Category Archives: Terrorism scares

The Case of the Missing Terrorists

The Case of the Missing Terrorists

By Paul Craig Roberts

May 14, 2012 “ Information Clearing House” — If there were any real terrorists, Jose Rodriguez would be dead.

Who is Jose Rodriguez? He is the criminal who ran the CIA torture program. Most of his victims were not terrorists or even insurgents. Most were hapless individuals kidnapped by warlords and sold to the Americans as “terrorists” for the bounty paid.

If Rodriguez’s identity was previously a secret, it is no more. He has been on CBS “60 Minutes” taking credit for torturing Muslims and using the information allegedly gained to kill leaders of al Qaeda. If terrorists were really the problem that Homeland Security, the FBI and CIA claim, Rodriguez’s name would be a struck through item on the terrorists’ hit list. He would be in his grave.

So, also, would be John Yoo, who wrote the Justice (sic) Department memos giving the green light to torture, despite US and International laws prohibiting torture. Apparently, Yoo, a professor at the Boalt School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, was ignorant of US and international law. And so was the US Department of Justice (sic).

Notice that Rodriguez, “The Torturer of the Muslims,” does’t have to hide. He can go on national television, reveal his identity, and revel in his success in torturing and murdering Muslims. Rodriguez has no Secret Service protection and would be an easy mark for assassination by terrorists so capable as to have, allegedly, pulled off 9/11.

Another easy mark for assassination would be former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who staffed up the Pentagon with neoconservative warmongers such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who in turn concocted the false information used to justify the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Rumsfeld himself declared members of al Qaeda to be the most vicious and dangerous killers on earth. Yet Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Richard Perle, together with neoconservative media propagandists, such as William Kristol and Max Boot, have been walking around safe for years unmolested by terrorists seeking revenge or bringing retribution to those responsible for as many as 1,000,000 Muslim deaths.

Condi Rice, Colin Powell, who delivered the Speech of Lies to the UN inaugurating the invasion of Iraq, and Dick Cheney, whose minimal Secret Service protection could not withstand a determined assassination attempt, also enjoy lives unmolested by terrorists.

Remember the deck of cards that the Bush regime had with Iraqi faces? If terrorists had a similar deck, all of those named above would be “high value targets.” Yet, there has not been a single attempt on any one of them.

Strange, isn’t it, that none of the above are faced with a terrorist threat. Yet, the tough, macho Navy Seals who allegedly killed Osama bin Laden must have their identity kept hidden so that they don’t become terrorist targets. These American supermen, highly trained killers themselves, don’t dare show their faces, but Rodriguez, Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice can walk around unmolested. Indeed, the Seals’ lives are so endangered that President Obama gave up the enormous public relations political benefit of a White House ceremony with the heroic Navy Seals. Very strange behavior for a politician. A couple of weeks after the alleged bin Laden killing, the Seals unit, or most of it, was wiped out in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

If you were a Muslim terrorist seeking retribution for Washington’s crimes, would you try to smuggle aboard an airliner a bomb in your underwear or shoe in order to blow up people whose only responsibility for Washington’s war against Muslims is that they fell for Washington’s propaganda? If you wanted to blow up the innocent, wouldn’t you instead place your bomb in the middle of the mass of humanity waiting to clear airport security and take out TSA personnel along with passengers? Terrorists could coordinate their attacks, hitting a number of large airports across the US at the same minute. This would be real terror. Moreover, it would present TSA with an insolvable problem: how can people be screened before they are screened?

Or coordinated attacks on shopping malls and sports events?

Why should terrorists, if they exist, bother to kill people when it is easy to cause mayhem by not killing them? There are a large number of unguarded electric power substations. Entire regions of the country could be shut down. The simplest disruptive act would be to release large quantities of roofing nails in the midst of rush hour traffic in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco. You get the picture: thousands and thousands of cars disabled with flat tires blocking the main arteries for days.

Before some reader accuses me of giving terrorists ideas, ask yourself if you really think people so clever as to have allegedly planned and carried out 9/11 couldn’t think of such simple tactics, plots that could be carried out without having to defeat security or kill innocent people? My point isn’t what terrorists, if they exist, should do. The point is that the absence of easy-to-do acts of terrorism suggests that the terrorist threat is more hype than reality. Yet, we have an expensive, intrusive security apparatus that seems to have no real function except to exercise power over American citizens.

In place of real terrorists carrying out easy plots, we have “terrorist” plots dreamed up by FBI and CIA agents, who then recruit some hapless or demented dupes, bribing them with money and heroic images of themselves, and supplying them with the plot and fake explosives. These are called “sting operations,” but they are not. They are orchestrations by our own security agencies that produce fake terrorist plots that are then “foiled” by the security agencies that hatched the plots. Washington’s announcement is always: “The public was never in danger.” Some terrorist plot! We have never been endangered by one, but the airports have been on orange alert for 11.5 years.

The federal judiciary and brainwashed juries actually treat these concocted plots as real threats to American security despite the government’s announcements that the public was never in danger.

The announcements of the “foiled” plots keep the brainwashed public docile and amenable to intrusive searches, warrantless spying, the growth of an unaccountable police state, and endless wars.

The “War on Terror” is a hoax, one that has been successfully used to destroy the US Constitution and to complete the transformation of law from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state. By destroying habeas corpus, due process, and the presumption of innocence, the “War on Terror” has destroyed our security.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. www.paulcraigroberts.org

Yemen says UPS planes never take off or land in it

Yemen says UPS planes never take off or land in it

[30/October/2010] 

SANA’A, Oct. 30 (Saba) – No UPS cargo planes left Yemen to other countries in the last days and there are no direct flights from Yemen to the United Kingdom or the United States, a Yemeni official said, after allegations that British and U.S. officials had found suspicious packages on planes that originated in Yemen. 

The official wondered how the media mentioned the name of Yemen reporting that an explosive device was found onboard a cargo plane that landed in London coming from Yemen. 

UPS planes never land or take off in Yemen, the official made clear. 

The security measures at Yemeni airports are tightened and the authorities search passengers and luggage well, the official said, adding that Yemen has recently installed modern checking systems that can detect dangerous or suspicious materials to the safety of passengers and planes. 

We urge the media not to make hasty judgments about sensitive issues and the media should wait until investigations reveal the truth, the official said, as he pointed out that Yemen has launched an investigation into the allegations and planned to coordinate with the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the U.S. over the issue. 

Yemen is determined to continue the war on terror in cooperation with the international community until it roots out all terrorists who pose threat to all, the official concluded. 

Al Qaeda is the name of a database of Western mercenaries

The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means

Robin Cook, The Guardian, 8 July 2005

I have rarely seen the Commons so full and so silent as when it met yesterday to hear of the London bombings. A forum that often is raucous and rowdy was solemn and grave. A chamber that normally is a bear pit of partisan emotions was united in shock and sorrow. Even Ian Paisley made a humane plea to the press not to repeat the offence that occurred in Northern Ireland when journalists demanded comment from relatives before they were informed that their loved ones were dead.

The immediate response to such human tragedy must be empathy with the pain of those injured and the grief of those bereaved. We recoil more deeply from loss of life in such an atrocity because we know the unexpected disappearance of partners, children and parents must be even harder to bear than a natural death. It is sudden, and therefore there is no farewell or preparation for the blow. Across London today there are relatives whose pain may be more acute because they never had the chance to offer or hear last words of affection.

It is arbitrary and therefore an event that changes whole lives, which turn on the accident of momentary decisions. How many people this morning ask themselves how different it might have been if their partner had taken the next bus or caught an earlier tube?

But perhaps the loss is hardest to bear because it is so difficult to answer the question why it should have happened. This weekend we will salute the heroism of the generation that defended Britain in the last war. In advance of the commemoration there have been many stories told of the courage of those who risked their lives and sometimes lost their lives to defeat fascism. They provide moving, humbling examples of what the human spirit is capable, but at least the relatives of the men and women who died then knew what they were fighting for. What purpose is there to yesterday’s senseless murders? Who could possibly imagine that they have a cause that might profit from such pointless carnage?

At the time of writing, no group has surfaced even to explain why they launched the assault. Sometime over the next few days we may be offered a website entry or a video message attempting to justify the impossible, but there is no language that can supply a rational basis for such arbitrary slaughter. The explanation, when it is offered, is likely to rely not on reason but on the declaration of an obsessive fundamentalist identity that leaves no room for pity for victims who do not share that identity.

Yesterday the prime minister described the bombings as an attack on our values as a society. In the next few days we should remember that among those values are tolerance and mutual respect for those from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Only the day before, London was celebrating its coup in winning the Olympic Games, partly through demonstrating to the world the success of our multicultural credentials. Nothing would please better those who planted yesterday’s bombs than for the atrocity to breed suspicion and hostility to minorities in our own community. Defeating the terrorists also means defeating their poisonous belief that peoples of different faiths and ethnic origins cannot coexist.

In the absence of anyone else owning up to yesterday’s crimes, we will be subjected to a spate of articles analysing the threat of militant Islam. Ironically they will fall in the same week that we recall the tenth anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica, when the powerful nations of Europe failed to protect 8,000 Muslims from being annihilated in the worst terrorist act in Europe of the past generation.

Osama bin Laden is no more a true representative of Islam than General Mladic, who commanded the Serbian forces, could be held up as an example of Christianity. After all, it is written in the Qur’an that we were made into different peoples not that we might despise each other, but that we might understand each other.

Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally “the database”, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden’s organisation would turn its attention to the west.

The danger now is that the west’s current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. The more the west emphasises confrontation, the more it silences moderate voices in the Muslim world who want to speak up for cooperation. Success will only come from isolating the terrorists and denying them support, funds and recruits, which means focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us.

The G8 summit is not the best-designed forum in which to launch such a dialogue with Muslim countries, as none of them is included in the core membership. Nor do any of them make up the outer circle of select emerging economies, such as China, Brazil and India, which are also invited to Gleneagles. We are not going to address the sense of marginalisation among Muslim countries if we do not make more of an effort to be inclusive of them in the architecture of global governance.

But the G8 does have the opportunity in its communique today to give a forceful response to the latest terrorist attack. That should include a statement of their joint resolve to hunt down those who bear responsibility for yesterday’s crimes. But it must seize the opportunity to address the wider issues at the root of terrorism.

In particular, it would be perverse if the focus of the G8 on making poverty history was now obscured by yesterday’s bombings. The breeding grounds of terrorism are to be found in the poverty of back streets, where fundamentalism offers a false, easy sense of pride and identity to young men who feel denied of any hope or any economic opportunity for themselves. A war on world poverty may well do more for the security of the west than a war on terror.

And in the privacy of their extensive suites, yesterday’s atrocities should prompt heart-searching among some of those present. President Bush is given to justifying the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that by fighting terrorism abroad, it protects the west from having to fight terrorists at home. Whatever else can be said in defence of the war in Iraq today, it cannot be claimed that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil.

r.cook@guardian.co.uk

Who’s at Guantánamo Anyway?

P. Sabin Willet 
Who’s at Guantánamo Anyway?

12 August 2009

Peter Sabin Willett, known as Sabin Willett, (born March 6, 1957) is an American lawyer and novelist, a partner with the Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen, previously called Bingham Dana. He lives near Boston, Massachusetts. He is perhaps best known as a defense lawyer for several Uighur prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp.

