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"Haneef 9/11 Australian Story?" The UK Remake

As the chiefs of ASIO and the AFP appear before the Haneef inquiry, someone appears to be leaking information in support of the stance taken by Keelty, O'Sullivan and Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

At the same time as, the Brisbane Courier Mail  has managed to "obtain" information exchanged between the head of UK conterterrorisim and the London branch of the AFP, the London Daily Telegraph is whipping up the dirty bomb fear in the lead-up to September 11.

{Courier-Mail extract]

The Immigration Department is understood to have briefed its former minister Kevin Andrews on the matter after being informally advised by Australian Federal Police.

The AFP has refused to confirm or deny whether the material was found on Gold Coast-based Dr Ali's computer or what information was passed on to immigration officials.

[It is understood a senior immigration official was told Dr Ali's laptop computer allegedly contained an X-ray of a backpack and the photographs and dimensions of car boots


Thanks.. it all makes sense now...Haneef was locked up because his mate was a car bomb designerthat was helping UK Jihad. Actually, this reminds me of those photos of Haneef's fridge, showing how he obviously left in a hurry.

Anyway, the piece concludes:

Crime and Misconduct Commission top investigator Stephen Lambrides last year questioned Dr Ali about the evidence against him, which was probably passed on to the AFP.

The allegations come as The Courier-Mail has obtained a document between the head of Counter Terrorism Division in London and an AFP official in London, revealing the concern UK authorities had about information being revealed about Operation Rain.

"I therefore have very grave concerns about a document of this type being released to the media in Australia," the letter said. "I have no objection to the publication of the names of the (UK) individuals charged, what they are charged with, that the charge relates to the incidents in Glasgow and London, that the vehicles were VBIEDS (Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device) and that Haneef is related to one of the defendants."

It is understood that it was demands from the UK authorities that prevented Australian authorities from revealing more information about the charges against Dr Haneef.

Okay, they've got a piece of British intelligence information that migh (unconfirmed) have been passed to the AFP, who might (unconfirmed) have passed it to Immigration, who might (unconfirmed) have passed it to iAndrews.  The insinuated conclusion?  This "might" (unconfirmed) be the "secret information" that Andrews said he couldn't talk about.

The only trouble, Kevin, is that it's not information about Haneef, but of the other bloke.   Maybe also that there isn't one publicly confirmed link in the chain by which you could have received the information.

Meanwhile, in London,  various unidentified government and defence folk are apparently  leaking like anonymous sieves to the Tele in order to warn Britons of the suddenly increased likelihood of a "dirty bomb" attack


Islamist terrorists have stepped up their efforts to develop a "dirty" bomb for use against Western targets, senior security sources have told the Daily Telegraph.

They are exploiting political chaos in Pakistan in an attempt to acquire nuclear material for a "spectacular" attack.

At least one plot has been uncovered involving Pakistan-based terrorists planning a dirty strike against a major European target.

Al Qaeda, whose terrorist infrastructure is based in Waziristan province, northwest Pakistan, is known to be trying to acquire nuclear technology to attack the West. Other Islamist groups, such as the newly-formed Pakistani Taliban, have shown interest in making weapons with nuclear capability, Western security officials said.

Security chiefs fear instability in Pakistan will make it easier for them to do so.

Pakistan is the only Muslim country with a nuclear arsenal, which was developed in the 1990s by the rogue scientist Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan.

He was placed under house arrest after being accused of selling the blueprint for Pakistan's atom bomb to states such as Libya, North Korea, and Iran. But the restrictions on Dr. Khan's detention have been eased since President Musharraf was forced from power.


What's the bet that we're going to find out that Haneef's mate was fixing the backpacks for the Pakis  to pack with dirty bombs. You can see that one coming a mile off, most likely slated for publication on Thursday.

The year before last  the days before September 11 were those of the thwarting of the"gelbombers". This showed us why we could only take some liquids onto planes in certain ways.   Will UK publicity of an averted "dirty bomb" attack be a cattalyst for similarly international radiological security implementation?. Or are all these stores merely to get Kevin Andrews off the hook? 

The Telegraph/Sun piece concludes with this pearler:

"Islamist militant groups want to carry out terror attacks on a massive scale, and there is no better way for them to achieve that objective than to develop some form of primitive nuclear device," a senior American security official said.

In a dirty bomb, conventional explosives are fitted with radioactive material.

Security experts believe the detonation of such a device in a city such as London would provoke widespread panic and chaos, even though the area of contamination would be relatively small.

Western security officials said they had uncovered evidence that a Pakistani based group was planning to attack a European target with such a device, although details have not been made public

It's amazing how  the Courier-Mail and the international Murdoch pieces have near-equal levels of qualification.

It's too early in the election cycle forOsama to make an appearance ('05,'07...  perhaps he works alternate years?) but a UK dirty bomb scare around 9/11 coiuld finally get this ball rolling for the necons to go get these bastards before they leave office.

The unsubstantiated fearmongering in these pieces is an insult to the intelligence of the UK/US/Australian citizenry proportiate to the "Filipino Monkey" puppet show. Sadly, some will be duped.  Let's hope not too many.

I'll be watching the international  Murdoch press with great interest this week.

Afterword:  As I was putting this piece together, AP were posting the news from tthe UK that the 2006 gel-bomb suspects have been convicted of terrorism conspiracy.  However  " the jury could not reach a verdict on allegations they plotted to use liquid explosives to down trans-Atlantic airliners."  Another remake bites the dust.

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Baxter front

Astounding the 4 Corners episode on the reality of the detention centres has not received further commentary.

Are people in high places too shame-faced?

