Thursday, June 3, 2010

Falcon Lake, Texas: Sometimes Terrorists aren't 'Terrorists'

If you say "terrorist" these days, many Americans might think of an Islamic fanatic. Sure enough, the folks in outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban are convinced that they're defending Islam against foreigners - and 'insufficiently Islamic' Muslims.

But not everybody who wants to indulge in wholesale destruction fits that mold.

From today's news:
"Agents feared Mexican drug cartel attack on border dam"
Houston Chronicle (June 2, 2010)

"An alleged plot by a Mexican drug cartel to blow up a dam along the Texas border - and unleash billions of gallons of water into a region with millions of civilians - sent American police, federal agents and disaster officials secretly scrambling last month to thwart such an attack, authorities confirmed Wednesday.

"Whether or not the cartel, which is known to have stolen bulk quantities of gunpowder and dynamite, could have taken down the 5-mile-long Falcon Dam may never be known since the attack never came to pass.

"It may have been derailed by a stepped-up presence by the Mexican military, which was acting in part on intelligence from the U.S. government, sources said.

"The warning, which swung officials into action, was based on what the federal government contends were 'serious and reliable sources' and prompted the Department of Homeland Security to sound the alarm to first responders along the South Texas-Mexico border.

"Mexico's Zeta cartel was planning to destroy the dam not to terrorize civilians, but to get back at its rival and former ally, the Gulf cartel, which controls smuggling routes from the reservoir to the Gulf of Mexico, said Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, head of the Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition, as did others familiar with the alleged plot.

"But in the process, massive amounts of agricultural land would stand to be flooded as well as significant parts of a region where about 4 million people live along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border...."
Good news: the dam is in one piece, and will probably stay that way. Those "allegeds" notwithstanding, I'm willing to assume that there really was a plan to destroy that dam - and that it was stopped.

I hope that the folks involved in law enforcement continue to look out for the rest of us - and that they're allowed to do so.

No rant about 'those foreigners.' For one thing, my ancestors were 'those foreigners,' not all that long ago. For another, I'm rather glad to be living in one of the nations on Earth that folks are trying to break into.

About the issue of undocumented immigrants / illegal aliens / whatever? I think there are problems to correct - but I also think that's it's silly to either assume that all people who are in America without the right government papers are:
  • Troublemakers
  • Victims of racist oppression
I also think it's a huge mistake to assume that maintaining the polite fiction that the Mexican national government is either capable of, or interested in, controlling its 'drug lords' is dangerous - for folks on both sides of the border.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.