A Sinister Web

We have become used to the trend toward globalism in business, commerce and politics. Yet a more sinister globalist trend is emerging: a web of terrorism and organized crime.
From the November 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

Our entry into the 21st century has witnessed a dramatic acceleration of one of the most negative trends to emerge from the chaos of the post-Cold War global disorder. It weaves its sinister, corrupt web of intrigue from the cafes of Amsterdam to the pubs of Dublin, from the hothouses of Manila to the streets of Los Angeles and New York, from the cabarets of Berlin to the corner shops of Bogota, from the alleys of Tehran to the harbor shores of Sydney.

This is the extent of the international cooperation and global intrigue woven between the secret societies, gangs and czars of international crime, the moguls of corrupted banking and commerce, and that greatest of modern scourges—international terrorism!

Crime, Terror and Subversion

Throughout modern history, crime, terror and subversion have been prevalent to a greater or lesser extent on both the national and international fronts. Yet the moral ambivalence of the West and the benign indifference of global institutions, especially over the past decade, have allowed all three of these movements to flourish at the risk of destabilizing the whole international scene.

The increasing cooperation of terrorist groups such as the Irish Republican Army (ira), the Basque Separatist Movement (eta), the Palestinian Liberation Organization (plo) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (farc), have fueled the fire of terrorist expansionism throughout Britain, Europe and Latin America. Illegal international drug-trade alliances, shared military training, a global gunrunning and money laundering web and increasing intelligence cooperation undergird these and other smaller terrorist-cell enterprises. Similarities in terror techniques and cell operation are revealing widespread cross-network cohesion between senior and junior terrorist groups. Recent finds of the same types of machine guns and bombs in Colombia, Europe and the Middle East have brought to light the extent of the undeniable web of cooperation between the ira, eta, plo and farc.

Also surfacing are suspicions of links between at least some of these terrorist, criminal and subversive groups and the militant Islamic group responsible for the World Trade Center horror, al Qaeda. A recent report from the Stratfor intelligence company highlighted this most recent danger to global security: “Although al Qaeda has remained largely inactive in the year since Washington launched U.S. military action in Afghanistan, several recent incidents—including the bombing of an oil tanker in Yemen, shootings involving U.S. Marines in Kuwait, a bombing that killed a U.S. Green Beret in the Philippines and the deadly October 12 bombing in Bali—point to a resurgence in the group’s activity. If not directly responsible for the incidents, al Qaeda may be triggering disparate local groups to attack Western assets and citizens” (www.stratfor.com, Oct. 14; emphasis ours throughout).

The Colombian Connection

The trafficking of illegal drugs supplies the cash flow that not only enables organized crime, subversive groups and terrorist organizations to sustain their administration, but substantially funds the high cost of the bullets, bombs, explosives and chemical compounds which they employ in doing their dirty work.

The prime centers of drug production are in Central and Southeast Asia and Colombia. Increasingly it is Colombia that sustains the cocaine connections between the U.S.-, British- and Europe-based members of terrorist and organized-crime networks and their Southern Hemisphere counterparts.

Much of the drug money harvested in Colombia is laundered in the United States. Drugs are sold in the U.S. in exchange for dollars, which are then sold to a black-market peso broker’s agent. The agent then deposits the agreed number of pesos into the cartel’s Colombian bank account, thus successfully laundering the money. Of even deeper concern, given Wall Street’s current set of woes, is that copious amounts of drug money are laundered via the reliable conduit of the U.S. Stock Exchange through front companies. In addition, charitable and non-profit organizations are used to launder money.

Yet within Latin America, the brotherhood of terror has expanded far beyond Colombia’s borders to include Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina, setting the scene for the lighting of a long fuse of regional terror with international links across the globe.

The European Link

Numerous reports confirm ira and Real ira links in Algeria, Spain, the Baltic states, Czechoslovakia and the Balkans. There is an undoubted link between the Real ira and al Qaeda via the Basque group eta.

In middle Europe, the ira’s depth of experience in terror, crime and subversion is drawn upon by what was the German-backed Kosovo Liberation Army (kla). Forced underground since its high-profile presence in the Balkan wars, the kla has melded with the Italian and iron-fisted Russian mafias. This group has combined with various other smaller terrorist cells to form a powerful network of organized crime, subversion and terror. It is involved in oil smuggling and the trafficking of women and children, narcotics and guns; it also funds the widespread corruption of local government agencies.

