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    Battling Terrorism: Opinion / Editorial

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     News: The real message of Bin Laden's bizarre video rant

    Opinion / EditorialOsama's Vision of the Future
    By Anne Applebaum

    Osama's Vision of the Future

    And now, ladies and gentlemen, time for a quiz. Three guesses as to who said this: 

    And Iraq and Afghanistan and their tragedies; and the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes; and the abject poverty and tragic hunger in Africa; all of this is but one side of the grim face of this global system.

    Osama Bin Laden in a recently released video
    Dennis Kucinich? Naomi "No Logo" Klein? Daniel "Dany the Red" Cohn-Bendit? If you guessed "none of the above," you are either an astute observer of the anti-globalization movement, or you have already read a transcript of Osama Bin Laden's latest video production. If so, you will also know that Bin Laden, after denouncing the "capitalist system," which "seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations," calls for Americans to convert to Islam because, among other things, taxes are lower in Islamic states. It's a genuinely bizarre, almost ridiculous do*****ent—and before it is forgotten in the coming debate on Gen. David Petraeus' Iraq report, it's worth spending a few minutes, on the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, trying to understand what it might mean.

    I am not alone, I should note, in wondering whether a man who is supposedly hiding in the Hindu Kush could possibly care about the "insane taxes and real estate mortgages" endured by Americans. A number of commentators are suspicious about the video, in which Bin Laden has dyed his beard jet black—either a sign he intends to renew his jihad or evidence that the tape, though authenticated by the CIA, is fake. Others wonder whether the speech, which makes approving references to the wisdom of Noam Chomsky yet garbles the chronology of the Vietnam War, might actually have been written by Adam Gadahn, an American who does English-language propaganda for al-Qaida, has been indicted for treason, and now features on a Department of Justice "wanted" Web site, along with Bin Laden himself.

    Real or fake, the message might still hint at the direction in which al-Qaida propaganda, or at least al-Qaida propaganda designed for the Western market, is now heading. In a recent Slate piece, Reza Aslan eloquently described how the organization's list of alleged "grievances"—which now include global warming, corporate capitalism, and African poverty, as well as the American bases in Saudi Arabia—weave "local and global resentments into a single anti-American narrative, the overarching aim of which is to form a collective identity across borders and nationalities." But the narrative clearly isn't meant for only the Arab world. On the contrary, perhaps it's time to take the main message seriously: Clearly, al-Qaida's long-term goal is to convert Americans and other Westerners to its extreme version of Islam.

    Before you fall over laughing, think again. It would only take a very few such converts to do a lot of damage. The results of the Soviet Union's massive propaganda campaign on behalf of world Marxist revolution were also numerically small, but at the time, they were considered very effective: the Baader-Meinhof gang, the Italian Red Brigades, the Weather Underground. There are always disaffected young people—Gadahn is a former fan of "death metal" rock bands—and they're always looking for a cause. Conversion in general is increasingly common across Europe. Some 4,000 Germans were found to convert annually in a recent study, and if only 0.1 percent of them choose the jihadist version of Islam, that's enough to cause trouble.

    For, as news from Germany well illustrates, there is nothing quite so passionate as a recent convert. At least two of the men recently arrested and accused of plotting to bomb American interests in Germany were ...

    Posted by Editor on Wednesday, September 12 @ 10:25:16 EDT (7314 reads)
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     News: Iraq corruption whistleblowers face penalties

    Opinion / EditorialIraq corruption whistleblowers face penalties
    Associated Press

    Cases show fraud exposers have been vilified, fired, or detained for weeks

    One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

    Or worse.

    For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

    Photo: John David Mercer / AP

    Robert Isakson filed a whistleblower suit against a contractor in 2004 alleging the company bilked the U.S. government out of tens of millions of dollars. A judge later threw out a $10-million ruling in his favor.
    There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.

    He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.

    The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.

    “It was a Wal-Mart for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.”

    So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and do*****ents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq.

    For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was ...

    Posted by Editor on Saturday, August 25 @ 11:39:10 EDT (4561 reads)
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     News: Why Do They Hate Us?

    Opinion / EditorialWhy Do They Hate Us?
    Source: MSN Slate
    By Reza Aslan
    (Author of No god but God:
    The Origins, Evolution,
    and Future of Islam

    Strange answers lie in al-Qaida's writings.

    Why do they hate us?

    Americans have been asking this question for nearly six years now, and for six years President Bush and his accomplices have been offering the same tired response: "They hate us for our freedoms." With every passing year, that answer becomes less convincing.

