for purposes of the Third Amendment.”

As Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, opined, however: The judge’s dismissal should be regarded with wary eyes.

One “complicating factor,” he said, in the Washington Post, “is the increasing militarization of police forces in many parts of the country, which has resulted in cops using weapons and tactics normally associated with military forces. If a state or local government decides to quarter a SWAT team in a private home, it is not clear whether that is meaningfully different from placing a National Guard unit there.”

WND reported there are some 17,000 police departments nationwide equipped with $4.2 billion worth of equipment ranging from Blackhawk helicopters and battering rams to explosives, body armor and night vision.

Military assault rifles, grenade launchers and 14-ton Mine-Resistance Ambush-Protected vehicles built for taking down terrorist enclaves are becoming part of the toolbox of local police departments under the federal 1033 program that supplies “surplus” military weapons to local officers, departments and agencies on request and without charge.

WND recently reported the American Civil Liberties Union was critical of the 1033 program, and a growing number of cities and counties are now returning the war weapons.

“Whenever this kind of armament is brought into a community, it should only be done with the knowledge and consent of the citizenry,” John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney based in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a statement released to WND.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/cops-can-storm-homes-court-suggests/#jfYfdFMRFkiDhZkG.99

“Appropriate and Necessary” Is Whatever We Say It Is

Mises Daily | Mises Institute.

patronizing April 4, 2015Gary Galles Tags The EnvironmentHealthInterventionism The Supreme Court has recently heard oral arguments in Michigan vs. EPA challenging regulations slashing mercury emissions from fossil-fuel power plants. However, the central issue was not, as commonly represented, preventing harm from mercury. The central issue is the use of mercury as a bait-and-switch excuse for more stringent restrictions on fine particulate emissions. The EPA utilized what Justice Scalia called “a silly way to read” the law to do what Chief Justice Roberts described as an “end run” around its statutory limits, and the case well illustrates how government agencies are able to use open-ended legislation to get whatever they want. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments instructed the EPA to study whether mercury exposure posed a health hazard that would make restricting it “appropriate and necessary.” Justification therefore first required demonstrating harm from mercury. That proved impossible to do honestly. CDC surveys showed blood mercury levels for American women and children falling and already below the levels found safe by the EPA, FDA, and WHO. The EPA even rejected a high mercury exposure study simply because it found “no observable health effects.” So they cheated. The EPA instead constructed a model of hypothetical women that “consume extreme quantities (99th percentile) of the most contaminated fish from the most contaminated bodies of water,” according to one amicus brief. It then added on a 50 percent “cooking adjustment factor.” It then estimated “the potential effect of this exposure on their hypothetical children’s neurological development in utero.” Given that power plants add a very small fraction to mercury deposition, that effect was minuscule. Even after more eye-glazing assumptions to inflate the damage, the estimated economic gain from reducing exposure to mercury was $6 million or less annually. Ignoring the Costs of Regulation However, the EPA then estimated that its “solution” to mercury emissions of fossil fuel power plants would cost $9.6 billion annually. That 1,600 to 1 disproportion clearly puts the lie to any assertion of those mercury regulations as “appropriate and necessary.” So the EPA sidestepped that minor detail by asserting they were not required to consider costs in coming to a health hazard determination. But there is no way to know whether a regulation is appropriate (or sensible, suitable, or proper) in the absence of a consideration of the costs. Both the word itself and the reality that every choice imposes a cost means that costs are undeniably relevant. One might also mention that “arbitrary and capricious agency action” on the part of the EPA and other government agencies impose separate costs of their own on society. The Legal Gift That Keeps on Giving Having supposedly justified regulating mercury by creatively “finding” benefits and ignoring the costs, the EPA turned to what has become their “go-to” mechanism for finding that their policies’ benefits outweigh their costs — fine particulate pollution. Virtually every dollar of benefits they estimated from mercury reduction ($36 to 89 billion annually, though using very misleading methodology) actually comes from reduced fine particle emissions, not mercury reductions. However, the EPA has regulated fine particulate pollution for thirty-five years under Sections 108-110 of the Clean Air Act, as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). And under Section 109, the EPA already sets national ambient air quality standards that, “allowing an adequate margin of safety, are required to protect the public health.” If the federal fine particulate standard they set in 2013 is “adequate to protect public health,” how can the benefits from further reductions in fine particulate emissions be tens of billions of dollars yearly? They can’t. Legal Entrepreneurship by Government Agencies So why does the EPA want to stack the mercury restriction deck with a fine particulate wild card? Because under NAAQS, they can set a standard for fine particulates that states must meet, but states determine how to meet them. The EPA cannot single out coal-fired power plants as their intended “victims.” Further, they cannot dictate the form or extent of their victimization. But if they can employ minuscule or imaginary mercury damage as an excuse, and dress up tighter fine particulate restrictions on power plants as if they addressed mercury damage, they can ramp up their limited power to determine fine particulate standards into almost unlimited direct command and control over whoever they choose to target, even though the Clean Air Act denies them such power. In other words, the law as passed by Congress provides so many options and so many tools to the EPA, that it’s only a matter of mixing and matching different pieces of law to target whomever they want to get whatever they want. The mercury “backdoor” the EPA is claiming, continuing an ongoing pattern, shows their intent to increasingly get whatever they want regardless of what the law may say. Image source: iStockphoto Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute. Creative Commons Licence 16