Sunday, June 2, 2013

Boston, London, Paris jihad attacks: all the jihad murderers had been flagged to law enforcement but deemed not to be a priority

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

This is the price of the Obama Administration's willful ignorance about the jihad threat -- and that of the Cameron and Hollande governments. They lie to themselves and to the public about the beliefs and goals of the jihadists. They apparently believe their own lies as well, and those lies hamstring their ability to resist the jihad.

"Intel dilemma in Boston, London, Paris attacks," by Lori Hinnant for the Associated Press, May 31:
PARIS (AP) - Intelligence agencies that have succeeded in thwarting many of al-Qaida's plans for spectacular attacks are struggling to combat the terror network's strategy of encouraging followers to keep to themselves, use off-the-shelf weapons and strike when they see an opportunity. 
In recent weeks - at the Boston Marathon, in the streets of London and in the shadow of one of Paris' most recognizable monuments - young men allegedly carried out attacks with little help, using inexpensive, widely available knives and explosives from everyday ingredients. In each of the attacks, suspects had previously been flagged to law enforcement and deemed not to be a priority.

A tough debate is raging within the intelligence community - previously focused on searching for al-Qaida cells - on how to assess red flags without violating basic liberties.
Confronting an overwhelming sea of mostly harmless individuals who act suspiciously, authorities are still struggling with questions about how and how much to keep tabs on people who spout jihadist rhetoric online or buy material that could be used to make explosives - or something innocuous.
A French government report last week recommended a radical new approach in light of the 2012 terror in which a French-born radical Muslim attacked French paratroopers and a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing seven people. It called for an overhaul of the country's intelligence networks to combat the rising threat of militants working alone outside established terror networks.
One of the report's advisers, academic Mathieu Guidere, said last week's attack showed that intelligence services haven't learned their lesson.
"They're not originally made for fighting against this kind of threat. They're intended to fight against cells, against groups, against organizations, but not against individuals," he said. "It's a question of adapting. That's why there are the same errors in Boston, London and France. There was identification - but not detention - before the suspects passed into the realm of action."
Easier said than done, counters David Omand, who served as Britain's first security and intelligence coordinator.
"No reliable psychological test or checklist has been devised that can predict when such an individual may tip over into actually taking violent action," Omand said in an emailed response to questions from The Associated Press. "Short of a police state on East German lines the number of such individuals who can be subject to very intensive surveillance sufficient to detect preparations for violent action is but a small proportion of the total - and of course individuals can flip quickly even where they have been checked out previously."
Still, British, French and American officials are re-examining whether opportunities might have been lost in the run-up to the recent attacks....
Of course opportunities were lost. These politically correct Keystone Kops are forbidden to understand the motives and goals of the enemy. How can they possibly devise realistic ways to counter that enemy?
For its part, the U.S. government has emphasized that local communities are most likely to spot unusual or suspicious behavior, and has encouraged more outreach to communities that might be vulnerable to radicalization. The federal government has led a nationwide suspicious activity reporting campaign and trained local police to identify potential terror-related activities. 
"The best way to prevent violent extremism inspired by violent jihadists is to work with the Muslim American community - which has consistently rejected terrorism - to identify signs of radicalization and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting toward violence," President Barack Obama said in a recent speech.
Call on the foxes to guard the henhouse. Good strategy.
Clearly, al-Qaida has placed a big bet on the lone wolf model as its own best hope of success. 
The first issue of al-Qaida's in-house magazine, Inspire, in 2010 called on recruits to avoid plotting with others, to strike near home and to use whatever weapons were at hand. In all three recent attacks - allegedly by young radical Muslims in the U.S., Britain and France - that advice seemed to be followed nearly to the letter.
Outside Paris, a young Frenchman who converted to Islam in his late teens was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stabbing a soldier with a locally purchased pocketknife in the La Defense business area, near a modernized version of the Arc de Triomphe.
Intelligence officials had been tracking the suspect, 22-year-old Alexandre Dhaussy, for several years. But the intelligence - including his refusal in 2011 to take a job that would place him in contact with women and preaching on the street in 2009 - never got bumped up to a national level, according to a statement by the French National Police headquarters late Wednesday.
He simply didn't "fit the profile of a jihadist," said France's highest security official, Manuel Valls....
How would he possibly know that? His government, like that of the U.S. and Britain and all governments in the West, is committed to unreality, fantasy and wishful thinking about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. U.S. intelligence officials are forbidden to study Islam and jihad in any connection with terrorism. So how would Valls, or any of them, possibly know what the profile of a jihadist really is?

