Current State Of The War Against Terror

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#1
Not good:

Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands

Al-Qaida may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says

Julian Borger in Washington
Saturday June 19, 2004
The Guardian

A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as "Anonymous", described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably" acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them.

He said Bin Laden was probably "comfortable" commanding his organisation from the mountainous tribal lands along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pakistani army claimed a big success in the "war against terror" yesterday with the killing of a tribal leader, Nek Mohammed, who was one of al-Qaida's protectors in Waziristan.

But Anonymous, who has been centrally involved in the hunt for Bin Laden, said: "Nek Mohammed is one guy in one small area. We sometimes forget how big the tribal areas are." He believes President Pervez Musharraf cannot advance much further into the tribal areas without endangering his rule by provoking a Pashtun revolt. "He walks a very fine line," he said yesterday.

Imperial Hubris is the latest in a relentless stream of books attacking the administration in election year. Most of the earlier ones, however, were written by embittered former officials. This one is unprecedented in being the work of a serving official with nearly 20 years experience in counter-terrorism who is still part of the intelligence establishment.

The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.

Peter Bergen, the author of two books on Bin Laden and al-Qaida, said: "His views represent an amped-up version of what is emerging as a consensus among intelligence counter-terrorist professionals."

Anonymous does not try to veil his contempt for the Bush White House and its policies. His book describes the Iraq invasion as "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantage.

"Our choice of timing, moreover, shows an abject, even wilful failure to recognise the ideological power, lethality and growth potential of the threat personified by Bin Laden, as well as the impetus that threat has been given by the US-led invasion and occupation of Muslim Iraq."

In his view, the US missed its biggest chance to capture the al-Qaida leader at Tora Bora in the Afghan mountains in December 2001. Instead of sending large numbers of his own troops, General Tommy Franks relied on surrogates who proved to be unreliable.
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"For my money, the game was over at Tora Bora," Anonymous said.

Yesterday President Bush repeated his assertion that Bin Laden was cornered and that there was "no hole or cave deep enough to hide from American justice".

Anonymous said: "I think we overestimate significantly the stress [Bin Laden's] under. Our media and sometimes our policymakers suggest he's hiding from rock to rock and hill to hill and cave to cave. My own hunch is that he's fairly comfortable where he is."

The death and arrest of experienced operatives might have set back Bin Laden's plans to some degree but when it came to his long-term capacity to threaten the US, he said, "I don't think we've laid a glove on him".

"What I think we're seeing in al-Qaida is a change of generation," he said."The people who are leading al-Qaida now seem a lot more professional group.

"They are more bureaucratic, more management competent, certainly more literate. Certainly, this generation is more computer literate, more comfortable with the tools of modernity. I also think they're much less prone to being the Errol Flynns of al-Qaida. They're just much more careful across the board in the way they operate."

As for weapons of mass destruction, he thinks that if al-Qaida does not have them already, it will inevitably acquire them.

The most likely source of a nuclear device would be the former Soviet Union, he believes. Dirty bombs, chemical and biological weapons, could be home-made by al-Qaida's own experts, many of them trained in the US and Britain.

Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida last year called Through Our Enemies' Eyes, thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

"I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now," he said.

"One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president."


The White House has yet to comment publicly on Imperial Hubris, which is due to be published on July 4, but intelligence experts say it may try to portray him as a professionally embittered maverick.

The tone of Imperial Hubris is certainly angry and urgent, and the stridency of his warnings about al-Qaida led him to be moved from a highly sensitive job in the late 90s.

But Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of operations at the CIA counter-terrorism centre, said he had been vindicated by events. "He is very well respected, and looked on as a serious student of the subject."

Anonymous believes Mr Bush is taking the US in exactly the direction Bin Laden wants, towards all-out confrontation with Islam under the banner of spreading democracy.

He said: "It's going to take 10,000-15,000 dead Americans before we say to ourselves: 'What is going on'?"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,12469,1242638,00.html
 

rynner2

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#2
Looks like this thread will have to be renamed:
Planning the US 'Long War' on terror
By James Westhead
BBC News, Washington


It sounds eerily like the Cold War - and that is no mistake.

The "Long War" is the name Washington is using to rebrand the new world conflict, this time against terrorism.

Now the US military is revealing details of how it is planning to fight this very different type of war.

It is also preparing the public for a global conflict which it believes will dominate the next 20 years.

The nerve centre of this war against terror is the huge MacDill airbase in Tampa, Florida.

Surrounded by white sand beaches, palm trees and two golf courses it looks more like a holiday camp than a military camp.

But inside US Central Command (Centcom) generals are planning what they call "fourth-generational warfare".

Centcom is already responsible for military action in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now it is planning a campaign that will eventually span the globe.

Aiming at al-Qaeda

The man behind what the US military calls its "principles of the Long War" is Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt.

Gen Kimmitt, Centcom's deputy director of plans and strategy, told the BBC News website: "Even if Iraq stabilised tomorrow the Long War would continue."

So as Centcom tries to control events in Iraq, he is also planning a strategy for "nothing less than the defeat of al-Qaeda across the world and its associated movements strung together by extremist ideology."

To achieve victory the US military will have to change dramatically, he says.

Like the terrorists it will have to build international networks, Gen Kimmitt says, making better use of "soft power" - diplomacy, finance, trade and technology.

"I'm an artillery officer, and I can't fire cannons at the internet," he says, referring to what he sees as one of the key weapons of the modern age.

Instead, he argues that the US military must try to break down "old mind-sets and bureaucracies" and build new relationships with other agencies - like the FBI, the police and the State Department - through what in military jargon are called "joint inter-agency task forces."

Improved posture

The theory is that the military cannot fight alone against such a nimble and deadly foe as al-Qaeda, and must build a new kind of worldwide network as flexible and smart as its enemy.

As a result Gen Kimmitt predicts a much lower profile for traditional US forces.


Donald Rumsfeld has long pushed for transformation of the military
He believes that will help win hearts and minds, by ending the impression that the US is occupying the Middle East.

"Our future posture is still being worked out," he says.

"But I would like to see to the number of troops in the Middle East cut to a fraction of the current 300,000, by at least a half."

The US military is planning a big increase in the role of special forces, the smaller, specially-trained teams able to speak local languages - including Arabic - to deploy rapidly and to work with the other nations' military.

Trailer park diplomacy

Outside Centcom sits a symbol of the new approach and its complexity - a large trailer park with fluttering flags atop each trailer representing each of the 63 nations represented at Centcom, from Denmark to El Salvador.

