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We are at war with al Queda and its violent extremest allies


Guest Dan
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There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer.

 

First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda – more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.

 

To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.

 

Second, the former Vice President makes the clearly untrue claim that the President – who is this nation’s Commander-in-Chief – needs to realize we are at War. I don’t think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama. In his inaugural, the President said “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In a recent speech, Assistant to the President for Terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan said “Instead, as the president has made clear, we are at war with al-Qaida, which attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al-Qaida’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy; these are the extremists we will defeat.” At West Point, the President told the nation why it was “in our vital national interest” to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, adding that as Commander in Chief, “I see firsthand the terrible wages of war.” And at Oslo, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the President said, “We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land.”

 

There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic ("terrorism"), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered.

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You don't want a serious discussion Dan. I was at this stuff LONG before Reagan, Bush Senior, Clinton.

 

When Republicans such as myself tried to warn the American People of the threat of terrorism the democrats would point to folks like myself and say RASCISTS, and thus nothing was done.

 

The Twin Towers, The families, The Wars, and their family’s lives destroyed. It's a heck of a legacy that the democrats have left in their wake.

 

It took a 9/11 for the American people to finally understand "sadly".<Live, and Learn Folks, Live and learn>

 

When President Barrack Obama puts out statements that Terrorism is not really terrorism but a "Man Made Disaster" shows very clearly that he does not understand the issue at all.

 

I wished that President Obama would Really understand the gravity of this issue "More then you will ever know".

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If one is to have an open mind? We as Westerners Must look past our pre-conceived conceptions.

 

Brazil is doing it, why can’t we?

 

 

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Putting Nigeria on watch list is bad for foreign investment

 

By Ifedayo Adebayo

 

 

January 5, 2010 05:28AMT

 

 

The listing of Nigeria as one of the seven countries on the United States of America top security watch will affect the rate of investment in Nigeria, except the federal government takes steps to strengthen its foreign policies, the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Bashir Borodo, has said.

 

The U.S. has grouped Nigeria with Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen as countries to watch. This group differs from another made up of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria that have been classified as state sponsors of terror.

 

Mr. Borodo said the U.S. has over-reacted to the issue and that its decision is harsh, compared to its reactions to similar incidents in the past.

 

He said: "I recall the shoe bomber that was caught about two years ago; a British citizen carrying almost the same type of chemical in the shoe, no special restrictions were imposed on his country as a result of this. So why Nigeria, why Nigeria?"

 

Mr. Borodo said, "It is a very bad development for our economy at this stage that we are struggling to regain our status and stabilise the economy. I think it is an overreaction that is not fair to us."

 

A professor of International Relations at the University of Lagos, Kayode Soremekun, said enlisting Nigeria is like placing the sin of one person on a whole nation of 140 million people. "Considering the history of terrorism," he said, "Nigeria does not deserve to be added to whatever kind of list the U.S. might draw up on this.

 

Decision is hasty

 

"Nigeria's economy is already a weakened one and the impact of such a decision might not be seriously felt by an average Nigerian. They are acting in the heat of moment. When the heat comes down, they might look back.

 

"Nigeria is already a weakened state. Our leaders have given us a bad image outside there. We are known for other things, if not terrorism and Nigeria cannot have any leverage on the U.S.A. So, there is now an uneven relationship between the leadership of the two countries."

 

A senior research scholar at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), who spoke on condition of anonymity because he needed to get clearance before talking to the press, however, said the listing might not have much impact on the nation.

 

"Well, I don't think it will have much implication on us.

 

What the US was doing was within the anti-terrorism campaign and not an economic sanction. It has more to do with their own security image.

 

"It has dampened the image of this country. If you cast back on the OBJ (former president Obasanjo) era, all he was doing was to give the country a good image. But that now depends on the strength of our foreign policy, it must be stronger, though it will affect foreign investment. Violence is destructive and not constructive and with the present way that Nigeria has been linked to such, it will definitely affect the rate of investment. Remember that investment is about using capital to make profit."

 

De-list Nigeria

 

The Inspector General of Police, Ogbonnoya Onovo has, however, called on the U.S. government to de-list Nigeria from the watch list in the light of the country's cooperation with U.S. officials since the December 25 incident.

 

"In light of all this, the Transport Security Administration of the United States is hereby called upon to de-list Nigeria from the countries of interest. Nigerian travellers to the United States need not be subjected to extraordinary hardship. There are no security issues in the country. The new policy is unfair," Mr. Onovo said "There are convicted terrorists who are American, British and Belgian citizens, and this fact has not made the TSA regard either Britain or Belgium as a country of interest. For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to point out that Hamid Hyat, who was convicted in April 2007 of terrorism, is an American. Richard Reid, who is serving a life sentence in the United States for attempting on December 22, 2001 to bomb an American commercial plane flying from Paris to Miami, is a British citizen. His collaborator, Nizar Trabelsi, is Belgian.