    Part of the problem has to do with the question itself. Who exactly are they? Are we referring to al-Qaida and its cohorts? Are we talking about Iran, Syria, and the other nation-states whose interests in the Middle East do not properly align with America's? Or perhaps we mean Hamas, Hezbollah, or the myriad religious nationalist organizations across the Muslim world that share neither the ideology nor the aspirations of global, transnational groups like al-Qaida, but that have nevertheless been dumped into the same category: them.

    But what is most surprising about this question is how little interest anyone seems to have taken in examining the answers that are already on offer in multiple languages, through various media outlets, and on the Internet, from the very they who allegedly hate us so much. A spate of books has appeared over the last year, gathering the words of America's enemies. The first and best of these is Messages to the World, a collection of Osama Bin Laden's declarations translated by Duke University professor Bruce Lawrence, in which Bin Laden himself dismisses Bush's accusation that he hates America's freedoms. "Perhaps he can tell us why we did not attack Sweden, for example?"

    Photo: Amazon

    Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden (Paperback) by Osama bin Laden (Author), Bruce Lawrence (Editor), James Howarth (Translator), Osama bin Laden (Author), Bruce Lawrence (Author), James Howarth (Author)

    Photo: Amazon

    The Al Qaeda Reader (Paperback) by Raymond Ibrahim (Editor)
    Now comes a second, more complete collection, The Al Qaeda Reader, edited and translated by Raymond Ibrahim, a research librarian at the Library of Congress. Unlike Lawrence, Ibrahim includes writings from both Bin Laden and his right-hand man, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. And while both volumes provide readers with a startling series of religious and political tracts that, when taken together, chart the evolution of a disturbing (if intellectually murky) justification for religious violence, Ibrahim's collection is marred by his insistence that his book be viewed as al-Qaida's Mein Kampf.

    The comparison between the scattered declarations of a cult leader literally dwelling in a cave and the political treatise of the commander in chief of one of the 20th century's most powerful nations may be imprecise, to say the least. But Ibrahim's point is that we can learn about al-Qaida's intentions by reading their words, that a book like this can help Americans better understand the nature of the anger directed toward them.

    In the most general sense, this is certainly true. But whether a hodgepodge of ...

    Posted by Editor on Thursday, August 09 @ 11:59:26 EDT (4015 reads)
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     We are offering the terrorist a megaphone for his cause

    Opinion / EditorialWe are offering the terrorist a megaphone for his cause
    The Guardian
    By Simon Jenkins

    Hysteria politics feasts on the threat of violence, and accords the status of political crusader to the common criminal

    Don't panic. Stay calm. Don't play the terrorist's game. Show no fear or sense of disruption. Don't change your behaviour or way of life. Pass no laws curbing freedom. Just shrug and go about your normal business.
    Omigod! Now they are doctors! Wake the prime minister, round up the Arabs and order armoured helicopters. Stop the presses and clear the schedules. The fiends from outer Asia are cunning. They could be poisoning hospital drips. They could be lacing paracetamol and putting anthrax in Elastoplast. Declare another bomb "imminent". Surround Heathrow with tanks, fortify Wimbledon, put blast blocks round Waterloo and ack-ack guns on Parliament Hill. Raise the threat level from critical to panic. On second thoughts make that totally hysterical.

    "Doctor Evil", cries the Sun, demanding we "Rip up the hated human rights act". "Docs of War", chimes the Mirror, discarding "innocent until proved guilty". "Terror cell in the NHS", shrieks the Express. Nor is the rest of the media much better. Fed by anonymous security officials eager to boast of their successes, almost all reports have contrived to link the bombs with al-Qaida, 9/11, the NHS, mayhem and martyrdom. 

    Photo: The Guardian
    Comment by Simon Jenkins
    The public realm in Britain is in rampant retreat before terrorism, largely because politicians and the media feast on any story involving actual or potential violence. Politicians want to present themselves as calm and statesmanlike, yet visible, defenders of public security, as their poll ratings soar. Gordon Brown's "strength" rating jumped 14 points in a Times/Populus poll yesterday. The media can revel in fear journalism, throwing all sense of proportion to the winds and filling pages and airwaves with speculation as to what "might have happened if ..." and what "could yet happen unless ...", scanning that horizon so appetising to every news desk: the worst-case scenario. The BBC re-enacts a Pythonesque sketch with a white-haired boffin igniting a can of petrol in a sandpit and remarking that it could have been a thousand times worse. The word suspect has become synonymous with mass murderer.

    The sanest person last Friday was the reviled Downing Street official who decided not to wake the prime minister at two in the morning to tell him of suspect cars in the West End. Nobody was dead. The police were on the case. The home secretary had been woken (a deed apparently vital to any anti-terror operation). Matters would be clearer by breakfast. Leave the poor man his sleep.

    Gordon Brown was reportedly furious at not being disturbed. Hysteria politics demands that the prime minister be roused in the middle of the night. Under the old regime, Tony Blair and John Reid would have ...