Can't stand father like son

“Sometimes conservatives get tagged as being against all government,” said Sen. Rand Paul at a Reagan Library event the other day. “I’m not against all government. I’m actually for $2.6 trillion dollars worth,” he said. “I’m for spending what comes in, but nothing in excess of what comes in.”

Yes, he’s running for the presidency. You can tell, because he’s appealing directly to the masses of Americans who, not without some reason, like big government but are afraid of “out-of-control” government. He’s trying to stake out a middle ground, a “common sense” ground.

Alas, it’s more a muddle ground than a middle ground, and it’s not very sensible.

On the face of it, he sounds reasonable: Unbalanced budgets are a huge problem, a looming threat to America’s future. His idea? Stop deficit spending. Just spend what the government takes in as normal revenue.

What could be more commonsensical than that?

This should be the bipartisan, transpartisan norm. Something we can all agree upon.

Washington insiders, of course, hate such talk, because it would curb their spending, and suggest a whole different way to manage “the economy” than the current “method.” But regular Americans, of all parties, know that debt cannot accumulate and grow forever, and that priorities demand some sacrifice. This is not “austerity” so much as . . . real world budgeting.

But, as basic as it is, it’s something of an illusion.

Time Is Not On Our Side

Federal revenue, not including loans, amounts to $2.6 trillion. So, if the government spent that amount, we’d be fine, right?

This year. But next year, the amount to spend will grow, and the year after, it will grow further.

Why? Because spending is driven, in no small part, by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obamacare (the last is not an official department, of course).

Such “entitlement” spending depends on claims made by citizens: citizens retiring, or citizens going to the doctor, hospital, or pharmacist. The current entitlement system is set up to grow and grow and grow. So a simple “I like 2.6 trillion dollars’ worth of government” mantra means almost nothing.

The spending target is a moving target. To meet rising demands of the entitlement system, either taxes will have to be raised dramatically, other government services cut dramatically, or the entitlement system reformed dramatically.

That’s too much drama for any consensus based on a vacuous “$2.6 trillion-sized government” slogan. Any one of those three solutions would hurt some folks, a combination of all three would find huge outcries of unreasoning complaint.

Time is not on the side of a “centrist” solution. The time for simple, don’t-rock-the-boat solutions is long over. Major change would be epochal. Such a change will require more than a flip “winnable” attitude and political stance.

The Implausibility of Rational Policy

Rand Paul wants to “change current perceptions” of what it means to be a conservative or a Republican. While it’s true that neither conservatism nor Republicanism implies anarchism (what a shocker) the idea that conservatives should support the general structure and set of proportions of the current federal government is not plausible. There is no reason to believe that even half of the federal union’s current policies — as concocted by congressional aides in conjunction with special interests, voted on by distracted and preening representatives and senators, signed into law by pompous, know-nothing windbags in the White House, and then multiplied by bureaucrats in the Executive Branch’s too-numerous departments and bureaus — are anything like good or efficacious, much less just.

Most policies do harm — far more harm than good. Indeed, new legislation and new regulations proliferate largely to correct the negative results of previous regulations, prohibitions and giveaways. And, in the course of this ballooning mass of chicane-cum-governance, little gets repealed. The burdensome mass of atrocious government policy just accumulates.

It was shown long ago that policies cannot be consistent, over time, in a democracy. Mathematically proved. But our common experience shows the situation is much worse than predicted. Policies are incoherent, fighting against each other, canceling each other out, or worse. And the regulations alone make a mockery of the rule of law.

The federal government is a far bigger mess than implied by Kentucky’s junior senator’s politic formulation.

Taxes Are Still Too High

Of course, the senator recognizes all this. He knows that government is a mess. He knows there’s too much spending. Though it’s obvious he carefully formulated his rubric to unstop the clogged minds of his opponents, I’m sure that Senator Rand knows something even more basic:


Taxes are a drain on our pocketbooks, and a drain on “the economy.” Though politicians like to use taxation as a means of social engineering, and progressives are constantly tempted to use taxes as a means of class warfare, both these strategies backfire. We’re left with the wisdom of the great economist Jean-Baptiste Say: “A tax can never be favorable to the public welfare, except by the good use that is made of its proceeds.” And:
The best scheme of finance is, to spend as little as possible; and the best tax is always the lightest.
All current tax revenues offer us is an upper limit for spending, not any sort of justification.

That’s surely what Rand Paul was driving at. One would think that the essence of conservatism would be to maintain more skepticism about government spending than the mere insistence upon an upper limit.

