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[] Rick Forno zu Angstmacherei und Illusionen im Antiterror-Kampf,
Hat einiges mit dem weiteren Bereich der PsyOps zu tun - insgesamt ist
es aber vor allem eine gnadenlos gute Analyse der gegenwärtigen
USA-Politik und ihrer selbstgestellten Wahrnehmungsfallen. Richard Forno
ist Gründer des Terrorism Research Center ( und
IT-Sicherheits-Berater in Arlington (da, wo das Pentagon ist). Ein
extrem gut vernetzter und intelligenter Freak, wenn ich meinem
oberflächlichen Eindruck von der InfowarCon trauen kann...

NERF-Based Security: Reassurance Through Illusion, Rhetoric, and

Richard Forno
22 October 2001
(c) 2001 by Author. Permission is granted to quote, reprint or
provided the text is not altered, and appropriate credit is given. The
author has no grudge with the NERF Company.

Summary: An easy-to-read look at various current issues and actions
resulting from September 11th and asking if they are really effective.

With all the hype surrounding the events and aftermath of September 11th
is difficult to separate the reality and 'signal' from the hype,
sensationalism, and 'noise'. We see increased security at buildings and
airports, and hear of threats around each corner - but how much of what
we're seeing is real, and how much is fear-mongering and/or feel-good
security measures designed more to reassure the American public than be
truly effective? Is the United States scrambling helter-skelter to
investigate, prevent, respond, or censor anything that might be remotely
connected to past or potential terrorist actions? How effective are the
proposed 'enhancements' to existing security postures, really?

This article is intended to provide reality-based answers to these
questions, and are probably not what you'll see on television or the
mainstream media. The decision to write this came from the public
to Susan Sontag's recent op-ed column in the New Yorker Magazine. Her
comments - rooted in reality - generated a significant public uproar
had some branding her as 'unpatriotic' - the logic being that anyone who
does not blindly accept and support everything the United States
proposes in
its response to terrorism must be supportive of terrorism. While I am an
American, and patriotic as Yankee Doodle Dandy, I happen to agree with
of her comments, and thus this article was born.

If you're wondering, the title of this article symbolizes the knee-jerk
attempts to 'enhance security' in the United States by overt yet
actions in the public eye, some of which are mentioned below. We all
innocently with NERF's various sponge toys (balls, frisbees, guns,
darts) as children since it was very difficult to hurt someone with
realistic-looking toys. Realistic But Harmless - particularly on the
airlines - we're becoming NERFed against anything that might pose a
through realistic-looking but totally ineffective security measures. (No
offense to the NERF Company, they make some great products, but with
respects, the analogy fits well for this article.)

Anthraxophobia Wrongly Rules News and Our Lives

Since the case of anthrax was reported in Florida, the media -
the 24-hour cable news channels - focused on the story, calling in
after pundit to discuss the bacteria, preventive measures, responses,
the nation's ability to defend against a biological attack. Even now,
later, news 'crawlers' at the bottom of the television screen continue
display statements and sound bites that - while adding nothing
to the story - serve to elevate the public's collective blood pressure
simply because the word "anthrax" appears on the screen. On October
the Associated Press even reported that Northwest Airlines removed
artificial sweetners from its airline food service meals to allay
fears! How far will this lunacy go? Will it soon be illegal to walk down
street eating a powdered doughnut?

This media-driven "Anthraxophobia" and contradicting government actions
sends mixed messages to the American public, and perpetuating public
and misperception about the issue. While the White House presents an
"all is
calm" image, the US House of Representatives adjourned for a long
claiming anthrax security concerns, although the Senate - where there
confirmed anthrax attacks - remained open for legislative business. Does
this sound like a confused government establishment unsure of how to
in today's era of terrorism? A recent New York Times editorial by Tom
Friedman notes that "We have U.S. troops in the field all around
Afghanistan. It can't be easy duty. But the House is running scared.
what the terrorists wanted. The House members should be meeting on the
Capitol steps, popping Cipro if they have to, telling America's troops
America's enemies that nothing - N-O-T-H-I-N-G - will derail our

Anthraxophobia has even forced the Pentagon to shutter its Operation
ABBY service that sends holiday morale messages to troops deployed
Traditionally, letters - not addressed to anyone in particular - are
sent to
the central DEAR ABBY offices and then passed on to troops. As a result
bureaucratic Anthraxophobia, however, the Military Postal Service Agency
simply shut the service down. Did it ever occur to them that it might
been a better compromise to perhaps only accept postcards instead of
envelopes that could contain anthrax? We are starting to see fear
and dictate policy and operational decisions - not educated fear, but
assumption-based knee-jerking that's rooted in anything but facts.

While the casual observer - perhaps those whose only source of 'news' is
from shows like 'Hard Copy' or who receive their news from a single
source -
may be concerned at the potential of an anthrax attack, realists may
have a
far more sinister assessment: given that confirmed anthrax incidents and
anthrax-related scares occurred in isolated areas - Reno, Manhattan,
Madison, and Palm Beach - could it be that an adversary, be it al Qaeda,
Iraq, or a domestic nut case, is simply mailing anthrax and anthrax-like
letters to either cause public paranoia, or (more likely) is sitting
observing how the government, media, and public react and respond to
perceived threat, in advance of a future, more widespread attack?

