RealNews

The Lebanese Link in Suspected Latin American Militant Fundraisers

US presses governments to crack down on alleged terror support network; Washington wants to show Hizbullah has global reach to justify further action. US counter-terrorism investigators are pressing the governments of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina to crack down on a group of men of Lebanese descent who are suspected of raising money for Hizbullah, Hamas and other militant Arab organizations. All have operated at one time or another in jungle cities in the so-called “tri-border” area where the frontiers of the three countries come together. This has been a notoriously lawless zone for more than three decades, where money-laundering, counterfeiting, smuggling and drug and arms trafficking are rampant. Initially there were 30-40 names on the US list, but some of the suspects have fled, some are behind bars and some remain at large. One of the Americans’ primary objectives seems to be to prove that Hizbullah has “global reach,” thus making it a legitimate target in George W. Bush’s “war against terrorism.” The conviction of Lebanese in the tri-border zone alleged to have helped finance Hizbullah would bolster that case. So would proving allegations that Hizbullah was involved in two bombings in Buenos Aires – the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and a Jewish community center in 1994 – in which more than 120 people were killed. But so far no one has been convicted on terrorism charges in the tri-border zone. Full Story

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