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The Social Network, the alter-globalization movement and counter-forums

Gagliano Giuseppe

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An attentive analysis of the ways in which the alter-globalization galaxy enacts its antagonism to the system, especially in regard to national and transnational political, economic and military institutions,

reveals both how the alter-globalization movement implements its antagonistic demands above all through social networks and counter-forums and the extent to which it is capable of mobilizing non-homogeneous groups, often by exerting substantial influence on the choices made by political decision-makers on one hand, and capable of implementing vast and widespread disinformation campaigns on the other. Like all technological instruments, also social networks can cut both ways: like two-faced Janus, they can incite terrorist violence or contribute to the consolidation of antagonist ideologies by catalyzing discontent or just as equally consolidate consensus around national and super-national political and/or military institutions. Attempts at censure in today’s democracy would be destined to fail because the web offers such a wide variety of technological solutions that any type of shutdown imposed could be bypassed. Even if the manipulation of information is not only possible but desirable in a context of information warfare between institutions and movements or between national institutions themselves, in fact, the web offers the possibly to provide counter-information also through film footage and photos taken by cell phones and transmitted via Youtube. As regards the role played by information in the contexts of both sociology and social psychology, the domination of a particular piece of information and the ability to spread it can have such profound effect on civil society that Gen. Sullivan, ex-Chief of General Staff of the US Army, once claimed that information is the equivalent of a victory on the battlefield. On the other hand, as aptly noted by Luther Blisset, theoretician of anti-establishment media warfare, it is necessary to act within the mass media communication system and fight the power structure using its own arms. In light of these considerations, the definition of war as “…a struggle of opposing wills between organizations that use any violent or coercive means (armed conflict, cold war, evident and occult coercion) available to impose their own best interests or point of view” provided by Gen. Fabio Mini appears more appropriate than ever. The relevance of this definition depends on the absence of the adjective “military” and the presence of the expression “any struggle” between organizations. This means that the previous limit on the participants in traditional war – opposing nations – disappears and gives way to an opposition between nations and economic or social groups and/or political and other types of organization. In this light, also the definition provided of netwar by Arquilla and Ronfeldt is extremely interesting because it amounts to the aggregate of activities conducted for the purpose of disturbing, damaging or modifying what a determined population knows or thinks it knows about itself and its surroundings. In other words, what the antagonists have promoted and continue to promote through the social network may be considered warfare strategy in the Minian sense of the term, and more exactly, in information warfare, and therefore in propaganda and deception or altered, deceitful and/or misleading information. As correctly observed by Capt. Alfonso Montagnese, the Social Media are instruments of mass communication and relation whose utilization takes place in cyberspace using hardware (Internet, cell phones, pc, etc.) and software (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.). Compared to traditional media channels, social media users can interact and overcome geographic limits in real-time. Yet when social networks are used in an asymmetric context of conflict (with a governmental institution or a national or multinational industry one on side with a group of alter-globalization activists on the other, for example), the opposition takes form alternately in psychological warfare (through disinformation and propaganda) and antagonistic mobilization with the expenditure of reduced resources. The political and cultural subjects that have enacted asymmetric-type oppositions can largely be grouped as national subversive groups (Marxist-Leninist groups, anarchical-insurrectionist groups); antagonist movements/extra-parliamentary powers (anti-global, environmental protection, anti-nuclear power groups, xenophobe groups, organized sports hooligans, right-wing extremist groups); non-profit associations/foundations; religious groups, and trade union/political party groups. Appropriately, Capt. Montagnese mentions the comments of Gen. Francesco Lombardi, Ce.Mi.S.S. Military Sociology Department vice-Director and Head, who emphasizes how the protest movements of the future will still manifest themselves through physical conflict, the illegal occupation of public space, demonstrations, and rioting, and as in the past will still have antagonistic ends, but will differ from those of the past in the interaction between the demonstrators themselves, between the demonstrators and the power against them, and between the demonstrators and the world at large.
Strategic warning must certainly be included among the counter-measures to be enacted, and horizon scanning is extremely important because as noted by Montagnese it permits threat trends to be monitored in the mid- and long-term, the orientation of opponent force to be identified, and their evolution to be predicted. Specifically, national security institutes must draft a Social Media Strategy capable of alternating offensive activity through influence, deception, and propaganda with defensive activities like counter-propaganda, counter-interference, and the early warning conducted through the direct or indirect use of Social Media.