Ruddock and co would be beyond shame. The issues 4 Corners dealt with had nothing to do with the merits or anything else of refugees and much to do with the mentality of Australians and their rulers.

What it dealt with was the callous, criminal lack of a duty of care, let alone Christian decency, involving this deliberately privatised hell created by the same the sort of mentality that created Abu Ghraib.

Good oh

I was asked by a lawyer last night to make a stir. I think that worked.

It's not on tonight

There will not be a replay tonight because of the Para Olympics, but you can watch the video on the 4 Corners website.

Glad you heard me, was it strong enough?

Cornelia and 4 Corners

We were told that Cornelia sounded German to the guards and police, we were told that she was violently abusive the night she was taken out of Baxter concentration camp.

The film reality was the sort of brutality one would or could expect to see in the type of prison seen in Hannibal Lecter. Dragged from the shower, saying she didn't know why, asking for her clothes and her teddy.

I thought I would lose my mind. Appalling.

Practising saying sorry

I havent seen it yet, Marilyn, but will tonight.  I just heard you on the radio, though, calling for the SA Police Commissioner to vindicate his force's approach to people with mental illness.

I hope you get a response.

This State Government had better start practising apologising, methinks.  There will be plenty needed when Hicks' conviction is overturned.  And with the CEO of Halliburton/KBR going to jail on a plea-bargain last week, conditional on him squealing like a stuck pig about his international bribery practices, many more sorries may need to be said.

Marilyn, you've just started an investigation!

Yep, strong enough! 

A following caller raised a question for the police commisssioner, being why was a female police officer not the primary person handling Rau's transfer.

Abraham and Bevin say they'll put in questions to the police department pertaining to reviews of practices in such matters.

Business class

Richard:   "I'm doing some reading this weekend as to whether this was achievable, and would appreciate your (and anyone else's) help."

A chemical bomb? Starting a fire on-board a trans oceanic airliner? A problem?

I know, why don't we telephone Qantas or the Civil Aviation folks and ask them if it would present any difficulties for the flight crew and passengers?

Leave them our contact details and see if there'' any interest in follow up?

Would starting a conflagration mid air over the Atlantic be (a) doable (b) the sort of thing the Boeing engineers had in mind when engineering the tolerances and optimal performance conditions of the 747 Jumbo Jet back in 1970?

All that plastic and fuel? In a confined space? At 50,000 feet? Going at 500mph?

Coffee, tea or chlorine bombs, sir?

Richard:  Point taken, Eliot.  Thank you.

Fire aboard plane, and no explosion, kills 170 people in Ukraine

Richard: "Before running round the same discussion about the Glasgow attack,Eliot, perhasp your opinion on how many suicide gel-bombers it would take to blow up a plane?"

Well, that's more hypothetical than asking 'How many exploding oxygen bottles could blow open the fuselage and floor of a Boeing 747?", the answer being 'One'.

But a fire aboard a plane? Well, there's this...

The Tupolev Tu-154, belonging to Pulkovo Airlines, went down shortly after the pilot reported a fire on board and heavy turbulence, the Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Witnesses reported there was no explosion before the crash. 170 people dead there. Just a fire, and no explosion.

Nuh. I have the funny feeling that a chemical fire aboard a plane wouldn't be as much fun as some might think. But hey, I'm not an expert on aircraft safety and munitions like some others.

Maybe a chemical fire aboard your plane would be a hoot. I mean, it didn't do much to that Jeep, did it?

Richard:  My point, Eliot, is that the international (non-domestic) aspects of this case focus on the intent of people to blow up in mid-air planes en route to United States airports.   The prisoners were not convicted of related charges.   I'm doing some reading this weekend as to whether this was achievable, and would appreciate your (and anyone else's) help.

My God, what would it take?

Richard: "That would possibly be, Marilyn, because nobody listened to him the last time he tried this argument."

Well, why would they? Here's what eyewitnesses said:

"Despite the terrorist threat that put London on high alert, few in Glasgow thought that the driver would be likely to crash deliberately through the barriers and ram the terminal building, putting hundreds of lives at risk.

"Yet, just seconds later, there was pandemonium as the dark green Jeep Cherokee juddered to a halt and burst into flames."

"Terrified by a "big bang", people screamed and fled."

"One witness described how, as the Jeep careered towards the doors of the terminal building, its bumper became caught on an advertising sign. "The driver tried to rev and rev to free the vehicle," he said."

"As the Jeep jammed and flames emerged, the witness, who gave his name only as Gordon, said: "He put the window down, got a can of petrol and poured it on to the flames outside."

Yup. Plain silly to think  the Jeep "burst into flames" and "flames emerged" from it, or that this would in any way be due to the cans of propane in it.

Next thing folks are gonna say that a chemical fire on board an aeroplane would be hazardous. Gosh, that's just crazy talk.

Richard: Before running round the same discussion about the Glasgow attack, Eliot, perhaps your opinion on how many suicide gel-bombers it would take to blow up a plane?

Eliot, we know they didn't explode

Eliot, the Ahmed fellow burnt because he poured petrol on himself. The whole bloody world saw it happen.

Why are you talking such nonsense now?

Richard: That would possibly be, Marilyn, because nobody listened to him the last time he tried this argument.

It's the economy, stupid

Michael de Angelos: "Are you saying you want Barack Obama to win?"

I've been saying that for months. For example quite recently...

"Symbolically, it would be the greatest moment in US presidential history since Reconstruction was overturned by Rutherfort B Hayes, and possibly the most important since Lincoln."

- on September 1, 2008 - 10:44am. in the Obama... thread.

But he'd not going to win if his supporters cannot subordinate to strategic necessity their sense of inherent moral superiority over all God's creation and stop fighting "culture wars" with Sarah Palin.

