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Saturday, April 27, 2013 - 10.30 GMT
Obama gets his WMD moment

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake


The only way to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the world is to understand its true nature and fight it for what it is, instead of giving terrorism various definitions and tags, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier this week.

He said that as the leader of a country that had defeated terrorism, he hoped the world would understand this reality. “It does not matter where it happens, be it in Asia, Arabic countries or anywhere in the world, terrorism is terrorism,” the President stressed, speaking at the presentation of the President’s and regimental Colours to the Sri Lanka Artillery, at Panagoda.

The Sri Lankan President who was among the first to send a message to US President Barack Obama conveying condolences to the bereaved families, and wishes for the speedy recovery of those injured in the recent Boston Marathon bomb attack, told the troops and guests at Panagoda that although Sri Lanka had successfully defeated terrorism, some countries were yet groping in the dark in their quest to defeat the scourge, and that even today bombs were going off in cities of some powerful nations. The Boston Marathon bombing remains in the news and the only suspect that has been captured has already been charged in court with carrying out an act of terrorism. What is most interesting is that the main charge against him is that he has used a weapon of mass destruction, which raises a new issue with both military and legal analysts discussing the validity of this charge. There is a debate today as to the general or public and legal definitions of a weapon of mass destruction.

This takes us back to the post 9/11 invasion of Iraq by Western coalition forces led by the United States and the United Kingdom, when the move to carry out regime change in Iraq was directly linked to the allegation - unproved at the time and remains so today – that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMDs.

There is little that the issue of WMDs was a complete lie to justify the invasion of Iraq, where Tony Blair lied to the British House of Commons and the British public on the matter, the US Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell misled the UN Security Council on it, and President George W Bush (with the connivance of the mainstream US media) lied to the American people and the entire world on the same issue. Their statements went against the findings of the UN Monitoring and Verification committee that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any WMDs.

Yet, in the midst of major political divisions in the US over economic policy, the sequester, immigration, gun-control, gay rights and gender equality, the Boston Marathon bombing gives the Obama Administration its own moment of WMD. Like manna from heaven, the Boston bomber brothers, if that is what they really are, have given the Obama Administration a great gift to divert attention from all other issues that affect the American people, and carry out a new hunt for terrorists, with all the possibilities of international connections, and opening new opportunities to further limit the civil rights of the American people under cover of the fight against terrorism…and very little accountability, if any.

This column does not argue that there should be no fight against terrorism. Wherever it exists it should be eliminated, but what is important is to assess the reality behind what took place in Boston and the reaction we see to it in the US today.

There are major issues being raised by important journalists and analysts whether the two brothers, one of whom was killed and the other arrested, are in fact terrorists, and other issues whether the two explosions towards the latter part of the Boston Marathon, was an act of terrorism, or part of an anti-terror drill carried out by the authorities that somehow turned out to have the consequences we now see.

Controlled explosion

Global Research ( published a leading piece on April 15 regarding a controlled explosion on the same day of the marathon. It said that “What’s not yet being reported by the mainstream media is that a “controlled explosion” was under way on the same day as the marathon explosion.

“As the Boston Globe tweeted today, “Officials: There will be a controlled explosion opposite the library within one minute as part of bomb squad activities.” The question is: “Who are the terrorists? It’s far too early to take an informed guess on all this. However, it is indisputable that the FBI is actively engaged in carrying out bomb plots in the United States, then halting them at the last minute to “catch the terrorists.” This fact has been covered by the New York Times, among other publications.”

This is the related report by on April 15 by Paul Joseph Watson. “Eyewitness: Authorities Announced “Drill” Before Boston Explosions”.

University of Mobile’s Cross Country Coach Ali Stevenson told Local 15 News, “They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. “It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill.”

The news station also reports that Stevenson “thought it was odd there were bomb sniffing dogs at the start and finish lines.” Stevenson then describes hearing the explosions as he ran away from the scene, having just completed the marathon. If this report is accurate, it clearly suggests there could have been some degree of prior knowledge of the bombing. The fact that the explosions were preceded and overlapped by a “drill” of an almost identical nature mirrors other major terror attacks, such as the 7/7 bombings in London. It is important to emphasize that the New York Times recently reported that most of the recent domestic terror plots in the United States “were facilitated by the F.B.I.,” suggesting that today’s incident in Boston may have been part of such an operation.

