Terrorism is actually DECLINING, so why all the hoopla??greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
From the AP newswire:
Statistics Show Terrorism Declining
By The Associated Press
The heightened U.S. concern over terrorism and the intense drive to fortify American missions in the wake of recent threats comes at a time when statistics indicate terrorism in general, and state-sponsored terrorism in particular, is on the decline.
Total terrorist strikes last year were at a 20-year low -- 273 compared with a peak of 666 in 1987.
Seven countries remain on the State Department's list of international terrorism sponsors: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
But the State Department's latest assessments indicate softened attitudes towards each:
--Cuba is no longer accused of supporting armed struggle in Latin America. The Clinton administration denies any warming of relations but is promoting contacts between Americans and Cubans through increased commercial flights and other actions.
--Iran has a president perceived as a moderate and the administration has refused to embrace opponents trying to topple the regime.
--Libya finally has handed over two suspects for a Netherlands trial in the 1989 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.
--North Korea has not been linked to an international terrorist incident since 1987, and the United States is trying to ease into better relationships with an agreement to end any nuclear weapons program.
--Syria's last known export of terrorism was in 1986, and improved relations are a likely goal in the renewed effort to foster Mideast peace.
--Sanctions were eased last month against Iran, Libya and Sudan to allow American companies to sell them some farm products, medicine and medical equipment.
-- Roland (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 05, 1999
It could be that intelligence agencies have information about what terroists are planning.
It could be that an emergency is needed to justify further encrouchments on our civil liberties.
It could be that more dog wagging is required to divert attention away from the "Chinagate" scandel.
-- eyes_open (email@example.com), August 05, 1999.
Roland they are coming. There is a planned orchestrated attack in the oven. The CIA is busting some of it but far from all of it. Notice Cohen's warning below. It is not if but when.
Byliner: Preparing For A Grave New World
(By William S. Cohen) (1210)
(Mr. Cohen is the Secretary of Defense. The following op-ed column by him appeared in The Washington Post July 26. COPYRIGHT: 07/26/99 -- Public Domain -- no republication restrictions. Please Credit the Washington Post.)
In recent months, the eyes of the world have rightly focused on the threat to American interest and values in the Balkans. At the same time, we cannot afford a national case of farsightedness that precludes us from focusing on threats closer to home, such as the potential danger of a chemical or biological attack on U.S. soil.
The United States now faces something of a superpower paradox. Our supremacy in the conventional arena is prompting adversaries to seek unconventional, asymmetric means to strike our Achilles' heel. At least 25 countries, including Iraq and North Korea, now have -- or are in the process of acquiring and developing -- weapons of mass destruction. Of particular concern is the possible persistence in some foreign military arsenals of smallpox, the horrific infectious virus that decimated entire nations down the ages and against which the global population is currently defenseless.
Also looming is the chance that these terror weapons will find their way into the hands of individuals and independent groups -- fanatical terrorists and religious zealots beyond our borders, brooding loners and self-proclaimed apocalyptic prophets at home.
This is not hyperbole. It is reality. Indeed, past may be prologue. In 1995 the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo used sarin gas in its attack on the Tokyo subway and also planned to unleash anthrax against U.S. forces in Japan. Those behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were also gathering the ingredients for a chemical weapon that could have killed thousands. In the past year, dozens of threats to use chemical or biological weapons in the United States have turned out to be hoaxes. Someday, one will be real.
What would that day look like? A biological agent would sink into the respiratory and nervous systems of the afflicted. The speed and scope of modern air travel could carry this highly contagious virus across hemispheres in hours. Indeed, the invisible contagion would be neither geographically nor numerically limited, infecting unsuspecting thousands -- with many, in turn, communicating the virus to whomever they touch.
The march of the contagion could accelerate astoundingly, with doctors offering little relief. Hospitals would become warehouses for the dead and the dying. A plague more monstrous than anything we have experienced could spread with all the irrevocability of ink on tissue paper. Ancient scourges would quickly become modern nightmares.
Welcome to the grave New World of terrorism -- a world in which traditional notions of deterrence and counter-response no longer apply. Perpetrators may leave no postmark or return address -- no tell-tale signs of a missile launch, no residue of TNT that can be traced to a construction site, no rental truck receipts leading to the foolhardy suspects. In fact, their place of business may be a number of countries that are conducting bioengineering under the guise of pharmaceutical research. Penicillin for the poor, or ebola for the enemy? Who is to say, and with what deterrent is America left?
Preparation is itself a deterrent. By minimizing the death and destruction would-be terrorists hope to spawn, we reduce the likelihood they will even try. Yet a chemical or biological strike on American soil could quickly surpass any community's ability to cope.
As part of a federal interagency effort launched last year by President Clinton and led by the National Security Council, the Defense Department is doing its part to prepare the nation for the catastrophic consequences of an attack that unleashes these horrific weapons. Because it has long prepared to face this grim possibility on the battlefield, the military has unique capabilities to offer in the domestic arena as well.