    Posted by Editor on Thursday, July 05 @ 05:00:00 EDT (4025 reads)
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     News: Terror on the Tracks

    Opinion / EditorialTerror on the Tracks
    By Carl Prine

    Let's say the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter really was a terrorist.
    What if those were bombs he was placing on the chemical placard of a rail car inside the Thatcher Chemical Co. plant in suburban Las Vegas, and not his business cards?

    Instead of a camera recording lax security over some of the deadliest chemicals ever produced, he held a detonator? And the string of chlorine gas cars trundling down Union Pacific Railroad tracks in the heart of Vegas was his prey?

    If he was a terrorist, and his goal was to release a potentially catastrophic cloud of deadly gases, explosives and caustic acids -- in unguarded cars, left abandoned -- then a U.S. Department of Homeland Security's planning scenario might apply: 17,500 people dead, another 10,000 suffering injuries and 100,000 more flooding trauma wards, convinced they've been poisoned. The environmental damage would take weeks to clean up, forcing the evacuation of as many as 70,000 residents from a city built on sin, military might and heavy industry

    Less detailed and unlikely "Worst Case Scenario" plans filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggest the gases that could be released by the reporter perched atop millions of pounds of zinc chloride, phosphoric and sulfuric acids, and chlorine gas could drift 18 miles and threaten 1.1 million people with death, displacement or injury

    But, luckily, he was only a reporter.

    Five years after terrorists murdered 2,996 people in the Sept. 11 attacks, the Trib embarked on a probe to see how well railroads and their customers secure lethal hazardous materials -- termed "hazmat" by first responders. The road map: Reports compiled since 2003 by the Federal Railroad Administration detailing defects in the way railroads and chemical plants conducted counter-terrorism security planning and worker training.

    Armed with that data, the Trib penetrated 48 plants and the freight lines that service them to reach potentially catastrophic chemicals in populated parts of Seattle, Tacoma, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, San Francisco's Bay Area and the New Jersey suburbs, as well as two port facilities in Oregon and Washington.

    "What you uncovered is a criminal tragedy, and it's a criminal tragedy that's just waiting to happen. It's also criminal what we haven't done about this," said U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, who has sponsored legislation designed to revamp rail hazmat security nationwide and pledges to hold hearings on the issue.

    Biden has taken at least 7,000 round trips by rail from his home in Wilmington to Washington, D.C., since entering the Senate in 1972. He routinely talks to railworkers, and when he pulls into a depot, he scans for hazmat tankers, guards and gates.

    He loves railroads so much that he wants to protect them by slashing tax cuts and take the extra cash to fund every recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that investigated the 2001 attacks. He demands more federal cops in the rail yards, more cameras and gates, less dangerous chemicals on the tracks and rerouting of particularly lethal shipments around big cities.

    "All you have to do is look," Biden said. "I can walk into a freight yard right now, and I can put plastique explosive on a railcar and detonate it. This is a distant concern to many people in Washington, D.C., but I see and I hear about it every day and we have to do something about it."

    The Association of American Railroads, with a membership hauling almost 90 percent of the nation's hazmat tank cars, said freight security has improved since 2001 but conceded more has to be done to protect 240,000 miles of mostly unguarded line.

    "You've got to remember the open architecture of railroads," said Nancy Wilson, AAR vice president and director of security. "We're not static facilities. We cannot protect every railcar, every rail yard or every customer's facility all the time."

    In the years since the Sept. 11 attacks, intelligence tips have warned about U.S. chemical plant targets and terrorists have hit freight trains abroad. Still, Homeland Security and the AAR insist there's no indication that terrorists are plotting hazmat rail attacks in the U.S. now.

    Good thing, because the Trib found:

    • Little visible differences in security between the largest and smallest train lines. The Trib easily reached hazmat shipments or locomotives controlled by 12 railroads, ranging from giant Union Pacific to the tiny, city-owned Tacoma Municipal Beltline. Workers never challenged the reporter as he climbed trains, photographed derailing levers or peeked into signaling boxes controlling rail traffic.
    • No police presence. Despite long trips down tracks nationwide, no rail cops detained the reporter. At a Clifton, N.J., station where explosive railcars hug teeming commuter lines, a Transit Police cruiser idled unconcerned while the reporter spent an hour around hazmat cars. According to the railroads, fewer than 2,300 cops patrol the tracks, about one for every 100 miles.
    • Shoddy security even at 11 refineries, railroads and chemical plants bound by "stringent" voluntary guidelines created by the AAR and other industries. The Trib penetrated security at four railways adhering to AAR's guidelines. Seven plants that had voluntarily upgraded security to meet standards of their trade groups also had tracks open to terrorists.
    No executive at a large railroad would talk to the Trib about the newspaper's findings. Local and state security officials in California, Washington and Georgia also were silent when the Trib tried to discuss hazmat security.

