Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Terrorist's Rationale - New York Times

The Terrorist's Rationale - New York Times

Al Qaeda's Smart Bombs - New York Times

Al Qaeda's Smart Bombs - New York Times

BG: Mr. Pape has scholarship on his side, I'd say. He has many good points. However, readers of this would be further down the road of mass deception. It certainly doesn't inform the public of the Big Lie.

Telegraph | News | Britons will never give in to terrorists

Telegraph | News | Britons will never give in to terrorists

BG: Saletan still doesn't get it!

Iraq Comes to London

Informed Comment

London attacks show need to stay on offense - Bush

Top News Article "London attacks show need to stay on offense - Bush"

BG: I thought he would come out and say maybe the murder, torture, use of napalm like weapons, use of DU weapons, use of psyops (including fake beheadings), killing innocents, use of controlled media ... it may all have been a mistake. We've seen the err in our ways, and will endeavor to stop our insanity.

Moment of Triumph: Plame Blame Dame's Lost her Game

Moment of Triumph: Plame Blame Dame's Lost her Game

The scenario sounds somehow familiar: in support of a somewhat loopy Republican president's campaign against an Arab dictator, Judith Miller was willing to plant official US disinformation in the New York Times.

The year was 1986.

Nine years into her tenure at the New York Times, she participated in John Poindexter's disinformation campaign against Libya for the Reagan administration. As Bob Woodward later revealed in the Washington Post, Miller planted Poindexter's propaganda in her own writings: claiming that el-Khadaffi was being betrayed from within his own country, that he had sunk into depression, and had turned to drugs. Miller went on to claim Khadaffi had tried to have sex with her, but lost interest when she claimed Jewish heritage.

Khadaffi, you'll remember, was the 80's Saddam Hussein (back when Saddam Hussein was still cool). Muammar was Reagan's "Mad Dog of the Middle East," which is kinda weird when you consider that Libya is in North Africa. As you'll see at the bottom of this article, there was no event on earth that Republicans would not attach to his name for the sake of justifying what they wanted to do in the region anyway. He was our blame-sink at that time. Other Muslims have since taken his place. It's all still the same game, and Judith has been playing it since the days of skinny ties and perms.

And so now, with the First Amendment drama playing out, a quick review of the material that's been building up on this woman for the last two years on the blogsphere reveals a much longer but very consistent career. Judith Miller has been and probably still is an informal asset not of our government but of an American political faction. From North Africa to the Mesopotamian, she has provided copy to support imperial adventures. Perhaps she thinks her powerful patrons will protect her, perhaps she knows too much, or perhaps she's just too old to start over and simply needs to protect her accustomed sources. Her access to them is what's made an otherwise utterly undistinguished career. If it weren't for her usefulness as a propaganda outlet, over three decades, she'd have no content at all.

This is not a question of freedom of the press, unless by "freedom" you mean the "freedom" to pass on government propaganda, which is a very strange notion of "freedom" outside of, say, North Korea.

Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?

There used to be a carefully run but outwardly informal network of US intelligence operatives working in academia and journalism and in many other walks of life. Volunteers, amateurs, ready to be tapped for some fragment of a mission they did not understand, led otherwise unremarkable lives.

Judith is one of those people. Trust an amateur's sense of the dramatic to get the better of them. The fact that she received a doomed David Kelly's final, forboding message and that she was one of the fake anthrax terrorist's targets would only further have convinced her that she was some Secret Agent, involved in a dangerous game with international implications. It seems she went somewhat soft, as a result.

After all, the perqs were outstanding. One of the things that's always struck me about these pawns is how easy it is to beguile them. Life is a party, whatever their party's moral pretentions may be. Ehrenstein dug up the goods from old print sources a while back. We rejoin our heroine shortly after she's earned her bat's wings on Libya, where she has learned that she'd been sitting on her real talent all along. Access was, after all, a two-way street:

... in the October 1989 issue of the much-missed mag:

There was every reason to believe that when Judy Miller was moved from her post as deputy Washington bureau chief late last year, her long-standing custom of getting indecorously close to highly placed male sources would end. She is attracted more to the power the men in her orbit have than to the men themselves; her first words upon entering a room are often "Okay, who’s important here?" The list of middle-aged, quasi- available powerguys from Judy's colorful past is a long one, incorporating everyone from guitar-picking Republican national chairmen to anchorgirl-dating former assistant secretaries of State.
Such interpersonal skills Judy no doubt put to good use in her days as a corre-spondent in Paris, Beirut and Cairo. Regarded by her peers as a dogged, talented journalist, she received more ambivalent reviews for her after-hours work. Fellow female correspondents in Beirut had a very rough nickname for Judy - "Egregious Cunt" - which some of them abbreviated (E.C.) and had silk-screened onto T-shirts.
Judy's living accommodations in those far-flung outposts were ripe topics of conversation. Her bedroom in Cairo, for instance, had white shag carpeting and bedspread and curtains in an electric- blue-and-orange design. When a fellow correspondent took over her apartment in Beirut, it was discovered that although the place was to be let furnished, there were no sheets available. When news of this reached the city's press community, one unkind journalist commented, "She didn't want anyone to see her notes."

These kinds of connections, of course, would not last forever since the coin of her trade was, erm, declining in value. Judith could, however, actually work to preserve her role as preferred input valve for random bullshit on the Arab boogeyman of the week. She began cultivating new kinds of relationships with conspiracy nut Mylroie as well as with Pipes' unsavory thinktank. In short, she found work in the Islamic Threat Industry where she had cut her teeth. And business was good.

When the full history of the Iraq war is written, one of its most scandalous chapters will be about how American journalists, in particular those at the New York Times, so easily allowed themselves to be manipulated by both dubious sources and untrustworthy White House officials into running stories that misled the nation about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
The reporter on many of the flawed stories at issue was Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and authority on the Middle East. The Times, insisting that the problem did not lie with any individual journalist, did not mention her name. The paper was presumably trying to take the high road by defending its reporter, but the omission seems peculiar. While her editors must share a large portion of the blame, the pieces ran under Miller's byline. It was Miller who clearly placed far too much credence in unreliable sources, and then credulously used dubious administration officials to confirm what she was told.

And of all Miller's unreliable sources, the most unreliable was Ahmed Chalabi -- whose little neocon-funded kingdom came crashing down last week when Iraqi forces smashed down his door after U.S. officials feared he was sending secrets to Iran.
One might have hoped that American journalists would have been at least as skeptical as the State Department before they burned their reputations on Chalabi's pyre of lies. But even the most seasoned of correspondents and the most august of publications, including the Times and the Washington Post, appear to have been as deftly used by Chalabi as were the CIA, the Department of Defense and the Bush administration.

What? These journalists aren't old enough to remember the 80s?

Miller refused to say who some of those other sources were, claiming their identities were sacrosanct. Nonetheless, her reportage appeared to reflect Chalabi's intelligence gathering and his political cant. At his behest, she interviewed defectors from Hussein's regime, who claimed without substantiation that there was still a clandestine WMD program operating inside Iraq. U.S. investigators now believe that Chalabi sent these same Iraqi expatriates to at least eight Western spy agencies as part of a scheme to persuade them to overthrow Saddam. An unknown number of them appear to have stopped along the way to speak with Miller.

If the double-agent spy business had a trophy to hold up and show neophyte spooks what happens when their craft is perfectly executed, it would be a story by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon that appeared on the front page of the New York Times on a Sunday morning in September 2002. The front-page frightener was titled "Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; US Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts." Miller and Gordon wrote that an intercepted shipment of aluminum tubes, to be used as centrifuges, was evidence Hussein was building a uranium gas separator to develop nuclear material. The story quoted national security advisor Condoleezza Rice invoking the image of "mushroom clouds over America."

... as if ... we'd been infiltrated ... by foreign agents ... using our news media as a weapon ... ?

"I had no reason to believe what I reported at the time was inaccurate," Miller told me. "I believed the intelligence information I had at the time. I sure didn't believe they were making it up. This was a learning process. You constantly have to ask the question, 'What do you know at the time you are writing it?' We tried really hard to get more information and we vetted information very, very carefully."

But Miller's entire journalistic approach was flawed. A few months after the aluminum tubes story, a former CIA analyst, who has observed Miller's professional products and relationships for years, explained to me how simple it was to manipulate the correspondent and her newspaper.

"The White House had a perfect deal with Miller," he said. "Chalabi is providing the Bush people with the information they need to support their political objectives with Iraq, and he is supplying the same material to Judy Miller. Chalabi tips her on something and then she goes to the White House, which has already heard the same thing from Chalabi, and she gets it corroborated by some insider she always describes as a 'senior administration official.' She also got the Pentagon to confirm things for her, which made sense, since they were working so closely with Chalabi. Too bad Judy didn't spend a little more time talking to those of us in the intelligence community who had information that contradicted almost everything Chalabi said."

Her long career as a propaganda outlet hardly distinguishes her, even in this period. She's merely one among many. Other examples (.pdf) include:

Michael Reese, "Uniting Against Libya,"

Newsweek, October 19, 1981, p. 43. An excerpt:
NEWSWEEK has also learned that Kaddafi . . . [is] ordering the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Italy. . . . U.S. intelligence also picked up evidence that Kaddafi had hatched yet another assassination plot -- this time against President Reagan.

