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Lone Wolf, Terrorism

First appeared on BitsBlog.  – Ed.

There’s an interesting trend developing in open to foreign policy, and it’s been there since the outset;  sense Obama speech in Cairo Egypt, his supposed Arab reset, Arab Spring phenomenon and so on, every single attack on our interests, every loss of life, has been labeled a “Lone Wolf” Attack.  Te Obama administration invested quite a bit in the way of news cycles to prepare us for the idea that these were going to be “lone Wolf attacks, and not organized attacks by a AlQuieda or some other agency.

Consider for example Janet Napolitano, who advanced this idea quite a while back. Consider her speech at a Chamber of Commerce event in August of 2011:

WASHINGTON — “Lone wolf” terror plots are on the rise and are “much more difficult to intercept” than the major coordinated effort that went into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.

In a speech at a Chamber of Commerce event, Napolitano said the U.S. has a “layered system of security that would give us multiple ways to deter” an attack like the one a decade ago in which airplanes were weaponized.

“What we see now is smaller plots,” she said. “We are also seeing a rise of activities by individuals who are actually in the country, and they are acting by themselves and that kind of attack is the most difficult to prevent because there is nothing to intercept.”

Napolitano’s comments echoed what President Obama said in an interview Tuesday in discussing the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11.

The FBI and Homeland Security sent a bulletin late Tuesday to local and state law enforcement agencies and obtained by Fox News that warns of potential lone wolf threats to the U.S., specifically “small arms operations.

Certainly, this argument sounded plausible, at least arguable,  at the time.  It also served to exonerate, in advance, the failed foreign policy of Mr. Obama and company.  After all, if these are lone- wolf attacks, they can certainly not be blamed on the White House for its ineffective dealings with organizations such as AlQuieda. With such excuses and mislablings in place, Obama can still claim his foreign policy effective and his leftist worldview accurate.

The idea of a terrorist single actors as opposed to an organization of terrorists is somewhat more mysterious, unknowable, and untraceable.  On that basis, the concept is hard to disprove. That’s a point that gave Obama certain level of cover until these most recent attacks. That cover is now gone.

It should be noted that the logic employed by the Obama administration in it’s self-defense in these matters, is on it’s face absurd, and unconstitutional.

A comparison does seem in order.;  If I was to go to a museum where the supposed work of art displayed here, (“Piss Christ, where the supposed artist dumped a Crucifix in a bottle of his own urine) On my arrival at the museum where this is displayed , I murder the curator of the museum and a few of his staff,  and blow the place up to display my disgust would Mr. Obama suggest that the whole thing occurred because Andrew Serrano, the supposed artist, had abused his free speech rights?  Somehow, I don’t think his concern for free speech extends quite so far.

Yet, Obama has tried to convince us that the issue, the cause of all this,  is a piece of film that nobody has ever seen…. save for the trailer of the thing… which has subsequently been removed unconstitutionally from YouTube…. basically, a piece of art, and of free speech.  And, protected under the first amendment to the Constitution of these United States.  Yet Obama’s first response is to send out the brown shirts… literally!… to round up this film maker at 2am, to silence not only him but anyone else who dares to speak out against what radical Islam is.

Granted that the filmmaker’s no angel. Granted also, that technically a probation violation occurred.  But why would the FBI, who serves at the behest of the white house, be involved in a simple probation violation absent pressure from the White House?  Would this individual even have been questioned about said violation?  Frankly I tend to doubt it. So do his lawyers, by the way, and I fully expect this will be sent to a series of courtrooms.

With that comparison, out the window goes everything that the Obama administration has been telling us about this case and indeed about everything in the region.  Made particularly invalid is the claim that none of what we’ve seen for the past few weeks is the fault of liberal foreign policy. It should have been gone in fact quite some time ago.

An article by J.M. Berger in the website Foreign Policy points out that these people have not been acting alone, and that there is in fact no real threat from lone wolf actors.  At least, in comparison to the organizations that have been fostering attacks on the United States and its interests around the world.  A small piece ;

“How to catch a ‘lone wolf'” was the headline at the Christian Science Monitor. The headline at “The ‘lone wolf’ — the unknowable face of terror.” ABC’s World News reported on the arrest and warned of other “so-called lone wolves” with a quote from former White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke, who claimed that people “spontaneously can become terrorists without any real communications connection to al Qaeda.”

ABC then cut to a picture of Faisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber, who had traveled to Pakistan to train with a branch of the Taliban, which helped pay for the attack and publicly claimed responsibility within hours of its failure.

“Lone” wolf, indeed.

The Moroccan-American man arrested Friday for attempting to blow up the U.S. Capitol building, Amine El Khalifi, was also far from alone. He was in contact with men he thought were part of al Qaeda, and those men handed him a complete (but inert) suicide vest and an automatic weapon to carry out his attack. The fact that those men were FBI undercover agents is beside the point: If someone claiming to work for al Qaeda hands you a fully assembled bomb for your attack, you are not a lone wolf.

While lone-wolf terrorism exists and is legitimately cause for concern, the threat it presents revolves around the idea of an individual who will carry out attacks without direction from abroad and without help from a terrorist organization or cell.

