Friday, July 29, 2005

The Origins of Terrorism: Part II Second Generation Radicals

I'm now on part two of the book, Origins of Terrorism written by many excellent authorities on Politics, Terrorism, Psychology, and History, edited by Walter Reich. This book was written in 1990 and republished in 1998. So far, I can give it an excellent review and it is still quite applicable.

In Part I, Martha Crenshaw wrote about the decision to enjoin terrorism by an organization as being logical and strategic in its planning and operations. Using her concepts, I explored how her ideas applied to current terrorsist operations.

Part II of the book explores different terrorist groups in western countries, like the Bader-Meinhoff group in West Germany, The Red Army of Italy, The Weathermen of the United States, etc, their motivations, their transformation and profile characteristics of the members. It also explores sympathetic communities and why these groups eventually became obsolete.

Based on the analysis of this book, groups do not start out forming from nothing with the express intent on committing terrorist acts. Rather, these groups were second or third manifestations of previous organizations or movements that may have previously attempted to use non-violent, political means to achieve their goals and members of the organization felt that either the methods or the message or both were the cause and needed to be changed, taken to the next step.

One group that they focused on was the development of the Weathermen organization. This group sprang out of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) that had previously come from the civil rights movements of the 50's and early 60's. The SDS had expressly forbidden violent activity in their charter as antithetical to their ideology. Particularly, they were anti-war and protested against the Vietnam War. Part of their over all plan was to develop "democratic institutions" outside of the "establishment" on the basis of the directive in the Declaration of Independence that citizens had the right to abolish and re-establish government when it was unresponsive to the citizens. The book indicates that the original charter of the SDS also prohibited membership of Communists since Communist regimes had proven to be expressly anti-democratic and this was anti-thetical to their cause.

However, as time went on and their stance against the Vietnam War had not gained the popularity and strength it had desired and decided to create a quasi pact with the Communist parties, allowing Communist members to join the SDS in order to boost membership and seal this pact with similar "anti-war" organizations. The SDS eventually was infiltrated and turned into a Communist front group. By 1967, anti-war groups were becoming increasingly in violent contact with police as some elements participated in petty vandalization of property and the police became more impatient and more concerned with the size of the protests. By 1969, this group had split into three factions with different strategies and ideologies.

One such group was the Weathermen who had decided that peaceful methods would not achieve the social and political change they wanted as quickly as they desired. They had also increasingly identified themselves with the pro-violence, black power groups.

The members of this group were white, middle or upper class, college educated or graduated.

The group was forced underground after committing several terrorist acts, inlcuding bombing the Pentagon. Once they were forced underground, the group felt they had committed to a course of action where there was no return and determined to continue to carry out these acts. The group self selected, were extremely paranoid about being captured or infiltrated and, when recruiting members, would insist that the new recruit participate fully in the terrorist activities to insure they were fully committed.

Eventually, the Weathermen broke apart as their techniques did not galvanize the public as they wished, they became more and more concerned with security, and members of the group began to believe that their aims were unachievable.

Looking at our current terrorists, their manifestations and writings, we can clearly see that the Islamist movement did not grow out of a religious ideology on its own, but can be looked at as the second generation of the Pan Arabist movement. This was largely under the banner of socialism in the guise of the Nasserites and Ba'athists and generated such organizations as the Arab League. This movement still exists, but is largely ineffective for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the ethnic, tribal, religious and political diversity of the states involved. Other problems ensued as these socialist governments tried to suppress religion, westernize their economic, social and political structures and homogenize their populations.

The other issues included power sharing, which most of these governments were unwilling to do and affiliation, as most of the socialist governments were clients of the Soviets and others were aligned with Western governments. The issue of Israel and the different approaches to dealing with them was also a separater.

In short, the movement failed. At the same time, Muslim fundamentalism was growing, largely dissatisfied with the anti-religious stance of the socialist governments and the repression of their fellows, as well as continued economic struggles of these countries which the re-enforced the failure of the governments to support their populations. The Islamists, of course, interpreted this as a failure to adhere to their Islamic roots and the failed and decadent western ideas that had infiltrated their culture. This movement was able to assassinate Saddat in 1979 and directly after that, reprisals and repressions took place in Egypt, Syria and Iraq in particular.

Once the Afghan-Russian war began, the Islamists had a place to channel their first battle against western, non-Islamist government.

Zawahiri, in Knights Under the Prophet's Banner, clearly despises the socialist Pan Arabist movements and the secular socialist Palestinian Liberation movements as weak and leading the Muslim brothers away from their true power. He even castigates the Muslim Brotherhood for what he feels is their failure to continue the struggle and their attempts to enter into the political process.

Of course, there are also the issues of co-concurrent movements that cooperate on operations, support, etc. This evening I was watching a movie from 1976 regarding the Entebbe hostage rescue and was reminded that the above mentioned Bader-Meinhoff group, ostensibly an anti-capitalist movement, had participated in the hostage taking with the PFLP. We see the same cooperation with Ba'athist/Islamists in Iraq, the support of the Al Qaida networks by Iranian and Syrian government organizations, the concommittment of Hammas, Fatah, Hizbollah and the PLO. While these are often vague and limited attachments, they still exist.

We may even be seeing the third generation of radicalized groups who even eschew the original constraints of the original Bin Ladenist terrorist actions which had originally attempted to limit actions to "Zionists, Christians and Atheists" with concern for innocent Muslim civillians and now has taken to labeling even Muslims as targets when they don't conform exactly to the terrorists' idea of Islam.

While the book talks about the potential of governments to create more radicals by severe repressive actions, it also talks about why terrorist movements losing the support base they need and eventually fading away because the terrorist organizations attacks alienate and disgust their main support base. We're starting to see that now:

Terror Shifts Muslim Views
US Muslims Issue Fatwa Against Terrorism
Memri: Arab/Muslim Reformists on Terror
Al Jazeera Open Forum: Muslims Discuss Terrorism
Amnesty International Issues Demands on Terrorists and Al Rashad from Arab News denounces the "theologians of terror"
Asharq Alaswat Editorial (largest printed Arabic newspaper in the world): The source of terrorism
Saudi Citizens inform on Top Terrorist
Muslim Mind is On Fire

Most interesting of all...

IRA Orders Members to Lay Down Arms

Now, you may wonder what this has to do with Islamic terrorism. First, it's a recognition by the IRA that terrorism in general is losing it's support because of the nature of the new terrorists. Secondly, if you read winds of change, the IRA has been accused of assisting in training the Islamists and other terrorist organizations around the world. In the past, the IRA would announce its bombing and allow civillians to be evacuated from the area. The new breed is not so well mannered.

There is still a long way to go, but it is likely that Islamists may reach the peak of their support within the decade as information about attacks and attacks themselves within their original support group continue to alienate a once sympathetic community.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Final Review: Over There

Bochco directed and produced Hill Street Blues which I always thought was too much like a bad cop soap opera. I always preferred the NYPD Blue drama because people like Sipowitz reminded me a lot of my own father.

Well, Bochco should have thought about this a little more because, frankly, Over There is over reached, over rated, over stated and, unless some serious changes are made: over.

The characters were flat and stereotypes. The first soldier we see is a black man smoking a joint. On duty. Uh-huh. Don't get me wrong, I don't have the illusion that all over our menn and women in uniform are perfect, but I am quite certain that that image is hardly typical so I suppose that first image was far too typical of post Vietnam concepts of soldiers. Then there was the last part of the episode where the soldiers are on the way to get some home made hooch and end up rolling up over an IED and wounding one. Again, so stuck in the post Vietnam genre of Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and a few other stereo type shows that attempts to portray soldiers as druggies, drunks and just guys searching for a good time while occasionally blowing off some ammo. Oh, and let's not forget the anal, glory seeking officer that is willing to sacrifice his men for a few points and the sargent who suggests that other soldiers would be really happy if he was 'fragged'.

Oiye! Somebody should tell Bochco and the writers that this isn't 1971 and the desert isn't any where near Khe Sahn.

The rest of the characters fit the same pattern. Basically, Bochco tried to present every characters' main characteristics and motivation in an hour. No...less than an hour since I counted six commercial breaks that certainly made the program really more likea 37 minutes. Thus, the characters were extremely flat and unconvincing.

The best part of the program was the approximate 8 minutes of battle.

The other character I was disappointed in one was the helpless, stupid female soldier who was so bent on proving her feminist geist that she yelled at another soldier to get away from her so she could do something herself, giving away her position and endangering her unit. Further, wondering away during battle to go to the bathroom in the middle of a mission, far away from the other soldiers after the sargent had just told another male soldier that looking for privacy could get him killed.

Frankly, I know some female soldiers and none of them would I classify as hyper sensitive idiots.

I understand that there was a Marine sargent who consulted on this program? I'm not sure what areas he consulted on, but I'd like to meet him and find out if he agreed to any of the type casting. The best parts of the program were the uniforms, weapons and the fighting scenes.

Oh, and let us not forget the "insurgent" that wasn't a jihadi but was angry at the US invasion and "forced freedom" and, even though he wasn't a jihadi, he was occupying a mosque and shooting from it. Probably the only other realistic part of the program in which the soldiers were being fired on from that position, but restrained due to PR and the fact that an al Jazeera reporter was inside with the terrorists. Nearly forgot the "security perimeter" the soldiers pulled after the IED. It was just a brief glimpse on the screen, but looked decent.