Because they cannot ever win that fight. Yet, they cannot stop themselves, can they?

That's why her appointment was a mark of near genius by McCain.

Obama needs to shift the debate back to the economy. He cannot win on foreign policy. And the 'pundits' have absolutely no idea how widely, deeply, utterly and completely they are loathed and detested by the human population of Planet Earth.

That's why Sarah keeps telling them to 'bring it on'.

Got it yet?

Barack deserves better than the idiots at the NYT or in Hollywood who make it a personal point of telling everyone how stupid McCain and Palin are.

My hope is that he will fare well in the debates. Because now the odds are stacked against him.

It;'s not about race. it's not about religion. It's not about abortion. It's not about evolution. It's not about Afghanistan. It's not about teenaged sex. It's not about Alaska. it's not about Kenya and Hawaii. It's not about guns. It's not about the 'bridge to nowhere'. It's not about Sarah's brother in law. It's not about whether New Yorkers are more sophisticated than folk in Anchorage. It's not about Vietnam. It's not about torture. It's not about age, youth or gender. Those are all given.

It's about the economy.

John McCain is a fine man with impeccable credentials as a patriot. What he cannot do is run the economy without Congress.

You shock me, Eliot!

Are you saying you want Barack Obama to win?

I had vowed not to answer you again but that was after 4 glasses of wine, possibly not the best time to contribute to on-line forums although I have a sneaking suspicion that Malcolm B Duncan may say that is the only time to write. Certainly (as a small drinker now) I was suitably chastised by my cat Millie who is every bit as vicious as Malcolm's Claude sounds and bit me firmly on the nose this morning at 6 am which is a sign I had forgotten to fill her food bowl the night before.

Explosive evidence

Marilyn Shepherd: "How could anyone possibly say the burns to the Ahmed lad were not real? We all saw them."

This is what Ernest William said on July 27, 2007 - 3:15pm at the Heil Andrews thread about the famous image of Kafeel Ahmed on fire at the back of the Jeep.

"Secondly, a person may well walk away from an explosion IF they were not within the explosive range but, certainly the resultant fire may well have seriously burned the lady. To have walked at all with 80% burns is remarkable in any case.

Thirdly, there is no evidence that LPG cylinders were involved in either starting or taking part in the fire and the man at rear of the burning vehicle seems to be trying to open the boot but, not walking around nor praying."

This is what you, Marilyn, said at the "David Davis on the transcript of AFP-Haneef interview" thread on July 26, 2007 - 2:02pm.

"Eliot, the gas cylinders in Glasgow did not explode and they cannot explode without a trigger. It is leaking fumes that can explode if exposed to flames ."

What are we to make of statements like that? That Kafeel Ahmed was not within explosive range of the propane cylinders when they blew up? And that you think they didn't explode at all?


How could anyone possibly say the burns to the Ahmed lad were not real? We all saw them. What was so terrible is that the police dragged him down the road like an animal when he was screaming in pain and then dared to say he was resisting arrest.

On being "exotic"

Michael de Angelos:"If you grow up in Hawaii  like Barack Obama you're "exotic"."

So, you expect him to lose then? I'm still hopeful that a majority of Americans not only see him as an authentic spokesperson for their aspirations but will vote for him in November.

Explosive revelations

The dogged insistence here that a chemical bomb could not damage an aircraft, even though an exploding oxygen bottle clearly can, reminds of the earlier claims, on the 'Heil Andrews! Why didn't Howard do the job?' thread, in which our resident munitions experts emphatically insisted that exploding propane canisters couldn't set a Jeep on fire.

There was also the insistence that the petrol burns on the failed Glasgow airport bombing conspirator Kafeel Ahmed were fake, even though he died of them.

And that, despite hundreds of eyewitnesses, footage of the relevant incidents and prior examples of similar events drawn from history.

There must be a term in clinical psychology for the truculent refusal to face even the most compelling evidence.

I don't mean 'cognitive dissonance', because that refers to an inability to see certain facts. I'm thinking something beyond that, a detrmination willfully to ignore awkward evidence even when it's shoved in your face.

Post Modernism? Could you call it that?

Eliot, you prove our point

The theory that these "conspirators" (funny how conspiracies involving government plots are considered wacky but when "terrorists" are involved it's deadly serious) could blow up a plane with these cobbled together chemicals just doesn't hold water. You don't need my links - do your own research.

Again, you point to disparate events as though they somehow prove that another event is true or real. This is one of the oddest things about your reasoning and makes me wonder whether you just seek to make mischief rather than actually discuss events seriously.

This continued pointing to one event by a supposed 'left' leaning faction, whether true or false, somehow cancels out another event really does become tiresome.

It's simply a tactic that is current and easily demonstrated by the current US presidential bids that have included the following statements :

1. according to Republicans over the last 10 years black teen pregnancies equal a "crisis" in black America . Now with Sarah Palin a white teen pregnancy is a "blessed event."

2.If you grow up in Hawaii like Barack Obama you're "exotic." Grow up in Alaska like Sarah Palin eating mooseburgers, you're the quintessential "American story".

3. Name your child Barack you're "unpatriotic." and have Muslim leanings. Name your kid Track Palin , you're "colourful."

On and on it goes.

The Lockerbie bombs were conventional bombs placed in suitcases that were in the luggage hold. No great difficulty and one of the threats we all face with air travel. They do not in any manner equal the bizarre notion that people could somehow assemble a bomb in an aeroplane toilet.

An exploding oxygen bottle on the Qantas flight was clearly an accident and even then, didn't harm a soul or bring down the plane.