Articles by Sabin Willett

That’s what I was wondering one hot day last July when I walked across a prison yard so silent and sterile as to be a little eerie. Nothing grew in the yard: no grass or flower or tree or even weed. We approached a hut. Inside was a man chained to the floor. His name was Adel. My firm had filed a habeas case for him the previous March, but I’d never seen him or spoken to him before. Was he a terrorist? One of the worst of the worst?

Three weeks before I got to Guantánamo, Vice President Cheney said, “The people that are there are people we picked up on the battlefield, primarily in Afghanistan. They’re terrorists. They’re bomb makers. They’re facilitators of terror. They’re members of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Something was off, right from the first minute. Something about the young man’s gentle smile; his calm didn’t fit. On that day last July I discovered what President Bush, and his lawyers at the Justice Department, had kept secret from the public, and even from the court: the military had concluded that Adel was innocent. Not a terrorist. Not an enemy soldier. Not a criminal. Never been on a battlefield. He’d been sold to U.S. forces from the soil of Pakistan, a nation with whom we have never been at war.

Vice President Cheney says that Adel and men like him were picked up on the battlefield, but according to a 2005 study conducted at Seton Hall School of Law, five percent were picked up on the battlefield. Ninety five percent were not.

How did we get the rest? We distributed leaflets, with smiling Afghans declaring: “Get wealth and power beyond your dreams… You can receive millions of dollars helping the anti-Taliban forces catch al-Qaida and Taliban murderers. This is enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life. Pay for livestock and doctors and school books and housing for all your people.”

Eighty-six percent were sold to us by people who got the flyers. Vice President Cheney says these men are al Qaeda fighters. What do the data show? Eight percent are al Qaeda fighters. Ninety two percent are not.

Vice President Cheney says they committed hostile acts against Americans or their allies. What do the data say? 55% of the detainees committed no hostile act against the US or its allies or any one else. By the way, Cheney and other Bush administration officials construe “hostile act” extremely broadly. Fleeing from the bombing by US forces is a hostile act. Being sold to US forces is a hostile act. Possessing a Kalashnikov rifle is a hostile act. It has been estimated that there were upwards of 10 million Kalashnikovs in Afghanistan in 2001, and only 8 million adult males. An adult Afghan male who hadn’t possessed a Kalashnikov was harder to find than an adult Texan male who hadn’t possessed a hunting rifle. If you walked into a restaurant in Kabul, you found Kalashnikovs hanging on the coat rack.

For 60% of the detainees, the only hook by which they are deemed enemy combatants is that they were “associated with” the Taliban. But you have to understand that in 2001 in Afghanistan, the Taliban was pervasive. Except in a few strongholds of the Northern Alliance, they controlled every village, every town, every guesthouse. If you traveled to Kabul and stayed in a guesthouse, you associated with the Taliban. If you were conscripted against your will into a Taliban militia, you “associated with” the Taliban. For two Saudis held at Guantánamo, their association with the Taliban is that the Taliban held them in prison as enemies of its regime.

I’m not making this up.

Who’s at Guantánamo? Privates, orphans, the poor, conscripts, cooks, drivers. The mayors, the ministers, the Taliban generals—they’re not there. Take Sayed Rahmutullah Hashemi. He joined the Taliban as a young man. He became a party spokesman. Osama bin Laden came to his office. Is Rahmutullah at Guantánamo? No. He is a freshman at Yale. Some of his former Taliban colleagues are now in the Afghan Parliament we helped create. The desperately poor kids they employed as drivers and cooks sit in Guantánamo.

The last lie, the whopper, the huge one, is that Guantánamo holds terrorists. The President, the Vice President, their amen chorus in the Senate, they all tell you relentlessly, that these people are terrorists. I don’t say that there is no terrorist there, although years later not a single person had been convicted of a single terrorist act. But when you review the data, when you search it for anything remotely like a terrorist act—an act of violence against persons or property, for bombing or bombmaking or the teaching of bombmaking or the fundraising for it, you find that that is, most of all, who isn’t at Guantánamo.

If there is anyone in Guantánamo who conspired in the 9/11 murders, then I would like to see him tried. If he is guilty I hope he is convicted. If tried and convicted by a court martial duly constituted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, I would shed no tear for the ultimate sentence. All that we lawyers have been asking for, since the beginning, is a hearing. A chance to show whether someone really is an enemy combatant or not. And when Guantánamo cases came up for an actual hearing, like Shafiq Rasul’s, what happened after his case came under Supreme Court scrutiny?

They released him.

What happened to Moazzem Begg? Another worst of the worst?

They released him.

Mamdouh Habib?

When the story of his torture in Egypt surfaced, they released him.

They told us these people were the worst of the worst, and yet rather than prove it, rather than protect you and me from them, they released them before a judge could see any facts.
* * *
Now you might ask, why care about this? Why volunteer your time to represent these men? It’s the war on terror, isn’t it? So what if somebody is roughed up a little in Kandahar or Bagram—there are horrors in Darfur and New Orleans. So what if a few Uighurs pay the price—we have reservists from Vermont losing mortgages. Injustices abound in the world. Why care about this particular one?

I want my flag back. My country has been hijacked and I want it back. If we care about being a civilized people, then it is precisely in times of fear that we have to hold fastest to our rule of law.
* * *
During the Vietnam war, a protestor stood outside the White House with a candle. Every night for weeks. He stood in the cold, in the rain. One day a reporter came up to him and asked, “Do you really think, with your candle, you’re going to change White House Policy?” “No,” he said, “I’m sure I won’t change White House policy. But that’s not why I’m doing this.”

“Then why are you doing this?” the reporter asked.

“So that White House policy doesn’t change me.”

Based on a speech given at Princeton, in 2006.

Jozias van Aartsen on the threat of terrorism

"Terrorism is an acute threat to international peace, justice, and security."

Mr. Jozias van Aartsen, Prime Minister of the Netherlands at
the UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, 27 March 2002

http://www.xs4all.nl/~endi/Aartsen-Geneva2002.htm

 

The threat of terrorism: Myth and reality

by Elias Davidsson, 2004

When governments and international organizations designate terrorism as a “threat to international peace and security? or as an “existential threat to civilization”, one would expect them to substantiate such claims with hard evidence, such as statistics on the number of victims from terrorism.

Interview with Mudassar Arani, lawyer representing terror suspects in UK

Interview with Mudassar Arani, lawyer representing terror suspects in UK


SPOTLIGHT ON TERROR

 
Volume 2, Issue 11 (October 05, 2004)

Mudassar Arani was born in Uganda and moved to Great Britain in 1972. She is a leading UK Human Rights attorney representing terrorist suspects in Britain, among them the case of Sheikh Abu Hamza, currently facing 11 terrorism-related charges and extradition to the United States. This interview was conducted on 17 September 2004 at the offices of Arani & Co. in Southall by Mahan Abedin, editor of Terrorism Monitor. The following is an excepted version of the original interview. Complete transcripts are available at: www.jamestown.org/images/pdf/st_002_011.pdf

Terrorism Monitor: How many people do you believe have been arrested in the UK on terror related charges since 9/11?

Mudassar Arani: I believe it is approximately just over 500.

TM: I have heard that out of this figure only around 18% have actually been charged and most of these people have in fact been charged with crimes that have nothing to do with terrorism. How do you assess this situation?

MA: Clearly the authorities are not getting their facts right. They are casting their nets wide in the hope of eventually netting someone under terror-related charges.

TM: Would you agree that these arrests are essentially designed to gather information and therefore what on the surface appear as random arrests do in fact have a potent counter-terrorism purpose?

MA: They are casting the net very wide in the hope of eventually netting someone.

TM: Given that the terrorist threat to the UK and other western countries is real don’t you think casting the net wide is justified?

MA: Not really no.

TM: But if it saves lives in the long run surely it is justified.

MA: But how many lives do you destroy in the process? It is interesting to compare the current situation with what happened in Northern Ireland during the height of the troubles. Tens of thousands of innocent people were interned without charge in Northern Ireland and as a result many lives were destroyed. Are we going to see a repetition of that experience with the Muslim community in the UK?

TM: Give us an insight into how these arrests affect the individuals who are detained.

MA: It is not only the detained individuals who are affected but their parents, wives, children and extended family as well. These arrests have huge implications because these people’s lives are usually blighted for the rest of their lives.

TM: Can you give us another specific example?

MA: Ok, I will discuss the case of a client who had been accused of associating with the would-be 20th hijacker.

TM: You are referring to Zaccarias Moussaoui, right?

MA: Yes, that is correct. This client was of Pakistani origin and was an IT professional. When the Police officers executed the arrest warrant against my client he was in Ireland at the time. The Police officers initially led us to believe that they thought he was innocent and they just wanted to ask him some routine questions. We had made arrangements for me and my client to go to the Police station together in order to avoid a Police raid at his house. You see both his wife and his father were not in the best of health and we thought that a Police raid would just exacerbate their condition. We informed the Police of this arrangement but they merely said they will do whatever they have to do. And true to their word the following day they stormed into my client’s house by breaking down the door. Apparently during their search of the property they came across a copy of the Koran and there was some post it notes near the word "Jihad" and the officers thought this was incriminating. This gives you some insights into the type of silly assumptions they make.

TM: What happened to this client?

MA: They detained him for 36 hours but he was released without charge. As a result of his experience my client—who was born and bred in this country—no longer feels at home in the UK and wants to emigrate.

TM: What had specifically brought this client’s name to the attention of the authorities; was he a close associate of Moussaoui or merely an acquaintance?

MA: Again if I could give you all the details you would laugh in disbelief. Suffice to say the information was not stronger than say my client having been seen to have tea with Zaccarias Moussaoui. It is all quite funny really and I wish I could disclose the information publicly.

TM: In what ways do the anti-terrorism legislation introduced after 9/11 coincide and conflict with the Terrorism Act 2000?

MA: I would say it is an extension. We had the 2000 Act which was targeting Muslims much more than any other group anyway. But the 2001 Act introduced after 9/11, especially its Part 4, gave such horrendous powers to the authorities that if you are a non-British national you can be detained indefinitely without charge.

TM: Is Part 4 the defining feature of the 2001 Act?

MA: Yes it is. If the government suspects that any foreigner on British soil has even the remotest connection to terrorism, that individual can be detained without charge indefinitely. But what I don’t understand is if there is evidence against these individuals why is the standard of proof in their cases lowered?

TM: Presumably to safeguard sources and secret information.

MA: But why can’t they treat these individuals in the same manner as British nationals? Why are the authorities consolidating a two-tier system?

TM: I will ask more detailed questions on Part 4 later but firstly what other distinctive features does the 2001 Act have?

MA: It gives a lot of wide powers to the Police to stop and search people. It also lowers the standard of proof in many instances.

TM: Clearly you are not a big fan of this legislation but what do you think the authorities could have done after 9/11? Surely some kind of a reaction was needed.

MA: Why does there have to be a reaction? Why introduce emergency powers when there is no need for them?

TM: So you think that post-9/11 it would have served the interests of this country not to introduce any new counter-terrorism legislation?

MA: Yes, because there are insufficient provisions in the 2001 Act to protect individual rights. Moreover there are sufficient provisions in the 2000 Act to identify and apprehend real terrorists.

TM: So you are adamant that the new legislation has in fact hampered the counter-terrorism effort?

MA: I don’t think it has helped in any way.

TM: Ok let us discuss Part 4 more comprehensively. Apart form foreigners does it target anybody else?

