Iran, al Qaeda and Islam- Precursors to Disaster

By Randy Taylor, Contributing Analyst

What you are witnessing today is the forces of Good and Evil locked in a death struggle. Recognize it for what it is. Sit down and teach your children what they will certainly face because eventually you will not be here to guide them through what surely will come.

2 June 2006:Iran, the masters of distraction are still dancing around the issue of whether they should be allowed to possess nuclear materials. The United States, for all intents and purposes appearing to want to keep from blasting Iran off the planet are going through the motions, filling Iran’s dance card. How long the dance will last, only a few people know.

It is important to the point of imperative that the people of the United States and all other countries that are predominantly non-Muslim to realize and accept that Iran cannot be allowed to continue in their current path.

Iran is the seat of Islam, the root of terrorism, the home of the “Caliphate,” (as you will) and the headquarters of everything evil. We must understand and accept without reservation that the sole intent of Islam is to destroy everything that is not Islamic. This is not some religious whim that will eventually pass, this is not some lonely nutcase that managed to accumulate some followers and live in a compound and sit around and smoke dope and make up religious fantasies. This is life and death, and this is what is foretold in the scriptures. This is Evil and must be recognized for what it is. This is the clash between good and evil in literal biblical proportions.

There is no peace plan that is workable in the Middle East. There is no negotiating with terrorist governments and groups. We cannot make a deal with the devil, period. Letting Iran have nuclear capability unchecked is like handing the arsonist matches and gasoline or locking a six year old child in a room with a pedophile. (I wanted to put the example in terms that followers of Mohammed would understand)

Iran has spoken openly that they fully intend to destroy Israel, the will eventually lash out directly against the United States and they will orchestrate the terror that will occur within this nations borders. They are al Qaeda. That’s right, al Qaeda is Islam, Iran is Islam, Islam is Islam, and all three are synonyms for evil.

This isn’t about a few people that “hijacked” the “religion” of Islam. No one hijacked the so called “religion”. The idiots here in the United States and Europe that think that Islam can be tolerated, can co-exist peacefully, can be negotiated with and think that Islam is a peaceful religion are blind to this evil movement and will serve as the catalyst for the destruction of mankind as we know it.

There is no place on this planet where Islam prevails and Sharia law is followed to the letter that can be considered a good place to live, can be considered a democracy and be considered to have freedom as we know it. If you know of one such place feel free to email me and disclose the location. Islamic countries are mostly third world, poverty stricken (except for the elite or the royals), kill and murders people of outside faiths at will, degrade and abuse women and children, teach hate and death as the curriculum in the schools.

Here is the paradox: Do we deal with it now or do we leave it for our children and grandchildren to deal with? What are your children doing at this precise moment in time? Are they outside playing with friends, are they watching television, are the on the computer? Let me tell you what the Middle Eastern children are doing.

They are in classrooms being taught to hate Israel and her allies, being taught how to use firearms and build bombs, being taught the merits of suicide bombings. They are being systematically programmed to kill and destroy what the adults don’t manage to kill and destroy in their own lifetimes. They are being taught radical, hate filled Islam by the leaders of their families, and local schools and mosques. They are being trained to kill you and your children.

I have watched films upon films of Muslim children in their own environments, in their schools, mosques, jihad training camps and homes being taught violence directed towards the people of other faiths and belief systems different from their own. This is not a rarity; this is not the hijacking of a religion by a few zealots. This is becoming the norm. When all you know is violence and your upbringing was hate, you are a threat to society.

You read of children crossing into Israeli areas strapped with explosives and blowing themselves up all the time. What kind of person, religion or ideology would entice or convince a child that suicide and the taking of other human lives is honorable or even an option? The answer is Islam does. Children mean nothing in Islamic countries and societies; they are as expendable as cattle are in a stock yard.

So the next time you hear about another attempted infiltration by organized Islam into our established way of life, into our judicial system, into our classrooms, our legal system, into our Freedom Based society and way of life, you need to think about the eventual overall cost. What we as Americans would call the end result, the end product. The end product is death, destruction, poverty, violence, rape, murder and total loss of your freedoms, primarily your religious freedom. When you hear about Iran and their total lack of cooperation with the non-Muslim countries and you listen or read the venomous hatred coming out of Tehran, Iran you need to look at the big picture, the end result, the end product. A 100% terrorist state armed with nuclear weapons and an agenda to bring about the end of all mankind that isn’t Muslim cannot be allowed to operate at will. It brings only pain and suffering, death and destruction to all mankind.

Think about it people. What you are witnessing today is the forces of Good and Evil locked in a death struggle. Recognize it for what it is. Sit down and teach your children what they will certainly face because eventually you will not be here to guide them through what surely will come. Don’t teach them violence as the only tool but instead teach them to recognize evil for what it is. Teach them that Islam is here to destroy them. At least teach your children the basics so that they have a chance once we are gone if this final confrontation doesn’t come about in our lifetimes. It’s your duty to do so.

Stay safe. Be vigilant.

Randy Taylor is a WDSI contributing author

Article by Ron Lewis for WDSI

TO:  LOS ANGELES TIMES                                        April 28, 2006

 I have several objections to the following story. “A TANK SHOT AND ITS ECHO,” which appeared on the front page of the April 27, 2006 edition of your newspaper.

 Ever since this incident happened, the media have repeatedly failed to properly analyze it and present the public with the full facts.  It is also distressing that one of the co-authors of this article is David Zucchino, an embedded reporter at the time who should know full well what the local conditions were because he has previously written about this story in his book, “Thunder Run.”  For purposes of full disclosure, you should have told your audience about this significant fact and I really have to wonder why you didn’t.  In his book, Zucchino describes this incident and tells the reader that the view was obscured not only by smoke, but by haze as well.  That is an extremely significant point.

 I examined this incident in detail as an open source intelligence analyst with many years of experience as an imagery analyst and as an Army battlefield Intel analyst, and I always felt that the media fell short of properly analyzing this story from the very beginning, and this article only perpetuates the problem.

