Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Myth of Hisballah Charity

The establishment media has a nice lazy spin on the biggest terrorist organization in the world: Charity Wins Deep Loyalty for Hezbollah. Reporters eagerly collect anecdotes about Hisballah’s gifts to the adoring Lebanese people. Olive oil, small business loans, rebuilt homes, medical treatment, and cash hand-outs. Hisballah’s penchant for terrorism, assassination, war-mongering, subversion, kidnapping, and anti-democratic fascism? Small price to pay, apparently.

What about the billions in Western aid to Lebanon, from both public and private sources, which dwarfs Hisballah’s expenditures by several orders of magnitude? All this is in vain, the old theory goes, because Western nations are only interested in imperialism and colonialism and Jews. Hisballah showers largesse on people because their hearts are just bursting with love.

The media spends little time wondering about where the money in Hisballah’s free-flowing coffers comes from. Whose stuff are they giving away? Charitable organizations have to get their money from earnings, donations, or taxes. The source of an organization’s funds is definitely relevant to their status as a charity. Mafia crews who generously spread their stolen loot all over the neighborhood are not considered charities, though they might be very popular with people who don’t get in their way.

Unlike most terrorist organizations, Hisballah has legitimate bank accounts. Like most criminal organizations, they also have legitimate investments and income from legal businesses. Like most terrorist and criminal organizations, though, one of their foremost sources of income is drugs. They own the brisk drug trade in Lebanon, much of which is supplied by poppy fields in the Beqaa Valley. Hisballah spies and operatives are often paid with opium or heroin. There is no love like the love of a heroin junkie for his connection, if you consider that sort of thing love.

The Lebanese traffic is probably only a small part of Hisballah’s drug earnings. The DEA has traced methamphetamine smuggling in the United States and Canada to Hisballah bank accounts. Methamphetamine abuse has reached such proportions that Native American health services are struggling with huge numbers of addicted newborns, and even larger numbers who are born with traces of crystal meth in their systems. Hisballah’s contribution is the supply of the pseudoephedrine ingredient, which is increasingly difficult to obtain legally.

That’s a pretty steep price to pay for an olive oil giveaway in Beirut.

Hisballah is also hip-deep in the extremely nasty illicit trade in diamonds and black-market gold. But like the Mafia, their biggest cash cow is probably ordinary theft. Hisballah has been connected to car theft rings in Canada and cigarette smuggling in the United States. Hisballah operatives in Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina have made millions from pirated intellectual property alone. Hijacking, insurance fraud, Nigeria scams, extortion, loan-sharking, money laundering, and burglary keep Hisballah’s cash register ringing. So does money from illegal immigrant smuggling rings, which are not operated by kind-hearted people.

Like other criminal organizations, Hisballah shears the sheep closest to home. Arabs and Muslims are high on the list of their victims. The Mafia got its start shaking down other Italians, while posing as a social service organization that supposedly protected its own kind. Critics were accused of ethnic prejudice. Hisballah’s “charity” is in that dismal vein.

Hisballah steals or soaks millions every year, often from the poorest and most wretched people on earth. (The meth-poisoned inhabitants of some Indian reservations might well envy the lifestyle of the average Lebanese, bombs and all.) They hand out a small fraction of it to dupe people into kissing Don Corleone’s ring. This is above and beyond their naked acts of terrorism and murder, which is their main occupation.

The difference between the Mafia and Hisballah is that the Mafia bribes politicians, authorities, and reporters to protect itself. Hisballah’s deluded fans are giving it away for free.