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Belmont Club

The Known Unknown

May 29th, 2013 - 9:48 pm

What do Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber; Michael Adebolajo, the Woolwich beheader and Alexandre D. the Parisian neck-stabber have in common?  They were all known to the security authorities.

We learn that “despite receiving multiple warnings from Russia about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and adding him to a watch list of potential terrorists, the FBI did not pass on any of its intelligence to Boston police”, according to the Telegraph. The BBC says that “MI5 asked Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo if he wanted to work for them about six months before the killing, a childhood friend has said.” And now an Italian news service says “Alexandre D., the 22-year-old Muslim extremist arrested for attacking a French soldier in Paris on Saturday, was well known to the French secret service (SDIG), contrary to what was stated by the Interior Ministry and the public prosecutor in Paris, Le Monde reports.”

The Daily Telegraph says that Kenyan authorities were deeply suspicious of Adebolajo, the future Woolwich attacker, and wanted to act against him.

“It is the British themselves who defended him from our law enforcers.”

He added the British diplomatic mission replied in a letter to the police that “gave a clean bill of health that Michael Adebolajo had no criminal record or any connection with any criminal or terrorist organization in the world”.

Kenyan anti-terrorism police detained Adebolajo and six others when they tried to travel north to Somalia in a speedboat.

They were suspected of attempting to go to train with the al Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group al Shabaab in Somalia, and appeared in court in Mombasa.

Adebolajo was returned to Britain and the other six, all Kenyans, were also released without charge.

It’s possible that they were or were being recruited as informants, which always creates dilemmas. “The strongest arguments for informant use are connected to the nature of criminal organizations: informants permit the government to get information about, infiltrate, and destabilize group criminal activity. The most famously effective such deployment was the FBI’s use of informants to go after the mafia, a success story that is often invoked in support of informant use more generally. Of course even that success story had its costs”.

The biggest cost to  using informants is that they can in the meantime continue their life of crime. In fact, they are often expected to proceed as before in order to rise ever higher in the hierarchy of the target. The crimes they may naturally commit along the way often go unpunished. The price of catching the big fish is feeding it bait.

And in an unavoidable sense the public is always the bait.  The hope is that by giving a little the law enforcers get back much more. Thompson-Reuters describes how some criminals effectively obtain a “get out of jail” card by being informers.

A financial snitch has gotten off too lightly. David Slaine, a former Galleon Group employee, pleaded guilty to insider trading and conspiracy but became an informant to help nab others, including the hedge fund and trading scandal kingpin, Raj Rajaratnam. At the urging of prosecutors, a federal judge has rewarded Slaine with probation and community service instead of up to 25 years in prison. …

But his deal is exactly the kind that can lead to problems. The justice system probably can’t crack big cases without the cooperation of unsavory characters, and giving Slaine favorable treatment is justified up to a point. But even for the best information, letting confessed felons like him essentially off the hook is too high a price to pay.

Though no one is officially admitting it there’s a chance that the the FBI, MI5 and French services were more than passingly familiar with these 3 Islamist attackers. But laugh is on the public; if ever these men were being groomed by law enforcement then they were either doubled, slipped the leash or just went loco. “A double agent, commonly abbreviated referral of double secret agent, is a counterintelligence term used to designate an employee of a secret service or organization, whose primary aim is to spy on a different target organization, but who in fact is a member of that same target organization themselves.”

