Free Markets, Free People

Terrorism

Still plotting after all these years

And we still try to deny the source of the terror.  What am I talking about, you ask? 

A Massachusetts man who was plotting to use explosives and radio controlled aircraft was arrested yesterday by the FBI for plotting to blow up the Capital and Pentagon.

It was a rather imaginative and fantastic plot by Rezwan Ferdaus who believed himself to be working with members of al Qaeda.  Of course that’s key to the point in the first sentence as you’ll see.  Anyway, the plot:

Ferdaus allegedly gave the undercover FBI agents a detailed set of attack plans “with step-by-step instructions as to how he planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol,” according to the Department of Justice.

The plans focused on the use of three small remote-controlled drone-like aircraft loaded with C-4 plastic explosives, which he planned to fly into the Capitol and the Pentagon using GPS equipment, according to the DOJ.

[…]

Ferdaus’s plan allegedly evolved to include a “ground assault” as well, in which six people would coordinate an automatic weapons attack with the aerial assault and massacre whomever came into their path, according to the DOJ.

For the past five months, Ferdaus has allegedly been stockpiling the equipment he needed for his proposed attack, including a remote-controlled aircraft, 25 pounds of fake C-4 explosives, six automatic AK-47 assault rifles and three grenades, according to the DOJ. He allegedly kept all of it in a storage facility in Massachusetts, where he was arrested.

Further:

Ferdaus allegedly modified eight cellphones to act as detonation devices for improvised explosive devices, and gave them to the FBI agents to be used against American soldiers in Iraq.

“During a June 2011 meeting, he appeared gratified when he was told that his first phone detonation device had killed three U.S. soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq,” according to the DOJ. “Ferdaus responded, ‘That was exactly what I wanted.’”

And:

According to the DOJ, a focal point of Ferdaus’s plots revolved around “jihad” and his desire to carry out the will of Allah.

But:

The U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, stressed that any underlying religious motives to Ferdaus’s actions should not reflect on the Muslim culture at-large.

“I want the public to understand that Mr. Ferdaus’s conduct, as alleged in the complaint, is not reflective of a particular culture, community or religion,” Ortiz said.

Really?  So none of this was “reflective of a particular culture, community or religion?

Poppycock.  It is indeed reflective of a particular culture, community and religion no matter how perverted other adherents of that religion claim otherwise.  It certainly doesn’t mean that that all Muslims agree or that the community at large would act this way, but we need to quit pretending actions like this just magically happen without any influence from those three areas.

How else, then, do you get the “culture, community and religion” to face up to the fact that it has some responsibility in what is happening in this ongoing “jihad” (yeah, there’s a religion and culture free word)?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Terrorists bomb government building in Oslo, Norway (update)

This should be interesting to watch unfold, given the propensity of Europe to pretend it hasn’t a problem regarding terrorism (i.e they’re much more inclined toward the "lawfare" model and thinking of all of this as criminal behavior requiring only police action rather than terrorism):

 

 

Hat tip to looker who sent the link and who is pretty sure this wasn’t the work of Norwegian separatists demanding a free Narvik or Viking revolutionaries.

In the meantime, here’s the prime suspect:

The AP also reports that a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges this week against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported from the country. The indictment centered on statements that Mullah Krekar — the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam — made to various media, including the American network NBC.

There was also a shooting in a “youth camp” outside Oslo (I put youth camp in quotes because “youth” is often a euphemism used to designate young muslims.  It is not at all clear if that’s the case with this shooting).

NRK state TV reports that one person has been arrested at a Labor party youth camp ouside Oslo where at least 5 people were injured when a man wearing a police uniformed opened fire.

Let’s see what this brings.

UPDATE: A CNN breaking news email (confirmed by Norway’s NRK) says a 32 year old Norwegian man is in custody for the two attacks today which police in Norway are saying are linked.   As Dud points out in the comments, this may end up being a local crazy and not some terrorist group (although some group calling itself “Helpers of Global Jihad” claimed responsibility and then apparently retracted their statement).