MA: It is a very clever piece of legislation because it buttresses subsequent legislation. I am referring to the Immigration, Nationality and Asylum Act of 2002. Section 40 of that legislation enables the government to divest people of their British nationality on the grounds of national security. Therefore once stripped of their nationality these people are exposed to the full vigour of Part 4 of the 2001 anti-terrorism legislation. The powers contained in Section 40 of the 2002 Immigration Act can only be compared to Hitler’s attempts to divest the Jewish people’s German nationality back in the 1930’s. Can you see how far back we are going?

TM: But how many cases have we had where some one’s British nationality has been taken away by the government? There are none as far as I am aware.

MA: No, that is where you are wrong, Sheikh Abu Hamza is the first trial case.

TM: But I thought they were in the process of divesting him of his British nationality.

MA: No, they have taken away his nationality and we are now appealing against that decision. This is the first case and the government wants to see how they can proceed with this legislation.

TM: So you anticipate many people losing their British nationality in the future?

MA: Of course. Some one told me off the record that they have lined up 200-300 Muslim people whose nationality they plan to take away. Now this is a scary figure! And what do they plan to do with these people, lock them all up in Belmarsh prison? If that is the case they will be producing a concentration camp for the Muslim people in this country.

TM: Does Section 4 of the 2001 Act invest on the authorities the right to detain foreign nationals indefinitely without having to submit any proof of their culpability?

MA: Your statement perfectly captures the essence of that legislation. People have no right to lawyers and they can only have a review after 6 months. Some of the evidence is heard in secret so people don’t have the opportunity to cross-examine. Therefore in many cases people are not even aware of the core case against them.

TM: How many foreign nationals have been detained under Section 4 altogether?

MA: I believe it is 17.

TM: How many are currently being detained?

MA: I believe there are currently 12 people under indefinite detention.

TM: What is the primary nationality amongst these 12?

MA: It is a mixed group but there are quite a few Algerians.

TM: Do you represent anyone of these people?

MA: No, I don’t have the necessary contract under immigration Law to represent anyone of these people. Unfortunately only last week I turned another request down. One of the detainees under section 4 wrote to me and asked me to represent him but unfortunately I can not accept the case.

TM: How are these people being treated?

MA: I have heard that they are not even being provided with Halal food. As a result many have lost weight. I have heard of a case where the detainee is constantly harming himself and on one occasion even tried to commit suicide. He wrote to me later saying: "can’t you hear my screams?" A few of them have written to Imams requesting Fatwas to kill themselves.

TM: Why don’t they just go back to their own countries?

MA: Some can’t go back. I know of a Tunisian detained under Section 4; he can’t go back because he will most certainly be tortured to death. Before he came to the UK he was severely tortured in Tunisia.

TM: How will this situation progress?

MA: It is difficult to say but I think the authorities will continue to detain them indefinitely.

TM: What is the incentive for the British state to detain these people indefinitely?

MA: It is good for scare mongering. They also want to show the public that they are doing something.

TM: You are saying that it allows to them to keep the threat visible?

MA: Yes. Also you have to ask why there are so many cases of high profile arrests. It creates the impression that these arrests serve a political purpose. Also when many of these innocent people are either acquitted or released the media rarely covers the event. Let me give you an example: in September 2003 there was a massive raid and 10-12 people were picked up and I subsequently represented one of the Algerian nationals arrested. There was massive publicity surrounding the case. But my client was released without charge after nine months and the media were nowhere to be seen. Where were the media then? Why can’t they let the public know that both they and the government got it badly wrong? But of course that does not serve their purpose does it?

TM: But don’t you think that at the same time the government is anxious not to overstate the threat in order to avoid a panic? I mean they have to strike a balance, don’t they?

MA: (laughs) Well they are failing in that endeavour, especially because Islamophobia in this country is increasing.

TM: Do you think the British government has an interest in promoting Islamophobia in this country?

MA: Probably.

TM: Ok, let us discuss the extradition case of Sheikh Abu Hamza. How do you assess the attempts on the part of the U.S. government to extradite your client?

MA: As far as Sheikh Abu Hamza’s case is concerned it is a joke. Why is it that no extradition was sought under the old Extradition Act? Is it because the Americans had a greater obligation to deliver proof to support their case under the old Act? Why are they seeking an extradition now after they have struck some political deals with the British Home Secretary David Blunkett? Why is it all a one way flow? I mean if Britain wants to extradite some one from the U.S. it would have to prove a prima facie case but this greater standard of proof no longer applies to the Americans. Why the double standard? Why don’t the Americans want to be accountable to the rest of the world? This all begins with Lofti Raissi who was wrongly implicated in the 9/11 plot. The Americans wanted to extradite him but in the end they could not succeed because they could not prove a prima facie case against him. That was a very big embarrassment for the Americans. They subsequently decided to apply pressure on the UK to make them exempt form the prima facie obligation.

TM: When was the extradition treaty revised?

MA: I can’t remember the exact date but the new legislation is the Extradition Act 2003. The rules are being changed to suit the Americans.

TM: What is your opinion of your client, do you think he is being wrongly accused?

MA: I can’t give you my opinion on my client because that would breach my obligations.

TM: But do you think he has a case to answer?

MA: If Sheikh Abu Hamza has a case to answer why is he not being charged and tried in this country? He was arrested in relation to the hostage taking in Yemen in December 1998 but he was released without charge as there was no evidence against him. In relation to the charges that he was setting up a camp in the U.S., well we all think that is a big joke! James Oujama was alleged to be the mastermind and web designer of "Sekina Security Services" also known as the "Ultimate Jihad Challenge". Now because I had represented Sulayman Zain ul-Abidin I knew all about this website.

TM: James Oujama is currently cooperating with the U.S. authorities, right?

MA: Yes he entered a plea bargain shortly after being arrested. In the early stages media people in the States would ring me up to interview me and they would say that the FBI is alleging that James Oujama was the webmaster of "Sekina Security Services" and I would just say to them that in that case the FBI are liars! I mean if they can’t even get small facts like that right how can we have faith in these people?

TM: So why are they trying to extradite Sheikh Abu Hamza?

MA: I think he is an embarrassment to this country and the people here just want to get rid of Sheikh Abu Hamza.

TM: But why are the Americans keen to take him?

MA: Look at the timing of his extradition. It all started with the prison abuses in Iraq and at a time when all the heat was on America. This extradition case took some of that heat away; it distracted people from the gross injustices in Iraq.

TM: How long have you been professionally involved with Sheikh Abu Hamza?

MA: He has been my client since 1998. It started when the trustees were trying to evict him from Finsbury Park mosque in London.

TM: It is interesting that you mention Finsbury Park mosque as that is the place most vividly associated with Sheikh Abu Hamza and his fiery speeches. Do you not think that Sheikh Abu Hamza has brought all this on himself through his grandiose statements and gratuitous rhetoric?

MA: (laughs) I am not here to comment on my client’s rhetoric.

TM: But don’t you think he is at least partly responsible for his current misfortune?

MA: I think people are entitled to their opinion. But one thing that amuses me is that we claim we are a civilised country and the freedom of expression is touted as a fundamental right. So why is it being restricted? And if people believe that freedom of expression should only be exercised under certain parameters then should not those constraints be made public to all?

TM: But there is isn’t there? For instance you can not abuse freedom of expression to incite hatred.

MA: That is the parameter where hatred is concerned.

TM: But some would say Sheikh Abu Hamza was doing just that. They would say he was promoting hatred against certain people and governments.

MA: If he was why wasn’t he charged under relevant legislation?

TM: Ok fair enough. But some would say people like Sheikh Abu Hamza are very legally savvy and know when they are right on the verge of the wrong side of the law.

MA: (laughs) I don’t think they are to be honest judging by the number of times they have ignored my legal advice! What I find amusing are the double standards. Remember when Salman Rushdie offended hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world but there were people who reflexively rushed to defend his freedom of expression. Therefore irrespective of the cost some people were anxious to defend his freedom of expression. So why not apply the same principle to Sheikh Abu Hamza?

TM: But some people would say Sheikh Abu Hamza was offending a lot of Muslims in this country.

MA: But some Muslims were not offended by Salman Rushdie, so you can’t turn the tables on me like that! What I am trying to say to you is that certain values are applied selectively.

TM: You said earlier that the Americans initiated extradition proceedings to deflect attention away from Abu Ghraib, but what about now; why are they so keen to have him extradited now?

MA: Sheikh Abu Hamza is of the view (and he does not mind this being disclosed in the public domain) that the Americans are targeting him because of his comments on the collapse of the twin towers and his belief that there was a conspiracy involved on the part of the U.S. government.

TM: Are you saying that Sheikh Abu Hamza believes the U.S. government was complicit in the collapse of the twin towers?

MA: Yes I am.

TM: That is interesting because some Muslim groups in the UK who one assumes would be natural allies of Sheikh Abu Hamza celebrate the 9/11 assaults as a towering day in world history.

MA: Well, Sheikh Abu Hamza believes the U.S. government was aware of the conspiracy and allowed the incident to take place.

TM: So the extradition is some kind of vendetta on the part of the U.S. government?

MA: That is his view.

TM: And presumably you are going to stop the Americans from getting their man?

MA: (laughs).

TM: Do you think you are going to succeed?

MA: I have no idea how the new law will work. Everybody is looking at this case with interest. But it is sad how this is going to set the precedent as Sheikh Abu Hamza has very little sympathy.

TM: That is one of the interesting features of this case, the fact that he has very little sympathy amongst Muslims in the UK because he has made statements that people think undermine the collective interests of Muslims in this country.

MA: Well not everybody has to agree with him. But the question is why were the media giving him so much publicity?

TM: Well we discussed this issue earlier and you are adamant that certain sections of the press in this country are keen on promoting Islamophobia. Anyway do you feel the odds are stacked against you in this case?

MA: Yes, very much so. It is like fighting a case with your hands tied behind your back.

TM: You keep saying this is test case, a watershed. You also said earlier that there is a queue of people who the government wants to strip of their nationality; is there also a queue of people who are likely to face extradition proceedings to the U.S.”

MA: Well, we know that there is a dangerous trend that could emerge as a result of the 2003 Extradition Act. David Bunkett keeps saying that this legislation and the 2002 Immigration Act are only targeted at Sheikh Abu Hamza but we know that they are probably designed to target the Muslim community. There is also the dangerous precedent where men who can not be charged in this country are sent to America. We have Sheikh Abu Hamza and we also have Babar Ahmad (who I also represent) who is also awaiting extradition to America.

TM: If Sheikh Abu Hamza is sent to America, is put on trial there and is eventually convicted, can he expect to spend the rest of his life in prison?

MA: Yes.

TM: Ok, let us discuss broader issues. We have discussed the latest counter-terrorism legislation and it is clear that you find it unfair and oppressive. Let us just presume that there is a terror attack on the UK in the near future, what kind of legal reaction can we expect then?

MA: I dread to think what would happen. I think it is likely there would be a lot of attacks against Muslims and Muslim businesses will be targeted.

TM: Do you ever envisage a situation where the authorities might be tempted to introduce internment similar to the kind of security measure they adopted in Northern Ireland during the height of the troubles?

MA: Yes I think that is a distinct possibility.

TM: What is the best way of preventing a terrorist attack on the UK?

