Why is Bush covering this up?
A "flood of middle-eastern males" has been caught entering the country illegally east of Douglas, Arizona,
Why does Karl Rove, President Bush's political advisor, not want you to know what is happening on the Arizona border?
By Margie Burns
First responders alert: one does not want to cry wolf, but August is widely recognized as the month when no one is on guard. It is a vulnerable time as it was in 2001. As former Secretary of State James A. Baker commented matter-of-factly in his book, The Politics of Diplomacy, most governments and their leaders tend to be scattered on their respective vacations. With media attention focused on the elections, the newspaper item below, oddly, looks like good timing. Could there be an "August surprise" in the making?
The report last week from the small Tombstone Tumbleweed newspaper is jarring. A "flood of middle-eastern males" has been caught entering the country illegally east of Douglas, Arizona, according to the paper, and this recent "flood" is actually part of an increasing trend of "OTMs" ("other than Mexicans") entering the country illegally somewhere east of the Chiricahua Mountains.
Andy Adame, speaking for the Border Patrol for the Tucson sector, denies the report, according to the Tumbleweed. However, the same official reportedly said that "since October 1, 2003, the beginning of the fiscal year for Border Patrol, agents in the Tucson sector have apprehended 5,510 illegals from countries other than Mexico or other central or South American countries," described as "people from all over the world."
"In the last month, the Tumbleweed has confirmed at least two documented accounts of Border Patrol agents encountering large groups of non-Spanish speaking males in the Chiricahua foothills and on trails along the high mountain areas."
Probably those of us who never imagined communists lurking under every bed, who pity innocent Muslim citizens caught up in someone's misdirected anger or in an illegal arrest, and who are fed up to nausea with the very word "terrorism" are inclined to view this kind of report with suspicion.
Yet the editor who published the report, Chris Simcox, swears by it. In an emailed response, Simcox said, "I have three separate verifications of this story. Two come from Border Patrol field agents, the other from a rancher in the area." Simcox points out that the same Border Patrol information officer who denies that any of the apprehended illegal aliens were of Middle Eastern descent "verifies that the groups in question were apprehended on those dates," and that the numbers of illegals comprising the groups were accurate.
Furthermore, Simcox points out, "Of those 5,510 [foreign nationals apprehended] Adame admits they have caught 5 men from Middle Eastern countries," proving that people from the Middle East "are getting into Mexico and are coming across our border." Putting this number into context, "So far, this year Border Patrol has caught over 400,000 people in Arizona; 8,300 were previously convicted felons and spent time in our prisons before being deported--they returned for another go round." He adds, "Based on the ratio of apprehensions to those who get through, it does not look good."
As the editor clarifies, "The Border Patrol agent told me the group was whisked away from the agent who was responsible for the paperwork" and "the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security took over the interrogation." As Simcox notes, "That is the policy when Border Patrol apprehends OTMs from countries identified as a [terrorist] threat." "I would not have printed the story had I not verified with three sources," Simcox says. "The Border Patrol agents' demeanor seemed concerned, so I felt they were truthful in their information; the only way it could not be true is if they were lying and the rancher was in on the lie."
Not to sound alarmist, but "The thing that concerns me the most is that so many of the two large groups were not apprehended, and are loose in the United States right now." While using Arizona as a crossing point, it is quite probable that the illegals then fan out all over the United States.
Most people on the East Coast, hearing the words "terrorist" and "Middle East," might not think next of Arizona. But the idea of an "October surprise" or an "August surprise" warrants attention, given the hyper-intense stakes of the upcoming election. It is taken as a given among most national pundits that another terrorist event would benefit the George W. Bush campaign. Perhaps these events warrant giving Arizona, in particular, a closer look.
To quote the Tumbleweed report: "On or about the early morning hours of June 13, 2004 Border Patrol agents from the Willcox station encountered a large group of suspected illegal border crossers, estimated to be around 158, just east of the Sanders Ranch near the foothills of the Chiricauha Mountains. 71 suspected illegal aliens were apprehended; among them were 53 males of middle-eastern descent.
"According to a Border Patrol field agent, the men were suspected to be Iranian or possibly Syrian nationals. 'One thing's for sure: these guys didn't speak Spanish and after we questioned them harder we discovered they spoke poor English with a middle-eastern accent; then we caught them speaking to each other in Arabic ... this is ridiculous that we don't take this more seriously, and we're told not to say a thing to the media, but I have to,' said the agent, who spoke to the Tumbleweed with the promise of anonymity."
"The field agent stated the men were wearing the traditional uniform of migrants -- baseball caps, tennis shoes, some had work boots, denim jeans and many had t-shirts with patriotic American flags and slogans. The agent added the following description 'A curious thing I noticed was that they all had brand new clothing and they looked as if they had just been to the barber shop--you know--new haircuts. They were clean cut and they all had almost the exact same cut of mustaches.'"
"The information was corroborated by a local rancher in the area who reports that sightings of groups similar to these are on the rise" and part of a broader problem with illegal aliens, cross-border smuggling, and drug traffic.
The second similar incident occurred soon afterward: "On or about the evening of June 21, 2004, agents from the Willcox Border Patrol station apprehended 24 members of a larger group of Arabic-speaking males located just east of the Pierce/Sunsites area of Cochise County. At least half of the males escaped capture and disappeared into the United States."
Assuming that these incidents cannot be dismissed out of hand, they look even more worrisome in a broader perspective. Arizona has a history aside from the Old West associated with "Tombstone." The 9/11 Commission Report (Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States) refers to groups of Islamist partisans in Arizona during the first Bush administration. Two, Wadi al Hage and Mubarak Douri, apparently resided near Tucson, where a branch of an international network called Al Khifa was located (along with branches in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Pittsburgh) in the early 1990s. Al Hage, a US citizen, an Al Qaeda operative, and reportedly a personal assistant to Osama bin Laden, was convicted in the embassy bombings trial; Douri is apparently still at large.
This is not just ancient history. According to observers including Steve Elson, an aviation security consultant and former federal Special Agent, a road near Douglas, Arizona, is known as "Arab Road" for the numbers of Middle Eastern nationals on it without documentation. One GOP congressman from Colorado, Tom Tancredo, expressed concern about the issue in several venues including television interviews. The response, from our security-minded administration? Early on, as Tancredo was addressing these issues, he got a call from Karl Rove (presidential advisor) at the White House. Rove accused Tancredo of "betraying the president" and told him he would not be welcome at the White House again.
Elson sums up thus: "NAFTA opened the floodgates. Mexican trains roll right on in. One of the train lines is owned by a drug cartel. Guess Bush doesn't think that a terrorist, perhaps carrying a nuke, would sneak in on one of those trains. Those CA idiots, like Boxer and Pelosi, wouldn't want to offend anyone by stopping them. The law enforcement folks are frustrated as hell; they are given a job and then told not to do it by the gov. We are doomed!"
Well, let's hope not. Let's hope that this August there are no surprises.
Margie Burns writes freelance in Cheverly, Maryland. She can be reached at
Posted Monday, August 2, 200
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