And, from the previews, it doesn't look like the next episode gets any better. I see soldiers abusing prisoners, possibly participating in an execution while all the new guys stand around and watch implicating themselves in a war crime. That is, after their commander asks for men to be "decoys" and draw out the enemy. Oh, and the stupid female soldier continues to be stupid, incompentent and scared so much that she can't react to being shot at.

I will continue to watch this program, but only because I intend to rip it apart every time that it shows ignorant, inaccurate and stereotypically insulting actions and characters.

Bochco, if you ever read this, please do us a favor and fire the writers or yourself so this program has the possibility of succeeding. I would recommend not trying to develop characters and fight the whole war in 37 minutes.

This gets a one star rating. With a half a star for unknown actors and actresses trying to make a crappy story line work.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Over There IV

Soldiers looking at dead bodies. One says nice shooting and another says the enemy is "smaller than he thought?"

Now looking at half a body that was taken out by an explosive round.

Other female soldier is praying and stupid one with bandaid.

Reporters around and Jihadi guy screaming about "freedom forced on him". Reporter is pissed that they won't let him continue interviewing the guy "it's part of the agreement" and the LT says he violated his agreement and attacked costing the lives of a dozen of his men.

Soldiers sending messages home via video cam. The military censor is being insane (another stereo type or the truth?). Guy was just saying "shitville".

Now, thinking soldier is saying that everyone is savage and monster that kill each other. But he sees the nobility of war. Now he is saying what many milibloggers say which is that they learn to appreciate their wives and family more.

Oops. Next stereo type. Thinking soldier's wife is banging some guy while he sends a message.

Singing soldier making up a song and now singing.

The day is coming
The drums are drumming
If you know one say a prayer
There're Mothers crying
Fathers sighing
War is in the air
Trains are filling up with boys
Who left behind their favorite toys
Their going over there
Some one has to die
(end song)

Sgt threatening soldier over risking lives of men (another stereo type?)

They have a marine sgt consultant?

Now the marijuana soldier is trying to convince them to go make a "moonshine" run.

Now soldier talks about killing a kid who was on guard duty at an arms cache.

Now they just rolled over an IED. That I could see was coming. The guy said to pull over. Now why the hell did they do that? No good reason.

Another soldier is going crazy.

One soldier has his leg half blown off and that was pretty damned graffic.

Interesting the music they are choosing to play.

Medevac as other soldiers pull security perimeter.

That's it.

Lots of stereo types. Acted as if the soldiers were pretty cold about who they were killing but not about their buddy getting blown up.

I don't see any overt heroics.

Anybody else have thoughts on this?

update III Over there

Now the fog of war where the female stupid soldier has wondered off, her gun was accidently explodede by a mortar and they are imagining that she is dead and don't go searching for her.

Jihadis screaming Allahu Akbar and coming out in major attack.

They fight of flanking manouver my jihadis, find stupid chic and now they are attacking through.

Sgt keeps saying not to call him "sir".

Wow. Too many damn commercials.

Over There Live Blogging

Holy Sh*t! Stereo type number six. Black soldier that thinks they are being used and abused by white soldiers.

Female soldier now crying and praying.

Two soldiers now discussing why they joined the military.

Soldier discussing how he signed up for education money.

Other one says that he was "stupid".

Now discussing where to take a shit.

On to jihadists coming out under a white flag if negotiations turn out their way. I am suspicious where this is going (since most of us know).

Black soldier now saying he joined up because he was turned down for a choir and joined in anger.

Female soldier major stupid just went off by herself to take a shit. Jeesh, they are really playing this up. She laid down her weaapon and is in the middle of nowhere. Jihadi motherfucker comes up on her and tries to kill her.

Okay...maybe because I'm a woman, I'm objecting to this. How come they couldn't make one of the guys stupid?

Live Blogging "Over There"

First thing I see is a soldier smoking pot. Not that I think that soldiers are perfect but that is definitely some left over 60's post Vietnam imagery.

Second thing, woman soldier saying good-bye to her kid.

Third thing, which seemed pretty accurate, was guys taking fire from a mosque and they are yelling about al jazeera reporters inside and they are not able to return fire. There is a really pissed of sgt that is angry he's been stopped loss, angry that he has a bunch of FNGs and just freaking angry.

Fourth, Captain comes up to their position in the evening and is almost shot by one of the soldiers. After he leaves, the squad leader says the guy is "Mad Cow" and that the soldier would have been given money by other members of the unit if he'd done it.

Fifth, female soldiers with the group, obviously playing on the "women soldiers are stupid" angle since, as they move up, the one woman soldier can't seem to dig a little fox hole, two male soldiers come to help her and she proceeds to yell at them to get away that she can do it herself and her yelling is so loud it attracts the enemy inside the mosque that proceeds to shoot at them.

Well, how many stereo types can you dish out in the first five minutes of a program?

Thank you Mudville for the link.

Reviews of subsequent Over There episodes and additions to this review can be found at:

Episode I: Live Blog part 2
Episode I: Part 3
Episode I: Final Review
Episode II: Check Point Choke
Episode III: The One Eared Pirate

Origins of Terrorism

If you're wondering why I'm not writing anything profoundly entertaining or deeply philosophical, I am in the middle of reading a book called Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind. It's an interesting book so far, but it definitely reads like an academic primer. It's an amalgamation of several noted authorities in the field of politics, psychology, terrorism and history. This book was first published in 1990 and republished in 1998. It appears to still be valid.

The first chapter is written by Martha Crenshaw, professor of government, Wesleyan University and author of Encyclopedia of World Terrorism; International Encyclopedia of World Terrorism and Terrorism in Context. I have not read any of these books or know anything about the individual authors involved in writing "Origins of Terrorism" so I have no preconceived ideas about where the book is intended to go. So far, the first chapter is a basic primer and starts out by refuting terrorism as an outcropping of social or economic class, but is specifically a logical decision taken by groups as a strategy that is more specifically related to an organizations size, resources and, interestingly, time.

Size and resources as a factor towards "rational" decisions to engage in terrorism is directly related to the size and ability of an organizations opponent, the size and following of the organization (ie, numbers and potential following restricted due extreme positions that are, for the most part, rejected by the majority) and, finally, the organizations perceived ability to make changes socially or politically through non-violent means. The last may be affected by living within or opposing totalitarian or authoritarian regimes that, by nature, are extremely oppressive and brook no opposition, regardless of how moderate, and when regimes enact even more draconian measures in response to terrorism, embed the feelings of hopelessness to effect change.

The issue of time has two points:

1) The terrorist organization feels that time is limited to effect the changes that they wish to occur.

2) The time is appropriate due to political and/or economical instability.

I argued last June and again in October 2004 that the timing of Al Qaida's attack on the US on September 11 was not solely due to their operational constraints.

And what about the timing?

As noted, Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants were not scruffy goat herders without education or understanding of finance. They understood it perfectly well and had been using it to invest money and collect dividends by which to support their own endeavors and launder money. They understood perfectly well the condition of the US economy. The plan had been in place for nearly five years and, yet, had not been unleashed. We could speculate about operational issues and training, etc, but, if we look at the last years of the Clinton administration and the financial indicators, we can see that the US economy was in a "boom". Certainly, an attack would have set us back, but would not have had the impact on a growing economy that it would have on an economy in recession.

With the recovery of August 2001 looming, it was now or never for Al-Qaida to strike and they did. According to some reports, Sheik Khalid had actually tried to get it off the ground in April when the recession had first been called, but that had been postponed due to operational issues. (blue bars on graph are times of recession; provided by US Census Study: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

Of course, this is not the sole factor, but I believe that, if we dismiss the attacks as random or expressly related to operational ability of cells or expressly related to other individual acts, such as the Iraq war, or solely motivated by a political situation, we would be missing the point and thus missing important indicators that should alert us to higher risk of attacks.

I also believe that it is unwise for so called experts to promote the idea that terrorist acts committed by separate cells who call themselves different names are not directly related to a central plan or operation center. For instance, the terrorist cells in England are being touted as if they were stand alone operations that selected the target and dates of the attack based on the cells sole decision. Nor is it likely that their "reason" for the attack was the sole motivator.

There are too many factors that indicate the timing and targets were based on specific plans and recent history and arrests tell us how these cells interact with a central command, approving of operations and essentially "flipping the switch".

First, we have the arrest of Mohammed Noor Khan, the collator and central information dessiminator whose job included taking operational plans, surveillance materials and financial projections, send them up to bin Laden and Zawahiri for approval. He would then forward messages between the cells and bin Laden's "board of directors" to obtain further instructions or directions on accomplishing these operations.

Khan's arrest nor the arrest of other top operations officers does not mean that this type of centralization and direction has disappeared from the greater Al Qaida organization. Reports from Britain also indicate the arrival of a suspected Al Qaida officer two weeks prior to the action and leaving within hours prior to the actual event which points to a central operations director.

The attacks had a multi-faceted purpose and approach.

