Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Rak
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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Rak » 12 Jun 2002 22:08

ramana,

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/12/opinion/12DOWD.html

Summer of All Fears
By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON -- Washingtonians are well known for being hypersensitive to the elements. A dusting of snow or a heat wave can shut down schools. A Code Red unhealthy air alert, as we had here yesterday, leaves the streets deserted.

So you can imagine the panic spread by the prospect of radioactive mist settling on monuments, and uranium-laced, cell-mutating gamma rays ricocheting down Pennsylvania Avenue.

John Ashcroft's announcement that the military has in custody a bona fide Al Qaeda operative who was exploring how to set off a dirty bomb in D.C. or elsewhere was designed both to make our teeth chatter and our gratitude well up. Weren't we thankful that the Bushies were finally catching somebody and protecting us?

To maximize the drama of the moment, Ashcroft aides went into the Justice Department in the pre-dawn hours to prepare the attorney general to give the news live by satellite from Moscow.

On the Hill yesterday, Republican lawmakers were using headlines about the dirty-bomb plot to try to hurriedly push through the president's homeland security makeover.

"This is what's at stake," said Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas. "This kind of attack, using chemical, biological, nuclear weapons, radiological weapons, or some other kinds of suicide bombers of the kind we've seen. We must act quickly."

It's bad enough that the terrorists are using fear as a device. Does the Bush administration have to do the same thing?

The Islamic enemy strums on our nerves to hurt our economy and get power. The American president strums on our nerves to help his popularity and retain power.

Both the bad guys and the good guys are playing with our heads and ratcheting up the fear factor.

If you'd only paid cursory attention lately, you'd think the government had grabbed the offensive against terrorists and that the C.I.A. and F.B.I. were now cuddle buddies. But the question is being asked here: Is the Bush crowd hyping things?

First the government leaked word that it had identified a Qaeda mastermind of the 9/11 plot, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a development hailed as an investigative coup. But the creep is still at large.

Then the president unveiled his Homeland Security Department plan. But yesterday even top Republicans were dubious about whether it could work without the F.B.I. and C.I.A. under its umbrella.

And on Monday Mr. Ashcroft, Bobby Three Sticks and Paul "Bomb Iraq" Wolfowitz breathlessly told the nation that they had thwarted a scary radiological bombing plot.

In its eagerness to convince itself and us that it has prevented something, the Bush administration has built up the dirty bomber into an Atta-like terrorist capable of leveling downtown Washington.

But privately it acknowledges that he may be far less than that. The plotter was a Chicago street punk named Jose Padilla, a hothead with a long criminal record who was thrown in jail in Florida for shooting at a motorist in a road-rage incident.

Even law enforcement officials and counterterrorism experts were skeptical about whether he had the brains, know-how and materials to build a dirty bomb from scratch, or whether he was even an officially sanctioned Qaeda terrorist.

"There is no indication he had the means to do it or was given the authority to do it," said a law enforcement official in New York familiar with the case. "It is a bit of stretch to say he was here to do it."


The mind games of fear begin with Abu Zubaydah, the U.S. captive, one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants, who fingered Padilla.

Based on nuggets and head fakes given to them by Zubaydah, American agents are fanning out all over the world, possibly going on wild goose chases. Some of his tips have checked out, some have not.

The feds do not know for sure if Zubaydah is playing them, or if he has led them into a wilderness of mirrors. With Padilla, is Zubaydah throwing agents a decoy? A small fish that they're turning into a big marlin, while there's another Mohamed Atta running around undetected in this country?


The Qaeda leadership has regrouped. Osama and Mullah Omar are out there scheming somewhere. But Mr. Ashcroft says we can sleep more soundly tonight: Jose Padilla, Chicago street thug, is in the brig.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Umrao » 12 Jun 2002 22:10

ramana garu>> exactly my thoughts the day it was announced this arrest. This is just a diversonary tactic or to gain credibility with the interrogating team.

