Mar 26 2008
Lots of work to do today so I’m going with a Fly By of interesting stories across a range of topics this morning.
First off is a disturbing tale of potential terror that broke a few years ago across our northern border in Canada:
The so-called Toronto-18 is not the first group of suspected terrorists to have fallen off the public radar screen.
The final fate of â€œToronto 19â€ members was explored in former Congressman Curt Weldonâ€™s book, Countdown to Terror.
â€œMost of the Toronto 19 were from, or had connections to, Pakistanâ€™s Punjab province noted for Sunni extremism, and had studied at the same madras, a school notorious for teaching militant Islam,â€ Weldon told Canada Free Press (CFP) in March of 2006.
All entered Canada before September 11, 2001, the last just six days before al Qaedaâ€™s attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
â€œLike the September 11 terrorists, the â€œToronto 19â€ lived together in groups, kept to themselves, did not attend classes, pursued no other occupations, and lacked visible means of support. Yet, with no identifiable source of income, one of them had over $40,000 in the bank.
â€œTwo members of the â€œToronto 19â€ were arrested for trying to penetrate the perimeter of the Pickering Nuclear Reactor at 4:00 in the morning. They claimed they wanted to walk on the beach,â€ Weldon wrote in Countdown to Terror.
â€œOne member of the group was training to get a commercial pilotâ€™s license for multi-engine jets, and practiced flying over the Pickering Nuclear Reactor.
This is disturbing in many ways, but the part I don’t get is what Canada did with these terrorists:
Canada elected to deport most of the â€œToronto 19â€ as illegal immigrants, rather than prosecute them as terrorists.â€
What? If all the evidence is so clear and damning why let them go to try again some other day? And let’s be clear here – this is the type of group we want the NSA listening to and passing leads to the FBI when they cross our borders. And still Congress dawdles on putting back in place the processes and procedures we have lived attack-free under since 9-11.
Canada is planning on using GPS guided munitions in their fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The higher precision comes at a high cost, but the saving of collateral life and limb would seem to worth just about any price.
The Chicago Tribune ran a good story yesterday on how Iraq has changed since the Surge and Awakening drove out al-Qaeda from most of the country:
In the video, branches are thrown into a pit, then doused with kerosene and ignited. The camera pans to three blindfolded men, kneeling, mouths sealed with tape. Six armed men in black masks stand behind. One declares: “These three men fought and killed Al Qaeda. We will punish them according to Islam.” The masked men then kick the three into the burning grave.
Al-Zobaie angrily turned off the video. “How can we show mercy to those people?”
Al-Zobaie, 51, knows the nature of the men in black masks. He is a former insurgent. Now, as the police chief, he has turned against the insurgency, especially Al Qaeda in Iraq. The U.S. military showcases Fallujah as a model city where U.S. policies are finally paying off.
To fight back, al-Zobaie ordered his force of 1,200 men to monitor car mechanic shops to deter bombmaking. He ordered oxygen tanks inside hospitals counted daily because the canisters were often used for bombs. Backed by U.S. troops, his men staged raids and detained scores of Al Qaeda in Iraq members. He also has launched a citywide network of intelligence operatives that was the backbone of Hussein’s security apparatus, police officials said.
“He made very brave and difficult decisions,” said Maj. Mohammed Fayadh al-Esawi, police commander in the city’s Andalus neighborhood. “He proved that in a critical era, he was the right person, at the right time.”
al-Qaeda’s brutality is so repulsive to the human spirit it will not garner a huge following anywhere. The only thing following AQ these days are Western and Muslim security forces trying to hunt them down for their vicious crimes.
Clearly the Democrat party is imploding – as I predicted it would given the Clinton’s lust for power. I find myself actually agreeing with Maureen Dowd today as she notes the imploding Dem opportunities as I have been noting for weeks. But she adds an interesting twist (H/T RCP):
Even some Clinton loyalists are wondering aloud if the win-at-all-costs strategy of Hillary and Bill â€” which continued Tuesday when Hillary tried to drag Rev. Wright back into the spotlight â€” is designed to rough up Obama so badly and leave the party so riven that Obama will lose in November to John McCain.
If McCain only served one term, Hillary would have one last shot. On Election Day in 2012, sheâ€™d be 65.
Why else would Hillary suggest that McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama, and why else would Bill imply that Obama was less patriotic â€” and attended by more static â€” than McCain?
The fact is both camps are getting way too sensitive and acting all the victim over the slightest challenge. How can these candidates favorably compare themselves to their opponent without making their opponent look bad (relatively speaking)? So we go from ridiculously thin skin to wild conspiracy theories. Where Dowd is spot on is simply noting how self consumed and power happy the Clintons are:
After all, the Clintons think of themselves as The Democratic Party. When Bill and Dick Morris triangulated during the first term, it was what was best for Bill, not the party. In 1996, when Bill turned the White House into Motel 1600 for fund-raisers, it was more about his re-election than the re-elections of his fellow Democrats in Congress; in 2000, the White House focused its energies more on Hillaryâ€™s Senate win than Al Goreâ€™s presidential run.
It has taken the liberals nearly 16 years to figure out the Clinton’s are power hungry and could give a damn about the party, let alone the country. Geez!
Depending on who you listen to in Pakistan either the new government is not going to listen to America and fight terrorists or they would like to offer some carrots with those sticks we have been seeing used in order to keep a broad uprising from erupting. I understand the second approach because it is what we are doing in Iraq with the Awakening and Surge. But what I see is a split coming in this new government as Sharif and his anti-American group go too far away from American and Pak interests when it comes to terrorism. Sharif is an appeaser, and all that will bring is more terrorism as al-Qaeda and the Taliban signal the people of Pakistan to stay in line with them and to demonstrate how impotent leaders like Sharif are.
Speaking of Pakistan, I found it interesting to see US envoys were in the tribal areas:
Senior U.S. envoys visited Pakistan’s northwest frontier Wednesday to promote lavishly funded plans to boost security and development in a region that could be harboring Osama bin Laden.
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday to meet leaders of its new government, which plans to review its role in Washington’s war on terror.
On Wednesday, the two diplomats were in North West Frontier Province for talks with officials responsible for the tribal areas near the Afghan border where militant groups hold sway.
They were visiting “security and development sites” and holding talks with officials including the provincial governor, said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Kay Mayfield.
While Mayfield provided no details, local TV channels said the pair met with tribal leaders and commanders of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force that Washington plans to train and equip to fight militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
That is some high powered people visiting and probably applying pressure. We’ll see which side wins out, but given the fact we send a lot of money to Pakistan I am pretty sure which way it will all end up.