Category Archives: (Anti)Terrorism

9-11 Thoughts, Reflections and Rants


Not a lot to write about this September 11. I watched television this morning and listened to the thousands of names of the dead spoken by their relatives. Even eight years later, it’s always so sad to hear and sad to see the people with photos of their fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters.

I always find it strange when I visit my friends on the west coast how distant the events of that day are from their lives. It’s almost like we were never attacked. This is especially the case in the SF Bay Area. People seem to live in a perpetual mental fog in that part of the U.S.

In some case they are hyper-aware of what is happening (or what they think is happening) on the other side of the planet, but they have no clue what is happening in a neighboring community, let alone on the other side of their country.

Here is what some other folks are writing today:

Max Boot


Sultan Knish

Ralph Peters

Rebecca Solnit

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill Frees Lockerbie Terrorist


lockerbie pan am

כל מי שנעשה רחמן במקום אכזרי
סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן
All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel
In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate
–Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16

This is certainly the case with the brain-dead Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill who has allowed convicted Libyan terrorist Abdelbaset al-Megrahi free on “compassionate grounds.”

So now the scumbag will spend his remaining days in Libya surrounded by friends and family. A more fitting end would have been tossing him out of an airplane two miles above Tripoli. I know that sounds harsh but this man is a mass murderer and deserves a fate far harsher than the one he will receive in Libya.

Does minister MacAskill think this reflects well on the Scottish system of justice? The predominant viewpoint from the U.S. is the U.K. is increasingly sewing the seeds of its destruction with these sorts of decisions.

Rant over…

Read More:

Official Website of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103

Connecticut Post:

“Heartsick” is how the mother of a Shelton victim of the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, described her feelings on the possibility that the Libyan terrorist convicted of that attack could be released early from prison on compassionate grounds.

“What pains me the most is that he will get a chance to say goodbye to his family and that’s not something we got to do,” said Jane Davis, whose daughter, Shannon, a 19-year old Syracuse University student, was among those killed when the plane exploded and slammed into the ground in Scotland just days before Christmas in 1988.

Daily Mail:

Whether or not Abdelbaset Al Megrahi is released on ‘compassionate’ grounds, let us be under no illusion. This has nothing to do with compassion – and everything to do with cynical political horse trading and the rehabilitation of the murderous tyrant Colonel Muammar Gaddafi…

This is Blair paying back Gaddafi, one more sign that the mad monster is being welcomed back to the fold of diplomatic respectability.

Why does Gaddafi deserve such a gift? Because Blair considers his most prized foreign policy ‘success’ to be that of bringing the dictator in from the cold – in a deal which saw Gaddafi renounce his attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and his sponsorship of terrorism.

Gaddafi’s rehabilitation is a murky story of oil, guns, terror and backroom trading.

It is no coincidence that, around the time Blair was negotiating a deal to allow Libyan convicts held in Britain to serve out their time in their home country, Libya awarded a £450million oil development contract to British company BP.

In 2008, on his vainglorious global farewell tour as Prime Minister, Blair made great play of going to see Gaddafi. The meeting in a tent was like two grotesque and ageing rock stars bidding

each other their adieus. Blair was presented with a camel saddle as a present, which was soon discreetly sold.

BP executives were soon joined in Libya by those from Royal Dutch, who were also after oil contracts, and BAE Systems, keen to re-equip its armed forces. The initial £450million BP deal could be worth £13billion, if the oil and gas are as extensive as is claimed.

Boycott Scotland:

The government of the United Kingdom has washed its hands of the entire affair, allowing the Scottish government total freedom in taking this perfidious action against the families of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103.

The actions of the Scottish government are inexcusable. A man who is responsible for the mass murder of 270 innocent civilians must be held accountable for such a cold blooded and ruthless act. Freeing a terrorist in order to further ties with the tyrannical Libyan regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi and to further the commercial interests of British Petroleum in that region is repulsive and sickening.

Unless the Scottish government rescinds this decision to release al-Megrahi, and if the British Parliament continues to avoid intervening in the matter, we urge all Americans to protest this action by boycotting the United Kingdom and Scotland in full. Don’t travel to Scotland or do business there (or in the United Kingdom in general) and don’t buy any British or Scottish products.

While I do not agree with the call to boycott English or Scottish products, I certainly understand the sentiment. Why do I disagree with the boycott? Because most Scots and British are just as offended by the justice minister’s stupid and insenstive decision as we are here in the states. When you see the townspeople of Lockerbie lined up to jeer and curse as al-Megrahi was escorted by the police to the airport, you should know this is the case. They should not pay for the sins of minister MacAskill or the crimes of al-Megrahi.

Pakistan Taliban Leader Eliminated?



Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek-e-Taliban) responsible for a wave of suicide attacks across Pakistan, was killed in a missile strike fired by a CIA Predator drone according to Pakistani officials. Mehsud, one of Pakistan’s most wanted terrorists, was widely regarded the mastermind of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The U.S. considered Mehsud less of a priority than Taliban operatives active in Afghanistan but nevertheless placed a $5 million bounty on his head back in March. CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies increased their efforts against Mehsud because they were concerned of the increasing brazenness of his attacks and the possibility that the Pakistani Taliban could destabilize Pakistan, a country considered integral to the U.S. war against Islamist extremists.

The U.S. has not confirmed that Mehsud was killed. American officials are conducting an investigation, including DNA tests, to see if the individual killed in the missile strike was indeed Mehsud. Pakistan and U.S. officials have confirmed that Mehsud’s second wife was killed in the blast.

Added (08/07):

U.S. counterintelligence official claims it is increasingly likely that Mehsud was killed

Pakistan Taliban confirm Mehsud is dead

[Drone airstrike video]

Remembering the Victims of 7-7-05


Names of the 52 victims (h/t The New Current):

James Adams, 32
Samantha Badham, 36
Lee Baisden, 34
Phil Beer, 22
Ania Brandt, 43
Michael Stanley Brewster, 52
Ciaran Cassidy, 22
Benedetta Ciaccia, 30
Rachelle Chung For Yuen, 27
Elizabeth Daplyn, 26
Jon Downey, 34
Richard James Ellery, 21
Anthony Fatayi-Williams, 25
David Foulkes, 22
Arthur Edlin Frederick, 60
Karolina Gluck, 29
Jamie Gordon, 30
Richard Gray, 41
Gamze Gunoral, 24
Lee Harris, 30
Giles Hart, 55
Marie Joanne Hartley, 34
Miriam Hyman, 32
Slimane Ihab, 19
Ojara Ikeagwu, 55
Shahara Aqhter Islam, 20
Neetu Jain, 36
Emily Jenkins, 24
Adrian Johnson, 37
Helen Jones, 28
Susan Levy, 50
Sam Ly, 28
Shelley Mather, 26
Michael Matsushita, 37
James Stuart Mayes, 28
Anne Moffat, 48
Colin Morley, 52
Behnaz Mozzaka, 47
Jenny Nicholson, 24
Michelle Otto, 46
Shynuja Parathasangary, 30
Philip Stuart Russell, 28
Anat Rosenberg, 29
Atique Sharifi, 24
Christian Small, 28
Fiona Stevenson, 29
Monika Suchoka, 25
Carrie Taylor, 24
Mala Trivedi, 51
Laura Webb, 29
William Wise, 54
Gladys Wundowa, 50

Here are a variety of posts:

I Still Remember 7 July

Jawa Report

Jams (The Poor Mouth)


Financial Times

The Independent

IDF Enters Gaza


Israeli ground forces have entered Gaza after a week of aerial and naval strikes and hours of artillery fire. Leaflets dropped on Gaza claimed:

Area resident, as result of the acts undertaken by terror activists in your area against Israel, the IDF is forced to respond immediately and operate in this area. For your own safety, you are asked to leave the area immediately.

The stated objective is stopping the rockets launched by Hamas, destroying the terrorist infrastructure and eliminating the organizations’ leadership. The end-game is unclear. Does the Israeli leadership have the political will and public support to decisively defeat Hamas or will this end in another symbolic cease-fire?

The following is from YNet:

Israel Defense Forces ground troops entered the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday evening, as the army launched its long anticipated ground operation.

An officer and a soldier were seriously wounded during the night-time fighting against Palestinian gunmen. They were evacuated to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. Eighteen other soldiers sustained light to moderate wounds.

Eleven of the injured troops were evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for treatment.

Army officials confirmed that dozens of terrorists were hurt in clashes with IDF ground troops, saying some of them were killed. In several cases, armed terrorists approached Israeli forces and were shot at by ground troops and IDF gunships. There are no reports of Israeli casualties at this time.

Large IDF ground forces, including Armored and Engineering corps units, as well as infantry soldiers are currently operating in the Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun areas, from which rockets have been launched toward Israel.

The army is preparing to enter the third phase of the operation, which is expected to be much broader in scope. In this framework tens of thousands of reserve soldiers will be heading to training bases in north and south Israel during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The reserve soldiers may take part in the third phase of the operation or be deployed in central and northern Israel in case of escalation on those fronts.

H/t to Noah Pollak (Contentions) for this list of Israeli live-bloggers and links:

Our Israeli friends Carl in Jerusalem, Aussie Dave, and The Muqata are live-blogging the ground war. And don’t miss a couple of excellent analyses: Israel’s Gaza Strategy by Martin Kramer, and On The Ground in Gaza by Barry Rubin.

