Archive for the 'Terrorism' Category
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 13th June 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
The latest word on the NSA scandal, and it is a scandal, is that the FBI is not allowed to snoop on mosques.
Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string[sic] operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.
Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.
We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.
That makes sense. After all, all terrorists thus far have been fundamentalist Christians.
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Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Anti-Americanism, Islam, Middle East, Military Affairs, Politics, Religion, Terrorism | 74 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 12th June 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
I’m currently reading 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War, by Charles Emmerson. The book describes the social and political climates then existing not only in the major European countries, but also in other places around the world, ranging from Australia to Canada to China.
In his description of Jerusalem–then under control of the Ottoman Empire but with a population including residents and pilgrims from many countries–the author says:
Different countries even had their own postal services, circumventing the Ottoman telegraph service, which was widely thought to be a nest of spies reporting communications back to Constantinople.
Fast forward 100 years….In the wake of the reports concerning NSA surveillance programs, there is widespread concern..among non-Americans as well as among citizens of this country…that the American telecommunications and information-processing services may be “a nest of spies” reporting communications back to Washington…and from there, possibly, to other shadowy recipients. These concerns may have serious economic ramifications.
See, for example, Forbes–NSA Surveillance Threatens US Competitiveness:
Non-US customers of any US business will immediately evaluate their exposure to these new risks and look for alternatives. European, Canadian, and Australian tech companies will profit from this. Competitors in those regions will offer alternatives that will also draw US customers away from the compromised US services.
Washington Post–European Leaders Raise Concerns on US Surveillance
“The German business community is on high alert,” said Volker Perthes, director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “It’s not just about listening in on some bearded guy from Ulm who bought a ticket to Afghanistan and makes conversation with his friends in Waziristan. . . . The suspicion in large parts of the business sector is that Americans would also be interested in our patent applications.”
Popular Mechanics–Why the NSA Prism Program Could Kill US Tech Companies:
Think for a second about just how the U.S. economy has changed in the last 40 years. While a large percentage of our economy is still based in manufacturing, some of the most ascendant U.S. companies since the 1970s have been in the information technology sector…
Let’s say you ran a business in (Japan, India, Australia, Mexico, or Brazil) that relied upon information services from a U.S. company. Don’t these revelations make using such a service a business liability?
See also Business Insider–Did Obama Just Destroy the US Internet Industry?
I don’t think these revelations, even if they are fully validated, will really “kill” US tech companies or “destroy” the US Internet industry…the headlines are a bit over the top, as headlines often are. I do believe, however, that the American information technology industries will be significantly harmed, with implications for the entire US economy…something that we really cannot afford at this particular point in time.
I think it is obvious that the US government needs to conduct anti-terrorist surveillance programs, which must encompass telecommunications networks…the idea that NSA should be abolished, as some have suggested in recent days, is to my mind very unwise. But non-Americans as well as Americans have every right to be concerned about the scope of what has apparently been going on, and the apparent lack of proper controls, and furthermore, to raise questions about how the information gathered is actually being used.
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Posted in Big Government, Book Notes, Civil Liberties, Economics & Finance, Obama, Privacy, Tech, Terrorism, War and Peace | 14 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 26th May 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
(Originally posted in February 2009. I was reminded of it by recent events in London and Sweden)
Suppose you wanted to create a perfect enemy. An enemy so vile that its evil would be recognized by almost everyone. An enemy that would inspire people to come together in order to ensure its defeat.
To be more specific: suppose you were a screenwriter with the assignment of creating a suitable villain-organization for a major motion picture. The marketing plan for this movie suggests that it will be marketed primarily to a certain demographic and that, hence, your villain-organization should be particularly appalling to members of that demographic. The demographic in question consists of people who are affluent, highly educated (college with at least some postgraduate education), not particularly religious, and who consider themselves politically liberal or “progressive.” The plot of the movie demands that the audience must see the necessity for Americans–of many beliefs, occupations, and social backgrounds–to come together in order to defeat the enemy.
Oh, and one other thing. The year in which you are given this assignment is 1999.
