Hitler’s Regime Versus Israel


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Exploding The Bomber Myth

Zeenia Satti writes

The Faisal Shahzad episode has exposed two myths at the heart of the discourse on threats to America’s security. The first myth is that sanctuaries, located on the Pakistani-Afghan border, are training terrorists for launching lethal attacks on US soil, a la 9/11. Faisal Shahzad, we are told, has been trained in one of these sanctuaries. The extent of his preparedness to launch a lethal attack on America is as follows:

a) Shahzad gave his correct email address to the man from whom he bought the SUV, to be used as a mass-murder weapon;

b) Shahzad boarded the Dubai-bound plane approximately 40 hours (two days) after he must have, or should have, learned that his device had failed and his smoking vehicle discovered.

c) Knowing (or not knowing) that the vehicle’s registration number would lead to the dealer he had bought the car from, he chose to escape by positioning himself in a plane where he would remain for the next 14 hours, after which he would disembark at a predictable destination, where he could be easily nabbed.

d) His dedication to his trainers can be fathomed by the fact that though he had bought a 9mm handgun with four hundred dollars in cash, during the period in which he was supposed to be preparing himself for the terror attack. When push came to shove, he chose to seat himself inside an airplane, where he could not carry a gun on him, instead of his own apartment, where he could have shot himself in an instant when raided by the FBI. With him dead, all knowledge regarding his trainers would be lost. You don’t need to read Le Carre to know this. Hollywood and Bollywood spy movies routinely show how dedicated agents end up killing themselves when faced with the danger of arrest.

The second myth is that the foremost threat perception faced by the US in the 21st century is Islamic terrorism.

Reality. After the investigatory trail had led to Faisal Shahzad, the FBI decided not to call all the airlines on May 3rd to inform them that an important name had been added to the No Fly list. The list purportedly carries 3,400 names. According to an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the FBI asked the Transportation Security Administration (TSI) not to make the call to international airlines. In critical situations, investigators call all the airlines themselves on emergency basis. Such a move puts a name on the airline’s radar, making it impossible for the suspect to slip through the system.

So far so good.

The CIA has an extensive presence in the Arabian Peninsula, augmented by the US military presence that dramatically increased since the Christmas bomber announced his ties to Yemeni terrorists. The UAE in general and Dubai in particular, is a hub of US intelligence agencies. So is Pakistan. Hence one would think that the CIA chose to watch Faisal all the way to his destination and keep him under surveillance in Pakistan, as the CIA has extensive experience in overseas surveillance. Tapping Faisal Shahzad could have led it all the way to the den where he was “trained” and his gurus. It could have led the US authorities to discover entities the amateur wanna be terrorist himself may not have known about.

But that’s not what happens. After a US customs officer recognises Faisal’s name on the manifest list, 30 minutes before the plane is scheduled to take off, the FBI storms into the plane and nabs Faisal Shahzad, in the manner of the NYPD nabbing an ordinary suspect at the crime scene. Later, they interrogate him in the same manner. The US government, resurrecting the Bush-era abhorrence for civil liberties, starts worrying about whether or not Shahzad is entitled to his Miranda rights, instead of worrying about their intelligence system’s manifest incapacity to pursue an amateur and unearth his source.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, seems in place within the gigantic US intelligence system for tackling what is the most dangerous security threat to America in the 21st century–i.e., Islamic terrorism operating from “sanctuaries” on foreign soil. Five thousand US soldiers have died in Iraq and 35000 have been critically wounded. Over 2000 NATO troops have died in Afghanistan and tens of thousands have been maimed. Millions of civilians have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost of these wars has gone into trillions. All to take out foreign sanctuaries that nurture terrorism. Yet, after nine years of involvement in this endeavour, the US intelligence cannot come up with one decent intelligence operation that can trace an amateur terrorist all the way to his training grounds, in a place that is feared as the foremost threat to American security!

Faisal’s mission failed due to his own failures, and the alertness of a Muslim vendor from Senegal named Aliou Niasse, a hero whose name no one heard. Nothing in this averted disaster shows the terror-hunting prowess of the FBI or the CIA. No foreign sanctuary is required for the likes of Faisal. In fact, the whole notion of sanctuaries is questionable. Can the FBI prevent an individual from using his home inside America to make an improvised explosives device or to plan a terror attack? The Timothy McVeigh risk prevails anywhere.

Foreign sanctuaries are neither required for performing domestic acts of terror, nor do the ones that are hyped seem capable of catering to their so-called professional purpose. Training in a sanctuary in Yemen led a man to burn his bottom and half a seat on an airliner. Training in a similar sanctuary in Waziristan led a man to design a floozy and leave a trail of easy traces to himself. Timothy McVeigh masterminded an attack that killed 168 people sitting all the time in his own apartment, inside the United States. Domestic terror attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India have shown similar ferocity.

The threat of Islamic terrorism is projected more than it is perceived. Despite nine years of costly multilateral wars fought in the name of this threat, the US has not felt the need to energise a system of intelligence for nabbing networks that are supposedly threatening its existence. The US intelligence still continues to maintain its Cold-War era special relationship with the British intelligence, despite maintaining that the source of threat to US’ existence has shifted from Europe to Asia.

The writer is an energy consultant based in Washington DC. Email: zeenia.satti@ post.harvard.edu

If This is True

Here is a letter that was written to US Senator, Peter Gailbraith, Ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, on September 24, 1990.

