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Category: Terrorism (Page 1 of 5)

U.S. Troops in Uganda? Blame Congress, Not Obama

Last October, when our President announced that the U.S. would be sending about 100 of our troops to Uganda, I heard a lot of people asking, “What is the President thinking?  How was this in U.S. interest?”

As easy as it is to find fault with our President, Obama was simply following the law.  That is right!  While Congress has not authorized the use of the U.S. military against Iran, Congress commanded the President to use military forces in Uganda as part of an effort to quash the Christian terrorist organization known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Thanks to Sen. Russ Feingold, Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, the unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate, and an unrecorded voice vote in the U.S. House, the Congress directed the President to come up with a plan to use the U.S. military in Uganda (see the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009).

So if you have questions about why U.S. troops are in Uganda instead of Iran, I suggest that you pose those questions to your Senators, who gave unanimous agreement to this policy.

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The Occupation Issue and the Middle East

Let us get serious for a moment and discuss the Occupation that is destabilizing the Middle East. Since 1925, the House of Saud has been occupying the Hijaz, which is the region that includes the Islamic holy sites in Mecca and Medina.

The Saudis follow and propagate a deviate form of Islam (a reactionary form of Salafiyyah, and more specifically Wahhabism), which might be more generously labeled as heterodoxy. Consequently, Abul-Aziz ibn Saud’s violent conquest of the Hashemite ruler of the Hijaz has been controversial amongst Muslims. Thus, the conqueror (a religious crusader) and his sons, who subsequently ruled the kingdom, have attempted to legitimize their violent invasion and continued occupation of the Hijaz. Using the wealth created by western oil development, the Saudis have attempted to propagate their religious heterodoxy against modern Muslims, who seek improvement in the individual lives of themselves and their children in actual reality through western technology and values.

The militant lust for killing other Muslims of Abul-Aziz included unsuccessful invasions of Jordan and Yemen; however, there may be others that escape my memory. The new generation of leaders of small states in the Arabian Gulf allied themselves with the United States in the war against Saddam’s Iraq seeking a great power protection against the Saudi’s lust for their domains and the designs of Persian mullahs willing to kill Muslim Arabs in order to gain greater geopolitical power through state control of oil reserves.

As a distraction from this Muslim upon Muslim murder and violence, the House of Saud has deceived Muslims with a faux conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. While Israel seeks peace and statehood for the Palestinians, the Saudis and other ignorant Muslim depots, whom the Saudis have duped, fund a Palestinian leadership that undermines peace and Palestinian statehood in their every effort. Given the forbearance demonstrated by the Israelis, the casualties in that persistent televised conflict are exceeded by the Muslim upon Muslim violence in Algeria. Absent the financing of Palestinian extremists by the Saudis and their dupes (such as the Bush and Obama Administrations), a modern life embracing individual rights and the pursuit of happiness would be available to the Palestinians in trade with Israel and the West.

So while the despotic Muslim rulers and demagogues of the Middle East suggest that terrorism and other Muslim violence can only be solved by negotiations between their violent (Muslim killing) Palestinian stooges and the Israelis, let me suggest another occupation that the United States could focus upon in its diplomacy…the Saudi occupation of the Hijaz.

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Obama Kills an American Traitor

In addition to just praise for the CIA and our military, President Obama deserves praise for today’s killing of traitor Anwar al-Awlaki. Anyone who disputes the justice of this killing is evading the facts from reality. However, there is a separate point that is worthy of discussion: Does the process for targeting Americans turned traitorous terrorists overseas offer adequate protection for the target’s individual and constitutional rights?

Looking at this concrete example, we see that this was not a case of the executive branch going off reservation and freelancing. Serious consideration has given to understanding and assessing statutes passed by the legislature and rulings by the judiciary to ensure that the procedural rights found in our Constitution and statutes were adhered to (see Washington Post article). Further, in this particular case, the judicial branch ruled that the Obama administration was acting within the executive’s political discretion.

However, in these types of cases, are our current statutes adequate for instituting procedural rights and controls to protect the individual rights of American citizens evidently involved in terrorism and rebellion against the United States? I think that is a question worthy of congressional investigation and possibly additional legislation. For example, are the procedural rights and controls to protect Americans from having their phones tapped more than those of the President ordering their killing?