Inside each trailer a small team of military liaison officers shares information with their American colleagues and co-ordinate action in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the region.

According to an American general working with the coalition, the aim is to maintain this loose-knit arrangement to fight the global war on terror.

"We want to make it a lasting organisation," he said.

"We don't want it to dissolve like it did after Desert Shield and Desert Storm."


The US hopes coalition-building can help win the "Long War"
However, America's difficult relationship with some allies after 11 September 2001 suggests that this will be a challenge.

France and Germany, for example, opposed the war in Iraq. Rear Adm Jacques Mazars, the French representative at Centcom, says French and American forces co-operate more successfully on the ground than their politicians.

But, he said, running a coalition for a sustained period will be hard.

"On the conceptual level we can agree," he said. "There will be a long war to be won. But on the practical level it will be harder."

One regular cause of tension among the allies is the sharing of sensitive intelligence.

"There are some things you wouldn't share with a neighbour and even an ally," one senior US officer said.

There are signs that despite the difficulties the new coalition against terror is here to stay.

The Pentagon admits its vision is not yet fully realised, but it has already started work on a new building in the MacDill complex, providing a bricks-and-mortar home for the international occupants of the trailer park.

"I can't see there ever being a completely homogenous coalition dealing with worldwide terror," said Col Mark Bibbey, the chief of staff of the British mission at Centcom. The 63 nations are not signed up to the same view on everything."

But he added: "You've got to start somewhere. You have to plan ahead. You have to be driving in a particular direction. If we don't start driving now or soon we'll be behind the curve."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4897786.stm
 

tastyintestines

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#3
I guess "anonymous" forgot about the democrats, independents,and all the other parties and the fact that laws would have to be changed. Even a lot of conservatives don't like bushes liberal moves in office.
 
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#4
Here's a recent example of what 'The Long War' really looks like.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article2149716.ece

US strikes on al-Qa'ida chiefs kill nomads
Independent Online. 13 January 2007
By Anne Penketh and Steve Bloomfield


The herdsmen had gathered with their animals around large fires at night to ward off mosquitoes. But lit up by the flames, they became latest victims of America's war on terror.

It was their tragedy to be misidentified in a secret operation by special forces attempting to kill three top al-Qa'ida leaders in south-ern Somalia.

Oxfam yesterday confirmed at least 70 nomads in the Afmadow district near the border with Kenya had been killed. The nomads were bombed at night and during the day while searching for water sources. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Kenya has acknowledged that the onslaught on Islamist fighters failed to kill any of the three prime targets wanted for their alleged role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

The wanted men are Fazul Abdullah Moham-med, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and Abu Taha al-Sudani, who were all supposedly sheltered by the Union of Islamic Courts during its short reign in Mogadishu.

The operation, which opened a new front in Washington's anti-terror campaign, seems to have backfired spectacularly in the five days since it was launched. In addition to the scores of Somali civilians killed, the simmering civil war in the failed state has been rekindled.

Yesterday concern was mounting at the high number of civilian casualties, despite a claim by the US ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, that no civilians had been killed or injured and that only one attack had taken place. The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, reported that an estimated 100 people were wounded in Monday's air strikes on the small fishing village of Ras Kamboni launched from the US military base in Djibouti after a mobile phone intercept.

The operation was only confirmed by the Pentagon a day after it was launched and it continued despite international protests and warnings that it risked being counterproductive.

Yesterday the Americans had boots on the ground for the first time since a 1993 mission backfired and led to a humiliating withdrawal from Somalia. According to The Washington Post, a small number of US military personnel are in southern Somalia trying to determine exactly who was killed in the raids by an AC-130 gunship.

Oxfam - which had received reports from its Somali partner organisations about the herdsmen's deaths - and Amnesty International have asked whether the the air strikes violated international law.

"Under international law, there is a duty to distinguish between military and civilian targets," said Paul Smith-Lomas, Oxfam's regional director. "We are deeply concerned that this principle is not being adhered to, and that innocent people in Somalia are paying the price."

...
Oops... :(
 

rjmrjmrjm

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#5
Is it just me or does this 'long war' sound exactly like a strategy for global domination? Orwell style. Centcom - read MiniPax.
 

OneWingedBird

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#6
so is that technically an act of war against somalia?

this is getting ridiculous... and uber grim... :(
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#7
rjmrjmrjm said:
Is it just me or does this 'long war' sound exactly like a strategy for global domination? Orwell style. Centcom - read MiniPax.
"This is an existential conflict," Cheney said. "It is the kind of conflict that's going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. We have to prevail and we have to have the stomach for the fight long term."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,243629,00.html

well they're not doing much to discourage the perception. add that to blair's "anyone want some" speech the other day and the timing of the two...doesn't look good.
 

ghostdog19

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#8
This isn't the new 'cold war' as one of those articles makes reference to. The new 'cold war' is called 'global warming'.
 

rjmrjmrjm

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#9
Just read that Fox article. Got me all confused.

How does the President have the power in himself to decide if the US go to war or not, I thought the US was a democratic country? That sounds awfully like a monarchs power to me.
 

ghostdog19

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#10
rjmrjmrjm said:
Just read that Fox article. Got me all confused.

How does the President have the power in himself to decide if the US go to war or not, I thought the US was a democratic country? That sounds awfully like a monarchs power to me.
He doesn't... and the Constitution stipulates as much. Only Congress can do that. So the big picture is this; Bush = Republican Congress = Democrats. It's just Bush saying he defies the U.S. Constitution (no change there then).
 

Iggore

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#11
BlackRiverFalls said:
so is that technically an act of war against somalia?

this is getting ridiculous... and uber grim... :(
Well, since that Somalia is the closest thing that we've got to an Hobbesian state of nature, I think that you can hardly declare war against it. The U.N backed transitional government is the closest thing that Somalia has to a legitimate government, and it invited the U.S.A to come in and do their dirty work anyway.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#12
Saudis foil 'air attack plotters'

Saudi Arabia says it has foiled a plot by militants to carry out suicide air attacks on oil installations and military bases.

Foreign nationals were among 172 terror suspects held in a series of raids, the interior ministry said on state TV.

Large amounts of weapons and $32.4m (£16.21m) in cash were also seized.

continues

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle ... 599963.stm

US holds 'senior al-Qaeda figure'

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi has been taken to Guantanamo Bay
The US says it has arrested one of al-Qaeda's highest-ranking operatives, as he was on his way home to Iraq to plan future attacks.
A Pentagon spokesman said Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was now in Guantanamo Bay.