This guy lost his passport in Pakistan, applied for a new one in Karachi consulate, this is absolute Dum Dummer case (almost Jeff Danielisque)

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby ramana » 12 Jun 2002 22:13

Thanks a lot Rak. And hats of the Sunil for thinking the situation through and wonderng about red herrings.
What are 'head fakes'? Does she mean head shakes implying that Z is shaking his head in response to questions? Or something else all together.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Nandu » 12 Jun 2002 22:18

Originally posted by ramana:
What are 'head fakes'?
I am not a big sports fan, but I believe this is from American football, where a player will indicate with his head which way he is going to move, and when the opponent goes there to block him, run another way.

i.e. head fake = red herring


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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby ramana » 12 Jun 2002 22:52

Thanks Nandu. So Dowd was calling it a red herring! Kudos sunil. We bow to thee and Umrao jaan.
Aside for UJ. If you werent so prolific with your witticisms we would have understood your message earlier. And I did tell you this in your other avatars!!!

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Victor » 12 Jun 2002 23:40

Originally posted by sunil sainis:

what exactly is this guy's name?

Is it Mujahir (remember that in the subcontinent `r' is pronunced as d sometimes)?

or is it Muhajir?

Read somewhere early on that he took a muslim name for 'immigrant'. That's what Mush also is--a muhajir.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Arun A » 12 Jun 2002 23:50

First the leftist dawd in the leftist NYT. Now the leftist british press.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=304435

Dramatic return of 'war on terror' can only help Bush
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington

The arrest of the alleged al-Qa'ida associate and would-be "dirty bomber" Abdullah al-Muhajir may raise as many questions as it answers. But whatever the threat he posed to America's national security, the political benefits to the Bush administration from his capture are clear.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Arun A » 13 Jun 2002 00:48

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jun2002-daily/13-06-2002/oped/o2.htm

The arrest of the so-called 'dirty bomber' in the United States this week could not have come at a more inopportune time for Islamabad. As US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld prepared to visit India and Pakistan, reports from the US did not hesitate from drawing upon the Pakistan connection.

Mr Rumsfeld may choose to not broach the nuclear issue in his meeting with General Pervez Musharraf, which is expected today (Thursday). But the symbolism surrounding a fresh nuclear case and Mr Rumsfeld's visit would be sufficient to convince many in Pakistan that Washington must now be in a fresh alarm mode on the nuclear question.

The information circulating so far suggests, Abdullah Al Muhajir alias Jose Padilla spent time in Pakistan under training by members of the 'Al Qaeda' group to learn about explosive devices. His intention was said to be the preparation of a 'dirty bomb' -- a reference to a conventional bomb packed with radioactive material.

The explosion of such a device -- though far less lethal than a proper nuclear weapon, nevertheless would cause the spread of radiation around its immediate vicinity, forcing many neighbourhoods to be evacuated.

For Pakistan, the dirty bombing case once again represents a difficult policy dilemma. Under continuing pressure from time to time, to extend more support to the US war on terrorism, Pakistan finds itself now confronting a two-pronged challenge.

It is left in the uncomfortable position of not only having to accept responsibility for confronting the terrorism challenge -- without reference to the historical reality that the ideologically charged and well armed zealots who make up the 'Al Qaeda' today, include many who were once sponsored by the US.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Atish » 13 Jun 2002 01:11

Victor,

Please note that there is no language called muslim. Hindus dont have a copyright over Sanskrit and Hindi. Same goes for Muslims and Urdu or Arabic. They belong to everybody who speaks them.

Connecting religion and language is a fundamental premise of the 2 nation theory.

Thanks.
Atish.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby JE Menon » 13 Jun 2002 02:18

And I might add, with a wicked glint in my beady eye, the same applies to English...

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Rangudu » 13 Jun 2002 02:23

Originally posted by ramana:
Thanks a lot Rak. And hats of the Sunil for thinking the situation through and wonderng about red herrings.
What are 'head fakes'? Does she mean head shakes implying that Z is shaking his head in response to questions? Or something else all together.
"Head fake" is a classic Basket Ball move. To move your head as though you're shooting the ball but then do something else when the defender falls for it.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby sandy » 13 Jun 2002 02:31

More Moollah($500mil) for Pakistan by World Bank for further strengthening Terroist Labs accross Pakistan-

http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/130602/dlfor04.asp

bikram

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Sunil » 13 Jun 2002 03:20

Ramana,

Thanks for the compliment.

