[star]The American Mind[star]

October 11, 2006

BREAKING!! AIRCRAFT HITS NYC APARTMENT BUILDING

A small plane helicopter aircraft just hit the Bellaire building in New York City. It's a 50-story building built in 1988. It contains 183 apartments. Two stories are on fire.

I firmly believe this was a terrorist attack. Planes don't just fly into buildings. Since it's become more difficult to hijack airliners--mostly due to passengers who will fight back like United 93--small planes would become easier, though less powerful tools for attacks.

"Plane Crashes into Manhattan Building"

UPDATE: NYC police and firemen now agree it was a helicopter instead of a small aircraft. ABC Radio reports traffic helicopters have crashed around the city. Usually pilots crash them into the East River.

UPDATE II: ABC Radio reports the staff of the Bellaire Tower say no one was hurt in the crash and fire.

Kim Priestap at Wizbang is also covering the story.

UPDATE III: Again from ABC Radio: The FAA says the aircraft was fixed wing and not a helicopter, didn't file a flight plan, and didn't talk to air traffic controllers.

UPDATE IV: The NYC fire department reports two people have died.

WTMJ radio reports an FBI spokesman has said there's no indication of terrorism.

ABC Radio reports people in the area say they saw a helicopter in distress.

UPDATE V: From ABC Radio: The Justice Department doesn't see this as a terrorist attack.

Here's the location of the building on Google Maps. It's almost touching the East River.

An apartment in the building is (was) going for $455,000.

ABC Radio now reports NORAD has scrambled fighters over cities as a precautionary measure.

UPDATE VI: Via Allahpundit here's the web page of the Belaire Apartments.

There's more coverage with video at Stop the ACLU.

UPDATE VII: After an initial fall the Dow Jones fought back to only being 15 points down for the day.

The market's concerns about this being a terrorist attack were eased. From reports from people in NYC seeing a plane looping strangely I'm thinking it wasn't terrorism.

UPDATE VIII: WNBC reports the plane was a Cirrus SR20.

UPDATE IX: ESPN reports New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was killed when his plane crashed into the apartment building. Thanks, DJ, for the link.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 25, 2006

British Wack al-Qaeda Bombmaker

Omar al-Farouq, who escaped from an Afghan prison in 2005, was killed by British troops in Basra, Iraq:

Burbridge said he could not comment on whether it was the same man who allegedly led al-Qaida's Southeast Asia operations, citing British policy not allowing him to link an individual to a specific organization.

But a Basra police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said it was the same man. The officer said al-Farouq entered Iraq three months ago, was known to be an expert in bomb making and went by the name Mahmoud Ahmed while in Basra.

Al-Farouq and three other al-Qaida suspects escaped from Bagram, in central Afghanistan, in July 2005, but the Pentagon waited until November to confirm his escape. The delay upset Indonesia, which had arrested al-Farouq in 2002 and turned him over to the United States.


Al-Farouq's wife should now accept he was indeed a terrorist:
In Indonesia last November, al-Farouq's wife said the U.S. government should have put her husband on trial.

"My husband was kidnapped by America but they never officially told us ... for more than three years," Mira Agustina said then. "I don't believe that my husband was a terrorist. He is only an ordinary man who cried when he watched movies about violence."

"I was shocked when news broke that my husband was a terrorist wanting to kill many people," she said, adding that she told her two daughters that their father had gone off to America "to work."


Instead he went around Southeast and Central Asia planning attacks on the U.S.

This gives more validity to the "flypaper" theory of the Iraq War. Security consultant Ken Conboy said, "He's Iraqi after all. If he's not hiding out (in Afghanistan or Pakistan), he's probably headed to Iraq to join the fight there." (Emphaisis mine.)

"British Forces Kill Leading Terrorist"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 23, 2006

Osama bin Laden: Dead and Alive

The brief hope that Osama bin Laden was dead (and by a "water-born" illness no less) cheered me up this rainy Saturday. But that's not the case according to Pakistani intelligence.

"Captured and Dead/Sick Savage Report"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 11, 2006

More Sep. 11 Rememberences

Here are some more posts on the anniversary of the Sep. 11 attacks:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four Years Ago Today...

On 09.11.2002 I wrote about Bruce Springsteen's The Rising:

For today, I was set to pan Bruce Springsteen's The Rising. I've been listening to the album for weeks to see if the first pop culture artifact inspired by September 11 adequately conveyed virtuous feelings. For most of my listenings, I've been skeptical. The songs tell stories of the victims and friends and family left behind. What isn't there is the justified anger directed toward our enemies. Al-qaeda methodically planned and funded an attack that turned civilian airliners into human-guided cruise missiles. It was brilliant and horrific at the same time. The closest Springsteen gets is the line, "I want an eye for an eye." He has an entire song devoted to the view of a suicide bomber ("Paradise") but not even a line about a special ops soldier helping liberate Afghanistan. (I'm sure Springsteen has the talent to create some lyric around blazing a laser on a target for an on-coming B-52.)

But then there's "Into the Fire." Through that song, Springsteen honors all those heroes who ran into the fiery towers. One line reads, "Up the stairs, into the fire/I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher." Those people knew they had loved ones back home. They knew they were putting their lives on the line for others, but it was their duty to go in, so they did.

Then there's the title song. It's an anthem. Drums are beating loud. Guitars are strumming hard. Nils Lofgren is putting his all into the slide guitar. Background singers are singing to God as well as the listener. Energy crackles off that song. You want to pump your fist when everyone sings "Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li."

"The Rising" is also a spiritual. Springsteen mentions laying hands; Mary's in the garden. The song is steeped in gospel music, and it uplifts.

Continuing on the theme of upliftment and hope is "My City of Ruins." While everything seems hopeless, Springsteen calls the listener to "Come on, rise up!" Even in the darkest of moments there's hope. Even though the towers fells, the Pentagon was scarred, and a field is all that remains of Flight 93, the American Idea survives.

I can't pan a work of art that honestly expressed hurt, sadness, sorrow, and hope. Do I want more artists to take on the myriad of emotions from September 11? Absolutely! We need someone to put America's anger and sense of justice to music, and it has to be more sophisticated than Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)." As well as proper physical memorials, we need musical pieces to live on long past all of us.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Five Years Ago Today...

I wrote on 09.11.2001:

Evil's shadow fell upon the United States today. Even now, a cloud of death covers the ruins of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The survivors from the WTC looked like ghosts. Their skin and clothes were covered with grey-white ash. Their mouths gaped open gasping for air. They were moaning spirits with very disturbed souls.

Colin Powell said, "A terrible, terrible tragedy has befallen my nation."

Newt Gingrich called these attacks a "21th Century Pearl Harbor." It's haunting that the spirit of that 1941 attack comes only a few months after a horrendous movie on it came out.

After watching the television clips over and over, all the events still don't feel real. Sure, I saw a real-life plane dive-bomb into a perfectly good building and then I watched two of the world's tallest buildings collapse, but it just doesn't completely register as real for me. Last night, I watched a James Bond movie filled with explosions and typical Hollywood over-the-top antics. Then this morning, my mother yells for me to wake up because airplanes crashed into the WTC and the Pentagon. At first, I didn't believe it. I just laughed it off and asked her if it was the end of the world. Evil people actually hijacking planes and using them as flying wrecking balls is what happens on the silver screen, not in real life.

But what happened is very, very real. Thousands of people are probably dead, and millions more fear of what will happen next (while causing gasoline runs as local stations).

I refuse to succumb to simple-mindedness and blame foreigners in general and Arab-Americans in particular for these awful acts. Neither a racial nor ethnic group is responsible for the acts of individuals. In the Milwaukee area, Arabian Fest was cancelled for this weekend. I hope people will realize that very, very few Arab-Americans condone suicide bombing.

Strong, decisive action is required to maintain the integrity and security of the United States. What happened today was an act of war and must be treated as such. Any action less than a declaration of war by the Congress will be a dissapointment. Of course, there needs to be a thorough investigation to determine who the bastards are who orchestrated these acts. If it does end up being Osama Bin Laden, he should be hunted down and destroyed along with every vestige of his organization. In war there is no place for trials. The United States is at war and must leave every possible military option available. Nations that have helped harbor the terrorists also must pay the price for their uncivilized deeds.

America's way of life is at stake. We are the leader of the free world. This threat must be dealt with.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Remembering Eric Allen

2996.jpg

As part of the 2,996 project TAM is remembering Eric Allen, 44, who died in the World Trade Center on Sep. 11, 2001. As part of Rescue Squad 18 Eric was one of the brave firemen who ran into the twin towers to save as many people as possible. He sacrificed his life for theirs.

A wife and daughter will forever miss him. Me, a little weblogger half a continent away can only say, "thank you."

"Eric Allen: All the Right Things"

I will also link to other participants of the 2,996 Project as I wander the blogosphere today.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 06, 2006

Ground Zero Workers Experience Lung Problems

With the five-year anniversary of the Sep. 11 attacks soon upon us remember there were victims besides the dead and wounded from the attacks. Rescue workers who toiled at Ground Zero also suffered from Osama bin Laden's evil attack:

Nearly 70% of recovery workers who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center suffered lung problems during or after their work at ground zero, a new health study released Tuesday shows.
Less than a week before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mount Sinai Medical Center issued the results of the largest study on related health effects.

It found, among other things, that illnesses tended to be worst among those who arrived first at the site, and that high rates of lung "abnormalities" continued years later.

The study focused mostly on what has been dubbed "World Trade Center cough," which was little understood immediately after the attacks but became a chief concern of health experts and advocates.


Instead of bickering amongst ourselves we should remember the source of this evil.

"Major Health Study Finds 70% of WTC Recovery Workers Suffered Lung Problems"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:31 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

UK Terrorists Charged

Eleven people have been charged in the U.S.-U.K. bomb plot:

They said eight people had been charged with conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism.

Three other suspects are charged with other offences under the Terrorism Act. One of these is a 17-year-old.

One woman has been released without charge and eleven others are still in custody.

Police have been given until August 23 to question another suspect.

Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke said the investigation was "immense" and would go on for many months.

He said video and audio recordings, bomb-making equipment, electrical components, hydrogen peroxide and martyrdom videos had been found.


"Charges Over Terror Plot"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 19, 2006

Remembering Eric Allen

2996.jpg

As part of the 2,996 project TAM is remembering Eric Allen, 44, who died in the World Trade Center on Sep. 11, 2001. As part of Rescue Squad 18 Eric was one of the brave firemen who ran into the twin towers to save as many people as possible. He sacrificed his life for theirs.

A wife and daughter will forever miss him. Me, a little weblogger half a continent away can only say, "thank you."

"Eric Allen: All the Right Things"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 07:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2006

Debating National Security

John Podhoretz wants a national security debate "right now - right this second."

If Democrats are going to take control of the House and Senate in November, they will have the power to change policies they think aren't working. So what policies are those, exactly?

Will they overhaul the Patriot Act, for example, which Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid once gleefully said he and his colleagues had "killed"?

Will they agree with Judge Taylor and others that the warrantless wiretap program is unconstitutional? Some do, others have not taken a firm position on the matter. Will they accept a central contention of the decision - that the wiretaps in question violate a completely undefined standard of "reasonableness" and that therefore they are "obviously in violation of the Fourth Amendment" prohibition against illegal search and seizure?

We know that they claim the administration has not done enough to secure ports. Right now America has the means to search something like 9 percent of the nation's ship-borne cargo, due to budget increases in the billions over the past few years. How exactly will Democrats increase that number?

These are the substantive matters that Democrats are choosing to address by challenging the GOP's preeminence on fighting terrorism. To do so, they will talk tough. By talking tough, they will push their own party to a more serious stance on these matters than it has been taking over the past couple of years.

And for that, we can all be thankful.


"Dems: Bring It On" [via Betsy's Page]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 07:56 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Crazy Vermont Woman Forces Plane to Boston

A United London to Washington, D.C. was diverted to Boston's Logan Airport because of a passenger behaving suspiciously due to claustrophobia. One passenger said she wasn't permitted to use the on-board lavatory by a flight attendent. She then pulled down her pants and was about to relieve herself anyway. That's when things got ugly. Flight 923 was diverted to Boston, and a fighter escort followed the plane in. In Boston the Vermont woman was arrested.

This wasn't a terrorist attack even though earlier reports said she carried a note about al Qaeda.

Passengers were forced to leave the plane and had their baggage laid out across the tarmac to be searched by dogs. After seven hours passengers were allowed back on the plane to finally arrive at Dulles Airport.

"Unruly Passenger Forces Emergency Landing in Boston" [via Mary Katherine Ham at Michelle Malkin's weblog]

"London Diverted to Boston" [via Netscape]

UPDATE: A FBI spokesman listed what the woman was carrying on the plane:

The woman was carrying hand lotion, matches and a standard Phillips screwdriver, Marcinkiewicz said. Up to four books of matches and screwdrivers shorter than 7 inches are allowed on flights, according to the Transportation Security Administration. But under the tighter restrictions, hand lotion is not.

A federal law enforcement source said the woman was also carrying a note but would not divulge details of its contents. Marcinkiewicz would not say whether or not a note was found.


She also said the woman started her trip in Dubai.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 15, 2006

TracFones and Terrorism

Once upon a time I had a TracFone prepaid mobile phone. Since I barely make any calls a monthly bill is a waste of cash. The TracFone I had was almost the same as the one used in the IED found in Iraq last year.

I wonder how the company is handling the bad publicity. TracFone: Official Cell Phone for Islamist Terrorists. It hasn't hurt the stock price of the company's parent company American Movil.

"More Cell Phone Purchases" [via Viking Pundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

Computers Allowed on Planes

Flying won't be as bad as I thought. You can bring a notebook computer into the plane's cabin:

[Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport Director Tom Miller] did mention a rumor floating around that people can't bring laptop computers on a plane. He says that is not true, and they will be inspected at the checkpoints like before. It's only liquids and gels that are added to the list of contraband carry-on.

Presumably that also means portable DVD players and iPods are kosher too. They will be until al Qaeda finds a way to pack them with explosives. Terrorists will always be one step ahead because governments and airport security has to defend against everything. Terrorists only have to get it right a few times to do massive damage. This fact reinforces my argument for travel cards and common sense profiling.

"Shampoo, Toothpaste Among Restrictions"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

We Must Consider Travel Cards and Security Profiling

Islamist terrorists may think they're scaring us with their attacks and their threats of attacks. No, what they're doing is annoying us to death. If the government continues its ban on passengers bringing liquids into the cabin of an airplane we'll take another step down that path.

What would have really terrified average Americans was attacks on places they went frequently. Hitting the Pentagon and the World Trade Center made for spectacular television, but most Americans never went near those places. Imagine the fear induced if a few days after the Sep. 11 attacks a truck filled with fertilizer and heating oil exploded outside a Columbus, OH shopping mall. Then a few days later al-Qaeda let natural gas leak into an elementary school in Milwaukee, WI and then lit a match. Those acts of barbarism would truly scare people. They wouldn't know where they could be safe. After Sep. 11 there was some cocooning. The phenomenon would have been more widespread with more widespread attacks. Instead, Islamist terrorists stick to the big, bold bombing like something out of a Hollywood movie. They're either not the brightest people on the planet, or else their egos are so big they believe the only thing good enough to impress the world and their god is something spectacular.

There are two ways to stop airline travel from becoming one of Dante's rings of hell and save the airline industry. First, the government could issue travel cards to passengers who are willing to undergo background checks. They would get the cards if they passed. With the card they could bypass some of the security non-cardholders would have to go through. It wouldn't stop people from flying, it would only ease some security hassles for some flyers.

Second, we could finally resort to racial and religious profiling. After reading enough stories describing terrorists we have a good sense of who they are: they're muslim males in their 20s or 30s. In the case of CNN terrorism expert Peter Bergen he is "always concerned about citizens of Pakistani descent." I'm sure security firms, police, and government intelligence services could put together a more finely-grained profile. Those fitting the profile would undergo greater scrutiny. They wouldn't be banned from flying only be looked at more closely unless they were determined to be a threat. Those fitting the profile could also be eligible for a travel card where they would undergo a background check. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) won't like it, but let them regularly fly seven-hour flights in a humidity-free airplane with your contact lens solution in your checked bags while your waiting for some water from an overworked flight attendant.

Travel cards and profiling aren't perfect. Cards no matter how sophisticated can be hacked or duplicated. Al-Qaeda could recruit suicide bombers who don't fit the profile. But no security system is perfect. We need to see what makes more sense treating every airline passenger as a potential terrorist or dropping our collective fear of "offending someone."

" Forced to Throw out Liquids"

"Ethnic : A Rational and Moral Framework" [via Dean's World]

"The Hunt for Runs Up Against Political Correctness"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:44 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Terrorist Attacks Thwarted; Air Travel Disrupted

Don't fly today.

It's not that I'm worried about a terrorist attack, Scotland Yard seems to have that under control with 21 arrested (British-born and Muslim, no surprise) and their investigation continuing. No, I wouldn't fly today because of all the new security restrictions: passengers can't take any liquids on board; no carry-ons like briefcases and computer bags; parents have to taste their child's milk or formula to prove it's the real deal; the few items you can carry with you into the cabin have to be in clear plastic bags. The thought of flying for seven hours without being able to turn on my computer, listen to my iPod, or read my book gives me the hives. I understand the reasoning behind the restrictions, but they really turn me off from flying. Too bad Amtrak is an uneconomical, pathetic replacement for travel outside the Northeast Corridor.

The no carry-on restriction and liquid ban better be temporary, or else the airlines will be hurt. One reason some people own a notebook computer is to get work done while in the air. Forcing computers and mobile phones to be stowed in the belly of a plane will have many business travelers saying, "Air travel is too much of a hassle; I'm going to teleconference." And that might be just what the Islamists want.

There was mention that U.S. airlines were targeted, but I heard no such confirmation from Scotland Yard. If United, American, Northwest et al. were targeted I'd see that as the Islamists trying to hit the U.S. economically. The first reports said 20 planes from four U.K. airports were targeted. That dropped down to six planes. I think Islamists, probably al-Qaeda, wanted to hit U.S. airlines, cause a massive security response that would turn off many from flying, and send the industry into another financial malaise just when it's starting to regain its footing. A secondary effect is the ailing airlines would reduce consumer confidence possibly causing a recession.

The U.K. is at their highest security level. The Department of Homeland Security raised the general terrorist threat level to orange ("high") while the level for incoming planes to the U.S. from the U.K. is red ("severe"), the highest possible level. London's Heathrow airport isn't taking any incoming planes and canceled shorter-range flights until this afternoon (London time). The CEO of the organization that runs Heathrow said something I've never heard from a CEO. He told reporters people shouldn't come do business with him today. It was an unusual statement for an extraordinary time.

Walid Phares at the Counterterrorism Blog asks some good questions. The best one being,

Is there a "Jihadi factory" in the UK which is targeting domestic and Transatlantic transportation; a factory that produces suicide bombers heading towards the Middle East, London subways and passengers flights towards the US? Who is ordering these strikes and are they located inside the British isles?

