Posts about Terrorism

The lie tying foreign policy to terrorism

I have been sick of hearing the meme that British and American foreign policy led to the terrorist plots carried out recently and foiled last week in the U.K. I hear it from Muslims and their leaders quoted in the media. I heard it yesterday in an appalling report on the BBC’s World Service European show, with a reporter leading young people to say that our foreign policy and seeing their “brothers blown up” in Afghanistan led to this (let’s remember who’s really blowing up Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq: Muslims).

Well, the Observer of London — yes, the Observer — has a rousing response to that thread in an editorial today:

This was hardly a Western war against Islam. Britain and America spent much of the Nineties trying to prevent conflicts or to resolve them. At worst, as shamefully in Rwanda, they simply ignored them. They were transparently not running a conspiracy to trample the Muslim faithful underfoot. The people who depicted it that way were a tiny minority telling lies to justify murder.

But things have changed. The argument that terrorism is, in fact, a response to Western actions overseas has gained currency. It was voiced most recently on Saturday in an open letter by a number of influential British Muslim leaders to Tony Blair. The Prime Minister’s policy in the Middle East, they said, puts British lives at risk. The implication is that the young Britons who last week were accused of plotting to blow up passenger planes in mid-air would have been less susceptible to al-Qaeda recruitment had Britain not fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Policy should be changed, they said, to avoid giving ideological ‘ammunition to extremists’. . . .

It is also a logical and moral absurdity to imply, as some critics of British policy have done, that mass murder is somehow less atrocious when it is motivated by an elaborate narrative of political grievance.

If young British Muslims are alienated, that is sad and their anger should be addressed. But anyone whose alienation leads them to want to kill indiscriminately has crossed a line into psychopathic criminality. Policy cannot be dictated by the need to placate such people.

British Muslim leaders are entitled, along with everybody else, to raise questions about the conduct and consequences of Mr Blair’s foreign policy. But they have a more immediate responsibility to promote the truth: that Britain is not the aggressor in a war against Islam; that no such war exists; that there is no glory in murder dressed as martyrdom and that terrorism is never excused by bogus accounts of historical victimisation.


: In Australia, Tanveer Ahmed says Islam is the news Marxism.

The 20th century saw the demise of communism, despite its attraction to millions of people who felt poor or downtrodden. It was exposed as a totalitarian system that stifled the aspirations of man. But its stain is spreading within the casing of Islamic fundamentalism. . . .

Like communism, Islamism promises a better life for the poor, oppressed and alienated. It is cloaked in God, but its essence is strongly secular. Unless the West fights the war of ideas at this level, offering a competing vision of morality as well as economics and technology, the lure of Islamic extremism will continue to flourish.

: The Independent reports that the plots were bigger than we know:

Suspected terrorists were planning to unleash a wave of “apocalyptic” attacks on land and air, using an arsenal of bombs and weaponry, including firearms, investigators have discovered. . . . One Whitehall source said “many dozens” of plots were under investigation, involving “hundreds” of suspects.

According to one report last night, al-Qa’ida’s leader in Britain could have been held in the raids. But security sources estimate that as many as 1,200 people here are actively involved with terrorism, and that the country is still under “very severe” threat from other potential terrorist plots.

: The Telegraph reports that five of those arrested in London trained in al Qaeda camps.

Airline laptops

How are bored and anxious travelers going to manage 8-10-hour flights across the Atlantic with nothing to do — no computers, no iPods, no books, no nothing?
* I predict the airlines will have to start renting laptops if this keeps up.
* Why not lending libraries on the planes?
* Lots more magazines and newspapers. In-flight magazines just won’t cut it. When you start browsing that stupid catalogue before you’re off the ground, you know you’re in for hours of torture.
* Toys. Those bored kids are going to need toys.
* Gin and lots of it.

I emailed someone I know at Eos asking what they’re going to do. They’re formulating more plans but as a first step, they’re escorting passengers through fast-track security and providing on-board stocks of contact lens solution, contact lens holders, toothpaste with toothbrush, hypo-allergenic make-up kit, moisturizer, and other items.

