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CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES
CONCERNS OF TRANSNATIONAL TERRORISM IN SOUTH AMERICA CONTINUE By: Jerry Brewer
Recent events throughout Latin America have made a case for some conspiracy theorists of potential threat continuing to linger via clandestine transnational organized criminal activity. Dare we refer to it as terror related? One should not even hesitate these days to have conflict with the position that organized crime and transnational terrorism are indeed synonymous. Non-state actors pose an immediate challenge and clear danger via asymmetric threats from the Tri Border Area (TBA) in South America. The TBA bordered by Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, Port Iguazu, Argentina, and Foz do Iguazu Brasil, has been suspected of being active hubs for terror merchants for quite some time. The diverse melting pot of terrorists within the dense and secluded regions of the TBA confluence has culminated into a jackpot bonanza of free flowing currency, well into the billions of dollars category annually. Of course money flowing as a river of its own brings a motley association of organized criminals, traditional terrorists, narcotraffickers, and rogue state intelligence services, on behalf of leftist political regimes, and guerilla movements to the well for a taste. What ensues could be outright disaster looking for a place to happen, or an informal treatise among many of them to find one common denominator. This being an intense hatred for a particular common enemy to their cause and a revenge motif, or simply an organized method of raising funds for their own particular agendas. In whatever form of cooperation or facilitation is chosen by these sinister transnational world menaces, the numerator stands for threat, mayhem, and most certainly exploitation of the local communities in the region and those that stand in their way. Access to a myriad of contraband such as illegal arms, narcotics, counterfeit currency, electronics and advanced technology, human trafficking, and assorted cargo of misery is the primary root of a terror agenda. What better place to nurture fertile ground for ease of massive financial resources, and ease of movement and concealment within a wilderness backdrop. Too, the ease of laundering funds, acquiring forged documents,
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 and each group begins to exhibit common characteristics of both criminality and terrorism. The new alliances 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” organizations/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 on export declarations. Much of the money moves via wire services and complex networks of banks and routed through various locations to conceal the true origins. Many of the transactions and communications are encrypted. In many scenarios, common import/export articles, merchandise, and goods move with the illicit contraband thus disguising the load or overwhelming any potential inspectors or preliminary seizure. Are rogue state intelligence service(s) active in the TBA region? The vast concealed wilderness and common lawlessness of the region, coupled with the massive financial resources, makes it fertile ground for rogue leftist organizing, fundamentalist and guerilla extremes. This is the obvious area in this hemisphere for such a rich ground of operation. Hezbollah has had a strong presence and long history of operating in South America; especially in the TBA 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 Venezuela is 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 spirit and reveals how the Islamic and Arab world is fed up with U.S. policy in the region.” Ahmadinejad 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 not be wise to ignore the region given the history of the TBA and its current value to the quick and vast financial gains inherent in clandestine criminal activity.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES United States of America —————————— Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm. Website is located at www.cjiausa.org. email@example.com