"'Mass Murder Plot'"

"' Terror Plot' Disrupted"

"UK Police Thwart Massive Plot"

"Sky in UK: US Security Alert to ORANGE (High). May Go RED -- Fox"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 04:43 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

Bombings in Mumbai, India

CNN reports 70 dead and a railway spokesman said 100 people were killed in a string of bombings at Mumbai commuter trains and stations:

The blasts hit trains or platforms at the Khar, Mahim, Matunga, Jogeshwari, Borivili and Bhayander stations, in that order. Another hit a train between the Khar and Santa Cruz stations, a police official told CNN-IBN.

One CNN-IBN correspondent who was on a train hit by an explosion said the train was just leaving the station when the blast occurred. Several people jumped from the train and were killed when they were hit by the train.

"Limbs (are) lying everywhere, bodies (were) cleared from the tracks by local business owners who rushed from their shops," the correspondent said.


No one has yet claimed responsibility.

"70 Killed in Mumbai Train Blasts"

UPDATE: It's no surprise that emotions are strong:

I say they are cowards, those who do these kind of acts. I say they are mentally unstable personals who cannot think on their own. I say they are someone who gave up, because they couldn’t win something. I say they are just savage to do such a barbaric act. I say they are a hindrance to the development of mankind, whoever they are. I say, such people must not be forgiven for they prevent the civilization to advance. Blood doesn’t put an end to Blood. I strongly condemn this act.

UPDATE II: The death toll has risen to 163. Also, the bombing took place withing 10 minutes of each other.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2006

Supreme Court Tosses Tribunals

The Supreme Court issued their Hamdan ruling and it's a loss for the President and his military tribunals. The most important aspect of the ruling is the Geneva Convention applies to al Qaeda even though they wear no uniform and represent no country or have even signed the convention--unless Osama has some papers stashed away in his Pakastani cave. I'm not going apoplectic because as James Joyner writes, "By and large, we’ve acted as if Geneva did apply while saying that it didn’t. And we’ve applied Geneva to the guerrillas in Iraq without any obvious negative consequence." Also the man running Guantanamo Bay prison doesn't see the ruling as affecting his operation.

Andrew Cochran at the Counterterrorism Blog sees the President and Congress soon working on legislation to legalize the tribunals. In his opinion Justice Breyer wrote, "Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary." Senators Graham (R-SC) and Kyl (R-AZ) have announced they're working on it.

With regards to prisoners in the Islamist War I have a question for Justices Stevens, Breyer, Souter, Ginsburg, and Kennedy: Do we hold the most dangerous terrorists for life or shoot them?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 25, 2006

Khobar Towers: Ten Years Later

Ten years ago terrorists blew up Khobar Towers that killed 19 U.S. troops. Former FBI director Louis Freeh blasts the Clinton administration for doing little to investigate and placating to "moderate" Iranians when the evidence pointed directly at the Shia state.

The aftermath of the Khobar bombing is just one example of how successive U.S. governments have mishandled Iran. On June 25, 1996, President Clinton declared that "no stone would be left unturned" to find the bombers and bring them to "justice." Within hours, teams of FBI agents, and forensic and technical personnel, were en route to Khobar. The president told the Saudis and the 19 victims' families that I was responsible for the case. This assignment became very personal and solemn for me, as it meant that I was the one who dealt directly with the victims' survivors. These disciplined military families asked only one thing of me and their country: "Please find out who did this to our sons, husbands, brothers and fathers and bring them to justice."

It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. As FBI agents sifted through the remains of Building 131 in 115-degree heat, the bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in Lebanon's Beka Valley and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.

We later learned that senior members of the Iranian government, including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Spiritual Leader's office had selected Khobar as their target and commissioned the Saudi Hezbollah to carry out the operation. The Saudi police told us that FBI agents had to interview the bombers in custody in order to make our case. To make this happen, however, the U.S. president would need to make a personal request to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

So for 30 months, I wrote and rewrote the same set of simple talking points for the president, Mr. Berger, and others to press the FBI's request to go inside a Saudi prison and interview the Khobar bombers. And for 30 months nothing happened. The Saudis reported back to us that the president and Mr. Berger would either fail to raise the matter with the crown prince or raise it without making any request. On one such occasion, our commander in chief instead hit up Prince Abdullah for a contribution to his library. Mr. Berger never once, in the course of the five-year investigation which coincided with his tenure, even asked how the investigation was going

It took former President George H.W. Bush to get FBI agents to question the bombers locked in Saudi prisons.

When evidence linked Iran to the bombing Freeh says the Clintonians didn't seek justice:

Upon being advised that our investigation now had proof that Iran blew up Khobar Towers, Mr. Berger's astounding response was: "Who knows about this?" His next, and wrong, comment was: "That's just hearsay." When I explained that under the Rules of Federal Evidence the detainees' comments were indeed more than "hearsay," for the first time ever he became interested--and alarmed--about the case. But this interest translated into nothing more than Washington "damage control" meetings held out of the fear that Congress, and ordinary Americans, would find out that Iran murdered our soldiers. After those meetings, neither the president, nor anyone else in the administration, was heard from again about Khobar.

From Iran's perspective they see a United States that talks tough but doesn't end up doing anything. Iranian-linked Hezbollah killed 241 Marines in Beirut in 1983. President Reagan ordered them to pack up and leave. We know Iran supported the Khobar Towers bombing yet did nothing. Then there was the shame of President Jimmy Carter looking powerless while Iranians held Americans hostage at our Tehran embassy for 444 days. Based on that track record the Iranians shouldn't expect any harsh response for their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"Khobar Towers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 01, 2006

Icons? What Icons?

Once upon a time I thought the Department of Homeland Security was a good idea. With new terrorist threats I thought a "person in charge who could force the CIA and FBI to work together instead of worrying about turf would bring better security to the nation." What's happened is we're stuck with a department that thinks there are no national monuments and icons in New York City [PDF]. In the post I quoted above I also wrote, "But a weak secretary would be little better than the present Homeland Security Advisor--and much more expensive." Looks like I got that part right. *SIGH*

"No Icons, No Monuments Worth Protecting"

UPDATE: The Moderate Voice has blogospheric reaction.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 12, 2006

Even More Thoughts on NSA Phone Database

Over a day has passed since USA Today reported on the NSA call records database. (It is a new, important story because the public knows more of the details and the extent of phone company cooperation.) I've dulled my fervor. I'm going to take back one sentence. In my first post on the story I wrote, "A database containing all that information without a court order is unacceptable." Given Orrin Kerr's reference to Smith v. Maryland there are constitutional situations where such a database is acceptable.

In my mind this program is different from the program discovered by the NY Times last December. In that case one end of the call is international. In NSA monitoring instances will come up where one end of a monitored international call will be in the U.S. Since people calling into the U.S. from overseas have no presumption of fourth amendment rights I don't see that surveilence as unreasonable. It would be silly if the NSA were only allowed to listen to the international end of the call or ignore anything pertinent found on the domestic side. Thus I am not bother by that program.

Thankfully the blogosphere is working up different angles and providing insight to help me better evaluate this issue.

My main concern is with fourth amendment protections against "unreasonable searches and seizures." Orrin Kerr, no Bush syncophant writes, "The Fourth Amendment issues are straightforward. It sounds like the program involves only non-content surveillance, which means that it presumably doesn’t implicate the Fourth Amendment under Smith v. Maryland."

That doesn't mean any law was broken. In a later post Kerr writes:

My still-very-tentative bottom line: The companies were probably violating the Stored Communications Act by disclosing the records to the NSA before the Patriot Act renewal in March 2006, although the new language in the Patriot Act renewal at least arguably made it more likely that the disclosure was legal under the emergency exception.

Jessical McBride made a great point on her radio show last night. She mentioned all the data the IRS has on every man, woman, and child who has ever filed a tax return. They have a lot more detailed and personal data than what's in the NSA phone records database. Yet there are few complaints. On her weblog McBride devulges the dirty little secret that the MSM when researching stories. As for the ACLU Stop the ACLU points out the civil liberties organization has a data mining problem on its not-so-clean hands.

Steven Taylor wonders why the NSA needs all that phone data. Steve Verdon has a possible explanation involving Bayes' Theorem. In short, the filter needs to trained so it notices the bad guys and not the good guys.

Glen Greenwald went overboard with his claim that President Bush has crowned himself king and can do anything he wants. He writes, "The attribute which most singularly defines this administration is its insistence that our Government is based on unilateral and unreviewed Presidential Decree." If that's the case then Qwest couldn't opt out of the NSA program. Bush would have forced the company to send its call data to the NSA. That didn't happen. In fact the government is paying Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth. Odd for an authoritarian to compensate its victims. Glen does remind us that the NSA is now pointing its ears at the United States, something it never was intended to do. The NSA was created to spy on the Soviets.

Rep. said, "The NSA stands for Now Spying on Americans." Not quite Congressman. Stephen Spruiell reminds us, "Reporter Leslie Cauley makes clear that this program doesn't monitor the actual content of domestic communications." And because the database is so big the vast majority of it will never appear before a spook's eyes. It's not spying on Americans, but it's close. That means we must be very wary of who handling the data.

On Qwest bucking the other telephone companies Steven Taylor writes,

If this program is wholly legal and if the NSA is fiercely protesting the privacy of American citizens, then why not obtain proper legal authorization in this process? Even more to the point: why balk at obtaining authorization when asked to do by Qwest?

The most troubling aspect of all of this is that there appears to be a great reluctance on the part of the administration to simply establish proper oversight of these programs as well as a propensity to eschew adequate usage of established legal processes.

To wish for any US administration to do so is hardly asking for too much.

What I see is an administration wanting to do all it can to protect the nation but unwilling to ask Congress to pass the appropriate legislation. I would like to know how classified legal changes were handled in the past. I'm sure since the establishment of the CIA, NSA, and other spying agencies past Presidents and Congresses had to deal with similar issues. Those debates probably included information that the Soviets and other enemies would have loved to learn. For years the government didn't even acknowledge the NSA's existence.

I'm already tired of people like John Hinderaker who state it's only liberals who have issues with this lastest spying news. I'm a strong Bush supporter, but I'm no knee-jerk cheerleader. Knowing a government agency has a record of every phone call I've made since Sep. 11, 2001 discomforts me. Questioning the bounds of government is healthy.

Shoving a poll at me telling me the American public doesn't mind the call record data base doesn't move me one bit. Public opinion has no bearing on a program's legitimacy or value. Bush defenders who use the poll for that are engaged in faux populism, populistic stylings to gain political advantage.

My bottom line: The database doesn't violate the fourth amendment since it only collects information about calls not the calls themselves. However, laws may have been broken. Even though the agency appears to be acting in a constitutional manner we should be a little disturbed the NSA's mission now includes monitoring the homeland. The Bush administration has done a poor job working with Congress to craft legislation and explaining themselves about oversight. I am not so much worried about the current administration as I am future ones--think Hillary--especially when the Islamist War has ended.

I have one final point. An interesting angle that can't be discounted is the timing of the USA Today story. Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA is nominated to run the CIA and magically this story appears. Coincidence? Uh uh. For good or ill someone is trying to bury Hayden's nomination.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:00 PM | Comments (3)

May 11, 2006

Still Not Happy with NSA Revelations

With a little bit of sleep my head is slightly clearer considering the NSA having a record of billions of phone calls made since Sep. 11. I'm not anymore relieved. A database containing all that information without a court order is unacceptable. It's ripe for abuse. One thousand secret FBI files fell into the hands of cronies during President Clinton's term. A record of every phone call made would offer too much temptation for some overzealous or unethical flack.

James Joyner sees the program's harm as "infinitesimal while the potential gain in security is huge." True, since the Sep. 11 showed our intellegence agencies had a poor time dealing with the abundance of information at hand. Many items of interest will hide forever in that giant database. However, the idea the NSA has a record of all my phone calls is creepy.

There has to be a better, constitutional way to keep an eye out for terrorist bad guys while not subjecting everyone who picks up a telephone to surveillence. Unfortunately I don't have any alternatives. Supporters of the program will pounce on that. There are already those who show no concern for the program. Michelle Malkin has declared, the "NSA [is] doing its job!"

One other thought came to me. It hasn't gotten big yet, but encryption could become the big word now. Use VoIP so you can encrypt your phone conversations, encrypt your e-mail, encrypt your web browsing. NSA supercomputers might have ways to break it would take time and effort--unless your 24's Chloe who can crack any code in 20 minutes. Expect to see software companies tout the secrecy elements in their products.

"The Knows Who You Have Been Calling"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:31 AM | Comments (105)

NSA Collecting Data on Domestic Phone Calls

Next time you pick up that phone to make a call realize a record of it will soon rest in a National Security Agency database. USA Today exposes more of the post-Sep. 11 world we live in:

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.

For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the sources said. The program is aimed at identifying and tracking suspected terrorists, they said.

My initial reaction was "They went overboard." After a little thought--only a little since it's 2:30 am--I realize this data is already available. The NSA could previously get it from the phone companies. The new program just cuts out the constant step of asking for updates.

Before everyone goes off on Orwell references realize only information about the call is going to the NSA not the call itself:

Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

That won't reassure many. We can also figure the database is so big that 1-900 call you made on that "dark and lonely night" won't be noticed by a spook.

The reader has to make his way to the middle of the story before getting a substansive quote from a named source:

Paul Butler, a former U.S. prosecutor who specialized in terrorism crimes, said FISA approval generally isn't necessary for government data-mining operations. "FISA does not prohibit the government from doing data mining," said Butler, now a partner with the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C.

The caveat, he said, is that "personal identifiers" — such as names, Social Security numbers and street addresses — can't be included as part of the search. "That requires an additional level of probable cause," he said.


In other words collecting and analyzing phone calls has happened before, and it's legal.

Obviously we're on trickly constitutional ground. I would be more comfortable if the legality of this program came from bill that passed through Congress. A back-and-forth debate would hash out some of its broadness. How that would take place without the enemy learning the details of the surveilence program I don't know. USA Today specifially points out Qwest isn't a part of the program. If terrorists want to have a better chance of not getting their calls noticed they now know to hang out in Qwest's backyard.

What I am sure of is Michael Hayden's nomination to run the CIA is toast because he won't be able to answer any questions about the NSA programs. Republicans like Sen. Arlen Specter will give Democrats plenty of bipartisan cover to let them blast the hell out of the Bush administration. However, let us remember a certain Democratic administration was engaged in something called "Carnivore." Even assuming all parties and administrations are acting with the best of intentions no one has carte blanche to spy unreasonably. There's that fourth amendment in the way.

"NSA Has Massive of Americans' Phone Calls"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:28 AM | Comments (9)

May 10, 2006

Bin Laden's Ideology and the Seeds of Democracy

Amr Hamzawy sees Osama bin Laden on the ideological defensive:

The second remarkable aspect of bin Laden's videotape was his addressing, albeit by assailing them, Arab liberals. In previous videotapes, he accused pro-Western Arab governments and official religious institutions of seducing their populations away from the path of jihad. But this time he blamed Arab liberal intellectuals and writers for betraying the true spirit of Islam. For bin Laden, the liberals disseminate "blasphemous ideas" of democracy, human rights, and moderation, and in so doing diminish the degree of popular support for Al-Qaeda's jihad. The Al-Qaeda leader's decision to open a front against Arab liberals may threaten them, but it is also a testimony to their moral and political influence in the Arab world of today.

Austin Bay sees this as Arab moderates being "emboldened." Why? "For years Arab moderates have said “you must help us pull the gun away from our heads” (ie, protect us from the dictators and the terrorists). That is what Iraq is about, pulling the guns away (literally and figuratively) from the heads of Arab moderates and liberals."

He goes on to write,

There appears to be an emerging public consensus that democracy is the only viable way ahead. Bin Laden is right in fearing this development, since it undermines the logic of his terrorist agenda. Indeed, liberals in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia have proven as effective in combating terrorism as various "hard" security measures. Al-Qaeda is on the defensive not only because of the geographical but also the political isolation of its leaders: Its radical, militant blueprints have lost a great deal of their appeal as Arabs have had a change of heart.

There may be something significant to the seeds of representative and limited government in Arab lands. However, these embryonic ideas might be used in tribal-religious positioning. With his statements bin Laden is probably doing the same. He's performing the age-old dance of attempting to play some parts of the umma off against another (Arab liberals).

These seeds need time to grow into civil institutions. To Western eyes we will see young Arab democratic as corrupt with money and favors flowing behind the scenes. In David Pryce-Jones' The Closed Circle you will understand that that Arab's aren't incapable of cleaner government it's that they apply the political skills of the body they're most familiar with, the tribe. Posturing and the preserving of honor, thus strength, become very important. He writes, "One and all, the Arab states are incomplete, partially formed, neither defined nor defended by proper institutions or jurisdictions, and therefore at the mercy of the power holder." Pryce-Jones goes on, "Their identity is at stake, even at risk, until such time as political processes evolve, and successful power-sharing and nation-building introduces values more open to compromise, not requiring defense through violence."

"Al-Qaeda Faces an Ideological Crisis"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:20 PM | Comments (4)

April 24, 2006

Bin Laden: Those Behind Mohammad Cartoons Should Be Killed

Borders and Comedy Central weren't kowtowing to Muslims by not selling a magazine containing cartoons of Mohammad or banning the animated representation of the prophet respectively. They were avoiding the wrath of Osama Bin Laden.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has called for people who ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad to be killed, weighing into the furor that erupted after a Danish newspaper ran cartoons lampooning Islam's holy messenger.

"Heretics and atheists, who denigrate religion and transgress against God and His Prophet, will not stop their enmity toward Islam except by being killed," the Saudi-born militant said.

"Prophet Offenders Must Be Killed: Bin Laden"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2006

Political Correctness Hits Terrorism War

If words matter, and they usually do, the European Union seems incapable of fighting the Islamist War:

European governments should shun the phrase "Islamic terrorism" in favour of "terrorists who abusively invoke Islam", say guidelines from EU officials.

Backed by diplomats and civil servants from the 25 EU members, the officials are drafting a "non-emotive lexicon for discussing radicalisation" to be submitted to Tony Blair and other leaders in June.

The Brussels officials hope the new lexicon, which would not be legally binding, would be adopted by governments and other EU institutions, such as the European Commission and European Parliament.

An EU official said: "The basic idea behind it is to avoid the use of improper words that would cause frustration among Muslims and increase the risk of radicalisation."

Along with civil servants from the Home Office, the officials have reviewed the impact of such terms as Islamist, fundamentalist and jihad when describing acts of terrorism and murder.

"'Islamic Terrorism' is Too Emotive a Phrase, Says EU"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

The Battle of United Flight 93

We're not exactly sure how they did it but passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 did fight back, causing the plane to crash in Pennsylvania, and striking the first blow for freedom in the Islamist War. Audio played for the jury deciding Zacarias Moussaoui's fate demonstrated that.

D. Hamilton Peterson of Bethesda, president of Families of Flight 93, said the public airing of the recording should put to rest any lingering questions about what happened aboard the Boeing 757. "The paramount issue was, Did the passengers and crew thwart the plane from its intended target? And that question has clearly been answered," said Peterson, whose father, Donald A. Peterson, and stepmother, Jean H. Peterson, died on the plane. "Whether or not they were actually into the cockpit or tearing the door off the hinges at the time it was scuttled is something history will have to answer."

