I have every intention of putting up something Hanukah-related over the next few days (hi, Peter!) but just wanted to call something to your attention -- yet another item that seems, from this vantage point, to be worth at least a second look, but that has caused nary a ripple (as far as I know) in the American national consciousness.
You might recall that back in May, I posted on a report in Die Welt that broke the story that Iran is constructing launching pads for intermediate-range missiles in Venezuela. This is believed to be the initial stage in a larger project that will place not only Iranian missiles, but also officers and soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, about 1,200 miles off Florida.
If a recent Univision report is to be believed, that project is just one element of a tangible and growing direct threat to the United States from Iran, via Latin America.
As reported on the Hudson Institute's website, Univision recently aired a documentary containing video collected over a seven-month undercover investigation that appears to show a whole network of Iranian interests in Latin America. Iran is apparently involved in money laundering and drug trafficking by its client terrorist organizations.
The documentary also shows Iranian diplomats expressing interest in the ways and means of conducting a cyber attack on critical US targets, including the command centers of the White House, the Pentagon, the FBI, and the CIA. From what I can gather, the officials were taped accepting offers of assistance on this front by undercover agents.
The Hudson Institute notes that Chavez-era Venezuela is not the only Latin American country warm to the Iranians:
Iran also enjoys excellent relations with countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, not to mention the South American giants, Argentina and Brazil. The improvement of these relations has gone hand in hand with the expansion of Islamist groups in South America, in particular Hezbollah, which once were relegated to the Tri-Border Area (Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina). Since then, they have been expanding their zone of interest farther and farther north to reach Venezuela and Mexico, at the doorstep of the US.
I cannot vouch for the veracity of any of these new allegations, but Univision -- a major Spanish-language TV network in the US -- is hardly a fly-by-night operation. The claims made by the documentary certainly seem worthy of closer assessment. I'd love to know if any Spanish speakers on Ricochet could check out the documentary, or give us a sense of the reliability of Univision's reporting.