And gin, lots of it.

I am so media-soaked now, I don’t know what I would do on withdrawl. I’m always writing or reading or watching or listening. And, no, don’t give me lectures about finding my inner self. I found him years ago. I hate being bored.

London to terrorist scum:

The Guardian wraps up coverage of the terror plot in London papers. My favorite headline, from the Star: “Up Yours. Murdering scum foiled”, withh a picture of a smiling child at Heathrow wearing an “Am I Bothered?” T-shirt.

Juan Antonio Giner points to a bunch of page ones and nominates the Philly Daily News’ as the best:

Blind fools

As soon as I wrote my reaction to the World Trade Center movie, a foolish kneejerker admonished me:

as a nation we are succeeding in getting past 9-11 but that has been accomplished with positivity and not the skulking anger you seem to advocate.

Only hours later, news of the foiled terrorist plot in the UK was announced. I hope this fool realizes that “positivity” will not protect us. But no. We have nothing to fear but his lack of fear. That will lull us into letting our guard down and letting these Islamic fascists to attack us.

Reuters reports that Muslims are “bristling” at the term Islamic fascists. Well, tough shit. I am bristling at the refusal of the Islamic world to condemn the murder and mayhem being rained down around the world by the extremist fascists among them. Rather than attacking the language in press releases, why not hold a press conference attacking the attackers?

: Tonight on CNN, Paula Zahn promises to tell us just “what exactly goes into a liquid bomb.” Thank goodness, they are as deceptive in their teases as ever; they didn’t say exactly what does into it. But they did say a water bottle would be enough. Now that’s public service. Let’s tell the next Richard Reid how to build a Dr. Pepper bomb. Idiots.

: Luckily, when you search on liquid bomb, this is what you get. Don’t forget the peach schnapps. Bottoms up.

: Thank God for the Pakistani authorities who did display the moral fortitude to thwart this plot.

: The Guardian — using larger numbers than other sources — says the plot targeted 12 jets over five U.S. cities.

When the jets were in midair over American cities, they planned to combine the explosives and detonate them using an electric charge from an iPod, the security services believe. BA flights were among the targets. US officials said the bombers had been seeking to hit New York, Washington, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles. Other airlines targeted were thought to be United, American and Continental.

Loss of life might have surpassed the 2,700 killed in the attack on the twin towers in New York five years ago. “This was our 9/11,” a British security source said. . . .

It was claimed in the US that the plotters had planned to blow up three planes an hour for three hours, and that up to 50 people had been involved; this could not be corroborated in the UK.

The Times of London says:

Instead of setting off the bombs simultaneously, Cobra was told, the terrorists planned to detonate them in a staggered pattern, to sow maximum panic while inflicting the greatest loss of life.

: To continue the grisly mathematics of terror: The Guardian says up to 12 planes would have been involved. At maximum, that could be 372 to 416 people per plane — that is, 4,464 to 4,992 passengers in addition to God knows how many people on the ground in those five cities.

: There is nothing to do on a transatlantic flight out of London except meditate, it seems. No laptops. No iPods (which were the planned detonators). As near as I can tell, no books, even. The travel advisory from the Eos site:

Passengers may take through the airport security search point, in a single (ideally transparent) plastic carrier bag, only the following items. Nothing may be carried in pockets:

* pocket size wallets and pocket size purses plus contents (e.g. money, credit cards, identity cards etc (not handbags)
* travel documents essential for the journey (e.g. passports and travel tickets);
* prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight (eg diabetic kit), except in liquid form unless verified as authentic.
* spectacles and sunglasses, without cases.
* contact lens holders, without bottles of solution.
* for those traveling with an infant: baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags).
* female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (eg tampons, pads, towels and wipes).
* tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs
* keys (but no electrical key fobs)

Back in December 2001, I suggested that we all fly naked.

The arithmetic of terror

This is what life has come to: When news of the foiled London terror plot came out, I tried to parse today’s date: August 10 over there is 10/8/06. So I continued that string and wondered whether I should avoid being in a New York tunnel at 12 or 4.