I think you just get off on being contrary and, like Marilyn Shepherd, I believe answering you really is a waste of time.

An exploding oxygen bottle

Richard Tonkin: "They were up to no good alright, but they weren't going to blow up planes flying into the US. "

What were they going to do with the bombs do you think, Richard?

Marilyn Shepherd: "As for the stupid chemical bombs on planes - there is no way any such bomb could ever have been made or any such attack achieved as was proven when the men were arrested."

I agree. Nobody has ever set off a bomb on an aeroplane. It's competely unheard of. Take, for example, PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie.

An exploding oxygen bottle could blow a hole in the fuselage of a Qantas 747 and rip our aprt of the cabin floor. But a bomb couldn't do that.

Marilyn Shepherd: "Thanks Richard but Eliot's belief in all things related to the murder of innocents is beyond my comprehension and my objection to his nonsense is complete - nothing to debate."

I believe we have a responsibility to honestly document the history of civilian deaths and of other casualties during warfare. Not merely those suffered by the Axis, for example, but the victims of Axis aggression, too.

Is that beyond your comprehension still?

The worry of "conspiracy" charges

I well remember the old consorting laws in NSW. When I was young I lived in a city pub with an aunt and uncle for 2 years – it was a favoured drinking hole of the old style NSW coppers (the bent kind), I'd sit up in the office and listen to amazing tales told by D's (as they were called) to my aunt – usually while she was handing over the necessary brown paper bag to continue in business.

Often discussed were the consorting laws – a catch-all law with which cops could sweep up a crim they took a dislike to as soon as they could place him with another criminal. It didn't have to be true – there was always a paid informer and former jail inhabitant happy to confirm either the truth or an invention. Sometimes it was true – the informer would simply find out which pub the wanted was drinking in and roll up and chat to him and then the cops would pounce when the wanted one left the pub.

The consorting laws meant the accused could be charged with conspiring to a commit a crime. Little proof was needed as the consorting law took care of that. Thus he could find himself out at Long Bay again in a flash. Thankfully the notorious Consorting Squad was finally binned.

Conspiracy charges worry me. Dr Haneef only seems to have escaped such a charge via a series of lucky events, good reporters and hopeless policing finally being exposed.

Given the UK police's sorry record of false and outright criminal actions in charging people wrongfully, some spending years in jail before vindication, I don't see why the catch all "terrorism" charge isn't being abused. From the 70's ( but way back before) we had supposed but innocent "IRA bombers " locked up for years, more recently the innocent but convicted killer of a TV host has just been released along with a mother who was supposed to have killed her two sons. That poor woman drank herself to death within two years of release.

The UK's media happily confirms these outrageous plots by reprinting police press releases, some journalists with no shame now even add their own moniker to such a story instead of the usual "by a staff reporter". Little checking is done as there is neither the inclination nor time.

If these guys were going on plane, it's been shown by scientists that the scheme of mixing chemicals in a toilet to cause an explosion just wouldn't work. Odd how a bunch of young men can successfully co-ordinate a backpack series of bombs on the London underground and in buses, and this new bunch seemed to believe they could bring down a plane with a few bottles of whatever.

These scares work, don't they though? The general public is kept in a heightened state of fear and will agree to anything – they did in 1935, they will today, and they probably will in 200 years if we survive that long.

Yes, just imagine if the Haneef tale had a different outcome. It doesn't bear thinking about.

Eliot flames and I ain't interested

Thanks Richard but Eliot's belief in all things related to the murder of innocents is beyond my comprehension and my objection to his nonsense is complete - nothing to debate.

As for the stupid chemical bombs on planes - there is no way any such bomb could ever have been made or any such attack achieved as was proven when the men were arrested.  It was a nonsensical beat up by the US.

No one in here but us chickens

Richard Tonkin: "I also noticed, Eliot, that while a domestic bombing threat was proven, an international one wasn't."

That's a relief. I would otherwise have thought they'd have been up to no good.

A different kettle of fish

They were up to no good alright, but they weren't going to blow up planes flying into the US. The US was not under attack from a foreign enemy.

Radar was switched off

Richard Tonkin: "Does anyone wonder why we're still carrying our liquids on planes in appropriate containers, and all of that, when the case to prove that the anniversary gel-bombing was going to occur has failed?"

All three were convicted of conspiring to commit mass murder through suicide bomb explosions. Did you not notice that?

There's no need

Richard Tonkin: "What about, Eliot, if you and Marilyn write a few pars outlining your position, and we have a Webdiary debate?"

There's no need. I subscribe to Max Hastings's and other contemporay historians' of the event (see Hastings's quote below).

He is after all an eminent historian and as Marilyn has previously noted a leading authority.

There's nothing to 'dispute' as long as everyone's honest about it.

The other slant

I also noticed, Eliot, that while a domestic bombing threat was proven, an international one wasn't. The hypothesis that these folk were going to blow up planes on their way to the US failed.


Seems to me it's all about another Murdoch tabloid beat-up filling an empty news-hole during a lull in the news cycle. And keeps people off any real issues that might need consideration, like that thing they're trying to fob off as a vice presidential candidate.

Saddens me when intelligent people get caught up in all this stuff. It's like the nineteen fifties, when all many people lived for was the revelation of another red under a bed.

Just ghosties - a child's night terrors.

Come on, some of you; get with the program!

One of your favourite authors says you are utterly wrong

Marilyn Shepherd: "Nuking people is not the answer, Japan were finished anyway and the bombs slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians."

Not according to their Prime Minister  who just days before the first bomb said in response to the Joint Declaration issued at the Potsdam Conference calling for his government's unconditional surrender:

As for the Government, it does not attach any important value to it at all. The only thing to do is just kill it with silence (mokusatsu). We will do nothing but press on to the bitter end to bring about a successful completion of the war.