Fay Willey, "Kaddafi's Latest Plot," Newsweek, November 9, 1981, p. 29. An excerpt:
U.S. intelligence believes that Libyan strongman Muammar Kaddafi is planning terrorist attacks on four American embassies in Western Europe.

John Brecher, "New Threats From Kaddafi," Newsweek, November 30, 1981, p. 51. An excerpt:
[S]enior American officials told NEWSWEEK, Kaddafi's talk appears to be more than bluster. These officials say Kaddafi has expanded his hit list to include Vice President George Bush, Secretary of State Alexander Haig and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger -- and that he has equipped special assassination squads with bazookas, grenade launchers and even portable SAM-7 missiles capable of bringing down the President's plane.

"The Kaddafi Hit Squad At Large?," Newsweek, December 14, 1981, p. 36. An excerpt:
[A]n assassination squad dispatched by Libyan strongman Muammar Kaddafi [has] entered the United States.

David M. Alpern, "Coping With a Plot to Kill the President," Newsweek, December 21, 1981, p. 16. An excerpt:
Security around [President Reagan] tightened amid intelligence reports that placed his potential assassins either in the country or on its borders preparing to strike.

Duncan Campbell and Patrick Forbes, "Tale of Anti-Reagan Hit Team Was 'Fraud'," New Statesman (U.K.), August 16, 1985, p. 6 (reporting that a secret official U.S. list of fourteen alleged "Libyan terrorists" was in fact a list of prominent members of the Lebanese Shiite party Amal, including its leader Nabih Berri and the religious leader of the Lebanese Shiite community, with most of the rest being aging Lebanese politicians; to compound the absurdity, the Amal party is passionately anti-Libyan)

On a later Reagan administration claim that Libya was planning to overthrow the government of the Sudan, see for example

Bernard Gwertzman, "Shultz Asserts Libyan Threat Has 'Receded,'" New York Times, February 21, 1983, p. A1. An excerpt:
Secretary of State George P. Shultz said today that what the Reagan Administration believed last week was a military threat by Libya against the Sudan had now "receded. . . ." Mr. Shultz, in his television appearance, said, "The President of the United States acted quickly and decisively and effectively, and at least for the moment Qaddafi is back in his box where he belongs." His comments were in line with the White House effort Friday and Saturday to convince reporters privately that Mr. Reagan was actually in charge of the operation, even though at his news conference on Wednesday he made factual errors. . . .

Administration officials have said the Awacs [that attacked Libya] were sent at the explicit request of President Mubarak, but Egyptian officials and news organizations have denied in recent days that any such request was made or that any threat to the Sudan exists. The Libyans have denied any plans to attack the Sudan [across six hundred miles of desert]. The lack of any tangible threat from Libya was reminiscent of the Administration's problems in late 1981 when it aroused considerable agitation in Washington over reports of a Libyan "hit squad" being sent to the United States to try to kill high officials. Nothing happened, and it was unclear whether the publicity forced cancellation of the Libyan plans or whether the Administration's information was faulty in the first place.

For a later exposure of some of the U.S. government's disinformation campaigns, see

Jonathan Alter, "A Bodyguard of Lies," Newsweek, October 13, 1986, p. 43. An excerpt:
[I]n August national-security adviser John Poindexter sent President Reagan a memo outlining what Poindexter called a "disinformation program" aimed at destabilizing Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi by generating false reports that the United States and Libya were again on a collision course. . . . Evidence that the disinformation campaign was under way first turned up on Aug. 25 in The Wall Street Journal. . . .

"We relied on high-level officials who hyped some of this," [Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief Albert] Hunt says. . . . [The lies] were profoundly disturbing, even to journalists hardened by a lifetime of covering dissembling officials.

Edward P. Haley, Qaddafi and the United States Since 1969, New York: Praeger, 1984, pp. 257-264 (bitterly anti-Qaddafi study, summarizing the various stages of the "propaganda campaign designed to discredit the Libyan leader and turn him into an international outlaw"; making a praiseworthy effort to take the comedy seriously)

Is this starting to sound familiar?

posted by Grand Moff Texan @ 8.7.05 1 comments

At 08 July, 2005 22:16, Anonymous said...
Tremendous post! Submit this to Huffington as your story, or see if they'll link your thread, Texan!

The Italy reference for Khadaffi probably mirrors the sdame people they used for Niger yellowcake(Ms.Ledeen).

I have a dkos diary that touches on this point. Each time I try and link the page loses. Some kind of explorer bug. I'll post this, try and get my link ready to send you. See if you can use it to make the rest of the Huffington piece.

How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

�Withdrawal Would Cripple U.S. Credibility�

Cut-outs, moles, patsies and provocateurs

Cut-outs, moles, patsies and provocateurs: "Cut-outs, moles, patsies and provocateurs"

Audio: 7-9-05

Our Faith-Based Train Rides - New York Times

Our Faith-Based Train Rides - New York Times


July 9, 2005
Our Faith-Based Train Rides
John is the A train. Robin and the other John are the L. Nicole used to be the 1 and the 9, but ever since they canceled the 9 she's been just the 1. Geoff and Jen, Joel and Kate, Ted and Scott and, Joan - they are the F. Four months ago, I moved east of Fifth Avenue and became the N and the 6, even though there's a part of me that will always be the C and the E.

It's not just the New York subway map I think of as a refrigerator door plastered with loved ones' snapshots. The Richmond BART line in California is Eli heading home to Berkeley; the orange line on the Washington Metro is Carson, reading her son a bedtime story in Arlington; the purple line in Paris is David, who moved there so he could smoke.

When I woke up on Thursday and turned on the radio to news of the London bus and tube bombings, the announcer said, "Piccadilly Line," but in my head it's just called "Nick."

I know all that sounds mushy. I get like that when 50 people are murdered, and sappier still when one of them may be the guy I think of as my own private Churchill. (I'm getting used to this selfishness. As with Oklahoma City and New York and the tsunami, my first thought was to hope that my friends and family weren't among the victims, which is to hope that others' loved ones were.)

Nick's alive. But during the four panicky hours it took to hear from him, I was too fidgety to sit on the couch in front of the news. I started pacing back and forth between the TV and a bookcase, where a detective novel set in London by dear old P. D. James caught my eye. Has someone checked on her, by the way? Who on earth would want to blow her up?

Seeing the books, I thought about the last time I had taken the subway. On Tuesday night, I took the No. 6 train down to Cooper Union and heard the writer Charles Baxter stand at the same lectern Lincoln used when he spoke there in 1860. Baxter read his wonderful story "Gryphon," about a substitute teacher who enchants schoolchildren with fanciful non sequiturs about how "unquenchable fires burn just under the surface of the earth in Ohio, and that the baby Mozart fainted dead away in his cradle when he first heard the sound of a trumpet."

Oh, it was nothing special, just another average magnificent night in New York City, a 10-minute subway ride from home. I suppose it's what Mayor Michael Bloomberg meant on Thursday when he reassured New Yorkers of beefed-up subway security and urged us to go out and "enjoy what others find so threatening."

And I can do that. I can take the 6 train uptown to see the Maurice Sendak exhibition to spite the terrorists. And for some bonus irk factor, it's at the Jewish Museum. But I might enjoy the things that others find so threatening just a little bit more if the federal Homeland Security Department showed a bit more concern about my travels underground - last year, it distributed $38.31 per resident of Wyoming, but only $5.50 for each person living in the state of New York.

When Senator Hillary Clinton started using the adjective "threat-based" in talking about how to divvy up the homeland security funds, I thought my head might explode. Not because she was wrong. But because - simpleton that I am - I kind of assumed that the "threat-based" thing went without saying.

I was clueless enough to think that the very idea or, let's face it, ideal, of effective counterterrorism involved, at the very least, an educated guess about our national vulnerabilities - and I even thought that the money and equipment and personnel would be distributed accordingly. Which probably sounds simply adorable to those of you who have ever heard of the United States Senate.

I love Wyoming. I grew up right next to it in Montana. But from where I now sit in an apartment in the Flatiron neighborhood, staring at the Empire State Building, an apartment that, admittedly, isn't the Brookings Institution or anything, but does have high-speed Internet access and all the cable channels, it seems to me that New York has more ports and borders and financial centers and people and, yes, subways, so Wyoming could stand to throw a buck or two more our way per person.

So doesn't that make sense, even to citizens of Wyoming? Or should the British Parliament convene in response to the despicable massacre Thursday in London and decide to allocate a disproportionate amount of counterterrorism resources to ... Cornwall.

Maureen Dowd is on book leave.

Sarah Vowell, a contributor to public radio's "This American Life," is the author, most recently, of "Assassination Vacation."


The Surprise We Expected - New York Times

The Surprise We Expected - New York Times

BG: What a great way to describe the artistry of the psyop.


July 8, 2005
The Surprise We Expected

THE mood of a city has never swung so sharply. On Wednesday there was no better place on earth. After the victory of the Olympic decision in Singapore, Londoners were celebrating the prospect of an explosion of new energy and creativity; those computer-generated images of futuristic wonderlands rising out of derelict quarters and poisoned industrial wastelands were actually going to be built.

