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Trump Administration countering Iran’s influence in Latin America and winning key support

“The Trump administration’s push to counter Iran’s influence in South America won key support from leaders in the region in recent days, with three Latin American nations officially declaring Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”

The work of Iranian jihadist proxies worldwide is underrated and under reported. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo captures the magnitude of the Iranian proxy problem well in this statement:

 When you see the scope and reach of what the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime has done, you can’t forget they tried to kill someone in the United States of America. They’ve conducted assassination campaigns in Europe. This is a global phenomenon.

And the phenomenon of narcoterrorism is linked to Iranian proxy Hizballah, as indicated in this exposé by the Washington Times: “Hezbollah moving ‘tons of cocaine’ in Latin America, Europe to finance terror operation.”

“Trump administration homing in on Iran-backed operations in Latin America,” by Guy Taylor, Washington Times, January 23, 2020:

The Trump administration’s push to counter Iran’s influence in South America won key support from leaders in the region in recent days, with three Latin American nations officially declaring Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras have now officially joined with Paraguay and Argentina in recognizing the designation, with the new conservative government in Bogota joining with Washington in declaring Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization as well.

At a counterterrorism conference in Bogota this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials underscored the global reach of Lebanon-based Hezbollah — a Shia Muslim militant-political movement and a part of the Lebanese political establishment that Washington has listed as a terrorist organization since the late 1990s.

Hezbollah was a big winner in the political upheaval that has gripped Lebanon this month, with new government made up of appointees nominated by Hezbollah and its allies — a development that has worried both the U.S. and Israel, Lebanon’s neighbor. Counterterrorism analysts consider the well-armed Hezbollah one of Tehran’s most effective military proxies in the region.

Heading into this week’s conference in Bogota, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan Sales told the Miami Herald and Nuevo Herald that U.S. officials “know that Hezbollah operatives and facilitators and finance leaders are active” in the loosely governed “Tri-Border Area” between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

U.S. and Israeli officials say Hezbollah orchestrated and executed a 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina that killed 29 people, as well as a 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead…..

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Zika Virus Shows It’s Time to Bring Back DDT by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

The Zika virus is spreading by mosquitoes northward through Latin America, possibly correlated with birth defects such as microcephaly in infants. Stories and photos of their abnormally small skulls are making headlines. The World Health Organization reports that four million people could be infected by the end of 2016.

On Monday, the WHO is meeting to decide how to address the crisis. The international body should recommend that the ban on DDT should be reversed, in order to kill the mosquitoes that carry Zika and malaria, a protistan parasite that has no cure.

Zika is in the news, but it is dwarfed by malaria. About 300 million to 600 million people suffer each year from malaria, and it kills about 1 million annually, 90 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. We have the means to reduce Zika and malaria — and we are not using it.

Under the Global Malaria Eradication Program, which started in 1955, DDT was used to kill the mosquitoes that carried the parasite, and malaria was practically eliminated. Some countries such as Sri Lanka, which started using DDT in the late 1940s, saw profound improvements. Reported cases fell from nearly 3 million a year to just 17 cases in 1963. In Venezuela, cases fell from over 8 million in 1943 to 800 in 1958. India saw a dramatic drop from 75 million cases a year to 75,000 in 1961.

This changed with the publication of Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, which claimed that DDT was hazardous. After lengthy hearings between August 1971 and March 1972, Judge Edmund Sweeney, the EPA hearing examiner, decided that there was insufficient evidence to ban DDT and that its benefits outweighed any adverse effects. Yet, two months afterwards, then-EPA Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus overruled him and banned DDT, effective December 31, 1972.

Other countries followed, and DDT was banned in 2001 for agriculture by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. This was a big win for the mosquitoes, but a big loss for people who lived in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Carson claimed that DDT, because it is fat soluble, accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals and humans as the compound moved through the food chain, causing cancer and other genetic damage. Carson’s concerns and the EPA action halted the program in its tracks, and malaria deaths started to rise again, reaching 600,000 in 1970, 900,000 in 1990 and over 1,000,000 in 1997 — back to pre-DDT levels.

Some continue to say that DDT is harmful, but others say that DDT was banned in vain. There remains no compelling evidence that the chemical has produced any ill public health effects. According to an article in the British medical journal the Lancet by Professor A.G. Smith of Leicester University,

The early toxicological information on DDT was reassuring; it seemed that acute risks to health were small. If the huge amounts of DDT used are taken into account, the safety record for human beings is extremely good. In the 1940s many people were deliberately exposed to high concentrations of DDT thorough dusting programmes or impregnation of clothes, without any apparent ill effect… In summary, DDT can cause toxicological effects but the effects on human beings at likely exposure are very slight.

Even though nothing is as cheap and effective as DDT, it is not a cure-all for malaria. But a study by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences concluded that spraying huts in Africa with DDT reduces the number of mosquitoes by 97 percent compared with huts sprayed with an alternative pesticide. Those mosquitoes that do enter the huts are less likely to bite.

By forbidding DDT and relying on more expensive, less effective methods of prevention, we are causing immense hardship. Small environmental losses are inferior to saving thousands of human lives and potentially increasing economic growth in developing nations.

We do not yet have data on the economic effects of the Zika virus, but we know that countries with a high incidence of malaria can suffer a 1.3 percent annual loss of economic growth. According to a Harvard/WHO study, sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP could be $100 billion greater if malaria had been eliminated 35 years ago.