1) Tony Blair was re-elected but with a diminished majority (even if only slightly).
2) Public sentiment in Britain was continuing to decline on the legitimacy and viability of maintaining an Iraq presence.
3) Attacks in Iraq were losing public support and publicity mainly due to the public becoming ennured to the daily attacks far away from the countries involved and that these attacks were being perceived more and more as products of a local civil war and not part of the political statement of the Islamists against "imperial forces".
4) The G8 was meeting in the country and many political leaders would be a direct witness to the attacks.
5) Live 8 and G8 with commiserate attendees of large audiences and protestors meant that security operations would be split and more vulnerable as well as giving Al Qaida travellers cover to arrive in and out of the country.
6) Trains and buses are part of the economic structure of England as mass transportation is the substantial system through which workers, shoppers and tourists travel to the city, all of which directly affects the finances of London, if not England as a whole.
7) The major strategic impact of attacking otherwise "taboo" targets (ie, civilians in their everyday places) that stirs panic and possibly additional reprisals or depradations against Muslims, thus enforcing in more people's minds the Islamist claim that the war is between the western infidel and Islam.

Thus, covering the entire gamut of strategic endeavors from propaganda, political, financial and psychological.

What I've found interesting over the last several weeks is the continued attempts by "analysts" to place the "cause" of the attacks on only one or two of these strategic points and not the totality or convergence of these points as if al Qaida and its affiliates were too simple to analyze, evaluate and operate based on a larger operational plan.

Further, it cannot be emphasized enough that the members of the first cell did not "spin up" in the last six to twelve months. Mohammed Saddique Khan had lived in Leeds for over four years and Germaine Lindsay had arrived sometime in 2002, very near the time that Tanweer and Hussain began to experience "religion". Al Nashar, who seems to have dropped off the public radar, also moved there in 2000. All of which points to plans for attacks being put in place for several years and held to make the most of multiple strategic purposes.

The attacks in Madrid had similar purposes including affecting public opinion, affecting politics and affecting a financial main stay of Spain: transport.

Looking at these factors may point to where and when the next attacks might take place. For instance, what country has the next upcoming elections? Which country is likely to experience a political turn over that may directly affect how that country deals with terrorism (eg, Germany's conservative party that is more closely related to the US seems to be gathering more support; elections are coming up; are there any political or financially important programs coming up? This doesn't have to be in the next two or three months, but within the next two years. The other country that is at the most risk is Italy since it also is supporting US efforts in Iraq. The question should expand to the financial situation of any of these countries).

The Egypt operation has similar strategic goals. There is political unrest with Mubarek being challenged for top office. Egypt is supporting Iraq and has ties to Israel. The recent kidnapping of an Egyptian envoy (and possible murder) caused Egypt to withdraw its diplomatic mission. They attacked a secured, civilian location that was a tourist attraction, the main economic resource for Egypt.

I believe that the idea being floated today that these groups are simply ideologically sympathetic to Al Qaida and are not controlled by a central directive or strategy with specific intents and operations is a fallacy that is: a) being propagated by Al Qaida in order to throw off searching and destroying the central command structure as well as adding to the fear that there are many more of them than actually exists; b) dangerous to strategic and operational planning by opposition forces that may try to spread its resources to thin to cover all of these possibilities.

I will continue to review the book and give further reports on its points and application.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Brit Reports on Terror War Outside His Back Window

Click on the title and get a first hand report of the war on terror out the back window of a British Citizen as the police grab up a car suspected of being used by the latest round of London Train Bombers. (hat tip: Harry

Art of the Liberated

Don't miss out. John at Castle Argghh! is hosting the Art of the Liberated. He's looking for submissions. Just get your photoshop in order and create images with messages of freedom or supporting the military or proud to be American or anything that supports "Freedom" and send it to ( John.

What are you waiting for? Go make some art!

From England to Egypt to Iraq Constitution

England and Egypt are now inexorbantly linked through terrorism. I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but anyone notice that Al Nashar has disappeared from all airways? You know the chemist that rented out his apartment to Germaine Lindsay, one of the 7/7 train bombers who went to Egypt two weeks prior to the operation, arrested by Egyptian authorities who subsequently cleared him of any attachment to Al Qaida or the bombings? Two weeks later, degraded explosives failed to blow up trains and buses again then a day later, Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.

I wonder what is happening with Al Nashar? I'm not sure if he was involved in the Egyptian activity, but I am going to re-iterate concerns about al Nashar being in the US at the same time as Lindsay in 2000, that they both end up in Leeds and Nashar rents an apartment to him before he subsequently blows up a train with some other fellows from Leeds. Coincidence? Don't think so.

In the mean time, the Egyptian Blogger anti-terrorist protest made it's way into the Guardian. Sandmonkey is excited.

MSNBC covers it a little too, via Glenn Reynolds.

Back to England, Harry has Tony Blair's press conference up, more than what Fox is even showing this morning.

"Not one inch should we give to these people.

"And I want to say this to you - I may offend people when I say this, but I am going to say it nonetheless - September 11 for me was a wake-up call.

"Do you know what I think the problem is? A lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again.[snip]

The prime minister slammed the "obscenity" of people saying it was "concern for Iraq" that drives them to terrorism.

"If it is concern for Iraq, why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them?" he asked.

"What is happening in Iraq is that ordinary decent Iraqis are being butchered by these people with the same terrorist ideology that is killing people in different parts of the world."

Speaking of Iraq, the brothers at Iraq the Model have information up on the draft of the Constitution and women discussing secular vs. religious political participation of women and women in society.

On a quick review of the constitution, I'd say that it has too many contradictions still. It talks about non-discrimination based on sex, creed, ethnicity, etc but later gives the body of laws as deriving from Sharia which is inherently discriminating in its treatment of women and people of other religioins.

It also says that people have a right to free practice of their religion as long as it does not run contrary to law, law which is based on Sharia.

It's as if a secular person wrote one paragraph and a religious party member wrote the next.

Then there is the inclusion as a constitutional right that a person can choose to have their trials in front of a civil court, a tribal court or a sharia religious court. That is far to open and gives people the opportunity to go to three different courts to get three different opinions. Which one takes precedence?

These are just a few of the contradictions.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Egyptian Bloggers Protest Against Terrorism

The blog world strikes again. Egyptian bloggers, both in Egypt and outside, were talking about the bombings in Sharm al Sheikh. Suddenly, almost simultaneously, blogs around the blogworld started talking about protesting against terrorism. Then there were comments and cross posting, IM messages and cell phone calls.

Sandmonkey posted Sunday morning:

I am no fan of heroics nor am I exceptionally brave, but I feel the need to do this. We might all fear evil men who do such evil acts, but there is another evil that we should fear most, and that’s the indifference of good people to evil. We bitch and moan about the tarnished image of Islam and Arabs all over the world and how those bastards who do those things place a stigma on all of us, but we never do anything about it. Well, this is our chance! This is our opportunity to separate us from them. To show the world that we are not like those people, that our religion is not a religion that glorifies death, that such actions disgust and repulse us too. And this does not only apply to Muslims, this is the duty of every peace loving Egyptian to show those bastards that want to isolate us from the world that we all, Christians and Muslims, stand together in condemning these acts.

This was no mean feat. Spontaneous protests in Egypt don't take place without a lot of foot work before hand. Permits, contacts, places to meet and people that will join in and not be afraid of being arrested or harrassed by the police. Even peaceful protests without a political message are feared by the police and government as possible instigators to anti-government riots.

There were many stops and starts.

So this morning I woke up with a number of objectives in mind:

1) Try to rally up support for the protest amongst the Egyptian bloggers
2) Try to get the security clearance problem all worked out.
3) figure out how exactly to make this thing work.

The first was the easiest, and also the greatest disappointment: I wrote what I thought was a "rallying" post and then sent it by e-mail to every single Egyptian blogger I knew or could fine. I figured some of them might actually show some patriotism and show up. The only person that actually replied to me was Mohamed , and me and him kept e-mailing each other back and forth and it seemed that he will show up. I figured as the day went by more people may contact me or say something. They didn't. The Egyptian blogosphere is almost as apathetic as the Egyptian public : Big on words, small on action. Actually when I think about it, that's the problem of our country as a whole. Big Pharaoh proved that too when he called the Hezb el Ghad and Youth for change people and was informed that "such a protest wasn't on their current agenda, since it may benefit Mubarak politically". Weasels. Anyway..[snip]

I spent the majority of the day following up with Najla, who didn't spare any efforts on her part to try and to get us this permit. Our efforts were met with failure every time. And just when I was about to write the whole thing off and while all of this is happening, I end up talking to Dee who received this e-mail regarding the protest and-get this – apparently knew Karim's brother. You know what? For a country of 70 million people, Egypt is freakin tiny. Anyway…

Still, the protestest went on.

So the rest of the squad shows up and we start taking out position on the bridge. We chose a spot that has the Nile in the backdrop. Karim called from the States asking what's going on and I informed him we were taking positions, so he wished us good luck, and informed us he had another friend coming. We then started holding the banners in the view of the incoming and outgoing traffic. People's response was mostly the same: Astonished at first that something like this was happening, and then they showed their support by either honking or giving us the thumbs up. We were getting so many thumbs up I was loving it. The people were with us. Just as I knew they would be.

Read the whole story here.

Also, Big Pharoah in Egypt has his take.

Well, carrying and displaying the "No to Terrorism" sign made me feel soooo good. At last I did something. I felt as if I was poking my finger into the eyes of an ugly terrorist.[snip]

Anyway, the experience was worth it. And I have to admit that the policemen were themselves very supportive. They just followed the usual rule of Egypt's police force: do not allow anything to disrupt the peace no matter how good or bad it is. I just don't understand the logic behind this rule. Why would we allow only the terrorists to be the ones who "disrupt the peace"?

As a famous blogger is want to say, "Indeed."