The Social Network and alter-globalization

In the context of the antagonism of the alter-globalization movements, the independent networks developed by civil society in the wake of Seattle (such as Indymedia, for example) have proven to be fundamentally important in globalizing the antagonism and making it more widespread and efficacious; these activists have made use of independent networks to convey clearly defined ideological content: ecologist, pacifist, anti-militarist, anti-capitalistic. In such regard, the promoters of these networks, whether consciously or unconsciously, have adopted as reference at the levels of both topic and mobilization technique the protest movements of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s in their implementation of both virtual and operative activism. The structure of these networks is naturally horizontal and this affords a greater degree of freedom in the flow of information while precluding every form of hierarchy similar to those of traditional political organizations. At the base of these networks lies the conviction of the existence of a universal right to knowledge and networking and that this right is an essential component in the exercise of the rights of citizenship in the context of participative democracy. It is enough to consider in this regard the networks of hacker movements that trace their roots to the social movements of ‘70s, the cyberpunk/artistic avant-garde, internationalism, and the self-managed social centers in general. Specifically, during an encounter in Naples in March 2001 against the Global forum, the Italian hacker movement implemented a technique known as netstrike designed to jam institutional internet sites. Again in 2001, but this time in Genoa, the independent networks were able to create a media center capable of efficacious counter-information for the purpose of de-legitimizing the work of the law enforcement system. In Italy, the Isola nella rete – the most significant entity inside the independent network is undoubtedly important. Founded as an association in the mid-‘90s with the purpose of placing communication and mobilization tools at the disposal of social movements, through an extensive network of links, the association has constructed an authentic virtual community of the antagonists. It is enough to consider that a dossier entitled “Under Accusation” that documents the violations of individual rights during the Genoa demonstration has been created in the Isole nella rete and that the new media sociologists use the expression controversial political communication to define this new communication vehicle, intending the combination of techniques or repertory of communication actions adopted to de-legitimize national, transnational and/or determined representatives of the same as an expansion of democracy. This new approach in communication has opened representative democracy to alternating direct and indirect criticism of increasingly wider scope. Another expression employed by mass-media sociologists is “counter-democracy”, which is used to emphasize the increasingly important role played by alter-globalization movements in monitoring and criticizing the institutions that hold political and economy power in blogs, forums, on-line campaigns, and mailing lists as tools that coordinate the activities of different groups. In this sense, Facebook becomes a fundamentally important instrument of counter-information because when it is used in an antagonist context, it can transform the consumption of news articles into a participative and antagonist process at both virtual and physical level. In this regard, the experience of the Popolo viola bears much significance. Using Facebook, it has proven capable of organizing at national level a campaign such as the one entitled No Berlusconi day with great visibility. Another example of political aggregation with antagonist ends in mind is provided by Beppe Grillo’s blog, which has now become a new place of meeting, encounter, and political interaction among citizens. This blog succeeds in attracting fairly constantly a considerable participation of around 200,000 visits a day and over 1000 comments on every single posted entry; beyond that, the blog has led to the birth of around 400 local groups in over 200 cities under the name Amici di Beppe Grillo (Friends of Beppe Grillo). The blog’s operative efficacy is demonstrated by the fact that between 2007 and 2008 it proved capable of collecting from a minimum of 350,000 to a maximum of 1,350,000 signatures for a law proposal made at popular demand. At international level, another successful example of popular mobilization is certainly the American movement known as MoveOn.org, which even if it cannot be considered unequivocally a part of the alter-globalization