He was heading to Iraq to take over al-Qaeda operations and possibly plot attacks on Western interests, he said.

continues

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6600751.stm
 
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#13
New Research Into Causes Of Terrorism Reveals People Turn To Suicide Bombing To Preserve Identity
12 May 2007

The University of Southampton is researching why people turn to terrorism and investigating the motivations that persuade ordinary people to carry out extreme acts of violence, which could help tackle the growing problem suicide attacks.

Using terror management theory, which provides important clues to researchers and government agencies about extreme behavior such as suicide bombing, Dr Clay Routledge is examining the emotional reactions of people confronted with the psychological terror of knowing they will die.

Recent research is the first to reveal that heightened awareness of death increases willingness to self-sacrifice in an effort to seek symbolic immortality. When people are faced with mortality they are more likely to want to commit themselves to some form of meaning, or worldview, that will enable them to live on in some way.

A study of 105 UK students, with a non religious cultural identity, reveals that when asked to think about their own mortality they reacted with increased willingness to self-sacrifice for England. However, when alternative ways of transcending death were provided, this moderated the impact of responsiveness to death awareness.

The research studied the attitudes of the participants when encouraged to think about their own death or another unpleasant experience that did not involve death (e.g. dental pain).

The participants were then either asked to imagine being a member of a group that was transient, and would cease to exist beyond their death, or one that was immortal, and would continue beyond their death. When no alternative outlet of symbolic immortality (or on-going group) was provided, personal safety was perceived to be less important than the continuation of the British way of life. The research suggests that heightened awareness of mortality increases the willingness of the British to make self-sacrifices, in some form, for their nation.

Cultural or religious worldviews enable people to feel that they are part of something larger, more meaningful, and, ultimately, longer lasting than themselves. Suicide bombing offers not only an identity, but also a place in community history - life is exchanged for identity. Self-sacrificial behaviour is present in many cultures, and is not exclusively linked with Islam. It is an assertion that you will survive as an identity even if you cannot survive in physical form.

Many ordinary people, given the right conditions, can be influenced into violence. Connecting with comrades provides an emotional haven and a clear focus for turbulent energies. What is most important is to be integrated into a society or group as people who do not feel they are may be more likely to seek violent ways of achieving immortality.

Individuals can attain symbolic immortality deciding to die for their country. But if offered other ways of achieving symbolic life, they may be encouraged to leave a legacy in a pro-social way, rather than through violence. Pro-social methods of extending identity beyond death include raising children, starting a company and the preservation of peaceful cultural or religious practices.

Dr Clay Routledge said: "The 7 July bombers may have been driven, in part, by a desire for a larger sense of meaning or purpose and for symbolic permanence. When faced with the reality of their mortality people are more likely to want to commit themselves to some form of meaning that will enable them to live on in some way - the continuity of life after death. A method to attain that existence, even if violent, can be reassuring if it is considered to be an important part of affirming a meaning and immortality-providing cultural identity."

"Individuals feel less transient if they can live on in some way. It is possible that suicide bombings could be overcome by helping people assert themselves and selfhood in a more meaningful and pro-social way.

"The most extreme ways that people can invest in their world view is to sacrifice their own life for it. Physical risks help to secure their own immortality this is self sacrifice as self-defense."

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT
Calverton House
2 Harpenden Road
http://www.communicationsmanagement.co.uk


Article URL:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=70717
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#14
Well, if Tony Blair's looking for a legacy...

Interesting find, Ramon. Obviously it's difficult to get the empirical data on this one because the post-match interview, as it were, is not available and nor can the particpants be identified and surveyed in advance of their actions but there does seem to be a ring of truth to this.

It's a staple of action movie narratives that there will be a willing sacrifice, prepared to give his/her life for a loved one/country/the human race and I wonder how much that's a reflection of these findings or if it influences people's thinking in this kind of survey. Either way I suspect it's something that can be manipulated by a more shrewdly political and self-assured operator to turn a young man into a lethal weapon. There is some data available regarding the background of suicide bombers that might be worth studying in this respect.

The wider aspects of this topic might also be worth its own thread in the Human Condition forum?
 
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#15
I was wondering if I should have put it in The Human Condition Forum, but I think its more in context here. Equally I guess the broader aspects could spark a debate in THCF.

Heres a book review, the volume sounds interesting.

PRINT CLOSE

Dangerous minds
Yahya Birt

Published 14 May 2007

The Islamist: why I joined radical Islam in Britain, what I saw inside and why I left
Ed Husain Penguin, 304pp, £8.99
ISBN 0141030437


On 30 April, five British-born Muslims were convicted of plotting to blow up targets including a shopping centre and a nightclub using 600kg of ammonium nitrate. The question remains: how did we get to a position where MI5 is monitoring 1,600 suspects in 160 cells? Who are these would-be terrorists? Even if Ruth Kelly and John Reid now belatedly acknowledge the aggravating effect of Iraq, foreign policy does not provide the whole answer. Radical ideas have mattered, too.

Among British Muslims, there are two main views of radicalisation. The first pins the blame squarely upon extreme Salafi Muslims, who developed a doctrine of attacking the west in the wake of the 1980s Afghan-Soviet war. Throughout the 1990s, their propagandists were allowed to spread their ideas in Britain unimpeded by the police and intelligence services. Most ordinary Salafis, committed, like the Amish, to austere apolitical piety, either ignored this trend or argued against it.

The second position takes a wider view. British Islamists, those who emphasise faith-based political activism, helped to create a receptivity to more radical groups with whom they shared a similar vision of Islamic resurgence in the Muslim world. Their relationship is like that between the Mensheviks, the Bolsheviks and the Trotskyists - more a difference over means than ends, ranging from gradual reform to national or even international revolution.

Ed Husain, brought up in Tower Hamlets in east London, takes the second view. He describes in detail his time with various student Islamist groups between 1990 and 1996. Husain, in an escalating youthful rebellion, defies his parents, then his traditional upbringing, his college authorities and, later, society at large. Having been an eyewitness to this scene, I can vouch that he accurately describes a period of intense competition and one-upmanship between Islamist factions for the attention of young minds. Riding on the back of anti-Saudi sentiment during the first Gulf war, the Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation began to have a serious impact.