The distribution corridor of this market of evil extends from the Balkans through Turkey and into Germany. It has become one of the most illegally trafficked routes on Earth since the breakup of old Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that many of the now-defunct kla were drafted into the Kosovo Protection Force, charged with the security of the region! Provided with official uniforms, they have an ideal “legitimate” disguise behind which to continue their drug-running.

Neil Clark, writing for the Spectator, said, “It is estimated that Kosovan/Albanian gangs now control 90 percent of the Western trade in heroin …” (April 13). So grave is the current situation in the Balkan region and the greed and cupidity of the terrorist groups that the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (unmik) police force has drafted new laws, appointed more judges and sought the services of Italy’s premiere Mafia-fighting force, the Guardia di Finanza.

Moreover, the kla was linked with al Qaeda, a fact testified by J.T. Caruso, assistant-director of the fbi’s counter-terrorism division, before a congressional committee on December 18 last year. “Caruso confirmed that al Qaeda had supported ‘Islamic fighters’ in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Chechnya. ‘[They have] active cells in 20 countries, including Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Chechnya and the Philippines.’”

But when supposedly responsible governments legitimize, use, fund and encourage these groups in the process of pursuing their own foreign-policy goals, how do they delegitimize them when those goals are met? Such groups often become an embarrassment as they continue toward their own terrorist or criminal goals which become suddenly at odds with those of their benefactors.

This pattern became patently obvious not only in the Balkans but also in Afghanistan. As soon as the U.S. had ousted the Taliban, it removed sanctions imposed on Afghanis for their involvement in the international drug trade—thus allowing the Northern Alliance (the “allies” of the West) to go straight back to work, taking up where their Taliban overlords had left off, growing illegal drugs. Here is yet another instance where a “peace” process is being used as a cover for the acceleration of the drug connection that is a vital link in the international web of organized crime and terror.

This is international hypocrisy of the worst kind and simply throws U.S. foreign policy into the realm of shady dealings.

Irish Intrigue

Another initiative constructed in the interests of furthering “peace,” this time in Ireland, has been cynically used by Sinn Fein/ira as a cloak to rearm and enter organized global crime in a bigger way.

Last July the British House of Commons had its ears laid back as a House Committee reeled off scads of facts verifying that this evil terrorist network (whose political leaders had once been wined and dined by the previous U.S. president) has poisoned the province of Northern Ireland with rampant organized crime and violence. The “Commons Committee reported in shocking detail how terrorist leaders, far from laying down their guns, have simply turned to crime and racketeering. The report says that smuggling, drug dealing and extortion rackets are now netting some £18 million [us$28 million] a year for the paramilitaries. In 2001, armed robberies were up by 264 percent on the previous year; hijackings by 100 percent” (The Week, July 13).

Sinn Fein/ira has used the Ireland “peace” process (the Good Friday Agreement) as a cloak to hide behind as it continues to pour its unhappy mix of terror, subversion and crime on Ulster communities. Through this campaign, they are tightening their grip on the north, seeking to pressure an ultimate cave-in by the British government (perhaps under direction from the EU) to get them to cede control of Northern Ireland to the Catholic nationalists.

But Sinn Fein/ira’s web of intrigue extends far beyond the Emerald Isle.

Earlier this year, three ira members were arrested in Colombia for instructing members of the farc terrorist group in the manufacture of bombs, the detonation of explosives and the planning of terrorist attacks. One of the ira men was Sinn Fein’s political representative in Cuba. Not only did this fact add weight to the claim that Sinn Fein (which has representation in the British Parliament) is just a front for the politics of terror, it also raised suspicions as to whether Sinn Fein was actually operating against the interests of one of Ireland’s chief benefactors, the United States!

Since 1999, U.S. authorities have broken up two gunrunning operations to Ireland off the Florida coast. “The U.S. already brands the ira a terrorist group. The State Department says the ira got help from a ‘variety of groups and countries and considerable training and arms from Libya and the plo. It is suspected of receiving funds, arms and other terrorist-related matériel from sympathizers in the U.S.’” (Investor’s Business Daily, May 1).