This is a case in which Rep. Ron Paul, the Republican candidate, demonstrates his utter failure in his current position, which demonstrates why he should not be President at the risk of him attempting to rule by decree. MSNBC reports that Paul condemned the killing of al-Awlaki as essentially the murder of an American by his own government. Yet, Rep. Paul was a member of Congress during a period of time that everybody knew that President Obama had ordered the killing of al-Awlaki; as a congressman, what did Paul do to spark congressional action to implement procedural rights and controls by statute? As a congressman, his job is more than voting no against almost every bill on the House floor; is the extra-judicial premeditated killing of an American citizen not sufficiently important to spark Rep. Paul to action instead of hollow rhetoric?

Further, in the case of Rep. Paul, in that MSNBC piece, he is quoted as saying that “Al-Awlaki nobody ever suggested that he was participant in 9/11.” Contrary to the point of the ignorant Paul, Awlaki has been tied to giving aid to and having direct contact with 9/11 hijackers in San Diego. Given that these facts were reported by the 9/11 commission, it is shocking that Rep. Paul, a candidate for President, should appear to be ignorant of them.

Shifting to the statement of another Republican candidate, former Gov. Gary Johnson said that the case raised serious questions about whether al-Awlaki’s constitutional due process rights had been violated. As a presidential candidate, Johnson should be better informed and speak beyond platitudes to addressing specific policy issues. Frankly, he missed a good opportunity to either be informed on an issue or shut up when he is not.

What should candidate Johnson have said, informed by my prior observations?

Al-Awlaki was a vile traitor and today he received justice. I praise the CIA, our military, and President Obama for this action to protect the individual rights of all Americans.

However, I have to be honest and point out that President Johnson would have handled this situation differently; although, it would have had the same net result. When presented with this plan to kill an American turned traitor and terrorist, I would have asked for more diligence in protecting due process rights of an American citizen. It should not be the President alone without direction from the legislature and review by the courts to decide that a traitorous American should be killed by our government. I am not suggesting that a criminal conviction is required; however, if the executive branch requires court review to listen to his phone calls, then there should be some judicial protection when the President signs an unconvicted American’s death warrant.

While the courts have ruled upon al-Awlaki’s case and validated this death sentence of a traitor and terrorist, and the executive branch acted to fully consider the constitutional protections of Al-Awlaki, I think that the Congress has fallen down on this issue of establishing protections for Americans’ rights. Given the foreknowledge of this action, I question some of my fellow Republicans also running for our party’s presidential nomination: “As current legislators, what have you done to insure that statutes were enacted to protect the rights of Americans targeted for killing based upon allegations of being traitorous terrorists?”

As President, I would have started by doing as President Obama did; however, I would have done more to spark the Congress to act so as to protect the rights of Americans subject to such allegations and penalties.

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FBI Dropping the Intelligence Ball

Over a week ago on 9/10 (evidence that I am backed up on my reading), Scott Holleran had an interesting post about a tipped link between a 9/11 hijacker, a woman, Lake Tahoe, and a FBI investigation with unknown results.  He is particularly concerned about this as a possible thread leading to a state sponsor of terrorism or Saudi Arabia.

This reminded me of comments made by John Lehman (9/11 Commissioner) during a 10 year 9/11 retrospective hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.  Mr. Lehman appeared during the third session titled “Counterterrorism and Homeland Security: Does the United States Have the Right Strategy?

Relevant to the topic of FBI investigations of Saudi links to the hijackers, Mr. Lehman said in the context of intelligence issues (from the transcript):

And could I just take one addenda to that?  On the issue of domestic intelligence, I couldn’t agree more.  I think our domestic intelligence is very, very inadequate.  And in the 9/11 commission, I think all of us were, as the weight of evidence grew, convinced that we should split the FBI, that a cop shop should not be a domestic intelligence agency.  And we decided not to recommend that, because it was just too much going on.  You couldn’t — that kind of major surgery right after 9/11, with all the new changes that had to be done, was just not very wise.

But I think absolutely we should relook at that and reopen that issue, because most of our effective intelligence allies have that split function.  They don’t let the intelligence, domestic intelligence, have prosecutorial powers, and they don’t trust cops to be good intelligence tradesmen.

A perfect example was in our televised hearings — which I’m sure you all watched — which was when we asked the acting director — we referred to the evidence that had been gathered during the investigation from the intelligence communities of the five operatives in Saudi embassies who were clearly enablers for the — for the 19, and who were — helped them, you know, find apartments, drove them from one place to another, got them into flight schools.  And there were five named individuals that were clearly very friendly to these 19 people.  And so we said:  What has happened with them?