"At Trial, Flight 93 Myth Finally Becomes Reality"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2006

NSA Vacuuming Data

From an Electronic Freedom Foundation lawsuit we might know a little more about how the NSA is wiretapping terrorists. It has been suspected the spy agency vacuums up monsterous quantites of data and has powerful computers dig through the mess looking for keywords or patterns. According to a former AT&T employee a special room in the company's office in San Francisco taps into the network.

The dates in the employee's statement are later than when President Bush ordered the NSA to begin warrantless monitoring of domestic-international terrorist communications. But the method mentioned is certainly a way to do it.

What has been missing in the debate over the legality of the NSA program is whether this amounts to an "unreasonable" search. Terrabytes of data on NSA computers will make many uncomfortable but might not about to anything illegal since it hasn't been "searched" because it lacks certain keywords or identifiers NSA spooks are looking for. Data is pretty harmless if no one is doing anything with it. With all the complaints about the Bush administration failing to "connect the dots" about the impending Sep. 11 attacks should we really be scared the intelligence community will start oppressing the citizenry?

As for the politics there will only be serious fallout if it's found the President used the NSA to spy on political enemies. Only then will the calls for his impeachment actually sound reasonable even justified. He's safe as long as he's using the long tentacles of government to fight America's enemies.

Don't expect these rooms or the databases created to vanish. Only a court order will do that. Democrats aren't calling for the end to terrorist surveillance, not even Sen. Russ "Censure Bush" Feingold. Start looking into encryption and anonymizing technologies. Just don't expect the spooks to sit on their heals. They'll work on some method to conquer the new tech. It's another cost brought upon us by Sep. 11.

"Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room"

"EFF Files Evidence in Motion to Stop AT&T's Dragnet Surveillance"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:02 AM | Comments (4)

April 06, 2006

Italy Stops Terror Attack

A fresco in a church in Bologna displays Muhammad being thrown into hell. With the riots over mere cartoons I'm not surprised it might have been the target of a terrorist attack. Back in 2001 a group called The Union of Italian Muslims asked the Pope to remove the painting saying, "It constitutes an even graver offence to the religion than that caused by Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses."

"Italian Minister Says Terror Attack Thwarted" [via Boots & Sabers]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2006

John Dean's Own Words

There's discussion about John Dean's testimony last week on Feingold's censure resolution. Want something a little more than me calling Dean a "moonbat?" Ok, here's Power Line's John Hinderaker.

Want Dean's own words? Then we have his thoughts three days after the Sep. 11 attacks. He thought positively of preemptive attack and retaliation for a attempt on a President's life. He went to far as to write, "In fact, the President does not need Congressional authority to respond." Congress' power is the power of the purse. Dean wrote, "While Congress cannot put strings on the money it authorizes, its power to fund is a significant power nonetheless."

I find it interesting the only time Dean gets any hearing is when he's bashing Republicans.

"Examining the President's Powers to Fight Terrorism"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:23 PM | Comments (2)

March 29, 2006

Judges Back Bush on NSA Spying

An author of the FISA Act told a Senate panel President Bush has the authority to order the controversial NSA wiretapping. Judge Allan Kornblum said,

If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now.... I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute.

Four other ex-FISA court judges agreed.

There is a sticking point: none of the judges knows the details of the program. Neither do many politicians, pundits, and webloggers. We're debating while blind.

Still, if Bush's opponents think the NSA terrorist spying is a winning issue they're wrong. Unless they can find proof Bush is using the program for something nefarious like spying on political opponents at worst reasonable people will think Bush committed a sin overreach not malice. ' lunatic rants don't count.

"FISA Judges Say Bush Within Law"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2006

Bomb Scare Empties Arena

Cox Arena at San Diego State University has been evacuated because a bomb-sniffing dog noticed something near a hot dog cart. Police and homeland security have been concerned about threats to sports arenas during the NCAA basketball tournament since a discription of such an attack was found on an internet discussion board last week. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security had no "credible intelligence or threats" but alerted local law enforcement.

"San Diego NCAA Arena Evacuated on Bomb Scare" [via Drudge]

UPDATE: Technology can be used for both good and evil. At the Cox Arena website a spectator can see where they want to sit for a basketball game. That same information about seats, aisles, and exits can be used by terrorists to plan their attacks. I don't advocate removing this information from the internet. I think the good outways the bad simply because there are more non-violent sports fans interested in good seats than terrorists trying to kill people. Adequate security is also needed with the explosion of information access. It looks like they succeeded in this instance by employing bomb-sniffing dogs.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:02 PM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2006

Ports Deal Dead

Dubai Ports World gives up. This isn't good. Demogogues win without making a case that DPW was a security threat, and economic nationalists use this to make the case that only American companies should own certain industries. What industries that will be will depend on the political winds, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Now, we all have to deal with the repercussions.

The Financial Times reports the UAE "concluded that he was no longer in control in Washington."

Reporters Edward Alden and Holly Yeager also write,

More than four years after the September 11 attacks, it brought together a toxic combination of anxieties over America’s place in the world. Traditional protectionists, worried by foreign acquisitions of US assets and the outsourcing of jobs to distant and little-understood countries, lined up alongside security hawks who warned that even a close Arab ally such as the UAE was vulnerable to terrorist infiltration.

That counters John Hawkins' complaint that Larry Kudlow is being unfair to conservative ports opponents.

Unfortunately for us David Ignatius is right:

I suspect America will pay a steep price for Congress's rejection of this deal. It sent a message that for all the U.S. rhetoric about free trade and partnerships with allies, America is basically hostile to Arab investment. And it shouldn't be surprising if Arab investors respond in kind.

The U.S. is running large trade and budget deficits. Who's funding that? Foreigners, including Arabs, who buy bonds. Who's to say the ports deal collapse won't scare off bond buyers? That could mean significant harm to the American economy. Don't expect short-sighted politicians and knee-jerk pundits to realize the harm that might occur.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:11 AM | Comments (7)

March 06, 2006

Foreign Company Runs American Airport

Expect small-minded people who still can't dig up anything substantial on the Dubai Ports World deal to go goofy over the fact that a U.K. company runs the Indianapolis airport.

Or we might not hear a peep which will only support my claim that the DPW opposition was just plain, old knee-jerk anti-Arabism.

[via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2006

UAE Helping to Secure American Ports

Edward Walker, president of the Middle East Institute, writes,

More to the point, by the time a container has entered one of our ports and been off-loaded for further processing, it is probably too late to avert a nuclear or biological attack. Ports are located in major metropolitan areas where the effects of such an attack, even if centered in the port area, would have devastating consequences. The Container Security Initiative is the critical piece in the port security puzzle.

The UAE was the first Middle Eastern state to join this US-sponsored initiative. Under its provisions, customs and border protection officers are permanently located in UAE ports to inspect containers before shipment to the United States. The UAE was also the first Middle Eastern state to join the Energy Department's Megaports Initiative, designed to stop illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. In short, we already depend on the cooperation of the UAE and its management company to ensure the security of US ports, regardless of this proposed contract.


After doing so much to make U.S. ports safer would a UAE-owned company, Dubai Ports World, turn around and open big security holes? Only a stubborn, knee-jerk thinker who's scared of anything Arab or Muslim would think so.

By the way, I'm still waiting for some evidence that DPW and the UAE are big threats to national security. I'm still willing to be convinced there's a problem.

"Reneging on the Port Deal Would Be a Blow to US Interests"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:54 PM | Comments (1)

Sittin' on the Dock of the ... Port?

Steve Stehling at Standards and Grudges writes,

I'm suspicious of the opposition to the port deal. Their primary complaint is about port security, but I know for a fact, and they know as well, that port security is the responsibility of Homeland Security, Customs and the Coast Guard, not the port management company. If the key argument against the port deal is based upon an exaggeration, or more aptly described, a lie, than how much merit does the opposition have?

And one thing is quite clear. This is an issue only because it is an Arab company. Not one politician or major media outlet said boo when the British company was awarded the port management contract. A message is being sent that we will allow some nations to do business, but others are not allowed. That's extremely unfair and terribly damaging to our creditability. It also risks a backlash against the United States from Arab nations. What if they started voiding contracts of US companies doing business in the Middle East?

The pro-Israel lobby has got into action and started hammering on the UAE's boycott of Israel. The Washington Times reports, "Mr. Bilkey [DPW CEO] said his firm has long worked with Israeli shippers at the ports it managed, but acknowledged that a customs operation in Dubai owned by his company's parent firm did enforce the anti-Israel ban." Don't expect the boycott to be enforced in New York, Baltimore, or any of the other ports DPW would operate.

Jerry Zeifman, a Democrat, chides Sen. Schumer and Democrats taking advantage of the ports issue. The way the administration approved the deal is according to the law passed by a Democratic Congress in 1988.

Larry Kudlow goes to the heart of the issue. DPW opponents still haven't offered anything concrete as to why the deal is dangerous to national security:

After the hurricane of controversy these past couple weeks—all the editorializing, the talk show tempests and political sound bites—I still have yet to see any real evidence that the Dubai ports deal compromises U.S. national security. I just don’t see it. Objections raised by the Coast Guard have been solved, and the fact stubbornly remains that along with the U.S. Customs and Homeland Security, it is the Coast Guard, not Dubai Ports World, that will ultimately run the show when it comes to protecting port terminal operations.

If someone were able to show me a clear, insurmountable security problem, then I will gladly change my mind and hop aboard the anti-ports deal train. But so far, nothing has materialized. (And let me add that building in additional safeguards where there may be questionable practices is an eminently doable proposition.)

A word or two for the conspiracy-theorist crowd projecting nefarious, clandestine motives upon the UAE—the folks who subscribe to some misguided notion that the UAE is in cahoots with terrorists—let me encourage them to reconsider such position. The Dubai ports deal is costing these guys around $7 billion dollars. If they truly had some sick, ulterior motive to harm innocent Americans, don’t you think they could accomplish these imagined goals with far less money? The point here is that the UAE and Dubai Ports World has a huge vested economic interest in this deal.

Kudlow declares the rift a "pretty clear demarcation between free-traders and protectionists." I'll be more generous and call the opponents "economic nationalists." I also won't lump them all onto the same pile as Pat Buchanan.

There's a fear of the Arab/Muslim world (most unfortunately don't differentiate) and it's not unreasonable seeing the reaction to the Muhammad cartoons. However, I would expect opinion makers and politicians (I know, wishful thinking) to do a little thinking before spouting off. Since for them it's either their job or hobby I'd assume they'd enjoy doing that.

To lighten things up Wonkette found Captain Hamad and the DPW kids website.

Thanks to Jenna at Right off the Shore for the reminder.

UPDATE: Marcus Aurelius takes on Sean Hannity's "biggest beefs." More power to Marcus. It takes a strong man to listen to Hannity that long.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:53 PM | Comments (14)

March 02, 2006

Let Me Try This Theory

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is reviewing "Dubai International Capital's acquisition of London-based Doncasters Group Ltd., which operates in nine U.S. locations and makes precision parts for U.S. defense contractors." They're also reviewing Israeli company Check Point Technologies' pending purchase of Sourcefire.

If I read more complaints about the newly-known Dubai deal than the Israel one I will assume it's the knee-jerk anti-Arab bias plaguing many. If the reaction toward is fairly balanced I'll take nativism as reason. And if there are plenty of serious arguments and evidence for opposition to either/or of the deals then I'll take that to mean some serious thinking has returned to the blogosphere.

"US Investigating 2nd Dubai-Owned Company: WPost"

"U.S. Reviewing 2nd Dubai Firm"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2006

Blankley Feels Slighted

Tony Blankley is peeved people like me took him to task for his seemingly knee-jerk opposition to the Dubai Ports World deal:

In the last few days, several free market and other conservative commentators -- along with various U.S. governmental spokesmen -- have taken to labeling those of us with reservations concerning the Dubai Ports World (DPW) deal as nativist, racist or Islamophobic. With 70 percent of the public in opposition to the port deal, this is as searing a criticism of American tolerance as ever has been hurled from America's cultural or political opponents over the years. No Soviet propagandist or third-world revolutionary has more stingingly libeled the American people.

I'm now a "commerce is king" libeler who doesn't give a damn about national security. All I wanted was some substansive information as to why DPW shouldn't be running six U.S. ports. I expected more from commentators and webloggers who are normally smarter than that. The best I've found against DPW is that the United Arab Emirates still upholds the Arab boycott of Israel, (Though I wonder how much it's ignored practically.) and that's not a national security issue as one dealing with the United States' relationship with Israel.

As for that 70% of public opinion, I've noticed the weaker one's argument the more likely they turn to public opinion. Public opinion in and of itself means nothing. That a large number of the American people have concerns about DPW doesn't mean the company is a national security threat.

Blankley goes on:

Particularly galling was the air of supposed Olympian understanding projected by these name callers -- columnists, spokesmen, cable hosts, etc. In fact, most of them had never previously demonstrated any familiarity with port security issues. Indeed the government spokesmen seemed to be speaking almost phonetically off the talking point pieces of paper they had been handed before stepping in front of the camera.

When DPW opponents scream about a national security threat and the most they can offer is Sep. 11 terrorist money went through United Arab Emirates banks we become quite skeptical of the screamers.

Blankley himself only informs us that a port management company works "with the Coast Guard, Customs and local law enforcement in trying to secure the full import process (which starts at foreign ports and continues on board ship, through the terminal and includes local law enforcement -- with management an active agent of that strived-for seamless process)." We'll have to buy his book to get the details.

One should also be concerned about Islamophobia since the only conservatives who chastised Ann Coulter for calling Muslims "ragheads" were webloggers. I haven't read Blankley condemning Coulter for her hateful, misguided words.

Near the end Blankley writes,

It is in the highest interest of free international trade -- as well as national security-- that the ports be made as secure as possible. And to that end, the ownership of port management firms is only a small part of the reforms and improvements that are so vitally needed.

On this we agree, but that means offering evidence not knee-jerk "Arabs are bad" thinking.

"Islamistphobia-Phobia"

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin is peeved too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:19 PM | Comments (2)

February 23, 2006

Senators Bloviate on Ports Deal

Senators got their first chance to grill Bush administration officials about the Dubai Ports World deal. If Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) is any indication demogoguery was the name of the game:

Brushing aside Bush's assurances, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the panel's ranking Democrat, said the UAE backed the Taliban and allowed financial support for al-Qaida. Levin also charged that the UAE has an "uneven history" as "one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan." He added that millions of dollars in al-Qaida funds went through UAE financial institutions.

Levin at one point noted that a special commission that investigated the terror attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2000 concluded that "there's a persistent counterterrorism problem represented by the United Arab Emirates."

"Just raise your hand if anybody (at the witness table) talked to the 9-11 commission," commanded Levin. There was no response among the handful of administration representatives.


Lots of work on the Sep. 11 attacks took place in Germany. Levin's not calling for ending economic relations with them. Terrorists learned how to fly airplanes in Florida and California. There's no call to boot those two states out of the union for being soft on terrorism.

If doing business with the United Arab Emirates is such a threat to national security then why didn't anyone make a stink when the administration began free trade talks with the nation? Do opponents actually think the UAE would go along with an agreement that would open their markets but bar their companies from operating in the U.S.?

Thomas Barnett thinks opponents of the deal should be embarassed:

After lecturing the Europeans over the cartoon flap, it's awfully weird to watch the paranoia, racism, and pure political nonsense at work on the proposed purchase of a British port-managing firm by a Dubai corporation.

The message we send on this is clear: if you're Arab, you're immediately untrustworthy. Dubai seeks to become the Singapore of the Middle East, and watching that rather progressive model of capitalism + Islam reach out for this strand of connectivity in a venue it knows all too well (shipping) makes perfect sense, just like CNOOC reaching for UNOCAL last summer.

On the GOP's tough talk, adds:

But what do you expect from a Republican party that welcomes a woman who calls Arabs "rag heads" and justifies her "joke" as retaliation for the World Trade Center bombings?

I'm cringing because she's right.

To get a good sense that the UAE is ok listen to the latest Glenn and Helen podcast featuring Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan.

"Senators Say Ports Deal Raises Risks"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2006

Conservatives in Favor of the Ports Deal

At On Tap Marshall Manson wants us to "stop being paranoid and start acting like Americans." There's plenty of good discussion there.

Little Miss Attila agrees with me (I always like that) that opponents of the deal haven't made their case yet. However, a commenter offers a pretty good hypothetical problem. It sure beats the "Arab=bad" meme that's infected too many webloggers.

I'm solidly in the "convince me" camp. Give me some instances of Dubai Ports World helping terrorists or having major security problems. I want evidence to demonstrate the deal is bad for the nation.

UPDATE: Add John Cross to the list. He was in the UAE at one time. What I'm finding is those with experience with that nation have a positive view. That's telling. The lesson might be some people need to get out more before going all knee-jerk.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:56 PM | Comments (2)

McBride and Ports Issue

Jessica McBride refuses to look at the Dubai Ports World deal on its face. She imposes a politics template on it:

HUH? I just don't get it. Reminds me of the Harriet Miers' nomination. I didn't get that one either. How can Bush be so tone deaf on this. Worse, he's allowing the likes of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton to move to the right of him on a terrorism issue. He's actually allowing the Dems to look tougher than he is on national security (something they've been unable to do in issue after issue), because the average person doesn't get this.

She offers nothing as to why DPW would be a security threat. Maybe if she offers some information the "average person" might "get" it and support it. Maybe if opponents offer something of substance I will join their opposition. All I'm seeing are people scared of an Arab [GASP!] company doing business in the U.S.

"Bush and Port Issue"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:38 PM | Comments (27)

February 19, 2006

Ann Coulter Syndrome

In response to a report that a Dubai company will help run a number of ports in New York a few webloggers went goofy about how there will be a huge hole in homeland security and how we shouldn't trust anything having to do with "those Arabs." It's sad when smart people get into knee-jerk mode. Then end up looking a little like Ann Coulter who treats Muslims as one big, monolithic, think-alike, act-alike group.

Captain Ed calls Dubai Ports World getting permission to help operate "the cruise-ship terminal on the West Side of Manhattan, one of the biggest cargo terminals in New York Harbor, and terminals in Philadelphia, Baltimore and other big ports" "surrender of port management to Arab-based firms." He then picks out some passages from the Sep. 11 Commission's report (the same report he has justly bashed for not including anything about Able Danger) that mentions the United Arab Emirates. Well, a few of the Sep. 11 terrorists used Frankfurt, Germany to organize their attacks, yet we still allow German firms to do business in the U.S. Could it be Captain Ed is afraid simply because Dubai Ports World is run by Arabs? I would hope that isn't the case. He needs to clarify what his concerns are.

Along with the "evil Arab" argument I reject Sen. Barbara Boxer's belief that "We have to have American companies running our own ports." I guess that means we should be dumping Canadian wood products, Sony televisions, Norwegian cell phones, Hong Kong textiles, British and German financial services, Indian tech support, and a host of foreign goods and services. Yes, economic nationalism will lead to national security. It sure worked in the span between the two World Wars.

My claim isn't that the Dubai World Ports deal is a good idea. It's that opponents' arguments have been flimsy.