    The Nevada Homeland Security Commission, however, is investigating shortfalls uncovered by the Trib's Vegas vacation.

    "Closing gates, making sure workers and guards and police are aware of our chemicals, that's important," said Commission Supervisor Larry Casey. "Unfortunately, the farther we get from 9/11, the more people forget about staying vigilant.

    "Then there's the funding issue. The federal pot gets smaller and smaller. The farther we get from the major event in our lives, the threat goes up while the money to stop it goes down."

    Chlorine gas unguarded in the suburbs of Las Vegas. The Trib reached 11 tankers filled with deadly gases and acids inside plants or along tracks in one of America's largest cities.

    In 2001, five of the 19 al-Qaida terrorists visited Las Vegas before hijacking airliners for suicide missions to Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

    Las Vegas annually hosts more than 37 million visitors. The city received about $28 million in federal counter-terrorism funding last year, but officials have been told that's being scaled back, leaving almost nothing for safeguarding the tracks latticing the city.

    According to Homeland Security's Inspector General, 90 percent of taxpayer anti-terrorism funding has gone to protecting aviation. In 2006, $4.6 billion flowed to securing U.S. airports, leaving $32 million for safeguarding surface transportation, including railroads.

    The Burning of Atlanta

    Following FRA's deficiency reports to 12 facilities near Atlanta, the Trib found numerous security snafus in one of Dixie's largest cities.

    Along CSX lines in Dekalb County, a Trib reporter climbed unguarded stores of deadly insecticides, flammable petroleum distillates and acetone, a chemical that can trigger a vapor cloud explosion if leaked.

    Since 2003, FRA has noted 53 defects with CSX counter-terrorism planning and training in five states, including Georgia.

    A year ago, FRA reported that Bulkmatic's plant in the Atlanta suburbs failed to properly address potential intruders. A fence "locked" with almost 2 feet of slack meant a Trib reporter could stroll by employees there who made no effort to challenge him. Federal inspectors had previously written up Bulkmatic chemical operations there and in Buffalo and Chicago for security problems.

    After visiting Alchem's Atlanta's caustic soda operation in 2005, an ...

    Posted by Editor on Tuesday, July 03 @ 03:48:10 EDT (6678 reads)
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    Opinion / Editorial

    Posted by editor on Saturday, November 11 @ 12:23:12 EST (2431 reads)
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     News: Developing nations to slam US global cop role

    Opinion / EditorialDeveloping nations to slam US global cop role
    Reuters South Africa
    By Anthony Boadle

    HAVANA (Reuters) - Developing nations will denounce the United States' role as global policeman at a summit in Havana this week, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said on Sunday. Perez Roque said the summit was not organized to attack the United States but developing countries could not remain silent over "unilateral" actions taken by Washington in policing the world since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. "This summit will denounce the threats of preventive wars, the proclaimed rights of the world's only superpower to occupy countries illegally and change regimes, and the existence of secret prisons for torture," he said at a news conference. Diplomats said moderates like India and other nations friendly with Washington wanted no such finger-pointing at the United States during the summit. Some 50 heads of state and government will attend the meeting of the 116-nation Non-Aligned Movement. Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Washington's longest-lasting ideological foe, may not be well enough to attend the meetings. Perez Roque said he did not know if ...

    Posted by Editor on Sunday, September 17 @ 05:00:00 EDT (3012 reads)
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     News: Iraq is Not War on Terror, Say Americans

    Opinion / EditorialIraq is Not War on Terror, Say Americans
    Angus Reid Global Scan
    Polls & Research

    Many adults in the United States think the coalition effort is not related to the operation in Afghanistan, according to a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN. 53 per cent of respondents think the Iraq war is not part of the U.S.-led war on terror. Afghanistan has been the main battleground in the war on terrorism. The conflict began in October 2001, after the Taliban regime refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked and crashed four airplanes on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people. At least 471 soldiers—including 333 Americans—have died in the war on terrorism, either in support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom or as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 62 per cent of respondents believe neither side is wining the war on terror. The coalition effort against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq was launched in March 2003. At least 2,671 American soldiers have died during the military operation, and more than 20,100 troops have been wounded in action. On Sept. 11, U.S. president George W. Bush addressed the nation to discuss the war on terrorism. Bush declared, "I’m often asked why we’re in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My administration, the Congress, and the United Nations saw the threat—and after 9/11, Saddam’s regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power." Polling Data Do you think the Iraq war is part of the U.S.-led war on terror? Yes 45% No 53% Not sure 2% Who do you think is winning the war on terror? Neither side 62% The United States 25% The insurgents 12% Not sure 1% Source: Opinion Research Corporation / CNN
    Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,004 American adults, conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, 2006. Margin of error is 5 per cent.