MA: I think instead of alienating the Muslim community the government needs to initiate greater cooperation with the Muslim community. One thing that some people find admirable about Sheikh Abu Hamza—irrespective of what many people say abut him—is that he said a lot of unpopular things. But the point is that these things must be said because sometimes they reflect the truth; and if not they can be rationally discussed and exposed in a public forum. Developing a culture of secrecy only exacerbates everyone’s fears and divides Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

TM: Do you think the terror threat to the UK is hyped?

MA: I think it is being deliberately hyped.

TM: But surely you don’t dispute the fact that there are people out there who want to harm the west?

MA: But why should that be the case? Shouldn’t we be concerning ourselves with the causes of this terrible situation where people want to harm others instead of just prescribing security measures?

TM: Do you fear being targeted by the authorities because of the work that you do?

MA: I fear that my situation is not going to improve. I believe there are going to be more arrests taking place and the plight of the Muslims will deteriorate further. And I fear that what happened to some of the Irish lawyers might happen to me.

TM: Which Irish lawyers are you talking about—are you referring to Pat Finucane who was shot to death by loyalist gunmen allegedly in collusion with British intelligence in February 1989?

MA: Yes.

TM: You are that fearful?

MA: I think there may come a time when they say we have had enough of this woman and maybe go down that road. Recently I have been constantly undermined by police and prison officers particularly at the notorious Paddington Green Police station where most terror suspects are initially held. It got so bad that I had to file a personal complaint.

TM: Do you also fear more conventional pressure, like the Law Society moving against your firm?

MA: It is interesting that you mention that because attempts have already been made to close down my firm. The Legal Services Commission has tried to take away my legal aid contract.

TM: Why would they want to do that?

MA: When the Sheikh Abu Hamza case came up my contract manager rang me up and said don’t even bother applying for legal aid for this one because you are not going to get it.

TM: How serious are these threats against your firm?

MA: When the articles against me were coming out they were trying to whip up public support for closing down my firm and barring me from practicing law in this country. Moreover I am subject to inspections which I don’t think other firms are subject to.

TM: You mean inspections by the regulatory authorities?

MA: Yes, I recently had a monitoring visit by the Law society. And of course the legal Services Commission has tried to withdraw my funding contract.

TM: Is your plight attracting a lot of support from the Muslim community?

MA: A lot of Muslims are openly supportive of me and my firm but equally a lot of Muslims are frightened to express support openly. The mood has shifted decisively in this country in recent years and I am afraid things will get worse in the years to come.

Al-Qaeda’ is a Manufactured Intelligence Front

Al-Qaeda’ is a Manufactured Intelligence Front

Kawther Salam | June 25 2004

During the past weeks, two American hostages have been killed and decapitated in Iraq and in Saudi Arabia. The media say that these crimes were comitted by Islamic Terrorists.

I have never read any Islamic Rule in the Koran which allows the decapitation of people whether they are Moslems, Christians or Jews, for any reason whatsoever.

I have never read an Islamic Rule which states that the killing of hostages is allowed. All what I remember that Islam has to say in this matter is that somebody who kills a “believer” unlawfully is sanctioned the same as if he had killed all the worlds nations. The word “believer” means "anyone who believes in God" in this context, not only Muslims.

The Koran states that the place where faith in God is held, and equally where the faith in God is broken, is in the heart. The Koran states that nobody can read what is in the hearts of others, or judge them as a believers or disbelievers. Even if their hearts are cut open, it is not possible to know if a person is a believer or not. Knowledge in this matter belongs only to God himself. This should be understood as meaning that Islam expressly forbids killing for religious reasons.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recommended good treatment for hostages and prisoners during the past Islamic wars. He said: “You should not kill an old man, a child, or a woman. You should not cut a tree or destroy a church…”. Murdering and killing is outside of Islamic morals and principles, which are inviolable.

Seen from a more secular standpoint, an Arabic proverb says ”Nobody can cut the head of a person but his Creator”. This means again that nobody has the right to put an end to anothers life. While Islam expressly forbids suicide, it is still more acceptable to put an end to ones own life than to kill another person.

What does the word "Al-Qaeda" mean ? In Arabic, "Al-Qaeda" has a different meanings, among them “Base", "Ground", "Norm", "Rule", "Fundament", "Grammar". The exact meaning is dependent on the context in which it is used. It depends on the word which follows “Al-Qaeda” in the sentence. "Qawa’ad Askaria" is an Army Base, "Qawa’ad Lugha" stands for Grammar Rules (the Bases of Grammar).

"Qa’ada" is the infinitive of the verb "to sit". "Ma-Qa’ad" is a chair. "Al-Qaeda" is the base or fundament of something. "Ana raicha Al Qaeda" is colloquial for "I’m going to the toilet". A very common and widespread use of the word “Al-Qaeda” in different Arab countries in the public language is for the toilet bowl. This name comes from the Arabic verb “Qa’ada” which mean “to sit”, pertinently, on the “Toilet Bowl”. In most Arabs homes there are two kinds of toilets: “Al-Qaeda” also called the "Hamam Franji" or foreign toilet, and "Hamam Arabi" or “Arab toilet” which is a hole in the ground. Lest we forget it, the potty used by small children is called "Ma Qa’adia" or "Little Qaeda".

Those who founded the glorious "International of Islamic Terror, Al-Qaeda, probably knew too little about common use of Arabic language to know that by using this name for their organization, they risked becoming the laughing stock of everybody who speaks the Arabic "public" language.

To kidnap, torture and execute people are terrorist actions which are in no way related to God or to Islam, and these actions are not rewarded by paradise as some ignorant Western media figures would like to believe.

The terrorist event of New York 11 September 20001, and the terror event of Madrid on 11 March 2004, and other terror events commonly connected to Islam, are clearly not related to Islam if we consider that the Al-Qaeda terror organization was established by the C.I.A in the 1980s. Al-Qaeda is nothing but a conveniently "Islamic" front which enables the C.I.A. to commit crimes in the name of Muslims. It is well known that the Mujahadeen terrorists of Afghanistan were organized, trained and funded by the C.I.A. using the Pakistani ISI as a "cut-out" in order to lure the Soviet Army into Afghanistan at the end of 1979. The Mujahedeen can be seen as C.I.A. terrorism with an islamic name and "islamic" perpetrators. Afghanistan has, for all purposes, been destroyed by these fanatics in furtherance of American interests.

The Al-Qaeda terror organization has caused immense damage to Islam, to Moslems worldwide and to the interests of the peoples of all Arab and Muslim countries. The actions of Al-Qaeda have only served to promote the interests of the U.S. and Israel, which are clearly interested in "reshaping" the Middle East in such a way that they can more easily rape and plunder the region at will.

In fact the C.I.A is using the terrorist actions of its proxy Al-Qaeda in order to give the U.S. an excuse to extend their power into and invade the Arab countries, first countries with rich plunder (Oil) like Iraq, Iran, Saudia Arabia, and second any country which is a "threat" to Israel, or more exactly which Israel dislikes for whatever reason. The third objective for which the C.I.A. is using its proxy Al-Qaeda is to engender fear and hate of Islam and Muslims worldwide. This corresponds to an old and tried ploy of colonizers: to slander and denigrate the target population so that it is acceptable and even called for to commit genocide against them. The peoples of Ireland, Africa and the Americas have all suffered this tragedy, and these regions have been colonized. The next obvious victims are Arabs and Muslims by extension because they live in geographic areas rich in oil and other resources, and because Muslims as a collective are not white enough to be respected as full humans by the criminals in London, Washinton and Tel Aviv.

The immediate question is then: What purpose is the U.S pursuing in Saudi Arabia with the decapitation of Paul Johnson ? Is this crime related to their plans in the region in any way, or is it just one more sideshow related to the upcoming elections in the U.S. designed to distract the american public from some very embarassing information leaks which could endanger the reelection of President Bush ? Will there be a new decapitation every time something embarassing or dangerous for the Bush administration leaks to the media, in the same way as there was a very well timed suicide bomber in Israel every time Sharon would have otherwise been forced to make peace with the Palestinian side ? In a strange coincidence, the murder of Paul Johnson was made public last Thursday or Friday.

The pictures of Johnson’s decapitation were widely shown in the mainstream media. At the same time, last Thursday, two American officers testified before the Commission investigating the 911 crime according to the article by Tom Fiocco linked above. This was conveniently ignored by the mainstream media. If the 911 Commission had chosen to ask these two officers hard questions related to the weirdness of that day, they could probably have been found more than just weirdness and chaos. A pertinent question would have been: could "Al-Qaeda", without the very opportune "weirdness" around the actions of these two officers, been able to kidnap and fly four airplanes for hours through the USA, to crash them into buildings in two separate cities ? Whatever the answer to this question, the two officers named in the linked article, Navy Captain Charles J. Leidig, Jr. and Brigadier General Montague Winfield have since been promoted by President Bush according to the article of Tom Fiocco.

A strange coincidence around the murder of Paul Johnson is that the Saudi Police apparently cooperated with those who abducted him. Why would a security service trained by American and British C.I.A. fronts like the Vinnell Corporation, cooperate with "Al-Qaeda", their purported enemy ? This is the second time during the last weeks that Saudi security forces have cooperated with "Al-Qaeda. If this starts happening regularly, it would suggest either a very grave instability in the Kingdom or that the Saudi security forces are run in accordance with American interests

And, why was the body of Paul Johnson, just like Nicholas Berg before him, clothed in an orange Guantanamo-style overall ? Does "Al-Qaeda" go shopping at Guantanamo Bay, or is there something else behind this "coincidence" ?

During the second Palestinian Intifada, the Israeli intelligence tried to create an "Al-Qaeda" organization in the West Bank and and Gaza using the American know-how and experience gained creating Al-Qaeda and Mr. Osama bin Ladin. The Israeli Intelligence services were using the damaged Palestinians economy to lure in unaware Palestinian youths. They provided several Palestinians with machine guns and thousands of dollars to kill Israelis under the name of Al-Qaeda. When the game was discovered by the Palestinians intelligence, the Israelis scurried away and stopped their disgusting "Al-Qaeda" game with Palestinians. Only last week the media carried news of an Israeli (not Palestinian) arrested in the Phillipines for being a member of "Al-Qaeda"

As an example of how different things can be when the USA wants, in April, 1992, the airplane of President Arafat made a forced landing in the desert during a trip between Lybia and Sudan. He was found almost instantly by Israel and America, and brought to safety on the next day. Why is the USA not able to find Osama bin Laden in the same way with all the resources they have ?


On behalf of my people I would like to say that we deny that the terror practices of Al-Qaeda represent Islam and Moslems in any way. We are against the instrumentalization of Islam and all Moslems by the C.I.A through their front organization Al-Qaeda. This disgusting criminal gang has already caused too much death and suffering for innocents of all creeds in many lands. We reject the Al-Qaeda announcement to killing innocents people under the name of Islam for revenge of the injustices comitted against Palestinians. We reject all Al-Qaeda practices as these crimes are against humanity. These crimes are all steered from Washington by the C.I.A. and they only represent U.S. policy.

 

 

‘Terrorist’ cases in Australia unravel, exposing government-police frame-ups and lies

'Terrorist' cases in Australia unravel, exposing government-police frame-ups and lies

By Mike Head
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/nov2007/terr-n16.shtml
16 November 2007

Throughout the course of their election campaigns, the Howard government and Labor opposition have been almost completely silent on the so-called “war on terror”. This stands in sharp contrast to the last two elections. In 2001, the Howard government exploited the 9/11 terror attacks in the US to mount a ferocious scare campaign, including the depiction of asylum seekers as likely terrorists. The 2004 election was preceded by a wave of arrests of Islamic men. In both elections, Labor uncritically echoed all the government’s claims.

