Free Markets, Free People
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.
Counterterrorism Czar John Brennan made a comparison this weekend that has landed him in hot water. Speaking at the Islamic Center at New York University on Saturday and apparently in response to a question about recidivism among the Gitmo inmates who had been released, he said the rate was about 20%.
Ok, that’s arguable, but it is a number that has been tossed around by any number of people. That isn’t what got him in trouble. If we stipulate that the 20% of terror suspects released have returned to extremism or outright participation in terror activities, most would consider such a rate unacceptable. In fact, most would not be happy with recidivism at all, but understand that 0% is most likely an unrealistic expectation.
“People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, say ‘Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees returned to some type of extremist activity,’” Brennan said. “You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn’t that bad.”
Indeed, the recidivism rate for property crimes is quite high according to the Department of Justice:
Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).
But violent crime, more akin to terrorism – not so much:
Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.
This apparent acceptance of 20% recidivism by terrorists has to inspire tremendous confidence in the public to know the guy who is supposedly engaged in fighting terrorists equates them with the kid who popped the lock on your car and stole your GPS and finds the 20% rate nothing to get excited about . Yes, to him a burglar and someone who blows up embassies are pretty much the same. And he’s quite satisfied that only 20% are going back to burglary, er, blowing up Americans.
Suppose I told you that there is an organization which claims to have worldwide jurisdiction (literally, “where the law speaks”) over all matters of criminal law and justice, regardless of who a person is? No I’m not referring to the ICC, but instead to the Obama administration.
The Obama administration is considering a criminal trial in Washington for the Guantanamo Bay detainee suspected of masterminding the bombing of a Bali nightclub that killed 202 people, a plan that would bring one of the world’s most notorious terrorism suspects just steps from the U.S. Capitol, The Associated Press has learned.
Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, was allegedly Osama bin Laden’s point man in Indonesia and, until his capture in August 2003, was believed to be the main link between al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah, the terror group blamed for the 2002 bombing on the island of Bali.
It’s not readily apparent what charges would be brought against Hambali, but a real question exists as to exactly what power our civil judicial system would have over him. In order to pass judgment on anyone, a court must have personal jurisdiction over the defendant, which essentially means that he has some nexus with the place where his trial takes place. With respect to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, there is at least a good argument that his alleged activities with respect to the 9/11 attacks and the World Trade Center bombings creates a connection with the court of record in New York City. In contrast, Hambali does not, as far as anyone has alleged, have any connection whatsoever with the District of Columbia, nor with anywhere else in the United States. So on what basis can a DC court claim to have any power over his person?
Yet that’s just what the Obama administration proposes to do. It is considering trying Hambali in a federal civil court, supposedly for his terrorist actions (which are legion, to be sure) elsewhere in the world. Most famously, Hambali is thought to be the mastermind behind the devastating bombings in Bali back in 2002. But Bali is in Indonesia, not the United States. Indeed, Jemaah Islamiya, of which Hambali is known to be the operations coordinator and chief liason to al Qaeda regarding its Southeast Asia conquests, has not been alleged to be involved in any actions in America or her protectorates. All of which should lead to the inexorable conclusion that our federal courts have no jurisdiction over Hambali.
Perhaps no real harm would come from a court reaching such a decision. It wouldn’t lead to a release of the prisoner, necessarily, since the question of guilt or innocence would never be addressed. But what if, instead, a ruling is made that there is personal jurisdiction over Hambali? Stranger things have happened — witness the vast expansion of judicial power created in Boumediene v. Bush, where the Supreme Court found that its jurisdiction for habeas corpus purposes extended to any person within America’s exclusive control. Should a DC court find it does have personal jurisdiction over a person who has no connection to America except for being captured by her soldiers, that would be paramount to declaring American law and jurisprudence the law of every land. In other words, we would be claiming that our laws “speak” everywhere and for everyone, whether you like it or not.
If you are inclined to believe that holding enemy combatants at GITMO directly aids al Qaeda’s recruitment efforts, how do you think the terrorist organization and her adherents will take to our claim that they, and everyone else in the world, are subject to our civil laws? How will the rest of the world view such an arrogant statement? Beyond satisfying some petty political aims, by taking such a misguided step as this the Obama administration is not doing the U.S. any favors, and is likely damaging our interests.