 This incident is reported to have happened at mid-morning, with conflicting statements saying it was around noon.  If you look at your map, you will notice that the Palestine Hotel is shown well to the east and south of the bridge in question.  Both are on the TigrisRiver, which is notorious for the fog and haze that it contributes to the morning air in Baghdad.  Naturally, the sun rises in the east and, in that latitude, it has a southern inclination.  In other words, the tank crews would be looking almost directly into the sun as they searched for the spotter.  Even if the timeline was around noon, haze would still be significant, made worse by the smoke of several fires in the vicinity

 You should also examine photos of the Palestine Hotel that were taken at the time  They clearly show that the normally white building is covered in a layer of the notorious tan dust that settles over everything in Baghdad during the haboob sandstorms.  The lettering for the Palestine Hotel was painted on the concrete facade, not in relief where it might have stood out better.  Photos available by the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) taken from the same bridge that the tank fire came from, show that you cannot see any lettering at all.  In fact, it is hard to tell the Palestine Hotel apart from other tall buildings in the area, without knowing what to look for.   (see  )

Your also included a photo of two tanks on the bridge.  This photo has been published frequently, just as shown here in your newspaper but it is severely cropped and does not tell the whole story. Take a look at a copy that shows the bridge in more detail and you will notice that this bridge stands high above the TigrisRiver and does not appear to be a massive structure designed to take a huge amount of weight.  As depicted, it shows at least two 70-ton tanks positioned on the bridge as mortar and RPG fire are being directed at the tanks.  The RPGs would be a direct threat to the tanks but the mortars were much more dangerous because they come down at a very steep angle and had the serious potential for collapsing the bridge and taking the tanks with it.  To the best of my knowledge, no media organization has ever reported this fact to the public.

 As to Mr. Sistiaga’s assertion that this was a deliberate attack to stop the media from observing the attack, it not only shows his bias and casts some questions as to his real motives in pursuing this case, but it also makes you wonder about his common sense and objectivity as a reporter.  If this had been deliberate, there are much more effective ways to eliminate such a supposed threat and you certainly would not wish to leave any witnesses.  If journalists had been the target, the whole building would have been bombed from the air or repeatedly struck by tank shells.  Only one round was fired, it was done to eliminate a threat, and there was no further fire directed at the building after this one round.

 I would also point out that Iraqi fighters were reported to have been in the Palestine Hotel.   In addition,  nobody has mentioned a continuation of accurate mortar fire on the bridge after this round was fired.  Have you ever considered that there may well have been a spotter in that building and that, after this return fire, the spotting ended.

 Has it ever occurred to anybody that Mr. Couso appears to have been the victim of indirect fire, from shrapnel that rained down on him from above?  Considering the distances and the accuracy of the 120mm gun on the M1, it surprised me that Mr. Couso survived the blast at all and suffered only the wounds that he did, rather than being blasted to pieces.  In other words, have you ever considered that a spotter could well have been on the balcony just above him and was the real target

The damage done to Mr. Couso’s balcony shows evidence of a collateral hit, not a direct one.×6/030408_war_06.jpg

You will also notice that the flak jacket and helmet in his room, the dark blue equipment items to the right of the photo, show no evidence of any labels, markings or tape that spell out TV or PRESS.  He cannot be identified as a journalist, just a man standing on a balcony with optical equipment.  You will also note that there is evidence of a tripod out on the balcony.

 What is perhaps most disturbing about this story and the fact that it keeps popping up in the media on a regular basis, is that members of the media who claim to have been eyewitnesses were faulty in their assumptions and highly contradictory.  Some said they saw fire coming from nearby buildings while others said they heard no exchanges of gunfire at all.  Most assumed that the fire was directed at a gunman and some offered the “expert” opinion that small arms and even RPGs would not have the range to threaten the tanks.  They never considered that a spotter could be directing fire for people shooting from other locations.

 Frankly, I am tired of seeing these kinds of articles that pass judgments and issue declarations about what “really” happened.  Most journalists cannot even tell the difference between a tank and an APC,  a rocket and a missile, or a machine gun and an assault rifle, yet they can pontificate all day long about complex military operations and affix blame for “war crimes.”  This last link  is rife with pompous assertions and omniscient claims of criminal acts, voiced by people who don’t have the first clue about what they are saying.

Nobody ever asks why Couso–and others–reportedly stood there to watch a tank  slew its turret around, fix in their direction and then hesitate for two minutes, all without their taking any action to retreat inside or make an effort to identify themselves.

 From photos of the scene, it appears that the 15th floor balcony holding the Reuters reporter from Ukraine was the actual target and Couso, on the 14th floor, was incidentally struck, not targeted for “murder.”

 In the documentary done by Couso’s network, shown in the DEMOCRACY NOW! website link above,  his friends and co-workers claim a conspiracy to murder journalists but Sgt Gibson tells how mortar and RPG strikes on the bridge were punching holes in it underneath his tank. None of the journalists who keep dredging this story up ever mention the danger faced by the Sergeant and his crew.  In fact, we are constantly told how safe they were, which is total nonsense.

 Your newspaper and your colleagues throughout the media need to start doing some very serious examination of how poorly you tend to cover the military in general, and you need to be more accurate when you specifically allege that war crimes or murder have occurred.  The article you published most recently only serves to perpetuate baseless myths and half-truths.

 You also need to reconcile how one of the authors of this latest version can claim to be the author of a book detailing an eyewitness account of this battle, citing the smoke, confusion and multi-pronged attacks, while many of your colleagues suggest that all of the fighting was over and the fire was totally unnecessary.  If you and your colleagues have gotten the story so wrong, so badly, for so long, why do you presume to have any credibility at all?

 I am personally fed up with all of the suggestions that the military lied, got their “story” confused,  left out facts, or changed their “story” when that is precisely what the media have consistently been guilty of doing.  If the military is confused, they are “lying” and covering up.  If you people do it, well then, it’s just an honest mistake.  How unfair and hypocritical.

 I can understand the family’s grief and I am truly sorry that innocent men died as a result of this action, but I am sick of the one-sided view that the media has pushed for the past three years.  Show the uncropped photo of the bridge, to reveal how exposed and vulnerable the crews truly were.  Post the photos that show how far away the hotel is, what the sun angles were,  what the haze was like, how dirty the building was, and how the cameramen did not bear any identifying clothing or markings.

When that is all done, a fair analysis will reveal that Sgt Gibson’s crew showed remarkable restraint under severe pressure and threat of deadly harm, and did not wantonly fire to kill innocent journalists as is repeatedly alleged by the media.

 Perhaps, if your profession spent more time formally training your people on military weapons and tactics, they would know how to recognize when their own actions increase their risks of being misidentified as combatants, and when they should stand down.

 I did not attach any photos or graphics related to this story as I presume they would be deleted.  However, should you have any questions or wish to have any details explained,  I would be willing to send attachments as requested.

 Ronald Lewis

MILITARY/OPEN-SOURCE INTELLIGENCE ANALYST,1,6693153,full.story?coll=la-headlines-frontpage

 A Tank Shot and Its Echo
A Spanish cameraman at a Baghdad hotel was killed by U.S. fire. His family seeks justice, and the Americans involved ask for understanding.