I can't tell who exactly set Mujahir/
Muhajir/Padilla up.

It could be US law enforcement agencies or Musharraf or it could be the denizens of Guantanamo (Abu xyz).

Problem is that Abu xyzs are all locked up inside a small windowless room. They wouldn't know the time of day unless someone told them. So it would be difficult for them to give out information that is so time sensitive.

After Abu Zubaidah was captured, Musharraf's jehadi pals would have reworked all the operations charts so a lot what Zubaidah knew be archival. This might explain why there are many blanks in the pointers that Zubaidah offers.

Some people would love to blame the USG for seeding information at this time to push difficult security legislation through. This is possible, but I really dont see what is gained by sparking a massive debate on human rights in the middle of the war on terror? What is gained by poking at the sensitivities of the religious minorities in a way that will most certainly increase their aleination? If the USG has done this, the logic is difficult to grasp. This creates more problems than it solves.

For Musharraf on the other hand, this offers some interesting possibilities. In the short term there is negative publicity for Pakistan, but the state department will work overtime to ensure that Pakistan is not painted out too harshly. At the end of the day, one will see not much of what one hasn't seen before, ie. people will be repeatedly told that like Mohammed Atta etc... Padilla was trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan and that the govt. of Musharraf is a great great great ally of USG which has helped catch this guy and many others like him. In the long run, this will do two things, firstly it will reinforce the notion that `Al Qaeeda' and `Nuclear threat' are synonyms and secondly, (by consequence of the first) it will enhance the deep affection that Musharraf gets in the west.

The other strange part is that Padilla earlier tried to leave Pakistan on a false passport. Supposing he had been caught with one of those and all the `evidence' currently found on him, then he would have been charged and held in accordance with the law. Instead now he has to be held only with a questionable legal instrument. So this makes the detention in Pakistan, a matter of some interest. At the very least it merits the question why was Padilla not turned over to US agencies in Pakistan itself? why did they wait for this chump to board an airplane and then arrest him immediately at O'hare.. why not just let him move around in the country and gather his men and then arrest everyone?

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby svinayak » 13 Jun 2002 03:33

At the very least it merits the question why was Padilla not turned over to US agencies in Pakistan itself? why did they wait for this chump to board an airplane and then arrest him immediately at O'hare.. why not just let him move around in the country and gather his men and then arrest everyone?
They wanted to track his moves and contacts across swiss,egypt and US probably to catch the big fish.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Sunil » 13 Jun 2002 05:37

Acharya,

> they wanted to track his moves....

Okay.. but why could that not be done with the false passport? Regardless of what passport he travelled on, he could be shadowed. I guess the question to my mind is what transpired between him and the `Pakistani Authorities' who detained him while trying to leave with a false passport.

Now in any country, if you are detained with a false passport, you are sent straight to jail. Apparently that is not so in Pakistan, because Padilla was caught, then released and allowed to travel out of Pakistan with his real passport.

Now if we reconstruct this, lets see what happens.

It seems as if the Pakistani authorities told Padilla that everything was `okay', and that it was `cool' he had a false passport and that they would be `cool' about it and not tell the americans and that he should `coolly' travel with his `real passport' into the US. Ofcourse Padilla believes every word of it that he has been told by his beloved Pakistani friends and goes about his misson under his real passport, knowing full well that it contains his social security number and that the slightest query will pull up *any* convictions that he has had.

Does something just seem plainly unbelieveable about this?

Dude, unless this guy was congenitally braindead, it looks like he was warned about his imminent arrest by the Pakistanis. This nonsense about the `false passport detention' and the subsequent release should have at the very least told him to cancel all his planned contacts and appointments.

Eitherways this thing is a red herring.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Div » 13 Jun 2002 06:28

Attorney: 'Dirty bomb' case 'weak at best'

http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/06/12/inv.padilla.hearing/index.html

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Arun A » 13 Jun 2002 07:18

no problem..pakiland name has already been mentioned with l'affair dirty nukes. :)
Threat of 'dirty bomb' softened: Ashcroft's remarks annoy White House -USA Today

WASHINGTON -- Attorney General John Ashcroft on Monday overstated the potential threat posed by ''dirty bomb'' suspect Abdullah Al Muhajir, Bush administration and law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

Ashcroft's remarks annoyed the White House and led the administration to soften the government's descriptions of the alleged plot. ''I don't think there was actually a plot beyond some fairly loose talk and (Al Muhajir's) coming in here obviously to plan further deeds,'' Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told CBS on Tuesday.