Rachel Carson died in 1964, but the legacy of Silent Spring and its recommended ban on DDT live with us today. Millions are suffering from malaria and countless others are contracting the Zika virus as a result of the DDT ban. They were never given the choice of living with DDT or dying without it. The World Health Organization should recognize that DDT has benefits, and encourage its use in combating today’s diseases.

This article first appeared at E21, a project of the Manhattan Institute.

Diana Furchtgott-RothDiana Furchtgott-Roth

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, is director of Economics21 and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Obama’s Massive Illegal Alien Invasion

On January 29 the Obama administration posted a notice for “Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children” on FedBizOpps.gov. At that time the estimate was for 65,000 children and the escorts were needed to help the children being transported to “Refugee Resettlement shelters located throughout the continental United States.”

Calling the orchestrated deluge of aliens invading the nation “refugees” simply obscures the fact that all are engaged in illegal entry; a crime the last time I checked. How many are actually children and how many are much older is unknown, but we do know that many are bringing with them diseases that can spread to the general population and others are arriving with criminal intent. The children are merely pawns.

The question that has yet to have been answered is how did the Obama administration know in January that the “children” would be arriving later in the year?

What Americans are witnessing is a planned illegal alien invasion of the nation, orchestrated by Obama.

It is one more piece of the puzzle that adds up to the deliberate destruction of the economy; one in which the financial crisis of 2008 has been allowed to become an ongoing recession with massive unemployment and, now, rising inflation. Presidents prior to Obama, Reagan and Kennedy to name two, encountered recessions and took well known steps to reverse and end them.

The illegal alien invasion is just the latest element of what has been a deliberate Obama policy to ensure that as many illegal aliens as possible can get into the nation and add to the burden of various programs to aid them. The political reason for this is that they will constitute more Democrats, but they would have to be legal to vote and the refusal of the Republican Party to embrace amnesty has kept that from happening.

The illegal alien invasion is taking a toll on Obama’s job approval rankings. On June 20, Gallup’s latest poll found that “Americans’ approval of President Barack Obama’s handling of immigration has dropped to 31%, one of the lowest readings since 2010, when Gallup began polling on his handling of the issue. Meanwhile, two out of three Americans (65%) disapprove of his handling of immigration.”

By June 28 Gallup’s polling showed that “fewer than one in four Americans favor increased immigration to the United States. And, unlike most issue facing America today, it’s completely bipartisan.” On July 7, Rasmussen Reports announced that “Nearly half of U.S. voters believe the Obama administration has prompted the flood of illegal immigrant children at the border and most want them sent back home right away.”

This was the overwhelming response of Americans, Republicans, Democrats, and all other elements of the population. On June 2 The Washington Times reported that Obama had declared the deluge of illegals an “urgent humanitarian situation” and that he had named a federal coordinator “to make sure the children were cared for—but offered no new ideas for how to keep them from trying to enter.” That’s because he had planned the invasion.

The Washington Times reported that “The White House signaled that, as least for now, it sees the flow of children—which it predicts will more than double in 2015—as an issue to be managed rather than a problem to be fought.”

It is “managing” the problem by dispersing the new illegals, children—age 5 to 17—and older, all across the nation. Monica Sanchez, a member of The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program, reported on June 10 that “Critics of the situation call it an ‘administration-made disaster’, attributing the unprecedented 12-fold spike in underage migrant children to Obama’s controversial Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program. Rolled out in 2012, the program allowed many illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors to escape deportation for two years” and in early June, the White House gave them another two-year window.

The Center for Immigration Studies notes that “In 2012 there were 2.7 million immigrants from San Salvador (1.3 million), Guatemala (880,000), and Honduras (536,000) in the United States. Combined the immigrant population from these three countries has grown 234% since 1990.” The Department of Homeland Security estimates “indicate that about 60% of immigrants from these three countries (1.6 million) are in the United States illegally.” Does that sound like security to you?

On June 29, The Wall Street Journal reported that “President Barack Obama is seeking more than $2 billion to respond to the surge in children and other migrants from Central America who are illegally crossing the U.S. border, and is asking for new authority to return them home more quickly, the White House said Sunday.”

“U.S. law requires that apprehended children be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which places them with sponsors in the U.S.—usually family—while their deportation cases are heard. Clogged immigration courts and an array of legal avenues to extend their time in the U.S. can result in these young migrants remaining north of the border for years or permanently.”

Among the many ways Obama has waged war on America, the massive invasion of illegal immigrants represents an assault on an already fragile economy; one plagued by more than 92 million Americans who are unemployed and laboring under a $17 trillion debt. There aren’t enough jobs for native and naturalized Americans. Adding $2 billion to the debt to “manage” the invasion is just one more way to further harm the nation.

Obama will not be impeached and Congress is so gridlocked it cannot respond to the invasion. Federal agencies will disburse the new arrivals and they will in time be forgotten as Americans struggle to deal with rising inflation while Obamacare has created obstacles to job creations.

Obama is a total political animal. Nothing else affects his outlook and his decisions. It tells you everything you need to know about him that on Tuesday, July 8, he will be in Texas fund raising, but will not go to the border to see firsthand the flood of illegals he has generated.

This has the look and feel of a planned invasion, an invited disaster. It is just one more example of a President unable to anticipate the outcome of his ideological policies.

© Alan Caruba, 2014