Tag Archives: terrorism

FBI stops supposed “Temple Plot” in New York City

27 Jun

Last week, four men from Newburgh, New York were arrested in what the FBI says was a plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes with Stinger missiles. The Muslim men had planted the bombs outside the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Center, but didn’t know that they were fake explosives given to them by an FBI informant.

Some are claiming that this “foiled plot” is another example of why we need surveillance and warrantless wiretaps to “protect” us from terrorist attacks and a supposed reminder of the constant “threat” that terrorism continues to pose. Here’s Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, doing his best to scare every New Yorker he can:

‘This latest attempt to attack our freedoms shows that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real and underscores why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism,’ Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a statement.

Bloomberg also awarded honorary certificates to more than 100 officers from the FBI, NYPD, and state police just two days after.

What is most interesting about this is not that we were protected from a supposed terrorist attack, but that the whole “plot” was invented by an FBI informant:

The defendants, in their efforts to acquire weapons, dealt with an informant acting under law enforcement supervision, authorities said. The FBI and other agencies monitored the men and provided an inactive missile and inert C-4 to the informant for the defendants, a federal complaint said.

In June 2008, the informant met Cromitie in Newburgh and Cromitie complained that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and he was upset about the war there and that many Muslim people were being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. military forces, officials said.

Did you catch the last sentence? He was upset that his fellow Muslims was being mercilessly bombed, and when tricked into retaliating, he and his three accomplices were arrested. They did not “hate our liberties,” as nearly every media mouthpiece recites ad nauseum, they hated the fact the U.S. is brutally occupying and pummeling two-and-a-half Muslim countries. This is just another example of how our global empire*, with over 800 bases in over 120 countries with soldiers ready to be deployed, creates a lot of backlash, and in the Middle Eastern world, this means terrorism.

Switzerland, New Zealand, Costa Rica and many others are all countries that are far freer than us and do not feel the sting of terrorism because they mind their own business, engage in free trade (we should end the impoverishment embargo of Cuba, but that’s a subject for another day), and don’t meddle militarily in other countries.

The operation was simply entrapment by a KGB-esque agency, the perfect definition of a false flag operation with the intention of scaring us into giving them more and more of our liberties so they can “protect” us from terrorists. Thankfully, many are starting to see through this latest federal fear-mongering-power-grab, like this excellent article at the Times of London:

‘This whole operation was a foolish waste of time and money,’ claimed Terence Kindlon, a defense lawyer who represented the last terror suspect to be tried in New York state. “It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four idiots to install as defendants.

The other question that U.S. security experts were debating was how much had been achieved by assigning more than 100 agents to a year-long investigation of three petty criminals and a mentally ill Haitian immigrant, none of whom had any connection with any known terrorist group. ‘They were all unsophisticated dimwits,’ said Kindlon.

Despite these glaring holes in this so-called “foiled plot,” we are supposed to be very, very afraid of Muslims, who are likely to blow up synagogues and shoot down airplanes at any given second. Periodic torture and indefinite imprisonment in the US Gulags is too good of a treatment for these “terrorists.”

The real fundamental injustice is the existence of a federal police force that seduces people into committing crimes and then jailing them for it. The FBI has committed many crimes in its infamous past, and continues to be a rogue dog without a leash.

Who exactly should we be afraid of again?

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More fear-mongering from the GOP

27 Jun

ust when you thought that the Republicans were dead, they have resurfaced, and they’re taking the kid gloves off. In their predictable appeal to national security, they ask Americans: are we safer under President Obama?

Oh, boy. Where do I start?

The usual gems are all in there: jihadists, torture, terrorists, Chavez, terrorists, jihadists, terrorists, and some 24-like music to really hit it home!

Republicans have never been rookies with the use of fear-mongering, and in eight terrible years when they were in charge, they preyed on every fear imaginable to the American public as they waged war on the Middle East, suppressed civil liberties, stifled free speech, divided the world into good and evil, and spent us into a recession. And we’re supposed to be afraid of Obama?