Several core principles are guiding our efforts. First, any military assistance in the wake of a domestic attack must be in support of the appropriate federal civilian authority -- either the Department of Justice or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Second, an unequivocal and unambiguous chain of responsibility, authority and accountability for that support must exist. Third, military assistance should not come at the expense of our primary mission -- fighting and winning our nation's wars. A special Task Force for Civil Support is being created to ensure that we have the military assets necessary to help respond domestically while still meeting our foremost mission.
Fourth, our military response efforts will be grounded primarily in the National Guard and Reserve. In contrast to their more familiar role of reinforcing active-duty forces overseas, our guard and reserve are the forward-deployed forces here at home. Special National Guard teams are being positioned around the nation to advise and assist communities upon request.
Finally, we must not and trample on American lives and liberties in the name of preserving them. Fears about the military's role in domestic affairs are unfounded, as evidenced by a long history of reasonable and successful military support to communities ravaged by natural disasters, such as fire and flood.
As in the past, any military support will be precisely that -- support. Both legal and practical considerations demand it. The Posse Comitatus Act and the Defense Department's implementing policies are clear -- the military is not to conduct domestic law enforcement without explicit statutory authority, and we strongly believe no changes should be made to Posse Comitatus. Also clear is that the military's unique assets are most valuable when used to supplement -- not supplant -- continuing federal, state or local efforts. This is one of the reasons we are helping to train the local emergency "first responders" in 120 cities under a program mandated by Congress and now being transferred to the Justice Department.
But merely managing the consequences of an attack is not sufficient. We must be vigilant in seeking to interdict and defeat the efforts of those who seek to inflict mass destruction on us. This will require greater international cooperation, intelligence collection abroad and information gathering by law enforcement agencies at home. Information is clearly power, and greater access to information will require the American people and their elected officials to find the proper balance between privacy and protection.
There need be no fear or foreboding by the American people of the preparations of their government. On the contrary, the greater threat to our civil liberties stems from the chaos and carnage that might result from an attack for which we had failed to prepare and the demands for action that would follow.
Mere months before the attack on Pearl Harbor shocked America out of its slumber, Walter Lippmann wrote, "Millions will listen to, and prefer to believe, those who tell them that they need not rouse themselves, and that all will be well if only they continue to do all the pleasant and profitable and comfortable things they would like to do best."
The race is on between our preparations and those of our adversaries. We are preparing for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on American soil because we must. There is not a moment to lose.
(Mr. Cohen is the Secretary of Defense.)
-- BB (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 05, 1999.
And here is more from Nyquist:
We have recently been hit with a wave of curious stories. For example, there recently appeared a report about illegal immigration from Mexico. Strangely, it wasn't about Mexican illegal immigrants. It was about OTMs -- Other Than Mexicans -- slinking across our southern frontier. Apparently the United States Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors, over the past two years, have apprehended 119 mainland Chinese, 31 Bulgarians, 15 Cubans, 10 Lebanese, 10 Poles, nine Filipinos, nine Indians, seven Iranians, six Romanians, and six Russians. What's so curious about these figures? China, Bulgaria, Cuba, Poland, Romania and Russia -- six of the ten countries mentioned -- are part of the "former" Communist bloc. Of the OTMs caught trying to penetrate that particular sector of the U.S. border, 187 out of 222 were either from Communist countries or "former" Communist countries.
Here's another interesting story: The Russian General Staff is preparing for a large military exercise called "Combat Commonwealth 99." This giant war game will involve forces from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan. The drill will commence with operations carried out by the Air and Air Defense forces. The exercise will simulate defense against a missile strike on the "former" Soviet Union (now dubbed the "Commonwealth of Independent States").
Here is another curious story: Last Saturday Russian news sources told of a high level Kremlin meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin. The meeting was about improved methods for protecting the Russian people in the event of a thermonuclear war. Sources reported that a new civil defense doctrine was being prepared. Itar-Tass said, "Participants at the meeting believe that protection of the population is the most important task of the state."
Another curious fact reared its head in Khabarovsk, Russia, last Sunday. According to railway chief Aleksandr Strelnik, the amount of freight hauled on Russia's Far Eastern Railway has recently jumped by 49 percent. No explanation was offered for this increase. As you might guess, tourists are not exactly flocking to Siberia, and the local economy is said to be stagnant. Of course, the Russian Far East is noted for being one of the world's largest repositories of mothballed tanks, self-propelled guns, armored personnel carriers, hydrogen bombs and missiles. A dramatic increase in Siberian rail traffic could mean that the repository is being tapped.
Here's another item: Last Sunday they were celebrating Airborne Trooper Day in Moscow. General Aleksandr Lebed, himself an old paratrooper, attended the festivities and offered an alarming prediction about growing unrest in the North Caucasus (i.e., Chechnya). Lebed said that "complications in the North Caucasus might lead to a state of emergency in the whole of Russia."
On Monday, the day after the general's statement, there was a huge gun battle in the North Caucasus between "bandits" and Russian authorities, leaving 10 dead and several wounded.
