Jihad: More Than an Eight Second Ride

Viewpoints on the Global War on Terror from a Home on the Range.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Electronic Jihad

An excellent piece from the Jamestown Foundation on the rising call for electronic attacks in the name of jihad.

With the proliferation of other terrorist activity on the internet, this seems entirely logical to me. Plus, the meme already exists for malicious hacking, as it has been getting increasingly popular for some time now.
Individuals and organizations learn they can get a significant return of investment on internet attacks, without much initial investment to begin with. Identity Theft is a very good example of this, but denial of service attacks as a method of systems disruption would also be easily conducted, effective, measures.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Beersheba Bombing

And so it continues...

From the seperation of the head, as noted by one photo, it looks like it may have been the standard vest-bomb (despite the article noting the "heavy bag". Or he held it up to chest level, or something.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Illegal Border Crossing: The Silent Terrorism

Living in the desert Southwest, in a border state, the presence of illegal aliens has always been a feature of life. They'd work occasionally for neighboring ranchers, and you saw them occasionally hitchhiking or walking up, or back home, along the frontage roads for I-25. But, things have changed.
More illegals are crossing the borders on a daily basis. More ranchers in border counties are having problems with the illegals (and the coyotes moving them). More drugs are being run across the border with illegals, or with increasingly violent methods.
It makes the news here occasionally, but not that often. The biggest stink about it was when the MinuteMen were garnering all that media attention earlier this year, and folks here were stirred up about them coming over from Arizona. Other than that, it usually doesn't really get that much coverage. Nationally it gets even less.
But the threat not only remains, its getting worse. The economic threat to American jobs is the absolute least of it.
I can count on one hand the number of times in the last six months I've seen footage of illegals coming in, being arrested or being deported on TV, where all of them appeared to be Mexican or South American. Too many times I am seeing too many people who look anything but Hispanic. Saudi? Iranian? Afghani? Chechen? Could be, could well be.
This article, Images From The Battleground, from the Tucson Weekly shares some interesting statistics on just this problem - Ignore the rhetoric and look at the numbers:

"The Border Patrol doesn't release a by-nation breakdown of those it arrests, and the agency is particularly tight-lipped about arrests of special interest aliens, known as SIAs. These are individuals from the list of about 35 countries the U.S. considers terror threats. But the Weekly has obtained SIA arrest figures from a federal law enforcement source who asked to remain anonymous.

From 2000 through 2003, plus the first nine months of fiscal 2004, agents in the Tucson sector, and the Arizona office of the Yuma sector, arrested 132 SIAs. The numbers include 10 from Afghanistan, seven from Iran, 12 from Yemen, 11 from Pakistan and three from Iraq.

Using the common estimate that the Border Patrol only catches one out of every three who cross, or as some believe, one of every five, we can calculate that upward of 660 individuals from terror-threat nations have crossed into our country through Arizona.

Those SIA arrest figures, by the way, include six individuals from Saudi Arabia, the country that produced 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 maniacs."

That's one area of the nations borders, in one state. One Hundred and Thirty Two people is enough for 6 September Eleventh sized operational cells.
Reduce the cell size to 5, which would be a good number for a cell making systems disruption attacks here in the west, and that's enough people for 26 cells.
Are they all going to be terrorists? No. Not a single one of them is, necessarily. If I was from any of those countries, I'd want to come here now too. But, the possibility exists that some of them are.
Even better, Al Qaeda and those within its network have shown a great ability to learn and adapt their methodologies. The border weakness is just the kind of open-hole that would be useful to them.

The best we (the Southwest states, the United States) seem to be able to do about it is things like this: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050827/ap_on_re_us/border_bulldozing
And anyone who thinks that will stop anything is delusional. The people in that town probably make a good amount of money providing shelter and operational bases for would-be illegals, and the coyotes. Razing un-used properties will change diddly. Money talks, bullshit walks, and that's bullshit.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Large Scale Attacks and the "Need" for Martial Law

Just reading a post on Bruce Schneier's excellent blog Schneier on Security, about an editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Peggy Noonan which said that the current round of base closures only hurts the nation because if we ever needed martial law, we couldnt do it without those bases.
The editorial.

Schneier's blog entry.

I went to add a short comment on Schneier's entry, and it ran a little long so I thought I'd copy it over to here as well:

If Al Qaeda had the resources in place to make that kind of a large-scale attack, they'd have done it by now. They don’t.

