DEBKAfile says the last of the suspects being hunted by French authorities is long gone, and the al-Qaeda-Arabian-Peninsula stuff may have all been disinformation.
French intelligence failures over the Charlie Hebdo terror attack will not be upstaged by the Unity March of millions that President Francois Hollande leads in Paris Sunday, Jan. 11, to dramatize the free worldâ€™s protest against Islamist terror. The case of Hayat Boumeddiene, the 26-year old wife of the terrorist Amedy Coulibaly who murdered four Jews in cold blood at the kosher supermarket, stands out.
Friday, Jan. 9, after the police assault on the store, French security sources reported she had escaped with a stream of rescued hostages and reached Syria via Spain and Istanbul.
In fact, she never was in the Paris store.
The female terrorist had skipped France and arrived in Syria on Jan. 1-2, more than a week before the wave of terror first struck Paris at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
This could have been discovered simply by examining the records at French, Spanish and Turkish border posts. …
Western security sources have been playing up the three terroristsâ€™ connection to the Yemeni headquarters of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). That is because, if ISIS was able to pull the strings for multiple terror in the heart of Europe, the air campaign that the US-led coalition of 20 countries including France is conducting in Iraq and Syria would look pretty tame. And its leader Abu Baqr al-Baghdad would be laughing.
But was it really ISIS or AQAP which set up the three attacks which claimed 17 lives in three days?
That is the big question.
Said and Cherif Kouachi told French television shortly before they were shot dead that they belonged to Yemen Al Qaeda, whereas Coulibaly claimed he was acting for ISIS.
This apparent contradiction raises the scary suggestion that the two murderous Islamic groups may have collaborated for the first time to hit France. That scenario assumes an even more ominous dimension in the light of the chatter picked up Sunday by US intelligence indicating that all Al Qaedaâ€™s branches are preparing to follow up the Paris operations with a major campaign of terror in Europe.
Boumedieneâ€™s arrival in Syria ahead of the Paris attacks appears to part of a comprehensive plan for setting up a command and control center for this campaign or, possibly, to prepare safe asylum for the gunmen who manage to get away. If that is so, then the center of this campaign would be situated on ISIS – not AQAP â€“ turf.
The sight of many thousands of gendarmes and security officers rushing around in combat gear to chase the female terrorist may have helped reassure a frightened population, who were not to know the guardians of security were on a foolâ€™s errand.
But the truth was that Franceâ€™s external security service (DGSE), anti-terror police branches and border authorities, who were supposed to operate in concert, fell down on the job and revealed their weakness to the enemy. Homegrown and foreign jihadis were shown to have established safe exit routes for reaching the Islamic battlegrounds of the Middle East and returning home – well trained, heavily armed and filled with hatred for the societies which bred them.
Underground jihadist networks spent months undiscovered by the internal security service (DGSI) in the setting up of complicated multi-site operations, like the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish supermarket.
And the Groupe dâ€™Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN) took too long to run them to earth and eliminate them.
After murdering the top journalists and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, the two Kouachi brothers emerged from the building packing two submachine guns, but none of the dozens of armed police outside was able to cut them down.
And finally, thousands of French police and soldiers from various units put to siege the print works outside Dammartin-en-Goele, where Said and Cherif Kouachi were holed up for hours, with nearly 100,000 security officers mobilized across France. Still, they hesitated to break in.
All this provides fodder for the trainers to inspire the next generation of jihadi terrorists for action that is guaranteed to win them prime time on all the worldâ€™s television screens.
The US Bank Tower, formerly the Library Tower (left), and the Financial District of Los Angeles: still there.
Marc Thiessen factually refuted the claim that enhanced interrogations were ineffective back in April of 2009 using government memos revealing that Downtown LA is still there only because KSM talked after being waterboarded.
The Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005… notes that “the CIA believes ‘the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.’ . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques.” The memo continues: “Before the CIA used enhanced techniques . . . KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon you will find out.’ ” Once the techniques were applied, “interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates.”
Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.” KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast. …
[And] there is more information confirming the program’s effectiveness. The Office of Legal Counsel memo states “we discuss only a small fraction of the important intelligence CIA interrogators have obtained from KSM” and notes that “intelligence derived from CIA detainees has resulted in more than 6,000 intelligence reports and, in 2004, accounted for approximately half of the [Counterterrorism Center’s] reporting on al Qaeda.” The memos refer to other classified documents — including an “Effectiveness Memo” and an “IG Report,” which explain how “the use of enhanced techniques in the interrogations of KSM, Zubaydah and others . . . has yielded critical information.” Why didn’t Obama officials release this information as well? Because they know that if the public could see the details of the techniques side by side with evidence that the program saved American lives, the vast majority would support continuing it.
Critics claim that enhanced techniques do not produce good intelligence because people will say anything to get the techniques to stop. But the memos note that, “as Abu Zubaydah himself explained with respect to enhanced techniques, ‘brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardship.” In other words, the terrorists are called by their faith to resist as far as they can — and once they have done so, they are free to tell everything they know. This is because of their belief that “Islam will ultimately dominate the world and that this victory is inevitable.” The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely.
Con Coughlin, in the Telegraph, profiles the al-Qaeda bomb-maker generally regarded as the terrorist most likely to devise a way to evade Western security and bomb a civilian target.
He has been described as the worldâ€™s most dangerous terrorist. The ingenious explosive devices designed by Ibrahim al-Asiri explain why intelligence officials on both sides of the Atlantic have raised fresh concerns about airport security.
The 32-year-old, originally from Saudi Arabia, is a leading figure in the Yemeni-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and has been the brains behind a number of high-profile aircraft bomb plots.
These have included the so-called â€œunderpants bomberâ€ who tried to blow up a plane as it approached Detroit airport on Christmas Day 2009, and the ink cartridge bombs uncovered at Dubai and East Midlands airport the following year.
British explosives experts had examined a consignment of suspect printers without locating the device concealed in one of the ink cartridges, and they were about to be loaded on to a cargo flight to the US when a last-minute tip-off from Dubai, where the authorities had discovered a similar device, averted disaster.
Asiriâ€™s fanaticism is such that he even blew up his own brother, Abdullah, in a failed attempt to assassinate Saudi Arabiaâ€™s head of security. Asiri built a device that was concealed in his brotherâ€™s rectum and detonated by remote control from a mobile phone. Abdullah was killed instantly, although the Saudi official suffered only minor injuries.
Intelligence officials believe Asiri is now trying to develop a device that will escape detection by even the most sophisticated scanning equipment. His latest technique is to use an explosive known as pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, which has no odour, and therefore foils sniffer dogs and X-ray machines.
Not surprisingly the threat he poses has made him one of Washingtonâ€™s most high-value targets, with President Barack Obama putting a $5â€‰million (Â£3â€‰million) price on his head.
Left-wing sissies (HuffPo, SullyDish) have their panties in a twist over a John McCain revelation from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s (partisan) report on interrogation techniques leaked to the National Journal:
McCain… elaborated on an event that was reported Monday by The Post, noting that officials waterboarding a terror suspect reported to CIA headquarters that they had “gotten everything we can out of the guy.”
“The message came back, ‘Waterboard him some more.’ That is unconscionable,” McCain said.
Poor Abu Zubaydah, after all, merely, as Wikipedia notes:
Quickly rose from very low level mujahedin to third or fourth man in al Qaeda.
Served as Osama Bin Ladenâ€™s senior lieutenant.
Managed a network of training camps.
Was instrumental in the training of operatives for al Qaeda, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist elements inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Acted as the Deputy Camp Commander for al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, personally approving entry and graduation of all trainees during 1999â€“2000.
Approved all individuals going in and out of Afghanistan to the training camps from 1996â€“1999.
No one went in and out of Peshawar, Pakistan without his knowledge and approval.
Acted as al Qaedaâ€™s coordinator of external contacts and foreign communications.
Acted as al Qaedaâ€™s counter-intelligence officer and had been trusted to find spies within the organization.
Was involved in every major terrorist operation carried out by al Qaeda.
Was a planner for the Millennium plot to attack U.S. and Israeli targets during the Millennium celebrations in Jordan.
Served as a planner for the Paris Embassy plot in 2001.
Was one of the planners of 9/11.
Engaged in planning future terrorist attacks against U.S. interests.