Hizb ut-Tahrir's confrontational tabloid style excited Muslim students looking for easy answers to western double standards. Control of Islamic student societies oscillated between Islamists and apolitical Salafis, leaving few alternatives to a crude, despiritualised, angry and self-righteous take on Islam. Husain is essentially correct in his judgement that Hizb ut-Tahrir, then under Omar Bakri Mohammed (who later founded the splinter group Al-Muhajiroun), did more to inculcate the spirit of jihad, anti-west sentiment and passionate support for the cause of the umma, the Muslim super-nation, than anyone else.

This personal memoir offers an insider's view of the context that shaped the period, but it is not a definitive analysis. While Hizb ut-Tahrir is subversive, and should be challenged, its members have not directly recruited for jihad abroad or terrorism at home. However, a few have left Hizb ut-Tahrir's talk of jihad for the real thing - though the leadership has always denied the violence of the young men it has influenced. Hizb ut-Tahrir's stoking of intercommunal tensions at Newham College in 1994 led indirectly to the murder of a Nigerian Christian by a Muslim. The leadership denied any involvement, but the tragedy set Husain on the path out of Islamism.

Husain's intelligence and sensitivity lead him full circle, back from Islamist alienation to his family and the tolerant mystical Islam - Sufism - that they espouse. He becomes part of the counter-extremist movement, led by Hamza Yusuf and Tariq Ramadan, that gained ground in Britain from the mid-1990s, defined by a convergence between a more relevant traditional Islam and post-Islamism, emphasising core Islamic values and active citizenship. Husain, scarred by the cultish manipulations of Islamist groups, underestimates the positive impact this had on both British Islamists and Salafis, and - in my view, mistakenly - judges this transition as more tactical than genuine.

This shift towards a relevant British Islam, having acquired official encouragement since 7/7, has become politically contested among British Muslims.

Naysayers now play the "sell-out" card more assiduously, and the government has been none-too-subtle at times in its public interventions, stoking fears of re-engineering a churchless religious tradition proud of its independence and diversity.

Husain ends on an ambiguous note: the future direction of British Islam remains uncertain. His own trajectory shows, however, that mainstream Islam can renew itself in the context of 21st-century multicultural Britain - despite the challenge of an extremist fringe.

http://www.newstatesman.com/200705140044
 

rynner2

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#16
Here's an odd one:

America's frontier plan verges on absurd
By Philip Sherwell in Derby Line, Vermont, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:17am BST 15/07/2007

Straddling the US-Canadian border, the elegant granite edifice of the Haskell Library and Opera House has served as a symbol of cross-border amity since 1901.

Patrons from both sides of the border enter the building in America, but check out their books from the desk in Canada. And for next month's Frank Sinatra tribute in the auditorium, half the guests will be sitting in the United States as a performer croons on stage in Canada.

The neighbouring streets seamlessly link the village of Derby Line in the northeastern US state of Vermont and its sister community of Stanstead in Quebec. Families here are often split by what has long been regarded as one of the world's friendliest frontiers.

But this bucolic and sleepy corner of the world is now the latest - and rather implausible - front line in the war on terror as America tries to secure its borders in the post-September 11 world.

Border officials want to block the open streets to stop illegal crossings - to the anger of locals who for generations have hopped across the frontier without a second thought.

The official reason is to halt trafficking of illegal immigrants, but the backdrop is the growing US concern about the danger that terrorists might slip across its porous, and often ill-marked, 5,525-mile northern border.

Canada's more liberal immigration laws are viewed with suspicion by some in the Bush administration, especially as the country last year uncovered a terror plot in Toronto, hatched by a group of Muslim immigrants.

The joint American-Canadian International Border Enforcement Team has now asked officials in Derby Line and Stanstead to come up with proposals for blocking vehicle traffic.

"We are doing ourselves a disservice in the protection of our country and our citizens if we leave these streets open," said Rosendo Hinojosa, the acting border patrol chief. "This is a possible port of entry for terrorists and their weapons and we have to make sure it is not exploited."

But Keith Beadle, one of Derby Line's three village trustees and himself a former US customs inspector who lives on a street that would be blocked, calls the proposals an "over-reaction".

"Times have changed for sure, but the border patrol also has more manpower and technology than before. This measure would just push the problem into the countryside, which is harder to patrol," he said.

"If you give up a freedom like this, you'll never get it back. It seems that all people have to say now is 9/11 to justify a crackdown. And you are made to look un-American if you disagree."

The US border patrol caught 56,883 people trying to slip into America from Canada between 2001 and last year - most from countries where it is easier to obtain a Canadian visa than one for America.

Attention has focused on Derby Line since border agents pulled over two van drivers on the street next to the library recently and found 21 illegal immigrants, mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. On the very night earlier this month that locals gathered at the opera house to complain to border agents about the new plans, two human traffickers were caught with two illegal immigrants on a nearby street.

Road signs instruct drivers who cross the frontier here to head first to the local US and Canadian border posts, to register. Patrols enforce the policy, alerted to border crossings by closed circuit cameras that set off an alarm, but there is clearly scope for getting round the safeguards.

Under the new proposals, the roads would be blocked to vehicles - possibly by reinforced flower pots - forcing locals to detour to the nearby official crossing point.

The building is demarcated by a strip of black tape. Checking out books behind the front desk (just inside Canada), librarians Mary Roy and Kathy Prue are testament to how fused the two communities are - Mrs Roy is an American whose children were born in Canada; her friend is a Canadian whose children were born in the US.

"This is a tiny little place and people have got along just fine here for years," said Mrs Roy. "It really does strike people here as a bit over the top."

Even pinpointing the border is difficult. Halfway along a quiet residential street lined with manicured lawns and wood and brick homes, a US border patrolman could only tell The Sunday Telegraph that the international boundary was "somewhere down this road, but I'm not exactly sure where".

http://tinyurl.com/2bhexe
 

rynner2

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#17
US records UK visitors' race and reading habits
By Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 1:00am BST 23/09/2007

The titles of books read by passengers flying to America are being recorded for use in compiling terrorist watch lists, according to documents released under freedom of information legislation in the United States.

Personal items carried on to aircraft, the details of passengers travelled with, information on relatives living in other countries, as well as race, are all recorded by American security officials, who have the right to keep the data for 40 years.

The information, culled from airlines' records, online ticket-booking agencies and customs and border guards, includes more personal detail than the information already demanded from British passengers.

The full extent of criminal and anti-terrorist monitoring has been laid bare after the Identity Project, a civil liberties group, demanded access to files on five of its members.

One passenger who obtained his personal record found that customs and border-control officers at an American airport had recorded that he was carrying a book on drugs.

The file of John Gilmore, a computer entrepreneur who funds the Identity Project, reads: "PAX [passenger] has many small flashlights with pot leaves on them. He had a book entitled Drugs and Your Rights."

