RANGER AGAINST WAR: Sophistication <

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sophistication

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication 
--Leonardo da Vinci
________________

A successful act of terrorism requires a certain sophistication.  A RAW reader recently challenged this contention by stating 22 million not-very sophisticated Mexicans penetrated our first level of security, which is our borders.

Besides the obvious difference in intent (most Mexicans hope to make a new home in the U.S. whereas the intent of terrorists is to gain entry to spread mayhem), the reader is correct that support -- both active and passive -- is necessary for the success of either infiltrative endeavor. In a future post Ranger will explore the analogy between how Mexican aliens and terrorists have successfully breached the U.S. borders and gained a foothold in a future post.

For now, we will point out that it is minimally essential to gain transport (driver's license), safe house (shelter), identification documents and financing.  Beyond that, terrorists must have language facility, handling, intelligence, targeting data, swept passports and avenues of escape. Staying in country and becoming operational require all of the above, not just pole-vaulting over a hurdle.

Our media rarely provides a look at the support chain behind the terrorist.  It strains credulity to believe that two men carried out OKC or 19 the WTC attack with little or no support beyond the attack team. Both events had more active and passive support personnel than we were led to believe. Ditto the current brothers suspected of setting bombs at the Boston Marathon.

As an outside-the-box guy, Ranger has never believed the official versions of the Oklahoma City Murrah Building (OKC) bombing or the attacks of 9-11-01, both of which are seminal fear-generating scenarios for the U.S.  One event was used to start wars versus stateside militias, the other to create the new concept of the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), the Long War. 

The OKC bombers were depicted as malcontent losers acting alone who pulled off a spectacular terror event, but the two ideas are contradictory. The coverage of the 9-11-01 events never go beyond the hijackers themselves, save for the mention of their ties with the shadowy organization al-Qaeda and a chart of the group's top organization. The latest sound byte on the Boston brothers (from their uncle) is that they did what they are purported to have done because they were "losers".  Case closed ... or is it?

It is perhaps a comfort to imagine that this could not have been foreseen, or as former Secretary of State Rice said following the WTC attack ("Who could have imagined?" . . . despite a prior attack at the same facility less than ten years before.)  But such disingenuousness is no longer acceptable, and ignorance is not bliss when the price is one's life. 

Being rational in the U.S. vis-a-vis violence and terror in our society is the new outre topic among liberals. We dare not racially profile, and the price for the privilege of sitting at the table of democracy is to put on one's blinders. "These things will happen," and "let's get those gun rights curtailed right quick," only this is a non-sequitur: if you are willing to suck up the routine occasional bombing for fear of losing your freedoms, then why so quick off the block to limit the rights of gun owners?

All linkages between terrorism and the society in which it occurs and from whence it is generated should be made, and the beginning is to form a profile of the suspect population.

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10 Comments:

Blogger BadTux said...

" the beginning is to form a profile of the suspect population."

Okay, the typical terrorist operating on American soil is a white male under age 30 who has access to guns. His typical act of terrorism is to walk into a school and shoot it up or walk into a workplace and shoot it up, or setting a bomb in a black church or abortion clinic. A few decades back he would have lynched black people who he felt were "uppity" and inflicted terror on black communities with fellow travellers wearing white hoods. If he is a left-wing terrorist he instead torches SUV car lots or timber company offices or blows up chemistry professors, but he is still a young white male.

The only problem is that once we've created that profile, we immediately have to discard it as useless. One cannot look at a profile that matches 20 million plus Americans who are already here, who already have support networks of fellow travellers, who already have intelligence and language facilities due to the simple fact of growing up here, and do anything meaningful with it. Even the Stasi would have thrown up their hands at the futility of attempting to monitor millions of young white American males who fit the profile of a typical terrorist operating on American soil.

As for foreign-born terrorists operating on American soil we can certainly profile them, but again the profile is not particularly useful. There simply are too few of them from too varied a background to create a profile that makes any sense.

Which isn't to say we shouldn't keep tabs on disgruntled young males threatening violence if they come to our attention. Just that there's so many who fit the profile that attempting to keep tabs on all of them to see if they're currently contemplating a terror attack just does not work... the U.S. would have to be like East Germany under Communist rule where the Stasi had a quarter of the population as employees or informants to do that, and Americans aren't willing to pay for that even if they didn't find the whole notion of surveilling millions of young white American males mostly guilty only of being jerks to be a colossal violation of their fundamental right to be left alone to be a jerk.

-BT

Monday, April 22, 2013 at 10:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Moe said...