Dear Peter Gailbraith,

I do not know how to thank you for your so many favors to me and my family. As you know that the orders of my dismissal were drafted in the JAG branch of the GHQ, and it was not possible for me to pull along with the army and they subverted my Government.

I have already communicated to various friends in the Congress and especially Stephen Solaran to use their good office with President Bush so as to put maximum pressure on President Ishaq and the army in Pakistan that they do not disqualify me from the elections as it will be unjust and negation of all democratic principles for which we have struggled.

It would be more appropriate, if military as well as economic assistance to Pakistan is stopped and all the international agencies like World Bank, IMF are told to squeeze the Government of Pakistan and if possible all supply to Pakistan should be disrupted so that normal life in Pakistan comes to stand still.

As long as I was the Prime Minister I kept a check on the Nuclear device but now I do not know what are the plans of Government.

The suspension of F-16 and its spares will bring the army to its senses.

Dear Peter, please use your influence on V. P. Singh, the Indian Prime Minister to engage the Pakistani army on the borders so that they do not impede in my way. I wish Rajiv Gandhi had been the Prime Minister of India , things would have been easier.

Thank you with warm regards,

Sincerely yours,

Benazir Bhutto.

The Rise of Hindutva Terrorism in India

Back in October, 2007, bombs ripped through the courtyard of what is without dispute South Asia’s most popular Muslim religious centre — the shrine that commemorates Chishti’s life at Ajmer Sharif, in Rajasthan. For months, Police believed the attacks had been carried out by Islamist groups, who oppose the shrine’s syncretic message. On April 30, 2010, however, Rajasthan Police investigators arrested the man they say purchased the mobile phone subscriber-identification modules (SIM) used to trigger the attack. Devendra Gupta, a long standing worker of the Hindu-nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was held along with his political associates Vishnu Prasad and Chandrashekhar Patidar. All three men are now also thought to have participated in the bombing of the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Rasasthan Home Minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal said the men were backed by an “organisation which tries to incite violence between Hindus and Muslims”, adding that authorities were “investigating the links of the organisation with the RSS.”

The arrests in Rajasthan mark progress in resolving some of the most opaque and contentious terrorist attacks India has seen in recent years — but have also focussed attention on the little-understood threat of Hindu-nationalist or Hindutva terrorism.

Evidence that Hindutva groups were seeking to acquire terrorist capabilities began to emerge late in 2002. In December that year, an improvised explosive device was found at Bhopal’s railway station, evidently intended to target Muslims arriving in the city to attend a Tablighi Jamaat gathering. Exactly a year later, a second bomb was found in the Lamba Khera area, on the outskirts of Bhopal, on the last day of a Talblighi Jamaat meeting. Both devices were made with commercial nitroglycerine-based explosive, packed inside a four-inch long section of grooved pipe — the kind used, for example, in tube-wells. The explosive was linked to a detonator controlled by both a quartz alarm clock and a mobile phone. Investigators would, in coming years, become familiar with the device: it would be used, with only minor modifications, at Mecca Masjid and at the Ajmer Sharif Shrine. Police in Madhya Pradesh soon developed information linking the attempted Bhopal bombings to local Hindutva activists Ramnarayan Kalsangram and Sunil Joshi. Both suspects were, Police sources said, questioned. No hard evidence linking them to the attempted bombings, however, emerged. Nevertheless, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh announced that he had evidence of the involvement of members of the Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of the RSS, in acts of terrorism. For reasons that are unclear, though, this evidence was not used to prosecute members of the organisation or any other suspects. Nor were Kalsangram and Joshi placed under sustained surveillance, a failure — regrettably common in Indian policing — that was to cost many lives in coming years.

From 2006, more evidence began to become available that Hindutva terrorist groups were seeking to enhance their lethality. That summer, Bajrang Dal activists Naresh Kondwar and Himanshu Panse were killed in a bomb-making accident in Nanded, Maharashtra. Police later discovered that the two men had been responsible for bombing a mosque in the Parbhani District in April 2006. Bajrang Dal activists linked to the Nanded cell, the Police also found, had bombed mosques at Purna and Jalna in April, 2003, injuring 18 people.

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Would the West have done the same?

A Western journalist working for a newspaper, who deliberately insulted the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and was herself found to be involved in distributing copies of the same blasphemous material in Pakistan, was allowed to stay on as a ‘courtesy gesture’ even though the visa of the journalist had been revoked by the authorities and officials in the FIA had arrived at the residence of the journalist on Friday (May 04, 2010) to escort her to the airport.

The Western journalist, working for the newspaper, which printed the blasphemous caricatures and refused to apologise for its action, was charged with distributing the copies of the blasphemous newspaper and her visa was revoked and as per the law, the journalist was asked to leave the country immediately.

However, at the last minute, a top official in the Islamabad Police was asked by a foreigner “not to insult the journalist” and allow her a graceful period of three, four days to ‘respectfully leave within the next three, four days.’”

His request was reportedly accommodated by the official in the Capital police, known for his soft and courteous mannerism. The question is whether he has taken his mannerism a bit too far in this treacherously emotional issue.

And another question also begs answering: had it been the other way round with a Pakistani journalist in a similar situation in a Western country, would the authorities of that country have taken an equally lenient view of the applicable rules and procedures to give an ‘honourable’ grace period? The answer is an emphatic no.

Courtesy: The News