Keeping with the Obama family’s penchant for costly vacations, the president’s 13-year-old daughter enjoyed spring break in a country plagued by so much violence that the State Department has issued travel warnings to discourage Americans from going there.
But, unlike regular Americans or college spring breakers, Malia Obama and her teenage pals were guarded by an army of Secret Service agents at U.S. taxpayer expense. This is not a story you will see in U.S. media outlets, but one foreign newspaper reported it this week though the link seems to have mysteriously vanished from its website. In fact, the White House has admitted pressuring it to take the story down.
No worries. We’ll recount the story of Malia’s spring break jaunt to Mexico, which appeared in Britain’s Telegraph this week and quotes Mexican authorities. Malia and 12 buddies were guarded by 25 U.S. Secret Service agents as well as local police, while in the historic Mexican city of Oaxaca, the report says. The group of teens stayed at a downtown hotel and visited the area’s famous archeological sites.
Never mind that the State Department has repeatedly warned Americans about travel to Mexico, which is rife with drug-cartel violence. Many U.S. colleges are also discouraging students from vacationing south of the border, a once-popular destination for spring breakers. When your dad’s government warns you against traveling to a country that it has a cozy relationship with, perhaps it’s a good idea to pay attention.
Crime and violence are serious problems throughout Mexico and can occur anywhere, according to a State Department bulletin issued just weeks before the first daughter’s jaunt. It goes on to say that U.S. citizens have fallen victims to drug traffickers, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery. In the last few years nearly 50,000 people have been killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico, according to the government warning.
Gun battles take place in towns and cities, in broad daylight, on streets and in other public venues such as restaurants and clubs. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped because drug lords create road blocks that prevent even the military and police from responding to criminal activity. Furthermore, the location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable, the State Department warns, after revealing that the rising number of kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico is of particular concern.
Sounds like a war zone rather than a vacation destination. It’s likely that no responsible parent would let their teenage daughter travel to such a place…without an army of Secret Service agents to guard them.
Middle Eastern terrorists have infiltrated Latin American countries—especially Mexico—to plan an attack against the United States, according to an alarming exposé broadcast this week by the world’s largest Spanish news network.
The Univision documentary, “La Amenaza Irani,” (Iranian Threat), uses undercover, never-before-seen video footage to illustrate how Iran’s growing political, economic and military ties to Latin America threaten U.S. security. The videos were part of a seven-month investigation in which college-aged Mexicans infiltrated diplomatic circles in Mexico to obtain recordings that prove diplomats from Iran, Venezuela and Cuba planned a cybernetic attack against the White House, FBI, Pentagon and U.S. nuclear plants.
The documentary also features secret video taken by extremists linked to Iran and footage from an undercover journalist who infiltrated Venezuelan military camps where terrorists trained. The news network’s investigative team also tracked the expansion of Iranian interests in the hemisphere, including money-laundering and drug-trafficking activities by terrorist groups supported by Iran.
A segment is dedicated to the connection between Mexican drug cartels and the foiled plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. a few months ago. One of the Iranians charged had been ordered by that country’s Special Forces to travel to Mexico to recruit members of the notorious drug cartel “Los Zetas” to carry out the plot. The massive scheme against U.S. government information and computer systems had been in the works years earlier, the documentary reveals.
The ties between Middle Eastern terrorists and Latin America are nothing new, though specific plots against the U.S. from the region have likely not been exposed in this manner. Since 1982 Cuba has appeared on the State Department’s list of countries that have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism, which means restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales and other financial restrictions.
Earlier this year the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which examines issues for federal lawmakers, published areport on Latin American terrorist concerns to the United States. It points out that, while Latin America has not been the focal point of the U.S. war on terrorism, the region has struggled with domestic terrorism for decades and international terrorist groups have used it as a battle ground to advance their causes.
The report specifically mentions Iran’s increasing activities in Latin America in its attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions as well as its ties to the radical Lebanon-based Islamic group Hezbollah. In fact, the CRS report quotes a separate State Department antiterrorism document that says the U.S. remains concerned that sympathizers of Hezbollah and the Sunni Muslim Palestinian group Hamas are raising money among the sizable Middle Eastern communities in the tri-border area of Argentina.
The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.
This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.
Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of more than 1,000 guns which have been used in numerous crimes. In Terry’s case, five illegal immigrants armed with at least two semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and Terry got hit.
We know this only because Washington D.C.’s conservative newspaper , the Washington Times, got ahold of the court documents before the government suddenly made them off limits. The now-sealed federal grand jury indictment tells the frightening story of how Terry was gunned down by Mexican drug smugglers patrolling the rugged desert with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.
You can see why the administration wants to keep this information from the public and the media, considering the smugglers were essentially armed by the U.S. government. Truth is, no one will know the reason for the confiscation of public court records in this case because the judge’s decision to seal it was also sealed, according to the news story. That means the public or media won’t have access to any new or old evidence, filings, rulings or arguments.