What's depressing is how little attention these demonstrations got from the media (you'll notice that most of the links above are to blog reports, not news stories). If any of these groups had blown something up -- or even just burned President Bush in effigy -- they probably would have made the evening news. But when Arabs and Muslims defy news-media typecasting, they seem to be ignored.

-Glenn Reynolds

Before I Understood

Several years ago, I lived in Philadelphia. One of my friends was a crispy Brit from up around Manchester. She was in the US on a worker's visa, acting as a nanny for a wealthy Brit couple. We met, believe it or not, at a rodeo. Wendy had learned some line dancing when she still lived in England and had taken to the country and western scene (what there was in Philly), where she eventually met some Navy guys from down south, who eventually introduced her to rodeo, where she eventually met up with an acquaintance of mine, Patricia (Trish). Some how, we all ended up hanging out together. Three wild wenches making the rounds in the Cowboy nightlife.

Someday, I will have to finish writing about "why I am single" so you can hear the rest of those stories that include such things as being pushed around Penn State in a grocery cart, drunk as a skunk or jacuzzi parties at our favorite bartender's house after the bar closed or midnight trips driving down to Virginia to take in the PBR. Well, I don't want to give away all of my mis-spent youth. Suffice it to say that we did many an interesting thing and quite a few that would have caused our parents to cringe had they known what we were getting up to.

Not long before I returned to Kansas City, we were celebrating birthdays. Mine, for those that are unaware, is on St. Patrick's Day. Trish's birthday was only a few days after. Trish and I also shared a common Irish heritage. Well, actually, Wendy's people were originally Irish as well, but had immigrated to Liverpool several generations before to take up work in the factories. However, Wendy did not consider herself "Irish" in anyway. She was English and that was that.

It was coming up on our mutual birthdays and we were deciding what we would do to celebrate them. By this time, we had grown away slightly from spending endless hours at nightclubs, not to mention a rather unpleasant birthday before (okay, an unpleasant "post" birthday anyway). Trish made arrangements for us to see Michael Flatley in the Lord of the Dance [ed..updated from "rings" that's what I was watching when I wrote this..the power of suggestion]. I suggested that we go to a local Irish Pub after that which another friend, Debbie, had recommended where they would serve Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, Irish beer or ale and would have live Irish music.

Wendy was quite adamant that, should we go to an Irish Pub, she would not go with us.

Wendy proceeded to explain that the American Irish pubs were used as fronts to filter money to the IRA that had been placing bombs around England. Trish and I were slightly taken back. We had heard of this vaguely, but never took it seriously. Besides, we said, it had been a long time ago, hadn't it? But, no, Wendy was pretty adamant that she wasn't going to go.

A long story short, we finally convinced her that the US had cracked down on these folks and she needn't be concerned with betraying any principles. She agreed to go, but insisted that she would not sing any songs, in particular "Danny Boy", and she would only drink one beer so as to insure as little of her money as possible went into the till.

It wasn't until years later that I understood how it must have stuck in her craw to come into a place she felt actively supported a terrorist organization that had killed or injured her fellow citizens.

I even wrote about the experience on my birthday this year, reminiscing, amused by her response at the time.

So, about two months ago, a friend of mine invited me to go to this "Mediteranean" restaurant. It was the "Holy Land Cafe". Honestly, when she recommended it, I thought that it was probably run by some Jewish couple considering the neighborhood. But, instead, it was run by a Palestinian family who seemed very nice and smiled as they tried to tempt us with different dishes from behind the counter. As we walked down the glass covered counter looking at some of the cold dishes, my eye was caught by a miniature picture in the lower corner of the mirror behind the counter. Not very big and slightly hidden by the cash register, it was a picture of Arafat and written above the picture in the corner of the mirror at an angle in white colored grease pencil were two words that I couldn't make out right away, but eventually realized said, "al Fatah", in small scripted letters.

Honestly, right that second, I lost my appetitie. I could feel the smile on my face kind of melting away. I didn't know, of course, whether these folks really sent money back to Palestine that might end up in a terrorist's hands and it might be judgemental, but I really couldn't bring myself to eat anything. Maybe they were just nice folks that thought Arafat and al Fatah were the saviors of Palestine and all the money they made was for them here in the US, but I really couldn't make myself do it. It didn't feel right.

So, after two bombings in London this month it reminded me that there are many ways to finance terror.

To my friend Wendy, where ever you are up in Canada these days, my apologies for being an oblivious Yank.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Destroyers

Apparently, Jihad has no limits. It recognizes no barriers. It recognizes no non-combatants. Jihad is, in effect, a declaration of total war against anyone that does not belong to their exclusive group. Even then, they do not place value on their members, but use them as if a single artillery round, a single explosive that is used and discarded. They have already drawn the line between "us" and "them" and the "us" includes every person, not just the people they have spoke about or written in their declarations, the Christians, the Jews, the "Crusaders" as we have been called, but Muslims who do not meet their strict standards or who are considered to be expendable in the course of their cause.

These strict standards they demand for their fellow Muslims are contrived, demanding a single faith, a single mode of worship, only their way.

We need to stand with our Muslim community. It is clear from the times and places of bombings in Iraq, Egypt, Britain, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and many places around the world that it is not simply a war against "Jews and Christians", but a war on Muslims that do not conform to the terrorists' way of thinking.

The terrorists claim to be protecting the Muslim Ummah. They claim that they act on the behalf of all Muslims, yet it is the Muslim community that suffers the most in many places and, even on September 11, they cared not who or what religion any on the planes or in the buildings practiced. Because they choose to live in a modern world, in a free world here, where they can live as they want and practice their religion as they want, they are no more than apostates, sinners and less than people, that can be murdered for the price of a few hundred dollars and the unholy scream of Allahu Akbar in the name of an unprincipled and evil idea perpetuating itself as "Jihad".

There is nothing holy in the killing of innocents. This is not the command of God, whether he is Allah, Yaweh, or God. That is solely the domain of man. This Jihad they have proclaimed is falsely attributed to protecting Muslims when it is in fact a war committed by a sect of Islam in an attempt to gain political power and control vast populations and resources. They will not honor any Muslim practice that does not fit with their idea of Salafi Wahhabism. Even that is a misnomer since they have perverted the faith of millions to serve their obvious earthly and human desires for power and dominion over others.

Our Muslim brothers should understand that it is not the Christian or the Jew that seeks their destruction and remaking in our image, but within their own community these thugs and terrorists wish to destroy everything and remake it in their image. An image of violence and death. An image without joy. An image without freedom to search and find the truth, to search and find God. The Muslim community is at risk as these men continue to demand that these communities are strained and those that do not follow them will be murdered. It is within these communities that these evil cultists are seeking out the youth and calling them to destroy people and to destroy themselves in the name of a false ideology.

It is high time that we stand together and call these men what they are: murderers, thieves and liars.


Condolences to the family and friends of all those who were injured and killed.

See also:

Sandmonkey: I Have Had It!
Big Pharoah: This is Egypt You Dogs of Hell!
Hellme: Excuses
Iraq the Model: Baghdad to London to Sharm el Sheikh
Iraqi Expat: Your Silence is Killing Me

Friday, July 22, 2005

Conflicting Images: Muslim Americans

Yesterday, the conflicting images of Muslims could not have been brought home to me more than in the two minutes I spent standing in line at the local Kinko's.

Thursday, July 21, I had woke up at around 5 AM and began watching the news, discovering that more bombs had gone off in London. The fact that I was up at 5 AM would surprise most people that know me. I'm not a morning person, but I did had some things to see to and I wanted to get an early start.

Even before this Thursday, I had been thinking that the Muslim community in England must be feeling more and more squeezed from both sides of the spectrum. The two sides being the British liberal society under attack by Muslim extremists pressuring the Muslim community to do more to help combat or identify terrorists in their midst and the other side the Islamists, possible terrorists, that are pressuring them to mind their Muslim identity, reject the liberal lifestyle they are confronted with and, if not actively, then passively resist the British government and its blandishments.

One could imagine that there are some Muslims that feel that they are being unduly pressured from both sides and that they would rather not be involved, would rather not act like they have "a horse in this race", would rather continue their quiet lives, working, praying, playing, eating, enjoying their family and, probably surprising to many, to continue to live their anonymous lives.

Just like non-Muslims.

Increasingly, as the war goes on, Muslim citizens will find themselves even more pressured, even more squeezed in the middle and asked more and more from each side to take a stand.

Until now, western governments have really attempted to keep the attention and the pressure from the Muslim communities, to, in a real sense, trying to keep them as a whole on the side lines of the fight, neither identifying them as actors nor controllers of the situation. We have quietly told them we need their help, but we have not actively pointed to them as a part of society that we need to worry about. While many understand that it is from this contingent that the terrorists have come or resided in, to some extent, the government has been, up til now, able to insure that the Muslim community is not completely and disasterously identified with the terrorists.

There are many reasons for this and some that many people decry as impossible or even ill advised. The first would be to insure that a minority group in the United States is not subject to discrimination and vigilantism. The second is to insure that the rule of law and only the law within the United States is applied to identify potential threats, interdict and prosecute. The rule of law is something that we defend and, losing it means that we have allowed the terrorist enemies to accomplish one of their goals: to destroy the very basic fabric of our society showing that laws created by man and not by God are corruptable and disposable.

