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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Major Terrorist Plot Detected In UK

That's why they shut Heathrow to Euro flights and are searching hand luggage and patrolling rest rooms - the plot focused on aircraft:
British authorities thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up several aircraft mid-flight between the United States and Britain using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, officials said Thursday.

Britain's Home Secretary John Reid said the alleged plot was "significant" and that terrorists aimed to "bring down a number of aircraft through mid-flight explosions, causing a considerable loss of life."
The UK's Home Secretary made some interesting comments on Wednesday:
"Our security forces and the apparatus of the state provide a very necessary condition for defeating terrorism but can never be sufficient to do so on their own. Our common security will only be assured by a common effort from all sections of society," John Reid said in an address to the Demos think tank.

Legal frameworks and international agreements, which focus on protecting the individual, developed in response to the threat of fascism and in the era of the Cold War. But now the threat comes not from fascist states but from "fascist individuals," Reid said.

"Individuals who can network courtesy of new technology and access modern chemical, biological and other means of mass destruction, and who have therefore unconstrained capability as well as unconstrained intent, are an enemy we have never had to face before," he said.
Not a cheerful prospect, because it doesn't seem as if the UK has much ability to mount a common effort any more. Things are going to be rough in many US and European airports today. Tough on those who were already in the air, too. They diverted some flights to Germany, but there are some delays in other UK airports too. PPRuNe (pilots' forum started by UK guys) is so busy that the server can't handle the traffic, but later today the best information ought to come from there.

The UK cabinet has been in two emergency sessions overnight. This doesn't seem to be a planned interception, because Blair is on vacation. I would say this is a little more serious than they are letting on. It looks like a last-minute detection. The description of the conspiracy is interesting too. The plan was to blow up several planes en route to the US over the ocean. Is our security really so good? I wonder if our intelligence really flagged this one using the oh-so-hated NSA pattern searches, because a plane was called back to the UK earlier, and the FBI seems to have mounted a significant effort.

As a result of this, Joe Lieberman will be greatly strengthened in his solo campaign. Because the real issue is not the Iraqi war, but whether terrorism is a genuine threat or not. All the idiotic law professors who write letters to the NY Times about the various security programs are really deeply invested in the proposition that terrorism is a BushCo created threat, even if they won't admit that to themselves due to the obvious logical lunacy of it. Fighting Joe Lieberman is going to throw that fact back in the faces of the politicians like Hillary who tell him to "search his conscience". Let's face it, Lieberman's conscience is a considerably more active organ than Hillary's.

Last night, Chief No-Nag spontaneously told me that we had to send Lieberman a contribution because he now has no party money. Chief No-Nag thinks Lieberman cannot win the presidency, but Chief No-Nag also believes that politicians should be rewarded for being truthful and taking a stand. I think it's becoming increasingly likely that Lieberman will be the next President of the United States.

Back in early 2004, former GE CEO Jack Welch summarized his views of the various Democratic candidates. His take on Lieberman, which I excerpted at the time, is interesting:

Joe Lieberman..."a man with more integrity and intelligence--in particular, emotional intelligence--than you can shake a stick at. What a terrific person!" Welch's concern here is with energy and the ability to energize. He also raises a concern about the ability to execute, and I believe that his comments here have relevance beyond the specific question of Joe Lieberman's candidacy;

"(Lieberman) is such a contemplative person that you have to feel concerned over his ability to show edge and execute. The world is filled with gray, but great leaders are often forced to act as if it were black and white." (emphasis added).

I wonder if Jack would now change his opinion on the latter point. In the last couple of years, I think Lieberman has pretty clearly demonstrated the ability to resolve shades of gray into primary colors.

In any event, it's pretty clear that "more integrity and intelligence than you can shake a stick at" is not very highly valued by today's Democratic party.
David - yes. I think the grounds for his defeat have lighted a fire in Lieberman's belly. I don't think he'll let this one rest. I don't think he'll feel he CAN let it rest.
All the idiotic law professors who write letters to the NY Times about the various security programs are really deeply invested in the proposition that terrorism is a BushCo created threat, even if they won't admit that to themselves due to the obvious logical lunacy of it.

Osama really knows how to boil his frogs slowly, doesn't he?

And yesterday I heard the FBI was searching for 11 Middle-eastern Muslim students who went missing simueltaneously. Reason is obvious, but has any one heard if there was any connection?
Well, the student registration plan reguires it, but supposedly they located three of them already and they were just wandering.
Probably a mixed bag, then. Still the possibility that some of them may have been a terror cell going to ground, but others might just have been ditching & road-tripping. I could see it as a way to get to America & stay there, and any Jihadis in the group could have gone to ground using the others' disappearance as camouflage.
Anon - yes, that's about the size of it. People who get work visas do the same thing all the time.
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