Category Archives: Terrorism

Why Some “Americans” Don’t Buy-In to all Gun Control

Some of my friends question why anyone would not “sign up for ligitimate gun control laws.”? Well, perhaps they/you might consider this.
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WSJ – Letter to the Editor. 6/16/2016

[You] . . and others describe the Orlando attack as the “largest mass shooting in U.S. history.” Hardly. According to Dee Brown (“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”), more than 150 people were slaughtered in the mass shooting at Wounded Knee, on Dec. 29, 1890. (Some estimate that nearly 300 of the 350 men, women and children ultimately died of wounds and from the subsequent blizzard.) President Obama would no doubt be pleased to note that strict gun control was in effect. All of the victims had their weapons confiscated immediately before the slaughter began. Need anyone be reminded who the shooters were?

GARY NATYN ANDERSON

Kansas City, Mo.
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A Taliban Easter

And your President cannot call this what it truly is.
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3/28/2016
There aren’t many Christians left in Pakistan, but that’s still too many for the Taliban. A splinter group of the Pakistani faction of the Islamist terror group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on Christians celebrating in a park in Lahore on Easter Sunday.

At least 65 people, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 300 others were injured as the terrorists targeted a children’s park in Pakistan’s most cosmopolitan city. “Members of the Christian community who were celebrating Easter today were our prime target,” said a Taliban spokesman who called NBC News from the safety of an undisclosed location.

Islamist attacks on Christians during religious holidays is becoming routine, as the jihadists strive for maximum political impact. While Europe tries to find and break up jihadist networks after last week’s bombing in Brussels, the Pakistan murders are a reminder that the jihadists are killing even more people in Muslim-majority countries. The victims are Muslims and Christians.

Mass-casualty terrorism has become an almost daily occurrence, and there’s a danger that the world will become inured to it as a new normal. That is dangerous. A terror group that targets women and children without remorse wouldn’t hesitate to kill tens of thousands, even millions, if it can acquire the means.

The casualties will be worse when jihadists acquire WMD.
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How We Might Defeat Radical Jihadism – Noonan

A great read.
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3/26/2016
These things are obvious after the Brussels bombings: In striking at the political heart of Europe, home of the European Union, the ISIS jihadists were delivering a message: They will not be stopped.

What we are seeing now is not radical jihadist Islam versus the West but, increasingly, radical jihadist Islam versus the world. They are on the move in Africa, parts of Asia and of course throughout the Mideast.

Radical jihadism is not going to go away, not for a long time, probably decades. For 15 years it has in significant ways shaped our lives, and it will shape our children’s too. They will have to win the war.

It will not be effectively fought with guilt, ambivalence or doublemindedness. That, in the West, will have to change.

The jihadists’ weapons and means will get worse. Right now it’s guns and suicide vests. In the nature of things their future weapons will be more sophisticated and deadly.

The usual glib talk of politicians— calls for unity, vows that we will not give in to fear—will produce in the future what they’ve produced in the past: nothing. “The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium,” said the president, vigorously refusing to dodge clichés. “We must unite and be together, regardless of nationality, race or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.” It is not an “existential threat,” he noted, as he does. But if you were at San Bernardino or Fort Hood, the Paris concert hall or the Brussels subway, it would feel pretty existential to you.

There are many books, magazine long-reads and online symposia on the subject of violent Islam. I have written of my admiration for “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood, published a year ago in the Atlantic. ISIS supporters have tried hard to make their project knowable and understood, Mr. Wood reported: “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change . . . and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” ISIS is essentially “medieval” in its religious nature, and “committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.” They intend to eliminate the infidel and raise up the caliphate—one like the Ottoman empire, which peaked in the 16th century and then began its decline.

When I think of the future I find myself going back to what I freely admit is a child’s math, a simple 10% rule.

There are said to be 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Most are and have been peaceful and peaceable, living their lives and, especially in America, taking an admirable role in the life of the nation.

But this is a tense, fraught moment within the world of Islam, marked by disagreements on what Islam is and what its texts mean. With that context, the child’s math: Let’s say only 10% of the 1.6 billion harbor feelings of grievance toward “the West,” or desire to expunge the infidel, or hope to re-establish the caliphate. That 10% is 160 million people. Let’s say of that group only 10% would be inclined toward jihad. That’s 16 million. Assume that of that group only 10% really means it— would really become jihadis or give them aid and sustenance. That’s 1.6 million. That is a lot of ferociousness in an age of increasingly available weapons, including the chemical, biological and nuclear sort.

My math tells me it will be a long, hard fight. We will not be able to contain them, we will have to beat them.

We must absorb that central fact, as Ronald Reagan once did with a different threat. Asked by his new national security adviser to state his exact strategic goals vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, Reagan: “We win, they lose.”

That’s where we are now. The “they” is radical Islamic jihadism.

Normal people have seen that a long time, but the leaders of the West—its political class, media powers and opinion shapers—have had a hard time coming to terms. I continue to believe part of the reason is that religion isn’t very important to many of them, so they have trouble taking it seriously as a motivation of others. An ardent Catholic, evangelical Christian or devout Jew would be able to take the religious aspect seriously when discussing ISIS. An essentially agnostic U.S. or European political class is less able. Thus they cast about—if only we give young Islamist men jobs programs or social integration schemes, we can stop this trouble. But jihadists don’t want to be integrated. They want trouble.

Our own president still won’t call radical Islam what it is, thinking apparently that if we name them clearly they’ll only hate us more, and Americans on the ground, being racist ignoramuses, will be incited by candor to attack their peaceful Muslim neighbors.

