Current State Of The War Against Terror

Kondoru

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#31
Why visit the US embassy? Its not like there is anything of interest there.

(But I did get some official US history books from them, many years ago. I still have them somewhere)
 

Novena

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#32
Where I come from that's called profiteering. £10 a go! Ludicrous! I wonder what the Inlan Revenue makes of his little "enterprise".
 

rynner2

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#33
Zoffre said:
Where I come from that's called profiteering. £10 a go! Ludicrous! I wonder what the Inlan Revenue makes of his little "enterprise".
It's not all profit though. He's had to open extra hours, meaning extra overheads,and take on more staff.

And as he's happy to have the story splashed over the internet, no doubt the takings will go through the books in the normal way, and his accountant will try to minimize the tax bills!
 

Yithian

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#34
Going to post an article. In fact a speech from a British MP.
The site I first found it at was littered with negative comments shooting it down - mainly focused on the 'talking to the Taleban' bit but to me there's an awful lot of truth within it. Would like to hear your thoughts:

From British Member of Parliament: Adam Holloway
Speech Delivered to British Parliament


Background

On 11 September 2001, the west had the sympathy of the vast majority of people in the Muslim world, who were against the attacks carried out by a load of nihilist extremists. In the days following those attacks, western Governments—including our own—realised the enormity of the problem that we faced and within months had successfully defeated the Taliban and expelled al-Qaeda from its operating base there. Afghans literally danced in the streets in gratitude for their release from a mediaeval regime and from their hated Arab guests. At that point, there was a massive opportunity to make progress and good will on the part of the Afghan people to accept foreign aid and development. Although General McColl managed to get a tiny £2 million from the Department for International Development for development, the reality in Whitehall was that we were not concentrating on Afghanistan or more generally on al-Qaeda. Instead, we were focusing on a crazy and quite unnecessary invasion of Iraq.

Despite our early success in toppling the Taliban, almost everything we did afterwards undermined the massive amount of good will we had across the Muslim world after 9/11. Today, al-Qaeda are no longer seen as a bunch of extremist crazies; they are, to some extent, seen as heroes fighting against what they perceive to be an arrogant west. I fully accept that—with the possible exception of Iraq—our Government has acted in good faith and realised the seriousness of our situation, but I also believe the way we have executed this operation has been incompetent and half-cocked.

Where are we ?

An awful expression that does the rounds in Whitehall these days is, “We are where we are”. So, where are we now in Helmand province? There are 102 British dead and hundreds have been grievously wounded, many of whom would also be dead were it not for modern protective equipment. That is why so many people survive but lose limbs. No one knows how many Afghan civilians have been killed and some say that 7,000 Taliban are dead. We should remember that those people are mostly local people with extended families. The Taliban’s in-country command and control is in bits and we have killed many of their experienced commanders and tribal leaders. We might think that that is a good thing, but a newer, younger, more radical group of leaders might be emerging who are less likely to negotiate. That means we are facing more asymmetric attacks.

Despite gigantic spending by the UK, minute amounts of reconstruction have taken place. Last year, there were only 57 doctors in Helmand for a population of more than 1 million people. We have been there for three years, so that has happened on our watch.

Where is the security?

To the Afghan population, the most visible sign of the Afghan Government is the Afghan national police. We must do more to get the police under control, because at the moment we are not doing anywhere near enough. The roads and security infrastructure that we have built are often used to make it easier for the police to rob people. The other day, I spoke to an interpreter I used 18 months ago in Lashkar Gah: he told me that a teenager was recently abducted from his small settlement and returned in the most awful physical condition, having been repeatedly raped over three days.

Although the UK has taken the lead on narcotics, heroin production has massively increased. Many millions of small arms, well over 30,000 artillery rounds and probably 100,000 Apache rounds have been fired, but to what effect? I have not been to Helmand for more than a year, but I think I am the only person in the House who has been to Helmand outside the Ministry of Defence, Foreign Office and DFID envelope. I have been there a couple of times at my own expense to talk to and spend time with ordinary Afghans. Before we arrived in 2006, Helmand was a pretty quiet place. There were 40 US troops in the base at Lashkar Gah, and at that time I wandered around the town and asked people whether they welcomed the arrival of the British. They said, “If the British bring security and reconstruction, they are welcome, but if you cannot bring peace and development, you should go home.”

Consent of the Civilian Population

The Afghans themselves will decide who wins in Helmand and whether that will be the corrupt and frankly remote Afghan Government backed by the international community or the Taliban. It is incredibly important to focus on the needs of the ordinary Afghan, because the consent of the people is, in military terms, our vital ground. Three years after the arrival of UK forces, the Afghan civilian population can quite reasonably be disappointed. We still have their consent, but it has declined rapidly and markedly in the past three years. The Afghan people do not want the Taliban back, but that does not mean they will support us.

The Original Plan 2006

On the military, when British Colonels Worsley and Messenger were busy setting up the provincial reconstruction team and Camp Bastion, others were busy—mainly in Kandahar—writing a joint plan for Helmand province. When 3 Para and Stuart Tootal arrived they were accompanied by a huge logistical chain. People were pretty confident that there would be enough troops to secure the area around Lashkar Gah and implement the plan—the ink-spot strategy—whereby development could take place and reconstruction would slowly spread across the province.

General Omar Bradley said that amateurs talk tactics, but professionals talk logistics. At the weekend, a modern British general said to me that he would change that comment: he would say that professionals talk command and control. That was a problem we faced in summer 2006, when there was a massive deviation from what sounded like a pretty reasonable plan. That deviation has set the whole tone for Helmand ever since and has resulted in massive violence. Partly because of that, reconstruction and development have been minuscule.