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Hamas calls Greek stop of US blockade runner “inhumane”– Israel on “Specially Designated Country” list for first time

In the world of overwrought spin and propaganda we find a premiere example of the genre from Hamas:

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on Friday denounced Greece after its coastguard intercepted a US vessel which tried to sail to Gaza to break Israel blockade of the coastal strip.

In a statement issued by its political leadership in Damascus, the militant group described the action as "inhumane" and said Greece had played into Israeli hands.

"This is inhumane action, is contrary to international regulations and norms," said the statement by Hamas, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

"Barring this aid from reaching the Gaza Strip is done as a result of pressure imposed by the Zionist occupiers," referring to Israel.

Of course the US ship, the “Audacity of Hope” has no aid.  It is sailing with nothing but letters of support.  Secondly, even if it was, there’s a very well-established route to deliver aid to Gaza.   The blockade runners simply want to further demonize the Israelis by attempting to provoke an incident like that which happened the last time this was tried.

Finally:

The Israeli-imposed blockade of Gaza "is unjust… and a mark of disgrace on the forehead of humanity," [Hamas] said.

Translation: “The blockade prevents us from smuggling in more weapons than we have now. “

Of course with the overthrow of Mubarak, the Egyptian portion of the border is quite porous now so even that objection is largely invalid.

Nope – just another example of a long line of examples of Hamas calling the right of a nation to defend itself “inhumane”, mostly because it doesn’t recognize that nation’s right to exist.  Given all the other ways to get aid to Gaza – real aid – it is clear this has nothing to do with any of that.

It is simply another in a long line of attempts to provoke that nation into acts of self-defense so it can condemn it further.   It is the equivalent of firing rockets into Israel and then condemning Israel when it reacts.

And for some reason, much of the rest of the world takes its condemnations seriously.

Meanwhile, CNS news reports that for the first time, Israel has landed on the “Special Designated Country” list.  What does that mean?

[T]he Obama administration is currently listing Israel among 36 “specially designated countries” it believes “have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members.”

Also on the list are countries like Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

This is the first time Israel has shown up as an SDC. 

Of course, no one seems to know how that happened, but ICE is the agency tasked to carry out the enforcement of what SDC means:

Even though the administration includes Israel among “specially designated countries” that it believes "have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members,” ICE Spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told CNSNews.com that the U.S. also considers Israel, as well as some other countries on the “specially designated countries” list, as partners in the struggle against terrorism.

“The U.S. does not and never has considered Israel to have links to terrorism, but rather they are a partner in our efforts to combat global terrorism,” Christensen said in a written statement. “Countries may have been included on the list because of the backgrounds of arrestees, not because of the country’s government itself.”

“The United States maintains close intelligence-sharing relationships with many of these countries in order to address security issues within their own borders and in our mutual pursuit of safety and security around the globe,” said Christensen.

ICE declined to say who put Israel on the list or when Israel was put there. However, in her written statement, ICE spokeswoman Christensen said the “specially designated country” list had been created "at least" seven years ago–which would have been during the presidency of George W. Bush–and that ICE was not responsible for creating it.

Yes, friends, it’s Bush’s fault.  Bottom line though, given how SDC is defined, it is hardly the appropriate list for Israel to be on.

Oh, and who didn’t make the list this time but was on the last one?

North Korea.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Bush built the “gun” that killed Osama, Obama just pulled the trigger

Sometimes something is written which has you shaking your head in both wonder and disgust as you read it.  Michael Hirsh manages that in his National Journal article entitled “Obama’s War” where he states:

Ever so gingerly, even as they praised President Obama’s success against Osama bin Laden, some former senior Bush administration officials have sought to take a little credit for the mission themselves. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, interviewed by MSNBC this week, even called the operation “a good story for continuity across two presidencies.”

That assessment couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, in a convoluted way, he’s right – the major kudos should go to the Bush administration.

Look, you expect a little cheerleading concerning the killing of Osama because of the desperate desire by the left to make Obama into something he’s simply  not – the steely eyed Commander-in-Chief solely responsible for the result of the bin Laden raid.