And the acting director said:  We did investigate them, but we found insufficient evidence to get an indictment, so we terminated those investigations.  Now, can you imagine an intelligence professional saying a thing like that?  I mean, here were some of the most valuable targets in the United States after 9/11, and FBI dropped — didn’t — so we followed up, said:  Well, where are they now?  Well, we don’t know.  We — didn’t I hear — didn’t you hear me?  I said we terminated the investigation.  That is the prosecutorial, law enforcement mentality which makes FBI such a fine law enforcement agency, and makes them unable effectively to do real intelligence tradecraft, in my judgment.

Combining Holleran’s report and Lehman’s statements, it seems probable that the FBI would have dropped the case of the woman at Lake Tahoe, because they lacked evidence to support a prosecution.  As the FBI has not publicly requested help finding this “person of interest,” I suspect that they know who she is, interviewed her, and did not pursue the link further.

On the separate issue raised by Mr. Lehman that the FBI’s cop and intelligence functions be separated, I am not eager to see such a reform unless temporary and circumscribed.  Such  a domestic intelligence operation would likely move from Justice to the Department of Homeland Security, which has a troubling record of hostility to individual rights (see TSA).  Given the intelligence, protection, and law enforcement liaison functions, where would this new domestic intelligence agency go logically: Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or Secret Service?

Personally, I would be very concerned that it would become a Secret Service function; thus, putting a new domestic intelligence service in close proximity to the White House.

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Islam vs. Islamism

Whether we agree with it or not, related to Islamic terrorism, the American strategy is to win the hearts and minds of the ummah.

One policy in that regard is to attempt to use language to alienate Muslims in general from the terrorists.  This is a concrete instance of a legitimate counterterrorism policy – backlash, which is the creation of an environment in which non-state actors who commit political violence can no longer find assistance and support from outside of their organization (narrowly defined).

In that context, I wondered how our neologisms are being translated into Arabic, the language of the supposed target audience.  In essence, are our intellectuals attempting to sell the equivalent of the Chevy Nova in Mexico?

One of the terms that I have been hearing is Islamism to describe the ideology that seeks to justify terrorist violence based upon Islam.

While I am illiterate when it comes to Arabic, I do have access to Google Translate, which provided an identical translation (الإسلام) into Arabic of Islam and Islamism; no bueno.  Thus, someone fluent in Arabic using Google translate from English would read in Arabic that Islam and Islamism is the same thing.

As this can not be the intent of the advocates of this neologism, I referenced Daniel Pipes.  On his website, Islamism is translated as ألتحرك ألأسلامي, which according to Google means “Islamic action”.  However, according to Wikipedia, Islamism can also be translated as الاسلامية (Islamic) or إسلام سياسي (political Islam).

When we use the term Islamism, what are we communicating to Muslims?  It sounds like a confused imprecision in which our message is subject to the shading of the translator.  Further, in all cases, this term appears not to actually distinguish itself from Islam.

Is there an alternative?

One could follow the anti-conceptual approach of the U.S. State Department, which treats each instance of an Islam-inspired terrorist organization as an unrelated case.  According to them, al Qaeda is definitely bad…Hamas could become good…Hezbollah is not necessarily bad if you squint when you look at them…and the Muslim Brotherhood may be the Society of Cincinnati for all Foggy Bottom knows.

On the other hand, Muslims already have names for such terrorists.  Egypt’s Sadat was assassinated by them as was Saudi’s King Faisal.  When the terrorists attacked the Red Mosque in Pakistan and the Grand Mosque in Mecca, what did they call them?  If we wish to communicate with the ummah, should we not take heed of their own terms as English adapts more easily than their own language?

While it would be preferable to integrate our knowledge of Islam-inspired terrorist organizations into a single coherent concept, such may actually be beyond the mentality of our concrete-bound primacy-of-consciousness target audience, the ummah.  For ourselves, the United States and its allies should perform the required integration, which we will need to teach to the State Department and other Washington policy makers.

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Tuesday’s Podcasts

The following is a list of podcasts that I consumed Tuesday.  In addition to the title, link, and descriptions copied or adapted from the source, I have provided a grade for the relevancy of the topic and the quality of the ideas in the podcast.  Of course, these grades are objectively based upon my own individual values and judgment.  In this variety, you might find something to tickle your fancy.

