Showing posts with label Netanyahu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Netanyahu. Show all posts

04 April 2024

Warnings Don't Always Work – But Sometimes They Do

There's been a run of very important warnings given and unheeded this year, haven't there?


Bibi Netanyahu was warned about the Hamas attacks, and apparently blew it off. Much conjecture about why, but I personally start with the premise that Netanyahu was in deep trouble both criminally and politically, and there's nothing like a bloody hard war to keep someone in power. If they're ruthless enough.

Recently, the US embassy warned Putin about upcoming attacks on a large public gathering by ISIS. Apparently, he ignored it. But after the attack on the Crocus City Hall concert, Putin blasted the American warnings as “provocative,” saying “these actions resemble outright blackmail and the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.” (CNN) And then went on to accuse Ukraine of ordering it. (Reuters) Nonsense.

NOTE: My personal theory is that the ISIS-K group or whatever that did it was based on Chechnya, based on the remarkably similar Moscow Theater attack of 2010. Afterwards, many of the Chechen rebels went off to help Isis in Syria, and then came back to Chechnya in 2018, which would give them plenty of time to plan a larger attack against Moscow. (LINK)

UPDATE! Four of the suspected gunmen are Tajik citizens and were arrested along with seven other suspects, some of whom also come from the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation [of Tajikistan]. "There are estimated to be well over three million Tajiks living in Russia, about one-third of the total Tajik population. Most of them hold the precarious status of "guest workers", holding low-paying jobs in construction, produce markets or even cleaning public toilets... Non-Slavs are systematically discriminated against in Russia, and since 2022 they have been disproportionately conscripted and sent to Ukraine to serve as cannon fodder at the front." (LINK) And now they're scrambling to get out of Russia... preferably alive...


My SECOND NOTE: Interestingly, Tajikistan, along with its neighbor Kyrgistan, are completely omitted on the Chinese made Map of the World shower curtain I own. (See HERE)

But warnings being given yet not heeded, not acted upon isn't exactly new. Sometimes there's so much chatter, or so many assumptions of threats, that of COURSE there are too many to worry about. It can't happen here. After all, Warnings abounded before 9/11 actually happened. ("Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US").


And when it comes to assassinations, well... the most famous assassination victim (perhaps) of all time, Julius Caesar, was warned repeatedly and still went to his fatal meeting with the Senate.

For the matter, Abraham Lincoln: Ward Hill Lamon said that three days before his death, Lincoln related a dream in which he wandered the White House searching for the source of mournful sounds:

"I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. "Who is dead in the White House?" I demanded of one of the soldiers, "The President," was his answer; "he was killed by an assassin."

But the day of his death, Lincoln happily told his cabinet that he had dreamed of being on a "singular and indescribable vessel that was moving with great rapidity toward a dark and indefinite shore", and that he had had the same dream before "nearly every great and important event of the War." (Wikipedia) And the rest is history...

But there are also successful warnings, and one of the most unknown came up in my Reuters' feed the other day:

The Al Qaeda plot to kill President Bill Clinton in Manila.

Back on November 23, 1996, just as Air Force One with President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton on board, was approaching Manila, when their U.S. Secret Service detail received the alarming intelligence that an explosive device had been planted on the motorcade route into the Philippines capital. Being Secret Service, they got on it, and set up a back-up route to the hotel, getting the Clintons there safely. But, according to retired agents, Filipino security officers found a powerful bomb on a bridge the convoy would have taken and an SUV abandoned nearby containing AK-47 assault rifles.

This assassination attempt was mentioned briefly in books published in 2010 and 2019, but I certainly don't remember any mention of it in the news.

Now, eight retired secret service agents – seven of whom were in Manila – have given Reuters the most detailed account to date of the failed plot. And no one stuck around to conduct a thorough investigation:

"I always wondered why I wasn't kept back to stay in Manila to monitor any investigation," said Gregory Glod, the lead Secret Service intelligence agent in Manila and one of seven agents who spoke out for the first time. "Instead, they flew me out the day after Clinton left."

"There was an incident," said Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. "It remains classified." He declined to say what, if any, actions the United States took in response.

Clinton did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him through his spokesperson and the Clinton Foundation. And the FBI declined to comment on the Manila assassination attempt.

Former CIA director Leon Panetta, who was Clinton's chief of staff at the time, said he was unaware of the incident but that an attempt to kill a president should be investigated. "As a former chief of staff, I'd be very interested in trying to find out whether somebody put this information to the side and didn't bring it to the attention of people who should have been aware that something like that happened."

