Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ron Smith: Losers



For some while now it has been evident that President Obama is reluctant to talk about ‘terrorism’ and, still less, about ‘Islamic terrorism’, or ‘Jihad’, or ‘the war on terror’, or all those other things that are so offensive to the political correct.  It is now becoming clear that this ideologically-driven denial is extracting a price.  Apart from the absurdity of continuing to refer to the Fort Hood shooting as ‘work-place violence’, it is now emerging that the various agencies responsible for home security have seriously dropped the ball in regard to the Boston bombing.

Despite a series of warnings from Russian intelligence about the activities of the elder of the Tsarnaev brothers (Tamerlan), neither of them was under surveillance in the period before the attack on spectators at the Boston Marathon.  The reason for Russian interest was that Tamerlan had spent six months in Dagestan, apparently consorting with extremists.  Despite the fact that the US authorities were made aware of his departure, they did not apparently notice that he had returned.  At this point, Russian intelligence contacted the CIA, having earlier informed the FBI.  Homeland Security also seems to have known something but it seems that the various agencies were not talking to each other about the matter.  If this is so, it would seem that the Bush intelligence reforms after 9/11, which stressed inter-agency cooperation and intelligence sharing have somewhat atrophied.

It should also be noted, that it now appears that the social media sites of both brothers featured extremist messages from manifestly Jihadist sources.  These are easily detectable and together with the activities of Tamerlan, should have meant that both brothers would have been under serious surveillance from well before the events of 15 April.  The information that the Tsarnaev brothers were on their way to New York, with the rest of their stockpile of munitions, when they were fortunately intercepted by the police, only underlines this point.  It should be added here, that the US Director of National Security, James Clapper, has recently claimed, by way of defence, that ‘the intelligence and law enforcement communities would have needed broader powers to monitor internet communications of American citizens’.  This is scarcely to be believed, and in any case it does not explain failure to follow up the Russian leads in other ways.  What does explain all this, is the pervasive influence of the sort of administrative denial referred to earlier, which was also reflected in the astonishing decision by the US Attorney General to curtail FBI questioning of the surviving Boston bomber, Dzhokhov.  In their recent testimony to Congress, the FBI is reported to have said that ‘they were stunned’ by this.

Of course, the larger game is to support the claim of the Obama Administration (stemming from before the Presidential election), that the so-called terrorist threat ended with the killing of Osama bin Laden and other prominent leaders of al Qaeda.  This is why the Obama Administration initially denied that the attack on the US diplomatic compound in Libya, last September, was a terrorist attack (See my ‘Questions from Benghazi’ of last October).  It also explains why Major Nidal (Fort Hood) was just an upset defence worker, and that in early reports, the Boston bombers might have been a couple of right-wing extremists.

There are lessons to be drawn for New Zealand from all this.  The first is that there is a threat and we are not immune from it.  We have a significant Islamic population and the possibility that disaffected youth may be influenced by radical interests is present here, as it is in many other countries.  The extent to which fundamentalist influences are at work here in New Zealand (and the degree of denial) was amply illustrated in a recent article in North and South  magazine (Mark Scott, ‘Tolerating Intolerance’, April 2013).

The second lesson follows from the first.  We need to have the legal capacity, and the will, to keep an eye on these phenomena and pay attention to possible anti-social developments.  In the event of a ‘Boston’ type of attack in New Zealand, I cannot think that we would be satisfied with an official response to the effect that, although there were grounds to anticipate such an atrocity (perhaps, we even had warnings from abroad), we did not think it was appropriate to spy on New Zealand citizens.

Shortly after the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as the bombers, their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni said of them (by way of explanation for their actions), ‘They are losers’.  He then went on to refer to the fact that neither had employment and both had been supported, one way or another, by public welfare for most of their lives.  He hinted at feelings of inadequacy in a land of opportunity, which may have driven them towards radicalisation and to an impulse for that ‘moment of fame’, when their lives become significant.  Mr Tsarni seems to have subsequently retracted some parts of his original statement but the picture he drew matches a familiar profile for radicalised young Muslims, or Muslim converts, who aspire to strike a blow against the infidel.  We need to take the possibility seriously.

2 comments:

Brian said...

It is also very evident that not only President Obama avoids discussing the subject of terrorism, but also most Western Countries leaders are also reluctant to discuss this subject. More specifically Islamic Terrorism, as this invokes huge criticism from those liberal extremists whose idealism is of a world joining hands in singing “Cum bye Ah” and still dreaming of “Little boxes on the hillsides”.
But the World has moved on, since then, 9/11 Muslim extremism has extended its grip further and further into our society. Here in our own Parliament we allow (as of right) the spectre of an elected or the more likely, an appointed Muslim M.P. the “right” to swear allegiance to the Crown (State). Rather surprisingly on a book “The Koran” which repeatedly calls for the elimination by violence, of all those who are not of the Muslim faith.
One can but wonder in the likely event of a open conflict with the Muslims world just which allegiance would come first, the “Rule of the Koran or the Rule of N.Z. Law”? Why has it not occurred to our Politicians to ask this reasonable question, “As N.Z. Muslim citizens to whom firstly, do you give your Loyalty too”?
That the U.S. intelligence services been so eroded that they are unable to detect incoming immigrant extremists does not inspire much confidence, even when a tip off comes from another country with identical problems. In our case, are we in so far down the track to “Tolerating Intolerance” (North & South April 2013) with our long prostrate subservience to an ever increasing Maori demands, and privileges?
One might well assume this is a prelude to the fascinating prospect of a New Zealand where Terrorists become “Freedom Fighters of the People”! Shades of the ANC and Mugabe’s mob!
We are still accepting Muslim immigrants/refugees without a full scrutiny of their past affiliations with political organisations, and more importantly an answer on their loyalty as new citizens of this country.
Brian

Brian said...

It is also very evident that not only President Obama avoids discussing the subject of terrorism, but also most Western Countries leaders are also reluctant to discuss this subject. More specifically Islamic Terrorism, as this invokes huge criticism from those liberal extremists whose idealism is of a world joining hands in singing “Cum bye Ah”; still dreaming of “Little boxes on the hillsides”.
But the World has moved on since then, 9/11 Muslim extremism has extended its actions further and further into our society. Here in our own Parliament we allow (as of right) the spectre of an elected or the more likely, an appointed Muslim M.P. with the “right” to swear allegiance to the Crown on the Koran. Rather a surprising “act of ethnic faith”? Or rather one of blind incompetence, as this book repeatedly calls for the elimination by violence, of all those who are not of the Muslim faith.
One can but wonder in the likely event of a open conflict with the Muslims world just which allegiance would come first, the “Obedience to the Koran or obedience to the law of N.Z? Why has it not occurred to our Politicians to ask this rather obvious and reasonable question, “As a New Zealand Muslim citizen who do you give your loyalty too”?
That the U.S. intelligence services been so eroded that they are unable to detect incoming immigrant extremists does not inspire much confidence, even when a tip off comes from another country with identical problems. In our case, are we in so far down the track to “Tolerating Intolerance” (North & South April 2013) or is this an extension of our long prostrating subservience to ever increasing Maori demands, and privileges?
One might well assume then, that this is a prelude to the fascinating prospect of a New Zealand where Terrorists now become “Freedom Fighters of the People”! Shades of the ANC and Mugabe’s mob!
We are still accepting Muslim immigrants/refugees without a full in depth scrutiny of their past affiliations with political organisations; and more importantly, an answer on where their loyalty lies as citizens of this country.
Brian