The second reason we have been on this path is to counter the primary stated goal of Islamists: to separate the world into Dar al Harb (the House of War or the enemy) and Dar al Islam (the House of Islam or all Muslims). The strategy that the Islamists are using can be clearly seen in Iraq and continues to make its presence known in Britain. They understand the Muslim community very well. They understand their fears, their complaints and they understand their religion. All of these things they use when gathering recruits and planning operations.

Some have pointed out that the London attacks were perpetrated on transport systems in areas that are predominantly Muslim. Certain experts and other commentaters have said what I have been thinking that exploding bombs near these communities had a four fold strategic purpose:

1) They would blend in entering and leaving the trains
2) Attacks might convince some in the Muslim community to believe that they were targeted because they have not been Islamic enough which may convince some to revert to more pious behavior in hopes to avoid attacks.
3) Attacks might convince some in the community that their worst fears have been realized and that the British government posed or perpetrated these attacks to target them as minorities or because the government is ultimately biased and bigotted against them. (For those that question this possible response, I would say that one should be aware of the multitude of conspiracy theories surrounding such things as the 9/11 attacks which many still claim was a product of Mossad, that the Jews were told to leave or that, even worse, the US government conspired with Zionists to kill its own citizens, blame it on Muslims and thus give an excuse to attack them)
4) To cause the government to behave even more stringently, restrictive and repressive against Muslims, further separating the Muslim community from the rest of their fellow citizens in the country. Thus, fence sitters will be convinced that the Islamists were right all the time.

This morning as I watch the news, I hope very much that the man the British police shot was really one of the perpetrators from yesterday or involved in the 7/7 attack or planning another attack today or had any definitive links to terrorists. If not, I guarantee that the Islamists in Britain will make this out to be the British government intent on discriminating and targeting all Muslims and Asian/Arab people. When they first announced the "shoot to kill" order, I thought that, if I was a Muslim in England right now I would feel like I had a giant target on my back. If there is no good probable cause for this man's shooting, being as he was shot 5 times while down on the ground (per witnesses), this will be touted as an execution.

I shudder to think what the response is going to be from certain parts of the public and not just the Muslim/Arab/Asian community.

As we go on, we may find that the Islamists have chosen the correct strategy of drawing a line in the sand and proclaiming that Muslims must choose a side: with or against. The Islamists are gambling on our responses to attacks pushing the Muslims away and the inherent "Muslim Brotherhood" attitude to bringing them in. We may have to ask the question of our Muslim citizens that we would prefer to not ask, prefer to "believe" that they are citizens and that their loyalties always fall there first.

I honestly hope that we do not do what the British have done. I mean that to mean I hope that we continue to act within the US with the same calm and "due process" towards finding and detaining terrorists and that I do not hear that we have publicly announced "shoot to kill" orders for snipers following our citizens around.

Maybe we do and we simply haven't announced it yet. Maybe I have my head in the sand and am pretending that it isn't possible that we would have such a secret order. Of course, I understand in the course of police work when confronting a suspect, that suspect may become violent and resist to the point where the officer feels it necessary to shoot. But, that doesn't mean the officer is thinking that his first order is to shoot and it is usually based on a commiserate amount of known threat. If the assailant has a gun, then the officer can consider his life in extreme danger. If the assailant has a knife, the officer may be able to stand off and convince the assailant to lay down his weapon, but if a lunge or other attack move is made, the officer can consider his life in extreme danger. The assailant picks up some blunt object to use as a weapon, see the knife explanation. The assailant has only his bare hands, the officer is probably expected to wrestle the man to the ground and only consider using his weapon if he is in a position where the assailant can over come the officer, severely injure him or even take away his gun and use it against him.

In most states, if the assasailant runs away and is not actively shooting at the officer, even if the assailant is armed, officers are not allowed to shoot. Other states have the added rule "unless the assailant may pose an immediate threat to the population if he evades police".

This is commonly known as the "Texas rule" which has had mixed results and mixed feelings from the population.

In Britain, a couple of days ago, they pronounced the "Texas rule" was in effect.

In a conflicting image, on Thursday, after watching the bombings on TV, I went off to Kinko's to fax some paperwork. I was standing in line for two minutes behind two other people. One an elderly lady getting an old music book rebound with a spiral spine. The second was an Asian or Middle Eastern lady, dressed in long pants and long sleeved shirt that was not tucked into her slacks and she was wearing the hijab (long scarf over her hair and pinned beneath her chin).

She was there to fax something as well. As we stood in line, someone at the desk called for the next customer. She apparently did not hear him. I say "hear" because I know it was not an issue of language barrier. As we stood there a few more seconds, I noticed that she was looking off towards the back of the store absent mindedly and must not have heard the customer service representative. I leaned forward and touched her on the shoulder, saying near her ear, "Excuse me, ma'am, I believe he's ready for you."

She seemed startled and turned to me with a quizzicle look on her face. I gestured towards the man behind the counter. She looked over at the desk and then turned back to me, "Oh. Thank you."

"No problem," I replied half smiling and she returned the same half smile, slightly flustered, before walking over to the counter.

I couldn't help but think a few minutes after the exchange and the noise from the radio in the background re-assembled itself in my ears into a news broadcast about the bombings, it must take a real act of courage sometimes to go out, looking differently, looking "Muslim" on the day that the second London bombing occurred. At the same time I thought, this must be the way to insure that the Islamists do not get their wish that we do not separate our Muslim community from us as "us" and "them". All it takes to combat it is one moment of kindness and common courtesy.

I am hoping, of course, that this continues to be my response. The first response that I can always give to every citizen. The response that says we live in a civilized society and our expectations are that our fellow citizens behave the same way and have no intent to harm each other as a normal practice in our society. That common courtesy continues to be the standard, not the exception.

If it isn't, I suspect that the way the war is going has changed dramatically.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Secret Agent Joe

Okay, I've avoided writing on the subject for sometime, but I found this via Donklephant at Huffingtonstoast and had a good laugh:

Let’s get a few things straight.

Yes, I sent Joe to Niger. No, I am not so stupid I thought he would actually learn anything. I just needed a break.

Ever since his last assignment, he had been sitting around the house in his navy blazer and grey slacks, watching home improvement shows and infomercials, and working on his pocket square collection, and I just wanted him OUT.

Go on. Go read and be amused. That's if you have any sense of humor.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jihad Begins At Home

For most of us, there is a strange anamoly, a disconnect that arrives from the voices of "representatives" of the Muslim communities in the US. That disconnect comes from hearing an important spokesman for these groups condemn the attrocious bombings of civilians and then turn immediately to what sounds suspiciously as apologies or explanation or, worse yet, sympathy. It is the "but" that echos most loudly in our ears, not the condemnation.

I feel the same "but" echo in my own thoughts about the intentions or feelings of our Muslim communities.

In a recent interview with family members and friends of the bombers of London, I felt that same disconnect and wondered if anyone else noticed that, as the family members, particularly parents, continued to insist that their children did not hold extremist views and could not have done such a thing, the friends of these same young men were insisting that the men were angry about Iraq and one even expressed views that seemed to cheer their activity: blowing up innocents because they believe that "100,000" Iraqis had been killed by the Coalition.

As I read I realized that this was not some odd phenomenom, some parents being totally duped by their children. The fact is, these men continued to behave as they always had. Children can hold secrets from their parents, but it is often because the parents didn't want to see or did not find their behavior odd with in the context of their family. Neither did these families find it odd that their children, having grown in the west and having access to a mosque and other Islamic learning centers in England, would prefer to go to Pakistan to undertake their religious training. They did not find it odd even though they must know what Pakistan is like, that Islamists abound and that the Pakistani forces and Coalition forces are fighting on the borders with "extremists".

One would think, if you were from France and France was rife with shootings and bombings, however one might want your child to go back and enjoy the Sobborne and coffee on the Seine, would you send your child back to such a place? And if the Sobborne was noted as run with "radical revolutionaries" who were capturing whomever they felt was an "enemy" and sending them to the guillotine or convincing them to join their merry band of cutthroats, why would you?

One might subscribe to the theory that it is an act of pure naivety, imagining some pure place of your youth where life was simple and simple values could be taught. Even then, the claim of naivety must be replaced with the charge of ignorance. Willful even.

Let me be straight. I do not blame these parents for their children blowing up trains. I merely want to point out how the road to suicide bombings in the name of Allah is not some short stop at a madrassa with instant brain washing. Even in two months, this cannot be an accurate depiction of how suicide bombers and other jihadists, hoping to go to war, make this transition. It is not some sharp decline or assension to this ideology.

Like racism and other bigotries, the ideas that begin the path of jihadism begin at home, in the bosom of the family. A recent specialist in human psychology stated that "cults" are able to gain adherents by looking for people "in transition". This seems to be true based on some interviews. Still, in the midst of this "transitional" period, it is not a transition away from everything one ever believed, but a short step from the fence which they are walking with an idea that has been held for a while.

Where do these ideas come from? Do parents throw away their control completely and imagine that it occurred outside their sphere of influence?

I was not completely surprised to hear the parents say, "He holds no extremist views." Having traveled the web and forums, meeting many from different backgrounds and points of views, I believe I can honestly say that jihad begins at home. You see, what we would consider "extremists" they may find to be regular discourse. What they consider "extremist" is actually stating people should be killed. They don't imagine all the little things they say and do have already begun paving the path to jihad.