But any impartial observer who knows a thing or two about how taking down someone like OBL occurs simply knows that’s not the case.  

Given, Osama bin Laden was killed on Obama’s watch.  He gave the order.   Good for him, and thank you for making the decision.  But let’s be real – it wasn’t much of a decision to make.  This was America’s most wanted – heck, he was the West’s most wanted.  How do you not make that decision?

But Hirsh, goes off into history revision-land in an attempt to give all the credit to Obama and none to Bush.  He seems to understand that making the decision really isn’t that special so he attempts to rewrite recent history in such a way that he can, one assumes, credibly make the claim that this was all Obama.   He, among a long line of journalists who may know politics, but have little knowledge of intelligence operations, makes a hash of his attempt.   He attempts to convince us the only thing Obama didn’t inherit from Bush was anything to do with taking out bin Laden.

Hirsh pitches this:

From his first great public moment when, as a state senator, he called Iraq a “dumb war,” Obama indicated that he thought that George W. Bush had badly misconceived the challenge of 9/11. And very quickly upon taking office as president, Obama reoriented the war back to where, in the view of many experts, it always belonged. He discarded the idea of a “global war on terror” that conflated all terror threats from al-Qaida to Hamas to Hezbollah. Obama replaced it with a covert, laserlike focus on al-Qaida and its spawn.

This reorientation was part of Obama’s reset of America’s relations with the world. Bush, having gradually expanded his definition of the war to include all Islamic “extremists,” had condemned the United States to a kind of permanent war, one that Americans had to fight all but alone because no one else agreed on such a broadly defined enemy. (Hez­bollah and Hamas, for example, arguably had legitimate political aims that al-Qaida did not, which is one reason they distanced themselves from bin Laden.) In Obama’s view, only by focusing narrowly on true transnational terrorism, and winning back all of the natural allies that the United States had lost over the previous decade, could he achieve America’s goal of uniting the world around the goal of extinguishing al-Qaida.

Very quickly after taking the presidency he “reoriented the war back to where … it always belonged?”

Nonsense.  In Iraq – the”dumb” war – Obama followed the Bush plan to the letter, not changing a thing. Nothing.  It still continues down the Bush timeline.

In Afghanistan, where Obama said we should be fighting, he actually surged conventional troops, and not to hunt al-Qaeda.  Instead the focus of the surge were the Taliban.  Again, the same focus the Bush administration had and one upon which Obama doubled down.  So much for that laserlike focus on al-Qaeda.

And unfortunately for Hirsh’s narrative, the focus on al-Qaeda was already in place and functioning when Obama took office.   We immediately learned, upon hearing of bin Laden’s death, that the beginning threads of intelligence came from interrogations in secret CIA prisons 4 years ago.  Prisons which no longer exist under Obama, nor would have existed had he been president on 9/11.  Where was Mr. Obama 4 years ago?

We also know that during the Bush administration, our intelligence community was put through a major overhaul that has yielded much better, fresher and actionable intelligence  – all of which Obama “inherited.”  Drone strikes generated by fresh actionable intelligence didn’t start on Mr. Obama’s watch.

Finally, a robust Special Operations Force command was created by, oh my, the “dark knight” – Donald Rumsfeld.

At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, special operations – Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets and Delta Force, and Air Force AC-130 gunships – were generally neglected. The previous Clinton administration had not called on them to go after bin Laden or his network.

All that changed under Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld: Green Berets led the initial invasion of Afghanistan. Joint Special Operations Command enlarged and expanded its manhunting skills worldwide. The Marine Corps created its first special forces command.

“We increased the size of special operations forces,” said former Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “We obviously increased their funding for new technical capabilities.”

One key move was to make Special Operations Command a “supported” command, not just one that did the bidding of other commands, but could plan and execute battles.

“Rumsfeld elevated special operations to where they had field command empowerment, which is something they never had before,” Mr. Hunter said. “We increased generally across the board the size and the capability of special operation commands. … We made them more robust than they were.”