You will clearly want your enemy to share many of the characteristics of the Nazis–disrespect for human life, wanton cruelty, a love of apocalyptic violence. But to make the enemy particuarly awful from the standpoint of your target demographic, you will want to emphasize certain aspects of its belief system.
Members of your demographic usually have strong beliefs about women’s rights. So, your enemy must have a particularly disrespectful belief set, and a violent behavior pattern, towards women. Similarly, your demographic is generally favorable toward gay rights…so the enemy must advocate and practice the suppression, torture, and killing of gays. Your demographic is generally nonreligious and often hostile toward religion…so, make sure the enemy includes a large element of religious fanaticism. Members of your demographic talk a lot about “the children”–so make sure your enemy uses children in particularly cruel ways.
Had you created such an enemy for your screenplay in 1999, you would have surely felt justified in assuming that it would achieve its intended reaction with your target demographic.
It didn’t work out that way, though.
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Posted in Britain, Film, Iran, Islam, Religion, Terrorism | 9 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 12th May 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
Last week was a week for the conspiracy theories. First, we had Benghazi and the hearings which interviewed career State Department officers, most of whom probably vote for Democrats. The fact that they were ordered not to talk to Congressmen and denied any attempt at help when under attack, even from as close as Tripoli, invites speculation about motive. Peggy Noonan, a little unusually, hits this one out of the park.
Since it is behind a pay wall, I’ll quote a few bits.
What happened in Benghazi last Sept. 11 and 12 was terrible in every way. The genesis of the scandal? It looks to me like this:
The Obama White House sees every event as a political event. Really, every event, even an attack on a consulate and the killing of an ambassador.
Because of that, it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism. That would carry a whole world of unhappy political implications, and demand certain actions. And the American presidential election was only eight weeks away. They wanted this problem to go away, or at least to bleed the meaning from it.
That sounds about right to me.
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Posted in Elections, Health Care, Islam, Medicine, Middle East, Military Affairs, National Security, Politics, Tea Party, Terrorism | 12 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 9th May 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
(Here is something I wrote in November of last year)
At a minimum–at a bare minimum–the Benghazi affair reveals a dismal level of incompetence pervading the Obama administration. There is also reason to believe that it reveals decison-making about life-and-death matters based on this President’s desire to preserve his “narrative,” rather than facing reality and acting upon it. And, I suspect, the more we learn about what happened in Benghazi, and why it happened, the more disturbing the answers are going to be.
I’m currently re-reading the memoirs of General Edward Spears, who was Churchill’s emissary to France in 1940. There was a disturbing amount of defeatism, and in some cases actual sympathy with the Nazi enemy, among certain government officials and other French elites. Weygand’s friend Henri de Kerillis, a Deputy and newpaper editor, had been consistently pressing Prime Minister Daladier to investigate some sinister behavior by members of the extreme Right.
“Il faut de’brider l’abces,” he had said time and time again to the Premier. He had done so again lately and received this strange answer: I have done exactly what you urged, I have opened the abscess, but it was so deep the scalpal disappeared down it, and had I gone on, my arm would have followed.” This was really very frightening, and I said so. “You cannot be more frightened than I am,” said Kerillis.
I feel sure that we are going to find that the abscess revealed by the Obama administration’s behavior re Benghazi goes very deep indeed.
5/9/2013: A useful source of information about the Benghazi debacle and the related investigations is the site Special Operations Speaks.
Posted in France, History, Middle East, Politics, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 1st May 2013 (All posts by Jonathan)
This Politico piece is an example of wishful thinking, agenda-driven failure to acknowledge the big picture or both in its attempt to explain away the jihadist angle in the Boston bombing.
“We found a number of people who wanted to do bad things but didn’t want to see themselves as criminals,” a psychologist who works with federal law enforcement agencies told me. “They are murderers in search of a cause. They tell themselves, ‘I want to change the world.’ Some we give the romantic term ‘terrorist.’ They are people who want to do something bad, so they say it was for Al Qaeda or a jihad.”
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Posted in Islam, Media, Terrorism | 6 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 24th April 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
UPDATE: Mickey Kaus now has a column called Gang of 8 Fraud of the Day. Today’s is “Back Taxes.”