The Republicans are looking for a terrorist under every bed, but the Democrats are just as bad when it comes to scaring the hell out of the American people and crushing dissent.

Remember Kosovo? I was a youngster then, but I was still old enough to see President Bill Clinton, a trailer-trash serial rapist, order the U.S. Air Force to drop tons of bombs on Serbian villages. When some Republicans objected, the Democrats labeled them as “unpatriotic” and that they weren’t “supporting the troops.” Sound familiar?

Here in San Francisco, a brilliant anti-war libertarian even ran against Nazi Nancy Pelosi because she voted for the Kosovo war (what war doesn’t Pelosi cheer and support?)

Both parties use fear-mongering to get elected and consolidate power, and when a President does his mandatory ritual and decides to bomb something, anything, the opposing party objects. Bush’s war on Iraq was criticized by the Left, but where were they when Clinton was launching cruise missiles into Baghdad and starving nearly a million Iraqi civilians with crippling sanctions?

No, I am not afraid of terrorists, and no amount of Orwellian lies spewing from the Imperial City will persuade me otherwise. I am, however, afraid of my own government, the largest, cruelest, most intrusive, and most dangerous government the world has ever known.

Whether it’s “Islamofascism” (a stupid phrase if I’ve ever heard one) from the Republicans or the threat of “global warming” from the Democrats, I simply heed the words of perhaps America’s greatest essayist, H.L. Mencken:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Amen.

Somali Pirates and U.S. paranoia

27 Jun

The recent news that the captain of the Maersk Alabama, Richard Phillips, who was captured and held hostage for several days by Somali pirates, has finally been released and is now safe in friendly hands comes as welcome in a climate of near-universal bad and depressing news. My relief, however, was short-lived upon hearing President Obama’s “vow to fight piracy”, which Obama said would include adding more Navy gunships to the area and possibly a military strike on the pirates’ land bases.

President Obama’s hawkish response to liquidating Somali pirates is unfortunately a continuation of previous administrations’ mistakes. When President Bush Sr., and later President Clinton, intervened militarily in Somalia in the early 1990’s, the result was tragic; U.S. helicopters were shot down and a U.S. Marine was dragged through the streets of Mogadishu.

Later, in 2006, President Bush gave the green light (as well as weapons and aid) to Ethiopia in their  invasion of Somalia, where thousands were killed and Somalia was further destabilized. Somalians, (as well most countries that feel the sting of U.S. foreign policy) unlike Americans, do not have a short memory, and U.S. meddling in Eastern Africa is seared into their memories.

Obama would do well to not seek a military solution to problems plaguing the dangerous corners of the Indian Ocean. U.S. military intervention, our favorite form of diplomacy, has created “blowback,” or the unintended consequences of war, and its symptoms are growing. The eastern coast of Somalia has been riddled with nuclear and toxic waste that was dumped there illegally by several European firms, and its shores our daily violated by illegal fishing. Combine these factors in a nearly lawless country fresh off of an Ethiopian invasion supported by the U.S., and the puzzle starts to fit.

This is not a defense of these Somali pirates, but simply an examination of why they do what they do; when murders are investigated, finding the motive is a crucial aspect. International piracy, like 9/11, is not an act of war that can be solved with crushing military force. Firing cruise missiles into Somalia will not stop piracy; you can’t stop the Mob by bombing Sicily. What Congress can and should do is issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal, international search warrants, authorizing private tankers to manage their own security. For example, they could be armed, instead of the current laws that don’t allow these vessels to resist or fight back. How many pirates would hijack gigantic vessels with lifeboats if every passenger were armed?

This would not make the problem go away, because terrorism and piracy will always exist, but it would allow these ships to be safer and more secure, and better able to handle these problems on their own. After all, what would be the response of Somalians to a good ol’ fashioned American bombing? Look northeast, at the ancient churches, infrastructure, and whole cities of Iraq and Afghanistan that now lay in ashes, where Al Qaeda’s recruiting work is now labor-free.

I hope I don’t have to have this as a bumper sticker in two years: End the War in Somalia!