A number of high-ranking Border Patrol officials are questioning how the case is being handled. For instance, they wonder why the defendant (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes) hasn’t been tried even though it’s been almost a year since Terry’s murder. They also have concerns about the lack of transparency in the investigation, not to mention the recent sealing of the court case.
Osorio-Arellanes is charged with second-degree murder. The four other drug smugglers fled the scene and their names were blacked out in the indictment. In 2006 Osorio-Arellanes had been convicted in Phoenix of felony aggravated assault and in 2010 he was twice detained for being in the U.S. illegally.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this month to address the flawed gun-tracking program, Attorney General Eric Holder said it’s not fair to assume that mistakes in Operation Fast and Furious led to Terry’s death. Holder also expressed regret to the federal agent’s family, saying that he can only imagine their pain.
Janet Napolitano spent much of the spring sounding like a broken record ensuring that the U.S.-Mexico border is safe when the reality is that stretches are controlled by drug-trafficking organizations.A new federal report exposing the ugly truth about the southern border has left President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary with egg on her face. Published by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, the document contradicts much of what Napolitano has preached in the last few months during highly publicized jaunts to the crime-infested region.Remember this? The Mexican border “is as secure as it has ever been.” Or what about this; violence along the Mexican border is merely a mistaken “perception” because the Obama Administration has successfully fostered a “secure and prosperous” region. Napolitano also said that “misinformation about safety” is negatively impacting border communities and that the U.S.-Mexico border is not “overrun or out of control.”The truth is that Mexican drug cartels do in fact “control access to the U.S.-Mexico border” and the “smuggling routes across it,” according to the Justice Department’s drug assessment, which has been kept quiet by the administration. No press conferences or photo ops to promote this report, which concludes that the “unprecedented levels of violence in Mexico” will continue for years to come.The crisis has also flowed north because cartels—including Sinaloa, Los Zetas and Juarez—have joined forces with U.S. street gangs that operate in more than 1,000 cities throughout the country, according to the report. Together they run profitable enterprises that sell cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines brought into the U.S. through the southern border. This sort of “collaboration between U.S. gangs and Mexican-based” criminal organizations will continue to increase, facilitating wholesale drug trafficking into and within the United States, the report says.This is hardly shocking news. The National Drug Intelligence Center has for years determined that Mexican drug trafficking organizations represent the greatest crime threat to the United States. In fact, the agency’s2009 report says that the violence, intimidation, theft and financial crimes carried out by the illicit operations “pose a significant threat” to the nation as a whole.
Hearing To Be Held by House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on September 19, 2011
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Congressional Field Forum on Border IssuesHouse Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
September 19, 2011
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
(Mrs. Hartley’s testimony 10-10:45 a.m.)The Arts Center at the University of Texas, Brownsville
80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, TX 78520
Members scheduled to attend include: Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX).Nearly one year after Mr. Hartley’s murder, his body has yet to be recovered and the federal government has ended its active participation in any investigation of the crime. Judicial Watch has called on the Mexican government and the Obama administration to thoroughly investigate Mr. Hartley’s murder, while launching its own investigation.On September 16, Judicial Watch filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the Department of State, Department of Justice and the FBI to obtain all government records pertaining to the September shooting, including Obama administration communications with their Mexican law enforcement officials, military authorities, and other Mexican officials.Mrs. Hartley and Judicial Watch also participated in a May 12, 2011, Washington, DC press conference hosted by Congressman Poe to bring attention to the investigation of David Hartley’s murder.Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Michael Bennett (D-CO) have joined the bipartisan campaign to get the truth behind Mr. Hartley’s murder.
Weeks before the Obama Administration starts letting Mexican cargo trucks travel deep into the U.S., the Texas Department of Public Safety reveals that, in the last few years, trucks coming from Mexico had more than 1 million safety violations.This is hardly earth-shattering news since Mexican trucks have long failed to meet U.S. safety standards. That’s why they aren’t allowed to travel freely throughout the country, but rather in restricted zones within 25 miles of the southern border. Even within their limited boundary, they have created a huge risk to Americans’ safety, according to the Transportation Department Inspector General.Regardless, the Obama Administration carved out a deal to allow Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. highways as part of a 17-year-old international trade pact known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In a few weeks Mexican trucks will be allowed to travel into the interior of the United States, even though it could endanger American lives.In Texas alone, 1.2 million Mexican trucks had safety violations between 2007 and 2011, according to an El Paso newspaper report that quotes official statistics from state public safety officials. Among the safety violations in trucks coming from Mexico were bad brakes, flat tires, axle problems and defective lights. During that period inspectors placed more than 30,000 trucks and 625 drivers out of service.Federal transportation officials claim that, under the new cross-border trucking program, all Mexican vehicles will be thoroughly inspected and all must comply with rigid U.S. safety standards. The Mexican trucks, notorious for their dismal, third-world country safety standards, must also be equipped with electronic monitoring systems to keep track of drivers’ service hours.Don’t be surprised if U.S. taxpayers get stuck with the tab. After all, earlier this year the Obama Administrationpaid to upgrade outdated Mexican trucks that hemorrhage illegal amounts of exhaust when they deliver merchandise near the border. Generous Uncle Sam stepped in for the sake of improving air quality on both sides of the border by replacing old mufflers on dozens of Mexican trucks at a cost of $1,600 each. U.S. truck drivers are required to have the type of converters that Mexicans are getting from the government but they must pay for theirs.