-  Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki, July 28 1945

Nor according to Japan's Emperor Hirohito, who in giving his reasons for Japan's surrender said quite clearly:

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and more cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives….This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers…

As one of your favourite authors, Sir Max Hastings has said emphatically:

The myth that the Japanese were ready to surrender anyway has been so comprehensively discredited by modern research that it is astonishing some writers continue to give it credence.

- Max Hastings, Nemesis: the battle for Japan 1944-45,  Harper Press, 2007, page xix.

I've made a bit of a special study of this topic which, with one exception, has been subject to more revisionist distortions and falsehoods than any other event in 20th century history.

We owe it to the memory of the tens of millions of Japan's wartime victims to stop the alibis and stop lying for the benefit of the Axis powers.

Timing fear

Oh gawd, the nuking Japan thing again? Mind you, the arguments could be worth soaking up if we're going to have another round of bomb warfare. What about, Eliot, if you and Marilyn write a few pars outlining your position, and we have a Webdiary debate?

Anyway, back to the present:, or at least the recent past of 2002::

A dirty bomb "would probably not lead to many, if any, cancer deaths," says Andrew Karam, radiation safety officer of the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. But if the public receives unreliable or exaggerated information about dirty bombs, Karam worries that "the use of a radiological weapon would result in many deaths in traffic accidents as people flee the scene, and possibly stress- and anxiety-induced heart attacks."

The radiation dose from a dirty bomb would likely be relatively small, says the Rochester health scientist. Even a potent dirty bomb, consisting of a radioactive cobalt-60 rod used for food irradiation, for example, would deliver an average dose of a few tenths of a rem for people within a half-mile radius, he says. (A rem is a unit of radiation dose.) This compares to the 0.3-0.4 rem average dose per year that a person receives from natural sources, and 5 rem, the typical annual dose limit for nuclear and radiation workers (most radiation workers receive less than 1 rem of exposure annually).

And today:

Seven years after 9/11 proved that America was vulnerable, the American people know the danger of a dirty bomb, but they don't know what to do about it," said R-TAC chairman James P. Pinkerton. "The sense of urgency that sparked R-TAC will help deploy much-needed support to federal, state, and local responders to address the threat of a dirty bomb. This is the best way to honor their efforts and protect America."

The Radiological Threat Awareness Coalition has made this statement as an overview of a poll. 500 people across the U.S. participated.

Perhaps, like New York last year, R-TAC might have used the 9/11 publicity window to promote awareness of what would happen after a dirty bomb? Nope. It would probably ruin the effects of all the recent re-enactments showing dead and wounded.

Israel's been conducting training exercises over the last few weeks, too.

Does anyone wonder why we're still carrying our liquids on planes in appropriate containers, and all of that, when the case to prove that the anniversary gel-bombing was going to occur has failed? The lack of visas and whatnot must've been a clue to the jury, methinks. The prosecution appeal will keep us nicely cowed for a couple more years.

Perhaps the UK Haneef campaign depended on a better outcome of the trial? I haven't seen any reporting of the Courier-Mail story.

On the other side of the dateline, there's still a couple of days till the eleventh.

Jenny & Ian!

OK, I get your point Jenny.

I'm not arguing against having good intelligence organisations – far from it. I want the best and I want them run by honest and clever people. But I don't think we have that at present.

The AFP have just become hopelessly mired with political intrigues under Mick Keelty's management. He has to go for our sake.

ASIO need a thorough shake-up. Either they lied about Iraq's WMD to Howard, or he lied, or our supposed allies lied to us. Either way there should have been a thorough investigation into both organisations and the offenders given the boot. It just wasn't good enough for former boss Denis Richardson to sail off to a cosy job in Washington telling Aussies they'll "have to give up more of their freedoms". To him ? Not a hope in hell.

Instead we had politicians who set out to destroy honest whistleblowers like intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie or Allan Kessing for exposing the lax airport security pursued vindictively by the AFP because he exposed their hopelessness. Clear out the dopes at the top and get some really smart guys in charge who can do their job.

Mutant ninja thingies

Thanks Jenny that's what I was just thinking. But dropping radio-active bombs on those poor Japanese did things I'd rather not talk about.

PS. There's a name for the guy in the hat - I have been called such often and posting this link supports same but it's still better than bashing one's head against an atomic bomb - repeatedly - as a matter of fact it sends you blind.

Enough of that Justin

Justin, that is quite enough of that for me. Pink is not really my colour anyway. But yes, beats head bashing I guess.

Cheeky beggar posting that link to a good Pressie like me. Shock horror.

But before they start us on the roundabout again, I'm outta this thread. 

For Christ's sake Eliot

Nuking people is not the answer, Japan were finished anyway and the bombs slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians.

Standby for round three or is it four

Marilyn says Japan was finished anyway. Eliot does not agree.

We have battted that ball around here on at least three occasions and neither conceded the other a single point as I recall. Are we really going to go round it yet again? Oh well, go to it if you must but why not just link us all to the archives where those who are interested can go and read it all.



Historical accuracy

Marilyn Shepherd: "The US were the terrorists who dropped two atom bombs already, nothing changed because the US just kept invading and bombing nations from one end of the world to the other."

Just an historical note. The programme to develop the atomic bomb and to use it to end the war in the Pacific was a joint allied undertaking, not specifically a "US" enterprise.

The Japanese nation suffered far fewer civilian casualties (about 580,000) than its wartime victims, and even fewer than its principal war time ally, Nazi Germany (about 1,600,000).