Negotiators had to choose between a hard-line approach favored by Republicans, like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that would have required immigrants and employers to painstakingly piece together a tax history so the government could collect what is owed and a less burdensome option of focusing on people who already have a past-due bill with the Internal Revenue Service.
Yup. No tax audits. Only if they already have an assessment is it pursued.
Rubio’s published materials now often carefully say to-be-legalized immigrants would have to merely ”pay taxes” as opposed to pay “back taxes.” That hasn’t stopped the bogus “back tax” meme from being propagated during Rubio’s current round the clock Con-the-Cons tour.
The Senate has served up another in Harry Reid’s menu of “Unanimous Consent” bills with no hearings and no amendments except those he approves. This is not how the Senate is supposed to work and is a large part of the reason that Congress has produced such bad legislation since 2008. Now, we have another massive bill which is being presented with minimal hearings and debate.
The “Gang of Eight” has written this bill and it is supposed to be fast tracked with no argument. Marco Rubio has been pressing for approval and now Paul Ryan is aboard.
In an interview last week with the Catholic television network EWTN, Ryan recalled his history at Kemp’s side and how they worked together to fight Proposition 187, a California ballot initiative that prevented non-citizens from using the state’s social services.
One reason why immigration worked in this country for 150 years was the fact that immigrants were here to work and support themselves. There was no welfare for them. Prop 187 in California was passed with 60% of the vote and even had majorities in heavily Hispanic districts. It was ruled “unconstitutional” by the California Supreme Court and the decline of the “Golden State” has followed. His reasoning at the time ?
“I actually campaigned with Jack Kemp against a thing called Prop 187,” Ryan told host Raymond Arroyo. He said they both worried that the proposal would burn Republicans within the immigrant community, and “make it so that Latino voters would not hear the other messages of empowerment.”
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Posted in Anti-Americanism, Britain, Business, Civil Society, Conservatism, Education, Human Behavior, Islam, Middle East, Politics, Religion, Terrorism | 10 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 24th April 2013 (All posts by Jonathan)
The Tsarnaev’s were showered with a huge amount of things. And did they like it? No they hated it. Hated the whole idea of the dirty, degenerate, corrupt West. They hated the idea and took the goodies without a thought. Despite this the mainstream culture is set to respond to their attack with more things. More drones, detectors, armored vehicles, barriers, restrictions, weapons, armor …. more items the list of which goes on and on. But omitted from the catalog of responses will be any campaign to mentally engage radical Islam — to debate against it, denounce it or render it uncool — because that would be bigoted.
It is often forgotten that Freedom of Speech means debate. It means patches on software, not paint on the equipment box. It means fixing the insubstantial. It means mental action. This is important because in the case of radical Islam Freedom of Speech has been redefined as the obligation to remain silent. That obligation has even been given a special term: it is called Tolerance. And no one seems to have noticed that Tolerance is essentially the opposite of Freedom of Speech. It means don’t program. Don’t unhack the hack. Do nothing. Pretend it’s all a joke. Watch the whole system melt down. Tolerance is a rejection of the manifest truth that information matters because it can cure or it can kill.
George W. Bush’s biggest mistake was to avoid making a serious effort to confront radical Islam intellectually. He had the right general idea, which was that radical Islam is an existential threat that we must defeat, and that defeating it would require many years and the use of force to punish and destroy the Islamist regimes that attack the West through terrorist proxies and eventually WMD. He got about one-half of the use-of-force part right, which isn’t a bad outcome in the scheme of things. However, he failed almost completely in making a public rhetorical and intellectual case against radical Islam and for his geopolitical strategy. As a result of this failure, ten years later most Americans are ignorant about or misunderstand his strategy and have elected feckless leaders who are reversing his gains, while radical Islam is advancing against only weak intellectual opposition in its areas of operation.
Posted in Islam, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Terrorism | 21 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 24th April 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Istanbul, compared the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing to the nine Turkish activists killed by the IDF as they tried to break Gaza’s naval blockade. Here’s what Kerry said:
I know it’s an emotional issue with some people. I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident we understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them. And nobody – I mean, I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that.
