We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Dicey moves

I’m certain all have been following the Orange Alert in the US. If, as
George Tenet said today, these threats are about radiological or chemical attack on the US to occur this week then the Weasel Axis are following a very, very dangerous course.

If the headlines on one day are “France blocks NATO protection of Turkey” and the next day it is “10,000 feared dead in DC Attack” then France can expect to recieve a level of anti-frenchism verging on pure hatred. The damage would last until the American youngsters of this generation are dead and gone.

And worst of all for the dirigiste… they will have to defend their own the next time, something they have proven summarily incapable of in the past.

Maybe the Germans will help them.

14 comments to Dicey moves

  • Oh, is there another alert? Yawn.

    The people who issue those “alerts” whenever they want to make some political point should read The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

  • Dale Amon

    Like the alert that wasn’t made before 9/11? Or perhaps the alerts not made loudly enough before Bali? Or perhaps you are talking about the ones not made in Kenya? Or maybe the two Embassy bombings in Africa?

    If you add up all of his attacks over the last decade or less, bin Laden has murdered somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 people in a handful of terror attacks.

    It is likely his future attacks will double that number. If you live in an area at risk and do not take the warnings seriously, you are a fool. Prepare to meet thy Darwin.

  • Ah… I guess you wouldn’t know this, living in England, but there’s been many many warnings like this since 9/11. I seem to remember see coverage of at least one of them on the BBC website…

    Thanks for pointing out that none of the alerts have preceeded any of the actual terrorist attacks, though. That serves to remind Americans that if they want to prepare for a possible terrorist attack, they should just go ahead and prepare. Waiting for the government to tell them when they’re in danger just ensures that they won’t be prepared when danger arrives.

  • G.Haubold

    Well, there were a couple of bin Laden messages not-too-far off in timing from Bali and Kenya. Could have been a coincidence, or maybe not.

    The rumor going around the U.S. is that the FBI may raise the warning level to red in a day or two. Could simply be major CYA activity, or perhaps not.

    I was intrigued by Colin Powell’s forcing al-Jazeera to release the bin Laden tape prematurely . . . . . . our INTEL obviously picked up the playing of the tape in the a-J offices and decided to screw up the timing of the Al-Q’aida message, to the extent there was one, hidden in the tape.

  • JSF

    Well, I can’t speak about alerts in the US, but there has been nothing like this in the UK for years.
    A police guy I know reckons Special Branch are like a behive somebody has poked with a stick. This is serious.

  • ololiuhqui

    I think someone in the Bush administration has been watching too many Prisoner reruns. I expect to see Rover bouncing down the street any day now.

  • Ken Hagler: Ah… I guess you wouldn’t know this, living in England…

    Er, Ken dear… were you under the impression ‘Belfast, Northern Ireland’ was really in ‘England’? There are some who would rather it not even be part of the United Kingdom, let alone England.

  • Dale Amon

    Yes, the replies point out the exact problem. No matter what the intelligence people do, someone will complain. “Nothing happened the last times”, “They didn’t tell us enough last time”, “They didn’t say anything about that attack”.

    Well, these guys are no different from you and you had better realize it is *YOUR* ass they are trying to save. I would not want to be in their shoes for all the tea in China. It’s a no win, no kudos job. All they can do is try to warn people while they are doing their damnedest to not give away the key info that lets them get the warning in the first place… or else agents may die and even if not information will be fed in to mislead them … until it happens.

    Even if we had the most brilliant, perfect Sherlocks Holmes analysts and teams of agents like Jack Ryan, and every citizen watching everything around them with suspicion… you won’t stop every attack every time.

    Every time we foil one (I’ll bet a lot of al Qaeda have just “disapperead” without a trace) the enemy learns something about our systems. At some point they will find a hole, and then a very large number of Americans or British will die.

    You might be interested to know the British press complained that the US State Department gave americans much more precise warnings about Bali than did the Home Office. Same popped up for Kenya.

    So what have you got to complain about? At least you are getting more straight talk then happens over here.

    I’m sure you realize it is a very old tactic to hit security systems with large numbers of false alarms as a means of “social engineering” the systems into not taking things seriously.

    If someone is going to nuke your home city and is going to cause five hundred false alarms first, how are you going to deal with that? Blame the security people for telling you each time until they give up? Then complain again on the identical looking 500th time when it is for real?

    This is not ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around.

  • Hmm. Perhaps I was unclear, so I’ll try rephrasing.

    The government has issued many such alerts, and as a result most people just ignore them now.

    If you’re concerned about terrorist attacks, you should prepare regardless of what the government says. Don’t wait until the government says to prepare, because if you do it will almost certainly be too late.

  • I don’t see why anyone would think it’s surprising the warned attacks didn’t happen, but the attacks that did happen had no warnings. If they issue a warning, it means they know something about it, which means they’re much more likely to be able to stop it. On the other hand, if bin’s boys can keep it secret, the anti-terrorism people won’t be able to stop it and won’t issue an alert.

  • William Dooley

    Knowing how to be prepared is indeed a puzzle. Smith, Wesson, Ruger, and I are doing what we can. If only we had fuller knowledge…

    From the Wild West: Reno, Nevada, USA.

  • Tom Grey

    I suspect, hope, and pray that the bad boys stay home & call it off, if there’s been a reasonable warning — or else stupidly try it and get caught.

    It should be clear to them, though, that another attack, anywhere in the world, is just about all that the US would need to do *its* attack. Burning the Toast (mentioned in the previous cute post).

    I think a successful attack is far less likely right now than the US attack. And when so many Iraqi weapons & weapon industry will prove to have come from France, there’s gonna be a lot of, prolly at times ugly, anti-French talk …
    But if push comes to shove, the US support a French democracy; even if many think Chirac stinks.

    “we got some groceries. Some peanut butter. Should last a couple of days, but…”

  • Well, my dears, the only thing the most recent alert has caused here is a severe shortage of duct tape. Wo! oh ye plumbers and electricians, for the suppliers of the Boston metropolitan area have hiked its price beyond rubies. Why? Apparently, if we have chemical warfare dumped on us like a newfangled Tea Party, blocking off windows, etc will suffice.

    Seriously. If anything does happen here, I’ll be following Ken Layne’s bunker readiness prescription. The worst thing to happen yet was the evacuation of a building downtown yesterday due to “suspicious vials of colored liquid” being found in an elevator… which turned out to be aromatherapy scents. Yawn.