Friday, June 29, 2007

London Terror Plot

The very scary news that a "crude bomb" - a car packed with gasoline and nails - was found in the crowded theater district in London early this morning brings into stark contrast some the "terror plots" the Bush administration has "foiled" here.

Here's a brief rundown:

There was the JFK terror plot where "jihadis" planned to blow up the airport by targeting fuel tanks. They had no explosives, no expertise in detonations and experts say the plot could not have worked, since any explosion in the area of the fuel tanks would have been contained from the rest of the airport. Nonetheless, Bush administration officials claimed the attack would have caused "unthinkable devastation" in the area and crippled the airline industry. Uh, huh - except for the fact that it wouldn't have worked.

Then there was the Fort Dix plot where some "jihadis" planned to attack the military installation and kill American soldiers. These geniuses were caught when they brought a jihadi training video to Circuit City to have it transferred to DVD and the Circuit City employee alerted authorities. Their terrorist training was limited to playing paintball on weekends and trips to the firing range and again, the group had neither the equipment or ability to pull off even a small-level attack (let along the major attack the Bush administration claimed they had foiled.)

Then there was the Miami "terrorist cell" that was looking to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. The FBI had infiltrated the group with a fake "Al Qaeda representative" and when this fake Al Qaeda guy asked the terrorists what they needed from Al Qaeda in order to carry out their plot, they said boots and uniforms to build an "Islamic Army." Again the "terrorists" had no military training, no guns, no explosives and no expertise in detonations. The Bush administration claimed this terror plot was going to be "worse than 9/11."

And let's not forget the Citicorp Building plot when the Bush administration announced imminent attacks had been planned by Al Qaeda terrorists against financial institution buildings in New York and New Jersey, including the Citicorp Building on 53rd and 3rd Avenue in NYC. The announcement came on August 1, 2004, the day after the Democratic Presidential Convention had concluded in Boston. The "terrorist plot" was later found to be bogus, the information for the plot dating back to before September 11, 2001. The administration had simply used the "terrorist plot" to curtail the momentum of Democratic nominee John Kerry coming out of his convention. It worked - Bush was re-elected three months later.

Or how about the NYC Subway Terror Plot that Mayor Moneybags Bloomberg announced in October 2005, a month before his own re-election bid for mayor. This "plot," which the Feds deemed "not credible," was divulged to U.S. intelligence agents by an informant in Iraq and could not be corroborated. Three other Iraqis alleged to have knowledge of the plot were given lie detector tests, but were found to "know nothing about such a plan." The feds ultimately concluded it was bullshit. Nonetheless, Bloomberg made a big deal about the "plot" and shut the subways down for a while so that they could be "secured" at the exact same time the Feds were telling him the plot was a hoax. Moneybags was re-elected handily the next month.

Lastly, there the Hudson River Tunnels Plot in which eight Al Qaeda terrorists who had never set foot into this country were alleged to be trying to blow up the PATH train tunnels under the Hudson River in order to flood Lower Manhattan and kill tens of thousands of people. There were several problems with this "plot," including the most obvious, that the terrorists couldn't get themselves into the country to carry it out. In addition, experts said that even if the terrorists could have blown up the tunnels (nearly impossible considering they were going to be using backpack bombs to blow through concrete and steel-reinforced tunnels and 40 feet of bedrock), Lower Manhattan would not have flooded since it is above the level of the Hudson River. Nonetheless, the FBI official announcing the plot, flanked by Mayor Moneybags Bloomberg and his chief cop Ray Kelly, said this plot was the "real deal."

But of course it wasn't the "real deal," any more than the other plots detailed above were "real deals." They were mostly aspirational plots devised by people with little to no expertise or training to carry out their aspirations.

Now we still don't know who was behind the car bomb plot in London (MSNBC just reported that so far police have found no link to terrorism), but as the news media breathlessly reports the story and reminds us that we Americans must continue to be scared of Islamic terrorists coming up our toilets (as Atrios said this morning), let us remember that so far, post-9/11, all of the supposed domestic "terror plots" foiled here in the U.S. have been aspirational plots and/or hoaxes that merited much less than the hysterical coverage we got over them.

This is not to say we do not need to be vigilant in the war against terrorists, but the "Be very Afraid/Terrorists Are Coming Up Your Toilet" message sent to us by both our government officials and news media is both misleading and counterproductive in the fight against terrorism.

After all, didn't these messages from the government and the media help sell the war in Iraq to a frightened populace and hasn't the war made us less secure in the WoT?

If there was a link between the bombing attempts and "terrorists", all this proves how ineffective the wars in the ME are at preventing them from attacking us here.
The Failed London Terrorist Attack Could Happen Here!

Learn what could happen when the United States is hit by another terrorist attack by Islamic extremists that creates an extreme response by Washington in The Final Presidential Executive Order at

This is from a new free online book, “The Swiss Preserve Solution” & how the over reaction dramatically curtails personal, financial, religious and civil liberties in the United States.
That's what I think too, Lew. One of the rationales for the Iraq war (albeit, a belated rationale after the WMD thing didn't pan out for them) was that we had to fight the terrorists over there so we wouldn't have to fight them here. Now the reality is that 3/11 in Madrid and 7/7 in London both happened AFTER the Iraq war started and that rationale has been blown out the window so to speak. But that's not stopping the admin from still trying to use it.

One thing they will not be able to say - that the NSA warrantless wiretapping program or some other illegal surveillance program could help stop this kind of plot - the London authorities had no idea this was coming and the only reason it was stopped was luck.
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