(Part 1 of 2)

Profile suspected populations: Oh I see you mean us Muslim Americans and other 'dark skinned males' who have been suffering from bigotry and hatred for nothing we have done since September 11 2001 and will continue to do so until a new 'enemy' emerges. No matter how much we condemn (all mainstream Muslim orgs and govts condemned 9/11 btw) and no matter how those who are accused of Terrorism or entrapped by the FBI are alienated from the mainstream community and radicalize over the internet we are the suspect population right? A Palestian-Ameircan doctor who worries daily for her family in Syria was walking with her toddler and was assaulted in the wake of the Boston bombings and such profiling will continue.
I condemn and all Muslims in America condemn the loss of innocent life wherever it is. These are senseless acts and affect us deeply as all other citizens. Nothing can justify this type of mayhem which occurs when an individual takes law unto himself. Unfortunately America is in a bubble and does not look at the violence it inflicts in an official capacity as well as its attitudes of hysteria, fear mongering and hate that set young men down a path in which they are easy prey for extremists. Such hatred is never one-way but that does not in any way rationalize what these two 'losers' did.
These two show that there is no profile: They are "Caucasian" from the Caucasus Mountains and looked like any other white guys from Eastern Europe. The younger was well adjusted, dope smoking (forbidden), alcohol drinking not observant at all. The older was as well meeting his wife at a night club for example, and then suddenly ‘got religion’ over the internet that justified his anger on society and was too radical for the mainstream Mosques in which he interrupted sermons at least twice. They were both losers in every sense of the word. The younger was failing out of UMass Dartmouth and the older was unemployed two bit amateur boxer who was sitting on his ass while his wife worked 70-80 hours per week as a home aide. Their parents had moved back to Dagestan presumably because of the low cost of living and his father was starting a perfume business. They were morons as well as will be seen when the facts get laid out and they had no escape paln and the younger one may have been sociopathic considering he was relaxed after the bombing and attendee a party on Wednesday.

These two were Americans; they share the profile of the Columbine shooters and rationalized their need for glory with completely removed extremism found on the darkest of websites. An extremism that says the whole world is a battlefield and attacking an international marathon will somehow help Muslims being killed all over the MENA. Did you see the pictures of condolences sent form Iraq and Syria by those actually suffering? NOT IN OUR NAME!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 6:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Moe said...

(Part 2 out of 2)

I hate that this happens because the media comes out with its same narratives trying to put this in the WOT and stereotyping Muslim-Americans and chest thumping. The fact that Tamerlan was a loser that beat his girlfriend makes people think Islam condones that because he claimed the action in the name of an Islam that few would recognize. Muslim men are not allowed to have girlfriends, they are commanded to lower their gaze (not objectify women) and treat their wives well. Unfortunately the cultures in South Asia and the Arab world have problems of patriarchy that touches all faiths of the culture and is conflated with Islam. The Prophet Muhammad in an authentic narration that most Muslims know by heart is that "The most perfect of the believers in faith is he who is the best of them in conduct, and the best of you in conduct are those who are best to their wives.” [Tirmidhi] The Islam Muslim grow up with is not the Islam the media depicts. All Muslims no matter how devout know that in the Quran it says whoever takes a soul unjustly it is as if he has slain all of humanity. The Prophet Muhammad that Muslim look up to is “mercy to all Creation” a man who forgave his enemies at the moment of conquest. He was a man who used to have garbage thrown daily by a woman and one time the woman did not throw garbage he enquired about her health and many other such narrations. He was a man who rebuked one of his followers for not showing respect to a Jewish funeral procession passing by saying “isn’t t a life! Isn’t it a life?” Muslims don’t believe their faith saves them from hellfire but their deeds and the intentions behind the deeds. Islam means “submission in peace” and The names that we use for God before we begin anything is the Most Merciful, most Compassionate (AL Rahman- al Rahim). Islam is like another faith a way to live LIFE, not to simply die. Islam doesn’t talk except in media discourse, Muslims do and Muslim Americans are hardworking and patriotic as any other citizens, Just look at Uncle Ruslan!
I’m not here for an academic discussion, that is how Muslims see their faith and it is not a monolithic Broglike collective where all of us know the ins and outs of 20th century Islamism and the worst among us represent us as a whole. Most of the imams at the major congregations at Boston have refused to do his funeral, at least one saying he cannot be a Muslim for doing this.
I’d advise Americans to see what educated Muslim Americans (those who actually know and practice their faith rather than it being something conflated with culture) say instead of what the pundits write. Go to your local mosque, it won’t bite and see that our congregations are your neighbors and coworkers and we are not ‘the other’. Imam Suhaib Webb is who I’d start with because he is the Imam of Boston’s largest congregation and who offered services of 40 doctors form his congregation to help in the relief efforts. It is people like him that represent Islam in America (people like him that I and other teenage and young Muslims look up to) but the media doesn’t care, they want to look at losers watching YouTube videos and trying to kill themselves in a blaze of glory like Adam Lanza, the Columbine guys and these idiots and say that is Islam and thus we must fear and hate more our fellow citizens.
We pray for Boston and as Americans it will not faze us. We think of Martin Richard as well as if he was our son and just because these guys have ethnic Chechen names does not make them ambassadors of Chechnya or Islam . And an aside note the Canadian terror plot Toronto suspect was turned in by patriotic Muslim Canadians who saw his danger and reported it.
In the words of Imam Suhaib Webb “We Are Bostonians and we mourn this City
NOT IN OUR NAME!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 6:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