movement has, in any case, dealt with similar questions and adopts similar operating methods. In the context of new media sociology, this organization is known as a meta organization, meaning that it is radically decentralized and possesses a number of specific characteristics, including that of consisting of an organizational core of limited dimensions that serves as both facilitator and producer of organizational processes. First of all, it has smaller size than traditional organizations because its nucleus oscillates between 20-30 people; secondly this organization does not have a physical office ands therefore has ho administration costs. In other words, in legal terms, MoveOn.org resembles a cross-linked non-profit organization. This organization has a mailing list of 5 million members and is currently the most authoritative pressure group on the US political scene at network level. Its significance is demonstrated by its role in a promotional campaign for Obama that raised 88 million dollars in 2008 and provided the future president with 933,000 volunteers. Back on the Italian scene, much of the alter-globalization movement has used freeware software to create its own websites on the basis of precise assumptions: a common struggle against multinationals and their influence, and the establishment of an alternative society to the current one based on the freedom of information and spontaneous self-organization. Above and beyond the purely idealistic motivation, it is evident that the use of freeware gives anti-global movements an undeniable economic advantage. It is no coincidence that during the 2005 World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazilian President Lula committed his nation to both freeware and open-source software. One of the most important characteristics of the anti-global organizations that use the telematic network is certainly the promotion of alternative information that lets the public participate firsthand in the management of certain aspects of communication, provides additional documentation to sympathizers of determined movements like the peace movement or the antagonistic left. Another extremely important aspect is the need to integrate information with widespread work in the territory by creating, for example, local branches that collect all the most pertinent information on the issues under consideration. Another alternative communication tool is certainly TeleStreet, or in other words, “street television” that is closely linked to the local dimension. In purely technical terms, street television is born in a neighborhood or some other small center of inhabitation. Historically speaking, street tv was born with the 1977 movement and more precisely in the free radio movement. One particularly important event regarding street tv occurred in 2003, the year when numerous Italian tv activists promoted the widespread flying of rainbow-colored peace flags in their towns. The public addressed by Italian anti-global movements – prevalently the people who use Internet through websites and mailing lists – is a global and therefore heterogeneous one. The websites Indymedia, ControllArmi and Peacelink are undoubtedly particularly significant in the context of alter-globalization movements. ControllArmi, for example, is nothing but a website that runs by the Rete Italiana per il Disarmo (Italian Disarmament Network) set up in March 2004. This network has proven capable of mobilizing its resources to report the amendments made to Law No. 185 regulating arms exports; in particular, ControllArmi was born precisely to defend Law No. 185 and obtained an impressive and significant success after applying pressure to certain influential representatives of parliamentary institutions. The establishment of ControllArmi arose from the need to exert short-term control over arms sales on one hand and general disarmament in the long-term on the other. The presence of a number of important alter-global movements such as Rete Lilluput, Attac, Arci, Acli, Fiom-Cgil, Fiom-Cisl, Pax Christi, Un ponte per…, and Emergency in the organization is significant. The study of arms and the general disarmament desired in the future can be seen in the organization’s detailed analysis of every aspect of the world of arms, starting from small arms and covering international arms brokers, nuclear arms, depleted uranium, and the economic and political problems linked to the legal and otherwise exportation of arms. Also extremely interesting are the organization’s bonds with Iansa – the global small arms control movement founded in England – and with Safer World set up to monitor and study armaments; equally significant is the pressure exerted on the European Parliament – together with Safer World – in the defense of Law No. 185.