 

"If the American authorities could not add Britain and Belgium to the list of countries of interest, then there is no objective reason to include Nigeria. We may be deeply religious, but certainly we are no suicide bombers or terrorists. Both the Nigerian government and the people abhor fanaticism. We have zero policy tolerance towards Al Queda in Nigeria. We strongly condemn unequivocally all kinds of terrorism.

 

"It is self-evident that Farouk Abdultallab has no Nigerian cohorts. It is also self-evident that he did not develop radical religious views in Nigeria, but abroad." Mr. Onovo said.

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US intelligence sources say a Jordanian double agent who attacked CIA operatives in Afghanistan last week, had provided high-quality intelligence leading to the deaths of several al-Qaeda leaders.

 

Hammam Khalil al-Balawi blew himself up at a US base in Khost province, killing seven CIA agents and a Jordanian Intelligence official.

 

More details are emerging about al-Balawi's life, including how he went by the name of Hammam Khalil Mohammed, and how he assumed the online persona of Abu Dujana al-Khorasani - an outspoken opponent of US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan who was described as one of the top five jihadists on the web.

 

Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from Jordan's capital, Amman.

 

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Only if you live under a rock YL.

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Nigeria is becoming irrelevant to the United States of America and the rest of the world.

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One Last Comment for a while from me. If you folks can't learn that in order for us to survive

We all need to understand that we do have allies within the Muslim world, and in order to defeat any of the threats that we are currently engaged in WE HAVE TO TRADE, PRODUCE, and MANUFACTER.

 

Learn Arab. We as a society CAN'T live in a bubble; we have to put away our pre-conceived views of other people Around the world.

 

Christ!!!! Brazil is an emerging economy for a reason. WE "United States" CAN WIN.

I AM NOT GOING TO ARGUE WITH YOU FOLKS SENSELY.

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We welcome President Obama's emphasis on better information and intelligence sharing between government agencies. Our limited security resources should be invested where they will do the most good and have the best chance of thwarting attacks, and that means developing competent intelligence and law enforcement agencies that will stop terrorists before they get to the airport.

 

"However, we take issue with the president's assertion that the terror watch list system isn't broken. The current watch lists, which contain over a million names, are a mess, keeping innocent travelers from flying while failing to identify true terrorist threats. To be effective, no-fly lists must focus on true terrorists who pose a genuine threat to flight safety.

 

"We are also deeply troubled by the administration's decision to subject the citizens of 14 nations who are flying to the United States to intensified screening. Using national origin or religion as proxies for suspicion is nothing less than racial profiling. Such profiling is ineffective, unconstitutional and counter to American values. Instead of profiling, we should be focusing on evidence-based, targeted investigations based on individualized suspicion, which would be both more consistent with our values and more effective at making us safer.

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The Justice Department announced that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian national, was charged today in a six-count criminal indictment returned in the Eastern District of Michigan for his alleged role in the attempted Christmas day bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Detroit.

 

Count one of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison. Count two of the indictment charges him with attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count three of the indictment charges him with willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count four of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which was likely to endanger the safety of such aircraft. This violation carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count five of the indictment charges him with use of a firearm/destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, which carries a consecutive mandatory 30 years in prison. Count six of the indictment charges the defendant with possession of a firearm/destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, which carries a consecutive mandatory 30 years in prison.

 

“The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool—military or judicial—available to our government.”

 

“The attempted murder of 289 innocent people merits the most serious charges available, and that’s what we have charged in this indictment,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

 

According to the indictment, Northwest Airlines flight 253 carried 279 passengers and 11 crewmembers. Abdulmutallab allegedly boarded Northwest Airlines flight 253 in Amsterdam on Dec. 25, 2009 carrying a concealed bomb. The bomb components included Pentaerythritol (also known as PETN, a high explosive), as well as Triacetone Triperoxide (also known as TATP, a high explosive), and other ingredients.

 

The bomb was concealed in the defendant’s clothing and was designed to allow him to detonate it at a time of his choosing, thereby causing an explosion aboard flight 253, according to the indictment. Shortly prior to landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Abdulmutallab detonated the bomb, causing a fire on board flight 253.