The Department of Homeland Security's automated targeting system also recorded the name of a second passenger's planned travelling companion, even though they did not in fact travel together, creating a record of association that could be referred to years later.

Security officers also routinely record the race of anyone pulled aside for extra screening at an American airport, a regular occurrence for British tourists and business travellers.

Human rights groups in the UK are already unhappy that all British passengers have to supply passport details, credit card numbers and the address of where they will stay 48 hours before they fly to the US. They are then are fingerprinted and photographed on arrival.

Jen Corlew, the communications director of Liberty, said: "It is worrying indeed if US officials are keeping far more personal details than allowed by law.

"Our Government has a duty to protect the personal details of British travellers, despite the demands of our closest allies."

Bill Scannell, a spokesman for the Identity Project, told the online magazine Wired, which broke the story: "They are noting people's race and writing down what people read… This is just plain wrong."

Nigel Evans, a Tory member of the House of Commons all-party group on human rights, said: "The American authorities are turning the fight against terrorism into a fight against liberty and freedom and against innocent people.

"That's not the sort of society that they are fighting to defend in the US, where liberty of the individual and freedom of expression are one of the wonderful facets of America."

http://tinyurl.com/yvmhcb
 

rynner2

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#18
It looks like we shall have to rename this thread (and up to eight others)..! 8)

Ministers ditch the phrase 'war on terror'
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 7:48am GMT 17/01/2008

Ministers have dropped the term "war on terror" and will refer to jihadis as "criminals" in an attempt to stop glorifying acts of terrorism.

The move is part of the Government's drive to prevent young Muslims falling under the influence of fanatics.

"As you disrupt radicalisation you must be aware of how you describe it and must not do so in a way that is inadvertently inflammatory," said a Whitehall source.

"We need to communicate more effectively - but we don't think we can communicate our way out of this."

Today Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, will outline the Government's counter-radicalisation strategy with a pledge to target internet sites used to foment hatred.

She will pledge to work with Internet companies to clamp down on extremist websites that groom "vulnerable people".

"We are already working closely with the communications industry to take action against paedophiles. I believe we should also take action against those who groom vulnerable people for the purposes of violent extremism," she will say.

"An effective response to terrorism depends on us - on the active commitment of individuals and communities to certain rights and responsibilities, to shared values which apply irrespective of religion or culture," she will add.

Her speech at the International Centre for Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence comes as MI5 continues to monitor dozens of websites seeking to recruit for al-Qa'eda.

One Arabic site briefly carried a threat, posted on Jan 6, to kill Gordon Brown and referred to "the creation of the al-Qa'eda organisation in Britain".

The site, already visited by more than 17 million people, also urges young Muslim men to rise up against infidels such as "Brown and Blair".

However, security experts said the site was not being treated any differently from dozens of others carrying similar messages.

"We check it out to try to identify the author," said a Whitehall source. "But it is more a statement of aspiration and, unfortunately, there is quite a lot of that stuff around. People who are really plotting attacks tend to do so covertly."

In a speech in London, Miss Smith will underline the Government's new focus on counter-radicalisation as part of its strategy to prevent jihadi zealots spreading their message.

A new unit in the Home Office called the Research, Information and Communication Unit has been set up specifically to counter al-Qa'eda's efforts to manipulate individuals and groups.

MI5 says the internet is an important factor in exposing people to radical views.

But it adds: "More often radicalisation seems to arise from local contacts and from peers.

"Exposure to a forceful and inspiring figure, already committed to extremism, can be important here.

"This person may be associated with a particular place (eg. a mosque) or can be a national or international figure, seen on video or heard on tapes.

''Inspiration from a distance is important and there is evidence that the rise of the internet, with its ability to connect people, to pass ideas between them, and then pass those ideas on to others has had a significant impact on the accessibility and flow of radical ideas."

http://tinyurl.com/369reo
 

rynner2

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#19
Another casualty in the war against - er - whatever we call it now:

Curious case of the dead scientist and the bomb experiment
Ian Cobain The Guardian, Monday March 24 2008

A mysterious bomb-making experiment that ended with the accidental death of a government scientist has remained an official secret for more than five years, leaving his family in the dark about what went wrong.

Terry Jupp, a scientist with the Ministry of Defence, was engulfed in flames during a joint Anglo-American counter-terrorism project intended to discover more about al-Qaida's bomb-making capacities.

There has been no inquest into his death, as the coroner has been waiting for the MoD to disclose information about the incident. An attempt to prosecute the scientist's manager for manslaughter ended when prosecutors said they were withdrawing the charge, but said the case was too "sensitive" to explain that decision in open court.

The Guardian has established that Jupp was a member of a small team of British and US scientists making bombs from ingredients of the sort that terrorists could obtain. There is also evidence pointing to experiments to discover more about radiological dispersal devices - so-called dirty bombs - which use conventional explosives to scatter radioactive material.

But such a project would have been controversial as the open-air experiment that ended in Jupp's death was conducted at a weapons testing centre on an island in the Thames estuary 10 miles from Southend, Essex.

Meanwhile, the scientist's family despair of discovering what happened. "I feel these people high up want it swept under the carpet," said Jupp's mother Anne. "The death of one man is nothing to upset them too much, I suppose. But it does upset us."

Jupp was 46, married with two children, and had been with the MoD for almost 25 years. At the time of the accident he was working with the Forensic Explosive Laboratory, a division of the ministry's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

On August 14 2002, he and his team was conducting a series of highly classified experiments on Foulness, a remote island that is part of MoD's vast weapons testing centre at Shoeburyness, east of Southend.

Blending several readily-available ingredients, then pouring the mix into old paint tins, they built a number of 10kg bombs. Sources familiar with the case say the fatal experiment involved mixing three over-the-counter ingredients including ammonium nitrate fertiliser and a powdered metal.

Jupp was asked to prime the mix with a small amount of high explosive, but for reasons that remain unclear it ignited spontaneously. Jupp was consumed by a fireball and suffered 80% burns, dying six days later.

Court case

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and MoD police resulted in two of Jupp's managers being charged with manslaughter and being brought before the Old Bailey in April 2005.

The charge against one man was thrown out when the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence. The second man denied the charge and the case against him dragged on for years, before being abandoned after a review involving Lord Goldsmith, then attorney general.

Gareth Patterson, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey in March last year that information had emerged from subsequent experiments, but added: "The difficulties of the sensitivities of this case are such that I cannot go into too much detail about the information in open court."