China alone suffered some 20 million dead at the hands of the Japanese occupiers.

The extra Japanese civilian casualties that are estimated to have occurred had the USA not dropped the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is 250,000 additional deaths for each month the war continued.

(Source: Robert Newman, Truman and the Hiroshima Myth, University of Michigan Press, 1995)

It is perhaps for this reason that WW2 Japanese Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai confided to a colleague:

"The atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war are, in a sense, God's gifts.'

(Source: Sir Max Hastings, Nemesis, The Battle for Japan, 1944-45, Harper Press, 2007)

It is also for that reason the Japanese defence minister appeared recently to justify the nuclear attacks, saying they hastened Japan's surrender and prevented the Soviet Union from seizing large parts of the country.

Just thought I'd clear that up.

Perhaps Jenny Hume

I take your point that the aims of the IRA campaign were for a definite reason – to get Britain out of Ireland, although the number of people killed (on both sides with the Provisionals) is probably similar in numbers to those killed in the various calamities like 9/11, the Madrid and London bombings. Although, compared to natural calamities like the flooding of New Orleans or the tsunami, these figures are small.

I believe the so-called Muslim terrorist threat is greatly exaggerated and the concept that there is some large united organisation like Al Qaeda is a furphy. There have always been a variety of disparate groups perpetuating outrages for a variety of reasons. Everyone's almost forgotten that Carlos The Jackal was once the most wanted terrorist in the world and every bit as notorious as Bin Laden who for some obscure reason has remained at large (the most likely reason being he died years ago from kidney failure).

I don't carry your trust in allowing authorities unfettered powers – the very reason I point to similar events preceding WW2 in Germany – they too had amazingly, a similar Dept of Homeland Security – same name, same powers and the same reason given: unseen enemies who were uniting against Germany, usually Communists or socialists and such, but supposedly every bit as organised as it's claimed Al Qaeda is .

It's the oldest tactic in the world and we don't point to the book 1984 as a joke – its central theme was that there was always an "enemy" and for that reason freedoms had to be curtailed. That is the reason given now; that was the reason given by the Nazis in 1935. As the Iraqi War grinds down to a manageable occupation that the US will have to withdraw from, odd isn't it that suddenly Georgia is being propped up and funded by the US and we are getting Cold War 2. In between, we killed a million Vietnamese because of the so-called "domino theory" where country after country would fall to communism. Despite a communist Vietnam, it never happened.

The result is – not so much here although the Haneef affair is proof of not only authorities out of control but, should there be a problem, hopelessly useless as well –the things that are happening in the UK. Children at the age of 8 who apply for a passport (most of them) are required to give fingerprints and DNA, ID cards are to be introduced. Plus all the lunacy in the US with who can and who can't fly on planes, Gitmo etc.

Fascism comes in many forms and as the US politician Huey Long said decades ago :

"If fascism ever comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag. ..."

Well I won't address

Well Michael de Angelos, I won't address the points you make in your scan of historical events, simply because I do not have the time.

I did not say I agreed with the authorities having unfettered powers and would not support such. But I do believe they have to have sufficient powers to do their job properly and without fear or favour. If they make mistakes, then amends should be made to anyone affected.

With my eight year old twin nieces recently moving with their parents to the US for a couple of years, I saw what they had to go through to get visas for the kids. I agree the measure taken to screen kids is pretty pointless and a waste of resources.

I also have problems over the way that poor bloke who wanted to meet his on line friend was treated - instead of getting to see her ended up being arrested and treated as a potential terrorist and then deported. He was entitled to amends, but it seems he will get none and is still a marked person. That is not right.

Ian, that is such tosh

The US were the terrorists who dropped two atom bombs already, nothing changed because the US just kept invading and bombing nations from one end of the world to the other.

As for the terrorists not liking the sanctity of life, give us a break. 52 people in London, 192 in Madrid. That is the sum total of bombs in the western world.

Meanwhile 90 Afghan civilians, mostly kids, were bombed to bits by the US last week alone.

I have had such a gutful of this crap about "them" not wanting to protect life when it is our great big weapons that are slaughtering innocent people by the hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands and in many cases millions.

There but for the grace of God...

Marilyn: "Ian, that is such tosh"

Noted, Marilyn. Noted.

And I stand chastised and corrected.

Michael, it has been an established modus operandum of subversive and terrorist organisations to reject operational centralisation. A central official (eg OBL) or committee can lay out the overall objectives, but centralisation can lead to disaster. The enemy only has to capture vital documents and/or operatives, and the whole thing is gone.

That was not the operational manner of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, and was the reason that the Americans made such fools of themselves by thinking that it was - invading Cambodia in search of the 'Vietcong Headquarters' for a start.

Islamist terrorist groups take their inspiration from Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, but as far as I can see, no orders from him. His operation is appropriately called Al-Qaeda ("The Source"). I don't think that he is just an innocent Islamic prophet, or that there is a CIA plot to set him up and do him in as a fall-guy for 9/11, which the CIA staged itself. Though some would assert the contrary. He has after all, claimed responsibility for 9/11.

I have discussed Middle Eastern issues with many Arabs, and know how passionately hostile they are to Israel, regarding it as an ongoing slap in the face for Arab civilisation. Were I a young man growing up in Gaza today, I would probably be looking to join Hamas. The social pressure to do something, even something hopeless, in the context of a war-created social mess must be enormous. There but for the grace of God go a hell of a lot of us.

Terrorism is a powerful weapon, but it is the weapon of the weak and strategically disadvantaged, not of the strong.

The weak and the strong

So why, Ian MacDougall, do you spend so much time railing against those who use the weapon of the weak, rather than those who use the weapons of the strong?