Summer 2006 - dumping the original plan

In summer 2006, we found ourselves with an extremely confused command and control structure. There was the Government here, the chiefs of staff, the NATO command chain, a Canadian brigadier general in charge in Kandahar, a British 3-star in Kabul, a commander of the Helmand taskforce, and the commander of the British forces—the brigade commander for the Paras, who was in an ill-defined and difficult position. At the same time, there were a load of Afghan district governors around Helmand, the governor of Helmand himself, and President Karzai. Those were all conflicting interest groups.

Platoon Houses

The result of the lack of clear command and control was the decision to dump the Afghan development zone plan and move relatively small numbers of troops to remote locations in the Government district centres in northern Helmand. That turned what should have been a slowly spreading ink-spot strategy into a violently flicked ink splatter. The result of what is now known as the platoon house strategy has been the deaths of dozens of British servicemen and hundreds of civilians.

Inevitably, any thought of development was a low priority when the British were dealing with that very difficult military situation. At the time and since, a number of British officers have complained that although there were things that they could have been doing in those areas, they simply did not have the budget to do them. The number of troops that we had in the new situation was just too low to make them anything more than self-defending targets for the Taliban. Thousands of refugees were created, and the towns sustained large amounts of damage and ceased to function properly. That was hardly the security and reconstruction that the Afghan population had expected.

Later, the military realised that after the platoon house strategy, there was an urgent need to get on with the hearts and minds effort. That was an unintended consequence of the platoon houses. Perhaps not unreasonably, the civilian agencies, including DFID, considered development activity far too dangerous because of the violence. Over time, that has become a problem, born of the military’s view, which is still held, that the civilian effort in Helmand, particularly that of DFID, has failed them.

What of DFID? -

Even if the military had stayed with the plan and got everything right, there would still have been the difficulty that military personnel could never on their own solve the problem. NATO and our Government understand that all that the military can do is to provide the secure environment in which other things can happen and take effect. We talk an awful lot about the comprehensive approach—security, governance and reconstruction—and it sounds great, but a villager in Helmand could be forgiven for asking where that is and what the British were talking about.

Where is the reconstruction in Helmand? The British effort falls largely to the UK Government Department for International Development, but that is not an organisation charged with supporting the military effect. It likes to remind us that it is charged by law with the higher purpose of poverty reduction. Its whole philosophy and method of operation means that it is simply not geared to support military operations. As one senior officer put it,

“the military secure areas, but the civilians are way behind the military effort... we are lagging behind the rhetoric.... The problem is that DFID do not see themselves as part of our foreign policy.”

That statement came from a very senior serving general.

DFID believes that the best way to help a country is to support it with long-term initiatives. As one senior DFID official put it to a friend of mine,

DFID is not there for such initiatives; instead, it wants to undertake long-term projects working with Government Ministries. That is fine in theory, but in Helmand we do not have the time for that. DFID is simply not configured to do what the major on the ground needs to be done before, during or after military operations. It is not configured to help that major to regain hearts and minds.

Anyway, even if we have carried out a gazillion projects successfully in Helmand, what does that really matter if ordinary Afghans do not feel that we have made a difference to their lives?

Why have we not pumped money into the Afghan and international non-governmental organisations that do exist? Why have we not stepped up the cash-for-work schemes? Why have we not made more use of the local village shuras and got stuff in at ground level? What about the national development programme or the unused capacity of the Bangladeshi charity? Perhaps that is why the Minister is going to Bangladesh later today; I do not know. The Central Asia Development Group has just finished a major project for USAID—the United States Agency for International Development—and has bags of capacity right across the province; why are we not paying it to do some of the work? Why are we not using private companies that will take the risk? I am talking not about men with gun trucks, but about people who can get out a little further. They can be directed by DFID staff inside the PRT. The Germans are doing very well in this respect. Why can we not try to persuade the Germans to get down there and do some of the work?

Current attempts to re-focus / Shake-up in Whitehall

The new brigade commander in Helmand, the razor-sharp and remarkable Mark Carleton-Smith, went out to Helmand a few months ago, determined to change the focus from dealing with the Taliban to dealing with the needs of the Afghan people..

It may be against Conservative party policy, but I believe that it is time for DFID to come back under the control of the Foreign Office, becoming once again an arm of British foreign policy. The lessons of history tell us that we need unity of command for counter-insurgency. The NATO set-up lacks coherence, and even in Britain people have often not been conducting a single policy. It is time to adopt the Templar model from Malaysia. We need an overarching boss to be in charge, and a committee system. Even in Whitehall, no one is in charge. It could be argued that we have Cabinet Government.

Fine, but where is the War Cabinet? As I shall say later, this policy has potentially catastrophic effects for people in Britain.

Let us not kid ourselves. We have been there for three years, but an awful lot of people in Helmand are disappointed, and some of them are pretty angry with us. One of our commanders described it as a

“declining glide path of consent”.

It is like an aeroplane, but we need to watch out or the plane will land. Does the Minister agree?

What should we do?

I have focused on Helmand province, but I fully acknowledge that the picture is not gloomy everywhere, that large areas of Afghanistan are at relative peace and that reconstruction development is taking place - for example the US are spending gigantic amounts of money.

Are AQ and the Taleban the same thing?