Crown Prosecution Service sources said the case was hamepred because one of the American scientists refused to testify, while other officials said there was concern in both countries that a trial could expose the nature of the experiment.

According to a number of officials in Britain and the US, the Dstl had carried out a series of secret experiments with the US national laboratory in New Mexico to find out more about the sort of bombs terrorists could build.

One of the Old Bailey defendants was the key figure on the British side, these officials say.

According to these sources, in August 2002, less than a year after the September 11 attacks British and American scientists were anxious to establish whether al-Qaida could build a dirty bomb using conventional explosives surrounded by radioactive material.

"They were looking into the most likely explosives to be used to scatter radiation," said one. "They wanted to know how big such a bomb might be and how far it would scatter the radiation. They were experimenting with chemicals available over the counter to see how powerful an explosion could be produced."


It is unclear whether the bomb that killed Jupp contained radioactive material, and the MoD refuses to say whether he was involved in a dirty bomb project.

Asked whether it has carried out such experiments at Shoeburyness, the MoD would say only: "The Dstl is involved in classified work that is of national importance, protecting UK armed forces and the public from very real threats."

What is clear is that Shoeburyness has hosted some highly unusual activities involving radioactive material.

According to an Environment Agency report, at the time of the accident it was the scene of "a major programme of nuclear warhead decommissioning". Between 1998 and 2003, the report said, high explosive extracted from free-fall nuclear bombs and Polaris missile warheads, which had been contaminated with tritium and uranium, was taken to Shoeburyness for disposal.

This was achieved by taking the high explosive to a remote corner of Foulness island, and by simply blowing it up.

The agency said these operations posed no risk to human health, as the level of radioactive contamination was low. But the footpath skirting the bleak coastline south of the site is lined with signs warning the public not to fish there and to never take away shellfish.

Jupp's family knew nothing about his work and have been told nothing about the experiment that led to his death.

His father Roy said: "He said he worked in plastics. That was the only thing he ever told us."

Jupp's sister Alison Davis added: "We were absolutely stunned when the phone call came though to tell us about an explosion. We thought: 'Why would Terry be involved in an explosion?'"

Delays in the criminal case - which they had hoped would shed light on the tragedy - were a cause of immense frustration. Now they have no idea when an inquest may be held.

The case was handed over to the local coroner in Essex last March, but it took the MoD 12 months to hand over correspondence relating to the case.

The MoD said this was down to "technical things" but would not elaborate.

A spokesman said that some of the documentation about the death of Terry Jupp remained at the ministry, and that while the coroner will be allowed to view it, "he will not be allowed to take it away".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/mar/24/defence

Crown Prosecution Service sources said the case was hamepred...
Nice to see the Grauniad keeping up the old traditions!
 

rynner2

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#20
Long article, worth a read...

The green scare
When a luxury housing development in Washington was torched, it seemed an open and shut case. The Earth Liberation Front was to blame. But was it? Does it even exist? And why is the Bush government intent on casting 'eco-terrorists' as public enemy number one? John Vidal reports
John Vidal The Guardian, Thursday April 3 2008

.......
It did not need a great detective to tell that this was arson. A large spray-painted bedsheet left at the scene read: "Built green? Nope black. McMansions in RCDs r not green." It was signed "Elf" - the Earth Liberation Front.

So whodunnit? The Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force, working with the FBI and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said this week that they were indeed working on the theory that it was "eco-terrorism", carried out by a cell of environmentalists using the catch-all title of the Earth Liberation Front.

Assumed by the authorities to be a sister organisation of the Animal Liberation Front, this radical fringe of the broad US environment movement does not physically exist. It has no membership, HQ or staff, but is said to work in autonomous "cells". Some say it started life in the UK - in Brighton, at the time of Twyford Down and the British road protests in 1992. Splitting from other British groups, the concept of a non-organisation committed to property destruction never really took off here, but it crossed to the US, where its legend as a group prepared to destroy property grew with the anti-capitalist and globalisation movements.

According to the FBI, "eco-terrorism", or "ecotage", is now the number one domestic terrorism threat in the US, greater than that of rightwing extremists, anti-abortion groups and animal rights organisations, and on a par with al-Qaida. The US building industry, rightwing political groups and the mainstream media all leapt to condemn the ELF after the arson. "We've seen this grow over the years and it's very scary," said Brian Minnich of the Building Industry Association of Washington, which offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the arsonists.

......................
But the jury on the McMansions arson is very much out. Instead of striking fear into the heart of middle America, the incident has revealed growing civil liberty fears about the US government's redefinition of terrorism, and a breakdown of trust in the authorities. Although rightwing commentators and libertarian bloggers have used the attack as ammunition in their ideological war against environmentalists and the left, few others think it is so simple. The more anyone looks into the arson, the more they suspect that it has probably got more to do with fraud or political smearing and dirty tricks than with terrorism.

Letter writers to the Seattle press and websites like Treehugger.com and Grist say it is suspicious that the attack on the McMansions should take place in the middle of America's most serious downturn in the housing market in 30 years, with a recession looming and properties almost impossible to sell. People are deliberately setting fire to their own properties to escape mortgage misery, they say, and only one of the houses on the Street of Dreams is said to have been sold.

Mainstream greens point out that both the fossil fuel industries and US rightwing groups like the "Wise Use movement" have a long history of trying to discredit environmentalists. The advice given to the FBI from nearly every quarter has been: "Follow the money" - implying that the arson was possibly insurance-related. The FBI say it has found nothing to suggest this.

John Heller, the president of Street of Dreams Seattle, was unavailable for comment, but in a statement on his website said: "At one time there were issues involving an environmental group that had opposed the development but it's our understanding that the parties settled their differences."

While some blame the ELF, many more, like "Wiskidea" on Grist, have pitched in with plausible scenarios suggesting why it was as likely to be kids, or someone who lost a job in the recession: "Maybe someone just went nuts, or a racist saw a bunch of Mexicans working on the houses and torched them."

"It just doesn't make sense. Why should [environmentalists] burn down green homes and cause even more emissions?" asks John Hunt, a Sierra Club member from Seattle.

"We all know that intelligence agencies regularly plant stories to discredit people that the White House doesn't like," says another commentator. "Don't be surprised if the ranks of domestic terrorists swell to include vocal green activists as the election accelerates." It has also been pointed out that one dirty trick of the fossil fuel industries in the past 20 years has been to sow the seeds of doubt with fake groups and discrediting of enemies.