Kerry is here conflating the legitimate use of force by an allied state, against people who knowingly put themselves in harm’s way by challenging a naval blockade, with a terrorist act against the wholly innocent citizens of Boston. His statement insults the citizens of Boston, it demonstrates hostility toward Israel, and it blurs moral distinctions and projects a sense of weakness which can only encourage more terrorist attacks against the United States in the future.
As Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks said, “It’s unconscionable to compare the loss of life resulting from an act of self-defense to the results of cold-blooded, premeditated murder by terrorists.”
In related news, Richard Falk, the Princeton professor emeritus who is a high official of the UN “Human Rights Council,” blamed the Boston terror attacks on US foreign policy and “Tel Aviv.” More at Breitbart:
The Obama administration has long championed the UN Human Rights Council, which it decided to join as one of its first foreign policy moves in 2009. Thanks to the Obama administration, U.S. began a second three-year term on the Council this past January. At the opening of the Council’s most recent session in March, Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer traveled to Geneva to address what she called “this esteemed body.” As author Anne Bayefsky says:
There is nothing about a “human rights” body that countenances the likes of Richard Falk that is “esteemed,” and the United States should resign–effective immediately.
Posted in Islam, Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 8 Comments »
Posted by Dan from Madison on 23rd April 2013 (All posts by Dan from Madison)
One of the episodes that I am having a hard time making sense of in the chase for the Boston bombers is the shootout in Watertown. This website, if it is to be believed, seems to have photos of the shootout. I am sure that more photos and video will come out. But we aren’t at the point yet where I can actually put together the events of that shootout and compare them to what I think is an enormous amount of b.s. coming from the Watertown Police Chief.
The more important question I have for you is this – can you go to jail for shooting known terrorists (or anyone) that are taking shots at the cops? In photo number one, that appears to be an extremely easy shot – I am certain I could have put one through at least one of their heads* at their distance, and since all you really need is a .22 to get it done (low flash/report), I am also fairly certain that the bad guys would have no real idea where the shot came from.
If I were to take these bad guys out, would I be sitting in a jail cell today? I am guessing yes. Would I beat the rap? Hard to say.
*with a .22 long gun, that has a decent scope
Posted in Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 39 Comments »
Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st April 2013 (All posts by Dan from Madison)
Just a quick question for those who certainly know more about this subject than me. Are our fourth and fifth amendment rights suspended during a situation like in Boston when they are doing a door to door search? Personally, I would not have let the cops into my house unless they had a warrant. Nor do I answer questions from cops without representation present.
Posted in Law, Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 21 Comments »
Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st April 2013 (All posts by Dan from Madison)
Lots will be written about the Boston bombings in the coming months but what I have to say about it will be relatively short and sweet.
From my outpost here in rural Wisconsin, it appears that the people of Boston are a bunch of babies. They follow orders from “professionals” very well though, that I will admit.
There is zero chance that a “stay in your house” order would be obeyed out here in the sticks – I have talked to many of my farmer neighbors already on the subject. In fact, there is also zero chance that those murderers would survive long out here in the rural areas – they would have gotten shot between the eyes, plain and simple, by any of a number of citizens. On that subject, what is up with the lack of marksmanship with the “professionals”? Hundreds and hundreds of rounds volleyed, and one guy lives to tell the tale? Houses shot full of holes that weren’t even in the line of fire? Really? These guys get paid to do this?
There were thousands of cops on the scene in Boston, and the surviving jerk still somehow got outside of the cordon. I would think this to be embarrasing to the “professionals”. It was clear, at least from where I was sitting, that the “professionals” didn’t have a great grasp on the situation. I laughed when I saw the state troopers marching in formation or the swat guys parading through the neighborhood riding on the running boards of the Hummer. The show of force does not impress the terrorists, or basically anyone – besides perhaps the cowering citizens of Boston and the associated suburbs.
Can you imagine how bad this would have been if the bombers were actually smart?
Sorry to have to take this tack in the wake of these murders, but it really, really looks bad on tv from where I am sitting, at least.
