Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

We are Virginia Tech–4th Anniversary

April 15th, 2011 11 comments


Today, April 16, 2011, marks the 4th anniversary  of the Virginia Tech massacre.



Nikki Giovanni at the Memorial Service–We are Virginia Tech

President Bush spoke to the Tech Students.  So did Governor Tim Kaine:


A Moral Dilemma

December 27th, 2010 9 comments

From Yahoo News:

An Iraqi man killed his 19-year-old daughter after he discovered al-Qaida had recruited her as a suicide bomber in an area north of Baghdad, a police spokesman said on Friday.

Al-Qaida has been recruiting women for suicide attacks because they can pass police checkpoints easier than men by concealing explosives under an abaya, a loose, black cloak that conservative Muslim women wear. Suicide bombers have been al-Qaida’s most lethal weapon in Iraq, killing hundreds of civilians and members of Iraq’s security forces.

The killing of the young woman was discovered when security forces, searching for her on suspicion she had ties to al-Qaida, raided her father’s home Thursday outside the former Sunni-insurgent stronghold of Baqouba, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, said Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi, a police spokesman in Diyala province.

The father, Najim al-Anbaky, was detained in the raid. During questioning he told police he had killed his daughter, Shahlaa, a month earlier because he found out she intended to blow herself up in a suicide attack for al-Qaida, al-Karkhi told The Associated Press.

Al-Anbaky showed police what he said was the woman’s grave, al-Karkhi said. The father remains in custody and is under investgiation, but no charges have been made yet.

A police official at the interior ministry in Baghdad confirmed the killing. He spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

A female suicide bomber was behind one of the deadliest attack this year in Iraq, after she blew herself up among Shiite pilgrims Baghdad in February, killing 54 people.


So….is this murder?  Is this like killing Hitler rather than waiting to send him to trial?  Is the father wrong and should he be prosecuted?  Could he have saved hundreds, maybe thousands of lives?  While we often hear  rhetoric demanding that Muslims denounce terrorists, we need to think about several of the parents who have come forward and warned about their children being agents of terrorists. (underpants bomber for example).


Categories: Terrorism Tags:

Florida Minister Endangers the Troops

September 6th, 2010 38 comments
Gen. David Petraeus said a church's Quran-burning "is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses."

Gen. David Petraeus said a church's Quran-burning "is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses."


Several weeks ago we put up a thread about a minister in Florida who planned to burn copies of the Quran on 9/11. To date, there seems to be mo change in his misguided plans.

CNN reports:

CNN) — The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, plans to mark the anniversary of al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington by burning copies of the Muslim holy book. The church insists the event is “neither an act of love nor of hate,” but a warning against what it calls the threats posed by Islam.

Good for General Petraeus. Its time someone called out this arrogant man. Who better than the commander of all US troops in Afghanistan.

More from CNN:

With about 120,000 U.S. and NATO-led troops still battling al Qaeda and its allies in the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement, Petraeus warned that burning Qurans “is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems — not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”

And one of his deputies, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, told CNN’s “The Situation Room” that event “has already stirred up a lot of discussion and concern” among Afghans.

“We very much feel that this can jeopardize the safety of our men and women that are serving over here in the country,” said Caldwell, the head of NATO efforts to train Afghan security forces.

Caldwell said American troops “are over here to defend the rights of American citizens, and we’re not debating the First Amendment rights that people have.” But he added, “What I will tell you is that their very actions will in fact jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we’re trying to accomplish.”

“I would hope they would understand that there are second- and third-order effects that will occur that will affect that young man and woman who’s out there on point for America, serving their nation today, because of their actions back in the United States,” he said

The stupidity and arrogance of this minister is almost unspeakable. When the U.S. Commander tells you that you are endangering the troops, you should listen. If even one of our men or women is killed because of this ignoramous, his entire ministry should be held responsible. How sad that Americans would involve themselves with book burning. Sounds Third Reich to me. I would have no problem with the press being ordered to stay away and the minister barred from his bonfire on 9/11, as a matter of national security. The first amendment is not without some limitations.

Meanwhile, we can only hope that our troops will be safe.

Top Secret America

July 19th, 2010 20 comments

From the Washington Post:

Perhaps everyone is worrying about the wrong thing. How much does this opaque network of top secret agencies, departments, private companies cost the taxpayers  How much duplication is there?  ? How effective is it? Who is really in control?   How do we evaluate it?  Has terrorism become even more politicized?

I think I am growing concerned. It sounds like the Patriot Act is on steroids and we didn’t know it.

