Or perhaps a more precise questions is, “why does it appear the government would prefer we believe the Times Square bomber acted alone?”
Does it somehow make this all much less threatening? Frankly, if true, it makes it even more threatening to me. Or is it because if they deny connections to other terrorists and insist on the “lone wolf” scenario (see Ft. Hood, see Arkansas, etc) they can deny “global terrorism” and not have to face questions about Islmaic jihad?
No credible evidence has been found so far that the Pakistani-American man accused in the Times Square bombing plot received any serious terrorist training from the Pakistani Taliban or another radical Islamic group, six U.S. officials said Thursday.
“There is nothing that confirms that any groups have been found involved in this for certain,” one U.S. official told McClatchy. “It’s a lot of speculation at this point.”
Faisal Shahzad may have, at the most, had “incidental contact” with a terrorist organization, and he may have been encouraged to act, said one of the officials, who declined to elaborate further.
So he went broke here, let his house go into foreclosure, rounded up the family and headed back to Pakistan where he stayed 5 months, came back loaded with money and decided, on a whim to blow up Times Square. But we’re pretty sure that when this guy was hanging out in an area of Pakistan infested with Taliban and other terrorists, he had, at best “incidental contact” with a terrorist organization.
Now to be fair, the bomb he built says if he did indeed get training, whoever trained him wasn’t so great or he was one hell of a bad student – or both. But why did he come back alone and how did he make all that money it is reported he had?
Investigators of the failed car bombing in Times Square are looking for a money courier they say helped funnel cash from overseas to finance a Pakistani-American’s preparations to blow up the crude gasoline-and-propane bomb in the heart of New York, a law-enforcement official told the Associated Press.
Investigators have the name of the courier who they believe helped Faisal Shahzad pay for the used sport utility vehicle and other materials to rig up a car bomb that would have caused a huge fireball in Times Square if it had gone off, the official told the AP. The official didn’t know how much money may have changed hands.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
So if he acted alone, is a “lone wolf” and only had “incidental contact” with a terrorist organization, whose name to investigators have and why are they trying to find him?
If you’re getting the feeling you’re not getting the whole picture (and there may be security reasons for that – we may be seeing a little disinformation going on here while they pursue other links. Or maybe not and what you’re seeing is how authorities would prefer to have it all spun) you’re probably right.
First from “our friend” Egypt’s Al-Masaa which is the evening edition of the Egyptian government Al-Gumhouriyya. They want to know what all the fuss is about:
“The huge fuss that the U.S. has been making since it announced the exposure of the attempted car bombing in Times Square… is truly outrageous. The U.S. has brought many charges against [the suspected perpetrator], including [involvement in] global terrorism and use of weapons of mass destruction.
“The U.S. seems to have forgotten that it is the world’s number one terrorist. If a couple of propane tanks, some fertilizer, and some fireworks count as WMDs, what do we call the terrible weapons employed by the U.S. in its attacks on the peoples of the world? …Since the Americans occupied the Iraqi city of Falluja in 2004 using phosphorus and depleted uranium bombs, there have been frequent cases of [women who] miscarry [because] their baby is deformed…”
Yeah, so there, we deserve it, by George. And by the way:
“And of course it was some country other [than the U.S.] that used WMDs against the Vietnamese people during the years of [its] occupation [there]. Three million Vietnamese are still suffering from the effects of those weapons, and deformed children are still being born there…”
Of course. As an aside, Arab journalism isn’t noted particularly for having any foundation in truth telling, but it sure can be inflammatory. Suffice it to say, though, this “journalist” is a bit obsessed with deformed babies and children. Unless, of course, they might be walking through Times Square at the wrong time. Then – no biggie.
Saudi Arabia may surprise you just a little. This is from an editorial the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh:
“Even if the investigations have not yet uncovered which [group] Shahzad, who tried to explode a car [bomb] in Times Square, belonged to, this New York incident is one instance of insane delirium. Even if the [police] never get a lead on this attack, its ramifications for the entire Muslim world are deadly. This is because we are incapable of restraining the emotion of the [Western] peoples when they see sights that harm them – even if the U.S. administration headed by [U.S. President Barack] Obama is closer and more open to the Muslim world [than the previous U.S. administration]. Moreover, this attack has become a motive for criticizing Obama for his efforts at rapprochement with the Muslims.