The author John LeCarre believed that the men who ran informants were in their way a species of confessor. It was certainly a kind of applied psychiatry. Their handlers traded in betrayal. What they offered in exchange was often money, immunity but as LeCarre noted, what they provided was ultimately a kind of salvation. In his famous book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy LeCarre described trying to see inside a fictional but thinly-disguised version of Kim Philby:

The more he puzzled over Haydon’s rambling account of himself, the more conscious he was of the contradictions. He tried at first to see Haydon in the romantic newspaper terms of a Thirties intellectual, for whom Moscow was the natural Mecca. ‘Moscow was Bill’s discipline,’ he told himself. ‘He needed the symmetry of an historical and economic solution.’ This struck him as too sparse, so he added more of the man whom he was trying to like: ‘Bill was a romantic and a snob. He wanted to join an elitist vanguard and lead the masses out of the darkness.’ Then he remembered the half-finished canvases in the girl’s drawing room in Kentish Town: cramped, overworked and condemned. He remembered also the ghost of Bill’s authoritarian father – Ann had called him simply the Monster – and he imagined Bill’s Marxism making up for his inadequacy as an artist, and for his loveless childhood. Later of course it hardly mattered if the doctrine wore thin. Bill was set on the road and Karla would know how to keep him there. Treason is very much a matter of habit, Smiley decided, seeing Bill again stretched out on the floor in Bywater Street, while Ann played him music on the gramophone.

Bill had loved it, too. Smiley didn’t doubt that for a moment. Standing at the middle of a secret stage, playing world against world, hero and playwright in one: oh, Bill had loved that all right.

Smiley shrugged it all aside, distrustful as ever of the standard shapes of human motive, and settled instead for a picture of one of those wooden Russian dolls that open up, revealing one person inside the other, and another inside him. Of all men living, only Karla had seen the last little doll inside Bill Haydon. When was Bill recruited, and how? Was his right-wing stand at Oxford a pose, or was it paradoxically the state of sin from which Karla summoned him to grace?

In some way that post mortems are probably trying to figure out, it was the “hate preachers”, not the Western security services, who saw the “last little doll”, who claimed the final allegiance inside Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Michael Adebolajo, and Alexandre D. In the choices of the three we see what happens when Karla wins and Smiley loses. The rest of the story we may guess, but in the nature of things, that’s all we will ever be left with. A guess and a tally of our losses.

We often think of necessary evil as the adjunct of war. One of the great PR attractions of using the justice system to fight radical Islamism is that ‘justice’ is clean, lawful and unstained by  tradeoffs of war. But it turns out that there’s no free lunch. The moral dilemmas will not leave us.  The best we can do is forget they exist.


The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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Top Rated Comments   
If you're an Islamist you can almost bank on it that they won't connect the dots. Even if one agency is on to you, or told to look out for you, there the matter will lie. But, on the other hand, if you are a Tea Party activist, you can bank on the opposite. The dots will be connected and the alphabet soup is coming for you: IRS, FBI, OHSA, BATF, EPA, etc. And, political opponents such as the Democratic Party and ACORN-affiliated groups will likely get tipped off. Also, dots will be connected from the federal to the local and state levels, too, as evidenced by True The Vote who had the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also join the fray arrayed against them.

So, the means are there, even made to skirt or break the law if necessary. But the will is reserved not to protect the public but rather to persecute political opponents.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (28)
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Just dropping by to post a link to an English Defence League bloke: let him speak for them, don't just believe the Leftoids:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbtOTPiCqPA

I read their website: it's wall to wall English patriotism, no racism. But the Left is painting them as racists, of course: aren't all the Left's opponents bigots?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"What do Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber; Michael Adebolajo, the Woolwich beheader and Alexandre D. the Parisian neck-stabber have in common? They were all known to the security authorities."

It's inconvenient facts like thsse, along with acquaintences of Tamerlane Tsarnaev getting shot by the FBI and the Washington Post admitting the FBI lied initially when they said he was coming at the agents with a knife, that leads brother Alex Jones and so many others to think 'false flag' in connection with the Boston bombing. Well that and the 'never let a crisis go to waste' lockdown of the city to beta test how the public would respond to turning an American city into a total police state for a while.

