First it was airports. Then it was bus and train stations. Now, under the Transportation Security Administration’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program, even the highways aren’t safe from the TSA’s prying eyes and probing fingers.
“Tennessee is now the first state ever to work with the TSA to deploy a simultaneous counterterrorism operation statewide,” according to Nashville’s WTVF-TV. That operation, which involved the TSA along with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDSHS) and state and local police, was deployed at “five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state,” the station reports.
It was a two-pronged approach, the report adds. Government agents were “recruiting truck drivers … into the First Observer Highway Security Program to say something if they see something.” At the same time, “the Tennessee Highway Patrol checked trucks with drug and bomb sniffing dogs during random inspections.”
One might expect the searches to make recruiting more difficult; but at least one truck driver, Rudy Gonzales, seemed willing to assist the TSA just the same. He told WTVF reporter Adam Ghassemi: “Not only truck drivers, but cars, everybody should be aware of what’s going on, on the road.”
A historic and highly controversial prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has Middle East observers predicting a fresh wave of violence and attacks against the Jewish nation. On October 18, Israel freed 477 Palestinians it had captured over the past 30 years in the ongoing conflict over land claimed by Israel since the famed 1967 Six-Day War. Its reported prize in return for the prisoners — along with the promised release of several hundred more over the next year — was one lone Israeli soldier, 25-year-old Gilad Shalit (pictured at left), who had been held by Hamas since his capture more than five years ago.
Shalit, reportedly the only Israeli soldier released by Hamas in some 26 years, said that he always believed he would be freed one day, adding that he was happy for the Palestinians to be released “if they don’t return to fight us. I very much hope that this deal will advance peace.”
Such a hope appears to be futile. As the hundreds of terrorists and others were freed, many expressed their eagerness to be cycled back into the terrorist attacks for which their parent organization is well known. “As long as there is going to be occupation over all of Palestine, martyrs will be there to resist and to fight, and I will be among the first of the strugglers,” Wafa al-Bis, one of the freed prisoners, told the UK’s Daily Telegraph. The 27-year-old young woman was captured in 2005 as she was on her way to an Israeli hospital to detonate 22 pounds of explosives hidden on her body. “This is an honorable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could,” she proclaimed.
Former Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed by militia groups during a battle to take the loyalist stronghold city of Sirte, National Transitional Council (NTC) officials announced on Thursday. His bloody body was then reportedly dragged through the streets.
Conflicting accounts of what may have happened flooded the press in the early hours of October 20. Most reports suggested, however, that a convoy carrying a fleeing Gadhafi and his top aides was bombed by NATO war planes after revolutionary forces overran most of Sirte.
Citing a variety of rebel fighters and war correspondents, some accounts claimed the tyrant had been wounded but captured alive. Other narratives said Gadhafi died from injuries sustained during a battle. And a few reports even suggested he was alive and well, though several videos would appear to contradict the notion.
Footage posted online showed revolutionary fighters shooting bullets into the air and celebrating as a man resembling Gadhafi lay lifeless and covered in blood. Chants of "Allah akbar" reportedly erupted among revolutionary fighters across Libya.
Texas Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is no stranger to controversy. Perry’s record as Governor is marred by numerous instances of increased taxation, lackluster job growth, and fiscal impropriety and outright corruption, all tied together by a common ethos of fiscal liberalism, Keynesian economics, and statism, a desire for increased governmental power. While Perry’s economic record and association with the Bilderberg Group ought to be of legitimate concern to true conservatives, another aspect of Perry’s record must also be scrutinized: his associations with the Islamist Aga Khan Foundation, which has been linked to incendiary anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric and has been identified as a source of funding to numerous terror groups.
In June 2006, Hamas terrorists tunneled into Israel from the Gaza strip, surprised an Israeli tank crew, killed two of its soldiers, and took a third soldier, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, prisoner. It was simply a case of deliberate kipnapping since this was not a combat situation. Shalit was taken back into Gaza and held incommunicado for five years, until Tuesday, October 18, 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. It was Egyptian mediation which made the exchange possible.
Most of the Palestinian prisoners were terrorists guilty of multiple murders of innocent Israelis. Yet, Israel was willing to release them in order to get Gilad Shalit back to his family in Israel. Was this a wise deal or an act of stupidity on the part of Netanyahu’s government? Some see it as a sign of Israel’s strength that it could agree to such an exchange. They think that it might even bring the parties closer to a peace settlement. What could be a better good-will gesture for peace than releasing all of these prisoners?
There has been a growing push from Americans, particularly those along the Mexican border, for the federal government to label the Mexican drug cartels as terrorists. On Thursday, the State Department indicated that the actions of the cartels are consistent with those considered to be “terrorism or insurgency.”
“I do acknowledge that many of the facts on the ground, the things that are being done by those organizations, are consistent with what we would call either terrorism or insurgency in other countries,” William Brownfield told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. The statement by Brownfield, who serves as the Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, came in response to the following question posed by Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) of the Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere subcommittee:
When news broke yesterday that United States intelligence agencies thwarted an Iranian government-sponsored assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador, the blogosphere immediately lapsed into a frenzy sifting through the information released by the Justice Department. A number of experts have come forward questioning the data provided by the federal government, suspicious that there might be some underlying intent at play.
According to the Justice Department, Manssor Arbabsia and Gholam Shakuri conspired to murder Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the United States. Targets included Israel’s embassy in Washington, as well as those of Israel and Saudi Arabia in Argentina. The Justice Department claims that the Qods Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was involved in the plot, as well as a member of a Mexican drug cartel, who turned out to be an informant of the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Likewise, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the plot “was directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government. High-up officials in those agencies, which is an integral part of the Iranian government, were responsible.”
On Wednesday, the trial of former Soviet military officer and arms dealer Viktor Bout, 45, opened in the U.S. district court in Manhattan with a strong assertions from Assistant Attorney Brendan McGuire.
“One hundred surface to air missiles, 20,000 machine guns, 20,000 grenades, 740 mortars, 350 sniper rifles, 10 million rounds of ammunition and five tons of C-4 explosives,” McGuire told the jury in his opening statement. “Viktor Bout wanted to provide all of it to a foreign terrorist organization he believed wanted to kill Americans. He had the experience to do it, he had the expertise to do it, he had the will do it. He wanted to do it.” McGuire asked the court, “Why — for the money?”
According to Viktor Bout’s own words, as recounted by the undercover DEA agent responsible for Bout’s capture, Louis Milione, in a television interview on the CBS show 60 Minutes, prior to his arrest Bout told Milione that he would be able to supply "anti-personnel mines. Fragmentation grenades. Armor-piercing rockets. Money laundering services. And all within the context of speaking about a shared ideology of communism and fighting against the Americans.” (Emphasis added.)
Breaking news yesterday revealed that U.S. law enforcement officials thwarted a plot to kill Adel A. Al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the story as it went viral. According to the FBI and DEA, the plot, allegedly backed by the Iranian government, was to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States in a conspiracy involving a secret Iranian military unit and a citizen of the Islamic republic with a U.S. passport.
Holder reported that the plan “was directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government. High-up officials in those agencies, which is an integral part of the Iranian government, were responsible.” He added, “In addition to holding these individual conspirators accountable for their alleged role in this plot, the United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions.”