“Another problem is that the ramifications of this affair will ignite enmity towards the Muslims and Islam worldwide…
So Obama is our friend, Western people are reactionaries and stuff like this will “ignite enmity towards Muslims and Islam worldwide.” Well duh. How often do you have to be attacked by people of a particular religion who cite their religion as the reason for the attack (among others) before you begin holding a little enmity toward those who are a part of it?
The editorial then offers a little bit of reality for the terrorists:
“Terrorism will exist as long as it has repositories of human and material supplies, and as long as there are forces, and perhaps even countries and organizations, that support [it]. [These elements should know] that even if [their] adversary is harmed [by terrorists,] he is [still] stronger and has greater capabilities to hunt them down and to start a war [against them]. This happens whenever a superpower [targeted by terrorism] needs to defend its national security.”
And, of course, that will happen as long as terrorists continue to attack it and its interests. Human Nature 101. But nice to see the point acknowledged. Then perhaps the best paragraph in the editorial:
“The Muslim world, including all its governments, institutions, and regimes, must condemn this [Times Square] incident – not out of sycophancy towards the U.S., but because our religion vehemently opposes such actions. Furthermore, if we deal with these events wisely and in accordance with our own interests, in order to protect the reputation of our religion and our collective conduct, this will prove to others that we are a society that hunts down terrorism of any kind whatsoever. It is not enough to reject terror on the grounds that the terrorists harm more Muslims than non-Muslims – because the principle [of opposing terror] is the same, whether [the target is] a foreign country, an Islamic country, or members of other religions.
“In order to persuade the other nations [not to equate] Islam with the actions of the terrorists, we must prove that we are share the responsibility [for fighting terrorism], along with all the countries of the world and their peoples.”
Well said – and a welcome change.
Meanwhile, perhaps the most strange of the three comes from an Iraqi columnist living in the US and writing for www.elaph.com. He explains that most Muslims in the US have no feeling of loyalty to it and actually harbor feelings of hostility toward it instead. He makes the argument that the US is too easy on suspected and potential terrorists and that in order to avoid future attack, the US needs to do a little “infringing” on Muslim human rights:
“America is home to about seven million Muslims. Most of them, even if they are not terrorists, do harbor hostility towards the U.S. and feel no loyalty to it. As an Arab and Muslim, [I tell you] that it is difficult to find a Muslim who loves America; those [who do] constitute a tiny minority among all those millions.
“The rationale and need to defend American security and protect [American] lives make it necessary to make sacrifices and infringe on the [existing] laws and charters of human rights. The Muslims must be subjected to the principle of collective suspicion. Individuals whose presence [in the country] causes concern or who have a potential to cause problems must be monitored, pursued and placed in preventive detention, which is not subject to time restrictions or require [the presentation of] evidence. They must [even] be stripped of their citizenship and deported.
He obviously supports profiling and Joe Lieberman’s “strip them of their citizenship” approach. I know a lot of folks that share his vision of how to treat those like himself.
So there it is – a look at how some Arabs in the press view the Times Square bombing – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Why is it some politicians seem driven to speculate out loud about things of which they’re obviously ignorant?
“If I had to guess, twenty five cents, this would be exactly that,” Bloomberg said. “Homegrown maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something. It could be anything.”
As it turns out, his guess wasn’t worth two cents. And it doesn’t appear to be “anything” – it appears to be the same old thing.
Federal authorities are closing in on the man they say is a person of interest in the Times Square car bomb attempt this weekend, who is described as a naturalized American citizen who hails from Pakistan and just returned after spending five months there.
There is growing evidence the bomber did not act alone and had ties to radical elements overseas, with one senior official telling ABC News there are several individuals believed to be connected with the bombing and that at least one of them is a Pakistani-American.
Attorney General Eric Holder said today the investigators had made “substantial progress” in tracking the man who drove a Nissan Pathfinder into New York’s Times Square with a crude bomb that failed to detonate.
OK, so they really were closing in on someone. According to NBC:
Authorities arrested a suspect in the attempted weekend car bombing in Times Square, NBC News’ justice correspondent Pete Williams reported early Tuesday morning.
A U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, Shahzad Faisal, was arrested Monday night on Long Island, Williams reported.
Earlier, an official told The Associated Press that the potential suspect recently traveled to Pakistan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the case was at a sensitive stage.
He seems like a helpful, chap, though, assisting the FBI by apparently leaving an email trail.
The officials said the man was a Connecticut resident who paid cash weeks ago for the SUV parked in Times Square on Saturday and rigged with a crude propane-and-gasoline bomb.