To Tanweer's parents, talk at the dinner table or around the TV about the terribleness of Iraqi civilian casualties at the hands of the coalition or at the hands of the mujihadeen "because the coalition is there" is not "extremist". Talk about the destruction of Fallujah as a "massacre of the undeserving civilians" is not extremist. Talk about coalition forces being in Arab/Muslim lands as "illegal" or "unwarranted" or "an insult" to Muslims is not "extremist". Talk about the alleged massacres of Palestinians at the hands of the "Jews" and dismissing the attacks of Palestinian homicide bombers against civilian Israelis as "what else can they do" is not extremist. Talk about the Jews being in control of governments, banking, media and purposefully insulting and inciting Muslims or planning Muslim destruction is not "extremist". Discussions theorizing the attacks on September 11 were perpetrated by the Mossad or that all the Jews stayed home that day because they knew or that the US did it to itself and then made up men like Osama bin Laden or Zarqawi to justify going to war, is not "extremist".

And, you can bet, in Muslim homes around the US and Europe these discussions go on. One would think that such theories and discussions go on in homes in Saudi Arabia or Syria or some other place where information is hoarded and controlled, not in a country where travel is not restricted, where information is free and open.

But it does. And more than the average non-Muslim American or European might be comfortable admitting to or finding out.

I would be remiss if I did not say that some of these very conversations go on in non-Muslim homes and between non-Muslim citizens of our countries. Many people are quick to point out Timothy McVeigh and Eric Randolph as examples of Christian American born bombers in order to mitigate the problems within the Muslim communities. One must wonder, when these are mentioned, if anyone would equate 169 Oklahomans with 3000 Americans and any number of different nationalities, races and religions destroyed by Islamic homicide bombers? Further, there are far less Timothy McVeighs and Eric Rudolphs than there are Hussains, Khans, Tanweers and even Lindsay Germaine.

So, as distasteful and sad as it must be to say it, it is within these communities, the daily dialogue and practices of our Muslim communities, that we must be most concerned with today. And, it is within the family that the first paving stone is laid on the road to Jihad.

What else was significant in the latest interviews was the information that these young men had become "more religious" in the last few years. What parent would ever normally see their children adhering more closely to their religion and their tenets of faith and culture ever see this as a possible threat? Most must feel happy that their children are not being seduced by materialism, sex, drugs and raunchy music. Of course, if this is happening outside of the family pervue without direct guidance by parents and discussions about what it means, entails or expectations of what it is used for it leaves children vulnerable to all sorts of hunters preying on the young in the moment that they are trying to find their feet and their way.

This happens in non-Muslim families, too. This is how cultists collect their followers. However, saying that it does not mean that Muslim families should not look into what their children are doing and who they are seeing or what they are saying.

To do less means that one might wake one day to find your children are strangers on a bus or a train, killing people in the name of false ideals and demagogues, leaving you but a picture on a security camera and parts of their bodies that can only be identified by shards of flesh and DNA verification.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Update on Analysis: Connections

On my last analysis I indiated that it was Hussain that had some distant relation to a terrorist cell that was rounded up in England in 2004. I was incorrect. They are now reporting that it was Mohmmed Saddique Khan. This makes sense considering he is the one that most likely recruited Hussain and Tanweer. According to reports, MI-5 new about him but had labled him "no threat".

Further, Egyptian authorities contnue to insist that Nashar has no connections with Al Qaida or this group. A member of his family has insisted that Nashar only "rented" his apartment to the young men in question (Germaine Lindsay?). Forensics indicate that the explosives were mixed in the bathtub of that apartment. They are also insisting that he has no links to extremists or had ever expressed any "extremist" views.

However, aside from the "rented" apartment, other "coincidences" seem to link him to the men involved.

  • He was in the US in 2000 at the same time as Germaine Lindsay
  • Lindsay mysteriously moves to Leeds where Nashar lives
  • He "lives" at the apartment that Nashar "rented" to him
  • He has a degree in chemistry

    These are either some of the strangest coincidences anyone has experienced or they are very good links to extremist groups.

    I expect that the US is looking into Nashar's "missing" time in the US and trying to link him physically with Lindsay or with people that were linked with Lindsay.

    Egyptian officials may be repeating Nashar's claims as not being involved for a number of reasons. The first may be that he has some very good connections within the government given his relations with the Research Center. The second may be linked to this as the government will want to avoid looking like it had an extremist within an agency (not the first time) to save face. Third, they may be doing it because they do suspect that he has connections and that he has other connections within the government that helped him and is part of this conspiracy so they are hoping to keep these people from "running" while they investigate who he knows and what he knows. This may be subterfuge. The fact that they continue to hold him for so long while repeating these claims indicates they are still interrogating him which means they don't believe him.

    Issues surrounding where he would be "tried" if it comes to that, whether England or Cairo, might be because their interrogation methods would not hold up in an English court (confessions under duress or torture are in-admissable). It maybe to save face and insure no other information comes out that might damage them. it maybe because some one he knows is pulling strings and is sure they can help control his trial.

    Further information is sure to be forth coming, if slow, in the next week or 10 days.

  • Saturday, July 16, 2005

    War on Terror: Connections

    London, Pakistan, Egypt, Jamaica, Newark, Cleveland, Las Vegas

    The July 8th analysis has proven to be correct in nearly all of the substantive points with a few exceptions. The BBC has provided a round up of the essential pieces of the story. Information is flowing in and at a pace where it is difficult to keep track of the story points and put all of the information together in a time line or evaluate their connectivity. However, some information appears to not only connect these men with each other or with terrorist groups, but also with previous thwarted or identified terrorist plots and targets.

    The Four Bombers

  • Three bombers have been to Pakistan within the last two years
    • Khan December 2004: cover story was to visit or care for his ailing father or his business
    • Hussain July 2003: for "religious studies"; information supports studying at a madrassa run by the Lashkar e Talib (also spelled Lashkar e Tayyabe)
    • Tanweer January 2005: for "religious studies"; information supports studyng at madrassa run by the Lashkar e Talib (unknown if it was the same as Hussain)

  • Three bombers were born British citizens of Pakistani descent
  • Fourth bomber, Lindsey Germaine, was placed on the US Terrorist Watch list within the last six months over the course of another investigation (links to be reviewed shortly)
    • Germaine was born in Jamaica, a British Commonwealth member
    • His placement on the terror watch list due to his name appearing during an investigation of another plot was probably compounded by trips to Pakistan or Afghanistan.
    • US officials note that he had traveled to the US, specifically Cleveland, OH in 1999 and one other destination
    • Information on this suspect is scarce and may be so for reasons of an ongoing investigation in the US to his links and possible conspirators here

    The question remains, aside from all of them living in Leeds area, how did they become connected?

    Meeting Places

  • Hamara Muslim Youth Center, Leeds: local witneses indicate that Khan, Hussain and Tanweer were seen going in and out of the center and, when inside, would "close" the center with a sign indicating "out to lunch"
    • Computers were taken from the site as well as other material

  • Bookstore, Leeds: Sold Islamist books, pamphlets and other materials
    • This was executed simultaneously with the Hamara raid which tends to lead to separate information making each of these a site of interest instead of one place leading to the other (for instance, since Hamara was raided simultaneously, it is unlikely that material there led to the bookstore)
    • Information that led to bookstore was probably generated by one or more of the following:
      • Receipts or tranactions recorded on one or more of the suspects "cash cards"
      • Materials found at bombing site with name of bookstore on it
      • Materials found at homes of suspects with name of bookstore on it
      • Information from relatives or friends about places the suspects frequented or talked about

    • Aside from selling "Islamist" documents and possible "frequenting" of similar places, investigation may be leaning towards bookstore as a communication hub for other possible cells or outside resources
      • Expect to see computers, email accounts, customer lists, shipping manifests and ordering slips to be investigated to evaluate connections outside of the four bombers

  • Apartment in Leeds, rented by Nashar, the suspected bomb maker and/or procurer, was the "bomb factory"
    • Reports indicate Germaine was staying at this address

    Bringing the Cell Together

  • Hamara Youth Center
    • Mohammed Saddique Khan had keys to the Hamara Youth Center
      • Most likely had long standing relationship with the center
      • Expect to see investigation of any board members, activity leaders and other known characters at this site for widening circle of potential support, recruitment and procurers

    • Hussain went to Pakistan "first"
      • Hussain became "religious" first and was probably approached at the Hamara center sometime in early 2003 (before the Iraq war?)
      • Recruited by Khan? or another member or person that "hung out" at the center?
      • Information says he was unable to complete what equates to a "high school diploma" requirements for neither secondary schooling nor a trade school and had been in trouble with the law prior to and just after he began his "religious training". Probably points to his anger and disillusionment with the system.
        • Other would be recruits and documentaries point to "recruiters" find young men (and women) who have problems, emotional or familial, such as anger, dissapointment, sadness or a basic desire to become "better" and convince them to turn "more closely to Allah". They operate very similar to recruiters for other well known cults who base their abilities on giving the person a sense of purpose, accomplishment, membership, goals and rewards.