1) Immigration and Individual Rights (2010-04-01 The Objective Standard)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Zeros in on the basic principle of America and demonstrates that this principle mandates a policy of open immigration, debunks several common arguments for prohibiting or limiting immigration, shows why all such arguments are necessarily invalid, and indicates what Americans must do if we are to reestablish and maintain the kind of moral, rights-respecting immigration policy that was advocated by the Founders.

Craig Biddle is the publisher of The Objective Standard.

2) Peikoff – Episode 123 (2010-08-02 Leonard Peikoff)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Philosopher Leonard Peikoff answers questions.  1) As a student of Ayn Rand did you realize that your understanding of Objectivism to some extent had been in your views even before you read her? 2) If after years of consistent good parenting a child turns out bad, can a parent still feel pride in their accomplishment in raising him to adulthood? 3) Why aren’t Christians the most outspoken opponents of multiculturalism since they claim absolute truth, believe sinners are going to go to hell, and have a huge moral gulf between the godly and the unchristian? 4) Ayd Rand said that there are certain philosophical questions that are improper, namely questions that contradict philosophical axioms. Why did she say these in particular? 5) Have you considered cryogenically freezing yourself in the hopes that future technology will be able to restore you? 6) I am an Objectivist. Why should I make a detailed study of the epistemological ideas that Ayn Rand originated? 7) Imagine you are at your funeral at 80 years old. All of your friends, family, and colleagues come to honor you. Now think about what you would want them to say about you. Most people want to hear how great they were in their relationships, not how great they were in their business or career. What about you? 8 ) Did Ayn Rand ever worry that the KGB might try to do her harm? 9) According to Objectivism, is it okay to have sex with anyone who is the highest and best partner that I can find at this time?

Peikoff is author of Objectivism:  The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

3) Peikoff – Episode 122 (2010-07-26 Leonard Peikoff)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Philosopher Leonard Peikoff answers questions.  1) Around what time would you say that you became a full-fledged philosopher as opposed to a philosophy student? When would you say that you became an Objectivist as opposed to a student of Objectivism? 2) We disregard ESP and the like because we accept the five senses as the only base of knowledge. Would it therefore be rational for a man who was blind from birth to disregard claims about reality based on the sense of sight?, 3) Is environmentalism the new communism? What are the similarities and differences?, 4) Is it permissible or moral to date a non-Objectivist?, 5) I am a homosexual who only finds romantic value in full masculinity. However, in my opinion a fully masculine mind is possible only in heterosexual men, and I am therefore only attracted to such men. How should I deal with this painful situation? 6) How much should you expect to love what you do for a living? Can you settle for non-love, but find ways to like what you get paid to do? Or Is settling like that selling yourself short? 7) Why did Cherryl Taggart in Atlas Shrugged have to commit suicide? 8 ) Can irrational philosophers still be called philosophers?

Peikoff is author of The Ominous Parallels:  A Brilliant Study of America Today – and the ‘ominous parallels’ with the chaos of pre-Hitler Germany.

4) Arts Writer Dianne Durante on Sculpture’s Forgotten Delights (2010-02-24 WFIU )

Relevancy A, Quality A – Arts historian Dianne Durante tells WFIU’s Adam Schwartz how to enjoy outdoor monuments, which she calls “forgotten delights.”

Durante is the author of Forgotten Delights: The Producers and Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide.

5) The new dynamics of book publishing (2010-07-19 Seth Godin)

Relevancy B, Quality A – In May, Seth Godin gave a talk to the Independent Book Publishers, which will probably of interest if you are focused on how industries are making (or not)  the shift to the new rules of a digital age.

Godin referencew the ideas from his book on leadership titled Tribes.

6) Social Media Makes Email Even Stronger (2010-07-06 Duct Tape Marketing)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Gail Goodman, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of leading email marketing service provider Constant Contact.

Over the last year or two email marketing has taken a back seat to social media in terms of buzz. However, during the recession, firms that had a solid relationship with an audience via email held a much stronger position. Email marketing still produces the highest ROI of any online marketing tactic.

Eric Groves has written Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing.

7) Russia Update: Is the Reset Working (2009-10-28 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality B – A panel discussion on U.S.- Russian relations, including:  Stephen F. Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies, New York University; Dimitri K. Simes, President, The Nixon Center; and Celeste A. Wallander, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense For Russia, Ukraine And Eurasia.

The discussion refers to Stephen F. Cohen’s recent book Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

8 ) Color as a Branding Element (2010-07-13 Duct Tape Marketing)

Relevancy C, Quality C+ – Interview with Kate Smith Color Expert, Career Color Trend Forecaster, and Editor of Sensational Color, a site featuring a wealth of information on the subject of color, which has built in meaning and symbolism and can be a strong element of your brand when used strategically.