As recently as November-December 2005, the two parties joined hands to push through the federal and state parliaments a series of unprecedented measures, including “preventative detention”, “control orders? (a form of house arrest), the outlawing of “advocacy” of terrorism and new sedition offences. Another far-reaching amendment, backed by the Greens, changed the wording of all terrorist offences from “the? terrorist act to “a? terrorist act, allowing police to arrest and charge people without evidence of any specific terrorist plot.

The virtual silence in the 2007 election is testimony to the growing distrust and opposition among broad layers of the population toward the lies and dirty tricks that have characterised the “war on terror”, particularly the complicity of both parties in the five-and-a-half year incarceration of David Hicks at Guant

John Bolton: We must attack Iran before it gets the bomb

John Bolton: We must attack Iran before it gets the bomb

By Toby Harnden in Washington
Daily Telegraph (UK) 17/05/2007

A nuclear Iran would be as dangerous as “Hitler marching into the Rhineland? in 1936 and should be prevented by Western military strikes if necessary, according to a leading hawk who recently left the Bush administration.

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said Iran should be attacked before it develops nuclear weapons

John Bolton, who still has close links to the Bush administration, told The Daily Telegraph that the European Union had to "get more serious" about Iran and recognise that its diplomatic attempts to halt Iran's enrichment programme had failed.

Iran has "clearly mastered the enrichment technology now…they're not stopping, they're making progress and our time is limited", he said. Economic sanctions "with pain" had to be the next step, followed by attempting to overthrow the theocratic regime and, ultimately, military action to destroy nuclear sites.

Mr Bolton's stark warning appeared to be borne out yesterday by leaks about an inspection by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of Iran's main nuclear installation at Natanz on Sunday.

The experts found that Iran's scientists were operating 1,312 centrifuges, the machines used to enrich uranium. If Iran can install 3,000, it will need about one year to produce enough weapons grade uranium for one nuclear bomb.

Experts had judged that Iran would need perhaps two years to master the technical feat of enriching uranium using centrifuges – and then another two years to produce enough material to build a weapon.

But the IAEA found that Iran has already managed to enrich uranium to the four per cent purity needed for power stations. Weapons-grade uranium must reach a threshold of 84 per cent purity.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the IAEA's head, said the West's goal of halting the enrichment programme had been "overtaken by events". Iran had probably mastered this process and "the focus now should be to stop them from going to industrial scale production".

Mr Bolton said: "It's been conclusively proven Iran is not going to be talked out of its nuclear programme. So to stop them from doing it, we have to massively increase the pressure.

"If we can't get enough other countries to come along with us to do that, then we've got to go with regime change by bolstering opposition groups and the like, because that's the circumstance most likely for an Iranian government to decide that it's safer not to pursue nuclear weapons than to continue to do so. And if all else fails, if the choice is between a nuclear-capable Iran and the use of force, then I think we need to look at the use of force."

President George W Bush privately refers to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has pledged to wipe Israel "off the map", as a 21st Century Adolf Hitler and Mr Bolton, who remains a close ally of Vice President Dick Cheney, said the Iranian leader presented a similar threat.

"If the choice is them continuing [towards a nuclear bomb] or the use of force, I think you're at a Hitler marching into the Rhineland point. If you don't stop it then, the future is in his hands, not in your hands, just as the future decisions on their nuclear programme would be in Iran's hands, not ours."

But Mr Bolton conceded that military action had many disadvantages and might not succeed. "It's very risky for the price of oil, risky because you could, let's say, take out their enrichment capabilities at Natanz, and they may have enrichment capabilities elsewhere you don't know about."

Such a strike would only be a "last option" after economic sanctions and attempts to foment a popular revolution had failed but the risks of using military force, he indicated, would be less than those of tolerating a nuclear Iran. "Imagine what it would be like with a nuclear Iran. Imagine the influence Iran could have over the entire region. It's already pushing its influence in Iraq through the financing of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizbollah."

Although he praised Tony Blair for his support of America over the Iraq war, he criticised the Prime Minister, who is due to visit Washington today to bid farewell to Mr Bush, for persisting with supporting EU attempts to negotiate with Iran that were "doomed to fail".

"Blair just didn't focus on it as much as [Jack] Straw [former Foreign Secretary] did, and it was very much a Foreign Office thing because they wanted to show their European credentials, wanted to work with the Germans and the French to show 'we'll solve Iran in a way differently than those cowboy Americans solved Iraq'."

Mr Bolton, a leading advocate of the Iraq war, insisted that it had been right to overthrow Saddam Hussein and that the later failures did not mean that military action against rogue states should not be contemplated again.

"The regime itself was the threat and we dealt with the threat. Now, what we did after that didn't work out so well. That doesn't say to me, therefore you don't take out regimes that are problematic.

"It says, in the case of Iraq, and a lot of this I have to say we've learned through the benefit of hindsight, was that we should've given responsibility back to Iraqis more quickly."

The Bush administration has moved some distance away from the hawkish views of Mr Bolton and Mr Cheney, which were dominant in the president's first term, towards the more traditional diplomatic approach favoured by the State Department.

But his is still a highly influential voice and Mr Bush remains adamant that he will not allow Iran to become armed with nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon has drawn up contingency plans for military action and some senior White House officials share Mr Bolton's thinking.

FBI’s Mueller: Bin Laden Wants to Strike U.S. Cities With Nuclear Weapons

FBI's Mueller: Bin Laden Wants to Strike U.S. Cities With Nuclear Weapons

Ronald Kessler, NewsMax.com
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Osama bin Laden and his terrorist group desperately want to obtain nuclear devices and explode them in American cities, especially New York and Washington, D.C., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III tells NewsMax.

In an exclusive interview, Mueller also acknowledged that bin Laden is still active, though isolated. The director revealed that the Bureau believes the terrorist leader continues to communicate with al-Qaida cells, some of which remain in the U.S.

Mueller declined to say how often bin Laden communicates or to elaborate on the substance of his communications.

Other intelligence sources tell NewsMax that U.S. security efforts have forced bin Laden to return to "horse-and-buggy days" ? avoiding electronic communications in favor of using trusted couriers.

But Mueller says though hemmed in, al-Qaida's paramount goal is clear: to detonate a nuclear device that would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.

In contrast to homegrown terrorists, al-Qaida is far more likely to be able to pull off such an attack.

Mueller admits the nuclear threat is so real he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about that possibility.

"I think it would be very difficult to wipe out the United States, but you'd have hundreds of thousands of casualties from a nuclear device, depending on the size of that nuclear device," Mueller tells NewsMax.

A Lust for Destruction

Al-Qaida could obtain such a device in one of two ways.

"One is to obtain a nuclear device that's already been constructed from one of the former Iron Curtain countries, and the other way is to put together the fissile material and the expertise and do an improvised nuclear device," Mueller says.

"And there's no doubt that al-Qaida, if it had the capability, would go down either route to get a nuclear device."

Mueller also has little doubt as to al-Qaida's likely targets.

"It would be someplace in the United States, in most likely Washington and or New York, depending on how many devices they have. Or both cities," Mueller says.

Because the U.S. has not been attacked in almost six years, Mueller worries that "we are in danger of becoming complacent."

"Al-Qaida is tremendously patient and thinks nothing about taking years to infiltrate persons in and finding the right personnel and opportunity to undertake an attack.

"And we cannot become complacent, because you look around the world, and whether it's London or Madrid or Bali or recently Casablanca or Algiers, attacks are taking place."

Mueller adds the U.S. must remain vigilant. He says our security efforts must "adapt to the new threat landscape."

He then adds: "We are going to be hit at some point. It's just a question of when and to what extent."

The Real Robert Mueller

In the conference room adjoining his seventh floor office at FBI headquarters, Mueller sits down for this interview in his shirt sleeves, a G-man-white oxford cloth with a subdued Brooks Brothers tie. When he appears on television, the camera gives his face an angular look. In person, his features are softer.

Handsome with silvery hair that he smooths down thoughtfully as he speaks, Mueller captivates his guests with his commanding presence. He has the demeanor of a square-jawed FBI agent combined with a tough talking prosecutor, which he once was.

Clearly, the enormous responsibility he carries shows in dark circles under his heavy-lidded brown eyes.

When he utters the words "nuclear device," he knits his brow and clenches his teeth.

However, Mueller is far more relaxed now than when I interviewed him a few months after Sept. 11, 2001. At the time, he was preoccupied trying to prevent a feared "second wave" of attacks on the West Coast.

Back then, Mueller declined to describe why, when he was in the Marines during the Vietnam War, he was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. A man who hates to talk about himself or use the word "I," he said only that he "got into some firefights."

Recently, I obtained from the Marine Corps the citation that went with the Bronze Star. It says that on Dec. 11, 1968, the platoon that Mueller commanded came under a heavy volume of small arms, automatic weapons, and grenade launcher fire from a North Vietnamese army company.

"Quietly establishing a defensive perimeter, Second Lieutenant Mueller fearlessly moved from one position to another, directing the accurate counterfire of his men and shouting words of encouragement to them," the citation says.

Disregarding his own safety, Mueller then "skillfully supervised the evacuation of casualties from the hazardous area and, on one occasion, personally led a fire team across the fire-swept terrain to recover a mortally wounded Marine who had fallen in a position forward of the friendly lines," the citation adds.

Sitting in his conference room, Mueller commands the head of a long conference table. Against one of the room's walls stands a wooden sign. The gold lettering reads: "Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation." The sign used to stand outside the director's office when the Bureau was located in the Department of Justice across the street on Pennsylvania Avenue.

That was a more innocent time, when anyone could walk into the building without a security check. Now the director's office is in a secure wing, sealed off behind electronic doors with security cam and a keypad with a code. Even most Bureau execs ? who must have a top secret clearance to enter the building in the first place ? don't have access.

A New View of Terrorism

The FBI is changing the way it looks at terrorism, Mueller explains.

Instead of categorizing the problem by individual cases, the Bureau is focusing on threats. Using Jamaat al-Islamiya or Hezbollah as examples, Mueller says, "In the past, when you asked what's the presence of these groups in the United States, analysts would come in and say, “OK, we've got cases open down here and up in Detroit and in Chicago and the like, and that is the picture of Hezbollah.'"

While the Bureau targets individuals who may be dangerous, it is more focused on the networks these individuals operate within and their often hidden activities.

"What's most important is not what we know but what we don't know," Mueller says.

"What is the presence of Jamaat al-Islamiya? What is the presence of Hamas or Hezbollah?

"And if you don't know the presence, What are the gaps? And then fill those gaps with collectors, which are basically agents. It's an analytical approach, and it's a threat-driven approach, an intelligence-driven approach."

Those who advocate creating a new domestic counter-terrorism agency similar to Britain's MI5 don't recognize the value of having a law enforcement agency combined with one that uses intelligence to uncover threats, Mueller argues.

As outlined in an Aug. 21, 2006 NewsMax article, "An American MI5 Is the Wrong Approach," MI5 is envious of the FBI because, when an arrest must be made, it has to convince a police force that there is enough evidence to make the arrest.

"A critical difference I think people don't focus on between ourselves and the U.K. is the fact that the criminal justice system here disseminates intelligence by reason of its plea bargaining capability," Mueller says.