The echoes of rock and roll in Hyde Park and its wave of warm and fundamentally decent emotions were only just fading. In Gleneagles, Scotland, the Group of 8 summit meeting was about to address at least - and at last - the core of the world's concerns, and we could take some satisfaction that our government had pushed the agenda. London was flying and we moved confidently about the city - the paranoia after Sept. 11 and Madrid was mostly forgotten and no one had second thoughts about taking the tube. The "war on terror," that much examined trope, was an exhausted rallying cry, with all the appearance of a moth-eaten regimental banner in a village church.

But terror's war on us opened another front on Thursday morning. It announced itself with a howl of sirens from every quarter, and the oppressive drone of police helicopters. Along the Euston Road, by the new University College Hospital - a green building rising above us like a giant surgeon in scrubs - thousands of people stood around watching ambulances filing nose to tail through the stalled traffic into the casualty department.

The police were fanning out through Bloomsbury, closing streets at both en

Terror Strikes Again - by Alan Bock

Terror Strikes Again - by Alan Bock

The Smash of Civilizations - by Chalmers Johnson and Tom Engelhardt

The Smash of Civilizations - by Chalmers Johnson and Tom Engelhardt

London Terror Mystery- by Justin Raimondo

London Terror Mystery- by Justin Raimondo

Media Big Shots at NBC and New York Times 'Hush Hush And Evasive' About Why WTC Janitor Story Never Appeared, A Story That Blows The Official 9/11Acco

Articles, government corruption, freedom of speech, truth

Bomb Scare Suggests Blair Knew and Did Nothing

Bomb Scare Suggests Blair Knew and Did Nothing: "Bomb Scare Suggests Blair Knew and Did Nothing"

Confusion and Contradiction: What Really Happened In London?

Confusion and Contradiction: What Really Happened In London?: "Confusion and Contradiction: What Really Happened In London?"

G8 meet might be a shrewd conspiracy

Welcome to The New Vision online: Uganda's leading daily

Saddam's chief lawyer resigns, accuses U.S. peers of controlling legal team

Jordan-Saddam�s-Lawyers: "Saddam's chief lawyer resigns, accuses U.S. peers of controlling legal team "

The Times Online guest contributors Opinion (Terrorist Attack)

The Times Online guest contributors Opinion

BG: More Hooey
July 08, 2005

And this is why they did it
Amir Taheri
There is no way to reason with the terrorists, but the thinking behind their actions is perfectly clear

THE FIRST QUESTION that comes to mind is: what took them so long? The answer may be that in the past four years the British authorities have succeeded in preventing attacks on a number of occasions. David Blunkett, who was then Home Secretary, was often mocked for suggesting that this was the case.

It may take some time before the full identity of the attackers is established. But the ideology that motivates them, the networks that sustain them and the groups that finance them are all too well known.

Moments after yesterday’s attacks my telephone was buzzing with requests for interviews with one recurring question: but what do they want? That reminded me of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker, who was shot by an Islamist assassin on his way to work in Amsterdam last November. According to witnesses, Van Gogh begged for mercy and tried to reason with his assailant. “Surely we can discuss this,” he kept saying as the shots kept coming. “Let us talk it over.”

Van Gogh, who had angered Islamists with his documentary about the mistreatment of women in Islam, was reacting like BBC reporters did yesterday, assuming that the man who was killing him may have some reasonable demands which could be discussed in a calm, democratic atmosphere.

But sorry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you.

The ideological soil in which alQaeda, and the many groups using its brand name, grow was described by one of its original masterminds, the Pakistani Abul-Ala al-Maudoodi more than 40 years ago. It goes something like this: when God created mankind He made all their bodily needs and movements subject to inescapable biological rules but decided to leave their spiritual, social and political needs and movements largely subject to their will. Soon, however, it became clear that Man cannot run his affairs the way God wants. So God started sending prophets to warn man and try to goad him on to the right path. A total of 128,000 prophets were sent, including Moses and Jesus. They all failed. Finally, God sent Muhammad as the last of His prophets and the bearer of His ultimate message, Islam. With the advent of Islam all previous religions were “abrogated” (mansukh), and their followers regarded as “infidel” (kuffar). The aim of all good Muslims, therefore, is to convert humanity to Islam, which regulates Man’s spiritual, economic, political and social moves to the last detail.

But what if non-Muslims refuse to take the right path? Here answers diverge. Some believe that the answer is dialogue and argument until followers of the “abrogated faiths” recognise their error and agree to be saved by converting to Islam. This is the view of most of the imams preaching in the mosques in the West. But others, including Osama bin Laden, a disciple of al-Maudoodi, believe that the Western-dominated world is too mired in corruption to hear any argument, and must be shocked into conversion through spectacular ghazavat (raids) of the kind we saw in New York and Washington in 2001, in Madrid last year, and now in London.

That yesterday’s attack was intended as a ghazava was confirmed in a statement by the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe, an Islamist group that claimed responsibility for yesterday’s atrocity. It said “We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid (ghazava) in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.” Those who carry out these missions are the ghazis, the highest of all Islamic distinctions just below that of the shahid or martyr. A ghazi who also becomes a shahid will be doubly meritorious.

There are many Muslims who believe that the idea that all other faiths have been “abrogated” and that the whole of mankind should be united under the banner of Islam must be dropped as a dangerous anachronism. But to the Islamist those Muslims who think like that are themselves regarded as lapsed, and deserving of death.

It is, of course, possible, as many in the West love to do, to ignore the strategic goal of the Islamists altogether and focus only on their tactical goals. These goals are well known and include driving the “Cross-worshippers” (Christian powers) out of the Muslim world, wiping Israel off the map of the Middle East, and replacing the governments of all Muslim countries with truly Islamic regimes like the one created by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran and by the Taleban in Afghanistan.

How to achieve those objectives has been the subject of much debate in Islamist circles throughout the world, including in London, since 9/11. Bin Laden has consistently argued in favour of further ghazavat inside the West. He firmly believes that the West is too cowardly to fight back and, if terrorised in a big way, will do “what it must do”. That view was strengthened last year when al-Qaeda changed the Spanish Government with its deadly attack in Madrid. At the time bin Laden used his “Madrid victory” to call on other European countries to distance themselves from the United States or face similar “punishment”.

Bin Laden’s view has been challenged by his supposed No 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who insists that the Islamists should first win the war inside several vulnerable Muslim countries, notably Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Until yesterday it seemed that al-Zawahiri was winning the argument, especially by heating things up in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yesterday, the bin Laden doctrine struck back in London.

The author is an Iranian commentator on Middle Eastern affairs.

Fake Islamists and Fake Islamist Web Sites

Another Day in the Empire



The Evolution of the Bush-Rumsfeld War Doctrine

Roadmap to Martial Law

London Attacks From Another Perspective


Stan Goff

With comment by Michael C. Ruppert

© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.

[Perhaps the greatest immediate lessons, leads, clues and food for thought from yesterday's London bombings is staring us right in the face. Perhaps the reason for the attacks was just to make it possible to quickly impose martial law in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Events seem to indicate this. Britain is pushing hard and fast for biometric national IDs that each citizen will have to pay £200 for. Our own national ID legislation waits for the starting guns from Hastert, Rove and Cheney. Watch for that soon.

Yesterday's attack bore little similarity to 9/11 or Madrid except in terms of time of day and the fact that four or more locations were involved (seven in Spain). There was a specific event tied with today, the opening of the G8 Summit. There was not with any of the other post-9/11 attacks. The lead story today would otherwise have been the fact that Britain and the US had just split on Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocols. Britain is sinking and freezing as the ice caps melt.

The most important facts I gleaned today (all of which are consistent with what the venerable Stan Goff now tells us) were:

These were separate Al Qaeda cells not working under the direction of Al Qaeda (Washington Post, NY Times, London Times). Hence, the terrorists might be anywhere, doing anything, and following anyone. There is no Mr. Big and we need to be afraid of everyone around us.

US markets rose instead of falling after the attacks; just two days after the Fed suddenly moved to repurchase or "repo" a number of financial instruments putting a large dose of liquidity in the system. Analysts attributed to market rise to a momentary reduction in oil prices.

Israel seems to have received advance warning again, which doesn't justify a conclusion of participation at this time. It does leave many questions to be answered.

We cannot rule out the possibility that these were actual terrorist attacks. Lord knows, the US has made enough enemies in the last four years.

The prime beneficiaries so far are Tony Blair and George W. Bush.
Perhaps the most amazing quote I have seen in the last four years was made in today's Washington Post confirming Peak Oil in a way I had never expected.

Washington Terrorism expert Thomas Sanderson actually participated in a Post chat session where he took questions from all over the country. How valuable and how rare are such moments.

The Post describes Sanderson thus:

Thomas M. Sanderson , deputy director of the Transnational Threats Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was online Thursday, July 7, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the bombings and the hallmarks of an al Qaeda attack.

Sanderson also codirects the Multilateral Terrorism Intelligence Sharing Project and the Private Sector Advisory Group. His work focuses on intelligence and information sharing; terrorist groups, operations, and crime; and U.S. national security policy.