By Tracy Wilkinson and David Zucchino, Times Staff Writers
April 27, 2006

LAS ROZAS, Spain — In her tidy living room, Maria Isabel Permuy keeps lighted candles next to photos of her dead son, Jose Couso. Consumed by grief, she believes American soldiers murdered him as he filmed the battle for Baghdad from the Palestine Hotel three years ago this month.

 Half a world away, in Kentucky, the commander of the Army tank that fired the fatal round still carries the burden of what happened as he fought to hold the Jumhuriya Bridge over the Tigris River. Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Gibson, a devout Christian, prays for Couso’s family, and for understanding and forgiveness.

On the morning of April 8, 2003, nearly 100 reporters and cameramen were in their second day of covering the firefight from balconies at the Palestine, on the east bank of the Tigris. They felt reasonably safe, assuming American soldiers on the west bank knew the hotel was the main base of operations for the foreign news media in Baghdad.

 The soldiers, locked in battle and cut off from news reports for the previous three weeks, had never heard of the Palestine Hotel. Under withering fire from Iraqi soldiers and militiamen, they were desperately searching for an enemy “spotter” in a high-rise directing mortar attacks against their Abrams tanks.

 When Gibson’s tank gunner noticed a man with binoculars on a balcony across the river, he and other soldiers believed they had their spotter. With permission from his superiors, Gibson ordered the gunner to fire.

 A single high-explosive round slammed into the side of the hotel on the 14th floor, nearly severing Couso’s left leg. Couso, a cameraman for Spain’s Telecinco network, and Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian-born Reuters TV cameraman, died of their wounds.

People on both sides of the Tigris that day experienced the same event, yet came away with contradictory conclusions about intent and culpability. Even with the passage of time, all of them — and their families — still live with the consequences, and some still feel aggrieved.

 For Couso’s family, their legal recourse is all but exhausted, but they cling to Couso’s memory and the hope they will someday see justice.

Even now, Permuy said, it is difficult to get out of bed every morning and put on her eye makeup. At 62, a mother of five, she must help raise two young grandsons who lost their father.

 “My life is destroyed,” she said, surrounded by the low flames of the candles. “I will fight for justice for Jose until the day I die…. I want to see those soldiers in the dock.”

For the soldiers, pride in their battlefield accomplishments is tinged by conflicting feelings of sorrow and regret. They were promoted and awarded medals for their combat service, yet feel they were made scapegoats by people who don’t comprehend the chaos and complexity of modern urban warfare.

 Gibson, stationed at Ft. Knox, Ky., said he had been stung by Couso family contentions that his unit targeted journalists, and by their lawsuit accusing him and two officers of war crimes and murder. His wife received threatening phone calls after the incident, he said.

 “I think about it constantly — it’s always with me,” Gibson said. “This has been a very emotional subject the past three years for my family and I. I felt really bad about it when it happened. I still feel bad.”

 Gibson and the officers lived for five months under the threat of arrest until Spanish courts dismissed a criminal warrant last month.

 “We didn’t purposely target those gentlemen,” he said. “My prayers are still with the [Couso] family, now and forever.”

 When Gibson was 7, his mother moved the family from North Philadelphia to Virginia to escape gang and drug violence. He decided to make a career of the Army, where he has served almost 19 years. Today, at 41, he is a father of three.

 Beyond the devastation to the soldiers and the journalists’ families, the incident created an international uproar. An investigation by the Committee to Protect Journalists concluded that the attack, while not deliberate, was avoidable. A 2003 Pentagon investigation cleared U.S. soldiers of wrongdoing and expressed sympathy for the cameramen’s families.

The Couso family and many reporters at the Palestine refuse to believe that the world’s most technologically advanced army was unaware of an internationally known hotel. The Telecinco network produced a documentary, “Hotel Palestine: Killing the Witness,” in which one of its journalists — who was with Couso when he died — suggested that the soldiers fired on the hotel to eliminate witnesses to their advance across the bridge.

 “The Americans needed there not to be images, in case it went badly,” Telecinco correspondent Jon Sistiaga, 38, said in an interview in Madrid.

 For the armored brigade that fired on the hotel, the incident was a painful coda to its dramatic capture of the capital after two “thunder runs,” or armored strikes. In detailed interviews, commanders and soldiers described a series of fast-moving events during heavy fighting on the west bank of the Tigris that morning.

 For them, speculation that they conspired to eliminate witnesses is preposterous. They point out that reporters and TV crews were embedded with the brigade and covered every aspect of the battle.

 The soldiers of Assassin Company said they were attacked by mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns from the east bank — including the riverbank near the Palestine. An Arabic-speaking U.S. intelligence officer was listening in on a captured enemy Motorola radio as an Iraqi spotter, or forward observer, in a high-rise discussed American targets with mortar crews.

 Some soldiers, hearing Gibson’s radio description of “some kind of optics” — what turned out to be either Couso’s or Protsyuk’s TV camera — assumed it was a tripod-mounted laser targeting device used to direct enemy artillery fire.

 The balcony was about a mile away — too far, Gibson said, for the soldiers to see the “Palestine Hotel” lettering on the building through the smoke of the battle. The brigade commander, Col. David Perkins, had been trying to identify the Palestine that morning — both before and after it was hit. His men had requested an airstrike against an east bank building, about a mile from the Palestine, from which gunmen had been firing on the tanks. An embedded American TV reporter warned Perkins that the Palestine was on the east bank.

 Perkins and the reporter used the journalist’s laptop and satellite phone to call and e-mail journalists in Baghdad, Jordan and Qatar, trying to get a description and location for the hotel. Perkins delayed the airstrike; he was unaware that one of the many tank rounds fired across the river that morning had struck the Palestine.

 “I grieve for them and their families,” Perkins, now a general, said of the cameramen. “But in my heart of hearts, there was no malice intended by the soldiers.”

 Asked what he would say to the Couso family, Perkins replied: “I can understand that you are upset and angry, and I credit you with the sincerity of your emotions … you lost loved ones.

 “If only you would do that for me — to say to me: I know you did not do this on purpose.”

Permuy said that without more facts, she could only conclude that the death of her son was deliberate. He left behind a widow, Lola Jimenez (who declined to be interviewed), and sons Jaime, 9, and Pepe, 6.

 “We are not asking for revenge,” Permuy said. “We just want an investigation. We want to know why.”

 Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, said there were no plans for another investigation.

 The family has mounted a campaign that includes a website, posters, buttons, T-shirts and bumper stickers showing Couso’s face and the word asesinado — murdered. Since May 2003, supporters demonstrate weekly, usually outside the U.S. Embassy in Madrid.