"If you look at what's happened in the U.K. over the last three or four years, it has arrested probably a hundred individuals in various terrorist operations, and of those hundred, maybe one or two have cooperated.

"And in almost every case that we've had in the United States, one or more have cooperated and given us the full picture of the cell. And that's intelligence."

A Presidential Briefing

Mueller briefs President Bush in person every Tuesday at the White House.

"He's interested in the same issue that he was interested in on Sept. 12, 2001," Mueller offers.

"What's the FBI and the rest of the law enforcement community doing in the United States to make certain that there will not be another September 11?

"He asks penetrating questions, the types of questions that one would hope that I and others would ask of our own people: not only how a particular case is developing, but what have we learned from a particular case?"

Mueller kept Bush informed, for example, on the FBI's 16-month investigation of a group allegedly plotting to attack Fort Dix and kill U.S. soldiers.

After the arrests, Bush wanted to know what had been done to assure that such military targets are protected and whether the FBI has focused on the possibility of similar groups attacking other targets.

In the Fort Dix case, five of the men who were arrested were born in Jordan, Turkey, and the former Yugoslavia. They were radical Islamists training at a shooting range to kill "as many soldiers as possible" at the Army base 25 miles east of Philadelphia, according to the charges against them.

A sixth man was charged with helping them obtain illegal weapons.

The investigation began with a tip from a store clerk who told police that one of the men brought in a video tape that he wanted copied to a DVD. The video showed the men firing assault weapons, calling for jihad, and yelling "God is great" in Arabic. The FBI then infiltrated the group using two paid informants.

"Before September 11, we would have been probably inclined to disrupt them earlier than we did," Mueller says. Instead, the Bureau waited to pounce on the Fort Dix group "to determine what ties they may have had to other individuals in the U.S. or overseas."

Mueller says the FBI made the arrests when the group began looking to buy weapons from sources other than the FBI informants.

"The fear being that if they purchased weapons from others and we did not know about it from our sources inside, they could undertake the terrorist attack without us knowing about it," Mueller says.

Critics routinely knock the FBI for either making terrorist arrests too soon or too late.

Last June, for example, the FBI arrested seven men in Miami for plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. Some wondered if the FBI rolled up the plot too early. Others claimed the men never could have pulled off the plot, dismissing the arrests as simply a Bureau publicity stunt.

"We exhausted every possibility for intelligence there," Mueller says defending the FBI's actions, adding, "And it's a substantial commitment involving thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars and man hours to conduct surveillance and make sure that there is not a terrorist attack."

"And if we let 'em walk, who is to say that two or three months down the road they don't go to somebody who actually will provide the weapons or the explosives or what have you and you've got a terrorist attack that we've walked away from? Can't do that," Mueller says. "I have no apologies whatsoever on the Miami case."

Mueller believes a vigorous counter-terrorist effort has been effective. The U.S. has not been attacked in almost six years and Administration insiders say that this due to the periodic arrests by the FBI and roll-ups of terrorists overseas by the CIA and foreign intelligence services.

National Security Letters

Mueller says the reason the FBI did not keep proper track of requests for national security letters is that no separate system had been set up to keep track of them.

National security letters are issued in international terrorism and espionage investigations. They are similar to grand jury subpoenas, which are normally issued at the direction of a prosecutor and allow the FBI, in criminal investigations, to obtain financial records and records of calls, e-mails, and Internet searches.

"What we did not have is a compliance program or a mechanism to test the procedures we put in place," Mueller says. "The biggest fix in my mind cuts across not just NSLs but across the organization," he said.

"We need a compliance entity that looks at the weak points in terms of our procedures, does red-cell testing of those procedures to see where the weaknesses are, and makes certain that the procedures are being followed."

Strangely, even when telephone companies or Internet providers gave the FBI information about the wrong person in response to an NSL, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine still classified their error as an FBI deficiency.

Mueller brought that up with Fine, who insisted he was right to do so. In the end, Fine concluded, the FBI was entitled to the information it obtained in almost all cases he cited.

The FBI is constantly being accused of abuses, but does Mueller consider any actions by the FBI to have been abuses?

"In the wake of September 11, every individual who was detained was detained on valid charges," he says. "But those who were detained on immigration charges waited longer because we had to clear them of other charges. And in the future, I'd want to focus on more swiftly making that determination for those who are detained on immigration charges."

Mueller's biggest frustration is that, despite the calls for the FBI to act more like an intelligence organization, when it comes to its budget, the Bureau is still considered a law enforcement organization. For fiscal 2007, the budget is $6.1 billion, equal to the cost of a few Stealth bombers.

"The country wants us to build a domestic intelligence capacity, but it costs money," Mueller says. "And we are still perceived as being in the law enforcement community and not necessarily in the intelligence community."

Mueller says he has told National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, "Just give me the rounding errors off of the intelligence budget, and I would be very happy."

Mueller doesn't smile often, mostly a pleasant half smile for emphasis. He does laugh, however, when he mentions his fantasy budget.

Pamela Kessler contributed to this article.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of NewsMax.com.

Security forces fear Baghdad-style tactics in London

Security forces fear Baghdad-style tactics in London

Sandra Laville, crime correspondent
Friday June 29, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Over the past two years anti-terrorism officers have scaled a steep learning curve as they try to tackle, and understand, the threat posed to Britain by Islamist terrorists.

The threat posed by the IRA at the end of the past century was very different from that of today. Inside Scotland Yard, detectives are faced with the knowledge that there are thousands of Islamist terror suspects at large, some of whom pose no immediate, direct threat; others who do.

The difficulty lies in choosing whom to watch when. Currently anti-terrorist officers are working on intelligence that suggests there are 250 high-risk terror suspects in the UK and 700 or so classed as medium risk. But individuals can swiftly move from peripheral figures to high-risk figures. Crucial to counter-terrorism are the choices senior officers must make when deciding which groups or individuals to target.

Today's discovery of a car bomb device in the heart of London's West End confirms what many experts within anti-terrorism have feared for some months. While the July 7 attacks involved rucksack bombs carried by individuals intent on suicide and targeted on the transport system, no one has been in any doubt that terrorists are constantly changing their tactics and targets.

On the streets of Baghdad the use of car bombs is a daily tactic which reaps horrific results. Senior officers have been waiting and dreading for those tactics to be employed in the UK by homegrown Islamist extremists.

Recently Scotland Yard admitted that they were carrying out anti-terrorist spot checks on lorries entering the capital.

There are growing concerns that iconic sights will be targeted. For example, last week concern was raised privately about security at Wimbledon, when it was noted that there are no vehicle crash barriers in the streets directly outside the tennis championships.

Evidence of the past three years has also indicated that the transport system is not the only target being considered. The plotters in the Crevice fertiliser bomb plot were heard talking about several targets, including nightclubs and the Bluewater shopping centre, back in 2004.

However, despite private concerns of car bombs being used at landmark sites, there has been to date no intelligence to suggest that the tactic was being discussed by extremists.

The discovery of the car bomb today in Haymarket comes, therefore, out of the blue.

Absurd airport security is terrorism scare

"Dominate. Intimidate. Control."

The sorry record of the Transportation Security Administration

James Bovard | February 2004 Print Edition
http://www.reason.com/news/show/29034.html

When 9/11 exposed the holes in American airport and airline security, the Bush administration and Congress responded with the usual Washington panacea: a new federal agency. Congress quickly deluged the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with billions of dollars to hire an army of over 50,000 federal agents to screen airport passengers and baggage.

But before the agency was even a year old, it was clear that it had "become a monster," to quote the chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, John Mica (R-Fla.). Arrogant, abusive, incompetent, and expensive, the TSA is, in the words of the House Appropriations Committee, "seemingly unable to make crisp decisions…unable to work cooperatively with the nation's airports; and unable to take advantage of the multitude of security-improving and labor-saving technologies available."

The attacks of September 11, 2001, changed many things, but they did not make the federal government more competent or effective, and they did not make it more willing to respect the dignity or liberty of its citizens. For proof, one need only examine the TSA's sorry record.

Jumpy Screeners

In June 2002 news leaked out that TSA airport screeners missed 24 percent of the weapons and imitation bombs planted in the government's undercover security tests. At some major airports, screeners failed to detect potentially dangerous objects in half the tests. The results were worse than they first appeared, because the testers were ordered not to "artfully conceal" the deadly contraband and instead pack their luggage "consistent with how a typical passenger in air transportation might pack a bag." Although the tests seemed designed to see if screeners could catch terrorists with single-digit IQs, they still failed to find the weapons much of the time.

That does not mean TSA screeners don't find anything. Notable triumphs have included seizing a tiny pair of wire cutters from a Special Forces veteran who had been shot in the jaw in Afghanistan and needed the cutters to snip his jaw open if he started to choke; evacuating terminals in Los Angeles upon discovering that travelers were carrying such dangerous devices as a belt buckle or a tub of jam; and shutting down several concourses in St. Louis after a federal security screener spotted what appeared to be a "cutting tool" in a carry-on bag. After detecting the suspicious object, the St. Louis screener followed proper procedure: He fetched his supervisor to take a look at the frozen image on the video screen at the checkpoint. A few minutes later, the supervisor concluded that the bag was indeed suspicious and needed to be manually searched. But the passenger had long since retrieved it and headed to his or her flight. Hundreds of passengers were evacuated and up to 60 flights were delayed; despite many searches, the suspicious item was never found.

On January 15, 2003, the Tampa airport was evacuated after screeners discovered an abandoned briefcase that appeared to be packed with bombs. The ticketing level of the terminal was cleared, the roads outside were closed, and the bomb squad arrived. An hour later, it was determined that the briefcase was a TSA dummy designed to test airport security. "We use these bags repeatedly, so the fact that the bag was in that area was not surprising," TSA Security Director Dario Compain told the St. Petersburg Times. "That it was unattended, that there was no one with it who knew its true nature and could stop the escalation of our action before it reached the evacuation stage, is what's troubling."

The TSA detains more than just packages. More than 1,000 people have been arrested at airport checkpoints since the feds took over security in February 2002. A regulation passed that month made it a federal crime to interfere with airport screening personnel. A single word can be sufficient to trigger an arrest.

Betsylew Miale-Gix, a 43-year-old personal injury lawyer and former world boomerang record holder, was stopped at a security checkpoint at Hartford's Bradley International Airport on June 30, 2002, and informed that she could not carry her boomerangs onto the plane. The boomerangs weighed less than three ounces each and were fragile — the type of item that is routinely crushed if sent as checked luggage. Miale-Gix had flown many times after 9/11 and had never encountered any objections to her boomerangs. They wouldn't be much use as weapons, after all; as one of her fellow boomerang enthusiasts commented, throwing a competitive boomerang at someone is "like throwing a first-class letter."

The state trooper who banned the boomerangs from the flight refused to listen to Miale-Gix's explanation, and she swore at him as she was departing the screening area. She was quickly arrested, handcuffed, charged with breach of the peace, and compelled to pay $500 for bail. TSA spokeswoman Deirdre O'Sullivan told The New York Times that although boomerangs are not on the official list of prohibited carry-on items, "the screeners have the discretion to decide whether or not that item could be used as a weapon."