Consider the following cases, all of which have been cited as examples of lone-wolf terrorism:

  • Jose Pimentel: A New York man tries to build a pipe bomb using a recipe from Inspire, the now-defunct English-language magazine of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He enlists a neighbor in the plot, works on building the bomb in another man’s apartment, and is accompanied by the second man during virtually every stage of the project.
  • Antonio Martinez: A Baltimore man plots an attack on a military recruiting station. He tries to enlist at least four people from the community to help. Only one agrees to help, introducing him to a fifth person who represents himself as an operative for an AfPak militant organization. The fifth man provides Martinez with a fully assembled bomb.
  • Mohamed Osman Mohamud: A Portland, Oregon, teenager emails someone in Pakistan with links to a terrorist organization to volunteer his services. He subsequently comes into contact with a ring of jihadists who provide him with a fully assembled bomb that he tries to deploy at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
  • Rezwan Ferdaus: A Massachusetts man provides electronic detonators of his own design to two al Qaeda members who promise to send the devices to al Qaeda in Iraq. The al Qaeda members and a third man discuss plans to attack government targets in Washington, D.C., using remote-controlled planes loaded with explosives. The al Qaeda members provide Ferdaus with money to buy the components for this attack.
  • Faisal Shahzad: A Connecticut man single-handedly assembles and deploys a bomb in New York’s Times Square. But Shahzad had received financial help and training from the Pakistani Taliban. He was an individual actor, but he was not a lone wolf. He was an agent for a robust terrorist organization.

Does it matter that some (but not all) of the terrorist network members described above were actually undercover law enforcement agents or informants? It doesn’t change the fact that none of these individuals was working alone. They were receiving advice, concrete assistance, and passive reinforcement from people they believed — rightly or wrongly — to be part of larger terrorist organizations.

So what we have here, is abject failure on the part of this administration. but more importantly, and from the larger picture, what we have also is a failure of liberalism in terms of foreign policy, which in trun is driven by the left’s misguided and fatally flawed worldview.

So it was that it was no surprise at all when on the anniversary of 9/11  the attacks occurred around the world, and Obama and company yet again claimed  that the violence wasn’t the result of AlQuieda terrorism,  and was simply a bunch of lone wolf actors, annoyed about a film they’d not even seen. .  Frankly, such attacks shouldn’t have been a surprise at all to this administration either, and probably was not, given that we had information from several different sources that attacks were going to occur. And that doesn’t even include the common sense of it.

Yet the administration spent the first nine days dancing around the undeniable fact that these attacks were both orchestrated and coordinated  by the AlQuieda that Obama was so busy spiking the football over.  It seems clear that the dancing  was the administration lied to us, in an attempt to save the meme that Obama foreign policy was a success. That the Arab Spring hadn’t changed to winter, that Obama was a genius, etc.  That’s something of an understandable priority given that Obama is currently dealing with an election.  Certainly a foreign policy failure on this level would negate any chance he had of being reelected.

But, failure it was and not just of Obama, but of leftism in general. Nor is this a case of simple incompetence on the part of Mr. Obama and his administration.  Indeed, Mr. Obama and his people have been all too compeitant at installing liberal policy.  The failure is the policy itself and the world view attached to it , not the political operations of the people in question.

At the root of that failure is the leftist worldview which is centered around the idea that all cultures are equal and that given the proper respect all cultures will be peaceful.

So we see the results of the application of these ideas; The Iranian hostages and the taking thereof back in 1979 were a response to a removal of strength from the region, in the person of the Shah of Iran, as well as the removal of our own strength in the region.   We removed the Shah of Iran, supposedly because he was a mean person. The result was the mullahs taking over.  I suppose there are very few people now in Iran will consider that their lives of improved dramatically since the Shah met his demise .

We did the same thing with Qaddafi more recently, and for the same stated reason. and with the same results.

Indeed, the results, in both of those circumstances was that violence in those countries increased dramatically, anti American sentiment was increased dramatically, and the chances of peace in the region were lessened.

Nature, you see, abhors a vacuum. Remove from power someone who, while less than desirable from a western viewpoint, managed to keep the peace in the country for decades, and should anyone really be surprised that violence increases? Handed power from these strong men to the Muslim brotherhood which is in fact a terrorist organization, why should anyone be surprised that violence increases? The parallels in foreign policy between Carter and Obama are inescapable. The results in both cases were also disastrous.

I would add a third Datapoint to these comparisons.  That being the 9/11 itself,is as I said at the time,  the direct result of the leftist foreign policies as applied by Bill Clinton. In all these cases, our foreign policy has been seen by AlQueida, the Taliban, et al, as WEAKNESS.

What we have additionally in the case of Obama, this time, is a case of liberals outright lying to us to cover their own backsides. Not only is Obama foreign policy a failure, in much the same way and for the same reasons that Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy was a failure, but now Mr. Obama and his people have been caught flat out lying to the American people in a feeble attempt to cover the failure of their worldview and their foreign policy.

Remember also that of a telling us, on July 15, 2008:

As president, I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.

I called Obama the Liar in Chief at the time.  Not much has changed. He’s still a liar. I suggest that if the foreign policy failures themselves, and losing the war he himself said we must win, through his own lack of willingness to fight it properly, were not enough to remove Obama from office as they were in the case of Jimmy Carter, Demonstrably lying about it certainly should be.

Wolf photo © delarue –
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