Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forget the Terrorists; the Real Threat is Climate Change

"If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?" — Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)

The Wall Street Journal reported on December 21 “U.K. police arrested 12 men in a large-scale counterterrorism operation described as "absolutely necessary" for public safety, underscoring concerns that the threat of terrorist attacks across Europe is escalating.”

The suspects, who ranged in age from 17 to 28, had been under surveillance for weeks and were believed to have links to Pakistan and Bangladesh, security officials said.

The arrests come amid growing concerns in Europe over terrorism following a suicide bombing in Sweden and reported threats of a terror attack on a European city modeled on the deadly shooting spree in Mumbai, India.”

Police swooped in before dawn Monday in coordinated raids on houses in four cities _ London, the Welsh city of Cardiff and the English cities of Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent. The officers were unarmed, suggesting any planned attack was not imminent.”

The raid, a joint operation by Britain's domestic spy agency MI5 and police, was the largest since April 2009, when 12 men were detained over an alleged al-Qaida bomb plot in the northern city of Manchester.

Counterterrorism officials declined to give more details of the latest alleged plot, saying only that the men had been under surveillance for several weeks. No details were given as to whether explosives or arms were found, and searches were under way in the homes where the arrests took place.

CNS.Com reported on December 17 that a new mission for the Department of Homeland Security was to fight the effects of climate change. “At an all-day White House conference on "environmental justice," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department is creating a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations.”

Speaking at the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice on Thursday, Napolitano discussed the initial findings of the department’s recently created "Climate Change and Adaptation Task Force."

Napolitano explained that the task force was charged with “identifying and assessing the impact that climate change could have on the missions and operations of the Department of Homeland Security.”

According to the former Arizona governor, the task force would address specific questions, including:  “How will FEMA work with state and local partners to plan for increased flooding or wildfire or hurricane activity that is more serious than we’ve seen before? What assistance can the Coast Guard bring to bear to assist remote villages in, for example, Alaska which already have been negatively affected by changes up in the Arctic?”

The findings from the Homeland Security Department (DHS) also asked: “How can we focus on how climate change is going to affect our rural citizenry including those who live along our boarders both northern and southern?”

The all day White House Forum on Environmental Justice also included talks by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

Napolitano was at this conference just two days after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in the Arizona desert by bandits. Terry was killed on December 14, 2010.

On ABC’s World News (December 20th), Diane Sawyer sat down with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to talk about the possibility of a terror attack over the holidays. Napolitano, doing her best to keep us all feeling cozy and warm, said it’s almost a year-round operation: “What I say to the American people is that… thousands of people are working 24/7, 364 days a year to keep the American people safe.”

Hmm — 364 days, she says. So which day is it when the staff at DHS is at the beach? On that day I will stay at home. No airports, bus stations, subways or salad bars for me. I’ll skip the family reunion and take a pass on a visit to Times Square or Detroit (I’ll skip Detroit the other 364). I’ll become a paranoid mess and dig a hole in my back yard and spend that 24 hour stretch out of sight. Ops! What about leap year, does this mean that the folks at DHS get an extra day off?

Napolitano didn’t specify which day was the Homeland Security “off day,” which of course helps to keep our terrorist enemies off guard. After all, if they don’t know the magic day when all are defenses are down, how can they plan an attack? Is it New Year’s Eve? (Perhaps too obvious) Flag Day? Is it Arbor Day or National Cupcake Day? Can we agree to make it a day when I’m out of town?

To watch Napolitano’s brilliant moment click here.

If someone like Napolitano is dumb enough not to realize there are 365 days in a year, what does this say about how capacity to handle homeland security issues? Don’t worry though. Napolitano is directing the DHS to focus like a laser on a really important security issue. No, not the borders, or Islamic terrorists, but global warming!

