Category: National Security
Posted by: an okie gardener
Muslim spokesmen (I wonder who elected these guys) rave against "Islamophobia" at every opportunity. Nevermind that the terrorists who are coming after us these days proclaim that they do it in the name of Islam for the glory of Allah. But if the Muslims in America really want to be viewed as fellow citizens, then they must start driving the extremists and terrorists from their midst.

Case in point:

Regarding the recent raids in New York and investigations in Colorado said to have prevented another 9/11 scale attack: the big fish seems to have gotten away. The New York Post explains why

The FBI, meanwhile, is furious with the NYPD for bungled intelligence gathering that tipped off Najibullah that he was under surveillance, sources said.

Federal agents working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force asked their NYPD counterparts to discreetly gather intel on Najibullah.

Rather than slyly contact their list of sources and informants the NYPD canvassed the suspect’s old Flushing neighborhood and flashed around his picture.

Eventually the imam of the Masjid Hazrat Abu Bakr Islamic Center learned of the investigation and contacted the man’s family to let them know that he was subject of a law enforcement inquiry.

While most of the media attention has explicitly or implicitly criticized the NYPD for its heavy-handed investigation, I think the real subjects for criticism are the Muslim community in Queens.

a. A cell operated in their midst for some time. Given the NYPD bulletins to be alert for strange odors and window fans [bomb making? chemical weapons?], it seems that the neighbors of the cell members should have guessed something bad was going down and acted accordingly.

b. The big fish was tipped off by a local imam through the suspects family.

Way to help Americans trust Muslims there folks.
Category: National Security
Posted by: an okie gardener
According to the Denver Post, the coronor has ruled that the man found dead in that Denver hotel room, Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, committed suicide using cyanide.

Story here.

Here is the dubious statement:

Police have said Dirie's death was an isolated incident and unconnected with the upcoming Democratic convention.

Boy does this statement not pass the smell test. Someone(s) is blowing it out the wrong orifice.

1. It is way too early even for an intense investigation to make such a determination. The FBI, even with its immense resouces, cannot in a matter of days definitively rule out conspiracy and possible connections to the Democratic Convention

2. By the accounts previously published, Dirie did not have the money either to buy a pound of sodium cyanide, or stay at a luxury hotel. Where did he get the money?

3. Is it pure happenstance that the man found dead, with cyanide, in the city hosting the Democratic Party convention, was Muslim?

4. Why would this man from Somalia, residing in Canada, go to Denver rather that some other city, perhaps Detroit? What was the attraction of Denver in August?

5. If suicide was intended by Dirie all along, why so much cyanide, in Denver, in August?

(Thanks to the Washington Post for linking to my previous post.)
Category: National Security
Posted by: an okie gardener
Shouldn't this story be getting more national coverage? Link from Drudge.

The Denver coroner said Thursday a man found dead in a downtown hotel room with a pound of highly toxic sodium cyanide nearby died from cyanide poisoning.

However, the medical examiner's office could not say if 29-year-old Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, of Ottawa, Canada killed himself.

His body was found Monday inside Room 408 at The Burnsley Hotel, which is about four blocks from the state Capitol.

Denver, site of the upcoming Democratic Convention. Enough cyanide to kill hundreds of people. Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, not a common Buddhist name.

Why isn't this wall-to-wall on cable?
Category: National Security
Posted by: an okie gardener
On the Road Again, 6 with links to the other posts in this series.

We drove through the Nevada desert toward Hoover Dam in the evening twilight, the western sky a show worth buting a ticket for. All peaceful, the oppressive sun now below the horizon with the prospect of night breezes. The only jarring blot on the landscape the signs alongside the road telling one and all that commercial truck traffic and buses were prohibited from crossing Hoover Dam.

As we neared the dam we were forced to detour to a checkpoint alongside the road. Looking at our 98 Crown Vic loaded to the max the guard waved us on.

I was angry again. Not with the almost sick, nearly homicidal rage I was on 9/11. More of a depressive anger. Those Islamic terrorist scumbags, those s.o.b.s, those religious zealots obsessed with restoring the glory of the Caliphate, had changed our world.

After 9/11 the federal government closed the dam to truck traffic, and it remains so.

Detouring truck traffic away from Hoover Dam is perhaps a minor thing, but we cannot learn to accept it. We need to keep our focus, our fire, and remember that the war still is on.

The continued existence of Hoover Dam is one of many, many silent tributes to the leadership of George W. Bush after the World Trade Center attacks.

03/07: TORTURE!?!