People of Boston: get some guns, band together, and do something. When we had a horrible blizzard here a few months ago we had lives on the line but we all worked together, checked in on each other and helped where needed. You didn’t hear about it because we took care of it ourselves with no help from anyone including the “professionals”. People and livestock were in serious danger, but we worked hard and made things happen while the “professionals” told us to stay inside.
The “professionals” obviously didn’t bring their “a game” to this event, nor should be counted on to do so in the future. Always remember: you are the first responder. Take action.
Posted in Big Government, Current Events, Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 48 Comments »
Posted by Jay Manifold on 20th April 2013 (All posts by Jay Manifold)
Negative items (weaknesses and threats) first.
Overconcentration of political belief systems by geography and especially by vocation, notably in journalism; the corresponding threat is misdiagnosis of motivation and identity of perpetrators.
This was on full display over the past week, and although the most prominent examples were instances of the amazingly robust narrative about a supposed right-wing fundamentalist Christian underground, the persistence of which reveals a great deal about the mindset of the “liberal” bien-pensant, they’re not the only ones who have this problem. Claiming that people in Boston are cowering under their beds and wishing they had AR-15s, or casually accusing various (and singularly unimpressive) American politicians of being Communists, isn’t much better than fantasizing about entirely nonexistent WASP terrorists. And there has already been at least one wild-goose chase in recent years, the nationwide Federal investigation to find the co-conspirators of Scott Roeder in the assassination of George Tiller. He didn’t have any, and was known very early on to have acted alone. Your tax dollars nonetheless went to work; see also “memetic parasitism,” below.
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Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Current Events, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Iran, Israel, Media, Middle East, National Security, Organizational Analysis, Politics, Predictions, Society, Terrorism, Tradeoffs, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 20th April 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
Update #2: I have great deal of respect for Richard Fernandez and his opinions.
The second part of the response is that an outsourced, privatized jihad will probably be increasingly met by privatized security regime based on reputation. With the government unwilling to profile in a increasingly vulnerable public space some entrepreneurs may create members-only events where attendance is limited to pre-cleared individuals who pay to have themselves vetted.
I think this has merit.
UPDATE: There have been three more arrests of young people with heavy Russian accents near U Mass. They had a car, a BMW, with the license plate “terrorista #1. Photos at the link.
One jihadist is dead and the other is in custody. The younger bomber’s wounds have not been described so it is impossible to say if he will survive. The emergency is over and now it is time to think about why this happened. It now appears that both young men were long time residents of this country and, at least the younger was a citizen. Both had registered to vote, according to Nexis. The older brother was married with a child. His wife had converted to Islam and, according to reports yesterday, was wearing a full chador when she was taken from their home protesting about a male FBI agent handling a Muslim woman. She was lucky, as one commenter observed, that she was not strip searched as Chechen women have been prominent in terrorism cases in Russia, sometimes as suicide bombers wearing bomb belts.
The majority [of suicide bombers] are male, but a huge fraction — over 40 percent — are women. Although foreign suicide attackers are not unheard of in Chechnya, of the 42 for whom we can determine place of birth, 38 were from the Caucasus. Something is driving Chechen suicide bombers, but it is hardly global jihad.
I doubt the Times’ insistence on the absence of Islamist motives although Chechens have been at war with Russians for centuries. The suicide bomb is a common weapon for jihadists. The Palestinian “Mother of Martyrs” comes to mind.
Mariam Farhat, who said she wished she had 100 sons to die while attacking Israelis, died in a Gaza city hospital of health complications including lung ailments and kidney failure, health official Ashraf Al-Kidra said. She was 64.