Travelers who assert their legal rights can find themselves bounced. Della Maricich was banned from a Portland-to-Seattle flight on May 1, 2002, after she asked an airport screener to keep her purse where she could see it while he searched it. (Many airport screeners have been accused of theft since the new search procedures were introduced.) The screener refused, and Maricich demanded to speak to his supervisor. A National Guardsman arrived on the scene a few minutes later and, Maricich later told The Wall Street Journal, "He told me that because I had disrupted the line by calling for a supervisor, I would not be allowed to fly out of PDX that day. He told me that I was a troublemaker and I was the only one who had ever complained."

On August 2, 2002, a screener at Hartford's Bradley International Airport poked through the wallet of Fred Hubbell, an 80-year-old World War II combat veteran who had already undergone two full searches in that airport that morning. "What do you expect to find in there, a rifle?" the exasperated Hubbell asked. He was then arrested for "causing a public disturbance" and fined $78. Dana Cosgrove, the TSA airport security chief, later justified the arrest on the grounds that "all that the people around him in the waiting room heard was the word rifle."

The TSA flaunts its power to bar people from flights. A group of 20 high school students and Catholic priests and nuns, members of Peace Action Milwaukee, were detained at Milwaukee's airport on April 19, 2002, after some of their names turned up on a "No Fly Watch List" issued by the federal government. According to one member of the group, a sheriff's deputy told her, "You're probably being stopped because you are a peace group and you're protesting against your country." Many of the travelers missed their flights and had to fly the following day. Yet Sgt. Chuck Coughlin of the Milwaukee sheriff's department insisted, "Although it was time-consuming, and although they were flight-delayed, the system actually worked."

The TSA's no-fly lists are often poor sources of information. Many travelers are repeatedly stopped erroneously and taken aside for intensive questioning, regardless of how many times they have previously proved that they are not a threat to national security. As David Sobel, general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the Financial Times, "Nobody wants to accept responsibility for the maintenance of the [no-fly] list, and nobody wants to claim the authority to remove a name." Now the TSA, at Congress's behest, is creating the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II), which will assign a "threat level" to every person who flies within the United States. The TSA has provided almost no information on how the system will operate, although the government has indicated that it could sweep up a vast amount of personal information on each traveler — including credit history, financial and transaction records, Internet usage, and legal records (including speeding and parking tickets).

In January 2003 the TSA revealed a new regulation allowing it to suspend pilot licenses based on unproven suspicions that the pilot might pose a security risk. Those who lose their livelihoods as a result of such edicts will not necessarily be permitted to see the evidence against them. The TSA did not seek comments from the public before announcing its new rule, which fails even to define "security risk." Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, protested that the TSA was being "the cop, prosecutor, judge, jury and appeals court….Clearly, this is a violation of basic constitutional rights." But agency spokesman Brian Turmail dismissed the concerns: "The bottom line is: If you're not a terrorist, you don't need to worry about this."

Crazy Cops

The TSA has proven inept in the air as well as on the ground. It was determined to expand the number of air marshals quickly from a few hundred to more than 6,000. When most of the applicants failed the marksmanship test, the agency solved that problem by dropping the marksmanship test for new applicants. (The ability to shoot accurately in a plane cabin is widely considered a crucial part of a marshal's job.) Some would-be marshals were hired even after they repeatedly shot flight attendants in mock hijack response exercises.

USA Today's Blake Morrison noted a report that "one marshal was suspended after he left his gun in a lavatory aboard a United Airlines flight from Washington to Las Vegas in December. A passenger discovered the weapon." Another air marshal left his pistol on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Indianapolis; a cleaning crew discovered the weapon. Morrison noted: "At least 250 federal air marshals have left the top-secret program, and documents obtained by USA Today suggest officials are struggling to handle what two managers call a flood of resignations."

The Transportation Department responded to the USA Today expos

The myth of Muslim support for terror

The myth of Muslim support for terror

The common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0223/p09s01-coop.html

Those who think that Muslim countries and pro-terrorist attitudes go hand-in-hand might be shocked by new polling research: Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria.

The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "never justified," while 24 percent believe these attacks are "often or sometimes justified."

Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world's most-populous Muslim countries ? Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are "never justified"; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent.

Do these findings mean that Americans are closet terrorist sympathizers?

Hardly. Yet, far too often, Americans and other Westerners seem willing to draw that conclusion about Muslims. Public opinion surveys in the United States and Europe show that nearly half of Westerners associate Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorists. Given the many radicals who commit violence in the name of Islam around the world, that's an understandable polling result.

But these stereotypes, affirmed by simplistic media coverage and many radicals themselves, are not supported by the facts ” and they are detrimental to the war on terror. When the West wrongly attributes radical views to all of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, it perpetuates a myth that has the very real effect of marginalizing critical allies in the war on terror.

Indeed, the far-too-frequent stereotyping of Muslims serves only to reinforce the radical appeal of the small minority of Muslims who peddle hatred of the West and others as authentic religious practice.

Terror Free Tomorrow's 20-plus surveys of Muslim countries in the past two years reveal another surprise: Even among the minority who indicated support for terrorist attacks and Osama bin Laden, most overwhelmingly approved of specific American actions in their own countries. For example, 71 percent of bin Laden supporters in Indonesia and 79 percent in Pakistan said they thought more favorably of the United States as a result of American humanitarian assistance in their countries ? not exactly the profile of hard-core terrorist sympathizers. For most people, their professed support of terrorism/bin Laden can be more accurately characterized as a kind of "protest vote" against current US foreign policies, not as a deeply held religious conviction or even an inherently anti- American or anti-Western view.

In truth, the common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews. Whether recruits to violent causes join gangs in Los Angeles or terrorist cells in Lahore, the enemy is the violence they exalt.

Our surveys show that not only do Muslims reject terrorism as much if not more than Americans, but even those who are sympathetic to radical ideology can be won over by positive American actions that promote goodwill and offer real hope.

America's goal, in partnership with Muslim public opinion, should be to defeat terrorists by isolating them from their own societies. The most effective policies to achieve that goal are the ones that build on our common humanity. And we can start by recognizing that Muslims throughout the world want peace as much as Americans do.

? Kenneth Ballen is founder and president of Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to finding effective policies that win popular support away from global terrorists.

Al-Qaeda ?planning big British attack?

From

April 22, 2007

Al-Qaeda “planning big British attack?

AL-QAEDA leaders in Iraq are planning the first “large-scale? terrorist attacks on Britain and other western targets with the help of supporters in Iran, according to a leaked intelligence report.

Spy chiefs warn that one operative had said he was planning an attack on “a par with Hiroshima and Nagasaki? in an attempt to “shake the Roman throne”, a reference to the West.

Another plot could be timed to coincide with Tony Blair stepping down as prime minister, an event described by Al-Qaeda planners as a “change in the head of the company”.

The report, produced earlier this month and seen by The Sunday Times, appears to provide evidence that Al-Qaeda is active in Iran and has ambitions far beyond the improvised attacks it has been waging against British and American soldiers in Iraq.

There is no evidence of a formal relationship between Al-Qaeda, a Sunni group, and the Shi’ite regime of President Mah-moud Ahmadinejad, but experts suggest that Iran’s leaders may be turning a blind eye to the terrorist organisation’s activities.

The intelligence report also makes it clear that senior Al-Qaeda figures in the region have been in recent contact with operatives in Britain.

It follows revelations last year that up to 150 Britons had travelled to Iraq to fight as part of Al-Qaed “foreign legion”. A number are thought to have returned to the UK, after receiving terrorist training, to form sleeper cells.

The report was compiled by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) – based at MI5?s London headquarters – and provides a quarterly review of the international terror threat to Britain. It draws a distinction between Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaed core leadership, who are thought to be hiding on the Afghan-Pakistan border, and affiliated organisations elsewhere.

The document states: “While networks linked to AQ [Al-Qaeda] Core pose the greatest threat to the UK, the intelligence during this quarter has highlighted the potential threat from other areas, particularly AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq].”

The report continues: “Recent reporting has described AQI?s Kurdish network in Iran planning what we believe may be a large-scale attack against a western target.

“A member of this network is reportedly involved in an operation which he believes requires AQ Core authorisation. He claims the operation will be on “a par with Hiroshima and Naga-saki” and will “shake the Roman throne”. We assess that this operation is most likely to be a large-scale, mass casualty attack against the West.”

The report says there is “no indication? this attack would specifically target Britain, “although we are aware that AQI . . . networks are active in the UK”.

Analysts believe the reference to Hiroshima and Naga-saki, where more than 200,000 people died in nuclear attacks on Japan at the end of the second world war, is unlikely to be a literal boast.

“It could be just a reference to a huge explosion,” said a counter-terrorist source. “They [Al-Qaeda] have got to do something soon that is radical otherwise they start losing credibility.”

Despite aspiring to a nuclear capability, Al-Qaeda is not thought to have acquired weapons grade material. However, several plots involving “dirty bombs? – conventional explosive devices surrounded by radioactive material – have been foiled.

Last year Al-Qaed leader in Iraq called on nuclear scientists to apply their knowledge of biological and radiological weapons to “the field of jihad”.

Details of a separate plot to attack Britain, “ideally? before Blair steps down this summer, were contained in a letter written by Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi Kurd and senior Al-Qaeda commander.

According to the JTAC document, Hadi “stressed the need to take care to ensure that the attack was successful and on a large scale”. The plan was to be relayed to an Iran-based Al-Qaeda facilitator.

The Home Office declined to comment.

Terror scares increase Bush popularity

Study: Terror Warnings Up Approval Ratings

Associated Press | October 27 2004

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When the government issues a terror warning, the president's approval rating increases an average of nearly three points, a Cornell University sociologist says.

"The social theories predict it, and anecdotally we know it to be true. Now we have statistical science to confirm it," said Robb Willer, assistant director of Cornell's Sociology and Small Groups Laboratory.

On average, a terror warning prompted a 2.75 point increase in President George Bush's approval rating the following week, said Willer, who published his study in Current Research in Social Psychology, a peer-reviewed online journal.

Robert Greene, a professor of history and communication at Cazenovia College, said he did not doubt the correlation, but considered the small increase barely noteworthy.

"And I would think any benefit would be very temporary. Americans like crises to be solved," said Greene.

Willer said he took up his study in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks after watching Bush's approval rating soar from 51 percent on Sept. 10 to 86 percent five days later.

Willer tracked the 26 times that a federal agency reported an increased threat of terrorist activity — not just changes in the alert level — between February 2001 and May 2004. He compared that with the 131 Gallup Polls conducted during the same period.

"From the perspective of social identity theory, threats of attacks from foreigners increase solidarity and in-group identification among Americans, including feelings of stronger solidarity with their leadership," he said.

Terror warnings increased presidential approval ratings "consistently," Willer said. However, he said he was unable to measure how long the increase lasted.

Bush claimed to have stopped four terrorism plots.

Bush claimed to have stopped four terrorism plots.

Jan. 30, 2007
Keith Olbermann
MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16893899/

West Yorkshire in England has a new chief police constable.

Upon his appointment, Sir Norman Bettison made one of the strangest comments of the year:

“The threat of terrorism,” he says, “is lurking out there like “Jaws 2.”?

Sir Norman did not exactly mine the richest ore for his analogy of warning. A critic once said of the flopping sequel to the classic film: “You?re gonna need a better screenplay.”
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But this obscure British police official has reminded us that terrorism is still being sold to the public in that country ” and in this ? as if it were a thrilling horror movie and we were the naughty teenagers about to be its victims.

And it underscores the fact that President Bush took this tack, exactly a week ago tonight, in his terror-related passage in the State of the Union.