    Posted by Editor on Saturday, September 16 @ 05:00:00 EDT (2902 reads)
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     News: The Middle East after the 9/11 attacks: an Israeli view

    Opinion / EditorialThe Middle East after the 9/11 attacks: an Israeli view
    Daily Star - Lebanon, Lebanon
    By Yossi Alpher

    The events of September 11, 2001, altered the Israeli-Palestinian equation both directly and indirectly. Directly, because Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat fairly quickly sorted themselves out into the two dichotomous camps that emerged in the Bush administration's view of the Middle East after 9/11: good guys and bad guys; those who supported the American war on terror and those who (accurately or not) were deemed to be against it. With regard to terrorism, this development dramatically upgraded the Israeli-American alliance. Yet, this was hardly an automatic outcome of 9/11. After all, Arafat also condemned the Al-Qaeda attacks (though the Palestinian "street" seemingly did not). And Israel initially dealt with the ramifications of 9/11 clumsily. Sharon briefly angered the United States by comparing Bush to Chamberlain. I recall a senior American official telling a senior Israeli, to the latter's consternation, that for the US 9/11 was the equivalent of the Holocaust, thereby implying that its ramifications were not open to Israeli interpretation or manipulation - as in comparing Arafat to Osama bin Laden or equating the Palestinians with the Al-Qaeda terrorists. Ultimately it was the Karine-A affair - the attempt by Arafat to import sophisticated weaponry from Iran in January 2002, several months after 9/11 - that sealed Arafat's fate in American eyes by allying him with the "axis of evil" camp. Israelis, in the midst of the intifada, felt a huge sense of relief: They were no longer alone in the struggle against ...

    Posted by Editor on Thursday, September 14 @ 05:00:00 EDT (3727 reads)
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     News: If Only Bin Laden Had a Stained Blue Dress...

    Opinion / EditorialIf Only Bin Laden Had a Stained Blue Dress...
    Human Events
    by Ann Coulter

    If you wonder why it took 50 years to get the truth about Joe McCarthy, consider the fanatical campaign of the Clinton acolytes to kill an ABC movie that relies on the 9/11 Commission Report, which whitewashed only 90 percent of Clinton's cowardice and incompetence in the face of terrorism, rather than 100 percent.

    Islamic jihadists attacked America year after year throughout the Clinton administration. They did everything but blow up his proverbial "bridge to the 21st century." Every year but one, Clinton found an excuse not to fight back. The first month Clinton was in office, Islamic terrorists with suspected links to al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center. For the first time ever, a terrorist act against America was treated not as a matter of national security, but exclusively as a simple criminal offense. The individual bombers were tried in a criminal court. (The one plotter who got away fled to Iraq, that peaceful haven of kite-flying children until Bush invaded and turned it into a nation of dangerous lunatics.) In 1995 and 1996, various branches of the Religion of Peace -- al-Qaida, Hezbollah and the Iranian "Party of God" -- staged car bomb attacks on American servicemen in Saudi Arabia, killing 24 members of our military in all. Each time, the Clinton administration came up with an excuse to do nothing. Despite the Democrats' current claim that only the capture of Osama bin Laden will magically end terrorism forever, Clinton turned down Sudan's offer to hand us bin Laden in 1996. That year, Mohammed Atta proposed the 9/11 attack to bin Laden. Clinton refused the handover of ...

    Posted by Editor on Wednesday, September 13 @ 20:28:38 EDT (3926 reads)
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     News: Partnering with Pakistan

    Opinion / EditorialPartnering with Pakistan
    National Review Online, NY
    By Lisa Curtis

    We need to broaden counterterrorism efforts there

    Two major terrorism plots in the last six weeks highlight the central role that Pakistan plays in addressing global terrorism — a role that could become larger and more successful if officials in Washington and Islamabad make the right moves.

    One of these plots — a plan to blow up airline flights mid-air between the United Kingdom and the United States — was successfully thwarted because British, American, and Pakistani security agencies worked together. The other — a series of bombings July 11 that killed nearly 200 on commuter trains in Mumbai, India — has been linked by Indian officials to a terrorist group operating in Pakistan. Investigations into both plots continue and will require full Pakistani cooperation and follow-up.

