Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Terrorist Plot to Attack Fort Dix

Recently the FBI announced the arrest of six men and accused them of plotting to attack Fort Dix, in New Jersey.  After the initial shock of the arrests, a closer look at the “plot” reveals a pattern now becoming the rule in these kinds of arrests: the pattern is one of utter stupidity and incompetence on the part of the purported “terrorists”.  There is another pattern as well.

In January 2006, a store clerk for a company that transfers video tape to DVDs in Mount Laurel saw something odd.  A group of men had brought him a video showing them firing weapons and chanting "God is Great!" in Arabic for transferring.  The clerk contacted the authorities.  The authorities then infiltrated the group which eventually led to the arrests.

Reactions to the arrests were interesting.  Predictably, the Administration fanned the flames of fear and implied that only they could protect us from “terrorists” such as these.

On the other end of the political spectrum, the terrorist threat was pooh-poohed as overblown and a case of possible entrapment.

What is the truth?

Once again the truth is pretty much obvious, which makes it invisible to most pundits: although these particular men were probably terrorist-wannabees and incompetent, there is no reason why such a group couldn’t have at least one competent planner within it.  It probably is only a matter of time before such an independent terror cell not only fantasizes about committing a terrorist act, but also has the capacity to pull it off.

It is also clear, though, that the government was handed this case on a silver platter by an alert citizen.  The FBI should not dislocate its collective shoulder patting itself on the back.

And finally, what could be done to prevent such groups from coming into existence in the future?

This is truly the ultimate question which, of course, has gone completely unaddressed by all politicians, military planners and analysts.  Please note the following quote made by one of the suspects as captured on the video tape that led to their arrest:

"In the end, when it comes to defending your religion, when someone is trying attacks (sic) your religion, your way of life, then you go jihad."

So, were these men the product of an extremist Islamic background?  Were they oppressed?

Absolutely not; they were relatively successful in business in this country, and free to practice their beliefs; this may be the most frightening aspect of the whole affair.

Officials said four of the men were born in the former Yugoslavia, in the Kosovo region, one in Jordan and one in Turkey.  All had lived in the United States for years.  Three were in the United States illegally; two had green cards allowing them to stay in this country permanently, and the sixth is a U.S. citizen.

Newsday reported that Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku wrote a letter to the U.S. mission in Pristina on Wednesday expressing the "extraordinary feeling that Kosovo's people have for the U.S."  Ceku also denounced what he called "the disgusting idea" that Albanians could be involved in an attack "against a nation that has been very generous so far."

"We have lost brethren in the World Trade Center in the 9/11 tragedy and fought willingly beside U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Avni Mustafaj, executive director of the Washington-based National Albanian American Council.

"As Albanians, we remain the most pro-American people in the world," he said.

Newdsay also wrote that the Duka brothers' grandmother, Naze Duka, was visibly upset as word of their arrests spread through the modest two-story brick houses in Debar, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) southwest of the Macedonian capital of Skopje.

"America is good _ you work, you earn money there," the 88-year-old said. "I have no idea where this all came from.  How did this happen?"

Elez Duka, the brothers' cousin, said their father took the family to the U.S. via Italy in 1986 or 1987.

Over the past two years, Elez Duka said his cousins told him they had grown long beards and had become more devoted to Islam, but he insisted they were incapable of involvement in a terrorist plot.

Even those overseas in Debar who described themselves as devout Muslims denounced the Fort Dix plot.

"They must have been crazy.  They shouldn't dare throw a stone at America," said Rrahmi Duka, 70, a distant relative of the brothers, selling beads and Muslim books in Debar's main square as a loudspeaker blared prayers.

"Who saved us (in Kosovo)? America," he said.  "We are in America's hands."

Truly, hearing this from a Muslim, living in a foreign country is encouraging, and is proof that one cannot judge others based on their religious preference alone.

But the fact remains that there is but one explanation for the apparent goals of the alleged terrorists, and if one is honest, one explanation for nearly all terrorist acts: "In the end, when it comes to defending your religion, when someone is trying attacks your religion, your way of life, then you go jihad."

Even though these six men lived within a community grateful to the US for preventing ethnic cleansing, religious zealotry caused them to turn on their former protectors.

Will anyone ever notice it always all about religion?

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