We're in a war against terror. Every minute, Islamofascist murderous maniacs are plotting to blow us up, behead us, nuke us and destroy us. The threat practically smashes us in the face.
It makes Hitler's threat in the 1930s seem like an anemic understatement. Most of the experts who seem worthy of trust believe that the question is not if we have another 9/11-type catastrophe, but when we have one. And it may well make 9/11 look like a Boy Scout picnic, as weapons of mass destruction are out there and many are unaccounted for and not under the control of any responsible government.
To put that into further perspective, the British government has just issued a report concluding an attack with weapons of mass destruction is much more likely now. And now former top military commander Gen. Richard Myers tells Newsmax, the magazine, that America's enemies in the war on terror are "ruthless" and "relentless" and will not hesitate to use nuclear or biological weapons if they obtain them. Gen. Myers added, "They want to do away with our way of life."
This kind of warning is coming from every direction. On March 26, 2009, Reuters reported that it is believed Osama bin Laden is now in Pakistan plotting and planning attacks on the United States. America's top military officer, Adm. Mike Mullen, has just warned that the intercontinental ballistics missile about to be launched by North Korea has the capability of hitting Alaska and Hawaii.
It is as though someone is standing over us with an axe ready to swing at our throat and we are whistling Dixie. After all, the Obama administration wants the war on terror out of our vocabulary to be replaced by "overseas operational contingency."
The Obama administration seems to confront our enemies by replacing reality with euphemisms, magically making the war on terror, terrorism, terrorists, enemy combatants and illegal immigrants all disappear. The only weapons in their arsenal seem to be changes of terminology, weakness, apologizing for America to our enemies and groveling before them with requests to negotiate. The incompetent Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, on the "Greta van Sustern Show" (Fox) said if anyone is listening in North Korea, hear this: We want to talk to you. This is one more telegram to the world that we seem weak and ineffective.
As I write this, an intercontinental ballistics missile capable of hitting Alaska is sitting on the launching pad in North Korea. We know both Iran and North Korea are developing weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles to deliver them. And President Barack Obama doesn't believe in missile defense systems. We are confronted with enemies around the globe and when it comes to national security and national defense, we are confronted with weakness at every turn.
The Obama administration better shift strategy and face reality, before the reality of terror and terrorism consumes us. The only way I can think of to force that recognition of reality is to have the public exert political and public opinion pressure on President Obama and all of our elected leaders. I've been trying to do that and I've come up with another perspective on terror to try to do that.
I keep the books on terrorism close at hand, as I consider the threat of Islamofascist terrorism to be one of the most important and most neglected subjects of our time — especially neglected by politicians, the mainstream media and much of the public.
I was rereading a chapter on "Jihadi Webmasters" in the classic on terrorism by Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism titled Jihad: Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S. I was struck by what I consider some of the still unlearned lessons about the Islamofascist terrorists in this and other chapters. Here they are:
The Islamofascists are barbaric, bloodthirsty and evil beyond imagination. Hamas, an organization made up of the self-proclaimed terrorists, murderers and genocidists, uses the Internet to recruit members from all age groups. Hamas even has a Web site designed specifically for children, featuring photos of Palestinian children holding automatic weapons and dressed in Hamas military insignia. Along with bedtime stories and other features designed for children, the site has poems such as one titled "Palestine" with this phrase, "I walked toward my destiny as a martyr covered in blood."
Hamas also has a student movement to recruit teenagers to carry out suicide attacks. The Independent, a newspaper in the United Kingdom (March 28, 2009) reported, "Two hundred schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police scheme that aims to spot youngsters who are 'vulnerable' to Islamic radicalization." And the Washington Times (March 27, 2009) is reporting that Hezbollah, the terrorist organization, is sending people into the U.S. using Mexican drug routes. What's more, U.S. law enforcement isn't sure who else has entered the U.S. illegally.
When it comes to suicide bombings and other forms of mass murder, Hamas is an equal opportunity employer. Hamas has a Web site featuring advice for suicide bombers who are women. The site explains how a woman can "dominate the passions" before blowing oneself up. The site even has advice on diet and training, not to be healthy or attractive, but to achieve martyrdom in the holy war.
On other Web sites they have detailed advice on how to slaughter the innocent, with such details as the knives best for stabbing and then those best for beheading.
The terrorists advertise by running the most violent and disgusting images on the Internet thus attracting sympathizers and new members. Since the 2004 beheading of Nicholas Berg, a regular feature of these Web sites is beheadings. Mr. Emerson writes: "While print and television media outlets usually censor such footage, Islamist Web sites show the gruesome images in their entirety. These Internet postings can have far-reaching effects. One disturbing illustration of this was the subsequent 're-enactment' video of Berg's beheading created by four Muslim children — each no older than 12 — that was posted on the Internet shortly after his murder."
Another example of the behavior of the Islamofascists cited by Mr. Emerson involves Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza: "On May 12, 2004, after six Israeli soldiers were killed in an operation in Gaza, members of the Al Quassam Brigades videotaped themselves with the soldiers' body parts and posted the footage online in order to taunt the soldiers' families."
When your followers are attracted by graphic and gruesome scenes of beheadings and desecration of body parts and when children are used to reenact such barbarism, you should get some kind of impression of the minds of the Islamofascists and their followers. These Islamofascists and their followers must be recognized as pure evil. And perhaps their nature suggests something about the utility of negotiating with them and sending sweet talk their way.
The Islamofascist utilize the full range of advance computer and Internet technology to carry out their plans and to maximize death, destruction and terror. If you have to plan a public relations or public communications campaign and want to be sure you're utilizing all the techniques of mass communication, you should read Mr. Emerson's chapter on "Jihadi Webmasters."