Counter-forums and the alter-globalization movement

According to the alter-globalization movements, only diplomats or government representatives who were never publicly elected usually take part in the world’s decision-making summits, but this, on the contrary, reflects a balance of power between nations. In other words, the alter-globalization movements lay claim to a logic of direct democracy that would enable civil society movements to become key players on the international scene. The counter-forums are characterized as unofficial meetings that deal with the same problems as traditional forums but with a deeply critical stance in regard to the choices made by governments and even those of neo-liberal companies on one hand, and on the other, the counter-forums utilize operative methods far different from those used by traditional ones (including counter-information, civil disobedience, etc.). From the historical point of view, counter-forums first came into existence in the ‘60s with the Tribunal against war crimes in Vietnam created in 1967 and then in the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal founded in Algiers in 1976 and instituted in definitive form in 1979. Naturally enough the composition of these tribunals – far from being impartial and unbiased – reflects world views with a strong ideological slant: in favor of the under-developed world, anti-capitalist and anti-militarist. Another historical root of the counter-forums that Mario Pianta identifies lies in the Peace movements that developed during the ‘80s. Experts on alter-global movements explicitly acknowledge the extent to which experiences in the leftist and ecologist movements of the ‘70s and ‘80s were fundamentally important because a large part of the activists on these fronts continued their activities in alter-globalization movements. As regards the risk posed to national and transnational military institutes, it must be remembered that some of these counter-forums have questioned the need for the existence of NATO and demanded the democratization of the UN, intending by such term the widespread presence of alter-globalization organizations in UN decision-making processes. From the historical point of view, the first counter-forum undoubtedly took place in Seattle (1999) and was organized alternately by structured and unstructured groups and an articulated organization that succeeded in bringing 60,000 people to the city. The media impact created by the counter-forum was such to raise hopes of a grass-roots globalization to be achieved precisely through such counter-forums. The Davos counter-forum of 2000, the counter-forum held in April in Washington, the one held in May, 2000 in New York called the Millennium Forum with 1200 participants must also be remembered in this sense. The apogee of such counter-forums was certainly the one held in Porto Alegre in January 2000, the fruit of an alliance between the Brazilian Workers’ Party, the trade unions, and the Sem Terra and Attac movements. This event with worldwide media coverage featured the participation of 20,000 activists from every continent and was the launching pad for the counter-forum to the G8 meeting in Genoa held in July, 2001. Naturally enough, one of the reasons for which these counter-forums developed is to pose a challenge to the nation-state system and the neo-Liberalist economy on the political and economic levels. The strategy pursued by the exponents of these counter-forums was – to use Mario Pianta’s expression – alternately reformist (this approach centers its attention on procedural change and specific political choices and is a strategy developed by the NGOs for the purpose of implementing integration with inter-governmental organizations wherever possible), radical alternative (an approach that places existing concentrations of power in serious doubt and indicates new models of collective actions such as new democratic structures as alternatives to neo-Liberalist structures), and lastly the strategy of resistance, which has been particularly developed in the undeveloped world for the purpose of implementing coordinated antagonistic action at national and international level. The strategy pursued so far by institutions – above and beyond the legitimate repression of manifestations of violence – has consisted in enacting surface level modifications in their political plans on one hand and in integration through co-opting whenever possible, on the other. The UN has chosen to accept some of the demands made by civil society and to acknowledge the validity of certain anti-Liberalist choices made by numerous NGOs, permitting these latter in this way to increase the gap between transnational institutions and intensify – for example – the contrast between decisions made by NATO and those made by the UN. At any rate, it is clear that the long-term strategy pursued by the counter-forums is to implement real and therefore structural change in the system. In this sense, it is well worth analyzing certain aspects of the document issued by the Assembly of Young People’s UN in Perugia, Italy, in September 1995. Firstly, it is clear that the alter-global movement wishes to convey all transnational institutions into the United Nations system, and that member nations must abandon thinking in terms of national security as the first step towards real disarmament (and the conversion of national military institutions in an international police force under the authority or command of the United Nations). It also emerges that nations must create an unarmed, non-violent force in replacement of today’s military, and lastly, that education in peace and human rights must be initiated in public schools and training institutes. The considerations made in the Tavola della pace (The Peace Table) in the Documents of the Assembly of the People’s UN drafted in Perugia between 1995 and 1999 are particularly interesting. First of all, the authors of this document express the need to bring institutions like the World Monetary Fund and the World Bank under the control of the United Nations; they also expound the concept that member nations must abandon thinking in terms of national security once and for all; thirdly – and consequently – the pacifism theorized in the document implies disarmament, the cessation of the international arms trade, the conversion of national military institutions in an international police force under the authority or command of the United Nations, and above all the creation of an unarmed, non-violent force in gradual replacement of today’s military. In light of these proposals, the refusal of the document’s authors to legitimize rightful warfare or interference on humanitarian grounds is clearly evident; on the other hand, the authors express the need to internationalize penal law through international courts, to condemn neo-Liberalism, and above all, emphasize the determinant role that must be played by organizations coming from civil society if a positive change is to be made, organizations that play – and can play – a determinant role in the establishment of world peace, a fair economy enhanced by solidarity, the promotion of human rights and democracy. Equally significant is the idea of education that emerges clearly from the document: the authors of the Tavola della pace also emphasize the need to promote education in the principles of world peace, human rights, and non-violence in the curricula of public schools. These proposals formulated at the Tavola della pace are democratic in nature but a more careful reading – especially one capable of identifying the operative implications of these proposals – clearly reveals their substantially antagonistic nature, and therefore one of radical rupture with the existing order. The proposals that the Tavola della Pace intends to achieve are as follows: first of all the dismantling of international trade organizations and the gaining of access to the nerve centers of transnational power by first gaining credit at the institutional level at UN level, the substitution of existing institutions for the purpose of planning an international policy and economics completely opposed to the one in existence. Secondly, the Tavola della pace aims at the elimination of the existing national and transnational military institutions and their substitution with non-violent armed force. The unswerving and radical rejection of neo-Liberalism – the third aspect – induces the document’s authors to identify in fair trade and solidarity organizations – such as alternative banks such as the ethical or sustainable banks – the only feasible alternatives capable of dismantling the current commercial organizations founded on the principle of mere capitalistic profit. Lastly, the fourth aspect, the emphasis posed on educating young people in the principles of peace at school and university level, really aims at systematic psychological warfare through widespread disinformation to induce them to reject the legitimacy of military institutions, which are portrayed only as illegitimate and immoral institutions. In short, the program formulated by the Tavola della pace is to every effect a political program – and one wide in scope, to be sure – that aims at taking power – even with the use of non-violent instruments (and therefore rejecting the traditional techniques or military overthrow, terrorism or guerilla warfare) and replacing the existing military and economic institutions with others controlled by delegates from lay and religious organizations of pacifist and alter-globalization origin.