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Posted in Anti-Americanism, Britain, Civil Society, Immigration, Islam, Leftism, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Religion, Russia, Terrorism | 5 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 19th April 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
A number of summers ago, when I was still stationed in Spain, I packed up my daughter, and a tent and all the necessary gear, and did a long looping camping tour of the southern part of Spain, down through the Extremadura, and to the rock of Gib al Tarik, and a long leisurely drive along the Golden Coast. I had driven from Sevilla, past the sherry-manufacturies around Jerez La Frontera (on a Sunday, so they were closed, although the Harvey’s people should have given me a freebie on general principals, I had sipped enough of their stuff, over the years), made a pit stop at the Rota naval base for laundry and groceries. I had driven into Gibraltar, done a tour of the historic gun galleries, seen the famous Gibraltar apes, and then waited in the long customs line to come back into Spain. We had even stopped at the Most Disgusting Public Loo on the face of the earth, at a gas station outside of San Roque, before following the road signs along the coastal road towards Malaga and Motril, and our turn-off, the road that climbed steadily higher into the mountains, the tall mountains that guarded the fortress city of Granada, and the fragile fairy-tale pavilions of the Alhambra.
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Posted in Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Diversions, History, Islam, Personal Narrative, Terrorism | 8 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 17th April 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
UPDATE #5 Patterico has another story. The man who lost both legs and was shown in a graphic photo linked at Patterico, saw the bomber drop the backpack and look him in the eyes. A few minutes later, the bomb went of and blew off both legs of the witness.
UPDATE #4 Here is another photo of the white hat suspect taken by a runner who had finished the marathon and who heard the blast of the bombs. The photo was taken AFTER the bombs went off. Does this fellow have a backpack ? I can’t see it.
The NY Times has enlargements but has blocked uploads of them. He is walking by the corner of the building to the left of the photo. The man who took it has turned it over to the FBI.
Here is an enlargement I made and I don’t see the backpack. This is the suspect the FBI says dropped his backpack by the Forum Restaurant, the site of bomb #2.
UPDATE #3: Here are the FBI website photos of suspects. These photos are not the same as shown on the NY Post’s front page or on other sites.
Here is one I’ll call “black hat.” The other, called “white hat” is behind him.
And the other, “white hat” , is shown in close up. He fits a description of a guy with a hat on backwards and I have not seen his photo elsewhere. Neither is more than “a person of interest.”
Note that the other sites linked to below have deleted photos or changed to the above photos which now seem to be official.
UPDATE #2: A suspect is now being sought based on the video which shows him dropping off a backpack at the site of the second bomb. He was then seen leaving the area.
UPDATE: Aside from all the confusion by the media, there does seem to be video footage of suspects. In stills linked by Grurray below, two appear possibly middle eastern but it is way too early to say anything more.
The Boston Marathon bombs have focused attention on a subject not popular with this administration. It would really be inconvenient if it was an act of an Islamic extremist, even a homegrown one. The bombs appear now to be based on black powder placed in metal pressure cookers which were also filled with shrapnel-like objects such as nails and ball bearings.
This photo shows the remains of a blasted pressure cooker found at the scene.
These are not like the bombs used in the 2005 London bombings, which used organic peroxides, described by an alleged “terrorism expert” on CNN as “hydrogen peroxide.”
The London bombings were also suicide bombings and were followed by public claims of responsibility including video taped statements by the bombers made before the event. The Boston bombing did have some similarities in that backpacks were used and the bombs were placed to inflict maximum civilian casualties.
Pressure cookers were used as the containers and are well known for this use.
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Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Islam, Leftism, Middle East, Terrorism | 33 Comments »
Posted by Dan from Madison on 16th April 2013 (All posts by Dan from Madison)
Way back in 2007 I wrote this piece and was sadly reminded of it yesterday.
I am currently training to go back to France to ride my bike in the Pyrenees again. My training rides are long and hard, and I usually use TV to help pass the time. Last night I decided to watch the coverage of the bomb blasts in Boston.
It was the usual cacophony of noise. I can’t count how many times I heard the term “federal, state and local law enforcement”, “bring to justice (or some form of it)”, etc. etc. It is always the same stuff.
One thing that actually riled me up and forced me to utter a curse word or two was something a guest on the Bill O’Reilly show (I know) said. I can’t remember the guys name, but he was a talk radio guy from Boston. He was, in a roundabout way, bashing the end of race Boston Marathon volunteers who were helping with first aid. It upset me so much because they were actually doing everything they could, wrapping wounds, transporting the wounded out of there since ambulances couldn’t get in, giving water, blankets, anything that might help the situation. All the while, the “professionals” were nowhere to be found, minutes away, while the cops were simply running around with their hands on their weapons (from the footage that I saw).
