Tag Archives | Terrorism

How Terrorism is Better Than War

Richard_Reid_explosive_shoeFred Reed writes at LewRockwell.com:

In recent years, I have seen terrorism denounced as a despicable crime. I wonder whether it shouldn’t be accepted frankly as a form of war. I am not sure why blowing up ten people in a restaurant in, say, London is more despicable than blowing up ten children in Afghanistan by a drone. (They are both despicable.) Some terrorists, such as the Unabomber, are merely freelance criminal psychopaths. Others, such as bin Laden, engage in terrorism for the same reason why militaries attack countries: to make the other side do what the attacker wants.

From the point of view of cost and benefit, terrorism is a brilliantly effective form of warfare, especially against heavily armed countries of the First World. The reasons are several. First, terrorism offers no target to the basically World War Two militaries of advanced countries. If five Saudis, two Pakis, a Russian and a disaffected American blow up a building in Chicago, against whom does the US seek revenge?

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Homegrown Terrorism: How I’ve Lived Through This Before

guidoTerrorism spreads quickly, and is viciously efficient: it takes very little to do a lot of harm. The knowledge of how it developed recently elsewhere, and how it was eventually defeated, can only be of help.

It’s orientation day for foreign students at the University of Southern California, late August 1980. I am assigned a room in a dorm to share with a fellow international student, a Palestinian 300-pounder whose father is “not as powerful as President Carter, but almost.” The first night in the dorm he keeps me up playing “beautiful Arabic tunes” on a recorder because “I like Italians, they’re very nice people; we train them in our camps, you know, the Red Brigades, and others.”

Back to the present.

The Boston Marathon bombings and the events following them have made the prospect of homegrown terrorism become a reality. Although the 21st century has begun with multiple acts of terrorism on an unprecedented scale, it has been perceived all along as a threat that comes from the outside.… Read the rest

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Time to Renounce the “War on Terror”

343px-LibertyAs a perpetual emotion machine — producing and guzzling its own political fuel — the “war on terror” continues to normalize itself as a thoroughly American way of life and death. Ongoing warfare has become a matter of default routine, pushed along by mainline media and the leadership of both parties in Washington. Without a clear and effective upsurge of opposition from the grassroots, Americans can expect to remain citizens of a war-driven country for the rest of their lives.

Across the United States, many thousands of peeling bumper stickers on the road say: “End this Endless War.” They got mass distribution from MoveOn.org back in 2007, when a Republican was in the White House. Now, a thorough search of the MoveOn website might leave the impression that endless war ended with the end of the George W. Bush presidency.

MoveOn is very big as online groups go, but it is symptomatic of a widespread problem among an array of left-leaning organizations that have made their peace with the warfare state.… Read the rest

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Beyond the Marathon Massacre: Questions, Questions, and Questions

Two_suspects_wanted_by_the_FBI_for_the_bombingI started writing on Patriots day in Massachusetts, the State holiday commemorating America’s revolutionary war in one of the cities in which it began. It was also the anniversary of the Waco FBI massacre aimed at right-wing fanatics and the demolition of the Murrah federal office building in Oklahoma City by right-wing fanatics.

But I was writing about the events in Boston with the bomb attacks on the Marathon, and the manhunt that locked the city down in a military maneuver.

I worked in Boston media for 12 years, many of them at WBCN when it was located in the Prudential Center, for many years the destination of the race. I also lived on Norfolk Street in Cambridge where the two men alleged to have of triggered the bloody mayhem were said to be living. I took my daughter to the Cambridge Hospital where the other “suspect, “ Dzhokhar Tsarnaev  may or may not recover.… Read the rest

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Bombs & Karma

Picture: Richard Adams (CC)

Picture: Richard Adams (CC)

Ever since the tragedy at the Boston Marathon on Monday, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of karma. Several posts have called out the irony (or Orwellian Doublethink) of the US licking its wounds, while it inflicts similar wounds on innocent bystanders worldwide. Clusterbombs, murdered Afghan and Pakistani wedding parties, “collateral damage” to the civilian population in Iraq, to name a few. I am trying to resist the reductionist conditioning of my western brain that wants to distill the vast cultural complexities of “karma” into a dualist cause & effect dynamic. However, there seems to be something darkly significant to the recent trend of our own innocents being killed by our own citizens. Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, possibly Boston, etc. Anyway, this train of thought led me back to an old classic essay on karma from Robert Anton Wilson. Deepleaf Productions hosts a nice collection of RAW audio & text, and here is an excerpt from Cosmic Trigger:

A Lesson in Karma

Robert Anton Wilson
from Cosmic Trigger – The Final Secret of the Illuminati

Lao-Tse says (at least in Leary’s translation) that the Great Tao is most often found with parents who are willing to learn from their children.

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Biggest Unsolved Terrorist Attacks in U.S. History

5 Wall St_ Bombing(7)In a list of the “10 Biggest Unsolved U.S. Terrorism Cases,” Parapolitical counts five attacks of greater severity than this week’s marathon bombing that were never solved. Topping that list is the 1920 Wall Street bombing. Ninety-three years after the attack that killed 38 at J.P. Morgan, no one has taken credit.

In close second is the 1975 bombing of New York’s La Guardia airport, an attack that killed 11. The 1916 San Francisco Preparedness Day bombing and the 1933 bombing of United Airlines flight 247 both also had death tolls at, or approaching, double-digits. Neither case has been closed.

Aside from the Boston Marathon attack, the most recent unsolved terrorist bombing in the U.S. was the 1985 murder of Alex Odeh in Santa Ana, California, an attack that resulted in 3 casualties.

Alex Odeh, a Palestinian Christian immigrant to the United States working as regional director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, was killed in a bombing of the group’s offices as he was preparing to leave to speak at a Fountain Valley synagogue.

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How Should We React To A Terrorist Attack?

terrorist attackParadoxically, in a sense, by doing nothing, says security theorizer Bruce Schneier, speaking to the Washington Post:

What should policymakers do in the aftermath of this kind of event? Nothing. This is a singular event, and not something that should drive policy. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent this sort of thing 100 percent.

By definition, news is something that almost never happens. The brain fools you into thinking the news is what’s important. So what should we be afraid of? Car crashes. Global warming. It feels insensitive to say it so close to the tragedy, but it’s true. Things so common that they’re no longer news — that’s what kills people.

The damage from terrorism is primarily emotional. To the extent this terrorist attack succeeds has very little do with the attack itself. Imagine if the bombs were found and moved at the last second, and no one died, but everyone was just as scared.

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Hacker Demonstrates Android Smartphone App To Hijack A Plane Midair

hijack a planeOn your next flight, you may want to look over your shoulder at what the person next to you is doing. Help Net Security reports:

An extremely well attended talk by Hugo Teso, a security consultant at n.runs AG in Germany, galvanized the crowd attending the Hack In The Box Conference in Amsterdam. Teso showcased an Andorid app, PlaneSploit, that remotely controls airplanes on the move.

Teso has been working in IT for the last eleven years and has been a trained commercial pilot for a year longer than that. By creating an exploit framework (SIMON) and an Android app (PlaneSploit) that delivers attack messages to the airplanes’ Flight Management Systems (computer unit + control display unit), he demonstrated the terrifying ability to take complete control of aircraft.

His testing laboratory consists of a series of software and hardware products. But the connection and communication methods, as well as ways of exploitation, are absolutely the same as they would be in an actual real-world scenario.

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