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December 18, 2015

Terror Plot Foiled Near Niagara Falls

Joe Charlebois

On December 17th, police picked up four men in New York and Jersey City on the suspicion of a terroristic plot to blow up a shipping channel near Niagara Falls. Once the four were charged, Department of Justice agents raided the offices of the suspects finding information that revealed names of their associates.


The target of sabotage was the Welland Canal, This canal connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie west of the Niagara River and Niagara Falls in Ontario. Destruction of the canal would have halted shipping commerce from the United States heartland and the key shipping ports of Ontario to Lake Erie and the St. Lawrence Seaway.


The two men believed to be directing the bombing were a New York antiques dealer and the head of security for a shipping company. The first was a United States citizen; the other a legal resident who once applied for U.S. citizenship.


This is an actual account of a terrorist plot that happened 100 years ago in December of 1915. America was under a real threat of attack on both civilian and military centers. Industry, that aided the British and French in their war effort, were high priority targets for the Kaiser and his secret band of operatives. They also targeted ships and rail. If the Welland Canal bombing plot would have succeeded, it would have halted the transportation of goods, such as military supplies to Europe.


Note that this plot was formed in 1915, years before America’s entry into the war. These enemies of America had been here for years. They had blended in with society and were ready to carry out the Kaiser’s will when the time arose.


The German infiltration of the United States as agents was wholesale. The leader of the network of agents was the Imperial Ambassador of Germany himself – Count Johann von Bernstorff. He was aided by his counterpart from the Austria-Hungary embassy ambassador, Constantin Theodor Dumba. Their spy network took full liberty of their diplomatic status throughout the United States. Many of these agents were actively working out of one of the many German and Austria-Hungary consulates. They were well funded and had access to funds in banks throughout the United States to carry out specific attacks.


The United States is in a situation very similar to the one we had exactly one-hundred years ago today. Threats to the nation’s safety are the same. Military bases, hubs of transportation, the electric grid, the water supply and shipping ports are all targets.


Even our enemies are similar in that they can blend in as they can be American born, naturalized or immigrants. The big difference, of course, is who is attacking us. Back then is was the “hyphenated” American citizens – citizens who truly maintained allegiance to their homelands. (The use of the term “hyphenated” American was first used in the late 1800’s as a derogatory term to describe those who would not assimilate.)


Recently there has been much debate regarding the importation of tens of thousands of refugees escaping from war zones in the Middle East. There are grave concerns from security experts that the United States is ill prepared to accept such a large numbers of refugees and émigrés without a proper screening process. In fact, FBI Director James Comey has stated that the vetting process for allowing refugees into the United States is unlikely to be effective at all. He stated that there is little intelligence available to confirm the backgrounds of many of the Syrian refugees as there are no records.


Director of National Intelligence James Clapper concedes that it is likely that terrorists would attempt to infiltrate the mass of people coming to the United States in order to carry out jihad.


We need to take a common sense approach to all immigration, whether it be through legal means, illegal means or situations such as a refugee crisis. We can’t be blind to the affect that unfettered access to our nation may, can and will have on our American culture. When those new to America fail to assimilate – or more importantly acculturate – America will only be further weakened as a result.


Whether it was the German American threat from early last century, or the potential for radical Islamists to wage a war of terror here in the United States, America has been besieged. We must always remain vigilant and use the means available to us under the law to prevent access to our country, or be able to sniff out those already living here who mean to do us harm.


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