His comments echoed those Monday of FBI Director Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson. They backed away from Ashcroft's descriptions of the alleged plot but emphasized that Al Muhajir was dangerous and that his arrest was a victory against terrorism.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby jrjrao » 13 Jun 2002 07:28

No matter the true deal. It is in totality a divine doing that Pakiland is being so hailed as the transcendental terrorist slum. From the NY Times:

Terror Suspect Met With Al Qaeda Aides, Official Says

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The tracking of Jose Padilla's alleged ``dirty bomb'' plot to Pakistan adds to growing evidence that some al-Qaida members have begun using Pakistan as a base to plan international terrorist operations, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

He worked out of Lahore, Pakistan, and twice met with senior al-Qaida operatives in Karachi in March, officials said.

[color="blue"] Authorities in an unspecified foreign country are questioning at least one of Padilla's alleged accomplices from Lahore, U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They declined to elaborate.</font>

Now, which unnamed country you think has detained this accomplice dude who hails from Lahore? Or rather, which country you think would the US be constrained to label as "unspecified" in this story... ;)

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby member_4401 » 13 Jun 2002 08:52

Originally posted by jrjrao:
No matter the true deal. It is in totality a divine doing that Pakiland is being so hailed as the transcendental terrorist slum. From the NY Times:

Terror Suspect Met With Al Qaeda Aides, Official Says

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The tracking of Jose Padilla's alleged ``dirty bomb'' plot to [b]Pakistan adds to growing evidence that some al-Qaida members have begun using Pakistan as a base to plan international terrorist operations, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

He worked out of Lahore, Pakistan, and twice met with senior al-Qaida operatives in Karachi in March, officials said.

[color="blue"] Authorities in an unspecified foreign country are questioning at least one of Padilla's alleged accomplices from Lahore, U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They declined to elaborate.</font>

Now, which unnamed country you think has detained this accomplice dude who hails from Lahore? Or rather, which country you think would the US be constrained to label as "unspecified" in this story... :D

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby svinayak » 13 Jun 2002 11:34

Dude, unless this guy was congenitally braindead, it looks like he was warned about his imminent arrest by the Pakistanis. This nonsense about the `false passport detention' and the subsequent release should have at the very least told him to cancel all his planned contacts and appointments.

Sunil,
Think of this Jose guy as a double agent who was used to smoke out the bigger fish during his trip and to trawt a potential attack. You will get all your answers.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby JE Menon » 13 Jun 2002 13:12

Or think of him as the beta version.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Sunil » 13 Jun 2002 20:42

Acharya,

If we assume that he was `turned' to the american side after the first detention by the Pakistanis,
he doesn't have to travel all the way to Ohare to finger an accomplice elsewhere in the world. He can do that in his dingy little cell in the Jacobabad brig, moreover if he was turned why arrest him at Ohare? just let him come in and take him quietly to wherever it is that all the other creepy crawly things are `stored'.

Maybe there is a perfectly simple explanation that I am missing, but this is looking quite bizarre. Either the Pakistanis burned this guy and foisted him on the Americans or the Americans asked the Pakistanis to set up this guy and then botched up the rest of it. Either scenario the red herring label sticks. From a global anti-terrorist alliance perspective, one can hope that this is an American red herring and not a Pakistani one.

JEM,

I am sorry, I do not follow you.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Umrao » 13 Jun 2002 20:49

Sunil>> GEM thinks this is a dry run, or Pre production release (hence Beta version)

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Kuttan » 13 Jun 2002 21:51

cell-mutating gamma rays ricocheting down Pennsylvania Avenue.
There seems to be an implication here that the residents on said Avenue are not already mutants.

As for this "Dirty Bomber" tamasha, note the following:

1. The public has not seen anything of him except a grainy photo of his face as of many years ago. That could be anyone - in fact it may be Rumsfeld in the year 1002 when he might have been that age. OTOH, that "zero-watt" look says: "Bush" all over.

