and even recruiting new and specialized members makes the TBA a fluid and proactive world threat.Through this context, the assimilation of terrorists and organized crime moves toward the center andeach group begins to exhibit common characteristics of both criminality and terrorism. The newalliances may continue long or short term, or
until such time the group’s needs are met and there is no
further common agenda among them.Product/contraband must come and go quietly and covertly. Even state intelligence services have had a
history of forming holding companies and other “notional” or
ganizations/facilities to disguise transport,shipping, trading, and normal illegal import/export in support of tasked operational agendas. An
example was “Air America” whose owner was bought out by the Central Intelligence Agency during the
Viet Nam era.Shipping and transporting organizations may conceal prohibited shipments of contraband in many ways,with a common method of creating fake invoices with false addresses and fictitious consignees onexport declarations. Much of the money moves via wire services and complex networks of banks androuted through various locations to conceal the true origins. Many of the transactions andcommunications are encrypted. In many scenarios, common import/export articles, merchandise, andgoods move with the illicit contraband thus disguising the load or overwhelming any potential inspectorsor preliminary seizure.Are rogue state intelligence service(s) active in the TBA region? The vast concealed wilderness andcommon lawlessness of the region, coupled with the massive financial resources, makes it fertile groundfor rogue leftist organizing, fundamentalist and guerilla extremes. This is the obvious area in thishemisphere for such a rich ground of operation.Hezbollah has had a strong presence and long history of operating in South America; especially in theTBA where they have a foothold. They are supported by Iran, Lebanon, and Syria.Cuban espionage(DGI) has been linked to nefarious associations with the Iranians, as well as with Venezuela (DISIP).Affiliation with terrorist organizations and other state sponsors of terrorism has been reported.Hezbollah fundraising activity in the form of "financial transactions" on Margarita Island in Venezuelais significant.After a meeting last year with President Ahmadinjejad in Iran, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela
stated, “The brave resistance of the Lebanese people and Hezbollah symbolizes their indomitable spiritand reveals how the Islamic and Arab world is fed up with U.S. policy in the region.”
called Chavez “My valiant brother.”
Last week in Miami three men were indicted on illegally exporting electronics and other items to a
known entity that officials claim, “funnels money to the Hezbollah militant group” within the TBA.
Some of those named were affiliated and linked to transportation and shipping companies out of Miami.The criminal connections to the TBA continue to mount and require a fluid threat assessment. It will notbe wise to ignore the region given the history of the TBA and its current value to the quick and vastfinancial gains inherent in clandestine criminal activity.