Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Jihadists' Deadly Path to Citizenship

America's homeland security amnesia never ceases to amaze. In the aftermath of the botched Times Square terror attack over the weekend, Pakistani-born bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad's U.S. citizenship status caused a bit of shock and awe. The Atlantic magazine writer Jeffrey Goldberg's response was typical: "I am struck by the fact that he is a naturalized American citizen, not a recent or temporary visitor." Well, wake up and smell the deadly deception.

Shahzad's path to American citizenship -- he reportedly married an American woman, Huma Mian, in 2008 after spending a decade in the country on foreign student and employment visas -- is a tried-and-true terror formula. Jihadists have been gaming the sham marriage racket with impunity for years. And immigration benefit fraud has provided invaluable cover and aid for U.S.-based Islamic plotters, including many other operatives planning attacks on New York City. As I've reported previously:

-- El Sayyid A. Nosair wed Karen Ann Mills Sweeney to avoid deportation for overstaying his visa. He acquired U.S. citizenship, allowing him to remain in the country, and was later convicted for conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that claimed six lives.

-- Ali Mohamed became an American citizen after marrying a woman he met on a plane trip from Egypt to New York. Recently divorced, Linda Lee Sanchez wed Mohamed in Reno, Nev., after a six-week "courtship." Mohamed became a top aide to Osama bin Laden and was later convicted for his role in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa that killed 12 Americans and more than 200 others.

-- Embassy bombing plotter Khalid Abu al Dahab obtained citizenship after marrying three different American women.

-- Embassy bombing plotter Wadih el Hage, Osama bin Laden's personal secretary, married April Ray in 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 1989. Ray knew of her husband's employment with bin Laden, but like many of these women in bogus marriages, she pleaded ignorance about the nature of her husband's work. El Hage, she says, was a sweet man, and bin Laden "was a great boss."

-- Lebanon-born Chawki Youssef Hammoud, convicted in a Hezbollah cigarette-smuggling operation based out of Charlotte, N.C., married American citizen Jessica Fortune for a green card to remain in the country.

-- Hammoud's brother, Mohammed Hammoud, married three different American women. After arriving in the United States on a counterfeit visa, being ordered deported and filing an appeal, he wed Sabina Edwards to gain a green card. Federal immigration officials refused to award him legal status after this first marriage was deemed bogus in 1994. Undaunted, he married Jessica Wedel in May 1997 and, while still wed to her, paid Angela Tsioumas (already married to someone else, too) to marry him in Detroit. The Tsioumas union netted Mohammed Hammoud temporary legal residence to operate the terror cash scam. He was later convicted on 16 counts that included providing material support to Hezbollah.

-- A total of eight Middle Eastern men who plotted to bomb New York landmarks in 1993 -- Fadil Abdelgani, Amir Abdelgani, Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, Tarig Elhassan, Abdo Mohammed Haggag, Fares Khallafalla, Mohammed Saleh, and Matarawy Mohammed Said Saleh -- all obtained legal permanent residence by marrying American citizens.

A year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, homeland security officials cracked a massive illegal alien Middle Eastern marriage fraud ring in a sting dubbed "Operation Broken Vows." Authorities were stunned by the scope of the operations, which stretched from Boston to South Carolina to California. But marriage fraud remains a treacherous path of least resistance. The waiting period for U.S. citizenship is cut by more than half for marriage visa beneficiaries. Sham marriage monitoring by backlogged homeland security investigators is practically nonexistent.

As former federal immigration official Michael Cutler warned years ago: "Immigration benefit fraud is certainly one of the major 'dots' that was not connected prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and remains a 'dot' that is not really being addressed the way it needs to be in order to secure our nation against criminals and terrorists who understand how important it is for them to 'game' the system as a part of the embedding process."

Jihadists have knowingly and deliberately exploited our lax immigration and entrance policies to secure the rights and benefits of American citizenship while they plot mass murder -- and we haven't done a thing to stop them.



