May 9, 2005

Al Qaeda Tours and Travel

If you have ever been to Southeast Asia you will notice that you are never far away from a money changer. They are everywhere, sometimes even two or three being located within a few meters of each other. There is one thing however that all the money changers in Singapore have in common, they are all Muslim. Rarely will you ever run across a Chinese money changer and there is a reason why. The majority of the money changers don't just simply change money, they also perform a remittance service known as hawala sending money around the globe but without ever actually transferring any money. Besides the changing money and hawala, there are a few others involved in something much more insidious, involving not the movement or transfer of money, but rather the movement of people.

Off Serangoon Road in Singapore away from the city center, there is a money changer who has a sideline business arranging for workers from the Indian sub-continent to be sent to America. In recent months, the business has been quite brisk and for the most part on any given Sunday you can pass through the area and notice several men hanging around waiting for their opportunity to go.

Throughout South and Southeast Asia the money changer has a network of agents located in countries in the region such as Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. These agents work for the most part, not as money changer themselves, but as money lenders and employment agents recruiting for jobs in America.

The offer is not only lucrative, but seductive as well. The Afghan or Pakistani goes to the agent and can receive a "loan" to pass to his family, a set of new clothes and be advanced airline tickets for Singapore where he will meet the money changer or his agent. In the past the Singapore agents would typically apply for visas directly from the United States embassy on behalf of their "worker" who would be travelling to the United States for a previously agreed upon reason that might include looking at equipment or meeting with distributors of textiles etc. Since 2001 the agents have found this method to be more difficult as there are now more stringent controls on the approval of visas. Having said that, much of the logistics have now shifted to Central and South America with the workers being flown there via the Middle East.

In support of militant Islam and groups such as Al Qaeda, these agents and money changers have now in recent years expanded their operations into Central and South America where they work together to their counterparts in Mexico who will assist in getting the workers across the border and into the United States. Once across the border and into the United States the workers will be met by yet another group who will then take charge of the workers and deliver them to their respective jobs.

By the time the Afghan or Pakistani finds himself in America, he will have been "advanced" and charged anywhere from US30,000-US50,000 for their transport, food, and sundry expenses. He and the others with him will be provided with housing and a job with the expenses for housing and his "advance" being deducted from his paycheck each month. Any remainder can be remitted (for a fee) through the agents and sent back to his family overseas.

While many in America tend to see this precarious situation as a human rights violation, they need to be fully aware that these illegal immigrants are not victims. They have consciously elected to become indentured servants and have given their full faith and fealty to their agents and handlers. Whatever "work" that they may be required to do whether it be legal or illegal will be done and done without question. As difficult as it may be for many to accept, the threat we face is real. An army in the service of militant Islam is flooding across our nation's land borders completely unimpeded.

The solution to the problem is simple and the onus lies with no one except ourselves. Close the borders and close them now. Our nation's national security depends upon it.

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