Shocking, I know, but then the media cheerleaders have never been particularly concerned with facts and history when they have a narrative to peddle.

It was Bush and Rumsfeld who built the organization that eventually got bin Laden:

President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism translated into robust spending on what are affectionately called “snake eaters.”

Special Operations Command’s budget grew from $2.3 billion in 2001 to nearly $10 billion today. Manpower expanded from 45,500 to 61,500.

“It’s an order of magnitude better,” said Adm. Worthington. “The training these guys are getting, it’s 10 times what we were getting when I went through. They’re getting training right now that makes them the best in the world.”

And it’s first success in getting a high profile al-Qaeda member didn’t come last Sunday.  It came in 2006, something I’m sure Mr. Hirsh would find an inconvenient fact:

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the Joint Special Operations Command has teamed with aviation units, CIA officers and agents of the eavesdropping National Security Agency to form potent manhunting groups.

This fusion first gained wide public notice in 2006, when the command, then led by Army Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, hunted down Abu Musab Zarqawi, a particularly deadly al Qaeda terrorist in Iraq.

That is the “gun” Mr. Obama inherited from Mr. Bush.  And it had been fired a number of times successfully well before Mr. Obama ever darkened the entrance to the Oval Office.

Oh, and Mr. Hirsh?  Even the Obama White House isn’t buying your claptrap theory:

An Obama White House official told reporters that killing bin Laden was the result of years of work.

“This remarkable achievement could not have happened without persistent effort and careful planning over many years,” the official said. “Our national security professionals did a superb job.”

Indeed.

Yes, Mr. Hirsh, Obama got Osama – but he pulled the trigger of the gun built and loaded by the Bush administration, and whether you like it or not, there’s simply no question about that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Reason 2 why it is better we killed OBL than captured him

Short version?  Two words: Eric Holder.  Or one word if you prefer: circus.

Here’s Sen. Jeff Sessions questioning Holder yesterday trying to get a little clarity on a particular subject, i.e. if there is a presumption that terrorists would be tried in civilian courts:

“My question to you fundamentally is every law enforcement officer involved out there, every military person involved out there needs to know what the policy is,” Sessions said. “So, is the policy that they [captured terrorists] would presumptively be tried in civilian court?”

Holder, citing the president himself, said there is a presumption of that captured terrorists would be tried in civilian courts.

“As I said, the archived speech that the president made was that there is a presumption,” Holder said. “It is not an irrebutable presumption that cases go to the civilian court with regard to the Miranda issue, but I think we have demonstrated hundreds of times, hundreds of times, that we can get actionable intelligence, while at the same time prosecuting people in jail for really extended periods of time.”

Of course Holder leaves himself some wiggle room, but it is clear he holds civilian courts to be superior to military tribunals.  That, for some misbegotten reason, he believes justice can be best served in a civilian court regardless of any external concerns.  And finally, people who’ve committed an act of war against the United States deserve all the rights reserved for citizens of the United States, even if the act occurred out of the US and they’re not citizens (obviously I withdraw the point if they are US citizens committing acts of terror in the US – the point is our Constitution guarantees their rights – not any rights of foreign nationals committing acts of terror/war).

It makes absolutely no sense to me.  It demonstrates a bias that is both arrogant and dangerous.  It also has little to do with “justice”.  So, given that Holder is our AG and someone I have absolutely no confidence in legally or otherwise,  I certainly am glad, frankly, that a couple of rounds found their way into the cranium of OBL.  Imagine the three-ring-circus Holder and crew would have tried to put on had we captured him alive.

BTW, anyone know what “irrebutable” means?

~McQ

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Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood mourns bin Laden

Perhaps it is becoming clearer to even those in deep denial that that the Muslim Brotherhood is "moderate" only if the term is redefined into meaninglessness.  The death of Osama bin Laden provides another indication of the MB’s true character:

But in its first public statement on the killing of bin Laden, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood used the honorific term "sheikh" to refer to the al-Qaeda leader. It also accused Western governments of linking Islam and terrorism, and defended "resistance" against the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as "legitimate."