2. He was "handed over" to a military brig and is supposedly held incommunicado.

3. The Fed. judge seemed remarkably eager to declare that he was now out of his jurisdiction.

4. The Bush Administration is taking an awful lot of flak over the obvious flouting of basic constitutional principles - why???

5. They have conveniently blamed the arrested Al Zubeydeh as the source of info on this guy - heh! heh!

Chances are that he is either non-existent, or a brave US agent pulled out of TSP, and now on leave awaiting reassignment.

Then again, have you read Irving Wallace's "The R Document"???

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Johann » 14 Jun 2002 00:09

Zubaydah's generic description did *not* include a name.

Padilla/Mujahir came to American attention when he reported his passport as 'lost' to the US consulate in Karachi in February. His behaviour was suspicious enough to attract attention, and his details were forwarded to other US agencies. Surveillance and investigation over the next month and a half in Cairo, Pakistan and Switzerland suggested that this was indeed the individual Zubaydah had referred to.

Why is the US administration taking this route? Why did they arrest him at O'Hare?

This administration is dissatisfied with the tools available against US citizens such as Lindh. The government would prefer to use him and other such US citizens as intelligence resources (easy enough when they are PoWs), unencumbered by the limitations imposed by the criminal justice process. The system also crucially limits government access to the suspect and this is a problem if you're dealing with a low level individual who can provide time sensitive intelligence. Recent experience -principally the '93 WTC bombers- has shown that lawyers have acted as conduits of information to their terrorist affiliates even after conviction. The administration and those concerned with CT would prefer to chuck them into Guantanomo Bay, US citizenship or not. However they need a precedent and a set piece legal battle to change the ground rules.

The WW2 precedent designed to counter saboteurs infiltrated into the country states that US citizens can only be treated as enemy combatants if they enter the US with intent to aid the enemy through violent means. So of course US authorities waited just until Padilla touched down. I suspect they have used the intervening period to develop their legal strategy.

Padilla's passport was perfectly valid when he was arrested in Pakistan - it was issued by the US consulate in March. As I understand it the idea was to stampede him on to a flight back to the US.

Largescale communal violence simply isnt the same kind of law & order or political challenge in the US for obvious demographic reasons.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Sunil » 14 Jun 2002 00:33

I remain skeptical of the USGs ability to actually get any sort of legislative change as a consequence of the Padilla `arrest'.

If anything the arrest has forced intense debate on civil rights issues to the fore. There is no way to guarentee that this debate will reach a conclusion favorable to the USG's current anti-terror initiative.

What is however possible now is a head count of the various positions on HR issues. This could in a complicated way be used as a show of strength.

Basically by transferring Padilla to military detention the USG has sent a very very strong message to US citizens who may share his brand of ideology. The message says:" If you disregard your obligations as a citizen, we will disregard your rights."

Now in the American context some may be inclined to percieve this as a positive step. In the Indian context, we have long learned that strong messages often serve to increase the alienation of communities, which has predictably disasterous consequences.

I am not in a position to evaluate what the consequences will be in American society. In India I have observed that whenever a `strong message' is sent, the opposition party breaks ranks with the ruling party and rushes to engage the people who the message has been sent to. Also in the Indian context whenever a strong message is sent, foreign countries have rushed to build ties with the recipients of that message (in order to provide a lever to their diplomatic initiatives vis-a-vis India). I do not know if the USG thinks about such possibilities when it makes policy.

I am not saying such an approach is good/bad, but merely that apparently favorable demographics can be real pain in you know what.

I do not as a rule comment on US domestic policy, but in this case I make a rare exception. If this something done by the USG then it has three possible ends:

a) the polarization of the civil rights versus security debate,

b) sending a message to American citizens who may choose to make common cause on whatsoever basis with the International Islamic Jehad,

c) sensitize the American people to dangers that may lie ahead.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Kuttan » 14 Jun 2002 00:53

The leading comment for the Dan Quayle Prize so far is the one attributed to a "US Think Tank researcher" Jane SomeoneOrOther:

"This guy wanted to kill us. If we try him in the civil courts they will set him free. "
etc. Clearly this person is in line for a new "Special Attorney General" post.