Judith Apter Klinghoffer makes a far better case of the problem:

All companies should not be treated alike. State owned or controlled companies must be treated differently. Pretending that private companies located in tyrannies are independent, is bad enough. Treating a government controlled Chinese oil company or Port service company owned by Dubai as mere businesses is absurd. Profits motivate businesses. Geopolitical strategy motivates governments and, ultimately, the businesses they control.

UPDATE: For what it's worth I predict the deal will go down. Congress will investigate, and both Democrats and Republicans will have something to agree on for once. There will be plenty of bloviating and the administration will change its mind.

"Stop the Port Sellout"

"Despite Fears, a Dubai Company Will Help Run Ports in New York"

Poor Ed. I'm not the only one picking on him.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2006

Kofi: Close Your Hole

I agree with Kofi Annan. We should close down Gitmo. Pack all the prisoners and personel, load them onto planes, and move them into the U.N building along the East River in New York. They can turn Annan's office into the main interrogation room. Then I'd like to see how Annan feels.

"Annan Says U.S. Should Close Gitmo Prison"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:14 PM | Comments (4)

February 08, 2006

Nerve Gas Scare in Senate Building

I pity some Senate workers. A nerve gas scare kept 200 people working at the Russell Senate Office building tucked away in a parking garage Wednesday. They included Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). The quarantine method appears to have worked. Since it was a nerve gas scare it's not as important. If there really were nerve gas in the building people would have gotten sick and maybe dropped dead. Now, if it was a biological attack then the quarantine would (hopefully) keep victims from passing on the bio-agent.

The scare came from a false positive from a sensor in the Russell building's attic:

Sen. Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, said: "It was a false positive. That means an alarm went off, with an indication it was initially positive but with further testing there was no agent of danger found."

[Sgt. Kimberly] Schneider said substances as benign as fertilizer could trigger a false positive result for chemical agents.


Somebody should look into some better sensors.

"Security Scare Forces US Capitol Evacuation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:33 PM | Comments (1)

January 17, 2006

NSA Flooded FBI with Terrorist Leads

What should we make of this NY Times story that soon after Sep. 11, 2001, the NSA gave the FBI a flood of false leeds based on their eavesdropping?

More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, including some in the small circle who knew of the secret program and how it played out at the F.B.I., said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country they did not know of from other sources and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive.

"We'd chase a number, find it's a schoolteacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former F.B.I. official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."

Intelligence officials disagree with any characterization of the program's results as modest, said Judith A. Emmel, a spokeswoman for the office of the director of national intelligence. Ms. Emmel cited a statement at a briefing last month by Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the country's second-ranking intelligence official and the director of the N.S.A. when the program was started.

"I can say unequivocally that we have gotten information through this program that would not otherwise have been available," General Hayden said. The White House and the F.B.I. declined to comment on the program or its results.

Put yourself in officials shoes on Sep 12. Three planes were hijacked; two were turned in to cruise missles. All this took place on American soil under our noses. Prior to the attacks the government didn't take the Islamist threat seriously enough. The attacks were a shower of ice water. Officials looked around at every tool at their disposal to see how they could best be used to defend the country. The NSA has the ability to collect vast amounts of intelligence. Since they deal primarily with activities overseas their standards are lower than the FBI's. Lots of leads weren't going to pan out. But as Adm. Bobby R. Inman, a former N.S.A. director asked, "Have you got anything better?"

Here's a little secret the unnamed FBI agents won't tell you: most leads don't pan out. Life isn't like CSI or Law & Order where set of clues are laid out along a plot path that leads to the bad guys.

The legality of the NSA program is in question. From what I know so far and my reading of the constitution one can make a reasonable case that what President Bush ordered is legit. Politically Bush won't lose on this. His intention was/is to protect the nation from terrorist attack. This isn't the President siccing the NSA on his political opponents. AlGore tried to compare intelligence collecting today with wiretapping and harassing Martin Luther King, Jr. almost 30 years ago. The comparison isn't even close unless you're a rabid, knee-jerk Bush basher.

Orrin Kerr is scratching his head:

This is an interesting story, although I'm not quite sure what to make of it. If the spying program led to the discovery of "a few terrorists," is the real story that the program only led to a few terrorists, or is it that the program successfully led to the discovery of terrorist cells inside the United States? The Times opts for the former, but it's not immediately obvious to me why they don't opt for the latter.

AJStrata offers a forceful defense of the administration and bashes the Times.

Jon Henke reads the story and is reaffirmed in his insistence for an investigation.

Captain Ed sees this as some FBI people are ticked about a program run "outside of its control."

"Spy Agency Data After Sept. 11 Led F.B.I. to Dead Ends"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:12 AM | Comments (18)

January 08, 2006

Merkel Wants Gitmo Closed

German chancellor Angela Merkel will come to the U.S. and ask President Bush to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. She told Der Spiegel, "Different ways and means must be found for dealing with these prisoners." Would she prefer the terrorists be shot? If you let them go many will go right back to killing Americans. Either you kill them on the spot or hold them until they are no longer threats. It looks like Germany will have to be hit by Islamist terrorists before people like Merkel realize the threat the West is facing.

" Calls for Closure of Guantanamo"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:01 PM | Comments (2)

December 24, 2005

Mao Book Hoax Confirmed

The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed Homeland Security agents (which don't exist) talked to him about checking out Mao's "Little Read Book" admits he made the story up. Professor Brian Glyn Williams confronted the student about the huge holes in his story only to be told it was a hoax. Williams said, "'I feel as if I was lied to, and I have no idea why." The rest of us would like to know why the student lied too. It looks like the student is suffering from a mental illness. His story became more elaborate with the inclusion of a second visit from DHS agents dressed "just like the guys in Men in Black." We also would like to know why Williams bought the story at face value. The professor appears to be a knee-jerk Bush basher who saw an opportunity to attack the President and took it. I do not buy Professor Williams' claim that he "wasn't involved in some partisan struggle to embarrass the Bush administration, [he] just wanted the truth." Someone interested in the truth would look into the story before passing on the unsubstantiated claim to a reporter.

Let's not forget the New Bedford Standard-Times who first published the story. Reporter Aaron Nicodemus and his editors were irresponsible, plain and simple. They weren't critical of the student's far-fetched claims. Readers deserve an apology and an explanation for how such bad journalism occured.

"Federal Agents' Visit was a "

"Student's Tall Tale Revealed" [via Viking Pundit]

UPDATE: Tim Blair chides Molly Ivins and James Carville and has lots of links.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:19 PM | Comments (5)

December 23, 2005

Slow to the Mao Hoax

If certain webloggers (who will remain nameless) read TAM more often then they'd already know the Mao book story was a hoax.

Kudos go to Boing Boing for getting the ball rolling.

UPDATE: I hold my head in shame. Eric Lindholm of Viking Pundit didn't buy the story a week ago. Obviously I need to read Eric's weblog more often.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:35 PM | Comments (4)

December 21, 2005

Punching More Holes in Mao Story

First, on the Association of College and Research Libraries weblog they state:

Today, the University issued a statement. Though they aren’t contesting the student’s claim, and they are protecting his identity at his request, they offer some reassurance that their library, at least, didn’t participate in violating the student’s rights. The student says he made the request through another library, unnamed.

The library has changed. Did the professors who gave the story to Aaron Nicodemus, The Standard-Times reporter, mistate the library, or did the still-unnamed student change his story?

Professor John McAdams talked to a spokesman for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They have no book "watch list." Also, until they know the name of the student they can't determine if one of their agents investigated him.

I was leaning hoax. Now, I'm convinced the student made the story up to his professors who then passed it on to a reporter. It was a lie created for some unknown reason that ended up in a newspaper then spread across the internet. Who really should have egg on their faces are Professors Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand who irresponsibly passed on a bogus story. With Williams there's a tinge of Bush bashing since he passed on the story when asked about NSA domestic spying. Then there is Aaron Nicodemus and The Standard-Times who got lazy and barely investigated the story.

TN Grrl has the entire UMass Dartmouth library press release. GalleyCat is happy to have waited on posting about this. Little Lies is declaring this story an "urban myth." Time to call Snopes.com.

"Apparently Bogus: Homeland Security Visited Student Who Ordered Mao’s ''"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:04 AM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2005

Possible Abuse of Patriot Act

Despite movements in Nepal and India Maoism is an ocean of blood on 20th Century history rather than a serious threat to U.S. security. A Massachusetts newspaper reported a student received an unexpected meeting from Department of Homeland Security agents after requesting Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung AKA Mao's "Little Red Book." Interestingly, no agency is mentioned. Looking at DHS's website I'm not sure what agency would have visited him. Maybe it was the Secret Service. But this sounds like something the FBI would do, not someone from DHS. The student wishes to remain anonymous so we have no details from him. No word also from DHS. Only two professors conveyed the story, one, of which, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams stands by the story he was told. In fact, he only mentioned the story to the reporter as a comment on the NSA spying story. In an e-mail he wrote, "I cited this incident as an example of the White
House policies' very real applications and how they trickle down to the university level." This incident supposedly happened in October, and only now did the professor tell someone.

Two glaring factual errors in the original story include the university has no record of the book coming into their library, and the library doesn't require a student's Social Security for an inter-library loan request.

Something is fishy, and Bush bashers are eating it up. Is this the best they can do to show the Patriot Act has trampled civil liberties? After four years of the Patriot Act all the "abuse" they have is a story full of gaping holes.

"DHS Agents Visit Student over Little Red Book - HOAX DEBATE"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:41 AM | Comments (11)

December 19, 2005

Bush Fights Back

In today's press conference President Bush defended NSA spying on terrorists that was revealed last week in the NY Times. For someone defending his actions he wasn't defensive. In fact, he was angry the program was revealed. He told reporters, "My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this program in a time of war. . . . The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy." He also countered a reporter's claim that he had "unchecked power" by referring to Congressional briefings by his administration. "There is oversight. We're talking to Congress all the time. . . . To say 'unchecked power' is to ascribe dictatorial power to the president, to which I object." Robert Byers liked that Bush "boldly and unapologetically stat[ed] his case."

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez said the President had constitutional and statutory authority for the eavesdropping. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) strongly disagreed:

Nobody, nobody, thought when we passed a resolution to invade Afghanistan and to fight the war on terror, including myself who voted for it, thought that this was an authorization to allow a wiretapping against the law of the United States.

Of course from Feingold's preening it seems he doesn't want the government to have any ability to investigate terrorists like they can drug dealers and organized crime. Thus, his opposition to the Patriot Act.

Going off the deep end and showing off the dark side of weblogging, John Aravosis thinks the NSA was/is spying on reporters. He has no proof but still wants "some enterprising journalist" to ask the White House about it.

Ace sees this as a losing issue:

When Democrats are apparently incapable of selective outrage and critique -- when they do not choose their fights, but simply climb aboard every anti-American and terrorist-coddling bandwagon -- it can't help be concluded that the San Fransisco Democrats are back, baby, and this time out and proud.

(As if they ever really went away, of course.)

"Bush Defends Program"

" Had 'Constitutional' and 'Statutory' Authority, Some Say"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:28 PM | Comments (4)

December 16, 2005

Investigate this Leak

Will Patrick Fitzgerald start investigating who told the NY Times about classfied NSA spying of international communications made from people inside the U.S.? This now-public knowledge is far more damaging to the nation (and helpful to al Qaeda) than whatever Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are accused of doing.

To my Bush bashing readers: Before go off on how this evil administration is riding roughshod over civil liberties put yourself in the President's shoes. On Sep. 11, 2001 you witnessed horrific attacks on your country. For almost 60 years the national security mindset was about great power war when the focus in the past 10 years should have been terrorism. New information is found that has to be quickly used, or it's wasted. What do you do? Decisions have to be made quickly because the window of opporunity is closing to seriously hurt the enemy and protect the nation. You do what you think is right and live with the consequences. Imagine the outcry if after another attack we learned the NSA had information that could have stopped it but they didn't have a warrant? The President would be cruicified. To paraphrase Justice Robert Jackson, the Bill of Rights isn't a . If you want an apology from the President, Scott Ott wrote one for him.

Notice in the Times story the Justice Department audited the program. This is not just a case of an administration drunk with power gleefully wading through Americans' e-mails and telephone conversations. They are concerned about balancing security with civil liberties. These are tough decisions for tough times. You may not agree with the decisions, but at least respect the difficulties they are facing.

Now this is out in the open. Fine. Let's have a discussion. Why did the administration feel the need to bypass getting FISA warrants? Let's look and see if this program has been abused or if mistakes have been made. I'll be shocked if everything went perfectly. This is the government, remember? Let's see how serious people are about protecting the nation from terrorists. Let's see how many have already forgotten the burning Twin Towers and the gaping hole in the Pentagon.

"Red Alert: on the Loose"

"Much Ado About Surveillance …"

UPDATE: Mark Levin thinks he knows why President Bush signed the order:

The reason the President probably had to sign an executive order is that the Justice Department office that processes FISA requests, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), can take over 6 months to get a standard FISA request approved. It can become extremely bureaucratic, depending on who is handling the request. His executive order is not contrary to FISA if he believed, as he clearly did, that he needed to act quickly. The president has constitutional powers, too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:21 PM | Comments (7)

December 11, 2005

Breaking News: Explosions North of London

depot-flame.jpg

Something went boom north of London:

A series of massive explosions were reported north of London by witnesses ringing into British media early on Sunday.

One, identified only as Heather, said she heard a loud blast near the commuter town of Hemel Hempstead and could see sheets of flame soaring into the sky.

"There is a fuel depot nearby," she told BBC Television. "There are lots of houses damaged."


It's way too early to know if it's terrorist-related, but I wouldn't be surprised. I would be impressed if al-Qaeda pulled off such a large attack. Since Sep. 11, 2001 their attacks have gotten smaller and smaller.

"Large Explosions Reported North of -Witnesses"

depot-smoke.jpg

---

The BBC reports, "Three large explosions have taken place at an oil depot near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire." The first happened at 0603 GMT with two others occuring about 20 minutes later. If the three happened very close to each other I'd assume it was a terrorist attack. But it's possible the first explosion was man-made. A witnesses say a plane flew into the depot.

"Oil Depot Blasts Cause Casualties"

UPDATE: gunves space is monitoring Sky News and has a small map of where the depot is in relation to London.

UPDATE II: CNN reports that police are calling the explosions an accident. Also no plane from nearby Luton Airport crashed into the depot.

"Explosions Near UK Fuel Depot"

Other resources:


[via Stephanie Booth]

UPDATE III: The Little Green Footballers are jumping all over the possible angle. No evidence so far. None.

UPDATE IV: The BBC has some pictures near the depot.

And this looks like a better flickr tag. Black smoke is the theme. This is good too. But the fire lit up the night sky.

The BBC reports officials are urging locals to keep their windows closed. There's nothing good in that black plume.

UPDATE V: Gary Turner is "impressed with the speed at which the backstage web communications light up."

UPDATE VI: Reports of injuries have come in:

Police say there are 36 casualties, with four people seriously hurt.

Authorities are waiting for the fire to burn out. That could be a while:
In total, 20 petrol tanks are involved in the fire, each said to hold three million gallons of fuel.

tag london explosion london hemel hempstead hemel

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:53 AM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2005

Al-Qaeda Quiet in U.S.

The U.S. hasn't suffered a terrorist attack in some time. Some of it has to do with law enforcement working on to catch internal cells using tools like (some parts of) the Patriot Act which is up for renewal. Some of it can also be explained by military action overseas. That is Congressman Peter Hoekstra's (R-MI) opinion.

Hoekstra said the terrorists are focusing on Iraq instead of the U.S. The "flypaper" argument of the Iraq War is working. That's nice for Americans but I'd be peeved if I were an Iraqi listening to him.

Kevin Brock also sees a shift toward Iraq. "That is where most of the people willing to commit suicide are going," the deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center told reporters.

No one should become complacent. It was a clear, blue day Sep 11, 2001. No one expected death to rain down from the sky. Constant vigilance is required until the clash of ideologies is over.

"No Major Ability Seen in U.S."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:46 PM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2005

Islamists May Have Eyed Nuclear Reactor

Islamist terrorists arrested last week in Australia may have been targeting a nuclear reactor near Sydney:

Under the heading "Targets," police said three of the men were stopped near Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in December 2004. A security gate lock had recently been cut.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has never suffered a major peacetime attack on home soil. The country has been on medium security alert since shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

The document said six of the men went on "hunting and camping trips," which police described as jihad training camps, in the Australian outback in early 2005.

"This training is consistent with the modus operandi of terrorists pprior to attacks," the police document said.


An arrested spiritual leader called for "maximum damage." Since Lucas Heights only has a research reactor the damage would be more psychological than material. Singapore Serf has more on the reactor and a little about what keeps the lights on down under.

"Terror Suspects Eyed Sydney Reactor: Police"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

Australian Islamist Attack Foiled

Australian police arrested 17 people suspected of plotting a terrorist attack. One of those arrested was Abu Bakr who has said Osama bin Laden is a "great man."

In a Melbourne "the court has been told the group was committed to the notion of jihad, and had been recorded discussing bomb-making and martyrdom."

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon called the 18-month-long investigation "easily the biggest [counter-terrorist] operation that's ever taken place in this country."

The Guardian reports the terrorists were planning a chemical attack. Those chemicals must have simply bomb-making materials. Here are some other details reported by Australian media:

The first details of the charges against the 16 terror suspects were outlined in a Melbourne court today.

Victorian police had more than 240 hours of phone intercepts in which the group discussed plans to kill Australian civilians, the court heard.

Some of the group had attended military training, and they had a pooled fund of money to finance alleged plots, the court heard.

Tim Blair has links.

"17 Terror Suspects Arrested in Australia"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2005

OU Bombing Update

The Northeast Intelligence Network reports that last Saturday night's suicide bombing in Norman, OK has Middle Eastern connections. It's all annonymous sources so I give it little credibility especially when a terrorism expert doesn't think it was terrorism.

"Dad: Politics Had No Role in Death" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2005

Horrific Video

Islamists strike Bali again. I hope this video is the closest you ever get to a bombing. It was taken by Australian tourist on vacation in Bali. 26 died and 101 were injured.

Indonesian police believe the suicide bombs were set off with mobile phones. Once again terrorists use our own technology against us. Funny, since they want to take us back in time to the days of Islamic empire. The technique was also good. It was simultaneous explosions. They were staggered, making them more terrifying. Scared people didn't know if there would be another then another. Multiple, smaller bombs seems to be the new pattern for Jemaah Islamiyah, the Islamist group suspected to be behind the attacks.

I wonder if some device and method could be developed to temporarily shut down cell networks in an area. That way only simultaneous detonations could happen. It wouldn't prevent deaths from the bombs themselves but it could prevent greater panic from a series of explosions.

This attack came at a time when Bali was recovering from the 2002 attack. Ron Nurwisah writes,

Last year, I had a chance to go to Bali. It was about a year and a bit after the first Bali bombings and everyone I talked to was optimistic that maybe everything was coming back to normal. Australians, who made up most of the victims of the first bombing, were already back in full force. Americans and Europeans were slowly, cautiously coming back.