All this for days has had me thinking of Gordon Brown, which is something I bet you can’t say. On April 28, 2010, in Rochdale, England, Britain’s then prime minister accidentally performed a great public service by revealing what liberal Western leaders think of their people.

At a campaign stop a 65-year-old woman named Gillian Duffy ap- proached him and shared her concerns regarding crime, taxes and immigration. Mr. Brown made a great show of friendliness and appreciation. Then, still wearing a live mic, he got into his Jaguar, complained to his aides about “that woman” and said, “She’s just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour.

That was the authentic sound of the Western elite. Labour lost the election. But the elites have for a long time enjoyed nothing more than sneering at the anger and “racism” of their own people. They do not have the wisdom to understand that if they convincingly attempted to protect the people and respected their anxieties, the people would feel far less rage.

I end with a point about the sheer power of pride right now in Western public life. Republican operatives and elected officials in the U.S. don’t want to change their stand on illegal immigration, and a key reason is pride. They’re stiff-necked, convinced of their own higher moral thinking, and they will have open borders—which they do not call “open borders” but “comprehensive immigration reform,” which includes border-control mechanisms. But they’ll never get to the mechanisms. They see the rise of Donald Trump and know it has something to do with immigration, but—they can’t bow. Some months ago I spoke to an admirable conservative group and said the leaders of the GOP should change their stand. I saw one of their leaders wince, as if I had made a faux pas. Which, I understood, I had. I understood too that terrorism is only making the border issue worse, and something’s got to give.

But I doubt they can change. It would be like . . . respecting Gillian Duffy.

Though maybe European leaders can grow to respect her, after Brussels. Maybe the blasts there have shaken their pride.

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Why don’t we let intelligence agents do their job before terror attacks, not in the bloody aftermath.
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By L. Gordon Crovitz Dec. 20, 2015

The massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., came a few days after a law went into effect banning access by intelligence agencies to key digital communications. It is time for the U.S. to get ahead of terrorism by finally allowing its intelligence agents to use digital tools before the next attack.

Soon after the San Bernardino massacre, law-enforcement agents discovered digital records left behind by Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik. If intelligence agencies had been allowed access to the information in real time, the terrorist attack might have been prevented.

Politics forces the National Security Agency to operate with blinders. The Obama administration blocked the agency from its post-9/11 practice of collecting metadata—tracking digital data on an anonymous basis, and then seeking a court order if Americans are involved—for emails and other digital communications. The law that went into effect just before the San Bernardino killings ended direct NSA access to historic phone records.

Despite concerns that terrorists can use encryption to stay dark, the unencrypted digital records make clear that Farook and Malik could have been discovered if the NSA had been allowed access to metadata:

At least since 2010, Farook and his neighbor Enrique Marquez watched Islamist videos on the Internet and read online magazines published by overseas terror groups. A few weeks before the massacre, Mr. Marquez said on Facebook, “My life turned ridiculous,” including becoming “involved in terrorist plots.” He was arrested last week on charges including conspiring to support terrorists. Intelligence agencies could have monitored his trail of videos, online magazines and Facebook posts.

Malik left her own digital tracks disclosing her Islamist beliefs and terrorist intentions before she applied for a visa to move to the U.S. Authorities have found messages Malik sent to friends on Facebook in 2012 and 2014 pledging support for jihad and for joining the fight.

The New York Times recently cited intelligence sources describing the couple bonding over jihad before they met, sharing their commitment to terror “on an online messaging platform, as well as emails and communications on a dating site.” FBI Director James Comey said the couple was “communicating online, showing signs in that communication of their joint commitment to jihad and martyrdom.”

A former undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security, John Cohen, last week disclosed to ABC News that “immigration officials were not allowed to use or view social media as part of the screening process” when Malik’s application was processed. The agency, he said, worried about the “optics” of monitoring digital communications. A DHS spokesman said the policy is under review, while still taking “into account civil rights and civil liberties and privacy protections.” The DHS apparently doesn’t know that foreigners seeking visas have no such rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Metadata was a hot topic in last week’s Republican presidential debate, with Marco Rubio blasting Ted Cruz and Rand Paul for supporting the Obama bill limiting access to phone records, which Hillary Clinton also supported. This increasingly looks like a wedge issue on the Republican side.

Much of the criticism of metadata collection came in the wake of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s feverish accusations against U.S. intelligence in 2013. But despite the many stolen documents he revealed, Mr. Snowden showed no wrongdoing by NSA employees using metadata. Only 22 NSA officials had this authority, overseen by 300 compliance officers, a special court and the political branches of government.

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans only from “unreasonable” searches. The Founders intended reasonableness based on the circumstances. Courts have ruled that citizens have no expectation of privacy for bank records, phone calls, fingerprints, DNA or Facebook posts. In 2013 New York Federal Appeals Court Judge William Pauley confirmed the legality of collecting telephone metadata, noting in his opinion that such collection doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment—and he went out of his way to say that 9/11 might haven been prevented if intelligence agencies had been collecting and analyzing metadata before the terror attacks.

Americans lose no privacy by allowing access to anonymous data, which when used properly only identifies suspects for courts to consider. “This blunt tool only works because it collects everything,” Judge Pauley wrote. “Without all the data points, the government cannot be certain it connected the pertinent ones.”

The choice is more metadata or more San Bernardinos.

Voters can now compare candidates according to their view of reasonableness: Is it more reasonable to let terrorists plan in secret or to let intelligence agencies have access to tools that could be at their disposal? Is it more reasonable to have intelligence agents gather data before attacks happen or only when it is too late?

http://www.wsj.com/articles/metadata-or-more-san-bernardinos-1450646147

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