The Muslim Brotherhood’s response to bin Laden’s death may finally end the mythology — espoused frequently in the U.S. — that the organization is moderate or, at the very least, could moderate once in power. This is, after all, precisely how Muslim Brothers describe their creed — "moderate," as opposed to al-Qaeda, which is radical. "Moderate Islam means not using violence, denouncing terrorism, and not working with jihadists," said Muslim Brotherhood youth activist Khaled Hamza, for whom the organization’s embrace of "moderate Islam" was the primary reason he joined.

Yet the Muslim Brotherhood’s promise that its "moderation" means rejecting violence includes a gaping exception: the organization endorses violence against military occupations, which its leaders have told me include Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, and Palestine — in other words, nearly every major conflict on the Eurasian continent.

It should end the mythology, but it won’t.  There are those on the left to invested in the belief that they are a moderate force that they won’t back down even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.  This is your “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood’s reaction to the death of bin Laden:

"The whole world, and especially the Muslims, have lived with a fierce media campaign to brand Islam as terrorism and describe the Muslims as violent by blaming the September 11th incident on al-Qaeda." It then notes that "Sheikh Osama bin Laden" was assassinated alongside "a woman and one of his sons and with a number of his companions," going on to issue a rejection of violence and assassinations. It goes on to ominously declare that the Muslim Brotherhood supports "legitimate resistance against foreign occupation for any country, which is the legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and international agreements," and demands that the U.S., the European Union, and NATO quickly "end the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people." It closes by demanding that the U.S. "stop its intelligence operations against those who differ with it, and cease its interference in the internal affairs of any Arab or Muslim country."

As Eric Trager says, the statement issued by the MB is “vintage bin Laden”:

[I]t’s Muslim lands, not America, that are under attack; it’s Muslims, not American civilians, who are the ultimate victims; and, despite two American presidents’ genuine, effusive promises to the contrary, Islam is the target. It’s an important indicator that despite its increased responsibility in post-Mubarak Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood may well remain deeply hostile toward even the one of the most basic and defensible of American interests in the Middle East — that of securing Americans from terrorism.

In Egypt, at least, this is the result of the “Arab Spring”.  As predicted, the best organized and most ruthless are winning out.  And the result will not advance the peace process in the region.  On the contrary, “moderate” has come to be defined by bin Laden, not by any recognizable dictionary.  The Muslim Brotherhood has fooled a lot of so-called “scholars” into believing them to be a benign force for good and interested in democratic reform.  Instead, they’ll most likely find out that they’re anything but benign and they are only interested in democracy if it advances their agenda.  And that agenda is anything but moderate.

~McQ

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What is the “value” of bin Laden’s death?

Someone ask me that and it set me to thinking.  I’ve concluded that there is (and was) more value in his death than if we’d taken him alive.

Let me expand on that. 

As we all know, he’d been holed up in that fortress cum “mansion” for 6 years with no land line or internet connection – so he was dependent on trusted couriers for news of the organization he’d founded and had little ability to influence the day to day operations of al Qaeda.  Obviously he would have still been a valuable intelligence asset, but not quite as valuable as one might think.   I get the impression that bin Laden’s real value was that of figurehead – that as long as he lived, his existence continued to demonstrate to his followers how powerless the “great Satan” really was.   Every day he drew breath, he rubbed in the fact that he could take 3,000 lives in a single day and the US couldn’t even take his.

With each video or audio clip he had smuggled out of his lair and posted among jihadi sites, he tweaked the nose of the US and inspired his jihadist followers.  His stature grew with each tweak.  His survival helped him sell the “righteousness” of his cause because he could claim the protection of his god as the reason he was still untouched.