This weblogger found good words from a muslim scholar rejecting the attacks. Sheik Yusuf Al-Qardawi said, "those people [terrorists] hurt Islam and Muslims with the wrong behavior they do; as the threat they pose to Islam is much more than that of the enemies of Islam who fight it tooth and nail, both in darkness and broad daylight"

What we do know is the Islamist War goes beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. It's more than just invading countries. It involves intelligence, technology, ideology, persuasion, ingenuity, and courage.

"Chilling Video Shows Bali Bombing Suspect"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2005

Oklahoma Bomb Blast

Yikes! Someone blew themselves up on the University of Oklahoma campus. I've thought for years that if al Qaeda really wanted to terrorize Americans they'd hit targets in Middle America. Knowing anyone is a target would be very unsettling. No word that this was in any way an Islamist attack, but some place like Oklahoma would harm the nation's psyche more than another attack on New York City.

"Bomb Blast at University of Oklahoma!" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 04:33 PM | Comments (3)

September 22, 2005

What is Rummy Thinking?

The Pentagon has confirmed Able Danger members did indeed discover Mohammad Atta was a terrorist, but Rumsfeld refuses to let them testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. What's Rumsfeld hiding? At a time like this sucking it up and accepting embarassment is doing what's best for the country. No more games. We need to know.

"Able Danger: Hide In Plain Sight?"

This purely derivative post (good work Captain Ed) is because I'm still sick. It's off to the doctor to see if this is just a cold (hopefully). You'll know I'm feeling better as the number of posts increase along with their intensity.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2005

Navy Captain Backs Shaffer

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's credibility has been significantly strengthened with Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott issuing a statement supporting Shaffer's claim. In his statement Phillpott told Fox News, "My story has remained consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger in January/February 2000."

The Pentagon has found no documentation to back up the two men's claims. But that shouldn't be needed. Able Danger was a data mining project. All that's needed is to "re-mine." Do the same data mining process on the data set and see if Mohamed Atta's name pops up again. That would be substantial proof. I know the Pentagon would shake and quake for having to shine the light on a classified program, but this was an open source data mining experiment. Even if some of Able Danger's techniques became public it would be really hard for our enemies to counteract it. A plus of open sources is they're by nature decentralized. They're news reports, names in phone books, etc. In this day and age it's very hard to disappear. Aliases can be used, but those fake names will be spotted. (The tricky part becomes linking the alias to the real person.) This is a case of the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy biting them in the ass.

Captain Ed goes to argue the Pentagon is trying to undermine Shaffer's credibility.

Thankfully, Jim Geraghty put together what we know and what we don't. He's been skeptical like me so I don't feel like I'm out on a island.

AJStrata blows away the charge about Shaffer's loss of security clearance:

One thing that keeps coming up is Schaffers revocation of his security clearance, supposedly for $67 worth of personal calls on his military supplied cell phone. When one recalls Sandy Bergler still has his security clearance after stealing and destroying classified papers which directly related to the run up to 9-11, the total idiocy of this whole mess becomes crystal clear.

"Navy Captain Backs Able Danger Claims"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2005

Questions about Able Danger and the Sep. 11 Commission

Based on the claims of the members of the Able Danger team Captain Ed wonders if the Sep. 11 commission might have gotten Mohammed Atta's whereabouts wrong. The commission put together their timeline on interrogations of captured al Qaeda members Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Able Danger got Atta's name to pop up by data mining "open-source information that was available on the Internet and in other public media." In both cases we could have examples of GIGO--Garbage In Garbage Out. What corresponding information did the Sep. 11 commission have to back up the claims spouted by the al Qaeda members? What data was mined and what process did Able Danger use to mine it? The answers to these questions will help us evaluate how accurate the Sep. 11 report is.

"Able Danger: Did They ID Atta Before He Got Here?"

UPDATE: Or maybe Able Danger is a myth:

But Lawrence DiRita, a Pentagon spokesman, said a review of materials related to Able Danger has so far turned up no evidence that it identified Atta, the reputed leader of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The spokesman said he did not know whether the material reviewed contained the names of any of the other three hijackers.

"What we have found are mostly sort of general reference to terrorist cells that people were generally aware of," DiRita told reporters.

"But nothing that would seem to corroborate specifically what congressman Weldon and Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer recall, although as you know they don't have what they said they saw. That makes it a little more difficult," he said.


"Pentagon Says It Has Found No Evidence Atta Identified Before 2001 Attacks" [via Drudge]

UPDATE II: This story gets really strange. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer made the allegation that Able Danger picked up Mohammad Atta as a terrorist in the U.S. in early 2000. He got the information third-hand. Members of the data mining team told him a chart had Atta's picture on it. Based on that miniscule bit of info conservative webloggers and pundits (myself included) ran wild. The strange new element is this from the Washington Times:

The DIA is in the process of revoking Col. Shaffer's security clearance, Mr. Zaid said, for what he called "trivial matters." They include reimbursements for mileage and telephone charges, and whether he properly received an award for his Able Danger work.

Mr. Zaid said the Army promoted Col. Shaffer from the rank of major during the time of his paid suspension.


Shaffer may be trying to embarass the Pentagon for taking away his security clearance. He has a big-time credibility problem. Where are the Able Danger team members he supposedly talked to? This skeptical writer is waiting.

"Review Finds No Pre-9/11 Atta File"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:29 PM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2005

Warship Attacks Weren't Much

Jay Tea does a little research and some logical thinking to conclude the al Qaeda attacks on U.S. ships in Jordan were "all sizzle, no steak."

"O, How the Mighty Have Fallen"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2005

Uranium Dealers Caught in Turkey

Thank goodness Turkish police caught these guys:

Turkish security forces have seized one third of a pound of medium-grade uranium in Istanbul.

The uranium was captured from two men arrested in Istanbul and it amounted to 173 grams or 6.102 ounces. Authorities fear the dangerous substance smuggled from Russia could have landed in the hands of terrorists, Turkey's Anatolia news agency said.

Two people who were planning to sell the substance in a glass bottle for $7 million were detained. The detainees said that they had smuggled the substance from Russia, the news agency and Mos News in Moscow reported.

I have no idea how much uranium is needed to make a simple nuke or if there was enough of the proper isotope in the goons' glass bottle (what about radiation poisoning?), but this could have been used to make a dirty nuke creating a lot of fear.

"Russian Uranium Seized in Turkey" [via In the Bullpen]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2005

If You Were on Vacation...

For those of you who need a catch-up on Able Danger and its importance Jack Kelly is your man.

"Able Danger -- Now They Tell Us"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2005

Sep. 11 Report: Riveting but Now Flawed

One more thing about the Sep. 11 Commission report: my praise for it was for its depiction of how events unfolded. It was riveting reading through how the attacks took place, government reaction to them, and how people tried to survive. The part of the book I took least seriously was the recomendations. I figured they would get churned up in the meat grinder that is national politics. Little did I know the commission would still be in existence (as a non-profit organization) badgering the President and Congress. A good thing to come out of our new knowledge of Able Danger is it dulls the shine of those concieted commissioners.

James Joyner doesn't go down the conspiracy road:

The alternative explanation, that they were engaged in some sort of political coverup, is dubious. Not only were the commission members selected (with a couple notable exceptions) for their reputations for integrity but they were picked on a bipartisan basis. To the extent that this information reflected unfavorably on the Clinton administration, one would think several of the Republican members would have been happy to see it come to light.

The commissioners weren't the platonic philosopher kings many made them out to be.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:11 PM | Comments (1)

Able Danger and the Sep. 11 Commission

So the Sep. 11 Commission knew military intelligence scoped out Mohammed Atta as a possible terrorist, but they didn't bother putting into their final, well-received report. This piece of information can transform the final analysis of how to make the U.S. safer as Michelle Malkin points out herself and in a number of links to other webloggers.

For me there's is a little egg on my face. I named the commission report as one of the best books of 2004. Here's a little of what I wrote about it:

There is plenty to critize about the the Sept. 11 Commission. There was a big confict of interest with one of the commissioners as well as the partisanship that ran roughshod over the public hearings. Those aspects will be forgotten. What will stand is their report. It's detailed, comprehensive, and most importantly readable. While not perfect (no work could be) it's the place to begin to understand that awful day.

It's still imperfect but now it's not as "comprehensive" as I initially believed.

Now, will those like Seymour Hersh start looking to see if the commission "stovepiped" information to come to their final conclusions or does that just apply to President Bush, VP Cheney, and the run up to the Iraq War? Can we expect commissioner Jamie Gorelick to receive additional scrutiny?

"9/11 Commission Ignored Key Facts on Hijackers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:34 AM | Comments (3)

August 05, 2005

Blair Wants to Expel Radicals

Tony Blair has forced the U.K. to examine how it deald with Islamist extremists:

Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed strict anti-terror measures Friday that would allow Britain to expel foreigners who preach hatred, close extremist mosques and bar entry to Muslim radicals. "The rules of the game are changing" following last month's bomb attacks, he declared.

The proposals, which also target extremist Web sites and bookshops, are aimed primarily at excluding radical Islamic clerics accused of whipping up hatred and violence among vulnerable, disenfranchised Muslim men.


Some British Muslims are concerned. It's up to the Blair government to focus only on the extremists preaching violence so as to not alienate moderate Muslims who could have a tremendous effect on global Islam. One moderate Muslim has had enough and backs Blair, "Day after day these lunatics on our behalf ... are really messing up our lives here."

"U.K. Institutes New Deportation Measures"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2005

Bombs Rip Through Egyptian Resort

Egypt-flag.gif We're all Egyptians too!

At least 49 people have died in three car bomb attacks in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt. I have little doubt al-Qaeda or a related group is behind the attacks. This attack along with the ones in London and Baghdad show the Islamists really want to turn up the intensity. They are also demonstrating their targets are more than just those nations who liberated Afghanistan and Iraq. Egypt was a target because isn't Islamic enough or Islamist--it certainly wouldn't hurt if they were democratic. To the Islamists you're either with them or you're an infidel and deserve to die. Innocent Egyptians suffered for that evil thinking.

"49 Dead and 200 Hurt in Egyptian Blasts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

The Islamist Enemy

Chad Evans writes that the war we face is indeed a religious war. It's just not against Islam.

"The Enemy We Face"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

al Qaeda: A Product of the West

What do Kurt Cobain and the London suicide bombers have in common? They were all angst-driven. That's the core of Brendan O'Neill's a thought-provoking piece on the source of al Qaeda's anti-West hatred. He writes,

The drift of young Muslims, whether Western-born or middle-class foreigners, to radical mosques and fundamentalism also surely says something about a malaise at the heart of Western society. Many of these terrorists are not made in Kabul, Cairo or Tehran, but in London, Hamburg and Montreal. Such terrorism, it seems, is less a consequence of far-away fanaticism infiltrating the West, but rather suggests a failure on the part of mainstream institutions in the West to cohere society or to provide individuals with any meaningful sense of identity.

There is a growing sense of atomisation and alienation in the West, not only among immigrants but across society. Homesick Arabs and British-born Muslims in West Yorkshire might feel it more acutely, but it affects everyone in British, American and European societies, in the growth of disillusionment with public institutions and disenfranchisement from the political process. Could it be that the new terrorism, which we consider so awful and alien, is in fact a product of the same corrosive forces that impact on the rest of us? Could it be that those four alienated Asian kids from Leeds were expressing the same angst and disillusionment, in a much more violent way, as anti-globalist campaigners express when they smash up a McDonald's and others of us express in our pissed-off-ness with political and public life?

These are the questions we need to ask, rather than coming up with easy, pat solutions about shutting down mosques and banging up certain imams. When four young men from Leeds who were born, raised and educated here, and who days before the attacks were playing cricket and hanging out with their mates, can head down to London and kill themselves and 60 others, something has clearly gone horribly amiss. Al-Qaeda's 'war' does not represent a clash of civilisations, but rather points to a crisis within Western civilisation itself.

O'Neill doesn't pinpoint the source of the angst. It seems to correspond to the general communitarian view. What strikes me is this has a "the old days were better vibe" to it. What has changed about Western culture and institutions? Is it multiculturalism and/or moral relativism? Is it Marxist economic alientation?

"British-Born Bombers: not so Shocking"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2005

We are All Britons

To remember the victims of the Bloody Seventh the State Department raised the Union Jack. Nice.

"In Solidarity with Britain" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:54 AM | Comments (7)

Cameras Didn't Stop the Bombings

Here's something unsettling about London's Bloody Seventh: the city is covered with surveillance cameras. They also have police with experience combating terrorism--the IRA. Yet London gets hit with four bombings on the same day. The U.S. as a whole isn't a serious about homeland security as the UK. Even if we were terrorists only have to exploit one weak point to succeed. Homeland security has no margin of error. What unsettles me is the U.S. will be attacked again. It's not a question of "if" but "when." And I'm surprised we haven't been hit yet.

As a method terrorism can't be completely stopped. What can be done is to increase the costs of an attack by infiltrating terrorist circles to prevent attacks and strong retaliation so they don't attack again.

"Watch on the Thames"

UPDATE: London native Paul Maidment writes,

No modern international city can ever make itself secure against terrorist attack. As the Spanish capital Madrid learned in March 2004, when its commuter railways were bombed, the transport system is the soft underbelly of a city's economy.

...

But the threat of terrorism has long been a permanent subtext of daily life for Londoners. There is no single transforming event like 9/11 for them, just decades of incidents. The mood may be grim there today, many of the streets of central London may be eerily empty, and all streets are surreally free of London's distinctive double-decker red buses, but no Londoner today is talking about a loss of innocence.

"For Londoners, Shock But Not Surprise"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

July 07, 2005

Islamists Bomb London

uk1.jpg

When I heard of the four London terrorist bombings--Josh Trevino declared it "The Bloody Seventh"--I was riveted to my radio. Then I had to go to work so this is my first chance to post on the attacks. In instances like that I find the radio to be the best medium for getting instant updates. Cable news has the visuals but also obnoxious talking heads. Weblogs' value starts kicking in when knowledgeable people start adding context.

My first impression is the Islamists have really bad timing. U.S. public opinion on the Iraq War has been wavering. With this act of evil I see them being reminded of the threat the free nations face from Islamist ideology.

Second, Live 8 will be totally forgotten. Bob Geldof must want to strangle the al Qaeda-linked group for ending talk about fixing African poverty. Global discussion will return to talk of war, peace, life, death, and security. It could be months or years to get poverty back to a focus of a G-8 summitt.

As of this writing The Guardian reports only 33 dead. That's the same number I heard this morning. I expected the death toll to rise, especially after seeing a picture like this. My prayers are with the hurt, the sorrowful, and the scared. Like the Brits did for us on Sept. 11, 2001, America stands by your side.

For constant updates visit In the Bullpen.

"Details of the London Blasts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:39 PM | Comments (13)

April 04, 2005

The "Poverty=Terrorism" Myth

Dean links to a few posts knocking down the myth that poverty causes terrorism. The background of most of the Sep. 11 terrorists is enough evidence for me. Dean gave me a chuckle when he wrote:

In fact, if you look at terrorists, they usually have one thing in common. Whether it's an anarchist like Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski, a communist like Che Guevara, or a religio-fascist like Osama bin Laden, all seem to share a common background:

They grew up as spoiled brats in very comfortable, pampered, well-off households.

Other than that, only hate is their unifying trait.


"The Poverty/Terrorism "Root Cause" Myth"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:04 PM | Comments (1)

January 31, 2005

Non-Combatants Can Go to Court

If some federal judges have their way the U.S. won't be able to hold any terrorists.

A federal judge ruled Monday that foreign terror suspects held in Cuba can challenge their confinement in U.S. courts and she criticized the Bush administration for holding hundreds of people without legal rights.

Judge Joyce Hens Green, handling claims filed by about 50 detainees at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, said the Supreme Court made clear last year that they have constitutional rights that lower courts should enforce.


"Although this nation unquestionably must take strong action under the leadership of the commander in chief to protect itself against enormous and unprecedented threats," she wrote, "that necessity cannot negate the existence of the most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over 200 years."


I'm galled that Judge Green thinks non-citizens have the same constitutionally protected rights as American citizens. In a metaphysical sense all people have the same rights--thus they're called human rights. This has to be approached differently in a world of nation-states, borders, and anti-terrorist security. If it's the U.S. government must respect the rights of non-citizens then President Bush's call last week to spread freedom across the globe isn't just American policy. It could conceivably be a legal obligation.

Right now, the military holds hearings where prisoners can appeal their status as enemy combatants. Periodic review seems sound since intelligence and security concerns require easier standards than criminal trials. Judge Green ruled those unconstitutional today as well.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the conundrum the Supreme Court has placed us in:

The hard truth is there are people in custody who would love to see thousands of Americans dead. Those in custody are the same types of evil thugs beheading foreigners and bombing Iraqis who are working to bring freedom to their country. The Bush administration and the American public now have to face a significant consequence of the Supreme Court ruling that prisoners held by the military have a right to a hearing. Since letting the prisoners go would guarantee future American deaths we have two choices: either we hold the most dangerous terrorists until they die; or we shoot them. (The CIA will just moved them outside the U.S. with a "rendition" and off them.) Human rights activists who seem to care more about the rights of America's enemies than Americans don't like to admit that's the dilemma we face. They worry about government abuses. That's something I'll grant has taken place, is taking place now, and will in the future. However, if it's a terroist being abused instead of an American killed then that's a tragic tradeoff I'm willing to make. It's us or them, and I know what side I'm on.

"Judge Backs Guantanamo Detainee Challenges"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:42 PM | Comments (5)

January 03, 2005

Wrapping Yourself in the Magna Carta

Julian Sanchez worries that America is standing at the abyss ready to sacrifice its freedom-loving soul because the Bush administration is thinking about holding terrorist prisoners forever. He even tries to make the Magna Carta his medieval ally. Later on, Sanchez admits there are different standards domestically and internationally. The primary role of the nation-state is to protect the rights of its citizens. I'm not a medieval law scholar, but I feel confident in claiming that the term "free man" in the Magna Carta didn't apply to invading armies.

Sanchez compares the domestic standard we use domestically with murder suspects with the nebulous standard applied to the Gitmo prisoners. There is two significant differences. First, there's a knowledge difference. For a domestic murder suspect it's much easier to collect evidence and interview witnesses. In the fog of war that's more difficult. The same judicial standards cannot be applied. Second, releasing a murder suspect due to lack of evidence doesn't endanger as many people as releasing a terrorist prisoner. At worst, the murder suspect could kill one or two before caught. A released terrorist would rejoin a network that has succeeded in killing 3000+ Americans in one day and shows no sign of ending their war.

His solution is giving those prisoners some kind of trial. But you can bet if that happened Julian Sanchez would first to gripe about the low evidentiary standards the government used to keep the terrorists locked up.

"Endless Detention: From Guantanamo to 'Camp 6'?"

UPDATE: Ace's argument is that the prisoners will be released at the end of the war.

Now, this is indeed a war that may go on for some time. But that does not change the basic rule that captured soldiers are held until hostilities end. And if Al Qaeda wants to make war for generations to come, that's just bad luck on their "soldiers," isn't it?

Al Qaeda can get its "soldiers" released any time they like-- by surrendering.