Call it luck of the draw

Mark Sergeant: "So why, Ian MacDougall, do you spend so much time railing against those who use the weapon of the weak, rather than those who use the weapons of the strong?"

 I don't. Unlike some sections of the Left, I don't have much time for Islamists or what they are trying to achieve. I have lived in two authoritarian Islamic countries. Been there. Done that.

But at the same time, there is little free will in human development. We are largely what other people and our physical environment make us. Call it luck of the draw.

Just because you are weak, it does not make you right. And Saddam Hussein was strong and wrong.

Fair enough

"Al-Zawahri also ridiculed Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group for describing their 2006 summer war with Israel as a victory. "What victory?" he said, according to Al-Jazeera. "Retreating 30 miles backwards?" "

Fair enough.


Michael de Angelos: "What is new is that governments are now using terrible events for their own nefarious means, but we can see it being done if we look hard enough."

If you remember the IRA murder campaigns, you'll also remember that Margaret Thatcher was and still is regularly accused of having used those terrible events for her own nefarious purposes.

For example:

It is little more than a recycling of the strident and dishonest distortions of the Tory press of decades ago, which themselves held back the debate on Ireland and assisted Margaret Thatcher's dreadful policy.

Even today, the IRA's apologists cannot get over the fact that they lost, lost heavily, lost disgracefully, and lost desevervedly.

It's a bit like today's highly principled, peace loving supporters of Hamas and Hezbolla.

Been there, done that

As I lived in London during the IRA campaigns these so-called "terrorist: campaigns" that are going to bring an end to civilisation as we know it are old news for me.

I heard three bombs go off – the one in the Mall that killed some guardsmen and their horses. The resulting images that appeared in the media were horrific. I heard one early morning large dull thud that woke me up – it killed an MP starting his car in nearby Holland Park.

One other where I came across the aftermath when retuning to my home in Notting Hill – it had blown apart the poor bomb defuser in the doorway of Safeways supermarket.

The worst was while walking across Hyde Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon to meet a young journalist friend and his fiancée at Harrods. A huge dull thud and the smoke arising above Harrods confirmed my fears it was a bomb – what I didn't know at the time was my young friend had run towards Harrods’s entrance sensing a story and was blown onto the roof of the store. He was 24.

Despite the recent outrages in London, terrorists’ acts still haven't been as bad as the IRA campaigns.

What is new is that governments are now using terrible events for their own nefarious means, but we can see it being done if we look hard enough. We have history to tell us this is the case and always will be.

Again, one should read the book They Thought They Were Free by a German born writer, Milton Mayer, who details the lead-up in the ordinary lives of Germans to WW2. I keep it has a handy reference book. Pick it up every now and then and the similarities to today are frightening.

Osama not in this year's broadcast

Geez, this has been a busy day.already.

[AP extract]

Monday's video featured clips of al-Qaida operations on various fronts, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, with prominent figures from the movement discoursing on their accomplishments over the year, Al-Jazeera said.

The pan-Arab network did not disclose how it obtained the recording. By late Monday, the video had not surfaced on militant Web sites commonly used as clearing houses for the terror networks' messages.

Remember Ramzy Baroud's piece "The Man with the dyed beard returns" that we republished here around this time last year?


Conspiracy theorists are already up in arms, some questioning whether the character in the video is bin Laden at all, and others wondering why the tape was promoted by a US terrorist watch group - SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) Intelligence Group - even before its release by Reuters, and why it didn't make it directly to the various extremist websites first, as is usually the case.

Last time it was White House contractors giving the footage to the Bush Administration for early release.  This time, done smarter by giving it to Al Jazeerah?


Actually, Jenny, I thought the show presented a balanced view of both schools of thought without an opinion being superimposed by the journalist, and as such a rare event in this particular line of research. However, having seen the vehement level of debate that has arisen here before, being bogged down into an insurmountable impasse by zealots on both sides, I support the ban so will leave it there.

The anniversaries are a different matter. Parkin and the al Qaeda Australia-threatener in 2005, the unprovable gel-bombers in 2006, Osama (in a spectacular intelligence-gathering compromise) in 2007....

And, for the final September 11 marker in Bush's Presidential career, we'll have (the reports weren't out when I finally got to bed) the announcement of Bush's withdrawal of troops to Iraq and a US resurgence in Afghanistan. Mission Accomplished, again. Of course, some will see the timing of the announcement as entirely coincidental.

I've been running a "dirty bomb" newsfeed into Google News for about 18 months now, and haven't seen a shred of anything more than supposition that Islamic extremists would use such a method of attack. And since the notion has now had oxygen for ten years, I would have expected more by now than agitative rhetoric from unnamed sources and aspirant neocon politicians.

Ian, after all the Haneef bungles would you accept a mandated security crackdown in an emergency? It sounds as if you would, and this surprises me. Our intelligence and law enforcement services have demonstrated themselves to have methodologies that are inefficient and politically corruptible. You'll trust them to do the right thing after a radiological attack. Personally, I expect to be imprisoned, but I'll be far from alone.

Bungles and circles

Richard: "Ian, after all the Haneef bungles would you accept a mandated security crackdown in an emergency? It sounds as if you would, and this surprises me."

I honestly don't know if Haneef was involved in something or not. The fact is that no case against him could be proved to the court's satisfaction, and so he was released, which is as it should be. We are not boiled frogs yet.

