Monday, September 21, 2009

Wall Street Journal - The War on Terror Goes On

The editors of the Wall Street Journal add up the results of the past few weeks on the war on terror.

The main credit here goes to the folks in the intelligence community that our friends on the left love to hate.

Credit goes as well to Barack Obama, who as President has abandoned much of his previous opposition to proven antiterror measures like warrantless wiretaps, and who has only stepped up the campaign of targeted hits on terrorist ringleaders. He's fortunate the Bush Administration left him with a potent intelligence team and the precedent of taking the fight, pre-emptively, to the terrorists on their home turf.

  • U.S. special forces operating in Somalia killed top al Qaeda operative Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, believed to have been a planner in the November 2002 bombing of a hotel in Kenya in which 15 were killed.
  • Also killed in recent days was senior al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri—via a U.S. drone attack in western Pakistan—and Indonesian terrorist mastermind Noordin Muhammad Top, suspected in the July bombing of two Jakarta hotels.
  • A British court convicted three men for an August 2006 plot to blow up several airliners over the Atlantic. The convictions were obtained largely on the strength of communications intercepts—possibly warrantless—gathered by the U.S. National Security Agency, according to a report by Britain's Channel 4.

Doesn't sound like a very high "body count" does it? But as the premise behind body counts has long been debunked, I, too, think it's been a good week.

Read the full editorial.

Stephen M. Flatow

Another Home Grown Terror Plot?

The news has been chock full of stories on Denver's Najibullah Zazi, 24, an Afghanistan-born Colorado man who allegedly handwrote bomb-making instructions. Court appearances are due today, Monday, September 21, 2009, for Zazi and others on charges of lying to authorities in an ongoing terror investigation.

I believe there is a widespread reluctance to believe that folks living in the U.S., both born here and elsewhere, are capable or willing to plan and conduct a domestic terror attack. We only have to look back at American history to see that there have always been people interested in doing just that. Terror attacks and plots in Great Britain amply demonstrate that home-grown citizens are capable of turning their backs on their mother country.

So, why the uproar in some circles about these guys being another bunch of entrapped, ignorant, bumblers? In my opinion it has a lot to do with the religion--they happen to be Muslim--of the suspects. Like the Jews did in the early 20th century in the United States, Muslims have created so-called defense organizations, such as CAIR, to defend the civil interests of their co-religionists. Unlike the Jews who perceived the need for organizations to speak up for them after they were lynched, beaten and excluded from schools and society and had no one to turn to, Islamic groups spend most of their time explaining away the actions of people seen as supporters of terror and mayhem. And the roots of some of these groups are questionable.

Be that as it may, it will interesting to see further developments this week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pop Bottle Bombers Get Life in Prison

Remember the chaos created by Prof. Irwin Corey as the suspected "pop bottle bomber" in the 1970s comedy movie "Car Wash?" It turned out that Corey's bottle contained a urine sample that he was bringing to his doctor, but real pop bottle bombers really do exist. The New York Times reports that

A British judge sentenced three men to life in prison on Monday for plotting to bomb at least seven trans-Atlantic airliners with liquid explosives smuggled aboard in soft-drink bottles, concluding the largest counterterrorism investigation in British history, news agencies reported.

No laughing matter here,

The sentencing came three years after the global airline industry was thrown into chaos by the plot. The bombers’ plan to drain plastic soft-drink bottles with syringes and refill them with concentrated hydrogen peroxide, a bleaching agent also used as a propellant for rockets, led to new measures prohibiting passengers from carrying all but small quantities of liquids and creams onto flights.
The conspirators, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, will face a minimum of 40 years in prison, Assad Sarwar, will be jailed for at least 36 years, while Tanvir Hussain, "described as the man responsible for acquiring and assembling the explosive devices at a London warehouse, received a minimum term of 32 years, the Press Association reported."

Congratulations to the British justice system.

Read the full report 3 British Men Sentenced to Life in Plot to Blow Up Planes.

Stephen M. Flatow

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Libyan Ambassador Responds to Criticism

When Abdel Baset al-Megrahi landed in Tripoli following his release from Scotland last week, the world saw a single event in two very different ways. Through the prism of the Western media, Americans saw a terrorist being given a hero's welcome by a country eager to celebrate mass murder. Libyans saw a dying man—believed to be innocent by his countrymen and many others world-wide—being embraced by his family.
These words are penned by Ali Aujali, the Libyan ambassador to Washington.

He explains,
Most of those on the tarmac were members of Mr. Megrahi's extended family and tribe who have followed his plight and know he has very little time to live. The Scottish flags they flew alongside Libyan flags were not an endorsement of the terrible deeds of which he was accused. They were a powerful sign of solidarity between two very different nations that nonetheless share the value of compassion.
Interesting column. Read the full article, Why Libya Welcomed Megrahi, from the Wall Street Journal. Then, you make up your mind.