Her website features book recommendations, including Real World Color Management.

9) Media Conference Call: CFR Scholars Return from AfPak Region (2010-10-30 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality C – CFR Senior Fellows Max Boot and Daniel Markey, following their recent visit to the Afghan war theater, expressed deep concern about the ability of the Obama administration to stabilize the region with the current level of military and civilian resources.

Max Boot is author of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power.  Daniel Markey is author of CFR’s Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt (Council Special Report No. 36).

10) The Art of Leading Well (2010-07-29 Harvard Business Review)

Relevancy B, Quality C – Warren Bennis, professor at the University of Southern California and author of “Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.”

11) Why Delighting Your Customers is Overrated (2010-07-23 Harvard Business Review)

Relevancy B, Quality C – Matthew Dixon, managing director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice, says that delighting your customer is overrated and that operations should focus on reliability.

Audio of his co-authored HBR article is available from

12) Kosovo’s Moment of Opportunity (2010-07-28 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality C – The International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion  July 22 that Kosovo’s 2008 independence declaration did not violate international law. Though the opinion is non-binding, it has implications for Kosovo and Serbia, as well as countries and secessionist movements around the world.

13) How Evernote Is Changing the Free Model (2010-08-03 Duct Tape Marketing)

Relevancy C, Quality C – Interview with Evernote CEO Phil Libin.

Evernote is a simple service that allows you to track and store everything you want to remember and get it out of your “meat brain” and housed somewhere safe and trustworthy. About 9,000 people a day are joining the free version of this service that also syncs incredibly well with iPads and mobile devices.

Evernote is reportedly popular with fans of David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, about which friends have heard positive comments.

14) G-Lab ’10: Intergrupo, Columbia (2010-02-24 MIT Sloan)

Relevancy C, Quality C – Growing a business by cultivating relationships.

15) Will the Economic Recovery Run Out of Steam? (2010-07-21 Knowledge@Wharton)

Relevancy C, Quality C – After a year of solid gains, the economic recovery is beginning to slow. Demand is trailing off as inventory levels have been restored and emergency stimulus measures withdrawn. Continued high unemployment and a downtick in housing are weighing on consumer confidence and spending. Add unexpected shocks from Europe and a slowdown in China, and forecasters are now ratcheting down their expectations for growth over the next year.

Peter Cappelli is coauthor of The India Way: How India’s Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

16) Shooting the Messenger: Quarterly Earnings and Short-term Pressure to Perform (2010-07-21 Knowledge@Wharton)

Relevancy C, Quality C – As the quarterly earnings season for the second quarter of 2010 gets underway, investors, analysts and the media will be watching to see how well public companies are emerging from the economic downturn, and what that might mean for the stock market. With unemployment rates still high and federal measures of economic growth shaky, observers are hoping for earnings numbers that reaffirm signs of a recovery.

Michael Useem is author of Leading Up: How to Lead Your Boss So You Both Win.

17) WikiLeaks’ Fallout for U.S.-Pakistan Ties (2010-07-30 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy C, Quality C – The classified U.S. military documents  related to the war in Afghanistan leaked by paint a grim picture of collusion between Pakistan’s intelligence service, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and members of the Afghan Taliban. While the allegations laid out in the documents–that the ISI supports Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan–may not be new, they exacerbated strains in U.S.-Pakistan relations. In Pakistan, the allegations feed a growing paranoia that the leaks are part of a “conspiracy aimed at damaging the Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship, which is in a nascent stage, as well as the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” says Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council.

Shuja Nawaz is author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within.

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Right-wing Political Violence as a Symptom

Little Green Footballs cites a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center about the increase in right-wing extremist groups and associates this problem with John Patrick Bedell, the Pentagon Metro Station shooter.  In part, the report observes that, “The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.”

The identification of right-wing political violence has been made, but it is a symptom of a disorder within our polity.  The question is “why is it increasing?”

I attribute it to an increase in Injustice, which is being implemented by government encroachment upon civil society.

When people choose to work through government, we essentially ask, “How can we use force to solve this problem?” which is perfectly correct when it comes to the use of retaliatory force used to protect individual rights.

When people choose to work through civil society, we essentially ask, “How can we through free association solve this problem or seize that opportunity?” which is the correct method for most social cooperation.