Only one day out of the year are Terrorists not going to have to worry about the Department of Homeland Security keeping the American People safe. If someone like Napolitano is dumb enough not to realize there are 365 days in a year, what does this say about her capacity to handle Homeland Security issues? Her comment went unchallenged by the fair and balanced Diane and the only media to pick on it was, yes your guessed it — the conservative blogs and radio talkers. Just think if Sarah Palin had made such a gaff — it would have been a gaff heard round the world.

It's been almost a year since Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with a bomb hidden in his crotch. The administration's initial reaction — as with other major acts of terror such as the Fort Hood massacre — was to minimize the threat. President Obama referred to Abdulmutallab as an "isolated extremist," and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said there was "no indication" the attack was "part of anything larger." When Abdulmutallab was initially arraigned in court last December, he was charged with two criminal counts related to putting a bomb on an aircraft. A grand jury indictment in January added four more counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder, but there was no charge of terrorism.

On December 26, 2009 the brilliant Janet Napolitano told us not to be concerned about the ability of the underwear bomber to attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit. She said “all systems were in place and they worked.” Yes they sure were. Abdulmutallab was tagged by his father as a potential terrorist. He informed the US embassy in Nigeria as well as the Nigerian Intelligence Agency of his son's extremist views and associations with al Qaeda. Abdulmutallab was entered into an intelligence database of known and suspected terrorists a month prior to his flight to Detroit, but added Napolitano stated there was not enough data on him at the time to put him on a "no-fly" list.

Abdulmutallab cleared security at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam without so much as a second glance and it took a passenger and crew members to subdue him as he attempted to ignite the explosives concealed in his underwear as the were approaching the Detroit airport. Even after his being detained by airport security he was handed over to the FBI, who questioned him for 90 minutes before he called for an attorney. Oh yea, all systems worked. Thank God for alert passengers and a faulty mix of explosive compounds — all systems worked. Two days later Napolitano revised her statement and said there would be in investigation into the security measures that were in place.

In a statement posted on the Web site dated Saturday December 18th, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the attack. In the statement, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said Mr. Abdulmutallab coordinated with members of the group, an alliance of militants based in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Abdulmutallab's ties to foreign terror groups were known soon after the attack - and in some quarters beforehand - especially his links to al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. After the original charges were filed against Abdulmutallab, al-Awlaki was deemed threatening enough to be placed on a targeted killing list personally authorized by President Obama. This "contract" is controversial since al-Awlaki is an American citizen, and a lawsuit brought by his father and the American Civil Liberties Union over the order was dismissed by a federal district judge on Dec. 8. Bringing a terrorism charge against Abdulmutallab, whom al-Awlaki described as one of his "students," helps reinforce the case that the al Qaeda leader is too dangerous to be left alive.

One important development is the Transportation Security Administration's new crotch-inspection policy, which was a response to Abdulmutallab's attempted attack. The controversial groping has been justified as a necessary bulwark against future terror attacks. It would be difficult for the government to sustain this line of argument if it didn't brand the pioneer of underwear-bombing as a terrorist himself.

It would have been better if the government had acknowledged from the beginning that Abdulmutallab was a Muslim radical bent on suicide terrorism, and it's likely the administration will still downplay or wholly ignore his jihadist motives, as it has with one of al-Awlaki's other students, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. At least the Obama administration finally has decided to admit a person who tried to commit an act of mass murder against innocents to make a political point is a terrorist.

It seems as though this administration, both the Department of Justice and Homeland Security can’t get their act together. Holder’s prosecutors were only able to get a conviction on one of 285 counts related to al Qaeda's 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania This prosecutorial incompetence has called into question the Obama team's centerpiece policy of bringing terrorists to trial in U.S. courts. The Justice Department needs to demonstrate it can decisively win such a trial, and since Abdulmutallab has officially been promoted to the ranks of the terrorists, he may provide the legitimizing victory the administration needs.

Fear not, Holder and Napolitano have, however, decided that the fight against global warming is more important. Brian Terry and the folks in Arizona don’t seem to count for much at DHS.

No comments:

Post a Comment