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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

Boing Boing: If the liquid could be explosive, why are you dumping it in a crowd?
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:34 pm EDT, Aug 10, 2006

TSA is asking people to dump their liquids into a common receptical in airports.... You know, so the explosive components can mix under government scrutiny instead of on an airplane.

One wonders why the suicide bombers don't just blow up the metal detector lines.

Boing Boing: If the liquid could be explosive, why are you dumping it in a crowd?

The United States now has no good choices...
Topic: War on Terrorism 6:12 pm EDT, Aug  9, 2006

Stratfor: Geopolitical Intelligence Report - August 8, 2006

Break Point: What Went Wrong

By George Friedman

On May 23, we published a Geopolitical Intelligence Report titled "
Break Point ." In that article, we wrote: "It is now nearly
Memorial Day. The violence in Iraq will surge, but by July 4 there
either will be clear signs that the Sunnis are controlling the
insurgency -- or there won't. If they are controlling the
insurgency, the United States will begin withdrawing troops in
earnest. If they are not controlling the insurgency, the United
States will begin withdrawing troops in earnest. Regardless of
whether the [political settlement] holds, the U.S. war in Iraq is
going to end: U.S. troops either will not be needed, or will not be
useful. Thus, we are at a break point -- at least for the

In our view, the fundamental question was whether the Sunnis would
buy into the political process in Iraq. We expected a sign, and we
got it in June, when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed -- in our
view, through intelligence provided by the Sunni leadership. The
same night al-Zarqawi was killed, the Iraqis announced the
completion of the Cabinet: As part of a deal that finalized the
three security positions (defense, interior and national security),
the defense ministry went to a Sunni. The United States followed
that move by announcing a drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq,
starting with two brigades. All that was needed was a similar
signal of buy-in from the Shia -- meaning they would place controls
on the Shiite militias that were attacking Sunnis. The break point
seemed very much to favor a political resolution in Iraq.

It never happened. The Shia, instead of reciprocating the Sunni and
American gestures, went into a deep internal crisis. Shiite groups
in Basra battled over oil fields. They fought in Baghdad. We
expected that the mainstream militias under the Supreme Council for
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) would gain control of the
dissidents and then turn to political deal-making. Instead, the
internal Shiite struggle resolved itself in a way we did not
expect: Rather than reciprocating with a meaningful political
gesture, the Shia intensified their attacks on the Sunnis. The
Sunnis, clearly expecting this phase to end, held back -- and then
cut loose with their own retaliations. The result was, rather than
a political settlement, civil war. The break point had broken away
from a resolution.

Part of the explanation is undoubtedly to be found in Iraq itself.
The prospect of a centralized government, even if dominated by the
majority Shia, does not seem to have been as attractive to Iraqi
Shia as absolute regional control, which would guarantee them all
of the revenues from the southern oil fields, rather ... [ Read More (2.1k in body) ]

9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:05 pm EDT, Aug  2, 2006

How did the U.S. Air Force respond on 9/11? Could it have shot down United 93, as conspiracy theorists claim? Obtaining 30 hours of never-before-released tapes from the control room of NORAD's Northeast headquarters, the author reconstructs the chaotic military history of that day.

9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes

UN post should have been cleared
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:43 am EDT, Jul 30, 2006

Since the UN never deploys observers to an active war zone, logic would suggest these unarmed men should have been pulled out the moment hostilities went beyond minor violations of the ceasefire they were monitoring... For the immediate-ceasefire crowd, the deaths of the UN military observers held the potential to give them a powerful moral argument against Israel's offensive -- beyond the one they were already citing daily: the mounting toll of civilian casualties.

UN post should have been cleared

Rolling Stone : Iran: The Next War
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:04 pm EDT, Jul 29, 2006

The shift in official policy has thrilled former members of the
cabal. To them, the war in Lebanon represents the final step in
their plan to turn Iran into the next Iraq. Ledeen, writing in the
National Review on July 13th, could hardly restrain
himself. "Faster, please," he urged the White House, arguing that
the war should now be taken over by the U.S. military and expanded
across the entire region. "The only way we are going to win this
war is to bring down those regimes in Tehran and Damascus, and they
are not going to fall as a result of fighting between their
terrorist proxies in Gaza and Lebanon on the one hand, and Israel
on the other. Only the United States can accomplish it," he
concluded. "There is no other way."

James Bamford echo's Rattle's recent posts in Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone : Iran: The Next War

EconoCulture - Homeland Security: Why the Grey is Banned in the US
Topic: War on Terrorism 6:18 pm EDT, Jul 24, 2006

When we first went, one by one, into the room with the interrogating officer they used that line about "America is at war, and Canada may not take that seriously..." and "since 9-11, we take these things seriously."