 Permuy, retired from a clerical job in Spain’s defense ministry, said she was not anti-military. Her husband, Jose Manuel, who died in 1993, was a captain in the Spanish navy. Her father, brother and grandfather were military men. Their portraits hang in her apartment, along with her father’s saber and war medals.

 The family’s lawsuit against the soldiers was dismissed March 8 by Spain’s National Court, which ruled that Spanish courts had no jurisdiction. The family has appealed.

Atty. Gen. Candido Conde-Pumpido said the U.S. State Department refused to allow the soldiers to be questioned. The department ultimately provided details of the Pentagon investigation and apologized to the journalists’ families.

 The attack, while probably negligent, was “not a deliberate, willful act meant to cause death,” Conde-Pumpido said.

 Couso, 37, Permuy’s oldest son, had always wanted to be a journalist. He covered the Persian Gulf War and the conflict in Kosovo. Fearless and jovial, he and Sistiaga were the only Telecinco crew members who did not flee Baghdad before the U.S. invasion. “I can’t leave you alone,” Sistiaga recalled Couso telling him.

 When Couso left for Iraq, his mother said, she feared he would be killed by Iraqis. “You never think that it would be Americans who would kill your son,” she said.

The day before Couso died, Sistiaga said, the two journalists watched U.S. soldiers move into position on the west bank of the Tigris. He and Couso shouted and waved, and the soldiers waved back.

 “When you’ve already greeted the soldiers, you have confidence they have seen you,” Sistiaga said. “We were sure the coordinates of our hotel had arrived at the Pentagon.”

 Commanders at the Pentagon, and at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Doha, Qatar, indeed had the coordinates for the hotel. But the information did not filter down to Perkins’ 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). The brigade had not been expected to fight beyond its assigned “area of operations” on the west bank of the Tigris; the east bank was assigned to U.S. Marines. But the Army and Marines could not communicate because of problems with coordinating radio frequencies.

 At midmorning on April 8, Couso was on his 14th floor hotel balcony filming tanks on the bridge. Sistiaga had gone to his room on the same floor. He heard an explosion and screams. Sistiaga ran down the corridor, crawled through debris and found Couso on the floor, bloodied and badly wounded; Couso’s clavicle was protruding.

“It was the tank, it was the tank,” Sistiaga recalled Couso telling him.

 Sistiaga thought Couso was delirious. “I was saying, ‘Those … Iraqis!’ It did not occur to me it was the Americans.”

 Sistiaga said he covered Couso’s lower torso so that the dying man could not see how badly he had been wounded. He wrapped his belt around Couso’s thigh as a tourniquet.

 An Iraqi translator and driver helped load Couso onto a mattress. They carried him to an elevator, then flagged down an Iraqi motorist outside. Speeding the wrong way down one-way streets, the man drove them to a hospital overrun with casualties from the day’s fighting.

 A doctor told Sistiaga that his friend would die unless his leg was amputated. “They told me to decide. A guy you’ve known, played soccer with, played with his kids, you have to make that decision?” Sistiaga said.

 He told the doctor to amputate. Couso survived the surgery but went into cardiac arrest. “He died in my arms,” Sistiaga said.

 Three years later, Sistiaga still questions why his friend died.

 “I understand the fog of war,” he said. “But I want to know if this was fog of war or something else.”

 For Gibson, the passage of time has not begun to erase his sorrow. “What happened that day was a tragedy,” he said. Even so, he said, he is proud of his war service, up to and including the events of April 8. He was awarded a Bronze Star and now trains armor crews at Ft.Knox.

 Capt. Phillip Wolford, the Assassin commander who gave Gibson permission to fire, was awarded a Silver Star and promoted to major. He is in Kuwait training U.S. soldiers bound for Iraq. The Palestine incident “stays in the back of my mind … still there, lingering,” he said.

 “I do understand the family’s position, the grief over the loss of a loved one, the feelings of not knowing,” he said. But he and his men acted appropriately under difficult conditions, he said.

 Perkins, who also earned a Silver Star and now trains multinational forces in Germany, said he often cited the Palestine incident to emphasize the consequences of decisions commanders make in the heat of combat.

 “You give orders to people and your actions result in a lot of people dying. We are responsible for people getting killed,” Perkins said.

 He said he grieves for them all: the two journalists at the Palestine, the Iraqi soldiers and militiamen, and for the unknown numbers of civilians accidentally killed by his brigade.

“I don’t think you’d be human if you said it didn’t affect you,” he said. “It’s something you have to live with for the rest of your life.”

Wilkinson reported from Madrid and Las Rozas; Zucchino from Philadelphia.

Novo Selo, Head Quarter Multi National Task Force North, terre de l’impossible …

KOSOVO !!  Le mot sonne comme le staccato d’une mitraillette.  Un reflet sonore, sec et bref d’une vie à … survivre dans les Balkans.

Terre de vacances ?  Un jour, peut-être

Faim, froid, manque de moyens de chauffage, électricité (parfois), chômage, mafias, vols alimentaires (souvent), alcoolisme, meurtres, eau courante (itérative, même en ville ou alors généralement polluée), « guerres » claniques, conflits d’influences,  politique pourrie, dépotoirs clandestins, terre de ségrégation (serbe, gorane, rome, bosniaque, ashkalie), purification etnique, et ce, dans les deux sens …

 Oui, un jour, peut-être …  Mais il leur faudra aller au delà de tout … ça !!!

« Pourtant que la montagne est belle, comment peut-on s’imaginer … » Jean Ferrat.

 La plaine nous « accueille », entourée de montagnes, dans un enchevêtrement inouï de fractures, de cassures et de rides.  Ces mêmes rides qui signent, sur les visages, la lutte de tous les jours pour nourrir des corps courbés par le joug de la vie.  Ces visages de jeunes gens d’une petite quarantaines d’années qui en paraissent quinze de plus tant la cendre a envahi la couleur charbon de leurs cheveux, ridé leurs mains et volé quelques-unes de leurs dents.

Incroyablement, comme dans tous les pays du monde, les enfants jouent. Mais sont-ils vraiment insouciants ? Je crois pas ; cependant, leurs rires et leurs joies sonnent comme ceux des enfants du monde entier.  Leurs jeux ne différent en rien de ceux qui se pratiquaient quand j’étais môme …

 Ce paysage âpre, qui blanchit sous le harnais de l’hiver, deviendra splendide, bariolé, se parant d’un vert tendre au printemps (pour notre départ) dans le nord, où je ne suis, hélas, plus.  Au sud, par contre, sur cette terre de pollution multiforme, désordre, routes défoncées, dépotoirs clandestins tout au long du chemin et des terres non utilisées, univers du plastic éparpillé au gré du vent, au gré du temps, voilà les aires de jeux que les enfants disputent aux chiens, rendus à moitié à l’état sauvage.