I want to shoot a sacred cow. Whenever people talk about Afghanistan, they say, “It is vital that we remain in Afghanistan; we are there to stop al-Qaeda regrouping and returning to threaten us.” That is nonsense on several fronts. First, the effects of our over-ambitious and ill-resourced plan has been further to radicalise large numbers of people across the Muslim world.

We often talk about al-Qaeda and the Taliban as if they are the same thing. There is a significant difference. The Taliban are largely Pathan tribesmen with a traditional and nationalist agenda and no foreign policy. On the other hand, al-Qaeda is a loose international nihilist movement with a highly developed foreign policy and the intent, and, regrettably, sometimes the capability, to conduct mass casualty attacks across the globe. They are two completely things.

Mullah Omar himself is reported in the late ’90s to have been perturbed at the internationalist agenda of the Arabs that Abdul Haq had invited into the country earlier. Indeed, in 1998 Prince Turki, the internal security Minister for Saudi Arabia, and later the Saudi ambassador to London, landed his jet at Kandahar in order to take bin Laden away. Mullah Omar was going to hand him over. Only after a shura to discuss the matter was it decided that they would not hand him over.

Some people who know these things better than I do swear blind, although it is surprising to me, with my western point of view, that the only reason Mullah Omar and the shura decided to let bin Laden stay was because of the pashtunwali code under which guests are protected.

Return of AQ to Afghanistan?

To assert boldly that al-Qaeda will return to Afghanistan in a meaningful way is almost ridiculous. It is not the same situation as in the 1990s, when we ignored the place. Whatever we do in future, we shall still have an interest there. Since the 1990s, we have huge signals intelligence, with huge overhead assets and loitering military assets in the sky. Almost every square centimetre of the country has been mapped. If they began to return—I cannot believe that the Afghans would wish to wreak the same disaster on themselves as happened in 2003—we would be able to deal with them.

While we pour life and resources into Afghanistan, that contributes to al-Qaeda successes in the Pashtun tribal belt in Pakistan itself. Pakistan is important to the United Kingdom, as many of our citizens have one foot there and one in the UK. It is helping radicalisation in the “-stans”, in the Maghreb, in east Africa and across the towns and cities of the Muslim world, including some of our own cities.

Linking AQ and nationalist causes

The trouble is that by making the link between al-Qaeda and nationalist causes around the globe, we help al-Qaeda. Last week, my friend the Leader of the Opposition David Cameron made the following observation, although he was not directly referring to Afghanistan. He said that we need to understand that

“we’re not engaged in a single struggle against a single protagonist. We’re not engaged in a clash of civilisations, and suggestions that we are can too easily have the opposite effect to the one that you intend—it makes extremists more attractive to the uncommitted. Yes of course there are connections between terrorist activity in different parts of the world, but we have be to a little smarter in how we handle those connections. Our aim should be to dismantle the processes, separating each component part rather than just sort of amalgamating them into a single global jihad that just becomes a call to arms.

Need for a new policy

We need a realistic long-term policy for Afghanistan. Does anyone seriously believe that Britain and the West will be able to continue with this relatively large-scale loss of life and spending billions and billions of pounds for many years to come? I cannot see it happening. We know that some NATO countries are wobbling because of the cost and the lives lost. It is time to scale down from what we would like to do to what we are able to do.

I do not pretend to be a great expert, but I have spoken to a lot of people who are—I am talking about people who have been there for longer than a six-month tour or a nine-month tour or through the changeover and reshuffles and so on. The consensus among them is something like this: we need to accept that large numbers of people in Helmand province are deeply traditional, xenophobic and resistant to change, and that most Afghans hate the Feringhi—the foreigner—especially if they pitch up in armoured vehicles and attack helicopters. We cannot impose democracy at the point of a gun, so we need to play the great game in a new century and urgently bring the Taliban into the process with a national programme of local arrangements for different areas.

To the UK Government’s credit, some of that is happening behind the scenes and through various other initiatives that I shall not raise now. However, such a strategy should be brought centre stage, regardless, frankly, of what President Karzai says. We need a sort of “You leave us alone, we’ll leave you alone” approach and a bit of pragmatism. At the same time, we need to support intensively development zones and areas of the country that are at relative peace, reduce troop numbers to those that can be supported in the long term and focus our efforts massively on training the Afghan army and police.

I am not saying that we should disengage militarily. We should have small groups of troops on the ground, working with the Afghans; but it must be their show, and we must accept that it might not be very pretty. We should also be ready, at the drop of a hat, to send in helicopter-borne men with unseasonal suntans at dead of night, and to use missiles or bombs or whatever else at the slightest whiff of resurgent al-Qaeda.

It is time to stop seeing the Afghan Government as the key channel of development. We need development at local level and to let people locally decide what they want. We should let them start to feel some benefit from the presence of all those foreigners in their provinces. I am sorry to say this, and it may not be popular, but important aspirations such as women’s rights and opium production will just have to wait until the reality on the ground catches up. We are there either to fight and defeat an insurgency and reduce poverty or we are not. In short, it is time to get a little bit of peace through reality—we could describe it as the great game crossed with ballistic missile, submarine and special-forces diplomacy, underwritten by massive development spending.

Conclusion

I spoke at the beginning of my speech about the drivers of radicalisation. Three years ago, no one outside Helmand had heard of places such as Sangin, Gereshk, Nowzad and Musa Qala. Today, they are clearly on the map and internet sites of the global jihad. I again assert that we are in Afghanistan for well-intentioned reasons, but how does the Minister think that TV news footage of war fighting plays among impressionable Muslims even in this country?