An excellent summary from Ludwig von Mises

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!

Against all this frenzy of agitation there is but one weapon available: reason. Just common sense is needed to prevent man from falling prey to illusory fantasies and empty catchwords.”



What's wrong with price gouging?

by Jeff Jacoby

THERE WASN'T MUCH that Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley could do about the massive pipe break that left dozens of Greater Boston towns without a reliable supply of clean drinking water over the weekend. So she kept herself busy instead lecturing vendors not to increase the price of the bottled water that tens of thousands of consumers were suddenly in a frenzy to buy.

"We have begun hearing anecdotal reports of the possible price gouging of store-bought water," Coakley announced on Sunday. "Businesses and individuals cannot and should not take advantage of this public emergency to unfairly charge consumers . . . for water." Inspectors were being dispatched, "spot-checks" were being conducted, and "if we discover that businesses are engaging in price gouging," she warned, "we will take appropriate legal action."

Governor Deval Patrick got into the act too. He ordered the state's Division of Standards to "closely monitor bottled water prices" in the area affected by the water emergency. "There is never an excuse for taking advantage of consumers," he intoned, "especially not during times like this."

It never fails. No sooner does some calamity trigger an urgent need for basic resources than self-righteous voices are raised to denounce the amazingly efficient system that stimulates suppliers to speed those resources to the people who need them. That system is the free market's price mechanism -- the fluctuation of prices because of changes in supply and demand.

When the demand for bottled water goes through the roof -- which is another way of saying that bottled water has become (relatively) scarce -- the price of that water quickly rises in response. That price spike may be annoying, but it's not nearly as annoying as being unable to find water for sale at any price. Rising prices help keep limited quantities from vanishing today, while increasing the odds of fresh supplies arriving tomorrow.

It is easy to demonize vendors who charge what the market will bear in the wake of a catastrophe. "After storm come the vultures" USA Today memorably headlined a story about the price hikes that followed Hurricane Charley in Florida in 2004. Coakley hasn't called anybody a vulture, at least not yet, but her office has dedicated a telephone hotline and is encouraging the public to drop a dime on "price gougers."

Before you drop that dime, though, consider who really serves the public interest -- the merchant who boosts his price at a time of crisis, or the merchant who refuses to?

A thought experiment: A massive pipe ruptures, tap water grows undrinkable, and consumers rush to buy bottled water from the only two vendors that sell it. Vendor A, not wanting to provoke the ire of the governor and attorney general, leaves the price of his water unchanged at 69 cents a bottle. Vendor B, who is more interested in doing business than truckling to politicians, more than quadruples his price to $2.99.

You don't need an economics textbook to know what happens next.

Customers flock to Vendor A, loading up on his 69-cent water. Within hours his entire stock has been cleaned out, and subsequent customers are turned away empty-handed. At Vendor B's, on the other hand, sales of water are slower and there is a lot of grumbling about the high price. But even late-arriving customers are able to buy the water they need -- and almost no one buys more than he really needs.

When demand intensifies, prices rise. And as prices rise, suppliers work harder to meet demand. The same Globe story that reported yesterday on Coakley's "price-gouging" remarks reported as well on the great lengths to which bottlers and retailers were going to get more water into customers' hands. "Suppliers worked overtime, pumping up production and regional bottling facilities and coordinating deliveries," reporter Erin Ailworth noted. Polar Beverages in Worcester, for example, "had emptied out its plant in the city last night and trucked in loads of water from its New York facility."

Letting prices rise freely isn't the only way to respond to a sudden shortage. Government rationing is an option, and so are price controls -- assuming you don't object to the inevitable corruption, long lines, and black market. But it's better by far to let prices rise and fall freely. That isn't "gouging" but plain good sense -- and the best method yet devised for allocating goods and services among free men and women.