Governor Hickenlooper, Rep. Gardner, Senators Udall and Bennett Urge Attorney General Holder and Secretary Clinton to Help Gain “Closure and Justice”
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Despite all of these efforts, many questions remain outstanding, and we respectfully request you help resolve them……While Ms. Hartley recognizes the complicated nature of this situation because it happened on the Texas/Mexico border, she has been unable to obtain any recent updates from the FBI regarding the progress of the case. Moreover, the inability to recover her husband’s remains has created numerous difficulties for Ms. Hartley because she cannot obtain a death certificate. She has sought help from the State Department, including the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros, regarding this issue, but has so far been unable to gain final closure.We request any additional assistance and information you can provide Ms. Hartley and her family in accordance with the law. Specifically, we request an update on the status of U.S. involvement in the investigation attention to the investigation of the murder of David Hartley.
Gov. Hickenlooper and Rep. Gardner have personally met with Mrs. Hartley. Sen. Udall and Sen. Bennett have also reached out and taken action for the Hartley family.Mrs. Hartley also received assistance from Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA), who held a Capitol Hill press conference on May 12, 2011, to bring attention to the investigation of the murder of David Hartley.Nearly eight months after the murder, Mr. Hartley’s body has yet to be recovered and the federal government has apparently ended its efforts in this case. Rep. Poe called on the Obama administration to reinvigorate this investigation to find David Hartley’s assassins and bring them to justice:
It has been nearly eight months since David Hartley was gunned down on Falcon Lake. His wife Tiffany is still left with no answers about the death of her husband. Mrs. Hartley is not alone. Last year 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico, to this day none of those cases have been solved. In many of these cases the Federal Government has abandoned the investigations leaving it up to the Mexican government to solve, no questions asked. It is past time that the American government stays on top of the Mexican government for solving the murders of our own citizens.
Judicial Watch has called on the Mexican Government and the Obama administration to thoroughly investigate the September 30, 2010, murder of David Hartley on Falcon Lake in Texas. Judicial Watch also launched an investigation of David Hartley’s murder, and is moving to identify and obtain all government records pertaining to the September shooting, including Obama administration communications with their Mexican counterparts, as well as law enforcement officials, Mexican military authorities, and others.“Judicial Watch commends Gov. Hickenlooper, Sen. Udall, Sen. Bennett, and Rep. Gardner for acting to help Mrs. Hartley, who is owed a full and thorough investigation into the murder of her husband and deserves accountability from both the Mexican authorities and the Obama administration. So far, it appears the pursuit of justice has been suppressed for political reasons on both sides of the border. It’s shameful and wrong. Let’s hope Attorney General Holder and Secretary Clinton heed the bipartisan call for action and commit all available resources to solve this murder and bring those responsible to justice,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
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Today Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) held a press conference to bring attention to the investigation of the murder of David Hartley. Hartley was murdered on Lake Falcon which spans the border between Texas and Mexico. It is believed that Hartley was gunned down by members of the Mexican Zeta drug cartel who have control of the lake. Nearly eight months after the murder, Mr. Hartley’s body has yet to be recovered and the federal government has ended their participation in this case. Congressman Poe is calling on the Administration to rejoin this investigation to find David Hartley’s assassins and bring them to justice.“It has been nearly eight months since David Hartley was gunned down on Falcon Lake. His wife Tiffany is still left with no answers about the death of her husband. Mrs. Hartley is not alone. Last year 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico, to this day none of those cases have been solved. In many of these cases the Federal Government has abandoned the investigations leaving it up to the Mexican government to solve, no questions asked. It is past time that the American government stays on top of the Mexican government for solving the murders of our own citizens.”Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption also spoke at the press conference. Judicial Watch represents Mrs. Tiffany Hartley, widow of David, and survivor of the attack. Today Judicial Watch is calling on the Mexican Government and the Obama Administration to thoroughly investigate the September 30, 2010, murder of David Hartley on Falcon Lake, Texas. Judicial watch has launched an investigation of David Hartley’s murder, and is moving to identify and obtain all government records pertaining to the September shooting, including Obama administration communications with their Mexican counterparts, as well as law enforcement officials, Mexican military authorities, and others.“Mrs. Hartley is owed a full and thorough investigation into the murder of her husband. Mrs. Hartley deserves accountability from both the Mexican authorities and the Obama Administration. So far, the pursuit of justice apparently has been suppressed for political reasons on both sides of the border. It’s shameful and wrong. We demand the full commitment of available resources to solve this murder and bring those responsible to justice,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.