I would think such long-time rules of war would satisfy Sanchez, but I doubt it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:22 PM | Comments (11)

January 02, 2005

Then Shoot 'Em

The CIA and the Pentagon want some White House direction on what to do with many of the terrorist prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Ideas include a 200-bed prison at Gitmo to "allow inmates more comfort and freedom than they have now" and a secret CIA prison that was scuddled.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is dismissive of the idea of the U.S. holding some prisoners for years or even a lifetime. "It's a bad idea. So we ought to get over it and we ought to have a very careful, constitutional look at this," he yapped on Fox News Sunday.

Releasing enemies of the U.S. is a "bad idea" too. Imagine what the public will scream if one of those released terrorists pull off something worse than Sep. 11. Think I'm uttering hyperbole? Here's what happened when a number of prisoners who were no longer considered national threats were released:

Despite gaining their freedom by signing pledges to renounce violence, at least seven former prisoners of the United States at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have returned to terrorism, at times with deadly consequences.

At least two are believed to have died in fighting in Afghanistan, and a third was recaptured during a raid on a suspected training camp in Afghanistan, Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico, a Pentagon spokesman, said last week. Others are at large.

Additional former detainees have expressed a desire to rejoin the fight, be it against U.N. peacekeepers in Afghanistan, Americans in Iraq or Russian soldiers in Chechnya.

And these were the prisoners the military thought didn't pose a threat anymore. Those still in custody are presumably more dangerous.

The hard truth is there are people in custody who would love to see thousands of Americans dead. Those in custody are the same types of evil thugs beheading foreigners and bombing Iraqis who are working to bring freedom to their country. The Bush administration and the American public now have to face a significant consequence of the Supreme Court ruling that prisoners held by the military have a right to a hearing. Since letting the prisoners go would guarantee future American deaths we have two choices: either we hold the most dangerous terrorists until they die; or we shoot them. (The CIA will just moved them outside the U.S. with a "rendition" and off them.) Human rights activists who seem to care more about the rights of America's enemies than Americans don't like to admit that's the dilemma we face. They worry about government abuses. That's something I'll grant has taken place, is taking place now, and will in the future. However, if it's a terroist being abused instead of an American killed then that's a tragic tradeoff I'm willing to make. It's us or them, and I know what side I'm on.

"Long-Term Plan Sought For Terror Suspects"

"Senator Says Lifetime Terror Detentions 'Bad Idea'"

UPDATE: For some reason MT-Blacklist didn't DANEgerus' post. I found nothing offensive or spam-like in it so here it is.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:39 PM | Comments (44)

November 29, 2004

Spying on Chat Rooms

Consider this the next time you're using IRC (Internet Relay Chat):

In April 2003, the CIA agreed to fund a series of research projects that the documents indicate were intended to create "new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology." One of those projects is research at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., devoted to automated monitoring and profiling of the behavior of chat-room users.

...

Yener and Krishnamoorthy, both associate professors of computer science, wrote that their research would involve writing a program for "silently listening" to an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel and "logging all the messages." One of the oldest and most popular methods for chatting online, IRC attracts hundreds of thousands of users every day. A history written by IRC creator Jarkko Oikarinen said the concept grew out of chat technology for modem-based bulletin boards in the 1980s.

The Yener and Krishnamoorthy proposal says their research will begin Jan. 1, 2005 but does not say which IRC servers will be monitored.


I figured government intel agencies were already monitoring certain chat rooms. Maybe the importance of the research is that a program would be developed to monitor conversations silently. But all this means is that terrorists will stop using IRC and move on to other chat systems including plain old instant message. The neverending game of espionage cat and mouse would continue.

"Security Officials to Spy on Chat Rooms"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

March 11 Linked to Sept. 11

The FBI believes a member of al Qaeda in Spain played a significant role in planing both the Madrid bombings and the Sept. 11 attacks:

Investigators have long concluded that the Sept. 11 attacks were partially planned in Spain in July 2001.

Hijacker Mohammed Atta, believed to have piloted one of the airliners that crashed into New York's World Trade Center, visited Spain two months before the attacks and met two men.

One was Ramzi bin al-Shaibah, who is being held by U.S. authorities, while the other was unidentified.

ABC said investigators now believe that third man was the one who in December 2003 activated the Qaeda cell that carried out the March 11 attacks, which Spaniards call "our Sept. 11."

ABC said investigators had narrowed his identity down to three candidates and believed he was a lieutenant of Mustafa Setmarian, increasingly considered to have been a leader of the Madrid train bombers and who may have held a leadership role for al Qaeda in Europe.

Setmarian, aged 45 and of Syrian origin, was already wanted as part of a separate investigation into Islamic militant activity in Spain and is the subject of a Spanish wanted notice issued through Interpol.


"Report: FBI Finds Link Between 9/11, Madrid Bombs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2004

SDS Still Lives

Lynne Stewart's defense of anti-capitalistic revolution reminds me of the stories in David Horowitz's and Peter Collier's Destructive Generation. The call for revolution and the hatred of capitalism still lives in the heads of some. Stewart tried to combine 60s radicalism with Islamism to create a deadly union.

"Stewart Defends Violence"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2004

Tit-for-Tat

The bombing of a Dutch Muslim schools is as horrible as the murder of Theo van Gogh. It shows (as if we didn't know) that Islamists don't hold a monopoly on terrorism.

I hope we're not seeing the beginning of an anti-Muslim crack-up in Europe. Historically, it would demonstrate that the continent hasn't learned anything from the dark days of Nazism. Practically, Europe needs the influx of Muslim immigrants for aging societies. The extremists on all sides may not realize it, but they all need each other.

"Dutch Muslim School Hit by Bomb"

"Muslim School Bombed in Netherlands"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2004

Lost in Translation

Osama bin Laden's video-taped message may not have it's full effect because the MSM may have mistranslated an important word. MEMRI president Yigal Carmon writes,

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera(1) on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state")(2) to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."
The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."(3)

If indeed bin Laden was mistranslated there's little chance his accurate message will permeate the electorate. There's only one day left until voters go to the polls. Even in our highly-compressed news cycle life, it would still take a few days for voters to digest bin Laden's threat to individual states. If bin Laden wanted to affect the election it may have been botched by someone messing up one word.

"Osama Bin Laden Tape Threatens U.S. States Not to Vote for Bush" [via lgf]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:23 AM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2004

It's a War, Stupid!

Hey, anti-war types who complain about prisoner mistreatment, a few of those released terrorists decided to lie and fight again.

There's a certain Presidential candidate who thinks the Islamist War would be better fought as a law enforcement problem akin to gambling and prostitution. As this AP story demonstrates that approach will get people killed.

FDR could have put Japan on "double secret probation" after Pearl Harbor, but he didn't because he knew only victory would keep America safe. Too bad John Kerry doesn't realize this.

"Freed from Detention, 7 Resumed Terrorism" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:54 PM | Comments (3)

Spain Attacked to Influence Election

Al Qaeda attacked Madrid in March to affect the elections. That's what the Washington Post reports. It's just a reaffirmation of our initial thoughts. The bombings occured three days before the national election. The timing was perfect.

I just hope there are no plans to attack the U.S. in the next two weeks. The Bush administration are in a political bind. If they raise an alert, Kerry Edwards and their band of Bush bashers will accuse the President of playing politics with terrorism. But if the administration didn't issue a warning and al Qaeda attacked then they'd be bashed for not protecting the nation.

"Madrid Attacks May Have Targeted Election" [via InTheBullpen.com]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:51 PM | Comments (9)

September 11, 2004

Sep. 11 + 3 Years

Three years have pasted since al Qaeda's greatest accomplishment and the signing of its death warrant. While the country is still at war, at home we have enough normalcy to have elections. What that says is America is stronger than al Qaeda's Islamist ideology. We survived attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. and will survive a highly polarized election. They hit us, but we're hitting them back again and again and again.

Some will forget Sep. 11, 2001. We are just humans who sometimes get our values and priorities mixed up. The rest of us must do our best to remind the forgetters what America faced, how we persevered, and who our heroes were.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

Jakarta Attack

One Fine Jay correctly reminds us that the Islamist War is far from over. While we Americans are safe enough to argue over 1970s typewriters, Jakarta is cleaning up after a deadly truck bomb directed at the Australian embassy.

"Blast Hits Central Jakarta"

"Indonesia Releases Embassy Attack Footage"

"Terror Blast Likely to Benefit Coalition"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:58 PM | Comments (2)

September 08, 2004

A Run on Tin Foil

This poll got lost in the tide of GOP convention news. Almost half of NYC residents think U.S. leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act."

"Half of New Yorkers Believe US Leaders Had Foreknowledge of Impending 9-11 Attacks and 'Consciously Failed' To Act; 66% Call For New Probe of nanswered Questions by Congress or New York’s Attorney General, New Zogby International Poll Reveals"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

Taking the War Home

The AP is reporting that hundreds of men, women, and children in a Russian school are being held hostage by people with bombs strapped to them. This probably the work of Chechen terrorists who have bombed a Moscow subway and knocked two airliners out of the sky.

"Reports: Hundreds Held Hostage in Russia"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:16 AM | Comments (3)

August 30, 2004

Two for One

It appears two Attas were going into the Czech Republic in the spring of 2000. That certainly would confuse investigators. Instead of Atta the hijacker hanging around Prague's Ruzyne Airport it was Atta the Pakistani businessman. However, the two Attas don't explain where Atta the hijacker was 04.08.01. That's the day a Czech informant claims he saw Atta meet with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague.

"In Prague, a tale of 2 Attas"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

Getting Closer

Daniel Pipes is pleased the President is inching his way to formally acknowledging the enemy we're at war with.

"Naming the Enemy"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004

Hacking the Report

I downloaded the PDF version of the Sep. 11 report, but it sits on my computer untouched. I'm waiting for more copies of the bound version to get back into my store. An HTML version sounds much better for linking from this weblog.

"Techies Reshape 9/11 History" [via A Small Victory]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:17 AM | Comments (4)

July 23, 2004

Be Focused

I'd like to think the Sep. 11 Commission reads TAM, but I realize I'm just a keyboard jockey in Wisconsin. Nevertheless, they agree with me that a "war on terrorism" is too nebulous and open-ended a concept.

"War on Terror Criticized for Lack of Focus" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2004

A Little Cranky

Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the jailed big thinker behind the first terrorist attack on the WTC, can't drink the tea he wants. In retaliation, he has stopped taking his insulin and is eating M&M's in order to hurt himself and blame it on the U.S. to inspire his terrorist followers.

Let's help the blind guy out. Which kind of M&M's have the most sugar? Or how about sending Abdel-Rahman a little gift to help him get to Paradise sooner? With the power of modern capitalism, not only can we choose from a plethora of M&M's colors (what goes best with prison orange?), but we can also add a message. "You bastard," "Hello Killer," and "USA USA" are good ideas to irritate the Islamist scum.

Or skip the M&M's and let's chip in to get him some golden glazed goodies.

"WTC Bomb Leader Making Himself Sick"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2004

Running Scared

I don't doubt the veracity of the story, but I think it shows that Al Qaeda linked (and based in Iraq) terrorist (note: not MILITANT) Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is in the last stages of some sort of breakdown before the handover on June 30th.

"As for you, Allawi -- sorry, the democratically elected prime minister -- we have found for you a useful poison and a sure sword," said a taped voice, purported to be Zarqawi's own.

It just shows what the enemies of civilization really care about. Obviously, a free Iraq and hopefully (eventually) a free Middle East is NOT in their best interest.

Militants Terrorists Threaten Iraq PM

Posted by in Terrorism at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Tracking the Planes

The Sep. 11 Commission isn't a complete waste despite the partisan circuses some of their public hearings turned out to be. Here's what we've learned about the U.S. air defense on that fateful day:


  • The country isn't blanketed with radar coverage.
    Shortly after 9:00 a.m., Indianapolis Center started notifying other agencies that American 77 was missing and had possibly crashed. At 9:08 a.m., Indianapolis Center contacted Air Force Search and Rescue at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and told them to look out for a downed aircraft. Indianapolis Center never saw Flight 77 turn around. By the time it reappeared in primary radar coverage, controllers had either stopped looking for the aircraft because they thought it had crashed or were looking toward the west. … American 77 traveled undetected for 36 minutes on a course heading due east for Washington, D.C.

  • Air traffic controllers and the military never expected a situation where more than one airplane was hijacked simultaneously. The Air Force planned to defend against fighters and bombers attacking from outside the U.S. not passenger planes attacking from within. While controllers were trying to find American 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center, United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to his the WTC, switched its transponder code twice without notice. The same controller that was suppose to watch United 175 was also to watch American 11.

    Furthermore, with such a novel attack, the FAA was didn't even ask for military help about United 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. Twelve minutes after the Pentagon was hit and over one hour since American 11 hit the WTC the Command Center finally "suggested that someone at headquarters should decide whether to request military assistance" about United 93. Thirteen minutes earlier, Cleveland Center which was watching United 93 offered to call a local military base. Fortunately, heroes on that flight forced the plane to crash in a field instead of Washington, D.C.

  • The FAA didn't have anyone watching the news. At 8:46 a.m. American 11 hit the WTC. At 9:03 a.m. United 175 then slammed into the WTC. At 9:08 a.m., over twenty minutes after the first crash, " Indianapolis Center contacted Air Force Search and Rescue at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and told them to look out for a downed aircraft." Either no one knew there was at least one incident in New York City, or no one put two and two together. By 9:42 a.m. the FAA's Command Center "learned from television news reports that a plane had struck the Pentagon."

  • There was no communication between regional FAA centers. All information went to the Command Center in Virginia. Think of a spoke and wheel. It appears Indianapolis Center didn't know American 11 was missing or hijacked. There was no central flight data repository where Boston Center could let all other centers know there was a problem with one of their planes. It then didn't pique controllers' suspicion when American 77, the plane that hit the Pentagon, changed its flight plan and disappeared from radar. It took over a half hour for the FAA to gather and think about the two crashed planes and the one missing one. The agency ordered a "nationwide ground stop." American hit the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., twelve minutes after the stop order.

"Tracking the Flights Hijacked on 9/11" [via Hit & Run]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

Attacking Ohio

I'd like to say "I told you so" about al-Qaeda attacking a shopping mall, but this is one of those instances where something I've thought about often doesn't make it onto this weblog.

You can think I'm making this up. Oh well. Soon after the Sept. 11 attacks I wondered what al-Qaeda would do next. Since passengers counterattacked the hijackers on United Flight 93, and passengers rose up to stop Richard Reid, the "Shoe bomber" turning a passenger plane into a cruise missile is off the idea board. To really instill fear in the population anyone, not just those in cities like New York and Washington, D.C., would have to think they could be a potential target. An attack in America's heartland would truly terrorize the public, and what better place for a bombing than a shopping mall? It's where millions of people daily congregate to shop, eat, and be entertained. An attack there would implant one heck of a cocoon effect pushing the economy into deep recession (although online retailers would make a killing).

Now, we have word that a Somali terrorist was, in fact, plotting to bomb a mall in Ohio.

"Man Charged in Ohio Mall Blast Plot"

UPDATE: Here's reaction from Captain Ed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:01 PM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2004

They Can't Win

It hasn't even been a full news cycle and there's criticism that John Ashcroft's and Robert Mueller's news conference was an overreaction. If there are no U.S. attacks in the next few months, the Bush bashers will complain the administration used the threat of terrorism as an election weapon.

"Feds: Al Qaeda Plans to 'Hit the U.S. Hard'"

"An Overreaction?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2004

"Grandstanding"

The NY Post has summed up the two days of hearings on the Sept. 11 attacks. Here's the opening paragraph:

The 9/11 Commission completed two days near the scene of the crime yes terday, doing what it does best: grandstanding.

Keep reading. It doesn't let up.

"A National Disgrace, Cont'd" [via Viking Pundit]

After reading that there's an essay left by SDH as a comment to a post that deserves a post of its own.

"An Attempt at Some Historical Perspective on the 9/11 Commission's Monday Morning Elways..."

The Spanish Empire fell with a cataclysmic crash after its armada sank off the coasts of The British Isles. Its infamous reputation lived for centuries and tarred generations of Hispanic people with an unfair reputation for duplicity, inhumanity and barbaric cruelty. This horrible reputation, known by historians as "La Leyenda Negra", or The Black Legend resulted primarily from the writings of a Catholic Monk; Father Bartolomeo De Las Casas.

De Las Casas observed the encomienderos and all of the misery which these people inflicted upon South and Central America. His account sickens any person with a rational mind. When rock singer Neil Young wrote his PC Jeremiad "Cortez Was a Killer", he riffed off the fundamental conceit posited by the writings of De Las Casas. Five hundred years after De Las Casas died his message of self-loathing and grief resounded across the ages and profoundly affected the thinking of a man who probably never studied Spanish Literature and History.

The 9/11 Commission will compose the primary source historical document that will inform future generations of historians, school children and pop culture entertainers of what happened on 11 September 2001. These men and women seem too shortsighted to recognize what they have in their hands. They are the ambassadors that will introduce our society and our traditions to the world of the future. These commissioners are writing the American History that people five hundred years hence will gripe about having to read in high school or college.

Like Bartolomeo De Las Casas, the 9/11 Commission presents an antiheroic picture of our people and our society. Their description of the NYPD and the NYFD does not even remotely give these men and women credit for valor and initiative. The Monday Morning Bart Starrs cast their aspersions on these officers and firefighters from the overfed and very comfortable perspective of The Inquisitor's Chair.

They portray the rescue workers who toiled in desperation amongst the fires of Gahanna as bumbling caricatures of Henry Blake and Frank Burns in a profoundly sickening and distasteful episode of MASH. My grandchildren may never see the heroism of these people because a bunch of retread, hack politicians have usurped the mantle that should have been given to people vastly better. The shortsighted and duplicitous are writing the first draft of the history of our age.

I have read Bartolomeo De Las Casa and took a very light lunch after doing so. I have no objective way of knowing whether his history is a fair and accurate account of how Spaniards behaved in The Caribbean Islands. Enough other people support his version of events that this seems likely. Thus, what I learned about Latin American History heavily reflects De Las Casas' appraisal of Spanish imperial policy and society. Judging from Neil Young's musical protest, a lot of other people learned the same version.

Some historian 500 years hence will read the report of the 9-11 Commission. They will then read a few editorials from The New York Times. After that, our notional historian will plug America's own low-budget Sergei Eisenstein, Michael Moore into his DVD player. Amazingly, David Ben Veniste, the respected and widely read New York Times and Jabba the Haw Haw, Michael Moore all corroborate one another.

The historian will write a moving and elegant text that plants this revisionist view as the axiomatic view of ancient and corrupt America. The author will win tenure and go on to renown and acclaim.

My point is simply this. We have to start paying attention to who writes that first rough draft of Post-Modern American History. The authors thereof can do for our nation what Virgil did for Rome or they can do to our culture what Bartolomeo De Las Casa did to the Hispanics. Nothing would prove more tragic and wrong than allowing the despicable Michael Moore to proceed through the eons as the legendary historian of our corrupt and immoral age.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:29 PM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2004

More NYC Insanity

Rudy Giuliani testified before the Sept. 11 committee today, and victims' families were again showing that they care more about embarassing personal public displays of displeasure than finding answers to better prepare for future terrorist attacks. The committee, not learning from yesterday's fiasco, allowed an audience to view the proceedings.