Sanderson has co-authored studies on religious-based terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, and the psychology of extreme violence.

Here is the quote:

Tampa, Fla.: Would an attack in this country be more likely to involve an economic target rather than a symbolic one? Bin Laden seems to understand our nation pretty well, far better than Americans understand him. He said he chose the WTC as a target in part due to their significance in the U.S. financial system. So why not expect him to next attack a couple of oil refineries to give us $5/gallon gasoline?

Thomas M. Sanderson: Any attack in the US will involve multiple targets. I won't go into detail, but it will be well-planned, with a number of goals in mind.

Yes, OBL better understands the US, a major factor in the current state of counter-terrorism.

Five dollar a gallon gas will be here of its own accord.

Now is the time for all Americans who have opposed tyranny to be concerned. Our next stop may be somewhat less comfortable than what we have been used to. And that $5 gasoline might get here this winter. The pieces required to implement martial law have been put in place and now -- more than at any time since 9/11 -- we ought to be prepared for a major "attack" at home. After that, it's a whole new ball game. - MCR]

The entire Sanderson chat discussion can be viewed here.

Money and Mediocrity

"General purpose money is what allows people to trade tracts of rain forest for Coca-Cola." -Alf Hornborg

July 8, 2005 1400 PST (FTW) It's also what allows some of the most mediocre political and military intellects in the last century (and that is a highly competitive claim) to create one of the most dangerous and decisive historical conjunctures we may ever witness… and hopefully survive.

It appeared in the most arcane of headlines, this desperate new phase in the empire that had been gestating in the tense womb of the Pentagon-White House nexus.

"US military rethinking the two-war strategy"

It wasn't actually the military as a whole reconsidering anything, we find upon reading the article. This is a leak from high-level Pentagon insiders to the press, and more than one insider. There is an artful rebellion taking place among generals.

The first line of the article reads: "The U.S. military, under stress from fighting in Iraq and protecting America from terrorism, is debating whether it can remain ready to fight two big wars at once, according to defense officials." Further along, we find out that the "civilian and military officials, who asked not to be identified, confirmed a report in Tuesday's New York Times that top Defense Department planners were challenging longstanding strategy that requires the armed forces to be prepared to fight two major wars at once."

Officials, plural. If the leak were a felony, like the Plame case, this would add conspiracy to the charge.

So what is going on, and why did this leak come at the same time that the Department of Defense published its strange and alarming "Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support"? To answer that rhetorical question, I will have to go to the strategy document itself, hot off the presses.

Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., June 2005 - Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support. From the Executive Summary:

We now confront an enemy who will attempt to engage us not only far from US shores, but also at home. Terrorists will seek to employ asymmetric means to penetrate our defenses and exploit the openness of our society to their advantage. By attacking our citizens, our economic institutions, our physical infrastructure, and our social fabric, they seek to destroy American democracy. We dare not underestimate the devastation that terrorists seek to bring to Americans at home.

To defeat 21st Century threats, we must think and act innovatively. Our adversaries consider US territory an integral part of a global theater of combat. We must therefore have a strategy that applies to the domestic context the key principles that are driving the transformation of US power projection and joint expeditionary warfare.

Each section of this ten-year strategy outline for the Department of Defense is headed by an italicized quote from Reich Fuehrer Bush. This is what must be borne in mind as part of any analysis of this document, which is scaring the bejesus out of a lot of civil libertarians. Because it is - and I will describe exactly how as we go along - it is a roadmap to martial law.

But it is also an outline of a strategy of abject failure. It is a strategy so ambitious, so insanely grandiose, and so interdependently complicated in any attempt to put it into practice, that time, expense, and mind-boggling complexity at every scale will render the reality a ragged effigy of its own feverish ideal.

It is, in short, a document prepared by ambitious bureaucratic functionaries to please two people who can give them what they want - advancement at any cost. There cannot be any doubt, after studying this so-called strategy document that the content was developed by the metrics-worshipping sycophants of Donald Rumsfeld, and that Rumsfeld added the cartoon-like Bush quotes as a series of kisses planted firmly on his boss's ass.

But bear in mind, again, that while it is hard to underestimate the intelligence of these two powerful mooncalves, it is hard to overestimate the danger they present with control over the most expensive military apparatus in history. That is why the generals are leaking.

The Bush administration spends money. Just as money can trade rain forests for Coke, money can buy expertise. But military expertise isn't what has gotten them this far. On the contrary, they have already secured their places in history as the leaders of the most powerful military in the world that is heading to being defeated by a stateless insurgency.

In April this year, Pepe Escobar, writing for Asia Times, called the degeneration of the tactical situation for the Anglo-American occupation Iraq's "Lebanonization" - a reference to the '80s when Israeli aggression around the region catalyzed the transformation of Beirut into an apocalyptic street-war of many and shifting armed factions.

While the new constituent assembly remains engaged in a monumental struggle behind the scenes over three key issues - the form of "federalism," the fate of Kirkuk, and the disposition of Iraq's oil industry - the factions are backed by armed militias. The Kurds command the largest militia, and the second largest armed organization in Iraq, the 80,000 strong Peshmerga. The Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution (SCIRI), which dominates the constituent assembly, has fielded thousands of former Badr Brigade members, who also predominate in many of the "official" Iraqi armed forces and police. The Iranian-controlled Da'wa Party has organized a militia as counterweight to these two large ones. Muqtada al Sadr still controls a very substantial militia that operates almost as a government in many parts of Baghdad and Najaf. And the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) - the dominant and most well-organized element within the guerrilla resistance - operates in many areas throughout Anbar with strong popular support. Islamist fighters, largely from Saudi Arabia, have infiltrated Iraq and engaged in multiple actions, including firefights with the IPA.

The territorial division of these armed elements has minimized conflict between them to some extent, but the question of regional or ethnic federalism is far from resolved, and many of these armed actors are leaning forward in anticipation of politics by other means. Kirkuk has become a tinderbox of contention meanwhile, with the widening Kurd-Arab current of conflict creating a kind of political quicksand for the constituent assembly.

On July 7, 2005, Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani announced an agreement between him and Iraqi counterpart Saadoun al-Dulaimi, on a joint Iran-Iraq military cooperation agreement - which surely dismayed Abazaid and Rumsfeld.

Bush, it is reported, does not read his messages, and is a "don't worry, be happy" kind of guy.

Just days earlier, another journalist critical of the US, Yasser Salihee - working for Knight-Ridder - was killed by a single bullet to the head, apparently fired by a US sniper, while he was halted at a US roadblock near his home. Salihee was researching ever more frequent reports of US-trained Iraqi paramilitaries who were engaging in death-squad style activities against anyone suspected of opposing the occupation. Less than a week later, 44-year-old Cyrus Kar - an American journalist and Navy veteran working on a documentary film in Iraq - was imprisoned by US occupation forces on "suspicion of insurgent activity." This was in the wake of The Guardian's release of a story that led with:

Secret torture chambers, the brutal interrogation of prisoners, murders by paramilitaries with links to powerful ministries... Foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont in Baghdad uncovers a grim trail of abuse carried out by forces loyal to the new Iraqi government.

Lebanonization is proceeding nicely, and its complexity, as in both Somalia and Lebanon, spells big trouble for US forces there.

In the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan - the first of two second-rate actors to have been Governor of California - ordered a military intervention and occupation in Lebanon. Within weeks, some of his own closest advisors, including Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, were telling him that this was a situation ripe for disaster, and that the US forces needed to be withdrawn as soon as possible. Reagan responded more positively, however, to someone whose grasp of global politics was as limited as his own, and whose worldview was heavily informed by a kind of Billy Badass, big-dick machismo - former Secretary of State and then-National Security Advisor Alexander Haig. Haig counseled Reagan that US "credibility" involved "sticking to its guns," and Reagan - himself a veteran of several cinematic Westerns - determined to "stay the course."

Within a year, the Marine outposts in Lebanon had become embroiled in the civil war, often trading shots with opponents they could not identify. Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, John Vessey joined his voice to that of Weinberger, and advised Reagan that he was slipping into a Vietnam-like conundrum. Another officer, a young up-and-coming colonel working as Weinberger's primary military advisor, also cautioned withdrawal. His name was Colin Powell.

On October 23, 1983, a mammoth truck bomb exploded in a Marine compound at the Beirut Airport, killing 241 American troops and more than 100 others. That was when Americans began to ask in earnest, what exactly are we doing there? In this case, the notion of building democracy would have choked the public with ludicrousness.

Powell would write later in his memoirs, "America [was] sticking its hand into a thousand-year-old hornet's nest with the expectation that our presence would pacify the hornets."

In February 1984, Reagan announced the withdrawal from Lebanon, saying, "We're not bugging out; we're just going to a little more defensible position [the ships sitting off the shores of Lebanon]." No doubt Reagan coached Donald Rumsfeld, then his envoy to the Middle East, on how to mangle the English language in the service of obfuscation.

Powell, it seems, still intuits trouble well (like any successful bureaucrat), maintains his Orientalist ignorance of political history, and is willing to shut up and take orders to oversee disastrous lies. He will be remembered by history as a man who gave good advice based on bad but fortuitous logic, and who got paid well for being an obedient house negro.