The primary purpose of going to war in Afghanistan was to deny al-Qaeda a safe operating base. We achieved that aim a long time ago. Our secondary objective was the destruction of the Taliban. However, frankly—let us have some real politik—that appears to be beyond our means. Commanders can tell us that we are winning until they are blue in the face, and that increasing numbers of suicide and roadside bombings prove that, but, at some point, as in every other insurgency historically, we will have to make a deal with the Taliban. I have some sympathy with the argument that we must beat them to some extent and make them realise that they cannot win before we can make such a deal. Does the Minister agree that now is the time for a deal?

The big strategic challenge for our generation is to win back the good will of all those people who were with us on 11 September 2001. We must do that over the next six months, or over 10 or 30 years. We must take al-Qaeda back to where it was in terms of popular support across the world in 2001, which was frankly nowhere. At the same time, in parallel, we must reduce its residual capacity.

What we have been doing in Afghanistan is a long-term liability for the UK. It has been ill thought out and is counter-productive, and it is a further driver of radicalisation around the world and in this country, all of which contribute to our wider strategic failure.

We have lost immeasurable amounts of good will since 11 September 2001 and it continues to haemorrhage away across the Muslim world and Pakistan in particular.

It is time to free up resources to deal with the much more serious strategic threats that we will face in the coming months and decades. We need to win back that good will and fight the battles that really matter. When we do those things, we might be doing something to make our people safer.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 1768000469
edit: please note: text above is abbreviated - mainly to remove interjections - it was part of a parliamentary debate - but the original Hansard account is found at the link given.

edit2: incidently, reading forward a few pages, Shahid Malik (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development) gave a pathetic government response.
 

Kondoru

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#35
What he is says has needed saying officialy for a long time.

And yes, I have read about the `Great Game`
 

Cavynaut

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#38
but how does the Minister think that TV news footage of war fighting plays among impressionable Muslims even in this country?
Presumably Mr Holloway assumes that 'impressionable Muslims' will react to the footage in a different way to the rest of us. I cannot quite understand why.
 

rynner2

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#39
From an article on trainspotting in this post-911 age:

Last month's The Railway Magazine reports an “alarming” increase in the number of readers complaining about the heavy-handed policing of stations. It also draws attention to a poster recently published by the British Transport Police urging the public to look out for photographers who seem, in some way, “odd”. “It's not a systematic persecution,” says Chris Milner, deputy editor of the magazine. “You just get these pockets of jobsworths who don't know the guidelines.”

After the London Tube bombings of July 7, 2005, Milner was party to the drawing up of guidelines intended for people wanting to take photographs on railway stations. They are accepted by Network Rail and the British Transport Police, who publish them on their websites. Photographers are expected to report to station staff and say what they're about. They are, of course, to keep away from the platform edge. Given the nannyish mindset of modern railways (which determines that all train fronts and rears must be painted a revolting yellow) it comes as a surprise that railway photographers are asked not to wear high-visibility jackets - this for fear that they will be confused with station staff.

Milner detects an irony in the implicit wariness of railway photographers. “On the day of the London Tube bombings, Sir Ian Blair was asking for people to come forward with any pictures they might have taken.”

Austin Mitchell, a Labour MP and keen amateur photographer, sees another irony: “We are all photographed dozens of times every day on CCTV, so while the Government can photograph us, we can't photograph anything else.” According to Mitchell, who was recently stopped from taking pictures at Leeds station: “Photography is a public right and that should be made absolutely clear.” He has put down an early-day motion about the matter.

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life ... 288147.ece
 
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#40
THE US military is training psychiatrists to interrogate terrorism suspects, in defiance of internationally agreed codes of conduct which bar doctors from involvement in interrogation.

"It undermines the notion of psychiatrists as healers, and undermines trust in the profession," says Jonathan Marks, a professor of bioethics and law at Pennsylvania State University, University Park. From documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act he discovered that five US army psychiatrists had been trained between July 2006 and October 2007 (The New England Journal of Medicine, vol 359, p 1090).

The American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the World Medical Association all have policies condemning the use of psychiatric advice in "softening up" detainees.

APA
 

rynner2

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#41
There's many a true word spoken in jest, but comedians can have a serious side too...

Kit isn’t our biggest problem in Afghanistan
We are now too wise to buy into propaganda. That’s why it’s harder for our soldiers to fight
Frank Skinner

It’s not just about helicopters and the right kind of armoured car, is it? The problem is that we, as a nation, can’t really do war any more.

Our view of it has become too nuanced and complicated. The reasons for war always required a good edit to be persuasive — the dark motivations snipped out to give the public a focused image of a just and winnable conflict. A war relies on a certain naivety back home to be acceptable. I hate to say it, but nowadays we know too much. The golden wall behind which the powerful have always hidden their little secrets — their MPs’ expenses, their celebrity phone taps and their waterboarding — has been breached so often of late it’s beyond repair.

I watched this week that video of Iraqi prisoners, hooded and forced to squat in the agonising “stress position”, a British soldier screaming at them and calling them apes. I’m glad I saw it and I wished I hadn’t. It wasn’t the image of war I grew up with. It wasn’t fearless Tommy Atkins battling the evil Hun with a wink, a whistle and a self-rolled cigarette. It was more like one of those sickening slices of city centre violence when testosterone’s heavy in the air and you just look straight ahead and keep walking. It seemed like yob culture had been institutionalised and put to practical use.