Always remember that you are the first responder. Not the cops or the other “professionals”.
Posted in Media, Terrorism | 9 Comments »
Posted by Helen on 15th April 2013 (All posts by Helen)
Anyone in Boston? Are you OK? We are all watching in horror.
Posted in Terrorism | 14 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 6th April 2013 (All posts by Jonathan)
Wretchard discusses recent notorious Type II system failures. The Colorado theater killer’s shrink warned the authorities to no avail. The underwear bomber’s father warned the authorities to no avail. The Texas army-base jihadist was under surveillance by the authorities, who failed to stop him. Administrators of the Atlanta public schools rigged the academic testing system for their personal gain at the expense of students and got away with it for years. Wretchard is right to conclude that these failures were caused by hubris, poor institutional design and the natural limitations of bureaucracies. The question is what to do about it.
The general answer is to encourage the decentralization of important services. If government institutions won’t reform themselves individuals should develop alternatives outside of those institutions. The underwear bomber’s fellow passengers survived because they didn’t depend on the system, they took the initiative. That’s the right approach in areas as diverse as personal security and education. It’s also the approach most consistent with American cultural and political values. It is not the approach of our political class, whose interests are not aligned with those of most members of the public.
The Internet is said to route itself around censorship. In the coming years we are going to find out if American culture can route itself around the top-down power grabs of our political class and return to its individualistic roots. Here’s hoping.
Posted in America 3.0, Human Behavior, National Security, Political Philosophy, RKBA, Society, Systems Analysis, Terrorism, Tradeoffs | 7 Comments »
Posted by Jay Manifold on 24th March 2013 (All posts by Jay Manifold)
“Bus attacks by suicide bombers have fairly monotonous features. They occur during the morning rush hour because ridership is high at that time. Bombers board buses near the end of their routes in order to maximize the number of people in the bus at the time of detonation. They preferentially board at the middle doors in order to be centered in the midst of the passengers. They detonate shortly after boarding the bus because of concern that they will be discovered, restrained, and prevented from detonating. They stand as they detonate in order to provide a direct, injurious path for shrapnel. Head and chest injuries are common among seated passengers. The injured are usually those some distance away from the bomber; those nearby are killed outright, those at the ends of the bus may escape with minor injuries. The primary mechanism of injury of those not killed outright by the blast is impaling by shrapnel. Shrapnel is sometimes soaked in poison, eg organophosphate crop insecticides, to increase lethality.”
Resilience Engineering: Concepts and Precepts
Chapter 13, Taking Things in One’s Stride: Cognitive Features of Two Resilient Performances
Richard I. Cook and Christopher Nemeth
“But wouldn’t it be luxury to fight in a war some time where, when you were surrounded, you could surrender?”
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Posted in Book Notes, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Military Affairs, National Security, Terrorism, War and Peace | 4 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 23rd March 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
Neptunus Lex, from 2004: Monsters
Robert Avrech, from yesterday: Liberty, Then and Now
Posted in Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 5 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 9th March 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
In his campaign, president Obama famously promised to “close Guantanamo Bay prison ” early in his administration. It didn’t happen. Then Eric Holder determined that he would try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in federal court in New York City. That didn’t happen.
The death blow was struck by New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who had previously pledged his support to Holder. On January 27th, Bloomberg distanced himself from the Justice Department, saying that a trial in New York would be too expensive. For months, companies with downtown real-estate interests had been lobbying to stop the trial. Raymond Kelly, the commissioner of the New York Police Department, had fortified their arguments by providing upwardly spiralling estimates of the costs, which the federal government had promised to cover. In a matter of weeks, in what an Obama Administration official called a “classic City Hall jam job,” the police department’s projection of the trial costs went from a few hundred million dollars to a billion dollars.
Eventually, the conservative movement relaxed and concluded that the idea of granting terrorists American style civil rights had lost. Not so fast.
In another of those Obama fast moves, the concept of civilian trials just won the contest. As Mark Twain said, the lie is half way around the world, while the truth is still getting its boots on.