New York Times

It remains to be seen how the media and the Obama administration will exploit this incident depending who gets the blame, but Rahm Emanuel’s “never let a serious crisis go to waste” advisory is sure to be in play.

Another important question is why the search for photographs and videos from members of the public who were at the scene was suddenly called off when the photographs of the two suspect brothers, complete with knapsacks and baseball caps, were released as those of the alleged bombers. Was there an official hand behind the Boston bombing is an issue that is being discussed in much of the alternate media in the US today, but is not being reported in the mainstream media that prefers to go with the official record of events.

However, it is important to note that this is not the first time that there have been “anti-terror drills” that have coincided with what are described as major terrorist attacks, both in the US and the UK.

There are clear references to such activity in the attack on the World Trade Centre or 9/11 of 2001 and the UK transport bombings of 7/7 in 2005.

Here are excerpts from a New York Times report of April 28, 2012, by David K Shipler, about the FBI’s role in “terrorist attacks”. “The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed.

A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.”

"But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested."

When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of "inert material," harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to make the van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust.

This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones? Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves - too sure, perhaps.

Carefully orchestrated sting operations usually hold up in court. Defendants invariably claim entrapment and almost always lose, because the law requires that they show no predisposition to commit the crime, even when induced by government agents. To underscore their predisposition, many suspects are "warned about the seriousness of their plots and given opportunities to back out," said Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman. But not always, recorded conversations show. Sometimes they are coaxed to continue.

Undercover operations, long practiced by the F.B.I., have become a mainstay of counter-terrorism, and they have changed in response to the post-9/11 focus on prevention. "Prior to 9/11 it would be very unusual for the F.B.I. to present a crime opportunity that wasn't in the scope of the activities that a person was already involved in," said Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union, a lawyer and former F.B.I. agent who infiltrated white supremacist groups. An alleged drug dealer would be set up to sell drugs to an undercover agent, an arms trafficker to sell weapons. That still happens routinely, but less so in counter-terrorism, and for good reason.

Who is susceptible? Anyone who plays along with the agents, apparently. Once the snare is set, law enforcement sees no choice. "Ignoring such threats is not an option," Mr. Boyd argued, "given the possibility that the suspect could act alone at any time or find someone else willing to help him."

Typically, the stings initially target suspects for pure speech - comments to an informer outside a mosque, angry postings on websites, e-mails with radicals overseas - then woo them into relationships with informers, who are often convicted felons working in exchange for leniency, or with F.B.I agents posing as members of Al-qaeda or other groups.

(Most targets) seem ambivalent, incompetent and adrift, like hapless wannabes looking for a cause that the informer or undercover agent skillfully helps them find. Take the Stinger missile defendant James Cromitie, a low-level drug dealer with a criminal record that included no violence or hate crime, despite his rants against Jews. "He was searching for answers within his Islamic faith," said his lawyer, Clinton W. Calhoun III, who has appealed his conviction. "And this informant, I think, twisted that search in a really pretty awful way, sort of misdirected Cromitie in his search and turned him towards violence."

FBI records

It is interesting to know that the Boston terror suspect who was killed - Tamerlan Tsarnaev - was in fact questioned by the FBI and other anti-terror organizations three years ago, following a report about him received from an unnamed country (now known to be Russia). He was questioned in great detail, and released with no charge and the unnamed country told he was no threat, Yet he was told that everything he did -- from his social media contacts, statements and all activities were known to the FBI. In such a situation is it not strange that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not on the constant watch list of the FBI and other authorities? How did he come to be involved in a plot as that at the Boston Marathon? There are more questions being raised about the Boston bombings than can find ready answers today. The first is the absolute farce of describing a bomb made from a pressure cooker and loaded with ball-bearings and nails as a weapon of mass destruction, although it may suit a legal purpose. This pushes Barack Obama back into the glory days of George W Bush, whose rallying cry to the American people was the WMDs of Saddam Hussein.

The one redeeming fact for Barack Obama in this bombing episode that is becoming increasingly ugly is that he has refused to agree to demands that the remaining suspect be treated as an 'enemy combatant' and send him to Guantanamo or have him tried in a military court, but have him tried in civil courts. With this relieving grace Obama is free to enjoy his moment of WMD Glory.




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Last modified: April 28, 2013.

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