But what do I know? What would I do if I was out there — that mysterious “there” that we don’t want to even think about? Maybe when you’ve been shot at a few times your opinions change. Maybe those people who spent their gap year “doing” the Middle East, soaking up its fabulous customs and culture, developed a slightly more affectionate view of the locals than someone who’s there to fight the Taleban.

Once someone becomes the enemy, plain and simple, it doesn’t really matter if they have an interesting cuisine or not. They’re just the bad guys. Or are they? Well, back home, it’s easy to enjoy the intriguing ambiguities of the good guy, bad guy conundrum. Should we be there? Who are the real villains? I suspect such intellectual teasers aren’t quite so much fun when your mate is dead in the sand.

Patriotism used to be a great antidote to doubt in these matters but it tends to get lumped with racism and insularity now. I watched a Sky Arts programme about the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square last week. Ken Livingstone dropped his avuncular manner for a moment to point out that the other plinths and, indeed, the central column, were occupied by “war criminals and people involved in the invasion of India”. If Nelson isn’t a hero any more, what hope is there for Nathan from Chelmsford?

Ken’s remarks show that war, and the idea of heroism in war, isn’t just unpopular nowadays — it’s unfashionable. Political correctness has made a soldier a naff thing to be. They’ve de-heroicised the troops and redrawn them as right-wing pawns — short-haired lads in big boots beating up people in turbans. It’s as if that “stress position” video was the whole story. Alternatively, we get the regular glowing references to “our boys” from the red tops. But even that feels like trying too hard — a conscious reaction to the PC view. It seems to be an attempt to stem the tide.

The truth is white van man, with his England flag in the back of the cab, is also unsure about this war. The Government’s arguments are often designed, with limited success, to win over the broadsheet reader but, meanwhile, they are, as a by-product, driving away the old-fashioned patriots. White van man doesn’t want our boys fighting for women’s rights and better schooling in some country that’s got, it seems, nothing to do with us.

Most of us are anti-war nowadays but we feel we can hate the sin but love the sinner — support the spotty lad with the rifle while condemning the horrors of the bigger picture. I’m not sure that we can. I watched the Conservatives questioning the Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, this week. Inevitably, the debate became an opportunity for an attack on the Government — it was letting the soldiers down and expecting them to fight with Dad’s Army equipment — regardless of the effect that such talk might have on the morale of both the troops and their relatives.

Perhaps equipment isn’t our biggest problem. I suspect that it’s pretty hard to fight in a war that seems to be becoming more and more unpopular — a war that’s constantly deconstructed and devalued by a million bits of comment and analysis. When I saw those coffins going through Wooton Bassett, with the townsfolk standing respectfully at the kerbside, it seemed like something from a bygone age. It was as if those mourners had decided to put their knowingness on hold for a while and simply respect the fallen — a sort of simplicity flashback. Even then, within a few moments of the cortège’s passing, we had a man from the crowd being interviewed on TV and saying of the war: “We shouldn’t be there.”

We seem to have outgrown war, to be too wise to buy into the propaganda, but war hasn’t gone away. Someone is actually out there, in a less nuanced life-or-death world, and we need to find a middle way between blind belief and undermining condemnation.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 717113.ece
 

rynner2

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#42
Domestic passengers flying to Scotland may now have to show their passports
Passengers on domestic flights to Scotland face having to show their passports to police when they land under terrorism laws, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 10:00PM BST 25 Sep 2009

Despite already proving their identity to airline operators before boarding, passengers on internal flights will still face routine checks by police when they disembark.

The move emerged after five Tory front bench MPs, including Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, were among travellers ordered to show their passports when they arrived at Prestwick Airport on Wednesday.

Mr Grayling accused police of abusing powers designed to combat terrorists and warned it was “mission creep”.

He said: “"It is utterly and completely unacceptable for any police force to be doing routine identity checks on passengers travelling within the UK.

“Do we want to end up with border check points at Gretna Green?

“Of course we need security but there has to be a balance.”

There is no blanket policy to check every passenger on domestic flights but police forces in Scotland confirmed officers do carry out checks on a regular basis.

Officers can ask someone to prove their identity and that can include showing a passport.

Strathclyde Police, which covers Prestwick and Glasgow airports, said the power was under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Currently those on domestic flights will show a form of ID to the flight operator but are rarely required to prove their identity a second time when they land, unlike those arriving on international flights who have to go through border controls.

Mr Grayling and his colleagues were flying to Prestwick to carry out some political campaigning.

He said it looked far from an occasional operation as the officer was sat at a fixed desk in the airport.

He added: “No powers should be used in this way.

“Acting like this simply undermines the credibility of our security legislation and will heighten concerns about civil liberties.”

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: “Police officers, similar to other Border and Law Enforcement Agencies, operate at UK Air and Sea Ports in furtherance of their role of protecting our communities.

“As part of their duties, Police require to establish the identity of persons present at or transiting through a Port and, in recognition of this, legislation is provided for that purpose (Terrorism Act 2000).

“In particular, specific powers are afforded to Police examining officers to require production of a passport, or other recognised identity document bearing a photograph.

“Strathclyde Police endeavour to apply these powers proportionately bearing in mind the threat levels that apply currently, particularly in respect of aviation."

A spokesman for Grampian Police, which covers Aberdeen Airport, said: “We do carry out passenger checks on both international and domestic flights and we do check identification, which could include passports."