    Early revelations related to the airliner plot indicate that the would-be terrorists likely received direction, training, inspiration, and/or funding through sources located in Pakistan. Reports emerged last week that one of the main figures involved in the plot — British citizen Rashid Rauf, who was arrested in Pakistan earlier this month –- had previously been a member of a Pakistan-based terrorist group that operates in Indian Kashmir, the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM). The other suspects — also mainly British citizens of Pakistani origin — presumably conducted meetings, operations, and fundraising efforts in the U.K. and possibly other countries. Of course, their links to Pakistan do not directly implicate the state. In fact, U.S. and British officials have praised Pakistan for its assistance in preventing the attack.

    Pakistani cooperation in the War on Terror has been critical in ...

    Posted by Editor on Sunday, August 27 @ 05:00:00 EDT (3373 reads)
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     News: Indiana is a terrorist target?

    Opinion / EditorialIndiana is a terrorist target?
    Buffalo News,  United States

    AUSTIN, Texas - The most cunning refinement yet in the administration's plot to scare the liver, lights and onions out of us with Tales of Terror Plots is the Department of Homeland Security's brilliant move to declare Indiana the national center of terrorism, with 8,591 potential targets. Many citizens have questioned the Indiana move - some claiming it is a waste of money trying to stop attacks on the Wabash Cannonball. The Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument might merit a little more attention. This is precisely why it is better to have Michael Chertoff and Karl Rove making the Homeland Security decisions, rather than Osama bin Laden. The defeat of ...

    Posted by Editor on Saturday, August 26 @ 05:00:00 EDT (5614 reads)
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     News: Terrorism's Enablers

    Opinion / EditorialTerrorism's Enablers
    American Enterprise Institute, DC
    By David Frum
    ARTICLES National Post  (Canada)
    Attention nervous flyers: Don't think you can escape the terrorists by taking the train.

    On July 31, an alert German train conductor spotted an abandoned suitcase on a regional train as it passed through the city of Dortmund, in western Germany. That same day a similar suitcase was found near Koblenz, in the German south. The two suitcases contained bottles of gasoline, propane gas and detonators--a deadly effective firebomb that could have killed or horribly burned hundreds of travellers. They were wired to explode at the same time, with at least as much force as the 7/7 bombings in London.

    At a press conference yesterday, German police announced they had identified two suspects in the case: Two men were photographed by surveillance cameras carrying the suitcases into the Cologne railway station--the station from which the Dortmund and Koblenz trains had departed. The suitcases had been stuffed with clothes to prevent the gasoline bottles from rattling. On examination, the clothes proved to contain little pieces of paper covered in Arabic lettering.

    With London and Toronto, the German suitcase bombs raise to three the number of mega-murder plots exposed in this single summer. Had police been less vigilant or less lucky, we could well now be mourning the deaths of thousands of American and British air travellers, Canadian office workers and German commuters.

    But let's not get carried away by relief and enthusiasm.

    For even as Western police forces become more capable, our terrorist enemies become in their way more dangerous.

    Increasingly they are born on native soil. They speak the language with a local accent--and are protected by all the legal rights of citizenship.

    Three of the 24 British suspects arrested have turned out to be converts to Islam. Daniel Pipes has long warned that extremist Islam might replace radical leftism as the default ideology for angry and alienated young people looking for an alternative to democratic capitalism. Those warnings seem now to be coming true.

    It might have been hoped that the spread of extremism among Western Muslim communities would jolt those communities into soul-searching and self-criticism; into a rejection of violence, intolerance and anti-Semitism. Some suggested that Western Muslim communities would develop a new democratic Islam that might be re-exported back into the Middle East.

    No doubt there are individual Muslims in the West working hard at these vital tasks even as we ...

    Posted by Editor on Friday, August 25 @ 05:00:00 EDT (7595 reads)
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     News: Fighting Words: The Abuse of Islam in Political Rhetoric

    Opinion / EditorialFighting Words: The Abuse of Islam in Political Rhetoric
    By Ali Khan, Washburn University School of Law

    It is becoming fashionable for elected officials in the Anglo-American world, notably in the United States and the United Kingdom, to employ abusive language involving Islam. Phrases such as "Islamic terrorism," "totalitarian Islam," "crimes of Islam," and "Islamic fascism" are freely used, with sadist disrespect, to condemn real and imagined terrorists who practice the faith of Islam. For years, and long before the 9/11 attacks, neo-conservative scholarship has been determined to popularize the concept of the essentialist terrorist [PDF] who purportedly draws his deepest inspiration from the puritanical beliefs of Islam and equipped with cruelty, commits violence against innocent Jews and Christians. According to this, occupations, invasions, territorial thefts, assassinations, house demolitions, human rights violations, and other such grievances have nothing to do with Islamic resistance. Islamic terrorism, according to neo-conservative scholarship, stems from the Sharia, from passages of the Quran, and from a puritanical mindset that manufactures pretexts to maim and kill. These killers, it is further contended, wish to impose Islamic law over the entire world.