..........
The attack on the twin towers led directly to the draconian Patriot Act, which created a new category of domestic terrorism and allowed the FBI to expand its domestic and international powers. Many actions previously considered vandalism (and attracting sentences of two to four years) could now be classed as major acts of terror, and life sentences could be passed.

The new targeting of environmentalists and what some say is a hysterical exaggeration of the seriousness of eco-terrorism is widely seen as the Bush administration's payback for the humiliation piled on the US and its corporations by environmentalists at the Seattle World Trade Organisation talks in 1999. The national guard had to be called out, the talks were abandoned and, as tear gas drifted around the city, US policies were ridiculed around the world.

.............
According to many, the US is now in the middle of a "Green Scare" akin to the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, when senator Joseph McCarthy launched his infamous communist witch-hunt. Environmental and animal rights activists are being targeted, it is believed, not because they are dangerous, but because in the wake of 9/11 the government needs scapegoats beyond Muslims, and people - often young, white and middle-class - with defined ideologies who target corporate America are easy and attractive game.

But the venom with which the government has pursued its dissenters has shocked people well beyond the green movement. Regan and other civil libertarians accuse it of using illegal tactics, threatening people with hundreds of years in prison for their roles in petty arsons, infiltrating groups, massive surveillance, hiring provocateurs, and handing out sentences of 20 years or more for offences that in other times would bring a maximum of two to four years. The campaign against the environmentalists has been marked by government vindictiveness and prosecution misconduct, it is alleged.

"Environmental groups are being harassed, infiltrated and spied on by the FBI and the police as never before," Regan says. "Everyone who is an activist is now a target. Big Brother is here. The government has hounded the activist community, overcharged individuals with federal firearms [laws] applying to bombs and missiles, and branded them as terrorists, even though none of the events resulted in a single injury."

............
The wave of prosecutions has already resulted in draconian sentences and is likely to lead to more. Six activists were each given a six-year prison sentence for running a website that only posted information about vandalism attacks, without connecting themselves to the acts in any way. One man, Jeff Luers, who set fire to three cars in Oregon to bring attention to gas-guzzlers' contribution to global warming, was given an extraordinary 22 years, eight months.

"A lot of people are scared and intimidated right now," said Luers in an interview in 2006. "They're either going to fall apart, or they're going to come together and show that, no matter how many arrests are made or how hard the government tries to crack down on dissent, the people aren't going to be quiet."

Civil liberty groups expect the green scare to worsen. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act now raises any attacks against the profits of any animal-based industry to the level of terrorism, and a little-known bill making its way through US Congress with virtually no debate is expected to lead to a new crackdown on any dissident activity, under the guise of fighting terrorism.

The Orwellian-sounding Violent Radicalisation and Home-Grown Terrorism Prevention Act, passed by an overwhelming 400-6 vote last month, will soon be considered by the Senate. Rather than seeking to criminalise "extremist" acts, it targets beliefs, or what many people are calling "thoughtcrimes".

"It proposes initiatives to intercede before radicalised individuals turn violent. It could herald far more intrusive surveillance techniques, without warrants, and has the potential to criminalise ideas and not actions. It could mean penalties for a stance rather than a criminal act," the American Civil Liberties Union and the Centre for Constitutional Rights have jointly said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... icalliving
 

rynner2

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#21
Bus spotter forced to give up 40-year hobby after being labelled terrorist and paedophile
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:29 PM on 23rd June 2008

A bus spotter has decided to give up his lifelong hobby of photographing buses because people fear he is a terrorist and even a paedophile.

Rob McCaffrey - who calls himself an omniboligist - has been taking pictures of buses all over the world for forty years but has only ever faced problems in Britain.

Over the time the 50-year-old has amassed a collection of 30,000 photos of buses, trams and coaches.

But Rob says that in politically correct Britain he is finding it increasingly difficult to continue his beloved hobby because of the fear and suspicion he causes among onlookers.

In the last year he has been questioned twice by the police and had to give all his personal details after people who saw him innocently snapping buses on public roads reported him.

Rob, from Robinswood, Gloucester, explains: 'Since the 9/11 attacks there has been a crackdown on security and it seems everyone with a camera is now regarded as a potential criminal.'

"The past two years have absolutely been the worst. I have had the most appalling abuse from the public, drivers and police over-exercising their authority.

'People like me just want to enjoy our hobby without harassment but it is impossible now.'

Rob says his love affair with buses has taken him all over Europe but authorities in Britain have treated him the worst.

The credit controller says his first brush with the law was in Pontypridd, South Wales, last September.

A bus driver took exception to being photographed and called the police, who demanded to see what Rob had on his camera.

A second incident in Monmouth saw a Police Community Support Officer approach Rob and run his name and address through police computers after a member of the public complained he had been acting strangely.

While Rob admits the image of a bespectacled, mac-wearing trainspotter taking down train numbers does apply to some extreme bus and train enthusiasts, the vast majority are normal everyday people, like himself.

Rob's wife Jay, 46, agrees: 'My brother drives a bus in London, and says if he had a pound for every time a tourist took a picture, he'd be a millionaire.'

'It happens every day. The spotters are just an easy target.'

Under the law, it is not illegal to take photos in a public place, but under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, police officers may randomly stop someone without reasonable suspicion, if the area is a likely target for an attack.

The issue was brought up in the House of Commons by MP and amateur snapper Austin Mitchell about photographers' rights after he was stopped twice himself.


But Rob is now fed up of the accusations, and says police need to stop using their authority to the extreme.

'I can deal with the fact someone might think I'm a terrorist, but when they start saying you're a paedophile it really hurts,' he said.

'We don't want to support people doing something illegal, but while the police are wasting their time with me a terrorist could be planning his next atrocity.'

A Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman said: 'If a member of the public becomes suspicious of an individual taking photos in public and makes a complaint to a police officer, the officer will first discuss the matter with the photographer.

'Normally the individual is more than happy to disperse any suspicion by showing an officer their photos and one of the benefits of digital cameras is that this can be done on the spot.

'However, if the officer remains suspicious as to the content of the images or the photographers intentions they have the authority, under the Police and Criminal Evident Act, to seize the camera and arrest the individual.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... phile.html

As a keen photographer, I find this worrying. But perhaps I'm lucky in that we get many tourists down here with cameras, and the area is not seen as a likely terrorist target. But I have been known to take pics of buses myself!
 