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police, which covers Edinburgh Airport, was unavailable for comment.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... ports.html
 

rynner2

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#43
Cyber attack 'could fell US within 15 minutes'
The US must prepare itself for a full-scale cyber attack which could cause death and destruction across the country in less than 15 minutes, the former anti-terrorism Tsar to Bill Clinton and George W Bush has warned.
Alex Spillius in Washington
Published: 11:53PM BST 07 May 2010

Richard Clarke claims that America's lack of preparation for the annexing of its computer system by terrorists could lead to an "electronic Pearl Harbor".

In his warning, Mr Clarke paints a doomsday scenario in which the problems start with the collapse of one of Pentagon's computer networks.

Soon internet service providers are in meltdown. Reports come in of large refinery fires and explosions in Philadelphia and Houston. Chemical plants malfunction, releasing lethal clouds of chlorine.

Air traffic controllers report several mid-air collisions, while subway trains crash in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. More than 150 cities are suddenly blacked out. Tens of thousands of Americans die in an attack comparable to a nuclear bomb in its devastation.

Yet it would take no more than 15 minutes and involve not a single terrorist or soldier setting foot in the United States.

The scenario is contained the pages of his book, Cyber War: The Next National Security Threat, written with Robert Knake.

And Mr Clarke has been right before.

As anti-terrorism tsar under Mr Clinton and then Mr Bush, he issued dire warnings of the need for better defences against al-Qaeda, and wrote about his futile campaign in the 2004 book Against All Enemies.

Now he argues that a similar lack of preparation could exact a tragic price.

"The biggest secret about cyber war may be that at the very same time the US prepares for offensive cyber war, it is continuing policies that make it impossible to defend effectively from cyber attack," says the book.

In part, the US has been hampered by the unforeseeable success of the internet and expansion of computerised networks, which are now used in almost every aspect of industry but have led to a hazardous degree of over-dependence.

The belief in the internet as the freewheeling, free-spirited epitome of American free speech has made government intrusion politically difficult, leaving the private sector particularly vulnerable to well-trained hackers.

Successive administrations, including President Barack Obama's, have failed to get to grips with the scale of the problem, believe Clarke and Knake, though they have kindred spirits dotted around the establishment.

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... nutes.html
 

PeniG

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#44
Wednesday I made a research trip to Medina Lake, which was created in 1912 by the construction of the first all-concrete dam in the country. Underneath its waters is a town known variously as "Mountain Valley" or "the Mormon settlement," which can be seen when the water is low enough (it hasn't been low enough since 1958). I needed a look at the landscape and I wanted to get as close to Mountain Valley as possible, walk across the dam, look at the historical markers (there's three; two state ones concerning the dam's construction and the Mormons, one architectural one concerning the construction method), see what turned up. You'd be surprised how often a trip like that hands you the key bit of info you didn't know you needed.

Anyway, I learned that Homeland Security won't let people onto the dam anymore, and I got the phone number of the historian for the group that's organizing the dam's centennial in 2012. When I spoke to him I learned that his group is lobbying to have the restriction removed. You can poke around Hoover Dam, for crying out loud, and that's a much more tempting target! It's hard to imagine terrorists having ever heard of Medina County, Texas, and though a properly-timed dam break could do a lot of localized damage, the fact that it's an irrigation lake means that harm could be minimized just by sending out a general alert for everybody with water rights to open their gates full up and then head for the nearby high ground.

Apparently the reasoning is that "Medina" is also the name of the city where Mohammed organized his religion, while the vacuum cleaner is sacred to no known terrorist group.

They did actually get a threatening e-mail on the subject back in 2001, but no suspicious activity has been observed since and the smart money's on it being a prank.
 

rynner2

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#45
Bomb-maker unmasked after girl, 7, looking for lost ball sets off trip-wire explosion in his garden
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:59 PM on 19th May 2010

A bomb-maker was discovered when a schoolgirl looking for her ball accidentally stepped on a trip-wire in her neighbour's garden, a court heard today.
The terrified seven-year-old set off a series of detonators when she tried to get the ball from the house of 'hate-filled' Donatien Se Sabi Bestrualta Chamchawala.
Her parents called police who uncovered a weapons cache and explosives den in his home in a quiet street.

Police said Chamchawala, 31, had a hatred of gays, Jews and - irrationally - black people, and they believed he could have targeted them for attacks.
Chamchawala, of Blackwood, Caerphilly, south Wales, was today detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after admitting making and possessing explosives.
Nicholas Jones, prosecuting, said the defendant, 31, was born with the name Andrew Webbe but changed it in 2003.
He said he chose Donatien after the French author and aristocrat the Marquis de Sade, who shared that name.
He added: "Bestrualta is an anagram of "ultrabeast" and Chamchawala is a character in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.
"He said in interview he identified with the character, who was a recluse."

Mr Jones said: 'His neighbours had a family barbecue and a ball went over the wall into his house.
'The girl's father asked if it was alright if the children retrieved the ball and Chamchawala nodded.

'The seven-year-old and her nine-year-old friend went into the garden when there was a massive bang, followed a couple of seconds later by another.
'Smoke was coming from the garden, while Chamchawala calmly walked back into the house. The children were terrified.'

Cardiff Crown Court was told neighbours became suspicious after Chamchawala left doors and windows open during winter months.
Mr Jones said: 'There were often smells of burning but no obvious signs of smoke.
'But Chamchawala would use air fresheners up to six time a day.'

Anti terror police who raided the house in Blackwood, South Wales, found two swords, a sawn-off shotgun, a revolver a machete and a bullet proof vest.
There were also hundreds of pages of documents where Chamchawala expressed his hatred for innocent civilians including Jews, 'Christian cesspit of America' and British National Party activists.

etc...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z0oSqDdEQM
 

Kondoru

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#46
Now look! This is a good example of a suspect!