    Gradually but successfully, the propagandized essentialist terrorist and the attendant abusive language against Islam have entered political rhetoric. Presidents, prime ministers, congressmen, senators, and other officials are now freely using abusive language to malign Islam, not through uncaught moments of Freudian slips but as a policy of expressive audacity.

    Commenting on the alleged plan of British nationals of Pakistani descent to blow up US-bound planes over the Atlantic, President Bush said: "This is a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists." Senator Rick Santorum distinguishes between terrorism and Islamic fascism, arguing that terrorism is a tactic but what the West is fighting is “Islamic fascism” which is “truly evil” and which is “as big a threat today as Nazism and communism.”

    This new trend to openly curse Islam echoes the ...

    Posted by Editor on Thursday, August 24 @ 05:00:00 EDT (4041 reads)
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     News: United States calls for cessation of hostilities

    Opinion / EditorialUnited States calls for cessation of hostilities
    Siber News Media, NY
    By Shakuntala Perera

     a) The United States yesterday called for an immediate cessation of hostilities from both Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, while reiterating its ban on the LTTE. Comments against (a): Banning the LTTE, one of the parties to the conflict by US, EU or Canada does not lead to Peace but as seen now, leads to war. It smacks of double standard and hypocrisy, when the United States calls in common, for an immediate cessation of hostilities from both the government and the LTTE, knowing very well that, the LTTE is ever ready, but the Government is not ready with its hawkish policies. Further, very unreasonably, and impartially it reiterates its ban only on the LTTE, while allowing the Singhalese regime who commits high profile atrocities over the Tamils to go scot-free. Furthermore, making a mountain out of a molehill, it is very keen on banning the LTTE when it, resorts to retaliatory attacks against the armed forces. b) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary South and Central Asian Affairs, Ambassador Steven Mann ending a two day visit to Sri Lanka maintained that ‘there was a clear responsibility for the LTTE to cease all acts of violence immediately and return to negotiations.’

    Comments against (b): If the US maintains genuinely that both parties should strictly adhere to the cease-fire agreement, and the party which violates would be found fault with, then it could be a signal to indicate that they have a judicious view on the conflict. US can easily find out from the facilitators of the peace process based on a Cease-fire agreement, as to who has violated the CFA.

    What a strange twist of fate, that Ambassador Steven Mann is ominously silent about the daily brutal massacres by SL govt. forces including the killings of seventeen humanitarian aid agency workers last week and sixty-one school children this week but he expects the LTTE not to retaliate! One is at a loss to understand his logic or his lopsided sense of justice and fairplay that condones state terrorism, while condemning retaliatory attacks! His comments lack impartiality to be taken seriously.

    c) Meeting the media immediately after meeting President Rajapaksa last evening he said the US was ‘deeply concerned’ about the fighting in the recent past. Comments against (c): US need to be ...

    Posted by Editor on Wednesday, August 23 @ 05:00:00 EDT (4175 reads)
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     News: A Troubling Prosecution

    Opinion / EditorialA Troubling Prosecution
    National Review Online, NY
    By Jonathan H. Adler & Michael Berry

    United States v. Rosen has its thorns

    Can journalists be prosecuted for knowingly reporting classified information related to the War on Terror? What about Washington lobbyists who pass on secret information concerning defense matters or foreign affairs? Some would be inclined to say that except in the most exceptional cir*****stances such communications are protected by the First Amendment, but a recent decision by a federal court in Virginia seems to conclude otherwise. The decision sends a clear warning to reporters who cover the war on terrorism, as well as scholars, think-tank analysts, and lobbyists who study, write, and advocate about issues bearing on the national security. Read broadly, the decision could sanction federal prosecution of anyone who willfully communicates classified national defense information to the public. Fortunately, the decision also contains limiting language that provides some safeguard for First Amendment values and makes it more difficult for federal prosecutors to convict potential defendants engaged in constitutionally protected activity, journalists and non-journalists alike.

    The case — United States v. Rosen — involves two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) charged with conspiring to communicate “information relating to the national defense” to someone “not entitled to receive it” in violation of Section 793 of the Espionage Act. Their alleged co-conspirator, a former Defense Department employee, has already pled guilty.

    Although reference to the Espionage Act conjures up images of covert spying and leaking, neither lobbyist is charged with such covert acts. Instead, the defendants’ alleged misconduct sounds a lot like what Washington lobbyists, reporters, and academics do every day. The indictment details a series of phone calls and meetings between the lobbyists and a contact at the Department of Defense. Some of the meetings were over breakfast and lunch. One was at a baseball game, and another was at Union Station. During the meetings, the Defense Department employee allegedly passed along classified information to the two lobbyists. According to the indictment, the lobbyists then passed that information on to others at AIPAC, “a senior fellow at a Washington, D.C. think tank,” foreign officials, and reporters, all in violation of the Espionage Act.