Wrote al Qaedaâ€™s manual on resistance techniques
Abu Zubaydah was one of the principal planners of the 9/11 attacks which killed more than 3000 innocent non-combatants. If I’d been in charge at the CIA and the interrogators at the scene phoned home to report that “they had gotten everything they can out of the guy,” and asked me what to do next. I would have said exactly the same thing. And that demonstrates precisely why decisions about how to deal with terrorists and illegal combatants should be made by “rough men”* and not by wimps and sissies.
*”People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
When former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had the temerity to criticize the leadership of the chosen one for failing to secure a Status of Forces agreement, i.e. an official grant of permission for the US military to operate in Afghanistan, from what is essentially, in fact, a puppet regime which we installed into power in the first place, observing that “a trained ape” could have gotten one, Andrew Sullivan and his Dish came noisily to the Kenyan Caliban’s defense in their customary hair-pulling and nail-clawing vituperative fashion.
Whatâ€™s truly striking and amazing about Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld is their persistent refusal/inability to reflect in any serious way on the immense moral, fiscal, and human costs of their failed wars. They are post-modern creatures â€“ Rumsfeld never tackled an insurgency, he just â€œredefinedâ€ the word, just as he re-named torture â€“ and you see this most graphically in Errol Morrisâ€™s small masterpiece, The Unknown Known. And so the very concept of personal accountability and responsibility is utterly absent. There was one flash of it: when Rumsfeld offered his resignation after the torture programâ€™s reach and migration was revealed in the photos from Abu Ghraib. But even then, Rumsfeld was resigning because of the exposure â€“ not because of the war crimes which he directly authorized.
What is truly striking and amazing about Andrew Sullivan, and his colleagues at the Dish, is their reliance on Big Lie repetition of mendacious left-wing talking points delivered in blizzard form, intentionally making any effort at refutation so time-consuming, lengthy and laborious as to be nearly impossible.
“immense moral, fiscal, and human costs of their failed wars” ?
Significant elements of the military and intelligence leadership of Pakistan were obviously in cahoots with the jihadi terrorists of al Qaeda and the Taliban, which explains why it is that Osama bin Ladin, after fleeing Afghanistan, wound up living within a few hundred yards of Pakistan’s military academy in Abbotabad.
Terrorism costs money, and the money supporting the 9/11 plot and al Qaeda generally came principally from Saudi Arabia. 15 of 19 9/11 terrorists were Saudis.
Iran, no differently from Iraq, was (and is) a regime sponsor of international terrorism, a passionate adversary of America and the West in general, an odious tyranny, and a persistent developer (and potential disseminator) of WMDs, including nuclear weapons. Iran was no less worthy than Iraq as target of regime change.
As to the allegedly immense fiscal costs, Andrew Sullivan would clearly be better informed if he regularly read my blog. Back in 2010, I quoted Randall Hoven who put the costs of the Iraq War into perspective. (I’m deliberately restricting the discussion to Iraq-related figures and arguments in the interests of brevity.)
If we look only at the Iraq War years in which Bush was President (2003-2008), spending on the war was $554B. Federal spending on education over that same time period was $574B.
Obamaâ€™s stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq Warâ€”more than $100 billion
Just the first two years of Obamaâ€™s stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.
Iraq War spending accounted for just 3.2% of all federal spending while it lasted.
Iraq War spending was not even one quarter of what we spent on Medicare in the same time frame.
Iraq War spending was not even 15% of the total deficit spending in that time frame. The cumulative deficit, 2003-2010, would have been four-point-something trillion dollars with or without the Iraq War.
The Iraq War accounts for less than 8% of the federal debt held by the public at the end of 2010 ($9.031 trillion).
During Bushâ€™s Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education that it did on the Iraq War. (State and local governments spent about ten times more.)
With respect to “human costs,” US casualties during the Iraq War were lower than casualties produced by accidents during peace-time twenty years earlier.