And yet another odd story appears: Adm. Dennis Blair, commander in chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific, met with members of Congress and congressional aides last week. According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, Adm. Blair referred to Taiwan as "the turd in the punchbowl." On the subject of defending Taiwan in the event of a Communist invasion, Adm. Blair was quoted as saying: "I don't think we should support them at all."
Anyone familiar with the military knows that a ranking admiral wouldn't dare make statements of this kind unless supported by the president. If any top commander ever says something political that goes against policy, then he is sure to be slapped down. And that leads us to what recently happened to Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO supreme commander.
Well, he's not supreme for long.
It appears that Gen. Clark did something rather foolish last month when he testified before a Senate committee about the Russians capturing Pristina airport. When asked why he'd been caught off guard by the Russian march on Pristina, Clark replied that he hadn't been caught off guard. According to Clark, a higher authority had purposely allowed Pristina to fall to the Russians.
Uh oh. This was a naughty thing to have said. Everybody knows that only one authority stands higher than a four star general. It's not nice to imply that the president was to blame for the most embarrassing debacle of the Balkan campaign. Obviously, this could not go unpunished. So it wasn't surprising when President Clinton retaliated by cutting short General Clark's term as supreme NATO commander by two months.
Worse yet, a story was leaked to Newsweek suggesting that Clark had risked World War III by ordering an air assault to grab Pristina before the Russians could reach it. Clark's subordinate, British Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson, refused to carry out the order.
So now Gen. Clark -- who was Clinton's dromedary in NATO -- is now Clinton's whipping boy. From henceforth Clark is to be depicted as an irresponsible warmonger who almost unleashed a global holocaust.
What a wonderful twist. The president pushes NATO into an act of aggression against a Slavic country. He enrages the Russian people, he enables Russia to mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops, he uses up precious cruise missiles bombing a country that has no significance for our national security, then he allows the Russians to capture the most significant facility in the contested province. When this is pointed out by Gen. Clark -- bang, crash, kaboom. Smoke curls up from a smoldering Clark.
Odd facts feed on each other, they multiply, and they bring us further oddities. Last month President Clinton enacted sanctions against those who were once called "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan. He failed to oppose U.N. sanctions against anti-Communist rebels in Angola. He also declined to support Colombia's request for $ 500 million to fight Communist insurgents who now control 40 percent of that Latin American country. All across the board there are these curious little facts.
Earlier this week China test-fired a new ballistic missile weapon, the DF-31. It is road mobile and was made possible by Chinese thefts of U.S. nuclear and missile technology. These thefts were facilitated by the lax security measures of the Clinton administration.
Another curious tidbit: President Clinton's press conference last month was weird. He joked and clowned with the press like a giddy teenager. He rested his chin playfully on the palm of his hand. He grinned from ear to ear. He even cackled.
No doubt there is something funny going on. But I'm not laughing.
J.R. Nyquist is a WorldNetDaily contributing editor and author of 'Origins of the Fourth World War.'
-- BB (email@example.com), August 05, 1999.
And don't leave out North Korea
This from the Drudge Report: "North Korea's official news agency on Tuesday warned that there is 'no guarantee for the safety of the U.S. mainland when the U.S. ignites a war against the north in the Korean peninsula.' The threat came on the same day North Korea acknowledged for the first time that it is preparing to test a missile. U.S. military officials now believe that North Korea could, within the next few weeks, test a Taepodong 2 missile -- a powerful new rocket with a range of 3,800 to 6,000 miles that would put Alaska or Hawaii within its reach. The United States has threatened to use 'all available means' if North Korea goes ahead with a Taepodong 2 test. Wednesday's NEW YORK TIMES, which leads with a N. Korea story, runs quotes predicting that if a Korean missile should fall in Japanese territory, and particularly cause casualties or some destruction, Japan, with the help of the U.S., could then 'destroy North Korean missile sites.' The Korean Central News Agency warned:, 'A war on the Korean peninsula is neither a war like a military drill of unilateral offensive as in Yugoslavia and Iraq nor a dispute like a simple conflict. A war here is a large thermo-nuclear war in which more than a thousand nuclear bombs with explosive power of 13,000 kilotons deployed in South Korea will go off and a world war which will soon escalate beyond the Korean peninsula.'" ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------
-- Johnny (JLJTM@BELLSOUTH.NET), August 05, 1999.
The calm before the storm?
-- Mumsie (Shezdremn@aol.com), August 05, 1999.
Some Experts Say Government Officials Overstate Computer Threats
Could cyber-terrorists devastate the United States, using computers as weapons?
By David Ruppe, ABCNEWS.com Aug. 4 Beware the next Pearl Harbor! It wont come by sea, air, or land. The next great threat against America could come by computer.
At least thats what top Clinton administration officials say while trying to drum up national awareness about attempts to hack into U.S. government and private sector computer systems what they call cyber-terrorism. But some computer security experts say the administrations rhetoric sounds more like a cyber-hoax, and is being used to justify more tax dollars for national security, increase the powers of the federal government and line the pockets of computer security consultants.
There is no compelling evidence that the menace exists on the scale that they say it does, says George Smith, editor of The Crypt online newsletter, which attempts to debunk myths about Internet hacking...
-- Mac (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 06, 1999.