What members of the Republican Party make of such skepticism is another matter, of course. A political party is a tribe set to win elections. And the standard reason to join a tribe like that is to distribute the spoils of conquest.

And it is because of this aspect of politics that government grows. Even beyond Rand Paul’s too-generous upper limit.

A Tale of Two Presidents

Who is the real Barack Obama? Had the media done its job in 2008 we’d have a sense of the man. But it didn’t, so, even after five years in office, he remains an enigma.

We’ve been told he’s one of the smartest men to ever occupy 1600 Pennsylvania, but we only have the word of fawning sycophants to back that up. He’s been called a brilliant, hands-on manager and a policy wonk, but the extent of his brilliance reaches only to the teleprompter screen. Off script, like nearly every Hollywood actor, he comes across quite dim.

Barack Obama loves running for president. He loves the trappings of being president. He’s just not much of a fan of the work that comes with the job.

His administration now marinating in scandals, the man his media allies told us was so smart he didn’t need to get his daily security briefing in person – he could just read his experts’ memos – has been exposed for the all-too-average man he has been all along.

The revelation the president learned from the media his Internal Revenue Service had been profiling Americans based on their political and religious beliefs while his senior staff had known for weeks stripped away the last shred of fabric on the genius emperor myth. (The word “profiling” is important, not only because it’s accurate but also because it’s exactly what liberals disdain and call bigotry when it comes to national security.) If that story is to be believed, the president of the United States was deliberately kept ignorant of information by the very people he most trusts to keep him informed. This is a dangerous development…if it’s true.

The president told a similar tale on Benghazi. Four Americans were killed during a 7- to 8-hour attack while the president was AWOL, and he claimed he’d learned whistleblowers were being blocked by his own administration from testifying about it. Who’s running the store?

There’s little doubt this president – any president – can’t be kept up to date on everything happening in the federal government. Former Obama advisor David Axelrod was right – it’s just too huge for any one person to know all that’s happening. But the president sets the tone and appoints people who are supposed to keep him abreast of the big picture. But how does the IRS scandal and the first murder of an American ambassador since 1979 not rate his full attention?

But that mystery isn’t so veiled when you think about it.

The president of the United States isn’t going to give a direct order to sic the IRS on a group of people anymore than he would order the break in of his political opponents’ headquarters. But he can set the tone where, with a wink and a nod, people close to him can feel comfortable encouraging it.

He’d never have to order State Department officials to hinder whistleblowers; he’d simply have in place rabidly loyal partisans who know what’s expected of them. Plausible deniability isn’t just a horrible band name, it’s a way of life in this White House.

While there may not be a direct line of orders from the Oval Office leading to the actions of his subordinates, the president was the direct beneficiary of, and motivation for, the actions of those who abused their power. These scandals are a direct result of supporters of the president using their positions of trust and authority to harm the president’s opponents and keep him in office, which, yes, does put them on par with Watergate.

Iran-Contra did not aid President Reagan in any political way; it was designed to do what Democrats didn’t want done –fight communists in Central America. Even Bill Clinton’s sexcapades weren’t exposed until after he’d won reelection and, although perjury is a serious crime, his was of little national consequence. Watergate and what we’re seeing exposed in Washington now were all to the political benefit of the president on whose watch they occurred.

The delay of 501(c)(4) status for many groups that would have helped educate and motivate voters hindered the opposition to the president. The lies and stifling of the truth in the Benghazi cover-up aided the president by not exposing his fecklessness as a leader in a time of crisis. Though the extent to which the administration had gone to punish government workers who’d leaked information not approved for leaking (meaning information that didn’t reflect favorably on the president) and the journalists who’d reported it, the fact they were punishing leakers was well known to those with access to information damaging to the president. Leaks making him look strong, such as his drone “kill list,” were given by high-level officials to the New York Times; inconvenient stories were met with prosecutions for those who told them.

The extent to which this collaboration between government power and progressive activism masquerading as bureaucratic action affected the 2012 election can only be speculated about, but its significance cannot be brushed aside. Nor can the fact people in positions of trust and authority, people who knew better and acted contrary to their duty anyway for their political agenda, violated their constitutional duties. Time will tell whether this was done with Barack Obama’s knowledge, on his orders or simply inspired by him, but it makes little difference. The president of the United States was the ultimate and direct beneficiary of illegal, immoral and unethical actions of people he either oversees, appointed or has promoted since their actions benefitted him.

No matter which president we have, the hands-on mastermind or the indifferent slacker, the actions of him and the people around him make a third-rate burglary seem quaint.