Christopher Hitchens, no shrinking violet when it comes to forcefully addressing the threats posed by Islamism in the modern age, describes “waterboarding” today in Vanity Fair as a brand "of barbarism that [one] might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions."

After subjecting himself to the terrifying ordeal of "controlled simulated drowning" at the hands of some patriotic Americans skilled in the procedure, Hitchens notes that reasonable and honorable people disagree over whether the extreme intelligence tool is efficient and/or moral.

For his part, however, Hitchens provides a gripping account of his own experience and a compelling argument against "waterboarding," which he sees unequivocally as torture. It is worth the read--as Hitchens makes cogent arguments well worth considering:

--is the "ticking time bomb" model a slippery slope to worse brands of torture?

--does all this secrecy really serve American interest? Doesn't anybody with an internet connection know all the top secret details there are to know anyway? Couldn't the American government do better honestly confronting these accusations and wild rumors?

Read it.

Two quick notes:

--Hitch (whom, for the record, I like very much; in fact, he may be my all-time favorite atheist communist) brings up the old saw that confessions yielded from "waterboarding" may contain inaccuracies. Hitch notes that the information extracted from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did not prove to be "wholly reliable."

The bottom line: the information from KSM produced from his interrogation proved invaluable--no one contests that point. Was it all invaluable? Maybe not. But doesn't that miss the bigger point. When a terrorists starts spewing information--are we not much happier with the leads that turn out accurate than we are disappointed with the ones that do not pan out?

--Hitch also notes:

“'waterboarding'” [is] something that Americans [have been doing] to other Americans [for many years]. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to [this brand of torture as a method of preparing for captivity among our worst enemies]."

My cousin, a retired Marine Corps sergeant and currently a young executive (he sometimes comments as "a Farmer's cousin"), reminded me recently that he endured this preparation exercise (SERE training). Needless to say, he did not enjoy it. However, the point is that he survived it, as thousands of American military men have.

"Waterboarding" is undoubtedly horrible (just ask Hitchens, or a farmer's cousin, or KSM), but there is a palpable distinction that the mainstream media perpetually (willfully?) miss: Americans undergo "waterboarding" on a regular basis as part of their training. No one would ever suggest that we stick bamboo under the fingernails of American servicemen--but for years we have "waterboarded" them.
"The President is wrong and I think he knows it."

"The Administration demands immunity...[for] companies for activities [in cooperation with intelligence efforts] about which the President wants only a small number of Members of Congress and no member of the Judicial know anything about."

"Why would the Administration oppose a judicial determination of whether the companies already have immunity? There are at least three explanations:

"First, the President knows that it was the Administration's incompetence in failing to follow the procedures in the statute that prevented immunity from being conveyed -- that's one possibility. They simply didn't do it right.

"Second, the Administration's legal argument that the surveillance requests were lawfully authorized was wrong;

"or third, public reports that the surveillance activities undertaken by the companies went far beyond anything about which any Member of Congress was notified, as is required by the law."
~~Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi

This is a rancorous accusation.

The Washington Post notes that the Speaker "all but called the president a liar."

In response, the White House posted this stern retort on its website: FISA Fact Check: Setting the Record Straight on Speaker Pelosi,

and this brief but biting statement regarding the "partisan House bill":

"Today, the House of Representatives took a significant step backward in defending our country against terrorism...[and making] it easier for class-action trial lawyers to sue companies whose only 'offense' is that they are alleged to have assisted in efforts to protect the country after the attacks of September 11."

"The House bill is not a serious...effort to protect our national security. It is a partisan bill designed to give the House Democratic leadership cover for their failure to act responsibly and vote on the bipartisan Senate bill [already passed]."

What is going on here?

I am convinced that the House is not stonewalling merely to curry favor with the Democratic Party's admittedly important trial-lawyer constituency. On the other hand, I am certainly skeptical that the Senate bill is primarily designed to cover the mistakes and perfidy of the White House at the expense of the myriad honest Americans who purportedly gave up their civil liberties in the rush to install Bush's unitary executive regime.

What is really going on here?

1. The House is flexing its Article I muscles, reminding the Executive that we operate under a system in which there are three co-equal branches of government.

2. The House Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi despise this president, and they see an opening to do some damage to him politically.

Is Speaker Pelosi right that the Bushies probably bungled some of this early on? Bet on it. Knowing what we know about this administration (and the nature of humanity), there are likely embarrassing miscues within the process. Thorough investigations and judicial proceedings would undoubtedly produce wonderful opportunities for public recrimination and further humiliations for the Bush White House.