Bibliography

Cap. CC Alfonso Montagnese, Impatto dei Social media sulla sicurezza nazionale, OSN, 2011

Lorenzo Mosca e Christian Vaccari, Nuovi media, nuova politica? Partecipazione e mobilitazione on-line da MoveOn al movimento 5 stelle, Franco Angeli, 2011

Mario Pianta, Globalizzazione dal basso. Economia mondiale e movimenti sociali, Il Manifesto Libri, 2001

Donatella della Porta e Lorenzo Mosca, Globalizzazione e movimenti sociali, Il Manifesto Libri, 2003

Umberto Rapetto-Roberto Di Nunzio, Le nuove guerre, Bur, 2001

Francesca Veltri, La rete in movimento. Telematica e protesta globale, Rubbettino, 2005

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Where does allegiance lie?

Bob Budahl

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Dongfan “Greg” Chung who is a native of China and a naturalized U.S. Citizen had “secret” security clearance while working with Rockwell and Boeing Corporations on the Space Shuttle project. He had retired in 2002 but returned a year later as a contractor until fall 2006. The government proved Chung committed espionage by taking and concealing Boeing secrets regarding the Delta IV rocket and also the Space Shuttle. He did this for the People’s Republic of China. He was convicted on charges of acting as an agent of the PRC as well as economic espionage.

The investigation of a different engineer working within the U.S is what led to Chung’s investigation and resulting conviction. He was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.

The Chinese had sent letters requesting information as far back as 1979. In correspondence with the PRC Chung expressed his wishes to help the PRC modernize. He also sent 24 manuals related to the important B-1 Bomberfrom Rockwell Corporation which was very damaging.

Travel trips to the People’s Republic of China occurred on multiple occasions to lecture but he also met with government officials. In letters from his handlers they use his wife Rebecca and Chi Mak to transmit information. In the fall of 2006 FBI and NASA agents searched his home and discovered more than 250,000 documents from Boeing, Rockwell and others which were secret.

The Shuttle Drawing System or “SDS” that Rockwell and Boeing engineers created held information regarding performing processes regarding the Space Shuttle. The engineers need a password and authorization to be able to access this system and files. This is a clear case that defensive counterintelligence measures could have prevented printing, concealment and removal of documents from the workplace. One great example of offensive counterespionage was the search of Chung’s trash which led to much revealing evidence.Also his extensive travel to the PRC was an indicator that his scope of activities while in the PRC were above speaking engagements, seminars, teaching, personal. The authorities did conduct offensive counterintelligence to the best of their abilities once it learned via the other agent implicated in similar dealings with the PRC.

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Hacking of the Newswires connected with Trading: A refresher for the business community

Bob Budahl

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This case I am touching on is regarding Leonid Momotok in which he and other traders used insider trading information from not yet released press releases to amass windfalls in illegal trading. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in his role to hack into three business newswires and obtain through theft the information related to finance that enabled illegal trading advantages. Their trades resulted in at least $30million in illegal profits. He pleaded guilty and faced up to 20 years in prison, restitution, a fine and criminal forfeiture.