Global Battlespace
I said earlier that the Bush administration has not solely invested appropriated revenues in military expertise. In fact, the real political investment - which is brilliant in the same sort of sociopathic way Karl Rove is said to be brilliant - has been in legal advice. Money buys space and time. Money buys scientists who lie about climate change and tobacco. Money also buys a great battle-staff of lawyers.

Look not to Iraq to understand this, but to Cuba.

The Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba has long served as an offshore prison. More recently it has become a legal testing ground for the legal doctrine that underpins the Bush War Doctrine.

With the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration accelerated its push to extend military power by pressing the limits of juridical precedent, and carrying these new, precedent-establishing cases before a series of courts, dominated by Republican appointed judges.

Based on the notion that the entire world is now a metaphorical battlefield, in a "War on Terrorism," the administration has created a number of facts on the ground, then sought a judicial rubber stamp that will give these actions precedential power in the future expansion of their application. Over time, the metaphor of global battlefield has come to be treated by the administration and the obedient press as a literal and legally recognized reality.

One case in this regard is the concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. The other case is that of Jose Padilla, an American citizen detained without showing cause as an "unlawful enemy combatant."

The attempt to summarily try detainees on the presumption of guilt at Guantanamo Bay suffered a setback by a ruling in November 2004, when the claim that the prisoners would appear before a military tribunal was ruled illegal in a US court. The federal court held against the US government that there must be a process to determine whether detainees are entitled to protection as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. But the right to indefinitely detain without charge was not challenged by that ruling, and it is now known that several detainees were transferred to Guantanamo from countries in which the US is not engaged in hostilities - possibly even the United States.

However, this ruling merely rejected the process that puts prisoners before a military bench; it did not weigh in on the question of whether the President or his representatives can simply declare anyone an "unlawful enemy combatant" by fiat… which is exactly what happened in the case of Jose Padilla and what has happened with the detention of Guantanamo inmates from places outside the US so-called "battlespaces" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Padilla - who converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdullah Al Muhajir - was detained in 2002 by the Department of Justice. On June 9th of that same year, Muhajir/Padilla was transferred from civilian control to the control of the military and incarcerated in a South Carolina Navy brig.

He has not been charged with any crime; the evidence the government has indicated it has is currently too weak to make a credible case; and he has been denied legal representation.

This clear violation, using the military, of the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, is obviously an attempt to push the envelope of legal precedent in order to employ surprise and indefinite detentions against anyone the executive branch determines is an "enemy." The 5th Amendment states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It is not insignificant that the Bush administration is using the military to hold him out of the reach of civil law, because these actions in conjunction with the recently released Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support, which explicitly lays out plans for a kind of partial-martial law in the event of any attack which effectively puts the military in control of the movements of the entire population of the United States.

In effect, the Guantanamo and Padilla cases are designed to make actual martial law unnecessary, by introducing various measures under various precedents a de facto state of martial law which is immune to a singular de jure remedy, that is, lifting the declared state of martial law.

It is far harder to unravel a security-state legal apparatus that is composed of dozens of individual legal precedents than to mount an opposition to a declared state of emergency.

Let's look at the background.

Within a month of September 11th, the executive branch jumped completely over an acquiescent Congress with executive fiats that established the following:

A directive empowering the attorney general to authorize the indefinite detention of some non-citizens, a rule that could affect "hundreds of individuals," according to the Justice Department.

An order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to carry out "voluntary" interviews of more than 5,000 mostly Middle Eastern men, ages 18 to 33, who are living in the US, ostensibly to gather information concerning future terrorist attacks.

A new policy on visa applications affecting men, ages 16 to 45, from 25 Middle Eastern and African countries. All such applicants will face intense scrutiny and long delays in the processing of their requests. Their names will be checked against databases maintained by the FBI.

The suspension of running tallies by the Justice Department of the number of people rounded up by law enforcement agencies in the anti-terror dragnet. (WSWS, November 2001)

The basis for this collection of discrete orders (as opposed to laws) is, in fact, the same basis that must be established to impose martial law - it is just a matter of degree.

This entire legal edifice is erected, however, on a very shaky foundation - the "state of national emergency."

This "state" was actually enacted by an Executive Order on September 14, 2001, three days after the World Trade Center collapsed and at a point when the number of Congress members with enough sand left to resist the stampede could be counted on one hand. That actual order can be found at This Executive Order claims its authority from the National Emergencies Act (NEA)(50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) and section 301 of title 3, United States Code. The problem here is that the Executive Order cites the NEA as follows:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and in furtherance of the proclamation of September 14, 2001, Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks, which declared a national emergency by reason of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States, I hereby order as follows:

One little glitch… nothing in the NEA gives the President Constitutional authority to declare shit, if I may be short. You can pore over either document until the cows come home, and no such authority exists. Moreover, his proclamation of September 14 has all the legal validity of a Shakespeare sonnet.

Only Congress is legally authorized to make such declarations. The Constitution does not authorize the President to unilaterally declare such an emergency, therefore it surely does not authorize him to impose any form of emergency measures to meet it. The reason this gross usurpation of Congressional authority happened was because Congress itself, with precious few exceptions, displayed the most craven and opportunistic cowardice in the face of this administration, and now they are as loathe as any neo-con nutcase to admit they screwed this one up. So this illegality stands to this day. But there is more…

According to United States Code, Title 50, Chapter 34, Sub-chapter II, Section 1622, once a state of emergency is declared (by the legal method), it must by law undergo a Congressional review and approval for any extension a minimum of every six months.

Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.

This language is not ambiguous. Yet fiat-detention, as Executive Orders, are fundamentally predicated on an existing state of national emergency that has not been brought under review for a joint resolution of Congress since it was unilaterally declared.

The basis for extension of military rule through precedent until now has been this thoroughly unchallenged state of national emergency, one which presumes without explanation that there is a state of war, with no clear definition of who the enemy is, and with the presumptive battleground conceivably covering every square inch of the earth.

There are two things which have given the administration the green light for this abuse of power: (1) Congressional cowardice, and (2) failure of anyone to successfully challenge the notion of a "global battlespace."

The latter could become tougher as time goes on. Just as the specious claim that Iraq was harboring Islamist "terrorists" has been transformed into a reality by the actions of the United States, the provocations of the Bush administration based on the metaphor that the world is a battlefield could very well serve to make it into a frightening reality.

And this administration knows it.

That's why the Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support (SHDCS) begins with the assumption that such an attack is inevitable within the next ten years.

The ride-em-cowboy military adventurism of the Reagan administration in Lebanon became an embarrassment, but they managed to leave without pulling down an entire system around them. Team Reagan went on to conduct its own illegal terror campaign against Nicaragua, evade prosecution for a host of felonies related to the Iran-Contra affair, rescue a wrecked US economy by conducting an IMF hold-up of Mexico, and bequeath its most criminally-inclined diplomatic reptiles to the current administration… and still live to become a conservative icon.

But the Bush administration is now affording many of the same ministerial malefactors - from Rumsfeld to Negroponte - a second opportunity to fail greatly, but this time they are working madly to ensure that all failures become systemic failures. It is alarming, true enough, but also fascinating to watch in the same way we are fascinated by the film of a parachutist whose canopy never opens.

The key to this inevitable crash is something referred to dozens of times in the SHDCS as "integration." Integration refers to the standardization of equipment and operational procedures across the boundaries of international law enforcement and military action, across the boundaries of federal, state, and local authorities, and across the boundaries of military doctrine and police doctrine. [FTW described this legally mandated standardization in our Nov, 2001 analysis of the Patriot Act in "The 'F' Word."- ED] This amounts to the conceptual simplification of numerous complex official-social systems, and an attempt to bring these systems more nearly under the singular control of the American executive branch.

While the SHDCS nods to flexibility and agility again and again, the general thrust of the "strategy" is to place that flexibility and agility in the hands of a tiny international general staff - the US National Command Authority - and this is an inevitably fatal contradiction. The whole notion of tactical agility, which Rumsfeld has fallaciously interpreted from warfighting theorist John Boyd, is based on direct and concrete observation at every scale of battle.

The Achilles heel of this entire concept is precisely in the realm of observation. The Bush administration blundered into its current Iraqi quagmire because of its insistence on perceptual conformity, and its unwavering tendency to seek evidence to support its own preconceptions. In Boyd's theory of warfighting - designed by the way for local combat and not national strategy - all actions are taken in the context of a decision cycle, which begins with observation and orientation, and ends with decision-action. The efficacy of action is directly related to the accuracy of observation and appropriateness of orientation. In other words, if the observation is faulty, the whole repeating decision cycle spirals down to disaster.

Like the Iraqis greeting the American occupation as liberators. They believed that… because that is what they wanted to believe.

In the SHDCS, among all the deadening bureau-chatter of integration, we find the most Orwellian notion of all - expressed in that uniquely one-dimensional manner of the military (and certain socially adept psychopaths) as "shared situational awareness," which is assigned its own acronym: SSA.

Shared situational awareness is defined as a common perception of the environment and its implications. All domestic and foreign partners within the homeland defense mission space require situational awareness for three reasons: to identify threats as early and as distant from US borders as possible; to provide ample time for an optimal course of action; and to allow for a flexible operational response… the US government continues to make great strides in overcoming obstacles to shared situational awareness. (page 23, SHDCS)

No wonder the generals are afraid.