He writes, "Since the Internet obtained almost universal usage in the 1990s, Islamic extremists have frequently exploited its rich, multifaceted resources. Islamist propaganda and recruitment activity are prevalent in cyberspace, which allows radical Islamists to easily spread their violent message to every corner of the globe — including the United States. By simply logging online, Islamic militants from Indonesia to Indiana are able to post articles, exchange information, and debate ideas on radical Web sites and in chat rooms.
"The Internet has become an operational tool for terrorists as they use the Web to communicate with each other, buy travel tickets and equipment and obtain information on potential targets. The Internet is also used to recruit, train and fund-raise."
This powerful new technology, in a real sense, makes our borders ever more leaky, as terrorist abroad can propagandize, recruit, train, communicate with potential terrorists or terrorists in the U.S., without law enforcement even knowing it. The Islamofascist terrorists have mastered the technology of the West, but none of its morality, humanity or decency.
The terrorist organizations support their activities by fund-raising, often through innocent-sounding charities, non-governmental organizations and by criminal activity. They do this in the U.S., often with charities or other organizations based here. An expert on terrorists' use of the Internet, wrote, "Al Qaeda … has always depended heavily on donations, and its global fund-raising network is built upon a foundation of charities, nongovernmental organizations, and other financial institution that use Web sites and Internet-based chat rooms and forums."
Criminal activity is another source of funding for terrorist organizations. They raise money by committing identity theft, fraud, trading of Social Security numbers and "phishing," which involves use of spam or pop-up ads to get personal information, such as credit cards, that can then be used to commit identity theft.
Nothing is sacred or worthy of respect if it gets in the way of the Islamofascists objectives of slaughter of innocents and genocide of their enemies. We've seen the use of innocent-sounding organizations to raise money for terrorism. We've seen the use of civilians as shields and building military installations among civilian living areas to assure civilian casualties. Mosques are used for terrorism and as fronts for crimes. Mr. Emerson writes, "Cases of radical mosque recruiting terrorists and financing terrorism have received widespread media coverage. Less well known are those mosques connected to individuals committing crimes involving immigration fraud, weapons acquisitions and drug trafficking."
One of the most important lessons from Mr. Emerson's book is terrorists are in the U.S. and we are under constant threat. Mr. Emerson may have been ahead of the FBI and CIA on this, but now they are catching up. On March 25, 2009, in testimony before the U.S Senate Judiciary Committee, Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, issued a series of warnings:
"As you know, terrorism remains our top priority. We have not had a terrorist attack on American soil in more than seven years. But we are not safe, as illustrated by the recent attacks in Mumbai, India.
"Today, we still face threats from al Qaeda. But we must also focus on less well-known terrorist groups, as well as homegrown terrorists. And we must consider extremists from visa-waiver countries, who are merely an e-ticket away from the United States. We are also concerned about the threat of home-grown terrorists. Over the years since September 11, 2001, we have learned of young men from communities in the United States, radicalized and recruited here to travel to countries such as Afghanistan or Iraq, Yemen or Somalia. We must also focus on extremists who may be living here in the Unit ed States, in the very communities they intend to attack."
Mr. Emerson documents in exquisite detail the terrorists known to have been operating in the U.S. and warns about those we may not know of. He also explains how these terrorists can get everything from training to operational orders through the Internet, often using encryption or other techniques making it difficult or impossible for law enforcement to figure out what is going on.
There's one other crucial lesson implied but not stated in Mr. Emerson's classic. He delivers a picture of terrorism with sweeping detail and impressive accuracy. And what is most striking is the mainstream media has done so little to deliver the information on terrorism the public should have. The mainstream media writes of terrorism, but fails to communicate its nature and consequences so the public pays attention and really understands.
We're flying blind into the storm called terrorism, and we will only get our bearings if the mainstream media changes and properly covers terrorism, or if the public realizes it can't trust the mainstream media and starts to look for information in the alternative media.
For a good overview I'd recommend reading Mr. Emerson's book, Jihad Incorporated, and Robert Spencer's The Stealth Jihad. You can also get updated information by going to their Web sites. In addition, the conservative media do a much better job of covering terrorism than the mainstream media.
Perhaps the most shocking unlearned lesson is that America and its leadership seem to be in a state of complacency and are not giving the threat of terrorism the priority it is entitled to. Mr. Emerson writes, "The American public and the West at large seem to have settled into a dangerous complacency still unaware of the nature of the diffuse threat that faces our society and way of life. Despite the media's extensive coverage of the subject of terrorism, the public still lacks a substantive understanding of Islamic radicalism, the danger it poses, and the extent to which it operates in the United States — in our cities and even in the halls of government. Societal factors, cultural tendencies, and various groups perpetrate what has become an almost willful ignorance in America.
"Chief among these factors are extremists groups serving as proxies for our enemies, seeking to block public awareness and render our country ineffective and impotent against our enemies. They conspire to subvert the exercise of public discourse through intimidation and flimsy accusations of racism and exclusion from behind false masks of moderation. These self-styled advocacy groups' undermine genuine moderate and patriotic Muslim Americans whom they claim to speak for by subverting America's efforts to combat those whose agenda they advance — the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad."
America must wake up or perish. One way to get that wake up call under way is to read Jihad Incorporated, and other resources named in this column. America has two of the most dangerous enemies it has ever faced — the terrorists at home and abroad and the people now occupying the White House.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Public Utility Commissioner and professor. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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