This story uncovers a tangled web of inner departments that exemplify that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.  Often there are multiple departments doing the same thing.  Our own counter terrorism now becomes too big to fail. Where has the Congressonal oversight been the past  5-6 years?  GAO cannot investigate intelligence.

The Washington Post uncovers 2 years of investigative reporting. A 4th branch of the government is not mandated by the Constitution. Perhaps the Tea Parties need to start demanding some answers. Perhaps they don’t know who to direct those questions toward.  Is this the new Intel-gate?

Dana Priest and William Arkin, the inevestigative journalists  just might be the next Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  This is the first of a three part series.

Car Bomb Plot Suspect Arrested

May 4th, 2010 31 comments

According to CNN:

New York (CNN) — A U.S. citizen has been arrested in the Times Square bombing probe, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced early Tuesday.

Faisal Shahzad was arrested at JFK airport in New York as he prepared to board a flight to Dubai, Holder said.

The officials said the suspect is the person who bought a Nissan Pathfinder used in the bombing attempt. Earlier, a law enforcement official said the buyer is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, and that investigators are looking at more than one person in connection with the unsuccessful bombing.

The report came as CNN learned that the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigating the bombing attempt is considering the possibility that the attempt involved more than just a “lone wolf.” The identity of the person under scrutiny was not known, however.

According to a source familiar with the investigation, investigators believe the plan was an intended terrorist attack to set off explosives in the heart of midtown Manhattan on Saturday night, but the individuals didn’t have the expertise to detonate their device.

It is important to note that this is an on-going investigation. What a terrific job of capturing the evil-doers.

Car Bomb in Times Square

May 2nd, 2010 18 comments

An SUV was loaded with explosive materials in Times Square yesterday evening. Around 6:30 and alert t-shirt salesman who also happened to be a Vietnam veteran noticed suspicioius smoke coming out of the car and he also smelled gun powder. He alerted a mounted policeman who called in reinforcements and a bomb squad. The mounted police got the passersby out of harms way. Critical areas were evacuated.

CNN covered this incident most of the night. Eye witnesses were interviewed and some officials have spoken. The car bomb did not totally detonate. It is unknown if this was domestic or international terrorism. The mounted police and the vendor are being called heroes. They were aware of their surroundings.

Further reading:

NY Daily News
New York Times

Categories: General, Terrorism Tags: ,

“Recalling ’95 Bombing, Clinton Sees Parallels”

April 19th, 2010 40 comments

With the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing approaching, former President Bill Clinton on Thursday drew parallels between the antigovernment tone that preceded that devastating attack and the political tumult of today, saying government critics must be mindful that angry words can stir violent actions.


In advance of a symposium on Friday about the attack on the Oklahoma City federal building and its current relevance, Mr. Clinton, who was in his first term at the time of the bombing, warned that attempts to incite opposition by demonizing the government can provoke responses beyond what political figures intend.

There can be real consequences when what you say animates people who do things you would never do,” Mr. Clinton said in an interview, saying that Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing, and those who assisted him, “were profoundly alienated, disconnected people who bought into this militant antigovernment line.”

The former president said the potential for stirring a violent response might be even greater now with the reach of the Internet and other common ways of communication that did not exist on April 19, 1995, when the building was struck.

In the period before the Oklahoma City bombing, there was a growing antigovernment sentiment being expressed through a militia movement and anger at government officials, some of it in the wake of the assault on the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Tex., on April 19, 1993. Mr. Clinton recalls that he and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, were characterized by Newt Gingrich, then the Republican Congressional leader, as the enemies of ordinary Americans.

In a May 1995 commencement speech at Michigan State University, Mr. Clinton talked about the bombing and the role he believed efforts to portray the government and its workers as a threat played in the attack.

“It is one thing to believe we are over-regulated and to work to lessen the burden of regulation,” he said at the time. “It is quite another to slander our dedicated public servants, our brave police officers, even our rescue workers, who have been called a hostile army of occupation.”

Mr. Clinton said the impact of political attacks could be dangerously amplified at the moment because of the economic upheaval that had left many Americans frightened and suffering. “A lot of people are just raw,” he said.

He called America a nation born out of protests, and said that he had no interest in reducing productive civic dialogue.

“This is about holding our country together and having these debates,” he said. “The Republicans will have their chance in November.”

How can a militia forming in Oklahoma to defend the State AGAINST the Federal Government NOT sound frightening?

OKLAHOMA CITY — Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea party movement leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.

“Is it scary? It sure is,” said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. “But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?”