 Coupes sauvages de bois pour réaliser l’indispensable : chauffer une pièce et faire bouillir la marmite (pour une quantité toujours plus grande de personnes) dans une pièce somme toute fort … restreinte et faiblement éclairée. Parfois même à la lueur d’une seule bougie. Priluzje/Prelluzhe, enclave serbe située au sud de Mitrovica/ë, où la vie s’égrène entre les vapeurs d’alcool embrumant les esprits et trompant la réalité, le désœuvrement et cette attente à moitié résignée de l’avenir a transformé ce bourbier et ses habitants en zombies. Et puis, il y a cet … étranger …, cet homme d’une autre culture que l’ont fait entrer chez soi.

« Viens, entre partage le pain, étranger.  Tu es l’ami de notre ami, alors, entre, mange et bois ».

Cette viande, pour ceux qui sont riches assez pour en consommer, d’où vient-elle ?  Serait-ce de cet endroit un peu retiré du marché du vendredi à Vushtrri/Vucitrn, celle-là même, qui était découpée à même le sol, par un « boucher » qui mélange dans son pas, le sang, la terre, les viscères pour, enfin, en accrocher les morceaux à choisir à des crochets mangés par la rouille et les années ?  Qu’importe, à cette heure il n’y a pas lieu d’offenser celui qui vous convie à vous installer à la meilleure place de sa table, vous offre le couvert, de la « Slivo » ou autre « Rakija » qui vous arrache une larme des yeux, une grimace d’horreur et la peur des crampes d’estomac pour le restant de la journée.  Résigné, je sors mon couteau de poche pour piquer dans un morceau de … nourriture (qui a bien meilleur goût qu’il n’y paraît), au contentement général.  Pour causer et remplir l’office de civilité pour lesquelles je me suis invité chez l’un des « représentant » de la minorité enclavée, il me faut boire, cul sec et encore.  Café (non, merci), slivo (oohh, non merci), bière qu’importe l’ordre ou la quantité mais il faut se montrer à la hauteur.  Je dois refuser ; je ne puis…

 Dans les difficultés, il reste assez de fierté à ces hommes rudes pour donner des leçons d’hospitalité aux civilisés que nous prétendons être.  A l’abri d’un habitat si contrasté d’avec ce que nous connaissons, où cumulent et s’accumulent neige et rocs, se forge et se trempe le caractère kosovar. Pauvre, opprimé mais … fier. Trop, peut-être.  L’atavisme ne me permet pas de juger.  Qui suis-je pour le faire ?

Loin du monde moderne, si proche de l’univers ancestral où le présent n’est qu’un passé sans cesse réactualisé, ainsi va ton destin, Kosovo.  Mais le diriges-tu vraiment ? Peut-être, ne le sais-tu même pas ; tu es la pomme de discorde dont « on » se débarrassera pour de plus hautes raisons : la politique, le pouvoir et l’argent !  Que n’as-tu perçu ce trompe l’œil …, « ils » discutent davantage des moyens que sur la fin !

Cet animal Balkan, est couché, là, tout autour de la plaine. Il se reposer pour l’hiver ; nous le voyons, il laisse apparaître ses épineuses enneigées.  En mars, il se réveillera.  Le printemps sera le germinal de toutes les rancœurs, de toutes les vengeances (cf. 1999 et 2004).  La loi du sang reprendra ses droits : un mort pour un mort. « Never end story ». Dans ce pays, il est normal de détenir une arme mais aussi de s’en servir.  PAS un jour ne se couche, sans que des coups de feu (« happy shooting » ou non) ne déchirent l’espoir et/ou qu’une grenade à main ne soit lancée. Qui dans un jardin, qui dans un autobus, un magasin ou un restaurant.  La contrebande et les us et coutumes sont plus puissantes que la KFOR, l’UNMIK Police ou la KPS réunis.  Bien entendu.

 Deux ethnies se regardent sur les rives d’une rivière (IBAR) sans oser ouvertement traverser LE pont principal de la ville, tel le Rubicon, il est trop lourd de symbole … pour les deux entités ! Pont de la honte, pont des deux haines.  Ces ethnies se jugent, se jauche, se volent, se mentent, se provoquent, se tuent, se déchirent en se déchirant elles-mêmes.

C’est étrange de se dire, qu’à l’heure où s’ouvrent les négociations qui doivent déterminer de son avenir, le Kosovo dans son ensemble, se retrouve dans la même situation que celle d’il y a un an et demi, à Devic : émeute, 19 morts et 4000 serbes contraints à l’exode.  Tout cela au départ d’une simple … rumeur !  La poudrière est toujours en place ; à nous d’en éloigner toutes les allumettes prêtes à s’allumer. L’imprévisibilité des réactions collectives reste, plus que jamais, un paramètre essentiel. Pour ma part, toutes les solutions « àvenir (?)» seront mauvaises. Celle du sol comme celle de la population majoritairement représentée. Les enclaves seront appelées à disparaître ou devoir être fortement autonomes, tant les pressions sont immenses (destructions de maisons, caillassage de bus scolaires à la sortie des enclaves, pneus crevés, pillage des cultures, insultes, graffiti accusateurs ou revendicateurs… et  mars 2004).  Et nous nous plaignons de nos ennuis linguistiques !?! Quelle farce ! Allez, ne nous égarons point…

« … que la montagne est belle… »

Route parsemée de nid de poules, je te quitte ; te voici devenir chemin pentu.

La caillasse enneigée se dérobe sous les pneus du véhicule.

Je m’élève de concret puant et je vais tourner un peu la page, derrière cet arbre tordu.

J’y découvre une autre vie, celle de 2003, « LA » Vie, quand la ville devient minuscule.

Nature, tu me parles et tu te rapproches de… moi.

Il ne faudrait ne pas se perdre, ni prendre parti. Il faudrait pouvoir se détacher.

Le froid et la pureté peuvent laisser place aux rêves, à l’ « et moi ».

Ici, je me rempli et …me vide à la fois. Respirer et ne plus penser. Seulement te rêver.


Ici, je te hume à plein poumon et pourtant c’est mon cerveau qui respire.

Tes villages isolés pour plusieurs mois d’hiver,

Seront oubliés des hommes, mais pas des tourments les pires

You know, now, I don’t care !!!