    Conservatives have lined up on both sides of the case. The indictment was brought by ...

    Posted by Editor on Tuesday, August 22 @ 05:00:00 EDT (6050 reads)
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    Opinion / EditorialIRAN'S TERROR GIFTS
    FrontPage, CA
    By FrontPage Magazine

    IRAN'S TERROR GIFTS The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Israelis have found sensitive night-vision goggles on Hezbollah fighters that originated in the UK. The tactical equipment appears to come from a shipment sent from the British government to Iran in 2003, intended to help interdict narcotics. Instead, the Iranians put them to another use entirely (via The Asylum):
    Israeli intelligence officials have complained to Britain and the United States that sensitive night-vision equipment recovered from Hezbollah fighters during the war in Lebanon had been exported by Britain to Iran. British officials said the equipment had been intended for use in a U.N. anti-narcotics campaign. Israeli officials say they believe the state-of-the-art equipment, found in Hezbollah command-and-control headquarters in southern Lebanon during the just-concluded war, was part of a British government-approved shipment of 250 pieces of night-vision equipment sent to Iran in 2003. Israeli military intelligence confirmed that one of the pieces of equipment is a Thermo-vision 1000 LR tactical night-vision system, serial No. 155010, part No. 193960, manufactured by Agema, a high-tech equipment company with branches in Bedfordshire, England, and San Diego. A spokesman for Agema in San Diego denied all knowledge of the system. The equipment, which needed special export-license approval from the British government, was passed to the Iranians through a program run and administered by the U.N. Drug Control Program. The equipment uses infrared imaging to provide nighttime surveillance that allows the user to detect people and vehicles moving in the dark at a range of several miles.
    The UN-brokered program has allowed the UK to sell military equipment to the Iranians despite the standoff over the nuclear program in Teheran. The Iranians were supposed to use the goggles to track nocturnal movements of drugrunners trying to get heroin and opium over the Afghanistan-Iran border. Instead of stopping the flow of drugs, however, the goggles allowed Hezbollah guerillas to ...

    Posted by Editor on Monday, August 21 @ 10:45:01 EDT (2811 reads)
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     News: Why We MUST Profile

    Opinion / EditorialWhy We MUST Profile
    FrontPage, CA 
    By Robert Spencer

    To profile or not to profile? Some recent suspicious incidents involving mass purchase of cell phones by Middle Eastern men have given this debate a new urgency.

    On Tuesday, terrorism charges were dropped against two Muslims from Dearborn, Michigan, who had been arrested in Ohio. Ali Houssaiky and Osama Sabhi Abulhassan had been stopped for a traffic violation a week before; in their car, sheriff’s deputies found $11,000 in cash, airline passenger lists, material about airport security procedures, and twelve cell phones. It turned out that they had bought 600 cell phones recently.

    Cell phones can be used as detonators. They’re also a ready means of non-traceable communication, as well as an easy source of ready cash, as they can be resold to people who don’t want their calls traceable. There have been several other strange incidents involving mass purchase of such phones recently: three Palestinians were recently arrested in Texas with 1,000 cell phones in their van, and there was another incident involving “Middle Eastern men” buying cell phones in large quantities in Tucson, Arizona.

    These incidents, especially all coming around the same time, are extremely suspicious, but even before prosecutors dropped the terror charges against Houssaiky and Abulhassan, charges of racial profiling began surfacing in the mainstream media. A public defender handling Abulhassan’s case, Ray Smith, said of his client at a hearing: “If his name was Joe Smith, we wouldn’t be here. His origin and appearance and name condition us to (think), ‘Oh my gosh, he’s a terrorist.’” The dropping of the charges will only reinforce this impression, despite the fact that many questions remain about the case and Washington County, Ohio Prosecutor James Schneider said that he still might press terrorism-related charges against the pair. According to AP, “Relatives of the men said they were just trying to make money by reselling the phones and were targeted because of their Arab backgrounds.”

    It is unclear, however, what those who are charging that racial profiling was a factor in the arrest of Houssaiky and Abulhassan would have preferred to have happened. The facts of the case remain that they had lists of airline passengers, information on airport security, a large amount of cash, and instruments capable of being used as detonators. I hope that in such cir*****stances – given the fact that jihad terrorists have abundantly established their taste for targeting airplanes -- investigators would have looked into the possibility of terrorism even if Houssaiky and Abulhassan had been two Norwegian grandmothers.

    But the fact that they are two young Muslim men makes this ...

    Posted by Editor on Thursday, August 17 @ 05:05:00 EDT (7503 reads)
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