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Other than Mexican: from the Triborder area to the Naco strip

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Those unaware of the substantial, well-documented nexus of terrorist groups and organized crime in South and Central America are referred to the four citations as I take them as a given for departure to the subject of this note -- the link of actually crossing into the US undetected and en masse.

Go here to see what passes for the unguarded "empty quarter," virtually a no-mans land, of the Naco strip in Arizona and where DHS has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) "to help border surveillance in southern Arizona," a severe step not historically justified by mere Mexican labor migration. Terrorist passage across the border via the many drogista tunnels from California to Arizona was covered in While we're looking the other way -- tunnels? but while possible it does not strike me as wholly satisfactory.

Enter the weekly Tombstone Tumbleweed where it is understatement to call the Tumbleweed quaint to the point of wild west caricature. Its print format mimics a 19th century broadsheet, and its search function is Paleolithic, but the content is startlingly contemporary. After watching arresting quotations attributed to Tumbleweed continue to be cited in conservative and patriot sites, I wanted to look to original source and see who owns or prints the Tumbleweed.

The Tumbleweed's owner is a former elementary-school teacher from Los Angeles, Chris Simcox, who deflects hints of racism by noting that his wife is black and his son a biracial, African-American. Simcox says that he "became aware of the problem of illegal entry" while vacationing in our national parks after 11 September:

"in the span of two weeks I ran across five paramilitary groups trucking drugs across the border... These were highly organized groups; three vehicles, with the camouflage-wearing troops escorting the vehicles on both sides in columns and carrying automatic weapons -- AKs, mini-14s, the whole works… These troops are so sophisticated that they're covering themselves with camouflage military netting and they're driving right across Organ Pipe National Monument, one of the most pristine cactus reserves in the country, which is right on the border. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the Park Service listed Organ Pipe as the most dangerous national park in the country because of the drug smugglers coming through it… I saw this criminal activity in broad daylight, and these guys aren't the average migrants; these are real troops. When I told the Border Patrol what I saw they said, 'Yeah, we know, but there's nothing we can do about it.'"

And this from a fellow who does not appear to be a fascist but who has received many death threats, apparently from smugglers and drogistas.

Enter the illegal alien category "Other Than Mexican" (OTM) whose full definition is "other than Mexico or other central and South American countries," i.e., not Latin. Digging into the archives revealed an article, Two Groups Of Middle-Eastern Invaders Caught In Cochise County In Past Six Weeks, that contained the snippets widely carried in secondary sources.

While there are denials from some sources, there are many border patrol officers speaking under anonymity. The local Border Patrol station says on the record, "Our policy is to turn any OTM's over to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security" -- some 5,510 from Oct 2003 to July 2004.

"[On] June 13, 2004 Border patrol agents from the Willcox station encountered a large group of suspected illegal border crossers… 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…" 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."

Bears watching.

Terrorist Threat in the Tri-Border Area: Myth or Reality?
Lieutenant Colonel Philip K. Abbott, U.S. Army
Combined Arms Center
Military Review, September-October 2004

The Protean Enemy
By Jessica Stern
From Foreign Affairs, July/August 2003

Terrorist And Organized Crime Groups In The Tri-Border Area (TBA) Of South America
Rex Hudson
Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
July 2003

Organized Crime And Terrorist Activity In Mexico, 1999-2002
Ramón J. Miró
Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
February 2003

Gordon Housworth



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