Categories: General, Terrorism Tags:

Oklahoma City Bombing 15th Anniversary Bombing

April 19th, 2010 5 comments

April 19, 1995  at 9:02 am there was an awful explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  168 people, some  of them children, were killed and more than 600 others were wounded.  Many survivors  and family members will gather today for a ceremony.  Secretary of State Janet Napolitano will speak.

A museum now stands where Murrah Federal Building once was.   Resilience is the lesson it teaches. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum  has an excellent website. 

Terrorism is terrorism, regardless of who carries it out.  Somehow it seems even uglier when it is homegrown.  We expect Americans to be so much better than this.  Timothy McVeigh has been put to death for his role in this horrible act of violence.  McVeigh had detonated explosives in a truck parked in front of the Murrah building.  He deliberately chose a site where there were children since the federal building had a day care inside for its workers.  He supposedly committed this act to avenge the deaths at Waco, Texas.   MSNBC will have confessions from Timothy McVeigh previously unheard. Rachel Maddow hosts tonight at 9 pm on MSNBC,

Terry Nichols, another co-conspirator, is in prison for life with no patrole.  The jury was deadlocked on the death penalty.  The 2 met while serving in the army.  Michael Fortier was also convicted of  lesser charges.  He served his time under an assumed name.  He was released into the witness protection program so he now walks amongst us. 

April 16, President Obama signed a proclamation declaring April 19 a National Day of Service and Remembrance for Victims and Survivors of Terrorism, 2010.  In part, he said:

There is no greater evil than willful violence against innocents. On this National Day of Service and Remembrance for Victims and Survivors of Terrorism, we pause to remember victims of terrorism at home and abroad, we honor the heroes who have supported them, and we redouble our efforts to build the kind of world that is worthy of their legacy.

Fifteen years ago, terrorists bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing over 160 men, women, and children, and injuring hundreds more. Even before the dust settled, heroes had emerged. First responders, medical professionals, clergy, relief organizations, local leaders, and everyday citizens stepped forward to help victims and their families. Again, when terrorists struck on September 11, 2001, and thousands of Americans –- and scores of foreign nationals — perished in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Americans made a historic effort to assist all those affected. The dignity of those who were attacked — and the courage of those who came to their aid — reaffirmed the strength of our Nation, and the human spirit.

Presidential Proclamation

Those who were killed

Video footage from that day:

Virginia Tech Massacre: 3 Years ago April 16, 2007

April 16th, 2010 32 comments

3 short years ago.  Who will forget watching the events unfold on TV that left 32 people dead and 17 wounded at Virginia Tech?  The killings at VT became the worst massacre ever in the United States.  And that day we were all Hokies. 

There has been plenty of criticism to go around.  Tech was criticized for failure to notify students of the dangers of a marauding student killer on campus.  The cops have been criticized for tracking down the wrong person while the real killer went on a rampage.  Fairfax County Schools were criticized for not notifying Tech of Cho’s (the killer) anti-social  behavior.  Laws have been criticized, with everyone declaring ‘NEVER AGAIN.’

What has changed?  Does Tech have a better notification system?  Have the police come up with a better way of tracking crime on campus?  Is it more difficult to obtain guns or is it easier?  Are there better checks and balances in place so that people with mental illness are prevented from purchasing guns?  Is student information more readily available?  Do schools have to notify receiving schools of student mental illness?

Other than a better danger  notification system, I am not sure that one thing has changed. The legislature spent the winter trying to relax hand gun laws.  Student privacy laws still seem to be in place.  I just don’t know how NEVER AGAIN is working out for us.  Any ideas?

Meanwhile, a moment of silence for the fallen and a hopeful NEVER AGAIN.


April 16th is turning in to a real bad day for me. (See first thread)
I am not sure Virginians are ready to move on. I am not sure the mourning process is over. Maybe it won’t be for a long time. The last class to experience the massacre will graduate this spring. Maybe then. Maybe. University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni speaks at the convocation on 4/17/07:

Categories: Disaster, Terrorism, Virginia Tags:

Tom Hanks Steps in a Racial Hornet’s Nest

March 16th, 2010 21 comments

Tom Hanks has set off a firestorm over racism that is impacting the new HBO miniseries, “The Pacific.” Listen to both videos:

Not smart, Tom. not smart. Maybe in 30 years he could say that but there are far too many people from that era still alive to say WWII was  racist. I thought we were at war with Japan because they bombed Pearl Harbor. I think most Americans thought the same. Was there racism, if you want to call it that, because we were at war with Japan? Of course. Caricatures developed immediately of our enemies in both war theatres.  Terms were used like Kraut, Japs, zipperheads, etc.  I don’t know if you can actually call it racism when you are at war with someone. I think it might take on a different term.  War words? 