A passage that was almost lost amid all the talk about Iraq and health care and bipartisanship and the fellow who saved the stranger from an oncoming subway train in New York City.

But a passage ludicrous and deceitful. Frightening in its hollow conviction.

Frightening, in that the president who spoke it tried for “Jaws? but got “Jaws 2.”

I am indebted to David Swanson, press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, who has blogged about the dubious 96 words in Mr. Bush’s address this year and who has concluded that of the four counter-terror claims the president made, he went 0-for-4.

“We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented,” Mr. Bush noted, “but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al-Qaida plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast.”

This would, of course, sir, be the purported plot to knock down the 73-story building in Los Angeles, the one once known as the Library Tower ? the one you personally revealed so breathlessly a year ago next month.

It was embarrassing enough that you mistakenly referred to the structure as the “Liberty Tower.”

But within hours it was also revealed that authorities in Los Angeles had had no idea you were going to make any of the details ? whether serious or fanciful ? public.

A year ago next month, the Los Angeles Times quoted a source ? identified only by the labyrinthine description “a U.S. official familiar with the operational aspects of the war on terrorism? ? who insisted that the purported “Library Tower plot? was one of many al-Qaida operations that had not gotten very far past the conceptual stage.

The former staff director of counter-terrorism for the National Security Council ? now a news analyst for NBC News and MSNBC ? Roger Cressey, puts it a little more bluntly.

In our conversation, he put the “Library Tower story? into a category he called the “What-Ifs? ? as in the old “Saturday Night Live sketches that tested the range of comic absurdity:

What if … Superman had worked for the Nazis?

What if … Spartacus had had a Piper Cub during the battle against the Romans in 70 B.C.”

More ominously, the L.A. Times source who debunked the Library Tower story said that those who could correctly measure the flimsiness of the scheme “feared political retaliation for providing a different characterization of the plan than that of the president.”

But Mr. Bush, you’re the decider.

And you decided that the Library Tower story should be scored as one for you.

And you continued with a second dubious claim of counter-terror success. “We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States,” you said.

Well, sir, you?ve apparently stumped the intelligence community completely with this one.

In his article, Mr. Swanson suggests that in the last week there has been no reporting even hinting at what exactly you were talking about.

He hypothesizes that either you were claiming credit for a ring broken up in 1995 or that this was just the Library Tower story “by another name.”

Another CIA source suggests to NBC News that since the Southeast Asian cell dreamed of a series of attacks on the same day, you declared the Library Tower one threat thwarted, and all their other ideas, a second threat thwarted.

Our colleague Mr. Cressey sums it up:

This “Southeast Asian cell? was indeed the tale of the Library Tower, simply repeated.

Repeated, Mr. Bush, in consecutive sentences in the State of the Union ? in your constitutionally mandated status report on the condition and safety of the nation.

You showed us the same baby twice and claimed it was twins.

And then you said that was two for you.

Your third claim, sir, read thusly: “We uncovered an al-Qaida cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America.”

Again, the professionals in counter-intelligence were startled to hear about this.

Last fall, two Washington Post articles cited sources in the FBI and other governmental agencies who said that hopes by foreign terrorists to use anthrax in this country were fanciful at best, farcical at worst.

And every effort to link the 2001 anthrax mailings in this country to foreign sources has also struck out. The entire investigation is barely still active.

Mr. Cressey goes a little further. Anything that might even resemble an al-Qaida cell “developing anthrax,” he says, was in the “dreaming? stages.

He used as a parallel those pathetic arrests outside Miami last year in which a few men wound up getting charged as terrorists because they couldn’t tell the difference between an al-Qaida operative and an FBI informant.

Their “ringleader? seemed to be much more interested in getting his “terrorist masters? to buy him a new car than in actually terrorizing anybody.

That’s three for you, Mr. Bush.

“And just last August,” you concluded, “British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean.”

In a series of dramatic raids, 24 men were arrested.

Turned out, sir, a few of them actually had gone on the Internets to check out some flight schedules.

The War on Shampoo

The War on Shampoo
"More propaganda than plot". Liquid bomb scare was a Home Office sponsored hoax

By Craig Murray
Global Research, December 18, 2006
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=MUR20061218&articleId=4190

Google "Rashid Rauf – mastermind". On the first page of results you will find CBS, the BBC, the Times, Guardian and Mail all describing Rauf last summer, on security service or police briefing, as the "Mastermind" behind the "Liquid terror bomb plot". So the fact that a Pakistani court has found there is no evidence of terrorism against him cannot be lightly dismissed by the cheerleaders of the plot story.

Rashid Rauf still faces other charges, including forgery, and what is touted as possession of explosives, although what he actually possessed was hydrogen peroxide, which is not explosive. As hydrogen peroxide is readily obtainable without limitation from any chemist or hardware store in the UK, why you would source it in Pakistan to blow up jets in Britain was never very convincing. The Pakistani court perhaps felt so too.

Rashid Rauf has much to answer. He is still wanted in the UK over the murder of his uncle some years ago – a crime which, like the alleged forgery, had no apparent terrorist link. None of which adds to the credibility of the evidence he allegedly gave the Pakistani intelligence services about the liquid bomb plot in the UK.

A second and simultaneous development is even more compelling evidence that this massive scare was, as I said at the time, "More propaganda than plot". Thames Valley police have given up after five months scouring the woods near High Wycombe where the bomb materials were allegedly hidden. They told the Home Office on 12 December that they would only continue if the government were prepared to meet the costs; they wished to get back to devoting their resources to real crimes, like armed robbery and burglary.

Remember this was a plot described by the authorities as "Mass murder on an unimaginable scale" and "Bigger than 9/11". There have been instances in the UK of hundreds of police officers deployed for years to find an individual murderer. If the police really believed they were dealing with an effort at "Mass murder on an unimaginable scale", would they be calling off the search after five months? No.

Which brings us to the lies that have been told – one of which concerns this search. An anonymous police source tipped off the media early on that they had discovered a "Suitcase" containing "bomb-making materials". This has recently been described to me by a security service source as "A lot of rubbish from someone's garage dumped in the woods". You could indeed cannibalise bits of old wire, clocks and car parts to form part of a bomb – perhaps you could enclose it in the old suitcase. But have they found stuff that is exclusively concerned with causing explosions, like detonators, explosives or those famous liquid chemicals? No, they haven't found any.

Wycombe Woods, like the sands of Iraq, have failed to yield up the advertised WMD.

The other "evidence" that the police announced they had found consisted of wills (with the implication they were made by suicide bombers) and a map of Afghanistan. It turns out that the wills were made in the early 90s by volunteers going off to fight the Serbs in Bosnia – they had been left with the now deceased uncle of one of those arrested. The map of Afghanistan had been copied out by an eleven year old boy. All of which is well known to the UK media, but none of which has been reported for fear of prejudicing the trial. I am at a complete loss to understand why it does not prejudice the trial for police to announce in a blaze of worldwide front page publicity that they have found bomb-making materials, wills and maps. Only if you contradict the police is that prejudicial. Can anyone explain why?

While the arrest of 26 people in connection with the plot was also massively publicised, the gradual release of many of them has again gone virtually unreported. For example on 31 October a judge released two brothers from Chingford commenting that the police had produced no credible evidence against them. Charges against others have been downgraded, so that those now accused of plotting to commit explosions are less than the ten planes the police claimed they planned to blow up in suicide attacks.

Five British newspapers had to pay damages to a Birmingham man they accused, on security service briefing, of being part of the plot. Only the Guardian had the grace to publish the fact and print a retraction.

A final fact to ponder. Despite naming him as the "mastermind" behind somethng "bigger than 9/11", the British government made no attempt to extradite Rashid Rauf on charges of terrorism. That is not difficult to do – the Pakistani authorities have handed over scores of terrorist suspects to the US, many into the extraordinary rendition process, and on average the procedure is astonishingly quick – less than a week and they are out of the country. But the British security services, who placed so much weight on intelligence from Rashid Rauf, were extraordinarily coy about getting him here where his evidence could be properly scrutinised by a British court. However MI5 were greatly embarassed by Birmingham police, who insisted on pointing out that Rauf was wanted in the UK over the alleged murder of his uncle in Birmingham. Now he was in custody in Pakistan, shouldn't we extradite him? So eventually an extradition request over that murder was formally submitted – but not pursued with real energy or effort. There remains no sign that we will see Rauf in the UK.

I still do not rule out that there was a germ of a terror plot at the heart of this investigation. We can speculate about agents provocateurs and security service penetration, both British and Pakistani, but still there might have been genuine terrorists involved. But the incredible disruption to the travelling public, the War on Shampoo, and the "Bigger than 9/11" hype is unravelling.

You won't read that in the newspapers.

As Britain's outspoken Ambassador to the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, Craig Murray helped expose vicious human rights abuses by the US-funded regime of Islam Karimov. He is now a prominent critic of Western policy in the region.

Police to get ?dirty bomb hoods? in terror alert

Police to get “dirty bomb hoods? in terror alert

Daniel Foggo
London Times
Sunday, December 10, 2006

POLICE forces have been told to buy anti-radiation masks for their 100,000 frontline officers to protect them in the event of a “dirty bomb? terrorist attack.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has told all forces they should look to purchase specially designed chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) hoods as soon as possible.

Senior officers are concerned that, with only 1,000 thought to have been distributed, their ability to deal with any radiation threat will be severely hampered.

The transparent “escape hoods? are able to protect the wearer from harm for about 20 minutes, allowing him or her to leave an affected area without breathing in any toxic particles.

The urgency that is being placed on the purchase of the hoods reflects the level of concern over the likelihood of a “dirty bomb? attack, where radioactive material, packed around a conventional explosive, is detonated and spreads radiation over a wide area.

The threat has been highlighted by the use of radioactive polonium-210 to kill Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian defector.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “These hoods are not intended for people who need to go and deal with an incident, they are for officers who are going about their normal duties and may find themselves caught up in a CBRN situation that they and others need to escape.”

An ACPO spokesman said: “All UK police forces have been made aware of the availability of escape hoods. They have been advised by ACPO that individual forces should consider acquiring sufficient hoods to equip all patrolling officers at times of heightened threat.”

The hoods, which cost

Christmas terror attack ‘highly likely’

Christmas terror attack 'highly likely'

Matthew Moore,
London Telegraph
Sunday, December 10, 2006

An attempted terrorist attack in Britain over the Christmas period is "highly likely", the Home Secretary said today.

John Reid said that around 30 conspiracies were under preparation, and the current threat level was "very high indeed".

He told GMTV Sunday that he did not think it an attack was inevitable, but that "the terrorists only have to get through once, as they did on July 7, for us to see the terrible carnage that it causes".

"Our security services have to be successful on every occasion to prevent that happening," he said.

"I try to walk the tightrope between being truthful and honest about the threat to the public but, on the other hand, to say we are doing everything possible to combat it and to try to keep our lifestyle as near as possible to the British way of life."

The Home Secretary added that he thought the battle against Islamic terrorism was likely to last longer than a generation.

Mr Reid's comments echo statements made by last month by Tony Blair and Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, about the rising threat posed by Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. Mr Blair warned that Britain faced a "long and deep struggle" to defeat al-Qa'eda.

The official terror assessment, posted on the Government's Intelligence website, currently rates the threat as "severe" – the second highest level.

"We ought to be very grateful to the people in the security services who work night and day to try to protect us," Mr Reid said.