Enter the Dragon

Subversion crosses all boundaries and often weaves its web of intrigue into the ranks of corporate moguls, bankers, brokers and bureaucrats. Such intrigue impacts the national security of the nations thus penetrated, as was demonstrated in a high-profile case in the U.S.

On May 25, 1999, the government declassified what became known as the Cox Report. Select portions of the report were omitted because of their danger to the nation’s security and ongoing criminal investigations. The Cox Report was a national-security bombshell. It revealed just how lax and blind policy, procedures and security were under the Clinton administration.

“The People’s Republic of China (prc) has stolen classified design information on the United States’ most advanced thermonuclear weapons. These thefts of nuclear secrets from our national weapons laboratories enabled the prc to design, develop and successfully test modern strategic nuclear weapons sooner than would otherwise have been possible. The stolen U.S. nuclear secrets give the prc design information on thermonuclear weapons on a par with our own” (Cox Report, overview). It was thus revealed that Chinese covert genius had successfully been sucking the blood from American nuclear know-how right under the nose of U.S. security!

The domino effect of this huge international crime is incalculable in its negative effect on world stability.

The report reveals that China has outfitted Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and North Korea with military technology and nuclear know-how resulting directly from their massive theft of secret U.S. technology. The report also stated that further sharing of U.S. nuclear technology has occurred with other countries, specifics about which were kept confidential.

Despite these calamitous breaches of America’s national security, China was granted most-favored trading partner status by the U.S., revealing America’s increasing dependence on enemy nations to sustain its continued economic prosperity.

Yet, apart from this massive crime perpetrated against the U.S. by China, organized crime initiated in Asian society is an integral component in the sinister global web of terror and subversion. Chinese secret societies, or Triads, have gained a foothold in many major cities from San Francisco to London, Amsterdam to Hong Kong, Tokyo to New York, Shanghai to Sydney. They are crucial to the effectiveness of the shipping of illegal drugs and guns—even people, in the skin trade of international prostitution, child peddling and pornography.

One of the key elements in the operation of these organized criminal gangs is their involvement at dockside receiving and shipping illicit goods.

China’s long-term plan is to control the key sea-trade routes and sea gates formerly dominated by Great Britain and the U.S. Hong Kong and Panama are crucial gateways to illicit trade. Both are now owned and operated by Chinese interests. In addition, the Chinese have major interests in the Bahamas, the London dockside, and the world’s biggest port, Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, which has perhaps the most liberal drug laws among Western democracies.

There is evidence of increasing links between the Triads and subversive groups in Latin America, the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Japan

The Yakuza, the most significant of Japan’s criminal gangs, spreads its network of organized crime throughout the country. Japanese national police estimate that these gangs have a membership totaling 90,000. They link with criminal gangs in China, in particular, in the global trafficking of Asian children and women involved in the worldwide porn and prostitute trade. The staging point for this Asian skin trade is Italy, which is where the Mafiosi enter the equation.

Japanese organized crime is also active in the illegal-drugs market, particularly in the trafficking of “speed”—illegal amphetamines. The Yakuza networks with organized criminal gangs in China and the Philippines for the supply of shabu, as these drugs are known in Japan. The Yakuza is tolerated by the Japanese government, with whom it struck a deal to keep heroin and cocaine out of the illegal-drugs trade in Japan in exchange for a certain acceptance of their activities.

Southeast Asia

Of most recent concern is the penetration of Southeast Asia by militant Muslim cells, interfacing with subversives throughout the region.

A case in point is the politically destabilized country of Indonesia. A strong anti-Christian mentality in many areas of Muslim Indonesia has created a fertile seedbed for the export of the anti-West gospel of militant Islamic groups from the Middle East to this country of over 230 million. Indonesia is a vast archipelago of countless islands that makes for an excellent environment for the hide-and-seek terror initiatives of these groups. The waters surrounding Indonesia are infested with pirates. Illegal drug- and gunrunning is the order of the day in such a setting.