OneWingedBird

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#22
as i've probably mentioned before, cira late 2001, my then boss, a senior landscape architect working for the government got pulled up by the po-lice for taking photos of the rear of leeds railway station... he only wanted them as examples of good practice in signage!
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#23
I guess this could fit in other threads too, especially since they're in different forums (Islam in the 21st Century in the Religion forum and Britain - Police State in the Conspiracy one?) but this one certainly seems appropriate. Please feel free to move.

Anti-terror tsar warns Islamic extremism is addiction like drugs

ISLAMIC extremism should be regarded as a potential addiction for youngsters just like drugs, alcohol and gambling, according to the Scottish Government's anti-terror tsar Allan Burnett.

The senior police officer wants to introduce rehabilitative measures similar to addiction support to prevent youngsters from becoming radicalised by fundamentalists, instead of sending them to prison.Speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of the Glasgow Airport attack, Burnett, the assistant chief constable of Fife, said although there would be no leniency for those committing acts of serious violence he wanted to develop restorative justice and early intervention initiatives for young people as part of the strategy to stop future attacks.

Appointed in the aftermath of the Glasgow attack to co-ordinate the country's anti-terrorist response, he said he was also keen on building the trust of parents and the wider community and encourage them to come forward with concerns.

Burnett said: 'When concerned parents come to the authorities, whether it be the school, social work or the police, then we have to look at suitable ways to support the parents and their children.'I have no doubt that the answer to some of this will resemble what we do with other addictions or perversions.' A prompt response was the key, he added. 'One of the things we are trying to do is early intervention, which we would use in other areas of behaviour to put a stop to it. 'Just like any other perversion, the primary people who will stop (radicalisation] are parents.

'It happens with people concerned about their kids drinking, taking drugs or gambling. It happens right across the board and we shouldn't be surprised that sometimes parents don't have the knowledge or the skill to intervene in a positive way.'Burnett said the public needed to be aware of the difference between criminality and young people starting to look at extremist websites.

Link
 

lupinwick

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#25
Presumably other fundamentalist issues will come under the same banner, christianity for example? Militant/fundamentalist atheism? Membership of a political party? All cause problems.



In a word....


fuckwit
 

Quake42

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#26
Presumably other fundamentalist issues will come under the same banner, christianity for example? Militant/fundamentalist atheism? Membership of a political party? All cause problems.
In fairness, tiresome though fundamentalist Christians and rabid Dawkinsites can be, they are not generally found blowing up Tube trains and plotting to crash aircraft. It seems entirely reasonable that the police and authorities are concerned about the attraction of Islamic extremism, given its links to violence and terror.

As for comparing a toxic ideology to alcohol or drugs... well, frankly, give me someone who likes a few drinks or pills ahead of Abu Qatada any day!
 

lupinwick

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#27
It seems entirely reasonable that the police and authorities are concerned about the attraction of Islamic extremism, given its links to violence and terror.
Extreme animal rights groups? Pro-life groups? Christian Terrorism (here). Terrorism is not just the domain of the Islamic extremists hence my comment. All forms of extremism are problematic.

As for comparing a toxic ideology to alcohol or drugs... well, frankly, give me someone who likes a few drinks or pills ahead of Abu Qatada any day!
Indeed....
 

Quake42

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#28
Christian Terrorism (here). Terrorism is not just the domain of the Islamic extremists hence my comment.
I did think about mentioning this in my original post. I accept that Christian fundie/pro-life extremists are a problem in the US, although not really in the UK or the rest of Europe.

All forms of extremism are problematic.
To varying degrees. As I said, fanatical Christians or atheists can be annoying and you may not wish to have a drink with/get stuck in a lift with such an individual. That's a very long way from an ideology which is so steeped in violence and martyrdom as extremist Islam.
 

Kondoru

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#29
But such people are easily bribable...

(which `is` a connection, though possibly the only one.)
 

rynner2

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#30
There's money in them there mobiles!

Embassy ban on mobile phones brings £1,000 a day windfall to local chemist
By Martin Delgado
Last updated at 12:04 AM on 06th July 2008

Every cloud, they say, has a silver lining – and an enterprising chemist has proved the point by netting a small fortune from the war on terror.

Alpesh Patel’s family-run store is just yards from the American embassy in London, where visitors have been banned from bringing in electronic devices for fear they could be used in a terrorist attack.

The clampdown has left the hundreds of visa applicants who queue up outside the building every day with a problem: what to do with all their mobiles and other gizmos while they go inside.

That is where 40-year-old Mr Patel found his opportunity to turn a profit, offering to look after items for £10 a time.

The idea has proved remarkably successful, attracting more than 100 customers a day – bringing in £1,000 each weekday, or about £250,000 a year. He has had to employ more staff and open earlier, just to cope with demand.

But some visa applicants – who can number more than 700 on the busiest days – are angry with the inconvenience the American crackdown is causing.

Until last month, visitors could leave banned items with the embassy’s own staff but a security review led to the suspension of this service.

Mr Patel said: ‘Two weeks ago, two senior employees from the embassy came to see me and said they weren’t going to let anyone into the building if they were carrying electronic keys and mobile phones. We had a look at what was involved and agreed to help.

‘We normally open at 9am but the embassy said they’d be turning people away from 7am, so now we have five or six staff on duty two hours early.

‘I don’t think the £10 charge is unreasonable. It involves quite a lot of work. The embassy can send people wherever they want. We just happen to be nearby.

'We keep the belongings in a secure area and have people watching over them.’

Mr Patel’s shop, Gould Pharmacy, was already doing good business even before the new windfall.

Last year, it made £700,000 gross profit on a turnover of £1.6 million. But some Britons are furious with the new arrangements.

One visitor, a 79-year-old retired businessman from Sutton Coldfield, was sent to the pharmacy after security staff found a metal tape-measure in his wife’s handbag.

Even though it was not electronic, guards would not let the couple in with it.

Kenneth, who declined to give his full name, said: ‘As well as the tape-measure we had to hand over the car keys and house keys at the chemist’s.

‘I also had to sign a form so they have a record of my signature. I don’t know anything about this shop or who runs it. What happens to all these items while people are queuing at the embassy?’

‘If the Americans are so paranoid about security, they should have a secure facility where such things can be safely deposited.’

An embassy spokesman said: ‘It has been a long-standing policy that visa applicants aren’t permitted to bring electronic devices into US embassies.

‘For many months, our guards [in London] offered to hold these devices in the screening pavilion while applicants went in each day for their appointments.

‘However, it became clear that this impeded the guards’ ability to perform their primary function – providing security for the embassy.

‘Gould’s operates the storage business independent of the embassy, which does not endorse one business over another.’

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