Coverage by Z Word here.


These videos from the IDF’s Youtube channel show what Israel is facing including, mortars launched from UN schools and weapons caches hidden in mosques. They should also make apparent that, as opposed to what protesters are shrieking in the streets, Israel is not targeting civilians.

In fact, as Bill Roggio (Long War Journal) notes:

The Israeli strikes are remarkably accurate and are causing a relatively low degree of civilian deaths despite airstrikes being launched in built-up, urban areas.

Compare this with Hamas rocket and mortar attacks, or previous suicide attacks when the Palestinians terror groups could pull these off inside Israel. Hamas and others have clearly targeted civilians; the attacks are aimed at civilians in the heart of cities and villages. Yet the reporting invariably hints that the Israeli attacks are indiscriminate while the Palestinian attacks are a response to Israeli aggression and part of the “cycle of violence.”

Engage: Gaza Round Up


Another Gaza round up, this time from Engage. If you have not peeped their new site, go have look:

Jeff Weintraub here.

Iranian Jews demonstrate their ‘loyalty’ to the regime, here.

Ben Cohen here and here and here.

Michele Sieff, here and here.

Eamonn McDonagh here and here.

David Aaronovitch here.

Alex Stein here.

Michael Weiss here.

David Grossman here.

Gene, Harry’s Place here.

Adam LeBor here.

Eric Lee here.

More on Operation Cast Lead


Round up from around the web:

Ben Cohen (ZWord): Gaza and ANSWER

Contentious Centrist: Loads of posts here, here, here and here.

Elder of Ziyon: Protests don’t reflect reality and Why would Israel bomb a university? Here’s Why!

Terry Glavin: The Debasement of Language: “Israeli Genocide”

Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic): A Fatah Friend Writes: I’m Supporting the Israeli Air Force

Yossi Klein Halevi (TNR): Why Gaza Matters

Eric Lee (Labourstart): The Left, Israel and “Holocaust” in Gaza

Noah Pollak (Contentions): The Cycle of Cease-Fires

Michael Totten: What Would a Proportionate Response Look Like?

Random Thoughts: Gaza Round Up 3.5

Sultan Knish: The Gaza Picture Show and The Terrorists are Always the Victim

Much more at ZWord.

Better Late than Never: Israel Pounds Hamas in Gaza



[Israeli air strike in Rafah, AFP photo]

Over the past three days at least 100 rockets have been launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations into southern Israel. This is not a recent development. Thousands of rockets have fallen on Israel in the past eight years. Israel finally responded by leveling Hamas’ headquarters and other targets across Gaza.

60 warplanes struck more than 50 locations in the first few minutes of “Operation Cast Lead”, the largest Israeli military operation in Gaza since the 1967 War. In addition to attacking Hamas personnel and facilities including rocket launching sites, political offices, a police station, weapons warehouse, and radio station, the Israeli Air Force bombed tunnels along the Philadelphi Route, near the Israeli-Egyptian border. To conclude the operation, the military has mobilized over 6,500 reservists and may be preparing for a ground assault. David Hazony (Contentions) writes:

After a devastating set of aerial blows, Israeli tanks are now gathering at the border, and Barak is talking about calling up reserves. It is way too early to tell, but it is starting to look less like payback or deterrence, and more like the beginnings of a prolongued operation aimed at toppling the Hamas regime.

Rather than considering how they would respond in a similar situation, officials from the Philippines, Turkey, France, Russia and many other countries have condemned Israel. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged a “ceasefire and immediate halt to all violence”. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay decried Israel’s use of “disproportionate” force while UN undersecretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes opined [h/t Cinnamon Stillwell]:

The Israeli reaction is not justified by those rocket attacks, even though it’s caused by those rocket attacks.

Say what? Ami Isseroff ‘s (ZioNation) post “Gaza: Rights Versus Wisdom” is worth quoting at length:

Since the breakdown of the so-called truce, which was never very quiet in the best weaks, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States did nothing other than to bemoan the mythical humanitarian crisis in Gaza and call on Israel to send more supplies. The supplies were sent, both before and after the breakdown of the truce. Israel has maneuvered itself into a unique legal situation, where it is forced by world opinion and twisted juridical rulings to supply its declared enemy with war materiel. Building materials were used to construct bunkers. Cash released by Israel was used to pay the salaries of rocket launching crews and to purchase weapons smuggled in through the tunnels beneath the Rafah crossing. No country could remain forever silent and non-reactive in the face of the continued provocation.