Nobody seems to be interested that anthrax is a very treatable bug -
after an infection is diagnosed - or that Cipro is not the exclusive
Folks don't realize that it takes more than a few spores to cause
in people. Worse yet, the average person - including television's
heads - does not understand or discuss the concept of drug-resistant
infections. If everyone starts taking antibiotics for any symptom of
illness, over time such practices will not only weaken the protective
of such medicines on the human body, but also reduce the impact of such
drugs on various infectors like anthrax, smallpox, and plague

The panic and paranoia we're currently seeing about anthrax is
compared to what we'd see if smallpox, plague, or any other
more deadly substance was reported. Several specialists I've spoken with
agree that on the ' bioweapons food chain' anthrax is nowhere near the
of deadly weapons. Yet by watching the news, you'd think it was worse
anything else. One confirmed death from anthrax is certainly newsworthy,
does not imply terrorism or justify a round-the-clock news cycle on
thestory. However, one person being diagnosed with smallpox would be
newsworthy and almost certainly terrorism, and nobody's wondering about
on the airwaves.

Osama Most Likely Isn't Sending Encoded Messages to the Networks

Last week, National Security Advisor Condeleeza Rice contacted the major
media outlets and strongly suggested they not broadcast unedited videos
those involved with Osama or Al Qaeda, fearing that such videos might
contain hidden messages to sleeper cells instructing them to execute
additional pre-planned attacks. Historically, this is not a new concept,
it was quite effective during World War II with the Special Operations
Executive (SOE) and the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to
today's CIA) using civilian radio broadcasts to pass coded messages to
maquis (the French underground resistance fighters) instructing them to
carry out pre-planned strikes in advance of the Normandy invasion in

Casual observers may think this is a wise precaution, even if they don't
know the success of this technique during World War II, and agree with
White House's statement that such messages are also propaganda to incite
rank-and-file Muslim population in the United States in support of al
To a certain extent, that's probably true.

Realists, however, seem to agree that such 'encoded messages' are
not a very viable method of communication for our adversaries. It's
known that al Qaeda knows how to communicate securely - without
by the way - to coordinate its cells and plan attacks around the world.
Besides, even if the United States media censors such videos, what
people from seeing the video from satellite television, over the
from international news sources, via telephone, obtaining a transcript,
placing calls to non-Internet (and old fashioned) computer bulletin
systems to access the video or text of the statement?

Crazier still, news executives are most likely not intelligence
professionals trained to look for hidden messages or nuances in such
statements, nor do they have the background information on the situation
much of it from classified sources in the intelligence community -- to
provide specific guidance on what to look for. So, how effective is
really? That being said, if the real reason behind the White House
to censor unedited terrorist videos is a method of quieting propaganda
directed at the United States, why not simply say so? Are they that
concerned that the American people would start believing Osama's
that they must NERF its perceptions of the adversary?

Terrorists are asymmetric and unconventional in their actions, choosing
unorthodox methods of attack. On September 11th, four aircraft were
with the intention of destroying buildings and killing thousands. In
October, there were statements by Osama stating that "storms of
would never defeat his cause. Soon after, an al Qaeda spokesperson
American Muslims "not to board airplanes" or be in skyscrapers "anytime
soon." The news channel 'experts' and government spokesmen were quick to
state these were serious hints that future airline hijackings were
While that's certainly a possibility, given the unconventional nature of
terrorism, perhaps we could interpret these messages as items intended
draw our attention toward airports and airplanes while ships, trains,
busses (for example) are the real targets in a follow-on attack. Nobody
wanting to be successful in battle outlines their exact battle plan or
weapons capabilities for their adversaries. Ask any military historian,
is one of the oldest tactics in the book, not to mention a common one in
boxing - draw your opponent's attention to the left while aiming for the
right. In this case, a terrorist's 'Rope-A-Dope.'

A much more effective method of communicating is through sequential
Perhaps establishing a one-time-use system along the lines of "if you
that a car bomb exploded in Mexico City near Building Y, begin your
particular phase of our operation in 48 hours.." How will the White
prevent this (and other such) forms of communication from signaling
attacks? Again, censoring terrorism messages in the mainstream media may
have some impact, but it's not as foolproof as they, or the public, are
to believe. NERFY Security. Sounds important, but totally ineffective.

Threat Inflation by The Regal Court of W.