NBC’s Williams reported the man’s name was on an e-mail that was sent to the seller of the car last month, as well as other evidence suggesting he had a role in the attempted bombing.
And while he pulled the VIN plaque off the dashboard, he didn’t go through the trouble of removing the embossed VINs from the engine or axle.
Apparently this rocket scientist–always assuming the FBI has the right guy, and not another Richard Jewel–couldn’t have made himself easier to find if he’d dropped a yellow dye marker, and powered up a rescue strobe and homing beacon.
Interestingly, he appears to have been born and raised in Connecticut, although he is a fellow of Middle Eastern ethnicity.
That’s kind of the message I’m getting concerning the attempt Saturday to detonate a VBIED near Times Square in NYC.
Now, I’ve watched the video of the alleged suspect. I’m having a tough time with a description of “furtive” to describe his activities. Yes, he pulled a sweatshirt off and went with the T-shirt below, but he didn’t seem hurried, or “furtive”. He could have been hot though.
And I don’t get this:
Mayor Bloomberg said the planned mayhem did not appear to be the work of al Qaeda or any other large terror network.
Really? Why’s that? Because the alleged perpetrator was a balding white guy? The mayor really ought to consider the term “outsourcing” and its implications.
The bomb certainly was crude. Bags of fertilizer, propane tanks, fireworks and gasoline. I know enough about fertilizer bombs to know that leaving it in the bag isn’t the way to make a bomb. However, had the propane gone off, it would have definitely had the potential to create a mass casualty situation.
Add to that the Taliban leader’s claim – in a video made before the attempt on Times Square – that he was responsible (that is to say he “commissioned” the job) and it is hard for me, at this early date to rule out “al Qaeda or any other large terror network”.
But authorities sure do seem intent on trying to do exactly that. Unless they know alot more than they’re saying, it isn’t clear to me at all that you can rule anyone or any organization out.
In fact, even more evidence turned up today suggesting that the Taliban are, in fact, involved in targeting US cities:
Two tapes were sent today to The Long War Journal by a group identifying itself as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. The same group sent a link earlier today to The Long War Journal to a YouTube video of Qari Hussain Mehsud claiming that the Taliban carried out the failed May 1 car bomb attack in New York City’s Times Square.
The two Hakeemullah tapes consist of a videotape of Hakeemullah flanked by two masked fighters, and an audiotape with images of Hakeemullah superimposed over a map of the US with explosions in the background. In both tapes, Hakeemullah claimed that the Taliban have infiltrated the US and that their operatives would launch attacks in American cities.
The videotape was produced on April 4, while the audiotape was produced on April 19, according to Hakeemullah.
While I think it is entirely possible that the man seen leaving the SUV on Saturday is indeed a “middle aged, balding white man”, I also think it is entirely possible that the Taliban claims of responsibility are real.
If so, watch for other attempts in other cities soon. As for the ostriches out there – pretend this isn’t a larger plot by international terrorist organizations at your own peril. Such thinking can blow up in your face fairly quickly – no pun intended.
It appears it was a Taliban of Pakistan attempt:
A top Pakistani Taliban commander took credit for yesterday’s failed car bomb attack in New York City.
Qari Hussain Mehsud, the top bomb maker for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said he takes “fully responsibility for the recent attack in the USA.” Qari Hussain made the claim on an audiotape accompanied by images that was released on a YouTube website that calls itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel.
The tape has yet to be verified, but US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal believe it is legitimate. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel on YouTube was created on April 30. Officials believe it was created to announce the Times Square attack, and Qari Hussain’s statement was pre-recorded.
All indications are the tape is legitimate. YouTube has pulled the video and shut down the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel since this article was published.
The US Army has disinvited a Christian evangelist from attending a National Day of Prayer event, because in a recent interview, he referred to Islam as a violent religion.
Clearly, he was unaware of the official designation “Religion of Peace”.
I guess he got all confused by all the beheadings, honor killings, and flying airliners into buildings and whatnot, to properly understand that these acts have no relevance to Islam at all.
And, clearly, he fails to understand how revealing the actions of Eric Rudolph are, vis a vis the fundamentally violent underpinnings of the Religious Right.
One must, after all, learn the approved lessons, and mouth the accepted pieties. And by “one”, of course, I mean “certain people”. I mean, we can hardly expect the same rules to apply to everyone.
It seems that once again, an insufficiently servile attitude towards Mohammed requires death threats as a response.