Hmmmmmmm!!!!! A new way of dealing with investigations on serial rapist murderers, muggers, drunken drivers.... A new way of dealing with just about anyone whom the Republican Administration, the Pentagon, the CIA, FBI or any local podunk sheriff does not like. No need for paperwork, courts, lawyers, judges, etc. The Administration determines innocence or suspicion of guilt, and simply locks away anyone. As Edwin Meese, the notorious Attorney-General under the Reagan Administration said:

If you are not guilty, why would you be a suspect?
I still think you guys should find and read "The R Document. " The parallels are simply too chilling to put down here.

Its rather obvious to note that if the GOTUS REALLY wanted to interrogate this guy, all they had to do was "arrest" him inside Pakistan. He would not even have any idea who was arresting him in those circumstances, and he could be further assisted in his cooperativeness by putting up a few photos of General Dostum and metal boxes on the wall of the interrogation room. No one would know ("The names of the 2400 arrested so far are Classified" according to a GOTUS official). Then there would be no pressure to bring charges within 30 days, etc.

Right now, the GOTUS has walked into what I consider a huge quagmire which makes GOAT look like a "blitzkrieg" in efficiency. Suddenly, GWB&Co look like far worse threats to democracy and individual rights, than the Al Queda, Red China and the Soviet Union combined.

I think the purpose of the whole exercise was to make an announcement which makes it look like the GOAT investigation is making some slight progress. And that leads to the conclusion that the whole thing is a sham.

As for "Zubeideh" naming anyone, this is a transparent ploy to stampede the Al Queda. For all you know, Zubeideh may have said nothing at all... Anyway, I am all for THOSE tactics: cheap and effective.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby VirenH » 14 Jun 2002 01:06

Originally posted by narayanan :I still think you guys should find and read "The R Document"
Have read this one and others such as The Paper, Fan Club etc about 15 years ago.
I don't know about other BR-ites, but I haven't found a single Irving Wallace book in any of the local libraries in US.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Umrao » 14 Jun 2002 01:35

unfortunately I cant recall much of The R document, but having read at age ..., I memorised the The Fan club (selective portions). I think I will check it out in our local library

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Johann » 14 Jun 2002 04:38

The USG's actions as I understand it is less about deterrence or punishment - they are based on specific concerns of the security and intelligence agencies that came with the realisation that Lindh is not going to be the only Al Qaeda member with US citizenship that they will have to deal with. For people like Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Bush who were never particularly 'liberal' these take precedence over civil rights concerns, especially in the aftermath of 9/11.

The administration it seems is quite confidant that it can carry public opinion on this issue - especially since it is related to WMD usage on american soil. They have managed to keep a lid on the far more serious civil rights violations of ~1,000 men of middle eastern residing in the US and arrested in the immediate aftermath of Sept 11 - most of these individuals had suspicions rather than hard evidence against them, unlike Padilla. In any case the legal strategy against Padilla doesnt at this time appear to require fresh legislation, only court affirmation of an existing precedent - in other words public opinion has a much more limited role to play.

My concern is that there needs to be specified standards of evidence against a citizen coupled with judicial review before they can be designated PoWs. The other concern is indefinite incarceration for a war that is by definition open ended. Without such safeguards there will be cases of abuse, and even a single well publicised case of abuse would be extremely damaging.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Sunil » 14 Jun 2002 05:41

Hi Johann,

It does appear that the Padilla case will not require an immediate legislative action, but I am not very confident about US legal issues, so I can't really debate that sort of stuff.

I feel the connection to legislative gain from this episode can be somewhat indirect. The debate that this `arrest' sparks, and the scares that it raises could *possibly* overcome some deadlocks in the legislature.

What the Bush Administration appears to be doing is working towards some sort of preventive detention regime that can be applied to terrorism suspects. This sort of thing is common in India, UK and other countries but this activity has allways faced intense criticism from `international pacifists' (to use your words). In India this criticism has been voiced in the english language press which is largely the self appointed flag bearer of "World(American) Public Opinion".

In anycase drawing on the Indian experience of having to watch minority members of Parliament and opposition leaders roundly abuse the preventive detention acts (TADA, POTA, NSA etc...) in all possible media, I am reluctant to discard the "Punishment/ Deterrent" aspect of the current action on part of the USG. This new idea that the administration is trying to flog is going to p.o. the minorities.

