Narco-Terrorism’s Latin American Nexus

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“Terrorism and drugs,” former Attorney General John Ashcroft once said, “go together like rats and the bubonic plague” – a plague that is increasingly spreading across our southern border and empowering the networks of both terrorists and drug traffickers.

For over twenty years Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director of the American Center for Democracy and the Economic Warfare Institute, and author of the important book Funding Evil, among others, has been hard at work exposing this toxic partnership. Currently writing a book about the Muslim Brotherhood and its financial network, Ehrenfeld is also the inspiration for “Rachel’s Law,” a key victory for free speech over the intimidating threat of “libel tourism,” and a fascinating story on in its own right. The law stemmed from an attempt by Khalid bin Mahfouz’s attempt to silence her accusation in Funding Evil that the Saudi billionaire had helped fund al Qaeda. The New York law (versions of which have spread now to seven other states) limits the enforcement of foreign libel judgments against American writers and publishers, in print and on the internet.


In a CNN opinion piece this May, Ehrenfeld explained that:

the illegal drug business, mostly Afghan heroin, has been a bountiful financial resource for the Taliban, al Qaeda and its affiliates in Pakistan, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America… Al Qaeda involvement with drug trafficking organizations in South America has been documented since the early 1990s. More recently, terrorist group operatives have been linked to Mexican drug cartels, providing the terrorists easy access to the U.S.

Proving her point, earlier this year journalist Patrick Poole listed known examples of jihadists who have successfully crossed our southern border. “Terrorist operatives,” he wrote, “are already inside the U.S. and are prepared to go operational at the command of their leadership.” Roger Noriega of the American Enterprise Institute testified to Homeland Security in a hearing just last week that there are eighty known such terrorists in a dozen countries in Latin America, and that “Hezbollah operatives have provided weapons and explosives training to drug trafficking organizations that operate along the U.S. border with Mexico and have sought to radicalize Muslim populations in several Mexican cities.”

Ehrenfeld spoke recently at a private presentation in Southern California about the threat of “narco-terrorism,” a term which she coined: the funding of terrorism through the illegal drug trade. Her speech was particularly focused on its impact on our national security. Via e-mail prior to the event, I asked her about the under-acknowledged problem of narco-terrorism which she had addressed in Funding Evil: how has that problem developed since the book’s publication in 2003 (revised and updated in 2005), and how have we fared at tackling it? Her response was that:

In Afghanistan alone, opium and heroin production skyrocketed after the “liberation” of Afghanistan, and continue to grow. Hezballah’s activities in Latin America, with [the Colombian Marxist insurgency] FARC and the Mexican drug cartels – all assisted by [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez, expanded their heroin and cocaine trafficking to the U.S., the Arabian peninsula, Africa and Europe. The U.S. has the means to dramatically curtail opium, cocaine and hashish productions. But nothing happens.

At Ehrenfeld’s presentation itself, a woman in the audience asked about Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s astonishing comment earlier this year that our embattled southern border, a virtual war zone, has never been safer or more secure. Pointing to her own eyeglasses, Ehrenfeld quipped “She is using a different optometrist than I am.”

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  • Kenneth Olsen

    Obscene profits will accrue to drug traffickers of all political persuasions as long as the obscene drug laws are in effect.

  • StephenD

    We simply must SECURE THE DAMN BORDER. How much less would the problem be if the borders were truly secure? We could stem the flow of narcotics and contraband as well as foreign nationals entering illegally. Further steps needed after securing the border can be discussed after we SECURE THE DAMN BORDER.

    • Fred Dawes

      We have no borders only the enemies of freedom here and now. The N.A.F.T.A Removed the borders.

  • Fred Dawes

    You can't combat it, for one reason 60 milliom hispanic here inside the USA With hate for the white cultural ideals of life over death, you can't stop your enemies with Love and the ideals of peace and freedom BS, Its a fight for life its a fight against the ideals of evil and good its a fight for freedom over the hispanic muslim ideals of total enslavement it is a fight for your ilfe and it is titanic and it is Armageddon here and now.

    listen to savage nation and buy Guns and my kids Frankenstein is here inside your own home and religious ideals of the semitic islam and the hellenism are about to hit each other and death can only come out of this madness.

    Love will not save you but it will get you raped to death.

  • nondhimmicrat

    I wonder if it would help if americans simply stopped buying and using these drugs?

    • Fred Dawes

      Yes who are the so called americans? using drugs 70 percent are in fact hispanic/blacks and others, the white people are about 30 years, with 80 percent of that using weed. See FBI Report. 90 PERCENT OF ALL HATE RACE crininal acts are on black on hispanic hate race crmes once more see FBI Report, its a tool that is being used to take down this nation by race/drugs/ sex.

  • winston

    Big business is why things are the way they are. And it is 'perfect' just as it is. As a society we condemn it then everything is done to insure its growth and propagation. (Look at opium production in Afghanistan after we took over. It is bigger than ever. 500 billion a year work their way into the coffers of the big banks. And drugs are not even the problem. Addiction is the problem. (only 1 in 8 that try narcotics will become an addict/ like sex or shopping or video games. it is the behavior of the person who loses control that is the real issue. The war on drugs has been a miserable failure and this is why; it does not address the real issue. Its only goal is to onrease military and law enforcement spending and in that regard it is a huge success. Drugs are very cheap to make but make so much money because of prohibition. What we need is to secure the borders and eal with addiction with a social and scientific approach.