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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: The Administration that Cried Wolf

“Federal authorities announced Saturday they had broken up a suspected Muslim terrorist cell planning a ‘chilling’ attack to destroy John F. Kennedy International Airport, kill thousands of people and trigger an economic catastrophe by blowing up a jet fuel artery that runs through populous residential neighborhoods.
Three men, one of them a former member of Guyana's parliament, were arrested and one was being sought in Trinidad as part of a plot that authorities said they had been tracked for more than a year and was foiled in the planning stages.”
-Associated Press, June 2, 2007

“Aaaaaahh! Terrorists! Be afraid! Panic! We should let the Administration do whatever they want to do as part of the War on Terra, otherwise these steely-eyed killers will destroy us all!”

“When U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf described the alleged terror plot to blow up Kennedy Airport as ‘one of the most chilling plots imaginable,’ which might have caused ‘unthinkable’ devastation, one law enforcement official said he cringed.

The plot, he knew, was never operational. The public had never been at risk. And the notion of blowing up the airport, let alone the borough of Queens, by exploding a fuel tank was in all likelihood a technical impossibility.
And now, with a portrait emerging of alleged mastermind Russell Defreitas as hapless and episodically homeless, and of co-conspirator Abdel Nur as a drug addict, Mauskopf's initial characterizations seem more questionable -- some go so far as to say hyped.”
-Newsday, June 6, 2007

“At its heart was a retired airport cargo worker, Russell Defreitas, 63, who the complaint says talked of his dreams of inflicting massive harm, but who appeared to possess little money or training and no known background in conceptualizing or planning a terror attack.
‘Capability low, intent very high,’ a law enforcement official said of the plotters. Other law enforcement officials and engineers also dismissed the notion that the planned attack could have resulted in a catastrophic chain reaction; system safeguards, they said, would have stopped explosions from spreading.”
-International Herald Tribune, June 4, 2007

“What? Again? Don’t these people remember all of the earlier terrorist arrests we’ve made?”

“A federal judge denied bond Wednesday for six men accused of plotting to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and other federal buildings.

The six, who have pleaded not guilty, were arrested June 22 in Miami as part of an undercover FBI sting. They are accused of seeking to support what they thought was an al Qaeda operative's effort to bomb FBI buildings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington.”
-CBS News, July 5, 2006

“From the indictment it is clear that the men had no shortage of ambition, asking for al-Qaeda training to wage a ‘full ground war’ to ‘kill all the devils we can.’ To his end, the group asked the undercover agent for a wish-list of equipment that included boots, uniforms, machine guns, bullet-proof vests, radios and vehicles — as well as $50,000 in cash. The group's leader also provided the government agent with ‘a list of shoe sizes for the purchase of military boots for his 'soldiers'.”
-Time.com, June 23, 2006

“…like the ‘Men Without Boots’ plot? Or maybe you remember this one..”

“A terrorist plot to set off explosives in the PATH railway tunnels under the Hudson River in October or November was disrupted in its planning stages, and several suspects in the plot have been apprehended, law enforcement officials said today.”
-New York Times, July 7, 2006

“One U.S. official called the plot ‘largely aspirational’ and described the Internet conversations as mostly extremists discussing and conceptualizing the plot. The official said no money had been transferred, nor had other similar operational steps been taken. […]
[CBS News correspondent Jim] Stewart reports his sources say that no one in the United States ever took part in the Internet conversations and that no one ever purchased any explosives or scouted the transit system.”
-CBS/AP, July 7, 2006

“..the dreaded ‘Railway Tunnel’ plot. Before that we had the guy trying to blow up his shoes, and, finally, Public Enemy #1, Jose Padilla.”

“After five years in prison, most of it in solitary in a grim navy brig where he was held as an enemy combatant, Jose Padilla went on trial yesterday in a case that spotlights the Bush administration's legal tactics in the so-called war on terror.
Instead of representing America's worst nightmare - the homegrown Islamic extremist poised to turn a booming city centre into a deadly wasteland with nuclear debris - the trial of the onetime Chicago gang member and U.S. citizen has become a cautionary tale in prosecutorial hype.
‘In apprehending al-Muhajir [Mr. Padilla's Muslim name] as he sought entry into the United States, we have disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive dirty bomb,’ was the apocalyptic pronouncement by then-attorney-general John Ashcroft. At the time, fear gripped the country in the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.
The actual threat posed by Mr. Padilla, 36, seems to have steadily receded ever since.
Yesterday, in a Miami courtroom, the real case against him was revealed: He was accused of filling out an application form to become a jihadi, or holy warrior. ‘Joining an al-Qaeda training camp was an incredibly rare thing for an American to do,’ said assistant U.S. attorney Brian Frazier, claiming that Mr. Padilla and two co-defendants, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, also provided money and support to Muslims fighting in Kosovo, Chechnya and Lebanon in the 1990s.
Its not clear if the government intends to attempt to link any of the three to any actual terrorist attacks. The indictment no longer makes any mention of the dirty-bomb plot.”
-Globe and Mail, May 15, 2007

“Apparently our anti-terror programs are so good that they work retroactively now. Dangerous terrorists are made nearly harmless from the start. Works fine until a real threat comes out..”


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