In India we have observed that these preventive acts offer only marginal intermediate term improvements in public security. There is some immediate gain but on a slightly larger timescale there are severe problems. Their application often produces immense social unrest.

In the long run however the preventive detention does stablize the situation, as the flood of new volunteers makes the revisionist movement unmanageable. But all this leads to an ebb-and-flow kind of cycle of violence, I am not sure that the US is quite ready for that.

I wonder if the USG are using their experience of the drug war to scale some of the present response.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Johann » 14 Jun 2002 06:08

Sunil,

I would say the USG is attempting to alter the ways in which terrorist groups are perceived and conceived by the general public - this started with the comparisons between Pearl Harbor and 9/11. When you use a term like 'preventive detention' you are invoking the criminal justice system. If you capture and intern an enemy soldier before he gets a chance to fire his rifle at you, would you describe it as 'preventive detention'?

Now of course there are dangers of conferring a certain legitimacy along with the status of combatants on these people. The Americans seem to have partially sidestepped this issue when Camp X-Ray was originally opened in Guantanomo Bay by apparantly succesfully arguing that the Geneva convention does *not* apply to non-state combatants.

If the USG succeeds it will change the legal climate for this sort of thing all over the world.

On the minority issue - the ACLU isnt going to make any serious headway unless black organisations like the NAACP, the Black Caucus, etc feel that all of this has somehow unfairly targetted African Americans. Other politically powerful minorities such as the Jews or E.Asians dont have a great deal to worry about. The DoJ will if it's smart be careful about applying this sort of treatment only to those individuals against whom there is solid evidence of Al Qaeda ties. At these times the majority of Americans may be far less concerned about procedural violations, but a gross miscarriage of justice will swing public opinion against the government. Well publicised and unfair mistreatment of individuals or entire communities could easily result in the formation of some kind of rainbow coalition. At this time few Americans (including Hispanic politicians) seem to beleive that Padilla is getting anything other than what he deserves. Padilla after all like Lindh cut the cord that tied him to the rest of American civil society by assuming a new identity and moving abroad. Al Qaeda is nothing like the Black Panthers or 'Nation of Islam', confrontational organisations populated by minority Americans and concerned with bringing social justice to a disadvantaged and opressed *American* community. Americans (minorities included) have little to sympathise with either the ends or the means of Padilla and Lindh - they are truely isolated.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby Arun A » 17 Jun 2002 20:54

This "dirty bomber" is a joke. Ashcroft tried to use this to show the agencies were talking to each other. Abdullah Al-Muhajir a evil mastermind? no way, Jose.

Faked Out by Nuke Parody

Accused terrorist wanna-be Jose Padilla was so blindly determined to build and detonate a nuclear bomb that he was fooled by parody instructions found online, investigators say.

The Brooklyn-born petty criminal presented his plan to Abu Zubaydah, Osama Bin Laden's operations chief, who, recognizing Padilla was out of his league, suggested he try a radiological "dirty bomb" instead, government officials tell this week's Time magazine.

There are several "How to Build an H-Bomb" parodies online that appear at first glance to look like serious bomb-making directions.

But they contain such advice as, "The best way to avoid inhaling plutonium is to hold your breath while handling it," and tips on how to safely flush "moderately fatal" byproducts.

Printouts of one such parody were found in an Al Qaeda safehouse in Kabul early in the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, taking in various reporters — and apparently the Al Qaeda men who printed it out.

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Re: Pakistani plot to explode dirty nuke foiled

Postby P Chupunkar » 17 Jun 2002 21:06

I would tread very carefully on the question of the detention of the so-called "illegal non-combatants". So far these cases seem to be valid.
However when applying these same criterion to internal detention's (i.e. citizens of the nation) is very dangerous territory. It has the potential of being abused. Almost all law-enforcement would abuse these laws.
In india TADA implementation was a failure because of the failure of the state's to properly apply these law's. Legal recourse to actions taken by a state, is one of the holy-grails of a democracy. This applies to even cases of suspected terrorist activities, where there should be some form of judicial oversight to prevent abuse.


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