Much of WWII involved racism. Racism is easy. When one has difficulty verbalizing why they hate another human being, racism is far easier than rational thought. And let’s face it, it is pretty difficult to kill someone, a lot of someones without a little hate being brought into the mix. However, WWII did not start because Americans hate the Japanese for racial reasons. Racial stereotyping certainly developed. However, in a world where the Chinese and Koreans were being killed and tortured it is pretty difficult to evoke racism.

It is also very difficult to paint Americans as racist when 6 million Jews were being annihilated across the Atlantic for racist reasons, even though they were the same race as their executioner. Go figure. Perhaps racism is definitely the wrong word.

Tom Hanks needs to reword his remarks. The “Greatest Generation” doesn’t need to go out of this world being called racist. The was lots of racism back then. I have my father’s letters lamenting that an Indian soldier could not go into a bar and buy a drink in 1945. There was no mention that our troops were segregated. I questioned my mother who didn’t have an answer. We have races of people being herded into concentration camps and killed then incinerated because they were ethnically different in the eyes of their captors. We have political enemies facing the same fate. We have women of similar racial background being pressed into prostitution because of their national difference. The world was turned upside down. Some of that same hatred lives on. Getting into whether something is or is not racist really helps nothing. The best thing to do is simply move on. Hanks has put his foot in it. He also discusses terrorism. He doesn’t want to go there either.

Tom Hanks has been a wonderful spokes person for the ‘Greatest Generation.’  I hope they don’t fire him and that he alters his message just a little bit since he has so many people upset.

Categories: Racism, Terrorism, War/Military Tags:

Water-board Attorney to Visit UVA

March 2nd, 2010 10 comments
John Yoo

John Yoo

John Yoo, attorney with the Bush Administration will speak at UVA on March 19 at the Miller Center for Public Affairs.  Yoo was an author of the ‘torture memos’ which advised the Bush Administration that water boarding and other harsh techniques of interrogation were legal.

John Yoo was deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.  He currently has returned to teaching at the University of California at Berkeley’s law school and is promoting his book, “Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush.”

Last week after a long series of DOJ investitgations, it was determined that Yoo and other attorneys “exercised poor judgment” in formulating their legal advice to the Bush Administration.  The ruling was very controversial and polarized political factions.

Expect to see heated debate at UVA.  Various liberal groups have called Yoo a war criminal.  Thomas Jefferson’s academic village will be rocking on March 19 with this latest visitor.  I don’t expect the students to go quietly with this guest speaker.

Yoo called a war criminal in rotests in Philadelphia

Yoo called a war criminal in rotests in Philadelphia

Army Officers Could Face Disciplinary Action over Fort Hood Suspect

January 15th, 2010 16 comments

As many as 8 army officers could face disciplinary action for failure to do anything about  Major Hasan who went on a rampage  and killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood last November.  Defense Secretary Gates is expected to turn over findings to the Army for further consideration today.  The officers who could find themselves in trouble were those who supervised Hasan at Walter Reed during his training and who promoted him on down the line.  Those supervisors are being questioned why red flags were not thrown up over this soldier’s competence and behavior. 

According to Yahoo News:

The official said Thursday that a Pentagon inquiry finds fault with five to eight supervisors who knew or should have known about the shortcomings and erratic behavior of Hasan, who’s accused of killing 13 people at the Texas Army base on Nov. 5.

The official described the confidential report on condition of anonymity because it has not been made public.

According to information gathered during the internal Pentagon review and obtained by The Associated Press last week, Hasan’s strident views on Islam became more pronounced as his training progressed. Worries about his competence also grew, yet his superiors continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving through the ranks. That led to his eventual assignment at Fort Hood.

Recent statistics show the Army rarely blocks junior officers from promotion, especially in the medical corps.


The Army is not expected to delve into any contacts Major Nisan had with radical Muslim clerics.  That is part of his criminal case.  The Army is simply looking at the case from a supervisory point of view. 

Should 8 people be punished or is this typical behavior of government agencies?  There always seems to be a fall guy or 2.  Were those who supervised Hasan acting in the spirit of army political correctness?  Do governments, local, state, and federal, set a tone where certain behaviors are excused for certain groups of people?  Are different people held to a different standard because of sub-grouping?  Specifically, was Hasan allowed to be incompetent and erratic because he was Muslim?  Do people who ignore behavior from members of a group do so out of sympathy or out of fear of reprisal from the group members or the higher ups?  

