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05/12/2007

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J Mac

It seems as though in the case of the Fort Dix guys, America has learned how to catch only the very stupidest of potential terrorists. I mean, attack an Army base?!?!

Mojo

In fairness, Fort Dix isn't much of a base. From what I've seen the one time I went there, the biggest problem terrorists would have is finding anybody to shoot at. Very nice landscaping though.

dan

I think you're overstating the British arrests of this week - the people arrested were the wife and other relatives of Mohammed Siddique Khan, who had already been extensively interviewed regarding the 7/7 bombings and what knowledge they may have had about it nearly two years ago; at any rate, they really don't constitute a "terrorist cell" - and to be fair the UK authorities have never described those arrested this week as such.

This reminds me of the court case against the sister of one of the Brit bombers of Mike's Bar in Tel Aviv back in 2003. She was acquitted.

Using the US as a benchmark for credibility may be setting the bar rather low - as there is a litany of British fuckups since 2001 - Lotfi Raissi; the (non-existent ) Ricin trial which led to some of the jurors coming forward to publicly denounce the whole affair after the acquitted men were later re-arrested under SIAC; the de Menezes shooting and the appalling spin, deceptions and public lies that the Met indulged in; the Forest Gate shooting and the attendant spin, deceptions and lies that the Met again indulged in.

By my calculations there have been a grand total of 2 pukka trials of terrorist suspects since 2001, and when the 21/7 bombers are convicted, we'll be up to 3.

One observation that I would make in regards to the comparison is that entrapment is flagrantly illegal under UK law. Obviously this has positive by-products.

anon

There are definitely political culture issues involved here. The "rally 'round the flag" effect is so strong in the US that the governing party has little incentive to prevent the public from being terrified. As long as the first reaction for Americans in response to external threats is mindless patriotism combined with unquestioning obedience, there will be no strong incentive for the US government to do an effective job of dealing with terrorism. Break the triadic between terror, patriotism, and votes and US security policy will become functional.

Tom

Just to add a bit more to the story, three of the four arrested individuals in the UK 'cell', including the widow of the 7/7 ringleader, have now been released without charge. Not much of a terrorist cell, then. It's always important to follow high profile arrests through, as subsequent release or downgrading of importance of the arrested person (e.g. from 'terrorist suspect' to 'fraudster' or 'illegal immigrant') doesn't get the publicity here in the UK, let alone in other countries.

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