Bin Laden, given his experiences prior to 9/11, honestly believed that the US was too decadent and cowardly to ever take real action against he and his followers.  He’d tried to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993, did bomb Kohbar Towers and two African embassies as well as attacking the USS Cole.  In all case the reaction was pitifully inadequate. He also believed we didn’t have the fortitude or courage to take casualties and stick it out for the long run.  His planning got more ambitious.  He, like many throughout history, badly underestimated his foe.  

His first indication of his future fate came with the capture of Saddam Hussein.  Hussein shared bin Laden’s beliefs about the US and found himself to be horribly wrong.  Not only did we destroy his regime, we were relentless in his pursuit, finally capturing him months after the culmination of combat operations in Iraq.  He went to the gallows a thoroughly defeated man.

Bin Laden didn’t expect to have to live as he’s had too these past 6 years.  He believed at some point soon after we invaded Afghanistan we’d tire of the combat deaths and the commitment and leave.  He felt his beliefs about the US would be vindicated.   But not only did we stay in Afghanistan, we invaded Iraq and stayed there as well.  And when it was clear we were going to be successful there, the first realization that he was dead wrong about the US had to dawn on him.  To quote Admiral Yamamato, he had awakened a sleeping giant with his 9/11 attacks, and that giant wasn’t going to roll over this time and go back to sleep.

The Sunday operation that led to his death was the culmination of years upon years of effort to find the man.  It was a relentless pursuit.  It cost us lives.  It took a lot of money.  It took a lot of time.  But when that Navy SEAL pumped two rounds into bin Laden’s head, he not only killed bin Laden, but he killed forever the narrative bin Laden had built up among his followers for years. 

No longer could his followers take comfort in the belief that the US was a decadent, cowardly paper tiger.  Iraq and 10 years in Afghanistan had blown that myth away.  No longer could his followers believe that his survival demonstrated the righteousness of their cause.  He was now fish food.

More important was the message his death sent to the entire jihadist community – something his capture couldn’t do – it may take years, lives and money to find you, but we will find you.  And when we find you, we will kill you.

That’s an incredibly powerful and important message to send.  Bin Laden’s death was the very best way to send it.  It will reverberate throughout the jihadist community and the hopeful result is a further lessening of al Qaeda’s influence and a peeling away of the less committed among that community.  It is clear that his death was a greater “value” for the US that was his capture.

Hats off to all those who made it happen.  As someone said, “5.1.11 is the day we got even”.  And the jihadist community will remember it, and hopefully its lesson,  just as we remember 9/11.

~McQ

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IED found on Texas bridge

An ominous sign of the times I’m afraid.  A short blurb from a Texas TV station’s website:

Police say a passerby on the southbound side of Highway 77 noticed what looked like a grenade near the FM 1732 overpass and alerted authorities around 5 p.m. Sunday.

The improvised explosive device or I-E-D was disarmed by a bomb squad using a robot. No one was hurt. Parts of Highway 77 were closed for several hours.

Police are continuing to investigate.

IEDs are simply a terrorist’s tool (you can argue they’re a guerilla’s tool as well, identifying the guerilla as something other than a terrorist – but for the most part in the last two decades, the IED has been used by terrorists).  Sure it can be used to attack conventional forces in a war, but it is also a means of spreading terror, intimidating locals and tying up police forces and the like.   Pipe bombs are “IEDs” and have been used by domestic terrorists for decades.

The fact that the IEDs used on roads in Iraq and Afghanistan has migrated, at least in this instance, to US soil – especially in the area of Texas it was found (Mexican border about as far south in the US you can go) and with the ongoing drug war -  shouldn’t come as a particular surprise.  It could indicate that the “art” of IEDs is being passed around among terrorist groups.  Why it was on this overpass is obviously open to speculation.

However, what isn’t open to speculation is the fact that this nation is seen to be a nation in decline, weaker than it once was and therefore more open to attack.  Additionally the border is porous (well, unless you’re trying to bring in Kinder eggs) and moving IED components through it isn’t a particularly difficult task.

So what was this IED all about?  Trail run?  Test to see if it would be spotted (they apparently didn’t try to hide it).  An attempt to ambush law enforcement?  Some sort of terrorist statement?  None of the above?

