Friday, March 11, 2005

Terrorists amongst Us

In an interview with National Review, Barbara Newman, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, reveals some startling info about the continued threat of terrorism, this time not so much from al-Qaeda as from Hezbollah, the group responsible for murdering 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut back in 1983 all through one "suicide" bomber. She is the co-author of the new book Lightening Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil.

Some of Barbara Newman's responses:

"I almost lost my breakfast Thursday, which luckily I hadn't eaten yet, when I saw the New York Times page-one report today that Kofi Annan is encouraging the acceptance of Hezbollah as the preponderant power in Lebanon and the United States is thinking of yielding to this and France's pressure to do just that.

"But the unvarnished truth is that Hezbollah is the most dangerous terrorist group in the world. It has about 25,000 armed members and as we saw in the pro-Syrian march in Beirut, it can muster a million in the streets.

"The Iranian Revolutionary Guards started training what became Hezbollah in Baalbeck in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon in 1979, right after Khomeini came to power in Iran. Iran supports Hezbollah with about $100 million a year but Hezbollah has enough businesses and is a powerful fundraiser in its own right. Iran helps Hezbollah by putting at its disposal its diplomatic prerogatives, letting Hezbollah use its security apparatus for communications and shipping of equipment.

"How can we forget the fact that in 1983 a Hezbollah suicide driver crashed a one-thousand-pound bomb into the Marine Barracks in Beirut and killed 241 of our best and brightest? What about the hostages they took and tortured? What about the CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley who they kidnapped and slowly drowned to death by forcing a pipe down his throat and flooding him with water? They made tapes of his agony and sent it to the CIA. I'm told that former CIA Director William Casey almost went crazy when he heard them, and this propelled him to Iran-Contra, to try to free the hostages.

"Hezbollah has been operating inside the United States. Since the 1980s, the FBI has deported hundreds of members and had dozens of cases. Mostly, in these years, the Hezbollah cells were busted for criminal activity such as insurance fraud, credit-card fraud, counterfeiting clothes such as Levi jeans, phony marriages which they arranged to get green cards, and cigarette smuggling. Though these are sort of under-the-radar crimes, they raised millions of dollars which were sent to Hezbollah coffers in Beirut and in some cases used to buy highly sophisticated 'dual-use' equipment in Canada such as very sophisticated computers, cell phones hooked up electronically to be capable of remotely controlled explosions, and intelligence drones.

"They have not hit us here but the FBI and CIA thinks if we push them to the wall, cut off their ability to raise funds, get tough with them in Lebanon, they easily could hit us here.

"Remember, they are very tough and sophisticated. Their soldiers don't do solo operations. Think of them as a pistol aimed at our head, which can be shot at will."

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