The crux of the enabling operation to obtain an illegal advantage was gained through computer hackers in Ukraine who gained intrusion into Marketwired L.P, PR Newswire Association LLC (PRN) and Business Wire (Newswire Companies).Marketwired is owned by NASDAQ Inc., Business Wire is part of the billionaire Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and PR Newswire is a Cision unit. The hackers used cyber-attack methods to obtain entry into the Newswire Companies’ networks. Once in, they stole upcoming press announcements about earnings, gross margins, confidential and material financial information and revenue information. They even sent messages regarding their activities. They went on to state they had gained access to the log-on to 15 wire business employees. While the traders made lists of what information they wanted, the hackers provided instructions on how to access and use the overseas server networks. And by having insider information before the public release the traders capitalized by placing trades prior to release date of the press releases. Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, Panera Bread, Home Depot and others were some of those affected regarding nonpublic information. The hackers received a percentage of the profits and received it through shell corporations.       

The Dubovoy Group defendants tried to avoid detection by spreading their trading to more than 10 brokers firms in various names, etc. They helped each other with the activities as much as able. They stole over 100,000 unpublished press releases. Leonid Momotok owned 1% interest in two of Arkadiy Dubovoy’s companies.“He advised Arkadiy Dubovoy how to trade using the stolen information, and he had formal trading authority for brokerage accounts used in the scheme but held in the name of other members of the Dubovoy Group, …p 12.’

Involvement in the apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators included many government agencies. The President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force had a leading hand in the pursuit and prosecution.

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9-11 Terrorist Attack: Defensive countermeasures of deter and detect

Bob Budahl

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On September 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. an airliner slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:03 a.m. a 2nd airliner slammed into the South Tower. The planes carried thousands of gallons of jet-fuel aboard in effect making them lethal weapons. Tens of thousands of people worked in these buildings daily and both buildings fell to the ground within 90 minutes. More than 2,600 people died in the World Trade Center tower attacks. Then at 9:37 a.m. a 3rd airliner rammed into the western side of the Pentagon. 125 people died in the Pentagon attack. And a 4thairliner was intended for attack in either the U.S. Capitol or White House but the heroics of passengers crashed the plane, hence thwarting the attack. A total of 256 people died in the four planes. The death toll even surpassed the Pearl Harbor attacks of 1941.

Those responsible for the horrific attack were 19 Arabs carrying out Islamist extremists plans. Their headquarters were located in Afghanistan. They were resourceful and some had lived in the United States for some time and four of them had trained to be pilots. They were not well educated. They carried out the terrible attacks with knives, cutters, mace, etc. And they had tried to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993 but failed however in the result killed six people and wounded a thousand. It was an effort led by Ramzi Yousef. Others including Omar Abdel Rahman who had plans to blow up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and other New York City landmarks, but they were arrested. Ramzi Yousef and others had various other terror plans of which some succeeded and some fortunately did not.

Bin Ladin was known and thought to be a financier but not thought of as a terrorist leader until later. In 1998 Bin Ladin and four others issued a fatwa in which it was publicly declaring it was God’s order that Muslims should try to kill any American they could. Bin Ladin was a wealthy Saudi and had conducted jihadist activities against the Soviet Union. But he also held grievances against the United States such as a U.S. troop presence in Saudi Arabia. He recruited and trained followers in Afghanistan and continued carrying out acts of terror, including on the United States. His people attacked embassies, hotels, and even attempted to sink the USS Cole Navy Ship by a terrorist attack. His rhetoric is derived from Islam, history and the economic and political disorder in the area. He formed an alliance between the al Qaeda group he led and the Taliban. The Clinton administration had tried cruise missile strikes against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and tried to get the Taliban to force Bin Ladin to leave Afghanistan. The U.S. unsuccessfully utilized CIA paid foreign agents to try to capture or kill Bin Ladin and his group.

As early as 1998 or 1999 Bin Ladin had been contacted by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with an idea of using the planes as a method of attacking the World Trade Center and other targets. The original plans were for 10 planes to target both east and west coasts of the United States. The CIA did uncover some reports of Bin Ladin’s intent on attacks. The U.S. continued its disruption attempts globally and also utilized diplomacy with countries. The “predator drone” was eventually fitted with a missile should an attack on Bin Ladin provide an opportunity. Some of the reasons and connections to the actions of the perpetrators of the planned 9-11 terrorist attack became apparent after the attack. Unrest had come to the surface in the time before the attack as the Taliban leader opposed attacking the United States, in contrast to Bin Ladin’s wishes.