This time, it’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, whose “South Park” cartoon aired an episode that revolved around Mohammed. The prophet didn’t directly appear in the episode, as he was disguised in a bear suit, but that was enough for the Islamists to warn that Messrs. Stone and Parker might end up like murdered Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh.
Apparently, that’s what Allah, the Merciful, the Ever-Loving, requires.
Jebus Cripes, I’m so sick of this crap.
First they eliminated the fight against global terrorism and reduced it to collection of “overseas contingency operations”. Terror events are now called “man-made disasters”. We’re no longer confronted with “Islamic extremism”. How do I know this? Because it has been dropped from use as acceptably describing our enemy in the National Security Strategy . So has “jihad” and “Islamic extremism”. We now, apparently, confront “violent extremism”. I would appear that it can just pop up anywhere without any real basis for its being.
Mona Charen reports that the decision has been made to no longer describe rogue nation North Korea as a rogue nation. I have to tell you, if NoKo is a “rogue” nation, there are no rogue nations. NoKo has been a rogue nation since it became a nation. It is a tyrannical kleptocracy – a pirate state – but not “rogue”. Apparently that’s a bit to harsh. And we certainly don’t want to refer to Iran as that.
God forbid we actually call our enemies of the world that which they really are. That might put them on notice that we’re on to their game and aren’t happy about it.
And there’s really no level to which this foolishness isn’t being extended. Heck even the GITMO inmates apparently need a name change:
The detainees in Guantanamo, too, have had a name change. They will no longer be called “enemy combatants.” The new name hasn’t been chosen yet, though cynics might just use “former clients of Obama Justice Department lawyers.”
Yes political correctness gone mad, but look where it is being applied. At the executive level of the government of the United States. Euphemisms that ignore the specific problem or nation in favor of non-discriminatory (everyone can be a latent “violent extremist” so we don’t have to specifically single out those who are) word salad.
Bottom line: We are fighting Islamic fundamentalist extremists who have had a jihad against us for decades. They are stateless terrorists. They get some of their support from rogue nations.
Why in the world is it so hard to say it like that? Or better yet, what’s the utility in ignoring it? Why are the specifics of the truth deemed too offensive or antagonistic to state? And what purpose is served by ignoring those specifics in favor of broad categorical words that do very little to define the problem we actually confront?
And, finally, if those words are out of bounds, how does one put a specific strategy together to confront the real security problem facing us vs. some nebulous and useless piece of bureaucratic crap with this “approved” language which ends up doing a one-over-the-world hand-wave and calling itself our “strategy”?
Apparently the White House is about to bow to the inevitable and prosecute Khalid Sheik Mohammed by military tribunal:
President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.
The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.
I’ve never understood why only civilian courts were considered to be a symbol of the US commitment to the rule of law. The military tribunal system now in use was created by an act of Congress, signed into law by the president and vetted by the Supreme Court (which, as I recall, made Congress change a few things before it okayed the procedure). So how is its use somehow the abandonment of the rule of law?
Of course it’s not. What this is about is a petulant and mistaken insistence, at least in this case, that the previous administration preferred to operate outside the law.
What they’re about to admit, if indeed that’s the course of action they decide on, is the proper venue in which to try terrorists that have declared war on our nation is via military tribunal. That’s also a tacit admission that their’s isn’t a criminal conspiracy to be handled in civilian court, but instead an act of war to be handled in the appropriate military legal venue.
All this after 14 months of chasing their tail, trying to pound a square legal peg in a round hole. Wasn’t it Obama complaining about these people not receiving a speedy trial?
Heck of a job, Eric.
UPDATE: Andy McCarthy at NRO thinks this is all a compromise to finally get the backing (and funding) necessary to close GITMO. SLATE agrees, citing the story above:
If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States.
Any guess as to who this is aimed at? Does the name Lindsey Graham ring a bell? Says McCarthy:
The real agenda here is to close Gitmo. That’s the ball to keep your eye on. The Post is trying to soften the opposition to shuttering the detention camp by portraying beleaguered, reasonable Obama as making a great compromise that will exasperate the Left. The idea is to strengthen Sen. Lindsey Graham’s hand in seeking reciprocal compromise from our side.
This, however, is a matter of national security, not horse-trading over a highway bill. You don’t agree to do a stupid thing that endangers the country just because your opposition has magnanimously come off its insistence that you do two stupid things that endanger the country.
Bold emphasis mine – they’re the two key points in what McCarthy says. So let’s make it clear – KSM should be tried by a military tribunal and those trials for him and others should be held at Gitmo. As originally planned.