Unknown at this point.  But it should be disturbing that an IED has been built and apparently successfully installed here.  It could be the first of many.

~McQ

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Is Gitmo really a jihadist recruiting tool?

That’s certainly been one of the major reasons that candidate and then President Obama has cited for closing the facility. But the Weekly Standard did an analysis of some 34 al Qaeda messages and found that Guantanamo was barely mentioned, and when it was, it was at worst a neutral topic.

So why is this important enough to talk about. Because of the emphasis Obama places on that excuse to close the facility in the face of facts that just don’t support the premise. Here’s what he recently said [emphasis added]:

Obviously, we haven’t gotten it closed. And let me just step back and explain that the reason for wanting to close Guantanamo was because my number one priority is keeping the American people safe.

One of the most powerful tools we have to keep the American people safe is not providing al Qaeda and jihadists recruiting tools for fledgling terrorists. And Guantanamo is probably the number one recruitment tool that is used by these jihadist organizations. And we see it in the websites that they put up. We see it in the messages that they’re delivering.

But when we turn to the actual 34 messages that discuss recruiting, that isn’t at all the case.  Here are the results of key word searches in those messages:

Guantanamo is mentioned a mere 7 times in the 34 messages we reviewed. (Again, all 7 of those references appear in just 3 of the 34 messages.)

By way of comparison, all of the following keywords are mentioned far more frequently: Israel/Israeli/Israelis (98 mentions), Jew/Jews (129), Zionist(s) (94), Palestine/Palestinian (200), Gaza (131), and Crusader(s) (322). (Note: Zionist is often paired with Crusader in al Qaeda’s rhetoric.)

Naturally, al Qaeda’s leaders also focus on the wars in Afghanistan (333 mentions) and Iraq (157). Pakistan (331), which is home to the jihadist hydra, is featured prominently, too. Al Qaeda has designs on each of these three nations and implores willing recruits to fight America and her allies there. Keywords related to other jihadist hotspots also feature more prominently than Gitmo, including Somalia (67 mentions), Yemen (18) and Chechnya (15).  

In fact the Weekly Standard states uncategorically that there is no evidence in those 34 messages that Gitmo is a recruiting tool, much less “probably the number one recruitment tool” used by al Qaeda.

So, what are they about?  The usual stuff:

Instead, al Qaeda’s leaders repeatedly focus on a narrative that has dominated their propaganda for the better part of two decades. According to bin Laden, Zawahiri, and other al Qaeda chieftains, there is a Zionist-Crusader conspiracy against Muslims. Relying on this deeply paranoid and conspiratorial worldview, al Qaeda routinely calls upon Muslims to take up arms against Jews and Christians, as well as any Muslims rulers who refuse to fight this imaginary coalition.

This theme forms the backbone of al Qaeda’s messaging – not Guantanamo.

So what’s going on with Gitmo?  The usual spin designed to make the place seem much worse than it is with an eye on closing it for some less than pragmatic reason (I mention that because Obama is supposed to be such a pragmatist).  The messages reviewed by the WS are all of those which are known to have been delivered since January 2009.  Obviously, Gitmo has a small and barely noticeable effect on anything al Qaeda does.  Touting it as “probably the number one recruitment tool” of al Qaeda is false and misleading.   It implies closing Guantanamo will hurt such recruiting.  Obviously that’s just not the case. 

Nope, this is about a silly campaign promise made with little knowledge or information about the enemy we’re fighting or what is being used to recruit jihadists into the organization.  It would be one thing coming from some blogger out in North Dakota.  It’s another to hear it said by the man who is charged with our national security.  It doesn’t give one much of a warm fuzzy.

~McQ

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Eric Holder acknowledges homegrown threat but can’t bring himself to name it

Seriously, this sort of nonsense has to stop:

"What I am trying to do in this interview is to make people aware of the fact that the threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant," he said.

And the threat is from?

What was uppermost on his mind, however, is the alarming rise in the number of Americans who are more than willing to attack and kill their fellow citizens.