Not someone who just happens to be brown.
 
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#47
Maybe it's the wrong sort of terror, not the fashionable kind. But, in the Basque Country, ETA have just called a permanent ceasefire.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/10/eta-declares-permanent-ceasefire

Eta declares permanent ceasefire
Basque separatist group says ceasefire called four months ago will be permanent and verifiable by international observers

guardian.co.uk, Giles Tremlett in Madrid 10 January 2011

The armed Basque separatist group Eta has declared that a ceasefire it called four months ago is now "permanent and general" and open to verification by international observers.

In a statement released to the media the group said: "Eta has decided to declare a permanent and general ceasefire which will be verifiable by the international community.

"This is Eta's firm commitment towards a process to achieve a lasting resolution and towards an end to the armed confrontation."

The statement gives no details of how the ceasefire could be confirmed by observers.

The group calls for "dialogue and negotiation" which it says should end with some sort of vote among Basques. It also calls for a Basque right to independence to be formally recognised.

The solution to Basque independence "will come through the democratic process with dialogue and negotiation as its tools", the statement says.

Three masked members of Eta, which is classified as a terrorist group by the European Union, have also recorded a video statement.

...
 

Kondoru

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#48
Im not sure whether to be relieved or dissapointed.

Im also not sure as the best way to run a revolution.
 
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#49
Reports of lethal and destructive, false flag operation, by extremist, Hindu nationalists, intended to pin the blame on Muslim radicals for a bombing campaign, from India.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...terror-attacks-blamed-on-muslims-2182178.html

Hindu holy man reveals truth of terror attacks blamed on Muslims

The Independent online. By Andrew Buncombe in Delhi. 12 January 2011

India is being forced to confront disturbing evidence that increasingly suggests a secret Hindu terror network may have been responsible for a wave of deadly attacks previously blamed on radical Muslims.

Information contained in a confession given in court by a Hindu holy man, suggests that he and several others linked to a right-wing Hindu organisation, planned and carried out attacks on a train travelling to Pakistan, a Sufi shrine and a mosque as well as two assaults on Malegaon, a town in southern India with a large Muslim population.

He claimed the attacks were launched in response to the actions of Muslim militants. "I told everybody that we should answer bombs with bombs," 59-year-old Swami Aseemanand, whose real name is Naba Kumar Sarkar, told a magistrate during a closed hearing in Delhi. "I suggested that 80 per cent of the people of Malegaon were Muslims and we should explode the first bomb in Malegaon itself. I also said that during partition, the Nizam of Hyderabad had wanted to go with Pakistan so Hyderabad was also a fair target. Then I said that since Hindus also throng [a Sufi shrine in] Ajmer we should also explode a bomb in Ajmer which would deter the Hindus from going there. I also suggested the Aligarh Muslim University as a target."

Police in India have suspected for some time that Hindus may have been responsible for the attacks carried out between 2006 and 2008, and in November of that year several arrests were made, including that of a serving military officer. But the confession of Swami Aseemanand, obtained by an Indian news magazine, is perhaps the most damning evidence yet that Hindu extremists were responsible. It also suggests those involved were senior members of a religious group that is the parent organisation of India's main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"The evidence is not conclusive but people have to take notice of this," said Bahukutumbi Raman, a former national security adviser and now a leading regional security analyst. "This could aggravate tensions between India's [Hindu and Muslim] communities. It will create problems."

The revelations in Tehelka magazine, bear added significance following the comments of Rahul Gandhi, widely expected to be a future prime minister, in which he said he believed the growth of Hindu extremists presented a greater threat to India than Muslim militants. According to a cable obtained by WikiLeaks, last year Mr Gandhi told the US ambassador to Delhi, Timothy Roemer: "Although there was evidence of some support for Laskar-e-Taiba among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community."

...
Welcome, once again, to Looking Glass Land. :(
 
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#50
US terrorism fears over toilets on jets
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 11639.html
GERRY BYRNE

Sat, Mar 19, 2011

THE US is urging changes in the toilets on passenger jets as part of its measures against terrorism.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) secretly ordered US airlines to remove emergency oxygen supplies from toilets.

They also warned aviation authorities elsewhere, including the EU, to do likewise. But the Department of Transport has refused to say whether it is to happen in Ireland.

The removed US toilet systems are identical to the emergency oxygen system demonstrated in safety briefings where a mask drops down in the event of a decompression of the aircraft.

At high altitudes, atmospheric air lacks sufficient oxygen for survival: should an aircraft’s pressurisation system fail, oxygen starvation can render a person unconscious in a short time and then kill in a few minutes.

Oxygen masks are powered by a small metal flask of chemicals. A tug on the mask creates a tiny explosion, causing the chemicals to produce enough oxygen for 15 minutes’ breathing. The flasks can heat to 250 degrees.

It is feared terrorists may have discovered a way of converting this system into a weapon or a bomb component.

Behind the toilet door they could remove the oxygen-generating flask. At the very least they could use that oxygen to accelerate a fire, it is feared.

© 2011 The Irish Times
 

Anome

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#51
There's an opportunity here to use Health and Safety legislation to stop such an obviously boneheaded move. Removing the emergency oxygen supply in the toilets poses a risk to the life of their passengers, should there be a problem.
 