One example given of how SSA has worked was how "the American law enforcement community worked with its international counterparts to thwart international drug cartels and worldwide crime syndicates."


Today, transnational terrorists have blurred the traditional distinction between national security and international law enforcement. Together with the development of other security threats, this expanded national security challenge necessitates an unprecedented degree of shared situational awareness among Federal agencies, with state, local, tribal, and private entities, and between the United States and its key partners. (page 23, SHDCS)

"Integration" is based on perception-integration. But perception-integration can easily become (in fact, likely will become) a thoroughly mismatched perception and reality, and with that we enter the mismatch-spiral to breakdown.

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too
Excerpts from the SHDCS:

The scope of DoD's role in preventing terrorist attacks within the USD land domain is defined by the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and limited by statutory authority related to military support of civilian law enforcement. Domestic security is primarily a civilian law enforcement function. (page 26)

If circumstances warrant, the President and the Secretary of Defense may direct military forces and assets to intercept and defeat threats on US territory. When conducting land defense missions on US territory, DoD does so as a core, warfighting mission, fulfilling the Commander in Chief's Constitutional obligation to defend the nation. (page 27)

One can only wonder whether capitalization of "Constitutional" in the second claim and non-capitalization in the first are Freudian slips. This is not as clear-cut a contradiction as many distressed civil libertarians have claimed in their first startled reactions to this document.

They are not yet trying to have their cake and eat it, too. They have just baked two cakes.

The keywords are prevention and defense, and they are also monotonously repeated throughout the SHDCS. For the decisive transfer of power to the military on US soil, there must at least be the (perceived) presence of actual attackers.

There are five interlocking strategies presented in this document: a National Security Strategy (euphemism for their more militarized foreign policy), a National Strategy for Homeland Defense (which falls under the Department of Homeland Security), a National Defense Strategy (which is a DoD responsibility to attack hypothetical enemies before they reach our shores), and the strategy outlined in the document under review - the SHDCS, which describes how the military will interact with other agencies inside the US, before and during an attack.

What brings them all together conceptually is "shared situational awareness," under the direction of the new intelligence tsar and former Reagan accomplice, John Negroponte. What brings them all together symbolically (and legally - unless and until this concept is successfully challenged) is the "global battlespace." What brings them all together operationally is the enhancement of executive authority asserted using the global battlespace premise, and secured through Congressional cowardice and opportunism.

Congress could reassert itself at any time to demand a review of the presidential declaration of a state of national emergency, and on very sound Constitutional grounds. They just don't.

Homeland defense is named as the responsibility of the DoD, but on page 5 of the SHDCS, "homeland defense" is defined as "protection of US sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical defense infrastructure against external threats or aggression, or other threats as directed by the President." (italics mine)

What the SHDCS does that leaves the door open to transgress these jurisdictional boundaries is insert elastic clauses that will be left ultimately to the interpretation of Federal judges, who have now been largely appointed by Republicans. It states that DoD's responsibility is to address external threats, then leaves a clause, "other threats as directed by the President," that can be applied after action is taken to provide wiggle room. While our eye is on the institutional demarcation between military/non-military, we might miss the consolidation of power to interpret before action is taken in the hands of the President, who is not only the Commander in Chief of the military, but the intelligence tsar's and Attorney General's boss.

They have one cake. And they can eat another.

But the cakes are poison.

We have already briefly analyzed the situation in Iraq. The wholly pessimistic prognosis there seems to be utterly ignored by the SHDCS, which banters along in the tone-deaf language of Rumsfeld's metric-entranced toadies, even mentioning the integral necessity of building and maintaining foreign bases in order to make this febrile dream work.

Rumsfeld himself could read this very analysis, and anything I write here would be absolutely lost on him. His inability to go beyond his own empiricism is a reflection of his narcissism - self-referential above all, grandiose, convinced of his infallibility even the face of evidence to the contrary, manipulative, and incapable of genuine empathy. It works, because there is a match between personality and system here. He is the perfect Secretary of Defense, but he has come with an administration and an epoch that is transforming the offensive power of the United States military into the central instrument of imperial decline.

On July 7th, 2005, we woke to the news of a coordinated attack against the transit system of London. The attacks coincided with a G-8 Summit meeting in Glasgow, the award of the 2012 Olympics to London, and a systematic attack against all foreign diplomats in Baghdad. I do not mean to imply that there is some conspiratorial connection between these phenomena. The connections are emblematic.

This attack happened in London, a metropolitan city that has long ago blurred the distinctions between military and police functions in its attempt to hang onto power in Northern Ireland, and a city already accustomed - if anyone ever becomes accustomed - to bombing as a method of asymmetric warfare.

Over 40 people were killed and more than 700 wounded. The city screeched to a halt. Stocks fell around the world. Traveler's insurance jumped. The US was put on a heightened state of alert. Emergency systems in London were strained to the limit.

There are predictable expressions of shock and "determination" from Bush. Blair is visibly shaken. But a glance at the SHDCS shows that this was expected. That it happened in London was a bit off the script, because the clear expectation, written between every line of the SHDCS is that it will happen in the United States.

The document is surprisingly honest about the vulnerabilities in the US, even mentioning (for the first time) something I had written about in December 2003 - how general aviation aircraft, light airplanes from private fields, could be employed as a poor-man's Cruise missile against nuclear or chemical plants.

None of the goals for the imposition of domestic population control was met in the wake of September 11th. The left stood up first and defied the administration within days, while the national blood was still burning with the desire for revenge, and that push-back was extremely significant in creating a space for doubt, about official narratives, about the wisdom of accepting the Bush population control measures, about the characterization of the post-9-11 period as a "crusade," and about the attempt to throw down a gauntlet that said, "You are with us, or you are with the terrorists." This may have been the biggest unacknowledged victory of progressive forces in the US in many years, and it created the conditions for a rapidly assembled and vital antiwar movement later.

The "with us, or with the terrorists" language is reproduced in the SHDCS.

Terrorists will try to shape and degrade American political will in order to diminish American resistance to terrorist ideologies and agendas. (Page 9)

Ergo… anyone who opposes this plan is complicit in "degrading American political will" and therefore participating in a "terrorist agenda."

This is where they wanted to go after 9-11, but that part of their plan failed big. So they need that next attack, and they are on a policy trajectory that makes it a near certainty. There is not the slightest need for the Bush administration to build-their-own terror attack. Their stubborn refusal to change course in Southwest Asia, their aggressive militarism around the world, and the unspeakable technological power of the US armed forces, all make an attack almost inevitable. When no one anywhere can credibly face down such a powerful military head on, then they have no choice but to bend to the will of the US or fight back using asymmetric methods.

As I've pointed out before, the fact that many of the very formations that feel they are in this exact corner are now non-state actors, so there is no effective mechanism for either disabling their parent institution (the state) or attempting to apply a kind of point-by-point revenge. Any actions now taken by the US military in response to any attack has a better chance of making more enemies than defeating some enemies. And as the SHDCS accurately states in somewhat more elliptical language, the US is a sprawling collection of hundreds and hundreds of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in the form of infrastructure, that are pre-deployed weapons of mass destruction waiting for anyone who is so inclined to activate them. Exposed water supplies, poorly protected research labs, toxic chemical plants (over a hundred near populations of a million or more), and 103 licensed nuclear power facilities.

London today. Where tomorrow?

In another example of the psychotically flat language of this document, these kinds of attacks are referred to in the SHDCS as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attacks (CBRNE), and the response to them - which is discussed repeatedly and at length throughout this "strategy" - is called "CBRNE consequence management." I swear to readers that I did not make that up.

There is a plan within the SHDCS plan, as I stated earlier, to impose martial law that is not martial law. This is what aroused civil libertarian watchdogs, who rightly believe that the Bush administration would set up concentration camps for all of us if given half a chance. The fact that they don't, however, is an indication that they can't (at least for now) and the reason I find it personally impossible to fantasize yet about building escape tunnels under my house or emplacing food caches throughout the local pine-barrens.

The statement that "Terrorists will try to shape and degrade American political will in order to diminish American resistance to terrorist ideologies and agendas," as a bullet point in this military strategy overview certainly should give us pause, and it definitely supports the idea that this administration wants to exercise that kind of population control. And I have already outlined how they are laying the legal groundwork to go after political enemies.

In the SHDCS, on more than one occasion, it states, "At the direction of the President or the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Defense executes military missions that dissuade, deter, and defeat attacks upon the United States, our population, and our critical defense infrastructure."

This is interesting on two counts: (1) It gives the Secretary of Defense unprecedented power by using the conjunction "or." (2) It says the military can be used inside the United States to protect itself through the expansion of "itself" to include "critical defense infrastructure."