Jeff Jarvis "ended up shouting at the shouters."

Michele writes, "Every clap and every hoot and holler makes this whole thing look like nothing more than a partisan sham presented with the intent to discredit people and get Bush out of office."

"Families Heckle Giuliani at 9/11 Hearing"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:43 PM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2004

Gone Off the Deep End

As if the Sept. 11 committee could stoop any lower they bashed NYC police and fire chiefs. It sounded like a lot of "coulda' shoulda' woulda'" Monday morning quarterbacking. All the while familes of Sept. 11 victims hooted and hollered.

Why should we take this inquiry seriously? Commissioners have plopped themselves in front of a television camera any chance they've gotten. They let Richard Clarke practically sell his book in front of them. They ignored the obvious conflict of interest of Commissioner Gorelick. And now they let the victims families act like they're watching a witch trial.

The Sept. 11 commission was suppose to help the public and the government learn what went wrong and what can be done to prevent future attacks. What it has ended up becoming is a disgraceful example of how not to run an investigation.

"9/11 Panel Scolds Ex-Police, Fire Chiefs"

"Hearings or Spanish Inquisition?"

UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis isn't happy either. [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:15 PM | Comments (3)

April 30, 2004

A Wicked Web

A Moroccan wanted for participating in last month's Madrid bombings has been indicted in Spain for helping in organizing the Sep. 11 attacks.

"Madrid Fugitive Charged over 9/11"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2004

al-Qaeda Snuffed in Jordan

If this wasn't real life, I say al-Qaeda ripped off the A-Team.

For months, the gang had been working on the plan. Hiding out in safe houses in the Jordanian capital, Amman, they bought cars and vans to carry the bombs, took over blacksmiths’ shops to build the battering rams and set to work manufacturing the 20 tons of chemical explosives they would need for the attack.

The plan was simple and devastating. They would drive the vehicles loaded with chemicals and explosives into Jordanian and American targets in the capital. The blast would spread chemicals across a two-kilometre area. It would kill up to 80,000 people and injure maybe 160,000 more. The poisonous fumes would cause physical deformities and attack the lungs and eyes. It was to be al-Qaeda’s first chemical attack.

"How al-Qaeda Plotted to Kill 80,000 in Jordan"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:17 PM | Comments (1)

April 18, 2004

Get a Clue...Everyone!

Hey idiots! Respond to Jamie Gorelick's conflicts of interest in a more constructive way: ignore or denounce the Sept. 11 commissions tainted findings. Don't threaten her with violence or other forms of (dare I say) terrorism.

And Oliver, lose the knee-jerk partisanship. You're better than that.

"Brown Shirts In Our Midst"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2004

Sin of Commission

If Oliver wants to go after someone whoes lie has done serious damage he can look at Jamie Gorelick. With John Ashcroft's declassification of Gorelick's memo, and the discovery that she wasn't honest with her fellow commissioners The commission probably could have survived Richard Ben-Veniste's desire for scoring political points over discovering what went wrong. But commission critics will point to Gorelick and argue her mission was to make sure blame didn't rest on her ex-bosses in the Clinton administration. She won't resign and won't testify. This commission could have had lasting impact on how the U.S. defends herself. Now, it will be remembered as an opportunity lost.

"Gorelicks Her Wounds"

UPDATE: My congressman and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jim Sensenbrenner has called for Gorelick to step aside.

"GOP Calls for Commissioner to Step Down"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2004

The Blame Game

Weblogger, tv talking heads, print pundits, Bush basher, and Bush supporters can go on and on in a never ending circle as to who and in what administration dropped the ball and not took terrorism seriously. We have the Gorelick memo that established "a set of instructions that will clearly separate the counterintelligence investigation from the more limited, but continued criminal investigation." This "wall" between counterintelligence and criminal investigation was only modestly lowered when John Ashcroft took over the Justice Department.

If the Sep. 11 commission didn't look like a partisan clay shooting club before, it certainly does now. Did Jamie Gorelick mention to anyone that she wrote that memo before accepting a spot on the commission? Did she think the memo would never surface, and did she take steps to hide its existence? In light of this new information, does she think she has enough distance from the inquiry to offer a useful, objective opinion?

At last night's press conference, a few reporters tried hard to get President Bush apologize for the Sep. 11th attacks. Bush didn't fall into their trap. The reporters were seeking a "gotcha" moment to paste across headlines and put at the beginning of all their new updates. Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report were just drooling for a cover showing Bush with his head down, looking somber and the words "I'm Sorry" in bold down the side. The dirty little secret (that isn't) about the news media is they're a form of entertainment. The all-news channels and the newspapers are fighting for the same attention as American Idol and Hellboy. A Presidential apology would have been big news and drawn lots of eyeballs. That's how the game works, and the reporters were just fulfilling their roles. Bush didn't give in because he knew that for the next seven months Kerry's campaign and the Democrats' 527s would pump out ads declaring "Bush Failed!" and use the President's own words.

To those who think President Bush should have "done something" to stop the attacks, go back to Sept. 10. The country wasn't on a war footing. The first WTC attack was years before. Out of sight, out of memory. There were occasional reports of U.S. planes taking out Iraqi positions to enforce the no-fly zone. The country was at peace and thought it was safe. That was the public's view and, not surprisingly, that extended upwards to our leaders. There was that wall between counterintelligence and criminal divisions, and I'm sure John Ashcroft was doing some things to break it down. However, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the number one priority for him, because the U.S. wasn't at war. Government only moves fast when there's a crisis. The Patriot Act got past so quickly (with most members of Congress not knowing what was all in it) because they had to "do something." That's also why we're stuck with the TSA.

This then begs the question: Should we have been at war? Looking back with unfair, 20-20 vision, the answer is an unequivocal yes. But that doesn't take into account the political constraints of the times.

"Ashcroft Strikes Back at Sept. 11 Critics"

"The Blame Game"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2004

Required Reading

The "infamous" 08.06.01 memo [click below] has been released. The way Bush's critics made it sound, you'd think there was something in it about al-Qaeda sending planes into buildings. The closet item in there is a report that federal buildings in New York City were cased. Last time I checked, the WTC wasn't a federal building.

"Damning Evidence in Memo!!"

UPDATE: After reading the memo, Steve of Norway is a little peeved.

---
Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America.”

After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted text] service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told [deleted text] service at the same time that Bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative’s access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Laden’s first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the U.S. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that Bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own U.S. attack.

Ressam says Bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Although Bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

AI Qaeda members — including same who are U.S. citizens — have resided in and traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.

Two Al Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Laden cell in New Yorkwas recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of “Blind Shaykh” ‘Umar’ Abd aI-Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance offederal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers Bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May sayingthat a group or Bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.
---

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

Not Throwing the Bums Out

Matthew Yglesias suggests Sen. John Kerry use the lack of FBI/CIA accountability post-Sep. 11 to attack President Bush. While it wouldn't sway me to back Sen. Ketchup it would put some justifiable heat on the President. I have been wondering for a long time why George Tenet still has his job.

"Silly Questions"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2004

Many Missed the Ball

Linda Chavez hits it on the head:

The truth is, no one -- not George W. Bush or Condoleezza Rice, and certainly not Bill Clinton or his advisers -- fully understood how grave a threat al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and other Islamist terrorists posed to America until September 11, 2001.

In her column she does a little time traveling to find out how serious the Clinton administration was at combatting al Qaeda.

"Was Terrorism Really a Top Priority?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Widows' Tale

These Sept. 11 widows expected their leaders, normal human beings, to act in superhuman ways. Through all the chatter and constant threats against the U.S. somehow Condi, Tenet, Rumsfeld, and Bush should have immediately concluded that al Qaeda was behind the first plane hitting the WTC. They shouldn't have taken any time to evaluate the present situation. Instead, they should have instantly known it was a terrorist attack. Like much of the public, these women expect godlike efforts from their leaders but are enticed by the "average Joe" they can relate to when they step into the voting booth.

But even granting their demand for extraordinary prescience, what could anyone have done after the first plane hit? From my recollection, the attacks happened within an hour of each other. Planes in the air could have been warned that they might be hijacked, but by then the plane that hit the second tower was under terrorist control. Maybe the passengers could have fought back like Todd Beamer et al did over Pennsylvania. Maybe the pilots could have crashed their planes before hitting the second tower and the Pentagon. That's as much "coulda' shoulda'" as what the widows are throwing at the administration. These women are hurting and displaying their pain publically. Their expectations of perfection only infame partisan bickering. Their crusade is doing little to actually make America safer.

"A Lack Of Credibility"

UPDATE: Jay Solo has a good reply to the grandstanding by attendees at Condi's hearing.

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2004

Teen Bomber Stopped

teen-bomber.jpg
When Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists send out teenagers to kill Israelis they lose any sense of moral legitimacy. It's awful enough for Hamas, et al. to deliberately target civilians. But these evil people are willing to sacrifice a generation just to drive out the Jews. When Israel is faced with such a horrible threat willing to use children they have no choice but to hunt down Hamas leaders like Yassin. To kill the plant, you have to go after the root. Killing him not only could save innocent Israelis, it could save the Palestinians' future too.

"Israelis Stop Teen Wearing Bomb Vest" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2004

Bomb Defused in Karachi

Pakistani police defused a "huge car bomb" outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi. A 750-liter fertilizer bomb (think Oklahoma City) was found in the van. A member of the Karachi bomb squad said, "If this exploded it would have caused massive destruction." Any upcoming elections in Pakistan we should know about?

"Huge Car Bomb Found Near U.S. Consulate in Pakistan"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:14 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2004

"It is not raining. Madrid is crying"

Eleven million Spaniards marched against yesterday's bombings. Michele has some reaction.

"Millions in Madrid Protest Train Attacks"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:33 PM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2004

Another Bloody Eleventh

My prayers go out to the victims, their families, and all Spaniards. Spain stood with the U.S. in its dark hour. Now, we can return the favor. New York City, Washington, D.C., Bali, now Madrid. We're still at war, and we must win.

"Terror Blasts Kill at Least 192 in Spain"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2004

Where's Osama?

Suppose U.S. special forces do know exactly where Osama bin Laden is. Why would Bush take the chance of him escaping during an election year? There's too much political risk. This is like Iraq War critics' theory that Bush let loose the dogs of war for political reasons. There's too much downside even if Fox News is supposedly in Bush's back pocket.

Also, why would "a well-placed intelligence source" (to use the Sunday Times' phrase) make it know to the world that bin Laden's been found? Unless there is a spy hidden amongst Osama's circle there is no way he could be constantly tracked. These two big holes make me very skeptical about this story.

"Bin Laden 'Surrounded'" [via Riba Rambles]

UPDATE: Steven Taylor is skeptical too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:52 PM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2003

Tough Words

I quote Thomas Kean head of the Sep. 11 investigation:

There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed.

My first pick would be CIA chief George Tenet. Why he still has his job, I don't know.

"9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2003

Ocean-Size Threat

Alright, I'm scared.

According to United Nations estimates, up to 80 per cent of the approximately 6bn metric tons of cargo traded each year is moved by ship. Of that, almost 75 per cent passes at some point through one of the five main choke points in the seafaring economy - the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Straits of Hormuz and the Straits of Malacca.

A terrorist attack against one or more of these transit areas that disabled it for weeks or months - or, in the case of a radiological "dirty bomb", for far longer - could seriously disrupt global trade. The economic calculus of moving cargo by sea would be rendered useless. Everything from energy prices to insurance rates and shipping freight costs would be affected. The ripple effects, particularly for industrialised nations, are incalculable.

But wait, there's more (unfortunately):

Data compiled by Aegis Defence Services, a UK security consultancy, provides worrying evidence of this. In March, for example, pirates boarded a chemical tanker, the Dewi Madrim, near Sabah in the south Pacific for several hours. Their intention was not to ransom the crew or offload its cargo, as south-east Asia's pirates usually do, but simply to learn how to steer it at varying speeds. And in the past few months, 10 tugboats have been reported missing, each of which could be used for close-in manoeuvring of a disabled tanker, hijacked just before entering a big port (at Singapore, say) and just before being set ablaze.

Other dangers to maritime interests are also becoming apparent. In June, for example, an offshore maintenance engineer with deep-sea diving skills, who had been kidnapped in 2000, was released by Abu Sayyaf. He reported that his captors had wanted to learn how to dive, but were not interested in learning how to resurface.

At first sight, one purpose of gaining such one-way expertise might be to set charges for blowing up a supertanker. But supertanker hulls rest no more than 40 feet below sea level, hardly deep-sea diving depths. It is more likely that al-Qaeda is training for attacks against deep water rigs and platforms. Where? One target could be the offshore oil and gas drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, near New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi. Attacks on the pipes that link drilling platforms to the ocean floor at depths of more than 500 feet, where large clusters of machinery are set up to pump natural gas and oil to the surface, could cause serious disruption to domestic US energy supplies as well as grave environmental damage. In an extreme case, such an attack could severely restrict seagoing traffic through the mouth of the Mississippi.

You want to see gas and oil prices go through the roof. Imagine New Orleans in flames after an attack. It would probably take at least a year if entire petroleum operations were destroyed. Energy and auto stocks would take an immediate hit. Chemical companies would be running around trying to assure themselves adequate oil supplies. Manufacturers who use petro-chemicals would alter their production probably layoff workers. At the minimum we'd drop into another recession.

Because I'm more concerned about national security I'm willing to excuse much of President Bush's domestic actions. I don't trust Democrats like Duck, M.D. who didn't see the wisdom of the Iraq War.

"The Maritime Threat from Al Qaeda" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2003

Yee Released

Military prosecutors must have little else on Capt. James Yee if they've now charged him with having pornography on a government computer and adultery. Yee was arrested for handling sketches of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Yee was released from the brig and will work at Ft. Benning. Why he had sketeches of Guantanamo and what he was going to do with them, no one knows. But unless there's evidence that he's a spy there's not a lot that can be done. However, Letting him work at a big army base doesn't make sense to me.

"Ex-Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Charged"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 04:24 PM | Comments (3)

November 24, 2003

Anarchist Terrorism

Dean Esmay joins the TAM blogrolling party with his link to Orson Scott Card essay describing another age when the world was ripped by terrorism.

"Fanatic Terrorism from the Past "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2003

Bombing in Turkey

To follow the horrible events in Turkey, check out Kris Lofgren's weblog. It's live from Turkey.

[via a small victory]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2003

Translator Indicted

Ahmed Fathy Mehalba has been indicted for lying to investigators and carrying unauthorized military information. He was a translator at Guantanamo Bay and was caught in Boston with CDs containing secret documents. Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad Al-Halabi, a Syrian-American, has been charged with espionage, and Army Capt. James "Yousef" Yee (who also has links to Syria) has been charged with mishandling classified information.

"Former Guantanamo Translator Indicted"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2003

Somalia: A Risky Place

For some libertarians Somalia is a stateless paradise. To a consulting group in London it's a base for terrorism.

"Somalia Considered One of the World's Most Dangerous Countries"

"RiskMap 2004: International Political and Security Risks: What can we expect in 2004?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2003

Al-Halabi Facing Court Martial

Senior Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi will face 20 charges relating to spying at Guantanamo. He's accused of giving secrets about the terrorist prison camp to people from Syria and Qatar.

"Guantanamo Translator Faces Court-Martial"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2003

Bringing the Revolution Home

Evan Coyne Maloney has balls of steel. He filmed parts of a Palestinian conference at Rutgers. He had to endure being called a Zionist and Mossad agent as well as subtle threats ("Are you nervous?"). His post is amazing, but his video is outstanding.

Those people at the rally who cheered, "Long live the Intifada!" felt like "true believers" who would do just about anything for their cause. Would they try to bring the Intifada to the U.S.? Should we expect Palestinian sympathizers to strap on a vest filled with plastic explosives, walk into a crowded shopping mall, and blow themselves up? Bringing the revolution to America isn't new. A group of white, radical college students in the 60s did just that. They were the Weathermen. I hope and pray we don't ever endure a murderous rampage from kids intent of demonstrating their radical street cred.

"Return of the Weathermen"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2003

There Needs to Be a Winner

A problem (maybe the problem) in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is there hasn't been a winner. There hasn't been a point where the losing side accepts that the conflict is over, and they should adapt to new realities. That happened in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War II, and the Cold War. Besides the fact that many people would die on both sides, I almost wish Israel the Intifada like all the other wars that threatened the Jewish state's existence. Now, with Americans as targets maybe President Bush will give Sharon the leeway needed to end this conflict by force.

"Why Are We Helping The Palestinians?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:15 PM | Comments (5)

Palestinians Kill Americans

So, Palestinian terrorists weren't satisfied in blowing up Israelis. Now, they've moved on to Americans. These monsters sure didn't heed the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq. Anytime we want, we can crush them.

"3 Americans Slain in Gaza Convoy Blast"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 04:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2003

Guantanamo Spy Had Files

Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, a civilian translator working at Guantanamo had hundred of files on computer disks when he was arrested last month. He's of Egyptian descent, but I wonder if there's a connection to Syria like the other two arrested for spying there.

"Guantanamo Translator Had Hundreds of Secret Files"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

Terrorists are Rational

Reilly at Boycott Hollywood questions a comment by the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Moral?

Rationality?

How politically and/or personally rational can a person be who boards an airplane and flies it into a building?

What if a person straps a bomb to their body and goes into a public place to detonate it?

How moral can a person be who murders?

This type of thinking from the Archbishop would have made Neville Chamberlain very proud.


You can be quite rational and still go out and commit a terrorist act. Rationality deals with the thought process terrorists engage in. If the terrorist's aim is to drive the United States out of the Middle East then a way to do that would be to increase the human costs for U.S. citizens. Taking the lives of thousands of people in New York and Washington, D.C. is a rational approach. Did it accomplish al-Qaeda's ends? No, but that doesn't mean bin Laden, et al. were irrational for carrying out the September 11 attacks. It just means they miscalculated. The opposite of rational behavior isn't irrational behavior it's, to use Ludwig von Mises' words, "a reactive response to stimuli on the part of the bodily organs and instincts which cannot be controlled by the volition of the person concerned."

Calling terrorists irrational takes away some of their moral responsibility. By calling them irrational we make them seem they're not in control of their actions. Let's remember these monsters want to kill as many people that get in the way of their goals. They plot out attacks with complete understanding that innocents will be killed. They're quite rational even if monstrously immoral.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:31 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

Chaplain Charged

Capt. James Yee has been charged with two counts of failing to obey a lawful order. He hasn't been charged with espionage even though he was found in possession of classified materials. In the same AP story it mentions that a translator who worked at Guantanamo, Senior Airman Ahmed I. al-Halabi, is accused of gathering information to send to Syria. Yee studied Islam in Syria. Coincidence? It looks like Syria has connections with prisoners at Guantanamo (including al-Qaeda?), or else why would they bother running a spy ring?