In the blink of an eye, the second Obama term has turned the clock back to the pre-9/11 days, when al-Qaeda was a law-enforcement problem, not a national-security challenge.
Of course, it was a Friday afternoon. That’s when Obama does his best work.
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Posted in Crime and Punishment, Law, Leftism, Middle East, Military Affairs, National Security, Obama, Politics, Terrorism | 13 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 12th February 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
Spengler has a new column that points out the coming collapse of Islam as a demographic entity. I have thought for years that Iran, if the population ever succeeds in overthrowing the regime, will abandon Islam as its first priority. Spengler points to a column by David Ignatius that belatedly recognizes a phenomenon that has been noted by others for years.
Something startling is happening in the Muslim world — and no, I don’t mean the Arab Spring or the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. According to a leading demographer, a “sea change” is producing a sharp decline in Muslim fertility rates and a “flight from marriage” among Arab women.
Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, documented these findings in two recent papers. They tell a story that contradicts the usual picture of a continuing population explosion in Muslim lands. Population is indeed rising, but if current trends continue, the bulge won’t last long.
The second class status of women in the Muslim world has led to important changes in their beliefs, especially about the religion that oppresses them.
Eberstadt’s first paper was expressively titled “Fertility Decline in the Muslim World: A Veritable Sea-Change, Still Curiously Unnoticed.” Using data for 49 Muslim-majority countries and territories, he found that fertility rates declined an average of 41 percent between 1975-80 and 2005-10, a deeper drop than the 33 percent decline for the world as a whole.
Twenty-two Muslim countries and territories had fertility declines of 50 percent or more. The sharpest drops were in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait, which all recorded declines of 60 percent or more over three decades.
The present fertility rate in Iran is about equal to that of irreligious Europe.
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Posted in Christianity, Europe, History, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Islam, Japan, Middle East, Religion, Terrorism | 23 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 11th February 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
I was a teenager when the Manson murders went down, in the autumn of 1969 – of course, the cruel and inexplicable murder of a movie star and several of her friends made all the headlines, and had lots of law-abiding citizens looking over their shoulders and being very careful about locking the doors and windows of their homes at night. It wasn’t until some time later that the associated murders of an elderly retired couple also hit the headlines of the LA Times, and other national newspapers. A blood-drenched, hippy cult with a weirdly charismatic leader had committed those murders in order – so they claimed – to trigger a devastating racial war, which they termed ‘helter-skelter’ from a Beatles song moderately popular at the time. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, History, Law Enforcement, Predictions, Society, Terrorism, Urban Issues | 9 Comments »
Posted by Zenpundit on 11th February 2013 (All posts by Zenpundit)
Someone for reasons unknown last week leaked the classified Department of Justice “White Paper” on targeting with drone attacks the numerically tiny number of US citizens overseas who have joined al Qaida or affiliated groups. The leak set off an outburst of public debate, much of it ill-informed by people who did not bother to read the white paper and some of it intentionally misleading by those who had and, frankly, know better.
Generally, I’m a harsh critic of the Holder DOJ, but their white paper, though not without some minor flaws of reasoning and one point of policy, is – unlike some of the critics – solidly in compliance with the laws of war, broader questions of international law and the major SCOTUS decisions on war powers. It was a political error to classify this document in the first place rather than properly share it with the relevant Congressional committees conducting oversight
Here it is and I encourage you to read it for yourself:
Lawfulness of Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qa’ida
Much of this white paper debate has been over a legitimate policy dispute (“Is it a good idea if we use drones to kill AQ terrorists, including American ones?”) intentionally being mischaracterized by opponents of the policy (or the war) as a legal or constitutional question. It is not. The law is fairly settled as is the question if the conflict with AQ rises to a state of armed conflict, which SCOTUS dealt with as recently as Hamdi and for which there are ample precedents from previous wars and prior SCOTUS decisions to build upon. At best, framed as a legal dispute, the opponents of the drone policy would have a very long uphill climb with the Supreme Court. So why do it?
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Posted in Academia, Afghanistan/Pakistan, History, International Affairs, Law, Military Affairs, National Security, Obama, Politics, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »