In the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, more Americans than before are trying to grapple with questions about the nature of terrorism, terror activity versus rampage killings, and what can be done to prevent these bloodlettings.
I have been studying these questions for years as part of my self-training. I learned some of the basics of counter-terrorism theory from a former SpecOps officer, and more from my Kung Fu instructor whose day job is as a criminal forensics and counter-terrorism specialist consulting to law enforcement. I’ve also read up on the subject, and thought carefully about what I’ve read.
The following is a primer on how people whose job it is to prevent and mitigate terrorist activity and spree killings think about it.
Stephen P. Halbrook’s Gun Control in the Third Reich is a book that every advocate of “gun control” in the modern U.S. and elsewhere should read – but almost certainly never will.
Most other historians have ignored or outright suppressed the role of weapons law and weapons confiscations in the Nazi imposition of totalitarianism on Germany before World War II. Thus it is forgotten that the legal pretext for the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938 was the confiscation of all firearms from Jewish owners. And that most of the first major wave of Jews sent to the concentration camps went there on charges of illegal possession of weapons.
Gun control was not an incidental feature of Nazi tyranny, it was one of the central tools of totalitarian repression and genocide. If Halbrook’s book had no other virtues, the reminder of this stark fact would be enough to recommend it.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the terrorist who died in a firefight with the Boston police with a kettle bomb strapped to him, had a YouTube page. Examining an image of it, I found an approving link to a movie titled “The Black Flags of Khorasan”.
Because, unlike the politically-correct idiots who infest our nation’s newsrooms, I’ve actually studied the history of Islam in some detail, that title had immediate resonance for me. I thought I knew what it meant, and I googled.
What I found confirmed my hunch. Not just that Black Flags from Khorasan is a jihadist propaganda movie, but that it’s a jihadi movie of a particularly interesting kind – Mahdist, and almost certainly radical Shi’a. Mahdism is present in Sunni but much less central, and in any case the region of Khorasan has been the heart country of Shi’a for nearly a thousand years.
Domestic terrorism, my ass. As usual, the mainstream media was slavering to pin this on some Richard-Jewell-like native-born conservative (bonus points if they get to say “Tea Party”). As usual, it’s a jihadi atrocity in which fundamentalist Islam was causal.
But that film is a more specific clue. If the investigators have even a microgram of brains, they’re looking for an Iranian connection now.
One of my commenters brought up John Robb, a former SpecOps pilot who has made a name for himself as a counter-terror theorist by writing about “open-source warfare”. Mutual acquaintances confirm what Robb’s own writings suggest, which is that his notions of open-source warfare are heavily influenced by what I have called the bazaar model of software development.
When I learned this in 2004 I attempted to begin a conversation with John Robb by email. The remainder of this post is my email to him – to which, for whatever reason, he never replied. I have edited the one link reference into a live link.
Ten years after 9/11, I find there is little that I need or want to add to what I have already written on this topic. Rereading the essay I wrote the day of the attack, it still seems relevant. So does my explanation of the militia obligation.
The best tribute we can give to the victims of 9/11 is to stand with those who have risked their lives and (often) died in opposition to Islamic terrorism and tyranny – from Todd Beamer to Neda Soltan to Seal Team 6. On a planet shrunk by modern communications and transport, in a war of shadows in which non-state actors threaten us on a scale previously reserved for national militaries, we must all be vigilant warriors.
Remember and be ready.
Count me with those who will not be flying until the TSA procedures requiring either a full-body X-ray scan or a grope are rescinded. This is meaningless security theater taken to a Kafkaesque extreme, and I won’t consent to it even passively. When the airlines feel enough pain from refuseniks, they’ll push back faster than we can.
A few moments ago I received email from the Iranian who first asked me to try to help the dissidents fourteen month ago. I reproduce his email and my response in its entirety, except that I omit information that might identify him.
One Kelly Sweeney is publicly advocating that public access to AIS ship information should be prohibited in order to foil pirates and terrorists.
I must respectfully disagree with the premise of this article. I’m the lead of GPSD, a widely-used open-source GPS/AIS monitor daemon, and I am thus both a domain expert on AIS and a systems architect who is required to think about data security issues all the time. Attempting to “secure” AIS data would harm the public and have no security benefits. In fact, the second-order effects would be seriously bad.
Listen to this CNN interview with an eyewitness to the Baharestan Square Massacre. If it does not freeze your blood, you are no longer part of any community of human feeling I can recognize.
I am, as of now, DONE with people who say we shouldn’t “impose American values” or “promote democracy” in the Middle East. They are morally bankrupt. As of 24 June 2009 they have slip-slid into the category of apologists for genocide.
That woman is shattered. She has witnessed atrocities no human being should even have to imagine, let alone watch being wreaked on their friends and neighbors and countrymen. She is pleading with us, screaming for the world to intervene.
Will we flagellate ourselves over our imagined sins, or act? This is cause for war – not on behalf of the U.S.’s particular interests, but on behalf of all humanity against a cabal of tyrants and butchers unequaled in evil since Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.
To know of this degree of radical evil, and have the power to act against it but fail to do so, is to become accomplice to the evil. The time for the overthrow of the Iranian regime, by any feasible means up to and including full-scale war, has come.
Some commenters have asked me to express a position on the war in Gaza.
It’s Victory in Iraq day today. The good guys – Western civilization, the Coalition of the Willing, the United States, and the people of Iraq – won this war. The bad guys – Saddam Hussein’s regime, al-Qaeda’s jihadis, all their allies and enablers – lost it. The entire world will be a better place because of this victory. And that is a proper thing to celebrate.
Comes word from Iraq that the Maliki government has just shipped to Canada 550 tons of yellowcake uranium that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled.
One wonders what the anti-war left thinks Hussein had been planning to do with it. Make cupcakes, perhaps?
In Nablus, a young man is kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists — who then set him free on learning he is an American because they don’t want to end up like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi so recently did.
I am irresistibly reminded of a piece of cynical wisdom from the mouth of the mad Roman emperor Caligula, born of experience in dealing with the barbarians of his day: Oderint, dum metuant: “Let them hate, so long as they fear”.
NEW YORK (Disassociated Press) – In a surprise sequel to the death of top al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi this morning, police have executed raids and searches on dozens of newsrooms and editorial offices belonging to a shadowy and ill-defined network called the “MSM”. The resulting haul of intelligence on terrorist objectives and strategy has been described as “priceless”.
“It’s no secret that these `Main Stream Media’ organizations have been handing the terror network a lot of its talking points,” said one spokesman. “Increasingly, terrorists have been shaping their strategy around media operations, relying on their tacit partnership with the MSM to achieve shared political goals. Cracking the media side of the operation may be the most effective way to cut off the terrorists’ oxygen.”
Representatives of the New York Times, the Reuters news agency, the Guardian, and other apparent targets of the investigation declined to comment, except to blame U.S. President George W. Bush for millions of hitherto-undisclosed Iraqi civilian casualties, higher gas prices, several extragalactic supernovas, and the Hindenburg disaster.
Well, this is novel. I’ve just received a terroristic death threat. From
an idiot who failed to obscure his return path. Here it is, precisely as
I received it mere minutes ago:
From email@example.com Sun May 21 22:44:42 2006
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Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 19:43:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: hhh hyftyf
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
We have your address.
YOU WILLBE KILLED
YOU WILLBE KILLED
YOU WILLBE KILLED
YOU WILLBE KILLED
YOU WILLBE KILLED
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
I will report this threat to the appropriate authorities. I guess
all my writings about terrorism and Islam struck a nerve somewhere.
Here’s a message to whoever is behind this threat: Maybe you think
you can intimidate me, or that threats like this will stop other
bloggers from speaking the truth about your barbaric mass-murdering
death-cult. Well, screw you and the camel you rode in. I will not
be silenced, and we will not be silenced. All you do
with terroristic threats is to demonstrate your evil nature,
confirm our resolve to resist you, and speed the day when your
diseased ideology will be wiped from the face of the Earth.
Since I posted Dan Simmons’s
Message From The Future, I’ve had a couple of Muslims show up on this
blog protesting that I’ve got it all wrong, that Islam is a peaceful
and tolerant religion and Islamic terror is an aberration not sanctioned
by the Koran.
Here’s a challenge to all you apologists for Islam: stand up in
your mosque and declaim, loudly, that religious violence is an
abomination against Allah — that those who use terror in a
program to restore the Caliphate, those who would execute ex-Muslims
who convert to any other religion, those who would condone ‘honor
killing’, and those who incite hatred against Jews and other Peoples
of the Book have fallen from the Narrow Way and will burn in hell with
the sons of Iblis.
If you are unwilling to do this for religious reasons, or fear to
do it because of the reaction of your fellow Muslims, then shut the
fuck up about your so-called ‘religion of peace’, because you
are a liar and a hypocrite.
That is all.
I very seldom post just to forward my readers to someone else’s writing, but SF author Dan Simmons has earned it with this potent warning. Read the whole thing. Because it is indeed our future, unless we wake up.
I’ve been warning since 2002 that the West really is in a war to
defend civilization against Islamic barbarians, and had better face up
to that fact before the consequences of whitewashing Islam as
a “religion of peace” get worse.
Comes now Fjordman, a blogger from Norway who tells us that Moslem
immigrants to Sweden report themselves to be
at war with Swedes. See also his earlier post about how Swedish
society is disintegrating — not despite its commitment to
‘multiculturalism’, ‘tolerance’, and the welfare state, but because
that commitment is being ruthlessly gamed by Islamofascists who see
themselves as the conquering vanguard of the Dar al-Islam.
Sam Harris’s The End of Faith is a well-executed polemic of a kind that, in retrospect, has been curiously absent in the West over the last fifty years. Not since I read Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian in the early 1970s have I seen an attack on organized religion as clear, uncompromising, and compelling as this one — and Russell’s book was expanded from a lecture he gave in 1927.
Why, in a supposedly secular and modernist society that is heir to the anti-religious Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th century, do we not see more outright attacks on particular religions, or religion as an institution in general? Mr. Harris supplies a surprising answer: he thinks ‘tolerance’ is a problem, that the modern West has agreed to accept almost any form of unsanity or fanaticism as long as it is labeled ‘religion’.