U.S. border idiots ban Canadian rock ban from entering the U.S. for 5 years because they lied about whether they were playing a live show.

I take it very seriously that U.S. border agents would evoke war in the context of visa requirements that exist for the purpose of economic protectionism and not national security.

EconoCulture - Homeland Security: Why the Grey is Banned in the US

Several blasts rock Mumbai commuter trains - Wikinews
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:09 am EDT, Jul 11, 2006

At least five explosions have been reported at various local railway stations in the city of Mumbai, India.

Sounds like Al'Q...

Several blasts rock Mumbai commuter trains - Wikinews

Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind - Nightly News with Brian Williams -
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:05 pm EDT, Jun  9, 2006

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.

An interesting data point on Al'Z. My understanding was that he wasn't formally part of Al'Q until well into the Iraq war. I guess it doesn't matter. I agree that if they had a chance to take him out, they should have. However, if we knew that this guy was running terrorist operations out of Iraq that targetted Europe, and Saddam was not cooperating with us in shutting these operations down, then that puts Iraq very much on same footing that the Government of Afghanistan was on, in terms of harboring Bin Laden. However, whether or not Iraq really was aware of Al'Z's presense seems to be a matter of some debate. For some reason this is a datapoint that escaped me until the aftermath of his death.

What would the geopolitical implications have been of a U.S. strike against a terrorist training camp in Iraq without the benefit of a formal process involving the Security Counsel, which would have given Iraq a clear attempt to respond (and which in the case of afghanistan resulted in the terrorists going underground)?

Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind - Nightly News with Brian Williams -

Stratfor agrees that Al'Q is a scene. Calls it Al'Q 4.0.
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:57 pm EDT, Jun  8, 2006

I do NOT plan to get in the habit of regularly reposting Stratfor's emails, but this one is extremely relevant to conversations we've been having on this site for a long time. (BTW, I'm not really sure if thats the first time that idea appeared here or if I'm really responsible for originating it. Its just the earliest link that I have. I think I was thinking that a long time before I said it. I said it when it became so obvious it seemed like review.)

Once again, let me start with one of the last sentances: Finally, the ability of grassroots cells to network across international boundaries, and even across oceans, presents the possibility that al Qaeda 4.0 cells could, now or in the future, pose a significant threat even without a central leadership structure -- meaning, a structure that can be identified, monitored and attacked

Stratfor: Terrorism Intelligence Report - June 7, 2006

Al Qaeda: The Next Phase of Evolution?

By Fred Burton

Canadian authorities recently arrested 17 men, accusing them of
planning terrorist attacks, after some members of the group bought
what they believed to be some 3 tons of ammonium nitrate
fertilizer, which can be used to make explosives. The men allegedly
were planning attacks against symbolic targets in Toronto and
Ottawa in a plot that reportedly included bombings, armed assaults
and beheadings.

One of the things that make this case interesting is that the group
-- now dubbed by the media as the "Canada 17" -- reportedly had
connections to alleged jihadists in other countries, whose earlier
arrests were widely reported. Those connections included two men
from the United States -- Ehsanul Islam Sadequee and Syed Haris
Ahmed -- who reportedly traveled from Georgia in March 2005 to meet
with Islamist extremists in Toronto. Authorities have said they
conspired to attend a militant training camp in Pakistan and
discussed potential terrorist targets in the United States. There
also is said to be a connection to a prominent computer hacker in
Britain, who was arrested in October and charged with conspiring to
commit murder and cause an explosion.

The June 2 arrests certainly underscore the possibility that
Canada , which has a long history of liberal immigration and asylum
policies, has been used by jihadists as a sanctuary for raising
funds and planning attacks. But the most intriguing aspect of the
Canada case is that it seems to encapsulate a trend that has been
slowly evolving for some time. If the allegations in the Canada 17
case are at least mostly true, it might represent the emergence of
a new operational model for jihadists -- an "al Qaeda 4.0," if you

In other words, the world might be witnessing the emergence of a
grassroots jihadist network that both exists in and h... [ Read More (2.4k in body) ]

Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, Killed Dead
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:46 pm EDT, Jun  8, 2006

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Coalition forces killed al-Qaida terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and one of his key lieutenants, spiritual advisor Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, yesterday, June 7, at 6:15 p.m. in an air strike against an identified, isolated safe house.

“Tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network led forces to al-Zarqawi and some of his associates who were conducting a meeting approximately eight kilometers north of Baqubah when the air strike was launched.

This is good news.

Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, Killed Dead

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