 

According to an affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, Abdulmutallab was subdued and restrained by the passengers and flight crew after detonating the bomb. The airplane landed shortly thereafter, and he was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Abdulmutallab required medical treatment, and was transported to the University of Michigan Medical Center after the plane landed.

 

This prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

 

The investigation is being conducted by the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is led by the FBI and includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Air Marshal Service, and other law enforcement agencies. Additional assistance has been provided by the Transportation Security Administration, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Wayne County Airport police, as well as international law enforcement partners.

 

The public is reminded that an indictment contains mere allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Guest Amos Guiora

Innumerable talking heads are lambasting federal agencies for seemingly egregious mistakes. Some demand that President Obama fire Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; others decry lessons not learned from 9/11.

 

Although something clearly went very wrong, we must be cautious when pointing fingers and reaching sweeping conclusions. While airport security and intelligence coordination seem to be the immediate culprits here, the problem lies far deeper than that.

 

We face a stark reality. An Islamic extremist, Mutallab was bent on killing innocent passengers, including fellow Moslems, regardless of their faith. Moderate Moslems in Detroit have condemned the attack. But religious extremists remain committed to our destruction, including extremists right here in the US.

 

Radical imams send the Mutallabs of the world to their fiery death promising glory and virgins in martyrdom. Indeed, these Mutallabs are in our midst; Somali ‘lost boys’ radicalized in Minneapolis mosques and sent to Pakistan for suicide bombing training are proof enough. Terror in the name of God is our reality. Religious extremism presents the single greatest danger to national security – we must regain the initiative. And yet we must guard against capricious and arbitrary measures, and distinguish between religion and religious extremism.

 

What can we do? I suggest several proactive measures in my recent book, Freedom from Religion: Rights and National Security. Although counterintuitive in a vibrant democracy, limiting the free speech of those inciting violence in the name of religious extremism is legitimate. Constitutional law scholars are extremely uncomfortable with such limitations, but extremists leave us minimal wiggle room.

 

First, violence preached in a house of worship loses any immunity based on freedom of speech. We cannot wait for actors influenced by extreme religious sermons to commit dastardly acts – law enforcement must act on the violent extremist speech.

 

However, imagine the chilling effect if agents attend worship dressed differently from parishioners, holding ‘pen and pencil’ while listening to sermons. A faith leader told me he would therefore prefer FBI agents remain undercover. Although “less honest,” it produces better information and minimizes Free Exercise violations.

 

Second, we must re-articulate the limits of clergy speech. How often must clergy incite before law enforcement moves in? What words justify monitoring? In Brandenberg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court said states cannot “forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

 

The court continued: “The mere abstract teaching of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence, is not the same as preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action.”

 

An extremist religious cleric’s power is, potentially, extraordinary. In Brandenburg’s three-prong test—imminence, likelihood, intent— an extremist religious authority determined to encourage his congregation to act almost certainly meets the first two requirements. A listener is likely to obey the words of his ultimate spiritual authority and a “critical mass” of regular violent sermons will make his act imminent.

 

Third, while celebrating religion and religious freedom, we must immediately resolve critical issues at the confluence of religion and national security: will airport security officers worldwide require women in full-length burkhas to lift their veils for identification purposes; will they ask individuals with Arabic-sounding names additional questions; will they subject individuals going to or coming from Middle East countries to additional scrutiny?

 

Many of us instinctively recoil at affirmative answers to these questions; others suggest we have no alternative but to fundamentally re-articulate how we protect ourselves. Winston Churchill would have said we must ‘look the tiger in the eye’. The question – how we balance powerful competing rights: the right to religion and the right to self-defense.

 

The direct, undeniable connection between terrorism and extremist religious speech demands that we seek answers. But we must be extraordinarily cautious lest we overreact. American history is replete with examples, from the internment of innocent Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor to the torture-based interrogation regime after 9/11. Both represent the very worst in Presidential decision-making and Supreme Court and Congressional acquiescence; in essence, a complete failure of checks and balances and separation of powers.

 

Finger-pointing is always endemic to Washington. The immediate and future danger posed to innocent individuals demands that our President – restrained by an active judiciary and Congressional oversight – demonstrate courageous and bold leadership. We must recognize that religious extremism poses an immediate danger and that religious extremists no longer deserve immunity predicated on faith.

 

Impositions on extremist faith are indeed controversial, but may be inevitable. Inevitable – just like the next religious extremist-motivated terrorist attack.

 

 

Amos N. Guiora is Professor of Law at SJ Quinney College of Law, the University of Utah; his latest book is Freedom from Religion: Rights and National Security (Oxford University Press, 2009).

 

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/ReligionTheology/?view=usa&ci=9780195389258

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