Glod said a U.S. intelligence agency later assessed that the plot was set up at bin Laden's behest by al Qaeda operatives and the Abu Sayyaf Group, Filipino Islamists widely considered an arm of al Qaeda. According to a 2022 International Crisis Group report, the group is in disarray, with only a handful of its leaders still alive.

Four of the Secret Service agents who spoke to Reuters noted that Ramzi Yousef - the al Qaeda-linked mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 and a nephew of September 11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who had trained Abu Sayyaf militants - was in Manila days before a 1994 visit by Clinton. Yousef is currently serving a life sentence plus 240 years in a federal "supermax" prison in Colorado.

Why / how did it get as far as it did? Chatter. Multiple problems roiling under the surface: "The Philippines was battling communist and Islamist insurgencies. Police discovered a bomb at Manila airport and another at the summit conference center in Subic Bay several days before the Clintons' arrival. The U.S. State Department warned of threats against American diplomats in Manila the day before the First Couple flew in." (Reuters)

Chatter is always a problem: how much of what is heard in rumor, innuendo, and warnings is true? How much matters? And these days, what with social media, conspiracy theories from here to Saturn, and general threats from everyone who wants attention... how do you find the one almond in the peanut butter? And how do you get the people who can do something about it (like Netanyahu or Putin) to listen?

But at least there was one time when people did listen, and a disaster was averted.


Murder, Neat—our first SleuthSayers anthology—is available in both paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon and your favorite bookstores.

11 October 2023

The Reckoning

I don’t want to jump feet-first into the savage quicksand of Israel and her adversaries, but I have some observations about the Hamas attack, absent politics. 

First, the intelligence failure.  It’s astonishing that the Israeli security services missed the signals; Hamas may have kept planning for the offensive under wraps, but the best you can say is that the Israeli intelligence community was asleep at the wheel, complacent if not derelict.  They pride themselves on active countermeasures – and the U.S. shares satellite coverage and electronic intercept – so how did Hamas hit them so hard, and so suddenly?

The word “surprise” is being over-used, in this context.  Netanyahu’s current governing coalition includes some rabid right-wing fundamentalists, who not only reject the two-state solution, but reject basic human rights for the Palestinians in general.  (It should be pointed out that Fatah, the political wing of the PLO, accepts in principle Israel’s right to exist; Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and Jewish genocide.)  If you listen to the inflammatory rhetoric of the present administrator of the West Bank, once investigated by Shin Bet for suspected sedition, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking he represents an existential threat to Palestinians as a people.  This isn’t to make excuses, or to suggest any kind of moral equivalency with Hamas, only to say that the terror attacks shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Another thing is that Israel is obliged to respond – has already responded – with brute force.  Civilian casualties are only going to mount.  This is a cruel consequence of the years of war.  You can argue the rights and wrongs of occupation, of resistance and intifada, but the intractable reality is unyielding grievance, and more innocents die. 

Then there’s the presence of other actors, in the wings.  The confrontation states have never given a rat’s ass about the Palestinians; the cause is just a stick to beat Israel over the head with.  Syria has been meddling in Lebanon for fifty years, and hope is lost.  Hezbollah and Hamas, once Syrian clients, are now supported by Iran.  The mullahs have of course disavowed the Hamas terror strike, saying they support Hamas in their struggle, but had nothing to do with this specific attack.  I call horse feathers.  Hamas stockpiled tens of thousands of missiles in preparation for this.  The obvious suspicion falls on Tehran.  Talk on the street says officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard met with Hamas in Beirut to plan the ground game. 

Israel won’t sit on its hands if the Iranians are even remotely implicated.  A strand of DNA, a single nose hair recovered from the crime scene, and Iran’s balls will go on the block.  It will not be pretty. 

On a more political front, the disarray in Congress can only sidetrack an effective American response.  The lack of a Speaker means the House can’t take up military aid to Israel, or Ukraine, or Taiwan.  (Has everybody forgotten about the Chinese and their Pacific ambitions?)  We’ve just sent a carrier battle group to the eastern Mediterranean.  But as it happens, the Navy doesn’t currently have a Chief of Naval Operations, because Tommy Tuberville, Republican senator from Bumwad, has put a hold on flag rank promotions - in response to a Defense Department policy on abortion

This is insane.