Yes?  And who are these Americans? What do they have in common?

"It is one of the things that keeps me up at night," Holder said. "You didn’t worry about this even two years ago — about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And — that is of — of great concern."

"The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born," he said.

Hello – what else have they in common?  What has “radicalized” them?

In the last 24 months, Holder said, 126 people have been indicted on terrorist-related charges, Fifty of those people are American citizens.

"I think that what is most alarming to me is the totality of what we see, the attorney general said. "Whether it is an attempt to bomb the New York City subway system, an attempt to bring down an airplane over Detroit, an attempt to set off a bomb in Times Square … I think that gives us a sense of the breadth of the challenges that we face, and the kinds of things that our enemy is trying to do."

Holder says many of these converts to al Qaeda have something in common: a link to radical cleric Anwar Al Awlaki, an American citizen himself.

And Al Awlaki and al Qaeda are both driven by what?  Al Awlaki is what sort of cleric?

"He’s an extremely dangerous man. He has shown a desire to harm the United States, a desire to strike the homeland of the United States," Holder said. "He is a person who — as an American citizen — is familiar with this country and he brings a dimension, because of that American familiarity, that others do not."

Holder said that as a threat to the United States, Awlaki ranks right up there with Osama bin Laden.

"He would be on the same list with bin Laden," the attorney general said. "He’s up there. I don’t know whether he’s one, two, three, four — I don’t know. But he’s certainly on the list of the people who worry me the most."

Yes, yes and what is the common thread between Awlaki, bin Laden, al Qaeda and the people who keep Holder up at night?

"I have to have all those tools available to me to try to keep the American people safe, and to do the job that I’m supposed to do as a 21st century attorney general," Holder said.

Holder said the United States has made great strides in improving its ability to detect and block attacks, which is shown by the number of would-be terrorists who have been stopped before they could kill Americans. The intelligence community is working around the clock, he said, with little time off.

Well acknowledging that every single one of the “terrorists” or “radicals” among the 50 or so apprehended this year was Muslim or a convert to Islam might go a long way in identifying the threat.  Osama bin Laden, Al Awlaki and the 50 Americans all have in common their brand of radical Islam.  Al Qaeda didn’t just pop up because it thought it would be fun to target and kill Americans, it exists because its followers believe in a radical brand of Islam that instructs them to make war against infidels.  And America is considered the infidel of infidel nations.  Ergo, it is their primary target.

Without the underlying thread of their radical beliefs, they have no real reason to attack us.  But, acknowledging that all 50 of the “Americans” were Muslim and the fact that all 126 arrested shared that same radical faith would mean acknowledging that Muslims are 100% of the problem.  Can’t do that and search granny at the airport (in the name of fairness)can we?  Can’t do that and risk the charge of “profiling” – something we absolutely ought to be doing until circumstance or evidence lead us to do otherwise.

Why is it we’ll subject our own citizens to degrading, humiliating and intrusive searches of their person at airports and yet we won’t do the logical thing necessary to actually protect our citizenry?  Profiling is done everyday in law enforcement – just ask about how serial killers are identified.  When a description of a perpetrator is circulated, it will have the perp’s gender, race and age.  That is profiling data which helps narrow the search.

To this point we haven’t had a non-Muslim attacker try to blow any of us up.  Why are we so shy about saying that “radical Islam” is the problem, and until they prove otherwise, the larger set of Muslims in the US are a potential threat?   How do you argue otherwise given the evidence?

Does that mean we should go on a witch hunt within the American Muslim community?  Of course not – but, we shouldn’t avoid the fact that the threat has consistently and exclusively come from that community and that until it stops, they’ll be views suspiciously, watched closely and receive the most scrutiny.

But we won’t.  Just as Eric Holder spent an entire interview avoiding the use of the words “Muslim” or “Islam”, we’ll continue to eschew the obvious and doing what is logical for the appearance of being “fair”.  Apparently fairness, not security, is our nation’s highest priority – at least for now.

~McQ

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