"Army Charges Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:56 AM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2003

FBI Looking for Illegal Jordanians

Here's a blockbuster story from Milwaukee. An Arab businessman who used to run Arabian Fest (now called Arab World Fest) has been charged with illegally obtaining visas for Jordanians. Out of twelve people who remain in the U.S. because of the visas 5 live in the Milwaukee area, but 7 are missing. Mhammad Abu-Shawish used his position as Arabian Fest president and executive director to send official letters to Jordanians who took them to the U.S. Embassy to get visas. But the letter recipients came to the U.S. after Arabian Fest was held (usually in early September). FBI informants heard Abu-Shawish obtained sums as high as $10,000 for the letters.

Along with the fraudulent visa scam, Abu-Shawish is also accused of misusing a $75,000 federal block grant. He's accused Milwaukee alderman Robert Donovan of knowing about this scam. That makes Donovan the fourth alderman that we know who has been investigated by federal investigators in the last 1 1/2 years.

"Ex-Arab Fest Head Charged in Jordanians' Illegal Entry to U.S."

"As Allegations Unfold, Alderman Finds Himself Mired in FBI Investigation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2003

Pipes on the Guantanamo Spies

Plame/Wilson has taken attention from a very important story: the Islamist spies arrested for spying on Guantanomo Bay. Daniel Pipes was on The O'Reilly Factor to talk about the three arrests. Here's the essence of Pipes' point:

My view is that terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. Terrorism is what the enemy uses against us. We're not really defining the enemy when we talk about terrorism. We have to go a step further and talk about the enemy himself. And that is, I would say, those who support militant Islam. And that would apply to Khomeini, that would apply to Bin Laden, to al Qaeda...
...
Because if you don't acknowledge that it's militant Islam, then you can't go looking for it. You're just looking for terrorists. Nobody says that the chaplain or the translators were terrorists. They were not people lobbing grenades. Nonetheless, they, in their own capacity, may have been part of the militant Islamic infrastructure. We don't know for sure. It's alleged. But should those allegations be true, it could be that they are part of the infrastructure.

"The Guantánamo Arrests – What Do They Mean?"

---

Pipes also names at six other Islamists who have used the U.S. military as a means to attack America. Most notable is John Allen Muhammad, one of the DC snipers.

"Pentagon Jihadis"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2003

Third Translator Arrested

Another translator has been arrested for spying at Guantanamo. Once is a fluke. Twice problem. Three times is a conspiracy. Think I'm off my rocker? Well, two of the three arrested had ties to Syria.

"Another Guantanamo Base Translator Arrested"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2003

Iraq-Anthrax Connection

Blaster has a theory that Iraq may have hit the U.S. with a bio-weapon.

"The Real Bush Coverup"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

Plame/Wilson Appetizer

There's a lot to digest on this whole incident. I'm not calling it a scandal because Bob Novak's statement today complicates it. As a starter, here's Clifford May's take.

In a related aside, Jane Galt thinks this takes oxygen from Weasley Clark's embryonic campaign.

"Spy Games"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2003

Chaplain Checks

It's all well and good that the Pentagon will review it's chaplain policy, but I want to know how Capt. Yee, who was trained in Syria got his security clearance. Last time I checked, Syria was still considered a terrorist state. Sounds like a warning sign to me.

"Pentagon Says It Will Review Chaplain Policy" [via The Corner]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2003

Pape and the Logic of Suicide Attacks

There has been some scribbles on Robert Pape's research on suicide terrorism. He's written a paper (download pdf here) in the American Political Science Review and an op-ed for the NY Times. An important insight from Pape's work is that suicide (homicide) attacks are purposeful and effective. For people in Washington the latter is not good to read when they're waging a global war on terrorism.

A problem with Pape's findings is he claims religious extremism has little to do with suicide bombings. In his research he notes that "leading instigator of suicide attacks is the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group whose members are from Hindu families but who are adamantly opposed to religion (they have have committed 75 of the 188 incidents)." The Tigers may be opposed to religion as commonly thought, but Marxist-Leninism is itself a faith an a worldview. Such an ideology is as full of unprovable assumptions and logical conclusions as Christianity, Judism, or Islam.

Instead of religion as the root cause Pape finds that suicide attacks are in response to military presence in homelands. Nationalism, not religion, is the foundation for suicide attacks.

Pape's policy prescriptions are beefing up homeland security and getting troops out of the Middle East. The former is appropriate, but by abandoning Iraq by leaving it in the hands of the U.N. destroys U.S. credibility with the freed Iraqis. Removing troops from the Middle East will satisfy some Cato types and a whole lot of paleoconservatives/libertarians, but the U.S. will end up looking weak and soft. Such action would prove bin Laden's view of America. It also emboldens other enemies that the U.S. will cut and run if a few suicide attacks occur. Adam Wolfson recommends that we deny terrorists the ends they seek. In other words, don't negotiate and don't give in to their demands. The best solution is to destroy the terrorist organizations before they can attack us. It's hard for them to kill if they're already dead.

[via Daniel Drezner and David Adesnik @ The Volokh Conspiracy]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:32 AM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2003

Another Guantanamo Arrest

There may be a big security problem down in Guantanamo Bay. An airman was arrested in July for spying and aiding the enemy.

"US Airman Charged with Espionage in Guantanamo Case"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2003

Gaffney on Yee

Frank Gaffney comments on Chaplain Yee's arrest:

One can only hope that the surveillance that resulted in Yee’s arrest is part of a wider effort to ensure that chaplains ministering to Muslims in the U.S. military are promoting the sorts of moderate, pro-American views he purportedly held in 2001, rather than the sort of radical, intolerant and jihadist views of the so-called “Islamists.” Otherwise, the danger is very real that serving members of the armed forces could be subjected to ominous proselytizing intended to give rise to clandestine Fifth Column activities in this country and a whole new front in the War on Terror.

"Fifth Column II"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2003

Spying Chaplain

Here's a question about the Islamic chaplain who has been arrested for spying: shouldn't have red flags come up when Capt. Yee re-enlisted after living in Syria? Then they send him to Guantanamo where other Islamic radicals are housed. This makes no sense to me.

"Islamic Chaplain is Charged as Spy" [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2003

Past Sep. 11 Entries

From Sep. 11, 2001, I see that much of what I put into my paper journal made it onto TAM.

At the one-year anniversary, I was ticked off at the over sentimentality of media coverage. I also criticise and praise Bruce Springsteen's The Rising.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2003

Remembering September 11

My first memory of that day is my mother telling me to get out of bed and come down to the television. She was saying something about planes hitting the twin towers and an attack on the Pentagon. I got up, raced downstairs, sat in front of our big 27-inch tv, rubbed my groggy eyes and watched smoked pouring from the towers. I was hoping this was some cruel accident, but knew war was at hand.

As I look through my journal entries (no, I don't put all my writing on the Net) I was filled with war rage. I wrote,

This must be treated as an act of war. This isn't a criminal issue; it's a military issue.

and
It was Osama bin Laden, and he should be killed.

and
The U.S. response must be as strong as an Israeli response. We cannot look weak. Nukes shouldn't be off the table.

When they find out who did this, Congress should declare war. They must do their constitutional duty.


I also noticed the surrealism. In another entry I described people walking away from Ground Zero,
They looked like ghosts. Some of the survivors from WTC were caked with grey-white dust.

and
Watching the plane crash into the 2nd tower was like something from a James Bond movie.

Ironically, the night before, I was watching a James Bond movie.

For more perspectives, visit Michele's Voices project.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2003

Cool Story/Movie Plot

In a story on an newly discovered asteroid with a slim chance of hitting earth the last paragraph caught my eye:

Another asteroid, 1998 VS, is due to pass within 14.6 million miles of Earth on Sept. 11.

Do you think any Islamists are praying for some divine intervention? It sure could make an interesting plot for a book or movie.

"New Asteroid Threat Seen" [via Jay Solo]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:01 AM | Comments (2)

July 30, 2003

Defending PAM

Noah Shachtman has a story on PAM defenders. There are plenty of examples in it where markets are pretty good predictors. Noah's weblog also has links to other PAM stories [here and here]. What really caught my eye are links to markets predicting future homeland security alerts and the extend and duration of SARS outbreaks. Does Sen. Wyden (D-OR) think this is "grotesque?"

For some academic thinking into events markets, Robin Hanson has a page with links to his own research as well as other documents.

"The Case for Terrorism Futures"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2003

Bring It On!

ScrappleFace's post on airline commuters telling terrorists to "Bring it on!" is funny but also true. Passengers won't sit quietly if their plane gets hijacked. They'll fight back because a possible alternative is certain death. If the Pentagon wouldn't have wimped out on their terrorist futures market, I'd have recommended shorting September 11-style attacks.

"Airline Passenger to Al Qaeda: 'Bring it On'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2003

Smoking Gun

If the source of this story proves accurate forget about having to find WMD in Iraq. If a clear link between Saddam and Osama bin Laden is made then anti-warriors will be left silent with their jaws dropped.

"Document Links Saddam, bin Laden" [via Cam Edwards]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:54 AM | Comments (8)

July 03, 2003

Let's Help Kwame

Kwame James helped protect an entire airplane from terrorist Richard Reid's deadly plans. As payback, he's having immigration trouble. Helping James looks like a perfect way webloggers can "flood the zone." A nice e-mail to your Congressman and Senators along with one (scroll to the bottom) to the BCIS (formerly the INS) wouldn't hurt James' cause.

"A Hero and a Hoops Vagabond" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2003

Hamas Must be "Dismantled"

Good for President Bush to say a Hamas cease isn't enough. Now, a first true step on the road map is for Palestine, Israel, and even the U.S. to take out Hamas once and for all. I know it would scare the anti-war crowd, but some, limited U.S. involvement could really set the stage for peace.

"Bush: Hamas Cease-Fire Would Not Be Enough"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2003

Palestinian Axis of Evil

Hamas and Islamic Jihad in political union with the PLO? It sounds like an Axis of Evil in the making. Also, if we thought (hoped) that the installation of Prime Minister Abbas meant Arafat fading away, we would be wrong:

The joint leadership suggested by Abbas would be headed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and operate under the umbrella of the PLO, according to the official Palestine Media Center.
[Emphasis mine.]

Tit-for-tat has gone on between Israel and the Palestinians for a long, long time. Talk and peace plans haven't brought peace any closer to reality. Benjamin Netanyahu is right on the money when he said, "Someone has to wipe out the terrorist groups. Either Abu Mazen will do it, or we will have to do it."

President Bush, can you please take the pressure off Sharon and let him destroy those groups waging war on his country? It's about time we finally have a winner.

"Abbas to Militants: End Attacks on Israel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2003

Israel/Hamas Death Match

Kris Lofgren is right on the money when he writes,

Once Palestinians understand that supporting Hamas in droves and encouraging their teenage children to walk onto a Jerusalem bus as a suicide bomber and kill a dozen people is a detriment to their long term goals of freedom from Israeli oppression, the sooner there will be peace. Until then, all 'roads' lead to a dead end.
That means Prime Minister Abbas might have to risk Palestinian civil war by going after Hamas if he really wants peace. Peace there won't happen as long as Hamas exists.

"Israel, Hamas Vow Fight to the Finish"

"Hamas Member Killed, Sharon Offers Truce"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:17 PM | Comments (1)

June 09, 2003

Abbas Caves Already

I was hoping Abbas might help things. He wasn't Arafat and not a terrorist. But he won't stand up to Hamas, et. al. any more than Yasir. Until the Palestinians reject terrorism and snuff it out, Israel has no choice but to fight fire with fire. If attacking Hamas means Palestinian civil war, then so be it. To echo Abraham Lincoln, a house divided (half terrorist, half civilized) cannot stand. A Palestinian state where terrorist organizations are allowed to exist will never bring peace and prosperity to the region.

"Israel Dismantles Uninhabited Settlement"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2003

Winning the Islamist War

U.S. News has a good article on the unseen counter-terrorism war against al-Qaeda. Since September 11 the good guys have been winning:

Al Qaeda's wounds run deep. Over half of its key operational leaders are out of action, officials tell U.S. News. Its top leaders are increasingly isolated and on the run. Al Qaeda's Afghan sanctuary is largely gone. Its military commander is dead. Its chief of operations sits in prison, as do some 3,000 associates around the world. In the field, every attempt at communication now puts operatives at risk. The organization's once bountiful finances, meanwhile, have become precarious. One recent intercept revealed a terrorist pleading for $80, sources say.

Cofer Black, former head of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center (CTC) had plans before September 11 to kill bin Laden--Osama went after him in the 90s--but those plans were squashed "on the order of higher-ups." After the attacks on Washington and New York City, Black created a Matrix more deadly than anything Keau Reeves could dream up:
Within days, Black's team came up with its answer to al Qaeda. They called it the Worldwide Attack Matrix. It was an operational war plan, a no-holds-barred leap back to the agency's heyday of covert action. As detailed in Bob Woodward's book Bush at War, the Matrix called for a worldwide campaign to root out its cells in 80 countries. Intelligence officials confirmed to U.S. News the dramatic scope of the Matrix and related proposals. The new plans authorized the use of deadly force, break-ins, and psychological warfare. They allowed the CIA to pour millions of dollars into friendly Arab intelligence services and permitted the once gun-shy agency to work with any government--no matter how unsavory--as long as it got results. On September 17, six days after the attack, President Bush signed an executive order approving virtually everything the CIA had asked for.

Even with the CTC's success, there's information they haven't been able to get through since they measure the incoming data in terabytes. What secrets are waiting to be discovered? Will this info glut prevent us from stopping another September 11-type attack?

The story describes two al-Qaedas. One is a group of international "franchises" who are ideologically connected to bin Laden. Then there is the inner sanctum, the "real" al-Qaeda, a "Mafia-like grouping with its own rules, finances, and 'made' members."

To no surprise to those who have been following the Islamist War, this article shows Saudi Arabia to be the venture capitalist for al-Qaeda. While many thought bin Laden personally funded his terrorist cause, the CIA learned money was actually provided "through a network of Islamic charities, most of them based in Saudi Arabia and tied to influential Saudis." To use Glenn Reynolds' words, "The Saudis are not our friends."

Kudos have to go out to the Bosnians. Because of them the CIA discovered a computer in Sarajevo filled with al-Qaeda's history. Kudos also go to Jordan for interrogating prisoners and to Pakistan for helping capture key al-Qaeda leaders.

To understand the Islamist's mind, there's this about a captured Arab sitting in Guantanamo Bay:

The Arab fighter had come to Gitmo, as the base is called, weighing a bare 66 pounds last year. He had shrapnel wounds, suffered from tuberculosis, and had lost a lung. Army Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey vividly remembers his first encounter with "Bob." Dunlavey ran interrogations at the base until November of last year. By the time they met, Bob was making a rapid recovery. He had put on 50 pounds and, sitting across a table from Dunlavey, he thanked him for the food and medical treatment. "General, you are probably a good Christian," Dunlavey recalls him saying. "And you are probably a good man. But if I ever get free, I will kill you."

Dunlavey went on to say, "These people are implacably committed to apocalyptic terrorism." Their goal is the absolute destruction of America as we know it."

There's no reason to negotiate with Islamists. Since they want to die so badly, the best thing we can do is oblige them.

Read the whole thing. There's lots more in it for us to chew on.

"Playing Offense"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2003

al-Qaeda in Iran

And I thought there were no al-Qaeda in Iran. In the same story there's evidence that the State Department is lacking ideas:

Flynt Leverett, a former National Security Council official now with the Saban Center on Middle East Policy, said the Pentagon wants a harder line on Iran, including cutting off all contacts and overthrow the Iranian government.

The State Department is wary of a get-tough approach, but it lacks a viable alternative, he said.

Existing U.S. relations with Iranian moderates, mostly within the foreign ministry, are incapable of dealing with the current issues of al Qaeda and Iran's nuclear program, Leverett said. "You've reached a point in the policy where the status quo won't satisfy," he said.


You can only win an argument with an argument. That's why the Pentagon has been winning the big foreign policy debates. For the State Department it's always the status quo. I'd love Powell to shake things up intellectually there, but from his history, that probably won't happen. Unless he has definitive force and an exit strategy, don't look for decisive action.

"U.S. Says Iran's Al Qaeda Arrests Fall Short"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2003

Morocco Blasts

What yesterday's Casablanca attacks show is al-Qaeda isn't washed up and done for. Recently, President Bush said he thought about half the leadership has been captured or killed, but with it being such an amorphous, loose network, al-Qaeda can disperse and reform with deadly results. We can't ease our pursuit of them. To do so would be deadly.

Interestingly, even with these two attacks the homeland security alert hasn't been raised from yellow. While critics like Sen. Russ Feingold and Paul Krugman can claim President Bush is losing the war on terrorism, I see it as a sign that Bush's decisions have made the U.S. safer.

Maybe al-Qaeda thinks they had to do something spectacular to show the world that they were still in business after the U.S. clobbered the Taliban and Saddam's Baathist regime. Two well-planned and deadly attacks within a few days of each other prove the Islamist War is far from over.

"Dozens Killed in Morocco Suicide Blasts"

UPDATE: Steven Taylor comments on these latest attacks and notes, "the surprise should be that there have been so few major attacks world-wide since 911."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:07 PM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2003

Feingold Bashs Bush

Tuesday, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) ripped President Bush for losing focus on the war on terrorism. "Our mission has become obscured, and our approach unfocused," he said on the Senate floor. He also said in an interview the Saudi bombings were a result of that lack of focus.

Feingold is a man who has been very critical of Bush's war against the Islamist terrorists. He's complained about the loss of civil liberties because of anti-terrorism legislation and Justice Department actions, and he opposed invading Iraq. But if he wanted to be honest about the facts he would mention that since September 11, 2001 there hasn't been an al-Qaeda attack on the U.S. mainland. When they have struck it's been in far-away places like Bali and Saudi Arabia. It seems to me we're winning the war. Regularly we read stories about another captured terrorist. While still potent, we're not sitting back waiting to get attacked. What would Feingold expect a proper war on terrorism to be, no attacks on Americans anywhere? That doesn't seem realistic.

What also galls me about Feingold and his fellow Democratic war critics is they offer no alternatives. I have not seen a Democratic leader (other than Sen. Lieberman) say how he would fight terrorism. Feingold only complains about American unilaterism, but that isn't a strategy; that's a detail. Critics like Feingold only reinforce Lieberman's belief that a Democrat won't stand a chance at defeating President Bush in 2004 unless they are dedicated to defending America.

"Feingold Critical of War on Terror"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:21 AM | Comments (1)

May 12, 2003

Terrorist Attacks in Saudi Arabia

At least 50 people have been injured in gun and bombing attack in Saudi Arabia. Collin Powell will be visting the kingdom today. Signs point to al-Qaeda. If that's the case, it's their first major since the Bali bombings. Al-Qaeda might have thought that with the easy victory in Iraq our guard might have been down. They may have been right, but with al-Qaeda being a Wahabbi terrorist group and Saudi Arabia being the birthplace of Wahabbism, you know there were plenty of sympathetic Saudis willing to help with the attacks. The Islamist War is far from over.

Follow the story at The Command Post.

"Four Blasts Shake Saudi Capital, Dozens Reported Injured in Attacks on American Targets"

"Bombs Rock Riyadh"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)