Using health care “reform” as an example, the actual question being asked is “How can we force dissenters into a shared risk pool so that we can cover revenue and resource short falls in existing government health care schemes?”  This exemplifies the injustice that delegitimized a government by distracting it from its legitimate functions, such as administering an objective court system for resolving disputes, such a medical malpractice claims.

The legitimacy of a government is essential for maintaining its legitimate monopoly on force.  That legitimacy requires government to be exclusively focused upon the protection of individual rights.


These observations about governments infringements upon civil society remind me of a video that I made last year:  “The End of American Civil Society?”  In part, I observed:

In our foreign policy, the US correctly identifies the want of a vital civil society in other countries suffering under authoritarian governments. A civil society being the aggregate of those institutions of free association acting independently of the government. The co-optation by government of independent associations generally leads to the growth of extremist religious organizations as the principle channel for expressing political dissent.

If we recognize that an authoritarian state contradicts the requirements of man to live as man, how does that condition develop? There is recent historical precedent of liberal democracies transforming into authoritarian regimes, who strangled civil society with governmental controls. I refer here to European fascism.


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EU Non-cooperative On Terrorism Finances

In response to a Washington Post editorial, “Swift rebuke,” I sent the following to my congressman and similar messages to my Senators:

Congressman Wolf,

I urge you to take public and official action over the Obama Administration’s failure to maintain European cooperation in fighting terrorist financing, as demonstrated by the EU Parliament rejecting our interim agreement with the EU to facilitate subpoena access to records from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), as reported in the Washington Post.

In the past year, you have demonstrated an effective independence in checking the Administration’s ill-conceived innovations that undermine effective counterterrorism deterrence and law enforcement actions.

Given the Administration’s active and failed effort to obtain EU parliamentary approval, US legislative oversight should hold the Administration accountable.  Further, issues of the reliability of the EU as a partner are raised by this breakdown and merit oversight review.

While the Administration plans to have a new agreement negotiated by perhaps the fall, I trust that you agree that such a delay is unacceptable and would appreciate your public comment to that effect.

Unfortunately, this and other recent EU actions presage a return to European non-cooperation in fighting terrorism financing, which characterized the Clinton Administration’s failed counterterrorism efforts.  Further, this EU backtracking on cooperation undermines the promises of candidate Obama to follow a foreign policy that achieved greater cooperation with our allies than had been realized by the Bush Administration.

Update 3/4/2010: In the below video, Paul Rosenzweig, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security, refers to the EU decision @ 12:52 during Q&A and states that this decision makes Europe a safe haven for terrorist financing.


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Territory for Terrorists

Jihad Watch reports that according to MEMRI, the Obama Administration is negotiating to give the Taliban control of territory in Afghanistan.  To which, I observed and asked:

Giving territory to terrorists, it did not work in Columbia when the Clinton Administration championed the concept.  Come to think of it, it did not work in Chechnya when the Russian attempted it.  Further, it has not worked in the West Bank and Gaza.

Given three points of evidence that such a policy does not work with terrorists, even non-Muslim terrorists, can the Obama Administration cite any instances of such a policy being successful?

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Identification of Terrorism is Productive

While I find much value in Daniel Pipes writing, he missed the mark when he wrote that it was unproductive to consider whether the Ft. Hood attack was an act of terrorism, because there are too many definitions of terrorism and attacking soldiers is not terrorism.

In response, I commented:

I disagree with this pragmatic approach that finds it unproductive to question whether Hasan’s attack was an act of terrorism. Ideas matter as is reflected by the recommended narrower focus on jihad.

While there are numerous definitions of terrorism that prevent communication on the subject, an objective definition that represents the essential elements of the concept is possible. Based upon comparison to concrete instances of terrorism and effective counterterrorism, the best definition that I have found is that terrorism is “a belief that the initiation of force against symbolic targets by a non-state organization is an effective method for achieving political change.”

Using this definition, based upon news accounts, Hasan’s attack was an act of terrorism. The military personnel were symbolic targets representing American power and the threat modernity poses to reactionary interpretations of Islam.

Focusing upon jihad alone addresses the motivation for the violence, and is part of creating a backlash policy; however, it would prevent addressing other critical counterterrorism policy issues. For example, detaining terrorist criminals require isolation to prevent efforts to recruit those disposed to violence into the organization, in this case the “true” Ummah. Further, deterrence measures need to be taken to address terrorist infiltration into our military.

A narrow focus in the name of a pragmatic consensus obscures the proper course of action by evading the objective principles involved.

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