Terrorism

Discussions, news, analysis and thoughts on terrorism.

Chaos in Iraq, Afghanistan and the War on Terror

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Some time back I wrote on why invading foreign countries creates chaos, and fuels terrorism.

Every day, there is growing evidence that this is more true than before ...

Iraq

On the Iraq front, there is a very real risk of civil war emerging from the sectarian strife that is going on there. The chaos created there have caused the country to become a haven for terrorist groups and figures (like Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi). More importantly, invading Iraq hasa caused terrorism to become a cause that many flock to.

The UN Secretary General, now nearing the end of his term, says that the Iraq war is a disaster for the Middle East, and warns of a full scale civil war there.

Praise for Kimveer Gill, gunman at Dawson College

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Kimveer Gill, a 25 year old Montreal man marched into Dawson College carrying three pieces of weapons, including a semi automatic carbine. He fired tens of shots. One student was killed. Two are still in critical condition, and many others wounded. Gill shot himself in the head after the police shot him in his arm.

Gill was wearning combat boots and a black trenchcoat. His online profile was on a Goth web site (vamiprefreaks.com).

Several interesting observations on the aftermath:

  • Some blame the Goth culture,
  • Some blamed the internet site he frequented.

Guilt by association, and seeking simplistic answers for complex issues.

  • Some praised his actions online.
  • Some blamed the police for killing him (ignoring that it was Gill who barged in and started shooting at people).
  • Some say he died a good deed.
  • Others belittle the "deed" for the low count of the victims, as well as not going out the way it should.

The interesting part is that there was no cause, and no motivation. Still some glorify the atrocity.

Interesting parallels with terrorism, and its aftermath ...

Bruce Schneier on Terrorism and September 11

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Security expert Bruce Schneier writes a section on "What the terrorists want" in his latest Crypt-Gram newsletter for September 15, 2006.He specifically points to the misuse of terrorism by politicians and media to promote fear, and to further political agendas and careers, as well as to increase TV viewership. Here are the terrorism related sections in this edition of the newsletter.

Bruce was the one who coined the term : "security theater".

Orthodox Hasidic Jew removed from Montreal flight for praying

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An Orthodox Hasidic Jew was removed from an Air Canada Jazz flight from Montreal to New York City on September 1.The man started to pray when the flight was heading to the runway. In normal Jewish manner, the prayer involved the man covering his head with a shawl and "rocking back and forth" while reading from a book.A passenger said:

"The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave".

The poor man spoke neither English nor French and hence could not communicate with anyone.

How America changed after September 11: In statistics

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The BBC has an interesting set of graphs showing how America changed after September 11.Defense spending went up and maintained that trend ever since. Hate crimes against Muslims had a sharp rise that went down afterwards, but is still many ordered of magnitude more than before September 11.Presidential approval rating went briefly up then continued a steady slide.

Peter Taylor and Michael Scheuer: What makes a suicide bomber, and would dialog help

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British journalist Peter Taylor comes to the conclusion that no matter what Tony Blair says, terrorism in Britain is all about the invasion of Iraq.

He also notes that dialog worked with the IRA and ETA, and asks why not Al-Qaeda.

He quotes Michael Scheuer, a CIA veteran, former head of the Bin Laden unity, and author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is losing the war on terror, who identifies Iraq's invasion as a major recruiting propaganda for Al-Qaeda. 

I am not a terrorist: the T-shirt

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It all started with famed Iraqi blogger, Raed Jarrar being forced to take off a T-shirt before boarding a flight. The T-shirt had "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic.One of the officials said that:

... wearing a t-shirt with Arabic script in an airport now is like going to a bank with a t-shirt that reads, “I am a robber.”

Say what? This is absurd and highlights how low the US has descended in its phantom war on terror. The hysteria by the media has succeeded in swaying public opinion against Arabs big time.

Two Asian men "acting suspicously" taken off Manchester flight by passenger mutiny

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On a flight from Malaga, Spain to  Manchester, England, passengers were concerned about two "Asian or Middle Eastern looking men acting suspiciously".On the instigation of the passengers, the flight attendants were alerted, who in turn alerted the crew, who got the airport security to remove  the men from the flight.The actions was described as "mutiny" by some news media. The suspicious behavior turned to be that the Asian men were in their twenties and talking Arabic, and wearing leather jackets although the weather was hot. They were questioned for several hours, and found to be harmless, and caught a flight back later in the day. 

Can liquid explosives be prepared on an airplane?

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Liquid explosives have been known for more than 150 years.

The first was Nitroglycerin or TNT, easily manufactured by concentrated Nitric acid and glycerine. Since it is very unstable, dynamite was invented as a means to stabilize TNT. Note that nitroglycerin is used for heart patients, specially angina pectoris.

Of the organic peroxides groups, acetone peroxide, known as TATP (Triacetone triperoxide) is a powerful explosive. In theory it can be made from peroxide (more concentrated forms than what is sold in pharmacies), and nail polish remover (acetone). Although manufactured from liquids, TATP is a white crystalline powder, and not a liquid. It is suspected to have been used in the July 7, 2005 London bombings.

Islamofascism and Islamic Fascim: wrong term now in use by Bush

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The term "Islamic fascism" or "Islamofascism" has been in use for some time, specially by right wing talk shows and Islamophobic web sites.

Now, it has gained currency in the jargon of the Bush administration. President G. W. Bush used it several times in speeches recently, including the recent trans-Atlantic bomb plot.

The term is ambiguous and imprecise, since historically, fascism was confined to secular governments, and not non-official religious groups. It also maligns Islam and Muslims in general by associating fascism with Islam.

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