Pour réfléchir bien, il faut parfois bien ne rien faire.

Laisser entrer le bruit du silence, faire place à … rien !

Juste être ! C’est tout autre chose que « dis-paraître » ou plaire.

Etre en accord avec son miroir, c’est déjà tout un autre chemin.


Loin de cette agitation, je reviens vers moi-même

Voulant faire le point, regoûter à la Source

Penser à ceux que (pourtant) l’on a laissés, qui me  manquent et que j’ aime,

Mesurer mon existence, qui n’est qu’une course,


A celle de ces gens, qui n’ont qu’un but : survivre !

La vie a placé les uns au nord, les autres au sud du « Rubicon » kosovar.

Kosovo, qu’en sera-t-il demain, quand tu te réveilleras moins ivre ?

Je ne serai plus là pour, de mes yeux, le voir …


Pourtant, terre de tant de richesses, tu mines l’âme de tes « visiteurs » :

Tu leur recibles les valeurs vraies, celle de l’Homme

Et voici que je t’arpente l’arme à la cuisse, sans cependant avoir vraiment  peur.

Que ne devrais-je avoir honte, en somme ?


Le vent fait trembler la harpe des branches,  ta complainte la revoici :

Tu ne chantes point, tu cries ta faim, tu pleures, tu as froid.

Je ne peux rien pour toi, je ne suis pas venu pour …ça, mais juste pour donner… mon avis.

Celui-ci ne t’apportera rien, aucune aide, personnellement, à toi.


Ce chant ne sera pas celui des sirènes d’ Ulysse.

Je t’observe et je ne comprends pas toujours.

Je suis de l’ ouest, sans être un … cow-boy. Sur ton tapis de neige, je glisse

Et avant que TU ne tombes vers l’oubli, je pense à mon retour.


Adieu terres fertiles en « saoul-venir », adieu Vidoja

Adieu Nebi, vos destins sont liés mais diamétralement opposés. Futurs ennemis ?Amis ?

Je vous quitte et, sans doute, jamais plus ne viendrai poser un pas

Sur votre immaculée poudreuse.  Ta drogue prochaine s’appellera « Liberté ». A quel prix ?


 Un massif enturbanné de neige, cerné de pierres, balafré de ravines, tapissé de taches d’ arbres coupés. Dans les hameaux arc-boutés contre la montagne, faisant le gros dos contre l’hiver qui ne s’en effraye pas, la fumerolle des cheminées, le givre sur les carreaux et les bonshommes de neige dans les prairies nous feraient croire à une carte de vœux de la Saint-Sylvestre. Un pays farouche et splendide.  Une boutique à ciel ouvert d’ émouvants souvenirs de 2003, une carte postale haute en couleurs.


Aujourd’hui, une rivière a également décidé de manifester dans les rues, les maisons et les villages. La seule fabrique d’électricité est sous eau et le Kosovo est sans électricité et donc sans appoint de chauffage, pour des semaines… La grogne va gronder, la révolte est proche.

Les armes se font de plus en plus entendre le soir ; les calibres sont multiples, les fournisseurs de mort se frottent les mains. Sommes-nous préparé à parer à se qui pourrait se tramer ? Certaines de nos analyses ne sont pas optimistes. La cellule « Analyse&Production » du renseignement non plus … Etant une des trois fourmi fournissant la source de ce qui sort comme renseignements de la « Task Force » vers la KFOR, j’ai osé, d’initiative, entre-ouvrir la boîte de Pandore.  Qui en est ressorti le plus effrayé : les 3 généraux et 18 colonels ou moi ? Mon étude a été qualifiée « d’intéressante, peu probable et pessimiste : the worse case scenario». Nous verrons (ou vous verrez) … Que la politique nous en préserve, le mur n’est plus loin !

 Le vent souffle fort, sans m’apporter d’odeur. Je frissonne malgré moi dans trente centimètres de neige. Je suis au rendez-vous de la vie et j’attends. Un battement de cœur, plus fort que le mien vient me tirer de mes songes et me rappeler à la réalité. Un battement régulier, quotidien: les hélicoptères transporteur de troupes nous survolent, saupoudrant le tout d’une touche de neige si légère … Le peintre suprême, ce grand architecte, sait y faire pour rendre la nature si belle. La méritions-nous ? Qu’allons-nous léguer à nos enfants à qui nous empruntons la Terre ?

Ma vue se trouble ; leur vie est trouble. Action !

Ce village va entendre se rapprocher le battement de cœur de la réalité version « KFOR » : l’encerclement par la troupe, l’envahissement des maison, fouille en règle par la police pour « déloger » une « international target », bien notée dans notre jeu de carte …

 « Kosovo Polje », « Metohija », tu es sale et tu sens (très) mauvais. Tu as érigé un monument en l’honneur d’une de tes défaites et celui que tu ériges dans le Nord, en guise de nouveau défi ethnique, fera encore beaucoup couler d’encre et peut-être même du sang.  Tu ne feras décidément rien comme les autres, puisque rien ici n’est certain, mais malgré tout cela, quelque chose en toi me parle.

Quoi ? Aujourd’hui, je ne sais. Te quitterais-je, sans me retourner et … sans savoir ?

 Mon prédécesseur, mon pote Wim, avait le cafard en te quittant ; pourquoi ? Me le diras-tu ? T’avait-il percé à jour ? Que lui  as-tu donc fait ? Non, plutôt que NOUS as-tu fait ?

 Etait-ce le rêve de l’idée d’un idéal intouchable ?

A quand l’image d’Epinal ?  Jamais, je le crains…

« Pourtant, que la montagne est belle, comment peut-on s’imaginer en voyant un vol d’hirondelles  que  l’hiver vient d’arriver … ».



Precursors of Hostile Intent:

Signs of a Potential Terrorist Attack

John Thompson, President of the Mackenzie Institute


Current as of March 10th, 2006


This document is intended to serve as a guide to experts and average citizens alike of precursor activities and other potential indicators of a terrorist attack.  It will never be a finalized document as input from police and security community continues to come in regarding their own experiences from four nations and eight agencies.  The most current edition of this ongoing document will always be available on the Institute’s website (listed above).

This was written for Canadian audience although the list of precursors apply everywhere that Jihadists might attack.  In the interests of public safety readers are free to print, post or distribute copies as they see fit, we only ask that the normal conventions of accreditation are observed.

1.  Some day, maybe in a few months or perhaps not for a couple of years, Jihadist terrorists will deliver an attack in Canada, or will directly threaten Canadians in some manner overseas.  Al Qaeda’s usual style is to attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible, but also to hit targets of economic importance and which may hold some symbolic value.

2.  Although many Canadians entertain false hopes that we will be spared from Jihadist attentions; it is already clear that al Qaeda is among the dozens of terrorist groups with a Canadian presence.  Numerous al Qaeda members have Canadian connections:  These include the Khadr family, and two members who were scooped up in Iraq as members of Ansar al Islam.  One of the Jabarah brothers from St. CatharinesOntario was killed in Saudi Arabia while participating in an al Qaeda cell and the other is still in detention in the US after acting as a liaison between Osama bin Laden and Jihadists in Singapore and Indonesia.

3.  Other Jihadists are operating in Canada.  We recently deported 19 young Pakistani men when their activities (including a 4:00 AM nature hike on the grounds of a nuclear power plant) attracted our police.  Two Canadian women of Egyptian origin also got CSIS interested in Kassim Mohamed, likewise of Egyptian origin, in early 2004.  Mohamed was busy filming details of Toronto’s subway system, fire exits from the CN tower, Toronto bank towers, and other points of interest.

4.  Inside police and security agency circles there are stories of other reconnaissance-style activities in various places in Canada.  From the US, the UK and Australia, there have been press reports of such activities directed towards ambulances, hospitals, military airfields, churches and synagogues, schools (especially, but not limited to, Jewish ones), power stations, government buildings, office towers, fuel tankers, chemical plants and refineries.

5.  Over the past four years, Osama bin Laden has directly instructed Jihadists to attack ten nations:  The United States, Great Britain, Australia, Spain, Canada and Italy, as well as Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.  So far, successful attacks were made against all but Canada, Italy and Jordan.  Jordan escaped a massive attack that might have killed up to 20,000 people in its capital with poison gas when they arrested the attackers as they arrived in Amman with their supplies, but was recently hit by a string of suicide bombers anyway.  Canada’s turn is coming soon.

6.  Almost all successful terrorist attacks involve reconnaissance and intelligence gathering (often by those who actually plan attacks rather than those who deliver them), and the attackers themselves might stage some dry-runs to rehearse their attack before delivering it.  Therefore, the first line of defence against terrorism depends on an alert and aware citizenry – people who are cognizant of what could be precursor activity for an attack and are confident enough to report it.

7.  The following should trigger your suspicions:

  • The theft or loss of badges, credentials, ID cards, Government/military/emergency vehicles, uniforms, or the discovery of false IDs.  Attempts to scout seven hospitals in the US in March and April of 2005 involved fake credentials and ID cards.  This includes theft of uniforms from dry-cleaning shops – report such incidents assiduously.
  • Photographing, sketching or surveillance of buildings and facilities (see paragraph 4).
  • Trespassing near key facilities or in supposedly secure areas, particularly by multiple persons.
  • The presence of uncommon or abandoned vehicles, packages, or containers.
  • Persons who seem to be making careful note of the presence of security cameras, anti-vehicle bollards, and similar security measures around potential target buildings.
  •  Observing people who are searching trash containers or placing unusual items in them (particularly around transit systems or the lobbies of crowded buildings – but also around the private residences of important people).
  • Thefts of sensitive military or government property such as computers.
  • Purchases at Government surplus sales of military, police, fire or paramedic vehicles and equipment, particularly if there are indications of an intention to refurbish them to working condition.  (Last autumn, it appeared that there was a keen interest in ambulances in several US cities).
  • The attempted purchase or theft of large numbers of weapons (including knives).
  • The attempted purchase of supplies necessary for the manufacture of explosive devices – this includes an unusual or frequent purchase of fertilizer or cleaning supplies.  Acetone and Peroxide are key components in a particularly devastating home-made explosive.
  • An increase in cyber attacks/probes and demands for information about facilities, personnel or standard operating procedures through e-mail.  These may include ‘surveys’ from supposed security professionals, requests from students, etc.
  • An increase in the number of threats or false fire alarms to facilities that require evacuation.  If a false alarm is rung, watch for onlookers who are observing your reaction.
  • Unknown workers trying to gain access to facilities for repairs, installation of equipment, etc.
  • The installation of unauthorized surveillance cameras from an unknown source.
  • Unusual patterns of seemingly unimportant activity:  Examples might include increased foot traffic into a little used access tunnel underneath an office tower, or a fisherman who keeps returning to a point close to a nuclear power plant.
  • Unknown persons or occupied vehicles loitering in the vicinity of a potential target for an extended period of time.
  • Attempts to gain information from janitors, receptionists, and other entry-level employees.

8.  While al Qaeda usually prefers attacking with a sequence of bombs (often delivered by suicide attackers), the mail bomb is still a potential hazard.  Be suspicious about:

  • Mail that has no return address (if there is a return address and you are suspicious about the package, call them and ask if they sent something).
  • Mail addressed only to the title of the prospective recipient or that uses an incorrect title.
  • Misspelled words or defective addresses.
  • Restrictive markings such as “personal for ….” or “to be opened only by …”
  • Excessive postage – the sender might not have wanted to deal face to face with a postal clerk to get the package weighed and stamped with exact postage.
  • Stains, discoloration, oiliness, crystallization, or a strange odor.
  • Abnormal size or excessive wrapping, particularly if the package is heavily taped or wrapped with twine.
  • Wires, metal foil, string or a cell phone antenna protruding from the package.
  • An unusually heavy or unbalanced feel to the package (the mail bomb the Institute received some years ago felt like there was a large ceramic mug inside a box).
  • A lopsided or uneven envelope – a hard lump like a watch battery might well be part of a bomb’s triggering circuit.
  • A very rigid envelope.
  • A springiness in part of the package (which may be part of the trigger – do not keep testing it).
  • A suspicious package which was dropped off rather than brought in by your normal method of postal delivery or courier service.

9.  One should also be suspicious about other unusual activities, including:

  • A large group of men (particularly, but not exclusively, ‘Middle Eastern’ looking men in their 20s or 30s) who occupy a house, apartment, or motel rooms with no apparent purpose; and who have no apparent patterns of arrival/departure consistent with commuting to work or school.
  • If there is a smell of chemicals coming from the above site, call it in immediately!  They may be cooking up explosives.
  • A similar group that is interested in renting (especially for cash) office space or an apartment yet seem to perform no apparent function with it.
  • People who are in possession of large amounts of cash for no apparent reason.
  • People who attempt to purchase or lease vehicles or boats with cash, and who seem evasive about the paperwork.

10.  Regarding suicide attackers, look out for these indicators:

·         A shaved head or short haircut. A short haircut or recently shaved beard or moustache may be evident by differences in skin complexion on the head or face.