But is that good enough reason to derail this vital national security bill? Political vindication should not trump public policy.

Okay, folks, we understand: you don't like one another. But get this fixed. We have a serious situation on our hands.

Personal Note: my Congressman, Chet Edwards, Democrat from Texas 17, can help. I call on him to play a constructive role in healing this personal (and institutional) rift.
Thanks to the leak of an Osama bin Laden video prior to Al Qaeda's official release, we now have lost, at least for now, our ability to monitor their communications on the internet. Story here.

To stop those not constrained by a sense of honor and morality, the only recourse is the constraint inspired by fear. This latest leak, like others in the fight against Islamofacism, had damaged our nation's ability to defend itself. Which may mean carnage in the streets and malls of America. This administration must commit itself to the ruthless hunting down and prosecution of those who leak sensitive information.
A Thought:

Most observers agree that the best analogy for the War on Terror is the decades-long, multi-faceted Cold War. Assuming that is true, we should take some solace in that we did not win either of the two major military conflicts (Korea and Vietnam) during the Cold War--but we still won the greater struggle in the end.
The Washington Times has this article. Thanks to Tocqueville.

Here are the opening pargraphs:

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.
Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted "Allah" when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.
"I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud," the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.
Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks -- two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

At the very least, the actions of the imams was provocative. Let's assume for the moment that the above report is exaggerated. And the behavior was innocent. In that case, problems probably could have been avoided by speaking to fellow passengers beforehand in a friendly way--"Hi, my name is Ahmad and I'm flying to Phoenix. How are you? By the way, it is almost time for my friends and I to pray, please don't be alarmed. We hate the radicals who pervert Islam into terrorism."

But, that probably will never happen because Islam teaches its own superiority, and the inferiority of infidels, in such as way that it would be a rare imam indeed who would show a good deal of consideration for a nonbeliever in a public place.

And, I suspect that this incident was intended to generate a move in the Democrat controlled Congress after Christmas to prohibit all profiling.
Guest Blog

We are rising to a discussion regarding fundamental principles regarding American policy regarding international relations. This comment from "Tocqueville" appeared in the comments section of a previous post. It deserves featured consideration:


The Republican Party now presents itself as the party of Hard Wilsonianism, which is no more plausible than the original Soft Wilsonianism, which balkanized Central Europe with dire consequences. No one has ever thought Wilsonianism to be conservative, ignoring as it does the intractability of culture and people's high valuation of a modus vivendi. Wilsonianism derives from Locke and Rousseau in their belief in the fundamental goodness of mankind and hence in a convergence of interests.

George W. Bush has firmly situated himself in this tradition, as in his 2003 pronouncement, "The human heart desires the same good things everywhere on earth." Welcome to Iraq. Whereas realism counsels great prudence in complex cultural situations, Wilsonianism rushes optimistically ahead. Not every country is Denmark. The fighting in Iraq has gone on for nearly four years, and the ultimate result of "democratization" in that fractured nation remains very much in doubt, as does the long-range influence of the Iraq invasion on conditions in the Middle East as a whole. In general, Wilsonianism is a snare and a delusion as a guide to policy, and far from conservative.

Practically everywhere we look around the world, U.S. foreign policy is in a shambles. Long-sought objectives – stability in Iraq, peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the demise of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, the spread of democracy in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union, the end of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, the end of the Iranian nuclear program – seem less attainable today than they have in many years.

Surveying the wreckage, the American public is frustrated, and fearful. This is not isolationism; the belief that the United States can wall itself off from the rest of the world is roundly, and rightly, scorned by people across the ideological spectrum. Rather, these “mind our own business” sentiments reveal a keen appreciation that even the most powerful nation in the world needs to be more discerning about where, when and how it chooses to deal with challenges to U.S. security and threats to U.S. interests. And yet, even as dissatisfaction with the current course of U.S. foreign policy mounts, Americans are confused as to the available alternatives that would allow the United States to remain engaged in the world. They seem prepared to spend money, and put American troops in harm’s way, when vital U.S. interests are at stake, but they balk at paying those costs, and incurring those risks, when they are not.

The godfathers of realism, men like Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr and George Kennan, would have been hard pressed to explain the logic behind the Bush Doctrine. Those realists still alive have likewise tried, and failed. It should be possible to assemble an alternative to the Bush Doctrine, one that draws adherents from both the political left and the political right, and all points in between, and that cannot therefore be dismissed by one side or the other as a political ploy.

This piece by Andrew Basevich is a useful start to help frame the discussion.

From the Cato Institute, this essay with more on the "Isolationism Canard."