Last month the terror bombing in Indonesia of a nightclub frequented by young Western tourists swung the spotlight onto Indonesia’s complex mishmash of corruption, crime, subversion and anti-Christian terror. One security expert mused, “It is a messy place; there are so many agendas. You can’t dismiss anything when dealing with Indonesia.” One of the problems in that country is that the military and police force have been known to employ the agents of crime, terror and subversion to meet their own political ends.

Two radical Islamic groups, Laskar Jihad and Jemaah Islamiyah (ji) are most active in the region. Both have links with al Qaeda. Members of ji were arrested last year following exposure of a plot to blow up the Australia High Commission. This group was also implicated in efforts to attack Western embassies in Singapore as well as U.S. warships visiting that country’s Changi naval base. It is their declared intention to “create an Islamic state across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the southern Philippines” (Herald Sun, Melbourne, Oct. 14).

Global Proliferation

In June this year, the credibility of efforts of Western democracies to contain international crime, terror and subversion suffered a body blow with the release of the Amnesty International report “G8: Failing to Stop the Terror Trade.” The report warned that Western governments have largely incapacitated their cooperative efforts to stem these evils by their own extensive legitimate arms trade with developing nations that are involved in this corrupting global web of overt organized crime, subversion and terror.

The report targeted the group of eight (G8) nations—Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S.—claiming that the majority of the us$29 billion in legitimate annual arms sales is set to go to emerging nations with shaky social environments. (America, Britain and Russia combined are responsible for two thirds of all global arms sales to developing nations.) In addition, the report claimed that terrorist groups like al Qaeda, ira, eta, plo and farc, along with the nations of India, Pakistan, Israel, the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Sudan, have already acquired stockpiles of modern high-tech weaponry. Iranian and Iraqi weaponry arsenals have skyrocketed thanks to the residue of arms proliferation.

And the unwritten part of this equation is the huge underground movement and sale of weaponry via the international black market.

Increased Vulnerability

One of the most significant contributions to the globalization of organized crime, terror and subversion is our modern style of living.

In this 21st century, developed societies rely on complex networks of technical and economic systems. This, coupled with the quantum leap in the strategic and technical capacity of small groups to destroy both things and people, makes the most-developed countries wide-open targets for terrorist and criminal cells. The concentration of vital assets in small geographic clusters further heightens the risk.

The current trend in terrorism, revealed on September 11, is to simply redirect the energies of our intricate societies against us. Thus al Qaeda was able to take possession of U.S.-owned aircraft, fueled by U.S.-owned oil, and direct the resultant energy against the monolithic Trade Center buildings (being themselves actual symbols of capitalistic energy) and use the explosive effect to destroy them, together with 3,000 souls!

Thomas Homer-Dixon, director of the Center for the Study of Peace and Conflict at the University of Toronto, chillingly sums up this potential: “As technological change makes it easier to kill, societies are more likely to become locked into perpetual cycles of attack and counterattack that render any normal trajectory of political and economic development impossible” (Foreign Policy, Jan./Feb. 2002).

That is an apocalyptic statement!

The point is, never in the history of man has the potential for such devastation been placed in so few hands! A mere handful of suicidal terrorists, with adequate coordination and appropriate technology, can wreak extraordinary destruction.

This terrifying reality is a reminder of the Apostle Paul’s words: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. … For men shall be … [w]ithout natural affection … incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good” (ii Tim. 3:1-3).

In the same vein as Paul’s prophecy, Homer-Dixon further predicts, “To maximize this impact, the perpetrators of complex terrorism will carry out their attacks in audacious, unexpected and even bizarre manners—using methods that are, ideally, unimaginably cruel.”

He further points out that the reason for this extreme cruelty is to maximize the fear in those under attack! Again, the words of prophetic Scripture leap into perspective in vivid description of these times, “For these be the days of vengeance …. Men’s hearts failing them for fear” (Luke 21:22, 26).

These are the very days we are moving into, as prophesied in your Bible: days of rampant terror, crime, corruption and subversion! “I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror … and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it” (Lev. 26:16).

These, indeed, are the days when we need the vision to see beyond the immediate horror of what commentators such as Thomas Homer-Dixon know is the current reality. We need in these darkening times to have a vision of hope such as portrayed by the Prophet Isaiah to those who repent of their rebellion against the Eternal God (Isa. 54:11, 14): “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold …. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.”