      • Most likely recommended to a contact in Pakistan before traveling there or was sent with a "letter of introduction" or other form of recommendation to study with the Lashkar e Talib
        • Reports regarding other "jihadist" traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan all the way back to the Russian-afghan war in the 80's indicate that "recruits" are often told where to go and who to ask for when they get there

    • Tanweer was Hussain's "friend"
      • Most likely recruited into the circle by Hussain who introduced him to Khan
      • Khan most likely did the same for him as for Hussain and recommended who and where to go

  • Nashar and Germaine
    • Nashar studied Chemistry at the Universtiy of North Carolina in the United States for one semester in 2000 (appx 6 months)
    • Nashar had an apartment rented near the campus for 13 months
      • Investigation trying to establish what he was doing for seven months in between.
      • Very likely that it was at this time he was recruited into an Islamist group.
      • Would check North Carolina U for known Islamist groups on campus and associations with Nashar
      • Outside chance that he was recruited prior to studying in NCU and sent there for the specific purpose of learning chemistry for advanced bomb making
        • Missing seven months may indicate that he was working with another cell or helping to train and set up a cell for future attacks
        • Highly Speculative: May have been the consult on the September 11 attacks regarding volatility, explosive and incendiary nature of jet fuel. Original video of Osama celebrating attacks seemed to indicate that they did not expect the buildings to fall but had expected very large explosions and a lot of fire
        • Other information from Mohammed Shiekh Khan, alleged mastermind of attacks, was that, while a cell was being set up in 1999, approval for attacks did not come until late '99 or 2000 as there were still questions about the viability of such attacks
        • Speculative and more likely, his time in country coincides with travels of Lindsey Germaine, linked to plan to blow up Brooklyn Bridge. It is likely that Nashar was recruited as the bomb maker or was the person that taught these men how to make said bomb.

      • Change in venue indicates that he was either recruited at NCU and was recommended to leave there for Leeds in order to avoid observation or that he was there temporarily as part of another cell or plan, using NCU as his cover, transfering to Leeds on orders from an operations officer to assist with planned attacks in England
        • Expect investigation to show Nashar has long standing relationship with known Islamist groups but has managed to stay under the radar by not being directly involved or in coming into places and leaving long before operations to insure "plausible deniability" as he is attempting to do with his trip to Egypt two weeks prior to the operations in London. He has probably traveled on the context of "doing business" for the Egyptian center he belongs to or for "seminars" in completing his doctorate.
        • Expect to investigate connections to Jihad al Islamiyah, the Egyptian Jihad organization that Zawahiri blended with Al Qaida in 1998 and is most likely how Nashar became attached to an Islamic group and was moved to the US for operations purpose, likely to have played a support role in multiple cells, both interdicted and still active within the US

      • Nashar moved to Leeds area in October 2000

    • Lindsey Germaine

    All Roads Lead to Pakistan and Al Qaida

    Based on all information, traveling and relationships, it is apparent that the men were being directed by an operations officer outside of England who may have even been only a secondary link to the main operations officers and planners in Pakistan. At least three men traveled there directly and the fourth man, Germaine, had relationship with a Pakistani terrorist in Ohio who was fingered by KSM, a Pakistani and Chief Operations officer of Al Qaida. It is likely that Nashar has the most contact with operations planners and probably has a lot of information about prior and on going terrorist plots in the US and Europe in particular as he appears to be a floating "support" person.

    Germaine most likely laid low somewhere until he could contact Nashar or another operative and be put in touch with Nashar. Of the other three bombers, Khan was also the likely "senior" contact with an outside operations officer and it was this operations officer that brought Nashar and Khan together. Khan then proceeded to recruit Hussain and Tanweer to fill out the cell with "foot soldiers". During Tanweer's visit to Pakistan, Pakistani intelligence believes that he was in contact with an operative responsible for the 2002 bombing of a church near the US Embassy in Pakistan.

    Further connections, though only mentioned briefly, was that Hussain may be distantly related to a man arrested in the 2004 round up of 13 men suspected of planning to bomb the transit system in London. This cell and its plot were uncovered after the arrest of Mohammed Noor Khan in Pakistan in late 2003, the suspected "computer expert" for OBL who was accused of maintaining a website, acting as the electronic "messenger" between leaders and operatives. The men arrested were found on Khan's "address list" and identified as he made contact with them for several months after his capture on behest of the Pakistani Intelligence agency.

    According to information, he acted as a collater and "clearing house" for information on possible operations from field officers. On his computer, intelligence officers found plans for attacks on London, the Prudential Financial building in Newark, NJ, and casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada. Which led to the increased terror alert in September 2004, prior to the elections. Democrat party members and news sources were quick to point out the information was "old" based on dates of the video and other documents as being at least three years old at the time. They portrayed the raising of the terror alert as part of a strategic move by President Bush to influence the elections.Three of the men arrested in the British sweep of 13 men in 2004 were charged in April 2005 with conspiring to attack the Prudential Financial building and other landmarks.

    Videos found in Madrid in 2002 regarding Las Vegas were collaborated by the info on Khan's computer as were videos from an ongoing Detroit terror cell case. The Detroit four were convicted in June 2003 but the convictions were later thrown out stating exculpatory evidence was withheld and that key witnesses lied on the stand. The, arrests, trials and convictions were accomplished prior to Khan's capture. The verdicts were thrown out before the information from Khan's computer was deciphered and collaborated with other investigations.

    The details from the August 2004 arrest of and subsequent detention of 8 of the 13 arrested appears to show surviellance of Heathrow Airport, the transit system and other targets that are dated as far back as 2000 and 2001.

    Al-Nashar, being held in Cairo on suspicion of involvement in the July 7th, 2005 London attacks, arrived in England October 2000.

    According to authorities, an "al Qaeda operative" arrived in England two weeks before the bombing and left several hours prior to the operation. Based on eye witness reports and the time lapse between the three train bombings and the bus explosion, authorities are speculating that Hussain, who blew up the bus, originally had as his target King's Cross North Line Train. They believe his plan was thwarted when he discovered that the train line had been shut down. According to information the line had been closed since at least October 2004 due to a train derailment in the "tube" which means that the surveillance information used to perform the operation was "old".

  • Monday, July 11, 2005

    Enemy At The Gate: The Minority Dance

    Aside from military endeavors abroad to attack the ideology of fanatical, nihilist Islamist and exporting the idea of liberal republic democracies, within our own borders, the danger exists.

    It should be clear that what many have said is true: we have a large Muslim minority within the United States. Three million, by most estimates. This minority has demonstrated what many immigrants have done in the United States, to be independent, prosperous and productive citizens. This is hardly a plattitude or wink towards mulitculturalism. It is a fact. If it weren't a fact and a large part of the population was in anyway bent on joining their extremist brothers across the sea in destruction, it would be a bloody country right now with vigilantism, internments, mass deportations and destruction.

    But they aren't. What there is, however, is a multitude of ideas and practices that, in many ways, reflect American society` and many immigrant populations before, as a whole. Some citizens do not practice their faith at all. Some simply recognize holy days and time to spend with their families. Some practice the basic tenets of their religion, but intersperse their lives with liberal living, free association and living within the frame work of open society. Some are more traditional, adhering as strictly as they can to Islamic tenets and prefer to associate within their own communities. From within these multitudes, a political voice has sprung up in the population represented by such entities as CAIR, MAS and other smaller organizations.

    It is unfortunate that it is within all of these differing communities that extremism and potential violent threats can arise from an even smaller, even minute, part of the minority.

    Many have pointed to the origins and conduct of the original 19 hijackers from September 11 as proof that it is not within these communities that extremism comes, but from the outside and that these hijackers made special effort to not associate with the Muslim communities or portray any real adherence to their own religious practices. This is quite true and the men went out of their way to hide themselves, not within the Muslim community, but totally separate and behaving as a secularized liberal citizen of our country.

    But, history tells us that this is an abboration and that extremists can and do exist within constructed Muslim communities. The first World Trade Center was perpetrated by men who immigrated to the US on false passports, took up residence within large Muslim enclaves and used a residing Islamist cleric and mosque in Brooklyn as their center for coordination. Men already in country were to be the co-conspirators and one was arrested for for killing Rabbi Kahane with an assualt rifle also procured by a local as well. The killing of Rabbi Kahane has never been associated with Islamist terrorism but has always been reviewed as "murder" regardless of the perpetrator's ideology or purpose.

    The reason, of course, that Ramsi Yousef and Shiekh Rahman were classified as "criminals" was because we had failed to recognize the danger and. certainly, no one wanted to inflame differences within the two disparate communities.

    As time has gone on, and discounting the deep cover which the September 11 hijackers operated under, many of the terrorist rings and actual terrorist attacks within Europe have evinced from established, insular, traditionalist Muslim communities.

    It does not mean 9/11 type cells cannot be present within the US, but it does mean that the threat does not eminate from these types of organizations alone.

    There is danger in recognizing this threat and voicing it outloud in any security statement or official release. That danger is the possibility of alienating these communities and lending to prejudicial and persecutorial activities against them, regardless of how small the threat may be and how few the numbers involved. Even experts cannot agree on how large the threat is, how radicalized any part of the population may be and whether inflammatory rhetoric within these enclaves has actually created, on any notable scale, persons willing to act. Unfortunately, we know that it takes very few people to kill tens if not thousands of our citizens.

    In free, liberal republican democracies, it is a natural act to secure the safety and liberty of even its minority populations, protect their political rights such as free speech. At the same time, these natural inclinations abutt the over all government role of securing the nation and the rest of its citizens.

    To ignore the possibility or play it too low also presents its own negative connotations such as allowing extremist rhetoric to expand within these communities and possibly render a larger more insidious problem as time goes on.