BT and Moe,
BT- you focus on indig T and my focus is trans national or imported T.
I must be more specific and state this more clearly.
I must focus more clearly.
Moe,
No i'm not focusing on any group. The right wing militia is a long term concern right up there with any other possible violent group. BT points this out very clearly.
To both,
I'm not even sure that the word profile is the correct application. It's more like strategic or tactical indicators of them being operational. The signs are clear and usually are fronted by a swept passport.I think indicators are more important than the idea we call profiling. Historically link analysis and association materix were the tools used by intel/le to spot suspect behavior.

Something motivated this attack in Boston and it wasn't baked beans.
jim

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 7:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Moe,
Clearly since u are a long time reader YOU KNOW that i do not consider MUSLIMS to be whackos or crazies or my enemy.. Nor do i view them as threats to our safety, but clearly there are extreme elements to fear and to deal with.
THIS SAME IS TRUE of America.
Life is not a coca cola commercial and we are not the world united and full of love.
The key is that neither side, nor any religion or gov't should over react nor should they rely on violence as a policy position.
I personalY distrust ALL RELIGIONS, and i doubt that i'll ever feel otherwise. I also distrust all governments.
I distrust all men who say that they speak for god or dare tell me what a god requires of me.
That god can take many forms.
jim

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 8:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Moe,

We @ RAW are not in a bubble. These brothers were not "morons", by every indicator. You cannot say with any credibility, "all Muslims in America condemn the loss of innocent life wherever it is."

Identifying target populations are important in order to understand them. As BT says, our target population for spree shootings is largely young white males, 16-25 y.o. Why are they so disaffected? Is the U.S. War on Terror somehow connected to this phenomenon?

This is a racially disinterested question, until the data is collected.

As far as dogma goes, I'm glad you are a righteous believer. It's a sad thing that no faith condones brutality, yet the world is awash in believers and depravity.

You quote your prophet: "All Muslims no matter how devout know that in the Quran it says whoever takes a soul unjustly it is as if he has slain all of humanity." "Unjustly" is the word upon which this turns, and perspective is all. Muslims also share with the Jewish people the idea that whoever saves a life, saves the world.

Nice world it would be if everyone hewed to such lofty beliefs.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 11:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

"Lindorff: Why such secrecy about Craft Int. in Boston?"

Friday, April 26, 2013 at 8:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Lisa: "...largely young white males, 16-25 y.o. Why are they so disaffected?"

Just a guess, but possibly because young males have ALWAYS been the great producers of violence since Olduvai Gorge, and we have more white males than any other?

Kidding aside, I can't think of a young man who doesn't go through some point where he's pissed up about something. Most of us - like 99.99% - work through it without killing anyone. As BadTux pointed out, the problem is that it's damn near impossible to figure out which ones WON'T.

jim: I'm not sure, but so far as I can tell the "imported" threat of terroristic violence doesn't seem to be particularly high; certainly these Boston guys don't count... Either the intel guys are doing a good job or it's just that difficult for these characters to get into the U.S. AND do anything once they're here...maybe I'm not getting you right - are you saying that there really IS a significant threat of non-domestic terrorism?

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 2:11:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief.
I've NEVER accepted the concept of a great imported terror threat. Or even a great domestic threat.
But there is always a possibility of a significant event happening.We can never fully neglect a state sponsored group using official or noc conducting a significant event.
jim

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 2:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

But I think the problem comes at deciding what level constitutes "full neglect".

I think the Tsarnaev Bros. are a good example of how damn deadly difficult that is. The Russian FSB pinged our FBI about the older brother. The FBI apparently checked him out and got nothing, or not much of anything. But they also dropped him off their radar after that - possibly because a brighter, shinier, newer "possible terrorist" or forty were pointed out to them. They missed the events that turned this guy (something involving either his trip to Russia, the Islamic nutball he was hanging out with at his mosque, or both). Part of that might also include that the FBI guys were on record as saying that they had issues with the Russians and the hard-on they had for Chechens; the Russians kept diming Chechens off and the Chechens kept coming up clean re: the U.S. - re: the Russians maybe not so much, but it's not illegal in the U.S. to hate on some Russians...

So I think that it's almost impossible to keep and eye on EVERYBODY. It's - and I know you hate this comparison, but it makes sense to me - you can't keep your eye on every angry joker with a firearm. But you CAN set up procedures to screen out the WORST of these jokers; that was the point of trying to close the background check loopholes.

Right now it's very hard to try and figure out if those procedures are worth the cost; the randomness is so immense and the control group so amorphous it's difficult to figure out if we're getting anything for out money...

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 3:41:00 PM GMT-5  

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