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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein

Government Gives Misleading Illegal Immigration Numbers

The Department of Health and Human Services seems to have lowballed the numbers of unaccompanied alien children, or UACs, it estimates will arrive in the U.S. during the fiscal year of 2014.

DHS claimed in its new budget proposal that current trends lead it to estimate that about 60,000 unaccompanied alien children, or UACs, will cross illegally this year.

However, a closer look at the DHS’s own numbers show that as of May 31, a total of 47,017 UACs already arrived, mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

If those trends continue, the numbers could eclipse 100,000 by the end of the year.

The original DHS budget called for $868 million in UAC funding for 2014 and 2015.

But last week, the White House asked Congress for an extra $1.4 billion in federal money for UAC programs.

President Obama last Monday referred to the unaccompanied immigrant children as presenting an “urgent humanitarian situation.”

 

U.S. Trained Iraqi Jihadists

Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.

The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.

The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like Al Qaeda.

In February 2012, this journalist was first to report that the U.S., Turkey, and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.

That report has since been corroborated by numerous other media accounts.

Last March, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported last March that U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.

Reuters reported that a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the German magazine’s report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.

The Jordanian officials spoke to this column, meanwhile, amid concern the sectarian violence in Iraq will spill over into their own country as well as into Syria.

ISIS previously posted a video on YouTube threatening to move on Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah, whom they view as an enemy of Islam.

 

 

Did U.S. Unintentionally Help ISIS Seize Chemical Weapons Facility?

Amid reports that Islamist insurgents seized a former chemical weapons facility in Iraq, it may be instructive to recall that numerous major news media accounts previously documented that the U.S. trained Mideast rebels on how to move chemical agents and even provided them with protective gear for the task.

Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) reportedly captured the Muthanna former chemical weapons complex, which the State Department says contains stockpiles of chemical munitions that are not considered militarily usable.

“We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site [by ISIS],” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psak. “We do not believe that the complex contains CW [chemical weapons] materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials.”

The Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel that assessed the situation in Iraq following the war there, determined that Saddam Hussein used the Muthanna facility to produce such chemical weapons as sarin, mustard gas, and the VX nerve agent.

The Wall Street Journal reported that any remaining chemical stocks at the Mathanna complex were both militarily useless and sealed in bunkers.

“The only people who would likely be harmed by these chemical materials would be the people who tried to use or move them,” one military official told the Journal.

However, some rebels fighting in Iraq might be able to safely transport chemical munitions, thanks in part to previous U.S. training.

ISIS members have also been fighting in the insurgency targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

In December 2012, CNN quoted a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats saying the U.S. and some European countries were using defense contractors at sites in Jordan and Turkey to train Syrian rebels to secure Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

Last September, the Daily Beast also reported on the plan to aid rebels in securing Assad’s chemical weapons.

In September 2013, Obama issued a memorandum to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for the U.S. to assist the rebels, including by providing protective gear against chemical weapons.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the new aid might include “defensive chemical weapons-related training and personal protective equipment to select vetted members of the Syrian opposition, including the Supreme Military Council, to protect against the use of chemical weapons.”

While such gear could be used to protect against chemical weapons attacks, the equipment could technically be utilized to transport chemical munitions.

It was not clear whether any gear or chemical weapons transport training was provided directly to ISIS, which may not be the only former Syrian insurgents fighting in Iraq.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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