On 9/11 the terrorists were successful in hijacking the four planes. The planes were being used as terrorist weapons and confusion was present with air control. But eventually the FAA and NORAD who controlled airspace did receive a “shoot down order” but it was after the plane in Pennsylvania had been forced down by passengers in the only way to stop the plane from being used as a weapon.      

The enactment of the United States “Patriot Act” removed barriers that had impeded terrorism investigations in their outlay, scope and means. And in effect sped up the investigation and prosecution of the defendants. The FBI was point on the investigation that followed the attack and the operation was named Operation PENTTBOM. At one time more than half of the FBI’s personnel worked on the case. They followed through on more than one-half million leads. It was the largest crime scene in the FBI’s history.  Also in the time period following the 9/11 attack the Department of Homeland Security was created in March 2003, which brought together 22 separate agencies and offices into a Cabinet level department. The 9/11 Commission had made several recommendations and in this report some details are brought forward. These would be included under the defensive counterintelligence support mode of operation and include the principles of deter and detect within the countermeasures. It included recognizing 72 fusion centers throughout the country which acts as a focal point for receipt, analysis and sharing of threat related information. Also establishing related training and informational programs to deal with threats. One such example is the National Terrorism Advisory System. And the DHS developed and implemented a risk-based transportation security strategy. An action taken such as strengthening airline passenger’s pre-screening and targeting terrorist travel will deter terrorists as they become aware of increased security measures and thwart terrorists from attempting to board airlines for terrorist activities. The airliner’s cabin cockpit doors have been hardened post-911 and Air Marshalls are used appropriately as well as some flight crew being eligible to carry firearms. The TSA behavior detection officers use non-intrusive behavior observation to identify people who may be high risk. The TSA also utilizes detection methods such as canine teams to sniff for explosives on passengers and in luggage. Post 9/11 all cargo on U.S. planes is screened commensurate with their checked luggage. The flights coming into the U.S. from foreign countries are required to provide information prior to departure and checks all passengers against watch lists the government utilizes such as the Secure Flight Program. It also increases efficiency by allowing those cross-checked with biometrics to have expedited travel.

Today a significant defensive countermeasure post-911 is that airlines now screen all checked and carry-on baggage for explosives. The U.S. has increased security of U.S. borders and identification documents. Certain areas are closely watched and critical security improvements along the Northern and maritime are emplaced. The Dept. Of Homeland Security has taken aggressive action to enhance the security of the nation’s infrastructure and also cyber infrastructure and networks. There in a federal government system cyber intrusion detection system which includes EINSTEIN and the National Cybersecurity and communications integration center is the nation’s hub for organizing cyber response efforts. DHS and DOD are working together to protect against threats to military and civilian computer systems and networks. This is another example of defensive countermeasures. DNDO is affiliated with nuclear detection and back in 2003 only 68% of arriving trucks and passenger vehicles were scanned along the northern border with no system on the southwest border. But today the systems scan 100% of all containerized cargo and personal vehicles arriving in the U.S. through land port of entries and up to 99% of sea containers. Counter-proliferation of nuclear and biological threats is a high priority of the DHS. The tragic occurrence of 9-11 has brought about real focus on the danger of leaving vulnerabilities open to exploitation. The DHS also has importantly increased efforts to track and disrupt terrorist financing through programs such as ECTF or Electronic Crimes Task Force.

Another action taken post-9/11 was the creation of the National Counterterrorism Center or NCTC which was to serve 5 functions which were; Threat Analysis, Identity Management, Information sharing, Strategic Operational Planning and National Intelligence Management.

The U.S. Department of Justice charged ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI with numerous terrorism charges and indicates others involved in the terrorist acts. The United States Department of Defense obtained a video tape of Bin Ladin basically accepting responsibility of the 9-11 attacks and the DOD has a transcript of the video and a portion I will quote is as follows. UBL refers to Osama Bin Ladin: “UBL: The brothers, who conducted the operation, all they knew was that they have a martyrdom operation and we asked each of them to go to America but they didn’t know anything about the operation, not even one letter.  But they were trained and we did not reveal the operation to them until they are there and just before they boarded the planes.UBL: (…inaudible…) then he said: Those who were trained to fly didn’t know the others.”

Bin Ladin, America’s most wanted terrorist was killed by United States Special Forces in a compound in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. The CIA had been involved in investigating Bin Ladin for years.      

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