The document does not say "At the direction of the President and the Secretary of Defense," which would indicate a chain of command and accountability, but "At the direction of the President or the Secretary of Defense," which implies (a) that the SecDef can take it upon himself to make one of these momentous decisions, and (b) that if a decision is later scrutinized for who was responsible, the President can plausibly deny he had anything to do with it. Using these accountability cut-outs was one key way that Rumsfeld evaded any responsibility in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

But it is also interesting in a third way. Congress is nowhere mentioned. Apparently the DoD already finds itself in a position to assume that the war making powers formerly residing exclusively in Congress have now effectively passed exclusively to the executive branch. It seems to be a fait accompli that the US can now go to war without any declaration of war, that it can claim a state of war as the basis for declaring the entire world a battlefield without a declaration of war, and that it can demand all the international rules and conventions relating to war apply to the US as protections but that these same rules and conventions do not apply to the US as they relate to US actions.

The SHDCS did not accomplish the concentration of power in the hands of the Presidency. Congress abdicates its own power every day that it continues to allow this to go on.

It is the combination of this concentration of fiat-power in the presidency and the redefinition of "force protection" for the military as including "critical infrastructure" that lays the foundation for a state of partial-martial law that effectively functions as martial law. Later in the same document, it states, "DoD will continue to transform military forces to execute homeland defense missions in the forward regions, approaches, US homeland, and global commons." Here they are explicitly stating that the military can and will operate inside the United States.

Further along, "The Department is also responsible for protecting DoD personnel located in US territory." This is fairly common sense and not alarming in and of itself. Of course, DoD will protect its own inside the US. But when the definition of "force protection" is expanded to include "critical infrastructure," and force protection comes to mean capability protection, the SHDCS then claims the right to move on

"critical defense assets… located at public or private sites beyond the direct control of DoD… [that] could include elements of the Defense Industrial Base, which is a worldwide industrial complex with capabilities to perform research and development and design, produce, and maintain military weapons systems, subsystems, components, or parts to meet military requirements… defense critical infrastructure could also include selected civil and commercial infrastructures that provide the power, communications, transportation, and other utilities that military forces and DoD support organizations rely on to meet their operational needs.

In addition, the President or the Secretary of Defense might direct US military forces to protect non-DoD assets of national significance that are so vital to the nation that their incapacitation could have a debilitating effect on the security of the United States.

It doesn't take much imagination to figure out how broadly this can be interpreted. The ability to take over roads alone effectively puts the military in a position to completely control the population… effectively martial law.

It even goes so far as to say that "Defense contractors must be able to maintain adequate response times, ensure supply and labor availability, and provide direct logistic support in times of crisis." Ensure labor availability? How do they plan to do that, exactly?

In the United States of America, where there are an average of four firearms per household, Donald Rumsfeld is going to form press-gangs of labor? [Many of the foundations for these moves have been laid over two decades in a series of Executive Orders. The work began using services from the likes of a young Oliver North in 1980. - ED] Yeah, right! This is the reason I'm not building my tunnel and stocking canned food under tree roots yet.

The reality of Full Spectrum Dominance is that it is actually Full Spectrum Delusion. The United States military cannot even secure a military victory in Iraq, and this mad document from the Pentagon is talking about establishing martial law over 290 million armed people over a 9,631,418 square kilometer land mass. This is their plan? They are going to accomplish it with whom exactly? Do they honestly believe that American soldiers will impose this kind of control on US populations? Moreover, do they believe that in a real mass casualty emergency, soldiers will stay quietly buttoned down in their posts while a radiological cloud leaking from a destroyed reactor wafts gently toward their families?

And where will the money come from? The military is already driving the national debt and current account deficit through the stratosphere, and the war in Iraq's cost is being borne in larger and larger part by the real target of US international intrigue, China, who now owns $230 billion in US debt.

Unless we are prepared to accept that everyone at the Pentagon, from Rumsfeld down, is clinically insane, we cannot take this document seriously as a plan, but only as a basis for using an emergency as the pretext for rounding up and neutralizing their political opposition.

This is the pretext for the selective application of partial-martial law.

The Anonymous Generals
This is not what most generals signed up to do. And while a significant number of them have evolved into the twisted bureaucratic creatures we see in the guise of John Abazaid or Rumsfeld's pet weasel, Mark Kimmett, many of these senior officers are watching Iraq with growing dismay, even as they have seen the development of this creepy little Metrics Novella of the Apocalypse being scratched and sniffed through its composition in the Pentagon.

In February, 2003, Mike Davis wrote in Slouching Toward Baghdad:

Imperial Washington, like Berlin in the late 1930s, has become a psychedelic capital where one megalomaniacal hallucination succeeds another. Thus, in addition to creating a new geopolitical order in the Middle East, we are now told by the Pentagon's deepest thinkers that the invasion of Iraq will also inaugurate "the most important 'revolution in military affairs' (or RMA) in two hundred years."

According to Admiral William Owen, a chief theorist of the revolution, the first Gulf War was "not a new kind of war, but the last of the old ones." Likewise, the air wars in Kosovo and Afghanistan were only pale previews of the postmodern blitzkrieg that will be unleashed against the Baathist regime. Instead of old- fashioned sequential battles, we are promised nonlinear "shock and awe."

Although the news media will undoubtedly focus on the sci-fi gadgetry involved - thermobaric bombs, microwave weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), PackBot robots, Stryker fighting vehicles, and so on - the truly radical innovations (or so the war wonks claim) will be in the organization and, indeed, the very concept of the war.

In the bizarre argot of the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation (the nerve center of the revolution), a new kind of "warfighting ecosystem" known as "network centric warfare" (or NCW) is slouching toward Baghdad to be born. Promoted by military futurists as a "minimalist" form of warfare that spares lives by replacing attrition with precision, NCW may in fact be the inevitable road to nuclear war.

Davis had put his finger on another reality that the more adroit among the Pentagon Admiralty understand. If the Rumsfeld doctrine continues to fail, as it is failing spectacularly in Iraq, how does the Untied States pursue its "integrated" long-term strategy, not to fight terrorists, but to encircle China, isolate Russia, and establish control through forward basing in strategically essential Southwest Asia?

Rumsfeld has dismantled his pre-"revolutionary" military capacity, and taken his "minimalist" revolution in military affairs into a dangerous impasse, where the whole world is alert not to US strength, but that the giant is hopelessly entangled in Iraq, while China bids for Unocal and Latin America drifts away on the tectonic political plate of Bolivarianismo. Europe flirts with Russia, and China invests in the Caribbean. In the Persian Gulf, Persia itself - Axis of Evil member Iran - is emerging in the tortured realpolitik of US intervention as a new power center, and just this month signed a military cooperation pact with the government of occupied Iraq.

Davis asked in his 2003 article just two months before the premature climax of Shock and Awe:

But what if the RNA/NCW's Second Coming of Warfare doesn't arrive as punctually promised? What happens if the Iraqis or future enemies find ways to foil the swarming sensors, the night- visioned Special Forces, the little stair-climbing robots, the missile-armed drones? Indeed, what if some North Korean cyberwar squad (or, for that matter, a fifteen-year-old hacker in Des Moines) manages to crash the Pentagon's "system of systems" behind its battlespace panopticon?

If the American war-fighting networks begin to unravel (as partially occurred in February 1991), the new paradigm - with its "just in time" logistics and its small "battlefield footprint" - leaves little backup in terms of traditional military reserves. This is one reason why the Rumsfeld Pentagon takes every opportunity to rattle its nuclear saber.

In their own subdued roundabout manner of Washington intrigue, the generals leaked the story that the US has lost the capability to execute the so-called two-war doctrine. They may only intuit the implications - implications that go far, far beyond the concern they have for how Rumsfeld and his whiz-kids have ripped up and wasted the institution to which they devoted their entire lives.

And they may understand the implications of the SHDCS when it is placed in the context of this global impasse. If things are about to get much rougher internationally, then they have to prepare to get a lot rougher domestically.

The US is not attempting to build an empire, but to salvage one in a late state of decay. And the strange collection of rulers currently running amok in the executive branch are not angling to "integrate" any defense of the people. They are building a rampaging nuclear terror state.

And, as Audre Lorde once said, "Your silence will not protect you."

US official sees Zarqawi spectre in London attacks

Top News Article |

BG: I wondered how long before Zarqawi's name would be involved bin Ladan is so 2001 fashion....

US official sees Zarqawi spectre in London attacks
Fri Jul 8, 2005 3:27 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The series of bombings in London highlight U.S. concerns about a "two-way pipeline" moving Islamic militants between Europe and al Qaeda chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's insurgent network in Iraq, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said on Friday.

The bombings that killed more than 50 people and wounded 700 in London's deadliest peacetime attack bore all the hallmarks of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, which was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, on New York and Washington, authorities say.

U.S. counterterrorism experts believe European-born militants recruited by Zarqawi for Iraq's insurgency could be behind the bombings.

"We are concerned about the possible involvement of Zarqawi's network," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the investigation in London.

"We know that there has been direction given by bin Laden to Zarqawi to look to the West and to carry out attacks in Europe and other areas," the official told Reuters in an interview.

"When we look at the U.K. and other areas, there is a concern that those individuals who went to Iraq to fight may, in fact, now be going back at the direction of Zarqawi and others."

A classified CIA report issued in May warned that Iraq was becoming an urban-terror training ground for Iraqis and foreign Arab nationals who are expected to return at some point to their home countries, including Europe.