BrookesNews Update

An ongoing Australian perspective on the world

Is it the Democrats' neo-fascist economics that is holding back recovery? : The economy's lacklustre response to Obama's economic policies can only cause Decmocrats consternation and fuel their desire to seek out scapegoats rather than re-examine their statist dogma. Sound economics — meaning free market economics — explains why government spending does not drive genuine economic growth but sound economics is something the Democrats resolutely refuse to accept
Ken Henry's fallacious resource rent tax and the mining industry's failed response : The theory of economic rent is pure fiction and there is nothing problematic about it. If the tax was fully implemented it would destroy not only the mining industry but also the offshore gas and oil industry. Furthermore, the logic of this fallacious tax also demands that it be levied on agriculture
Why economic policies inspired by the Great Depression fail : Obama's spending policies failed for the same reason that Roosevelt's failed. Both they and their economic advisors failed completely to understand the Great Depression and the role of withheld capacity. The result is that Obama is implementing policies that are seriously damaging the US economy
Modern Leftism and Magical Thinking : The unrealistic thought pattern of Magical Thinking now informs American public policy and statecraft at every level — on economics, foreign relations, rule of law, environmentalism, etc. It is a world-view based upon the notion the 'right' people will provide successful leadership for America, simply because they are 'good,' and not the old 'bad' leaders
Obama sends in the clowns: What these panicked "progressive" pixies fail to understand, is that the more they malign the ever-growing millions of red-blooded, God-fearing Americans who feel compelled to push back against Obama's weighty radicalism — the more they humiliate and embarrass themselves
The greens' $10 trillion climate fraud : The very rich and greedy green left are at it again, including Al Gore and Goldman Sachs. They never cease dreaming up schemes that will savage the standard of living of the masses while fattening their own bank accounts
The flood of illegals and the Arizona uproar : The American and international media are lying again. They don't send reporters out to Arizona get the story sit with beleaguered Americans at their kitchen tables and understand the torment their lives have become because of the flood of illegal immigrants that the Democrats are now openly encouraging. A country with open borders will not long be a country. If the Dems cannot get enough voters at home to keep them in power then they will import them and the country and living standards be damned. So who are the real patriots?



Laughable U.S. airline security again: "The no-fly list failed to keep the Times Square suspect off the plane. Faisal Shahzad had boarded a jetliner bound for the United Arab Emirates Monday night before federal authorities pulled him back. Although under surveillance since mid-afternoon, he had managed to elude investigators and head to the airport. As US federal agents closed in, Faisal Shahzad was aboard Emirates Flight 202. He reserved a ticket on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport, paid cash on arrival and walked through security without being stopped. By the time Customs and Border Protection officials, using a no-fly list updated earlier Tuesday, spotted Shahzad's name on the passenger list and recognised him as the bombing suspect they were looking for, he was in his seat and the plane was preparing to leave the gate. It didn't. At the last minute, the pilot was notified, the jetliner's door was opened and Shahzad was taken into custody."

The Census Bureau is violating the Privacy Act of 1974: “During the past few years, I have read numerous comments from individuals who have been threatened by Census workers concerning the American Community Survey, which masquerades as part of the constitutionally mandated enumeration commonly known as the Census. These Census workers, according to reports I read, are attempting to intimidate people with threats of fines and/or jail to get them to answer the survey form questions. Since we can expect the same tactics concerning the Census, a friend asked how I would respond if they phone or show-up at my doorstep. I said my response would be simple. Since the Census Bureau and its workers are citing federal law to intimidate us, I will use a strategy that responds in kind.”

The folly of fairness: "So Bill Gates sold me some software when he was still in that business. He was then immensely rich, certainly compared to me. I was not compared to him. How unfair, you say? But Bill took his gains from this trade and used it to feed starving African children, while I used the software I bought from him to do something utterly trivial on my computer, like writing a dull column. Now was this a fair trade? Impossible to tell. Trade is never fair — the entire notion of fairness is very difficult to apply to trade as would be the idea of blue or funny.”


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