The real issue in Gaza has nothing to do with Shalit or with sieges or rocket fire. The stakes are much bigger. The Hamas has been steadily and successfully pursuing a rather single minded program: to establish itself as the Palestinian government and supplant the Fatah, thereby voiding the concessions made by Palestinians in the Oslo process, without reversing any of the Israeli concessions. Once installed in Gaza and the West Bank and recognized as a “legitimate government” and “peace partner,” Hamas will use these territories to establish an official or unofficial Islamic state, and use it to launch terror attacks against Israel, as well as to foment subversion in Jordan and Egypt. These goals are to be reached by continuously “pushing the envelope” – establishing increasingly intolerable conditions as the status quo, accepted and approved by the entire world, in which Israel must acquiesce. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has a similar strategy vis-a-vis what is left of the Lebanese government, and is well on its way to implementing it.

Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement succinctly articulating what many Americans think about the situation:

Israel has a right, indeed a duty, to defend itself in response to the hundreds of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza over the past week. No government in the world would sit by and allow its citizens to be subjected to this kind of indiscriminate bombardment. The loss of innocent life is a terrible tragedy, and the blame for that tragedy lies with Hamas.

Why is this so difficult to grasp?

Predictably, Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal blamed Israel for the escalation of hostilities and called on Palestinians to launch a Third Intifada. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh asserted, “Palestine has never witnessed an uglier massacre.” One wonders, uglier than Jenin and “Al Nakba“?

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran issued a religious decree on state television to Muslims around the world, ordering them to defend Palestinians against Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Large protest rallies have occurred throughout the Middle East in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In Mosul, Iraq, a suicide bomber detonated himself in the midst of an anti-Israel demonstration.

Further Reading:

Check out Elder of Ziyon’s Gaza reference articles here.

Small Wars Journal roundup here.

U.S. Treasury Seizes Property Linked to Iran’s Bank Melli



[h/t Global Security Newswire]

The U.S. Justice Department seized a share of a Manhattan building held by Assa Corporation, a suspected financial supporter of Iran’s nuclear program:

Assa Corp. is a front company that for nearly 20 years has used a complicated system to redirect rental profits from its 40-percent stake in 650 Fifth Ave. to Iranian state-owned Bank Melli, officials in the Treasury and Justice departments wrote in court documents (Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, Dec. 18).

The State Department accused Bank Melli in a statement of underwriting acquisitions for Iranian ballistic missile and atomic programs that could support nuclear weapons development, Agence France-Presse reported. The bank also provides credit lines, opens accounts and conducts transactions for entities engaged in proliferation operations, the statement said (Agence France-Presse/Google News, Dec. 17).

Tehran has insisted its nuclear efforts are strictly peaceful.

U.S. law requires the Iranian government and any affiliate to obtain special approval from Washington before conducting business in the United States, the Post reported.

“This scheme to use a front company set up by Bank Melli — a known proliferator — to funnel money from the United States to Iran is yet another example of Iran’s duplicity,” Treasury Department Undersecretary Stuart Levey said.

Assa lawyer Peter Livingston said the charge was incorrect although he had not seen the court documents.

“It’s a mistake on the part of the government,” he said. “We don’t believe this is accurate at all” (Kessler, Washington Post).

Meanwhile, Israel warned that Iran would “not hesitate” to use a nuclear bomb to attempt an attack on the United States, the Associated Press reported.

[read it all here]

More on Bank Melli from the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

Bank Melli provides financial services, including opening letters of credit and maintaining accounts, for Iranian front companies and entities engaged in proliferation activities. Further, Bank Melli has facilitated the purchase of sensitive materials utilized by Iran’s nuclear and missile industries, and has handled transactions for other designated Iranian entities, including Bank Sepah, Defense Industries Organization, and the Shahid Hammat Industrial Group.

Bank Melli has been designated as a proliferator by the United States and the European Union for its role in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1803 calls on all member states to exercise vigilance with regard to activities between financial institutions in their countries and all Iranian banks, particularly Bank Melli.

Further, Bank Melli provides banking services to Iran’s military vanguard, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Qods Force, which is a branch of the IRGC that has been designated under Executive Order 13224 for providing support to terrorist groups, including the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command.

Bank Melli created ASSA CORP. as a vehicle to hold Bank Melli’s interest in a building located at 650 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, whose construction had been financed, in part, by a Bank Melli loan. ASSA CORP. co-owns the building through a partnership formed with the Alavi Foundation of New York, called 650 Fifth Avenue Company.

UPDATE [via AP]:

The president of a foundation that co-owns a Manhattan building allegedly linked to a bank accused of supporting Iran’s nuclear program was arrested Friday.

Farshid Jahedi, 54, the president of the Alavi Foundation, was charged with obstruction of justice after he tried on Thursday to throw away documents responsive to a subpoena he received one day earlier, federal prosecutors said.

An FBI complaint against Jahedi said he was warned not to destroy documents requested by a grand jury. It said he disobeyed the order when he went home to Ardsley, N.Y., where he dumped papers in a public trash can.