Many of our contributors are former feds, military or local government employees.  We want to hear from you.  Feel free to choose an additional moniker if you need to double layer your anonymity.

UpdateFrom the New York Times:

Pentagon Report on Fort Hood Shooting Details Failures

Calling the military's defenses against threats from within
its ranks outdated and ineffective, Defense Secretary Robert
M. Gates said that the Army mishandled warnings about the
poor performance and radical views of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan,
the military psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in a
shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5. Several
officers who supervised Major Hasan during his psychiatric
training in the Washington area may be disciplined, he said.

To Body Scan or Not to Body Scan—

January 6th, 2010 59 comments

Much as been said since Christmas Day about the use of the full body scan. Some countries immediately began using the scanners. Reagan Airport locally is using full body scanners. However, there are many privacy issues that are preventing TSA from implementing these machines from full use at all airports for all passengers.

The body scanners are quite controversial because of privacy and basically, getting a bird’s eye view of people in private areas. Women seem to feel far more violated than do men.

Should all passengers undergo a full body scan or is enough enough? Will the body scanners stop terrorists or is this just another hoop to jump through? Are we giving up all our rights of privacy to be safe or to give an illusion that we are safe?

Categories: General, Terrorism Tags:

A Stern President Obama Addresses the Nation on Terrorism

January 6th, 2010 17 comments

Apparently President Obama met with 20 of his closest advisors and agency heads and had a real old fashioned trip to the wood shed with them. According to the Huffington Post:

President Barack Obama scolded 20 of his highest-level officials on Tuesday over the botched Christmas Day terror attack on an airliner bound for Detroit, taking them jointly to task for “a screw-up that could have been disastrous” and should have been avoided.

After that 90-minute private reckoning around a table in the super-secure White House Situation Room, a grim-faced Obama informed Americans that the government had enough information to thwart the attack ahead of time but that the intelligence community, though trained to do so, did not “connect those dots.”


Once again,the talking heads buzzed about what he said and what he didn’t say. Oddly enough, some old enemies gave him higher marks.

Is the president doing as much as you expect to combat terror? Is the increased security at airports going to help combat terrorism or is it ‘chasing the news?’ Will increased sky marshalls help fight terrorism? How about the closer inspection of those whose flight originates in certain countries?  Will any US officials be fired?

More importantly, how do you feel those who would do us harm see the resolve of the United States, as evidenced by our President? 

Full story in the Washington Post

Terrorism Provides New Rancor Between Democrats and Republicans

January 4th, 2010 32 comments

 Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan speaks to CNN about the ongoing problem in Yemen:


The Democrats and Republicans can now square off over terrorism and all that it embodies.  As the US and Great Britain close their embassies in Yemen, here at home, the 2 primary parties squabble and finger point over who knew what when and who was toughest on terrorism. 

At the heart of the matter is the closing of Gitmo.  If one steps over that issue, one comes face to face with the fact that the Christmas Day underwear would be bomber is being detained in federal court.  Up until recently, interrogators were gathering information.  Now the defendant has a court appointed lawyer, he has ‘lawyered up’ and the information is not as free flowing.

Leading Republicans contend that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, was trained and send on a mission by Al Qaeda, therefore he should be held as a military combatant, by the military.  Interrogation could continue if he were being held as a military prisoner.  According to the Washington Post:

Brennan’s tour of the talk shows — he also appeared on ABC’s “This Week” — came as the administration tried to counter, and move out in front of, widespread criticism of intelligence systems that did not identify Abdulmutallab as an al-Qaeda operative or detect the explosive he was allegedly carrying before he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Much of the criticism Sunday, however, centered on the decision to try him in civilian court rather than hold him as a military prisoner. “If we had treated this Christmas Day bomber as a terrorist, he would have immediately been interrogated military-style, rather than given the rights of an American and lawyers,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on CNN. “We probably lost valuable information.”

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman(I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said it was a “very serious mistake” to send Abdulmutallab to federal court.

While Senator Lieberman is not a Republican, he often sides with them on matters of war and terrorism.  Should Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, be held by the military or in by civilian law enforcement?  Does it really matter or is this commotion just a political ploy?  Should our embassies in Yemen be closed?  Should some Gitmo prisoners be returned to Yemen to be punished or set free? 

It appears that sides are squaring off over all issues pertaining to terrorism.  Rather than uniting us towards a common goal, it appears that it is politics and usual.