YEAR//TOTAL MILITARY FTE//NBR OF U.S. Military Deaths
(a) FTE = Full Time Equivalent personnel, based on DoD fiscal year-end totals
Now, here are the comparable totals for the most recent, four-year period:
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress, American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, Updated June 29, 2007
With respect to “failed wars,” Andrew & company are obviously wildly rhetorically over-reaching. Iraq may not have been transformed by the Bush Administration’s efforts into a perfect democracy and the peacable kingdom, enjoying perfect domestic comity and able to serve as a model of superb administration and happy Westernization, but neither is Iraq any longer a major regime sponsor of terrorism and regional troublemaker. Its government is infinitely more democratic than it used to be, and the people and leadership groups of Iraq have a decidedly greater opportunity to make their own choices, for good or ill, than they did under the national socialist tyranny of Baathism. The invasion and occupation of Iraq may have led to a less conclusively positive result than might be desired, but it certainly compares favorably to the results of previous American military efforts in Korea (which left the enemy isolated, but actively making mischief and building –and potentially disseminating– weapons of mass destruction ) and in Vietnam (where the enemy won and went on to occupy and enslave a US ally).
Domestic traitors, like Andrew Sullivan and the democrat party, who opportunistically switched positions on the war and began enthusiastically lending aid and comfort to the enemy, undermining the morale of the American public, libeling the motives of our actions, and impugning the justice of our cause obviously had a great deal to do with the prolongation of the war and the American government’s cloture of the mission in Iraq without complete success at pacification and democratization.
The Dish preaching about “failed wars” is rather like Lord Haw-Haw or Tokyo Rose during WWII denouncing Allied efforts to maintain troop morale always at enthusiastic levels, after years of broadcasting Axis propaganda.
The Obama Administration’s rationale for wanting to bomb Syria makes little sense and their arguments are failing to win the American public’s support. Can it be that the Administration finds itself forced to rely on such bad arguments because identifying what is really going on would be completely unacceptable?
A number of commentators are suggesting that the truth of the matter is: the Obama Administration is following the same course as the Bush Administration and essentially hiring out American military power to the Saudis, who are in reality the fons et origo of Sunni extremism and jihadism.
There is underway a struggle over Syria between Shia Iran’s Hezbollah and the Sunni Saudis’ al Qaeda, and we are about to sell our services as Air Force for al Qaeda in some kind of backroom deal which probably won’t do much good for Europe or America, but which will probably make some American politicians very, very rich.
â€œCould it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad wonâ€™t let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria? Of course. Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe.â€
Well, it turns out that Saudi Arabia intends to install their own puppet government in Syria which will allow the Saudis to control the flow of energy through the region. On the other side, Russia very much prefers the Assad regime for a whole bunch of reasons. One of those reasons is that Assad is helping to block the flow of natural gas out of the Persian Gulf into Europe, thus ensuring higher profits for Gazprom.
There is no possible doubt of the basic fact that the Obama Administration wants to agree to sell American military services as mercenaries to the Saudis (and their Sunni allies). Just the other day, Secretary of State John Kerry explained that our Arab friends have offered to pick up the tab for all our military activities against Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry said at Wednesdayâ€™s hearing that Arab counties have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily.
â€œWith respect to Arab countries offering to bear costs and to assess, the answer is profoundly yes,â€ Kerry said. â€œThey have. That offer is on the table.â€
Asked by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) about how much those countries would contribute, Kerry said they have offered to pay for all of a full invasion.
â€œIn fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way weâ€™ve done it previously in other places, theyâ€™ll carry that cost,â€ Kerry said. â€œThatâ€™s how dedicated they are at this. Thatâ€™s not in the cards, and nobodyâ€™s talking about it, but theyâ€™re talking in serious ways about getting this done.
Cairo rioters surrounding US Embassy carrying black flag. The round circle represents the personal seal of Mohammed (used in correspondence with foreign leaders) and is a standard feature found in al Qaeda flags.
â€˜Every normal man,â€ wrote H. L. Mencken, â€œmust be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.â€ Given that his subject was modern poetry, he can be forgiven the impulse. But we might politely decline to join him. There are few occasions on which the raising of a black flag has been an overture to something pretty, and a great many on which it has augured something ill. Black flags are harbingers of chaos.
The recent events in the Arab world are no exception. The barbarism in Egypt and Libya pushed back into view the nefarious purposes to which black flags are most commonly deployed. Having scaled the walls of the American embassy compound in Cairo on September 11, protesters ripped down Old Glory, set fire to it, and managed to replace it temporarily with their own pennant. At the consulate in Benghazi, marauders put up their flag, murdered the ambassador and three other Americans, and caused as much damage as they could. The unrest has not yet stopped, with U.S. citizens and property being targeted in Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, and Syria.