Might they some day? Sure, its a possibility - but its far more likely they wont over-extend themselves living up to Hollywood, and will continue smaller scale attacks targeted at systems disruption. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, a lot of explosive or a lot of people to effectively target the systems we all depend on. The right natural gas-line (just one), the right piece of the electrical grid, and they could shut down essential services for an entire region of the United States. Particularly in the West, with lots of wide-open space containing vital systems (natural gas, power, etc.) and very few people around to be witnesses. A small group could target a key point, make their attack and disappear back into the sagebrush.

Does anyone remember a few years back, in New Mexico when a group of "militia" types killed a few cops, did some robbing and looting, and then took off into the desert up around the Four Corners? Took a multi-jurisdictional police/sheriff's force in conjunction with the FBI and ATF days to even get a scent of them, and if my memory serves one was never apprehended. With terrorists, that’s all it takes, one to get away, regroup with the network, and start disseminating his newly created method of attack and the lessons learned from that.

They don’t have to nuke us - it’s a waste of their resources to even try. Same for massive cyber-terror. Assassinations are not as effective as systems disruption, people worth assassinating almost always have replacements and it almost always makes things worse on the group that pushed the assassination - it lacks the necessary leverage to be pragmatically attractive.

Sure, they might do any of it given the opportunity, I mean if something golden falls into their lap, why not? But the idea that they can, right now, all at once, but are just waiting for the right time is absurd.

And even if they could, no amount of military could stop them or catch them. The military would only get in the way of first responders, police, and state agencies as they tried to pick up the pieces and provide for displaced people. The military isn’t good at those things, and rightfully so because its not their job. First responders, care providers, disaster response teams, local and state police, and state agencies would be the first on scene, and the ones who would make the most difference in the event of a major catastrophic terror attack. Yes, National Guard too, but how many NG are Medics, Firefighters, Cops, Search and Rescue specialists, and similar in their "every-day" jobs? Tons. That’s the role of the National Guard; they become part of the first response effort, in what is (ideally) not a military operation, and definitely not a hunter/killer roustabout for terrorists.

In the event of communications disruption, those services might be the only ones there for a very long time.

They are the essential tools for response to both small and large-scale terror attacks, and are the areas of our "homeland security" that needs bolstering the most. If any impact is to be had from base closures (and thus removal of some handy tech. Around military bases, such as advanced fire and rescue equipment, earth movers, highly trained and experienced EOD professionals, search dogs, etc.) it will probably, and this is a good thing, lead to increased feeling of need for those technologies and tools at the local level making it easier to loosen up funding for them.

A Few Things, and an Iraqi Constitution

Study says Suicide Bombers can Pass Detectors:
" 'Pedestrian suicide bombings might be better prevented by investing in intelligence leading to actions that prevent terrorists from prosecuting such attacks,' Edward H. Kaplan and Moshe Kress report in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Why is Ariel Sharon Evacuating Gaza?

Came across the following quote on the internet the other day:
"No real American who loves this country can equate 48% of Americans who didn't vote for Bush with the enemies we are fighting. We need every one of us in the fight. That is seditious and un-American." [Anonymous Terrorism Expert]

I attributed it to anonymous simply because it was made on an internet forum, and not in a regular venue. Those who know who he is, know. For those who dont, I dont think it really matters, the quote is excellent either way.

A draft version of the proposed Iraqi Constitution has hit the web, thanks to the translators at the Associated Press - You can find a copy here: http://www.2and2.net/Uploads/Documents/Iraqi_Constitution.pdf
Its in Adobe .PDF format, and Acrobat-Reader will be required for viewing - it can be found Here.
I havent had a chance to read the whole thing yet, but I'll post my thoughts sometime tomorrow or over the weekend once I have.

Some Definitions

Jihad: The direct meaning of "jihad" means struggle. From there things branch in two directions: The first (and less popular) is to define Jihad as a struggle for purification and rejection of worldly things; The second (and by far the winner of our popularity contest) is to define Jihad as a struggle to overcome the infidels and gain territory for Islamic rule, a holy war. This is the definition being used when Al Qaeda talks about Jihad.

Yee-Haw: The stereotypical cry made by a cowboy when atop a bucking bronc.
Jee-Hawd: The comedic interpretation of an Islamic terrorists cry for "Jihad".
Eight Seconds: The time you need to stay on a bucking bronc or a bull to win at the rodeo.

Jihad: More Than an Eight Second Ride: A journal on the Global War on Terrorism (GWT) from the perspective of a cowboy, rancher, writer, and emergency medical technician.