But Zarqawi's group may already be sending European-recruited insurgents back to the West to carry out attacks, the counterterrorism official said.

"It's essentially a two-way pipeline," the official said.

"Given that Zarqawi is interested in having people carry out attacks in the West, they can be turned around because they come with documentation and credentials where they can be redirected back into the continent of Europe."

The idea of Zarqawi involvement in the London bombings was greeted with skepticism by some experts in Britain.

A London-based security consultant said Zarqawi's involvement was highly unlikely and suggested the Jordanian militant would have gone for something on a bigger scale in his first big attack in the West.

Zarqawi, who has claimed responsibility for some of the bloodiest attacks in Iraq since U.S. forces ousted Saddam Hussein, was asked in February by bin Laden to look at staging attacks on the U.S. homeland, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials.

At the time, some questioned whether Washington was exaggerating Zarqawi's reach.

But European experts say Zarqawi already has a history of activity stretching from Afghanistan to Iraq via Jordan and Germany.

"It's true Zarqawi is dangerous, it's true he has a network in Europe...That is naturally capable of being reactivated," a top European intelligence official said in a recent briefing.

A cell directed by Zarqawi was broken up in Germany in 2002 and its members accused of plotting to bomb Jewish targets in Berlin and Duesseldorf. One man was convicted in 2003 and four others are still on trial.

Another U.S. official said the early claim of responsibility for the London attacks by an unknown al Qaeda group could suggests the bombings were not directed by bin Laden or his top leaders in Central Asia.

"Look back at some of the attacks al Qaeda central has staged, and you typically haven't seen a public claim. The exception has been the Zarqawi branch," the official said.

Attacks Bear Earmarks Of Evolving Al Qaeda

Attacks Bear Earmarks Of Evolving Al Qaeda

BG: Al Qaeda / bin Laden BS

Attacks Bear Earmarks Of Evolving Al Qaeda
Targets, Timing Both Familiar

By Steve Coll and Susan B. Glasser
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 8, 2005; A01

After Sept. 11, 2001, the world learned that counterterrorism specialists had seen that kind of attack coming, they just did not know when and where it would take place. In a similar sense, they saw yesterday's London bombings coming, too; they have been warning of such a strike on European soil for much of this year.

It took only a few hours for British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to conclude that the assault bore the "hallmarks of an al Qaeda-related attack." And while investigators were still sifting through the evidence, the available facts -- the British venue, the soft targets with economic importance, the timing during the Group of Eight summit in Scotland and the relatively simple operational techniques -- conformed almost precisely to the methods of what specialists describe as an evolving al Qaeda movement.

Now more a brand than a tight-knit group, al Qaeda has responded to four years of intense pressure from the United States and its allies by dispersing its surviving operatives, distributing its ideology and techniques for mass-casualty attacks to a wide audience on the Internet, and encouraging new adherents to act spontaneously in its name.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, terrorism experts in and out of government have warned that the movement has appeared to gain ground, particularly in Europe, where a large, mobile, technology-savvy and well-educated Muslim population includes some angry and alienated young people attracted to the call of holy war against the West.

The simultaneous bombings of four rush-hour commuter trains in Madrid on March 11, 2004, the shooting death of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh last November and recent preemptive arrests made by European police suggest a less top-down, more grass-roots-driven al Qaeda. The movement's ability to carry off sophisticated, border-crossing attacks such as those Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants mounted against New York and the Pentagon almost four years ago appears diminished, some experts say.

Yet al Qaeda's chief ideologues -- bin Laden, his lieutenant Ayman Zawahiri and, more recently, the Internet-fluent Abu Musab Zarqawi -- have been able to communicate freely to their followers, even while in hiding. In the past 18 months, they have persuaded dozens of like-minded young men, operating independently of the core al Qaeda leadership, to assemble and deliver suicide or conventional bombs in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Spain, Egypt and now apparently London.

As in the Madrid bombings, these looser adherents sometimes copy al Qaeda's signature method of simultaneous explosions against symbolic or economic targets, an approach repeatedly advocated by bin Laden in his recent recorded speeches.

"No more 9/11, but lots of 3/11, especially in Europe," declared the final slide in a PowerPoint presentation about al Qaeda's evolution presented at numerous U.S. government forums this year by terrorism specialist and former CIA case officer Marc Sageman, a clinical psychologist who has recently studied al Qaeda's European cells.

The British bombings "seem to be very much consistent with a Sunni jihadist movement that is overall as strong as ever but more decentralized, in which attacks are being instigated and carried out in more places than just the core leadership hiding in their caves in South Asia," said a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Al Qaeda's evolution from headquarters-planned conspiracies toward diffuse ideological incitement and tactical support is consistent with bin Laden's long-stated goal for the organization he founded on an Afghan ridge in the summer of 1988. For years, bin Laden has emphasized his desire to be remembered as a vanguard, an inspiring leader whose spark would light a spreading fire among all the world's Muslims, causing them to revolt en masse against Christians, Jews and their allies in the Middle East.

"According to Osama bin Laden's thinking, there are no dormant cells," Abu Jandal, one of bin Laden's former bodyguards in Afghanistan, said in a recently published interview in the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "Every element of al Qaeda is self-activated. Whoever finds a chance to attack just goes ahead. The decision is theirs. This is regardless of whether they pledged allegiance to Sheik Osama bin Laden or not."

During the last year, the thinking of bin Laden and other key fugitive leaders -- as communicated in taped addresses and on password-protected Internet message boards -- has been influenced by the course of the war in Iraq. Last November, Zarqawi pledged allegiance to bin Laden, and by doing so created at least the appearance of a unified al Qaeda approach to the war, with Zarqawi operating as the frontline commander and bin Laden as his spiritual and political mentor.

Indeed, Zarqawi's pledge to bin Laden has offered a model of the new kind of al Qaeda outsourcing. "From al Qaeda's point of view, it makes it look like they're in on the biggest action going right now in Iraq," said the former U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "From Zarqawi's point of view, it's brand recognition -- you're a franchisee, whether Burger King or al Qaeda."

Both bin Laden and Zarqawi have emphasized two prominent themes in their approach to the Iraq war: driving a wedge between the United States and its allies, and bleeding American and allied economies. Both goals may be reflected in yesterday's London attacks.

Bin Laden and some of his lieutenants have strongly emphasized economic issues related to Iraq in recent postings and speeches. Bin Laden believes that he and his followers helped destroy the Soviet Union by tying its 40th Army down in a long, costly war in Afghanistan during the 1980s. These days bin Laden says again and again that he intends to do the same to the United States and its allies in Iraq. In his videotaped speech to the American people last November, on the eve of the U.S. election, he boasted of "the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan."

Some terrorism analysts said bin Laden's role as inspiration -- if not direct commander -- of the British operation appears clear.

"It doesn't matter whether it's al Qaeda-directed or al Qaeda-inspired. The long-term effect on the jihadist movement is likely to be the same from the attacks: a source of recruitment, inspiration and motivation," said Roger Cressey, a former senior counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations.

"I do not really believe there is such a thing as al Qaeda, the organization; there is al Qaeda, the mindset," said Yosri Fouda, senior investigative reporter in London for the al-Jazeera satellite television network, the only journalist known to have interviewed Sept. 11 planners Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. "This is what I find much scarier. Your ability to predict is reduced to a minimal level."

Terrorism specialists said the current threat in Europe was from a new generation of recruits who might be much less connected to the core of al Qaeda.

"The cells that are forming are getting younger, and they're forming over the Internet," in a significant change from the profile of the jihadist recruit prior to Sept. 11, when al Qaeda often relied on more mature veterans of its Afghan training facilities, Sageman said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp., a research institution, said the State Department asserts that as many as 4,000 terrorism suspects have been arrested worldwide since Sept. 11, 2001. "But they are being replaced as fast as we can kill or capture them," he said. "Al Qaeda has this capacity to sustain itself. Even if they are reduced as an organization, they've been able to enlist any number of others to do their bidding."

The tactics and targeting in the London bombings may also suggest what Rand Beers, a former White House counterterrorism official and adviser to last year's Democratic presidential campaign, calls the "devolution" of al Qaeda. "We've seen a willingness to engage in smaller, less iconic kinds of targets," said Beers, noting that attacks like those in Madrid and London were technically unsophisticated and inexpensive to mount, yet they caused devastation and panic in just minutes.

It isn't clear whether the London attacks involved suicide bombers or timed explosives left in place, but either way, operations of this kind do not require advance training or long periods of time to execute, according to bomb-making specialists.

"We didn't see anyone try to fly into Buckingham Palace or take down the [British Telecom] tower," said Daniel Benjamin, a former White House counterterrorism official who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "It doesn't show that kind of need to top oneself that al Qaeda has shown in the past" when bin Laden and other key leaders had more time and space to plan their operations.

Even the relatively unsophisticated nature of the attacks in London has generated soul-searching about whether effective countermeasures exist against an Islamic extremist movement that appears able to "self-generate" new terrorists, as a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official put it. "The impact of it is significant. It shows they have been able to overcome a well-developed security architecture in London," the former official said. "It shows that al Qaeda and associated groups and fellow travelers still have the ability to conduct an effective operation."