The late Pete Younger

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#52
Behind the toilet door they could remove the oxygen-generating flask. At the very least they could use that oxygen to accelerate a fire, it is feared.
Well if the terrorists didn't know about this before, they do now. :roll:
 

rynner2

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#53
Transport police get green light to carry guns on trains and Tubes in response to 'terrorism threat'
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:32 PM on 24th May 2011

Armed teams of British Transport Police are to patrol the railways and London Underground to counter the terrorist threat - currently at its second highest level.
Until now BTP officers have not carried weapons but today Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced that the force would have its own armed capability.
He said armed BTP officers would be 'deployed as appropriate in response to the terrorism threat level at any given time'.

Armed police from other forces sometimes patrol stations and trains and the current threat level is severe meaning an attack is 'highly likely'
Today, in a Commons statement, Mr Hammond said that by training BTP officers to carry out armed patrolling of the rail network it 'equipped them with a capability already available to other forces'.
He added that it would not be a daily event to see armed officers at stations and they would be deployed 'according to operational need'.
Mr Hammond said: The Government has been considering the resilience of the overall police armed capability and has concluded that it would be beneficial to enhance this by providing the BTP with an armed capability of its own.
'The timing of this is not as a result of any specific threat: it is a sensible and pragmatic approach to ensuring that our police forces have the right resources to be able to respond as and when needed to protect the public.'

He went on: 'We will continue to work with the BTP and others to assess the use of this capability and its effectiveness and impact.
'I would like to reassure Parliament that this is a measured and proportionate approach to supporting the BTP in maintaining public safety on the railway.'

The force' Chief Constable Andy Trotter said: 'I welcome the decision for BTP to have armed officers at mainline stations during times of heightened threat of terrorist attack.
'BTP officers have an excellent working knowledge of the railway which will enable them to respond quickly to any incidents.'

The 7/7 attacks on the Underground in 2005 highlighted the vulnerability of an 'open' system such as the Tube, which, because of its nature, cannot become a 'closed' system like an airport, where passengers can be thoroughly security-checked before passing airside.

In March 2004, nearly 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks on commuter trains in Madrid, while Mumbai's railway stations were among targets attacked in a November 2008 outrage.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1NIPv337D
 

rynner2

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#54
MI6 attacks al-Qaeda in 'Operation Cupcake'
British intelligence has hacked into an al-Qaeda online magazine and replaced bomb-making instructions with a recipe for cupcakes. :rofl:
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
7:16PM BST 02 Jun 2011

The cyber-warfare operation was launched by MI6 and GCHQ in an attempt to disrupt efforts by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular to recruit “lone-wolf” terrorists with a new English-language magazine, the Daily Telegraph understands.

When followers tried to download the 67-page colour magazine, instead of instructions about how to “Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom” by “The AQ Chef” they were greeted with garbled computer code.
The code, which had been inserted into the original magazine by the British intelligence hackers, was actually a web page of recipes for “The Best Cupcakes in America” published by the Ellen DeGeneres chat show.

Written by Dulcy Israel and produced by Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson, Ohio, it said “the little cupcake is big again” adding: “Self-contained and satisfying, it summons memories of childhood even as it's updated for today’s sweet-toothed hipsters.”

It included a recipe for the Mojito Cupcake – “made of white rum cake and draped in vanilla buttercream”- and the Rocky Road Cupcake – “warning: sugar rush ahead!” 8)

By contrast, the original magazine featured a recipe showing how to make a lethal pipe bomb using sugar, match heads and a miniature lightbulb, attached to a timer.

The cyber attack also removed articles by Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and a piece called “What to expect in Jihad.”

British and US intelligence planned separate attacks after learning that the magazine was about to be issued in June last year.
They have both developed a variety of cyber-weapons such as computer viruses, to use against both enemy states and terrorists.

A Pentagon operation, backed by Gen Keith Alexander, the head of US Cyber Command, was blocked by the CIA which argued that it would expose sources and methods and disrupt an important source of intelligence, according to a report in America.
However the Daily Telegraph understands an operation was launched from Britain instead.

Al-Qaeda was able to reissue the magazine two weeks later and has gone on to produce four further editions but one source said British intelligence was continuing to target online outlets publishing the magazine because it is viewed as such a powerful propaganda tool.

The magazine is produced by the radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the leaders of AQAP who has lived in Britain and the US, and his associate Samir Khan from North Carolina.
Both men who are thought to be in Yemen, have associated with radicals connected to Rajib Karim, a British resident jailed for 30 years in March for plotting to smuggle a bomb onto a trans-Atlantic aircraft.

At the time Inspire was launched, US government officials said “the packaging of this magazine may be slick, but the contents are as vile as the authors.”
Bruce Reidel, a former CIA analyst said it was “clearly intended for the aspiring jihadist in the US or UK who may be the next Fort Hood murderer or Times Square bomber.”

...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... pcake.html
 

Kondoru

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#58
Anyhow, who makes bombs in their mums kitchen anymore?

Too risky. If you blow it up, she will get very cross.
 

rynner2

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#59
'Propaganda' has such negative connotations nowadays that some people might assume it's something untrue, or is 'made up' information.

But it can of course be perfectly true, even if used to futher a political or national viewpoint (which would hardly be a novelty!).

Whatever, this 'propaganda' gave me a laugh. :D
 

OneWingedBird

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#60
Until now BTP officers have not carried weapons but today Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced that the force would have its own armed capability.
I wonder if there's some inverse relationship between what we're willing to justify and the amount of time since an actual attack or even a serious bust for a planned one? or perhaps we have to be reminded of how evil these people are every so often in the absense of them actually doing anything for a while. :?
 
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