Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, January 12, 2012

HEZBOLLAH THREAT IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE IS A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER

I have always wondered why the United States Government has never disclosed publicly that five Hezbollah operatives were arrested at the US-Mexican border a couple of years ago. They were all carrying valid Venezuelan passports. Is there a reason why the United States does not want to alert the public to a danger literally in our backyard ?

Let's talk about those facts about Hezbollah that nobody wants to discuss:

(1) Many experts now estimate that Hezbollah narcotics trafficking activities in the Western Hemisphere are larger than those of any criminal organisation, including those in Colombia.

(2) The extensive Hezbollah money laundering programme in Panama, which involves using drug profits to purchase and later sell, real estate, ultimately results in clean sale proceeds cheques, which provide a major portion of Hezbollah global income. Most of it ends up in Beirut, using normal financial channels.

(3) Hezbollah narcotics operations in Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, all focus on its terrorist financing objectives. I imagine most  bankers are not even aware that there is an active organisation called Hezbollah Venezuela. They've got their own website.

(4) Many Ethnic Lebanese living in these three countries are deeply involved in the facilitation of Hezbollah programme.

(5) Hezbollah is also deeply involved in training and assisting designated global terrorist organisations inside Colombia, especially the United Self Defence Forces of Colombia, also known as the Paramilitaries, or the  Autodefensas.

From a banking perspective, the failure to educate the financial sector of these facts raises the risk that banks will fail to be sufficient vigilant, and that they may unwittingly facilitate terrorist financing of Hezbollah funds. Will regulators and law enforcement agencies then impose Draconian fines & penalties, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, and indictments ?  Would it not be better to have an informed private sector, rather than classifying the information, and keeping it from the public ?











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