A relevant case here is that of bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, which was a terrorist act performed in New Zealand by an agency of the French government, and was rightly regarded at the time as an act of war. As Chris Masters showed in Four Corners, the bombers, once they landed illicitly in NZ after sailing from New Caledonia, could not put a foot right. It was not that they lacked appropriate training. They lacked training for New Zealand, where everyone makes it their business to know everyone else's, and strangers are an object of extreme curiosity and meticulous note. The police nabbed the bombers before they could get out of the country, and the rest is history, including PM David Lange's subsequent craven and inexcusable capitulation to French economic blackmail. Result: the bombers got off just about scot-free.

This was a textbook case of a whole society responding to terrorism (by another state against their own), not just an attacked state responding by itself.

There can be little doubt that the logic of the Islamist position is the finding and use of WMD. The day after the first WMD goes off, target societies will have a choice of either becoming very much more like New Zealand, or more like Nazi Germany. Following the New Zealand model, there will be searches for suspicious outsiders, with everyone involved. Following the Nazi German model, there will be a search for treacherous insiders by the Gestapo, with concentration camps rapidly filling. That will be the choice, and I know which one I would prefer, and with habeas corpus , presumption of innocence and all the rest of it still in place.

The irony of it all is that it is a closed circle. Why do we have Al-Quaeda? I can answer that in one word: Israel. Why do we have Israel? In a word, Hitler.

He very skilfully assisted a huge number of Germans to come to the view that their country's loss in WW1 was due to treacherous insiders.

Indeed it was Richard

Indeed Richard, the 4 Corners coverage was balanced and I did not say it wasn't. It does make a nice change to be allowed to make up one's own mind rather than being told what to believe by the reporters though a totally biased presentation. 

I thought the views of the controlled demolition experts in regard to building 7 was compelling, as was the point made about competency and secrecy.  

The fact that there has not been any dirty bomb to date does not negate the viewpoint that terrorists bent on as much death and destruction as they can effect will go after the best means of achieving that objective. I cannot believe that there is anything not on the terrorists shopping list, least of all items such as radioactive materials, with their potential for mass destruction. Such fit their goal perfectly. If you don't agree why not? Just because to date they have not managed to get hold of such?

Michael de Angelos, as bad as the IRA bombings were, they were not anywhere near on the scale of 9/11 or the Madrid train, or Bali. And you were dealing with a localised politicial and religious confict that did have some hope of resolution.  Islamic terrorists have a rather broader goal. and are not confined to one corner of the world. They pose a much greater threat over a much wider area and likely will be around now for a very long time.

I rather equate the IRA with the Tamil Tigers in terms of goals and their methods toward achieving those goals were not dissimilar. But the Tamil issue is also localised. Similarly the Basque separatist movement. None of these posed, or now poses, any sort of global threat. 

Of course ethnic disputes and violence can be carried to other countries through immigration, as we saw with the Serb/Croat conflicts in Australia, but again, they are targeting each other, not the general populace. The IRA only took the fight to the UK public because of the British government's role in Northern Ireland. They did not try and bomb Manhattan or Sydney or Madrid or anywhere else on the globe  to make a point. 

Security vs presumption of innocence

After 9/11, Bali, Madrid, Jakarta, Glasgow and a host of bombings in other places, there can be little doubt about the desire of terrorist groups to create maximum mayhem.

We have a difficult balancing act: to preserve the presumption of innocence while at the same time stopping the terrorists before they kill.

The day after the first nuclear device goes off in a crowded location anywhere, it will be a different world. Security will trump presumption of innocence and security forces will get unprecedented powers to arrest and detain. As the terrorists have no time for democracy, that will fit in well with their plans anyway.

Never ever?

Scaremongering is just that and most people, including me, just get on with their lives, expecting that today will be much the same as yesterday, and it probably will be.

I guess those in the twin towers went to work with exactly the same sense of continuity of life. Like us, they put their faith in an assumption that those charged with protecting them from this sort of event knew how to do their job, and were doing it. Those on the London and Madrid trains no doubt were similarly comforted in assuming much the same.

But nothing is guaranteed in this world, never has been and since 9/11 probably is even less so. But most of us will just get on with our lives and hope for the best, hope that people are doing their jobs on our behalf.

The advent of Islamic terrorism has made life just that much more uncertain, more so in some areas of the world than others.

There is no doubt that Islamic terrorists (like all terrorists) are fanatics. Their strategy is to cause as much death and destruction that they can in any one terrorist act as possible, and they are quite happy to go out with the bang themselves. And they do not differentiate between us and their fellow Muslims, if they believe the latter are not adhering rigidly enough to their faith. They have proven that often enough. Not even pilgrims on Haj are safe.

Now if I was one of such mind, I would think the acquisition of nuclear materials to make dirty bombs to spread as much fear and panic and hopefully death as possible would be right up there on my agenda.

So I find it hard to believe that that is not high on any meeting agenda of such minded people. And nuclear Pakistan, as unstable as it is, and hosting, no matter how reluctantly, more than its share of crazies, is probably the country to be most concerned about in terms of security of materials.

Any notion that the crazies will never ever go after radioactive materials is just naive in my view.

So I hope the security people around the world are treating this sort of threat very seriously. And if they are not, and it does happen, then one thing is certain, they will be the first to be blamed for incompetence by the general public in whatever country takes the first hit.

If the murder of Litvenko showed us anything, it showed us how silently someone bent on using radioactive materials to kill can move around a big city undetected and undeterred.

I say let the security services around the world do their job. I can't imagine it is easy. They will at times make mistakes simply because it is a situation where the precautionary principle is going to take priority, whether we agree with that or not. The possible other outcomes if they get it wrong, are proven I would have thought.

Saw the 9/11 4 Corners program last night. Margo's policy for WD on that issue is right in my view, that is, Webdiary will not host discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories (or Holocaust denial for that matter).

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