But don't worry, Thor Halvorssen and Frank Gaffney will insist that because the FSB didn't preemptively arrest an American city in Tsarnaev back in 2012, then that means the Russkies probably ran the whole thing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh yeah, and you can add to the litany above of mysterious deaths surrounding Boston the two FBI HRT guys who died while supposedly rappeling from helicopters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The FBI must have thousands of people listed as potential Islamic terrorists. Most of them are harmless idiots who like to spout off about their evil religion, e.g. they got themselves listed on an FBI database after writing something stupid at an al Qaeda website. It's a signal-to-noise problem.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The disturbing thing to me is that the methods that are used for burrowing into the mafia or in counter intelligence operations should be different than those used to counter radical Islam.

For one thing, we do not invite Mafioso's or spies into this country, let alone put them on public assistance.

The ought to be a rigorous test of loyalty for those coming to this country seeking a better life and, furthermore, there ought to be a test that the applicant would provide a value to society.

Most countries have that sort of acid test for immigration and citizenship even if that doesn't solve all problems it is a start.

Importing terrorists might be a boob to LE/CI but it does little for I the average citizen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree with RW3, it isn't a law enforcement issue it is a military issue. That does not mean (as leftists will jump to) that we "kill them all." Anyone in the US, who is not a citizen of the US, that rants against the US in terms of any violence is guilty of sedition and should be deported, period. US citizens are a bit different per the 1st Amendment of course. This crap will continue until we reach our breaking point, probably a major attack or series of serious ones. At that point, law enforcement will become spectators only. I think most people are like me, I can stay my hand as long as they stay away from me. As soon as it threatens me directly, I will act decisively. Sadly, many more people will die until that time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is anyone really surprised by this?

As Sparklesalt so aptly noted anyone on the Left or from Islam will get a break, whereas anyone appearing to tilt right will be harassed to the breaking point.

From where I sit, since it appears that our Federal bureaucracies are failing by a wide margin to "equally protect' our citizens, it's high time we can the lot of them , and start anew with new people and a new system of checks and balances for our bureaucracies that insures all reasonable sides are represented and respected, not just the left.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The great paradox of the so-called war on terror is that the prime set of people likely to engage in it (Muslims anyone?) are those that bureaucratic PC barriers protect from most efforts to investigate or thwart . Its like an effort to crack down on child pornography where it is forbidden to directly focus on known pedophiles or convicted sex offenders because it would leave the investigators open to accusations of discrimination.

And when there is a failure that results in the loss of life the answer always seems to be to give the government more power, whether it be X-raying passengers at airports or reading our emails without a warrant. But it is pointless to give them more power when they will not exercise it for the purpose for which it was granted. But maybe that is the purpose. Its hard to argue for an expansion of your budget and authority to help solve a problem that doesn't seem to exist.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You'll recall that, wrt Waco and Ruby Ridge, the victims were demonized, marginalized, dehumanized. You could get called a racist redneck on some sites by merely mentioning the departed Vicki Weaver.
Marathon runners--runners in geheral--have a slight cachet, like people who ride bikes. But not enough to overcome the reluctance to get really angry on behalf of the dead and mutilated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
itellyou3 three times: "Unless any and all of these services are charged with eliminating possible threats rather than waiting until they materialize, you really can't expect much else."

It is the old statistical problem of Type I and Type II errors -- False Positives & False Negatives.

Obaminoids (and bureaucrats in general) suffer no harm from the False Negative. Sure, they knew about the Fort Hood murderer and the Boston Bombers, but taking pre-emptive action would have raised problems. In certain circumstances, Obaminoids can live with their False Negatives. As long as Those Who Cannot Be Named observe the gentleman's agreement against targeting the Political Class, the cost of False Negatives is acceptable.

If the Political Class ever decide to turn on TWCBN, there will inevitably be False Positives -- innocents who die. And the reaction from the Greek chorus in the media and academia will not be pretty. No more Peace Prizes from the Norwegians.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK. Why are commenters' apostrophes accompanied by back slashes now? Is this another "fix?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obviously a cry for help from the site developer who is being held hostage by a mad slasher. Would explain a lot of how this web site has been redesigned and de-implemented.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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