    The most obvious answer would be to engage these communities and Muslim citizens directly with awareness programs that highlight extremist ideology and the dangers to their youth, children and community as a whole, much as what has been attempted with drug awareness and anti-gang prgrams. Unfortunately, these programs with drugs and gangs have their own problems that bleed into the Muslim communities, as is highlighted by the existence of such organizations as "CAIR". Communities where police and other authorities are not looked upon as protective organizations to keep order and assist the citizens, but instead are looked upon as persecuting those citizens in these communities for ethnic or other prejudicial reasons.

    With crime from gangs and drugs still high within the United States, these programs must be seen as less than successful and highly incomplete. Outreach programs and information programs do not receive as much time, budget or thought. Further, there is a fear that "targeting" these communities with information via regular channels, such as TV and radio, may actually incite prejudice and hate crimes from without as such information would be seen by non-community/ethnic/other religionists as possibly re-enforcing their own bigotry.

    It is a fine line that free societies that are ideologically set up to protect minorities are loath to walk.

    The question is, what is the United States doing to openly engage these communities?

    CAIR and other organizations are on the offensive as they feel that any activity by the government to undertake such activities in any form outside of "channels" established by these larger political groups are, on their face, prejudicial and persecutorial already, "demonizing" the minority, thus hamstringing the government and causing an even narrower funnel through which communication passes, slowing the effort and possibly even sowing a greater disconnect from citizens, guests and government. This is even further complicated by organizations such as CAIR having their own political agenda directly related to the Palestine-Israel conflict, Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, and immigration among other foreign and domestic policy issues.

    These issues are also apparent in reverse. CAIR's political aspirations and agenda often complicate their message from the Muslim community to the greater American citizenship, lending to discontent with Muslim reaction and suspicion of motives or allegiance.

    Thus we continue in the post 9/11 world and in the wake of terrorist attacks around th world, doing a delicate minority dance while we look for answers to our security.

    Enemy At The Gate and Open Door Policies

    A foreign service blog highlights two important concerns in the war on terror. The Daily Demarche is a blog written by "underground" conservative Foreign Service personnel. They refer to themselves as "undergroungd" because conservative views on foreign policy, regardless of current administration, are not widely accepted at the State Department.

    The first post from July 7th discusses identifying the enemy and their aims, referencing an open letter from ex Mossad chief Efraim Halevi:

    We are in the throes of a world war, raging over the entire globe and characterized by the absence of lines of conflict and an easily identifiable enemy. There are sometimes long pauses between one attack and another, consequently creating the wrong impression that the battle is all over, or at least in the process of being won.

    There are those who want to deny we are at war or believe that this war can be averted through appeasement and acquiescence to certain demands that I have recently heard referred to as "reasonable" by Tamimi Azzam of CAIR on an interview on MSNBC Friday, July 8th. Of these demands, Tamimi sites such things as Western (infidel) military forces leaving the Holy Land of Saudi Arabia, replacing "corrupt" governments with "just" governments that adhere to Islamic law insuring the rights of their Muslim people and giving the Palestinians back their land. Of course, there are several problems and contradictions with his demands which could be highlighted as not exactly a principled demand without some hypocracy, but the most important aspect of Osama's demands seem to be regularly dismissed or "overlooked" by his apologists and anti-war people:

    1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.

    (a) The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him, and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted; of complete submission to His Laws; and of the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the religion of all the prophets, and makes no distinction between them - peace be upon them all.

    It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions.

    Read the rest of the Daily Demarche post.

    Will we be able to agree as to who the enemy is, and what must be done, before it is too late?

    The Demarche highlights an important issue in fighting the war on terror within the United States. They made this point long before the television news magazines thought to review it and is still a important area that has not been resolved in our immigration porcesses:

    The LA Times has a story about the currently-incarcerated Lodi imam being known in Pakistan for his fiery anti-American rhetoric, but nonetheless receiving a visa to come to the US as a religious worker. The story may be found here.

    The story points out that the imam had made flagrantly anti-American speeches, but that the consular officers who interviewed him did not see the imam as a threat to the US. There are three possibilities for why that is, which I do not know, not having seen the imam's application or the vice-consul's notes. One is that no one in the Embassy knew about what he was saying in other settings. Two is that someone knew, but no one thought to enter any lookout on him in the State Department's computer database (called CLASS). Three is that the vice consul was aware of everything that he had said, but that the officer didn't feel there was any grounds for denying the visa.[snip]

    The reporter highlighted the problem of vice consuls on the visa line not knowing everyone's background, but the article missed the larger hole in the R-1 visa, which is that the State Department's regulations (the Foreign Affairs Manual) do not permit consular officers to refuse an R-1 under section 214(b), which is the catch-all refusal used to turn down applicants (tourist, business, student, etc) that the officer feels are not being truthful, or has other suspicions about.

    The rest can be read here.

    While discussions on border control and other aspects of omeland security continues without abate, regardless of a few changes in visas such as requiring "biometric" indicators and longer interviews with possible candidates, a problem still remains. All of the terrorists from the first WTC attack in 1993 to September 11 to Madrid to London (suspected) arrived in the country's attacked via legitimate visas. At this time, even London expects that the perpetrators are either naturalized nationals or in country through legitimate means.

    In the most current incidentUnder investigation within the United States, the Lodi suspects are in country via legitimate processes. While the southern border and illegal immigrants can present a security problem, it does not mitigate the problems in the programs that extremists are most likely to use to enter here and for a very good reason. The hopes of the terrorists are to blend in, not just in the Muslim community, but within the mainstream of the American populace, acting as others do with homes, families, jobs and every appearance of legal, non-threatening and productive citizens until such a time as they enact their terrorist plan.

    Another missing issue that is present from the problems on the European continent is that it is not simply current immigrants that have been "radicalized" outside of the country before entering. European observers indicate that many long time immigrants, even children that have either been raised most of their lives in the west or second generations born in western countries, are being radicalized by the imams and other "religious" workers that have come into these countries within the last two decades as "legitimate" religious workers to administer to co-religionist as well as prosletyze. In western countries with very open "freedom of religion" laws, this is an open invitation to creating an internal problem.

    Friday, July 8th, CNN presented a panel on Larry King discussing these issues, though there was no mention of the problem within our visa process. One expert insisted that Europe has a higher proportion of radicalized nationals due to problems of integration and unemployment. The expert insisted that the US does not have this problem because the immigrants are more likely to assimilate into the culture across a broder spectrum of cultures.

    This is the thinking that may have infiltrated the US State Department and government as a whole. Freedom House highlighted issues with Wahhabist extreme Islamic doctrine being dessiminated within the US through "official" offices of the Saudi Embassy. This was noted by a number of bloggers and by Bill O'Reilly of Fox news several months ago. However, this is only one method through which insidious extremism is propagated among US Muslim populations. Magazines, online websites and chat forums and, unfortunately, a number of Imams and other extremists having entered the US on visas or as political assylum seekers, much as Europe has experienced today, continue unabated within the US and many other countries.

    The difference within the US, one expert claims, is that the Muslim population is more dessiminated across all regions of the US and not constrained within specific cities or neighborhoods/communities as is the problem within European cities. This may also be a false sense of security and American elitism. Some communities may be smaller than those in the European cities, but they are still often insular and, as proven by studies on immigration, new immigrants usually migrate to places where they feel comfortable among the populace, usually to communities that already have relatives or relations back in the "old country". This has been true for many groups that have migrated to the United States whether they were German, Russian or Chinese to name a few.

    In cities such as Newark, NJ; Dearborne, Michigan; New York, NY; San Diego, CA there are large and androgenous communities of Muslim immgrants. While, for the most part, these communities do not represent any large threat to secuirty within the US as a whole, it is from these communities, or smaller but consolidated communities in many other states and towns, that the next attack is most likley to derrive as the Madrid and London bombings indicate along with scores of arrests for suspected ties to terrorist groups across Europe and the United States.

    As proven, it does not take a large radicalized populace to perpetrate these acts, but very small groups that are selected from the larger populace as a whole to join, what Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia once called, a cult or, in more American terms, a gang. A cult or gang that operates within and around the basic tenets of a known religion and offers what cults have often offered: recognition, acceptance, expression of discontent, legitimizing and magnifying complaints as part of a larger conspiracy, a desire to be closer to God or some other higher entity, community and ability to act out against supposed oppressions and wrongs.

    The experts also estimate that somewhere around 10% of the European Muslim communities are "radicalized" or subscribe to the extremist Wahhabi doctrine espoused by Imams in countries such as Saudi Arabia and such notables as bin Laden, Zawahiri and older "philosphers" such as Azzam and Qutb, supported by publications from these communities originating countries or religious bases. These same experts indicate that this is an unlikely number for the United States based on their view of the Muslim population within the US. It is estimated that the US has a population of approximately 3 million Muslims (both naturalized and born citizens) of many different ethnic origins. Even 10% would be approximately 300,000 around the country that could provide a pool of actors from which recruiters from outside or within these communities could develop their "cell".

    Still, from a country of approximately 300 million citizens and 3 million Muslims, this is a very small number of people to attempt to find and head off before an attack can occur by an even smaller security force that is equally responsible for other crimes within the country such as kidnappings, bank robberies, serial kilers, hate crimes, anti-government and anarchist organizations and other non-ideological based crimes. There are very few good choices by which to combat the situation and several less than satisfactory bad choices that could be made.

    These choices may become more prominent, painful and less satisfactory in a free society if the war on terror and extremism escalates.