·         May smell of herbal or flower water, as they may have sprayed perfume on themselves and clothing to prepare for Paradise.

·         Suspects have been seen “praying fervently, giving the appearance of whispering to someone.”  Others have been described as agitated or very nervous.

·         Recent suicide bombers have raised their hands in the air just before the explosion to prevent the destruction of their fingerprints. They have also placed identity cards in their shoes because they want to be praised and recognized as martyrs.

·         Suicide bombers often look furtive and may be having a hard time ‘fitting in’ with the normal street scene.  LTTE suicide attackers at the ColomboAirport in Sri Lanka approached their targets by acting as a picnic party on the runways.  Palestinian attackers had often been identified by Israeli civilians as they approach to attack.

·         Additionally, bulky clothing, which may be inappropriate for the weather and circumstances, can conceal a vest bomb (though many have used backpacks instead of vest bombs, particularly in the summer).

·         Suicide bombers often try to avoid coming near security or into contact with any authority figure until it is time to launch their attack.

·         Male suicide bombers often wear multiple sets of underwear (as many as ten in some cases) and a protective cup over their genitals to protect these in anticipation of the 72 Virgins they believe will be accorded a ‘Martyr’ in the afterlife.  An odd fit to the pants may be another indicator.

11.  Vehicle bombs are one of the most common forms of attack for modern terrorists, be suspicious of:

·         Vehicles that have a strong chemical smell, or the scent of something burning coming from them.

·         Signs of recent body work, especially of poor quality, or with patches welded to the cab or body of the truck.

·         Extra fuel tanks or extra antennas, or recent signs of a reinforced suspension.

·         Inappropriate license plates or misspelled artwork or badly executed stencil painting.

·         Heavily tinted windows, particularly if used in an unusual manner (for example, if the front screen of a delivery truck is tinted).

·         Signs that the vehicle is heavily over-loaded on its suspension.

12.  Custom and immigration workers, as well as police, should also be alert for:

·         People with chemical burns and/or shaved chests (one arrival in Canada tried to explain that the burns were so that he could match his passport photo!).

·         False documents, especially from visa-exempt countries such as EU nations, the US in Canada (and vice versa), Australia, Singapore, etc.  If in doubt ask your subject about the national anthem, currency, landmarks, etc. from the country he claims to be from.

·         Persons who come via another country than the one that issued his passport.  For example, someone traveling on a forged Spanish passport might arrive in Canada via the UK, as his forgery could be easily spotted if he arrived directly from Spain.  The al Qaeda manual advises Jihadists to use this indirect approach when traveling.

·         Is this person trying to enter during a weekend or holiday, when it might be assumed there would be fewer and/or less attentive staff at the airport?

·         What currency has he got in his pockets?  Coins can be very revealing:  ATMs and money exchanges never give or accept coinage, and these would be especially telling about where the subject has been – particularly if there is a discrepancy between his story and the contents of his pockets.

·         Are there any duty free stamps on his cigarettes?  From where?  Or his toiletries?

·         Is he carrying matches or a lighter and no cigarettes?

·         Is he carrying maps and photographs, diagrams, something coded (like phone numbers), or a list of temporary/casual e-mail addresses (hotmail and yahoo accounts particularly)?  Are there CD disks that are plain and unmarked, especially if they are tucked in the case or jacket of a commercial product?

·         Is there an album or disc of photographs?  Are any missing?  Remember that digital cameras put a sequence stamp on each photo.

·         What books or magazines is he carrying?  In what languages, and where were they printed?

·         If entering the country on a student visa, does the school actually exist?  Is it legitimate?  Can this registration be confirmed?

13.  Should you notice any of the above points, don’t be afraid to quickly let your local police know about them.  Canadians, if calling the police, should phone their city/regional HQ and ask for the Intelligence Section or an RCMP Division and ask for their INSET (Integrated National Security Enforcement Team).  If calling 911, ask for a supervisor as most of them will know where to forward your call.

14.  Make sure your report is clear and factual, share your suspicions but emphasize the reasons why they arose in the first place.  Record your observations as quickly as possible, while your impressions are still fresh.

15.  If something or someone attracts your notice, take no action other than to report it immediately.  Do not attempt heroics – this may deter a possible attack, but not the broken neck that a startled Jihadist might deliver to you personally if you grab him (or the assault charges or lawsuit if you grabbed an innocent party).  Besides, terrorists are skittish about discovery and the impression that they have kindled your suspicions may be enough to send them scuttling off elsewhere.

The Mackenzie Institute can be reached at, or at 416-686-4063.  The latest version of this paper is posted at


“Le Petit Journal du Lot”

Week of 2 January 2006

The New Year is a congressional election year and the democrats are not happy, for political ends they are already carping like hung-over fishmongers over the security policies of the Bush Administration. Far worse, this spiteful diversion is undermining the war against terrorism because their grandstanding against covert operations severely threatens to diminish America’s counterterrorism missions.

The Democrat Senators and Congressmen are so busy denouncing the no-warrant wiretaps and rendition program as illegal that they neglect their homework to research the law. Case law and The Department of Justice had already considered that the President has inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes. Expressly, in 2002, in an appellate court, the judges held that “the President had inherent authority to conduct warantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information.” These seekers of sins were also not aware, or had conveniently forgotten, that their champion, President Bill Clinton, had already successfully argued for and obtained the very same authority.

While the critics on Capitol Hill hold power, they avoid shouldering the heavy responsibility that the executive Branch retains. It is far easier to reproach when you are not answerable for your decisions. What they appear to be putting forward is the double-edged notion that NSA should only monitor overseas and that the FBI should be the only one to eavesdrop domestically. The trouble with that is that NSA is fully equipped for such work while the FBI still hasn’t been able to purchase an efficient computer system. With such evident disarray in the FBI, how could they be expected to manage efficient wiretaps?

The object of these wiretaps is to gather intelligence – to seek advanced information that might head off future terrorist attack and not merely for prosecution purposes. The person ultimately responsible for the safety of his citizens is the President and he needs all the help the intelligence agencies can offer. The media’s exposure and The Hill’s exploitation of the CIA’s clandestine counterterrorism cooperation with foreign powers will probably now mean that such useful links, that have taken years to develop, will be closed down, favoring further terrorist operations against Americans and Europeans.

Alas, 2006 won’t be the year when the media and the congressional branch cease trying to divest the President of his Constitutional authority to defend America and begin being responsible towards the defense of the country…after all it is an election years and anything goes, even if it involves the safety of the people.

Peter B. Martin

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