After September 11th, anything that could become a terrorist tool was
a possible threat and became the object of close scrutiny by the federal
government. Some of the more memorable items that came under
and analysis as possible terrorist tools included crop-dusters,
material tanker trucks, airplanes, semi-trailers, box cutters, nose-hair
clippers, the Internet, encryption, and barbecue grills. (Well, maybe
barbecue grills, but you get the idea.) A few of these deserve special

The crop-duster 'threat' might give the uninformed observer pause, but
realist would look at Justice claims and shake their heads in disbelief.
Granted, crop-dusters spray chemicals from the air, but what kind of
chemicals do they spray? Insecticides and Pesticides - fancy terms for
substances that kill bugs, infections and germs in plants. Assuming that
adversary doesn't switch tanks or completely clean them out, it's a good
that the residual pesticides would negate part if not all of the
agents intended to attack people via crop-dusters. In addition, experts
the spray orifices (the 'nozzles') used on crop-dusting aircraft are the
wrong size for creating the droplet size necessary for distributing
warfare agents. Further, several of the common biologic agents require
specific environmental conditions to live in - changes in light or
temperature can render such attacks ineffective. Given the highly-fickle
nature of biological weapons, many educated security experts believe
chemical weapons, not biological ones, would be the preferred weapon in
aerial attack.

Given the attention drawn to crop-dusters by the government and media,
adversary wanting to distribute biowar agents could be free to wait for
right weather conditions and simply blow them across an interstate
or river. Wait for a temperate, windy day -- it doesn't even need to be
in a
city or during rush hour. Drivers would likely think it's dust from a
construction project and drive through the dust as they often to, and
give the matter a second thought. Meanwhile, the particles get caught in
vehicle air system and move with the vehicle (and its occupants) to
destination, thus spreading the given bioweapon across a wide area.
Short of
closing all major highways, roadways, and waterways, how would this be

Recently, the White House created the Office of Homeland Security that
includes a mission to guard against the so-called, highly-sensational
concept of "cyber-terrorism" against computer networks. While discussing
this issue is an article in itself, suffice it to say that terrorists
are by
definition low-tech brutes looking to cause the maximum amount of public
fear. Images of smoking craters and high casualties are much more
in generating fear than a darkened computer screen. Being an effective
"information warrior" takes significant technical and analytical
and training, something that the impoverished, uneducated,
twenty-something member of Club Osama or the al Qaeda club does not
While there always ongoing threats to critical networks, and a
of a 'cyber war' many security professionals - at least, the few
realists in
our line of work - deem this as a potential terrorist target very low.
Besides, there are enough inherent problems in many of today's computer
networks and systems that cause them to fail without any outside

Creating another bureaucracy charged with accomplishing what four
government offices tried to do since 1995 doesn't sound promising, and
continuing to draw on the advice and counsel of CEOs (the last people
competent enough to understand the reality and dynamics of the
infrastructure security environment) through yet another Presidential
Advisory Board further demonstrates the government is once again
very conventionally with its response to a very unconventional problem.
know what the problems are - we don't need continued studies, research,
bureaucracy to generate jobs and more paperwork. We need action and
authority to implement effective countermeasures. Unfortunately, the sad
truth is that nobody in charge wants the responsibility to rock the boat
really fix things - thus we continue creating Boards, Councils, and
generating reports. To use a historical analogy, our President Nero is
fiddling while his cyber-infrastructures burn!

Expanded Electronic Surveillance Doesn't Work Against Low-Tech Brutes

In the month after the events of September 11, the Justice Department
FBI received nearly everything it sought to (but could not) get under
Clinton Administration regarding wiretapping, electronic monitoring, and
definitions of terrorism. As a security professional that's worked with
enforcement investigations in the past, while I question some of the new
powers granted federal law enforcement and the rush to get them past
Congress, I'm happy that the FBI finally received its 'roving wiretap'
authority, something they've needed for a long while, something that was
major obstacle to the timely investigation of interstate criminal
(One has to wonder if they scheduled an after-hours champagne party in
FBI's sixth-floor SIOC to quietly mark this historic event.)

Aside from rushing a flawed anti-terrorism bill through Congress (the
discussion of which is a separate article in itself) there were
that those responsible for September 11 used e-mail and instant messages
communicate. Immediately after the attack, there were claims the
hid messages in photos on internet auction site Ebay and used strong
encryption to protect their messages, but these have been
unsubstantiated by
hard, tangible evidence. If so, there is a slim chance that expanding
wiretaps and electronic sniffing of data (e.g., Carnivore) would have
helpful in monitoring such communications. Yet there were renewed calls
restrict strong encryption, a technology policy horse that's not only
the barn, but is already across the meadow....attempting to enact
restrictions under the guise of 'anti-terrorism' is another effort in
futility given how technology works, as evidenced in the mid-1990s. As
said for years, there are any number of ways to communicate - electronic
otherwise -- that totally confounds law enforcement interception and
any 'expanded authority' obsolete. Expanding electronic surveillance
work against such tactics, but presents the appearance of being 'good
anti-terrorism." An example of E-NERFy restrictions and legislation.

The experienced co-authors of an as-yet-unpublished article "Terrorism
and Tomorrow" correctly note that "our new adversaries are diverse and
linked in unfamiliar ways....Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, the Taliban,
and a
loose coalition of criminal actors, guerillas and insurgents now
national security capabilities that were designed to operate within a
nation-state framework. As we're now seeing, outside that framework, our
traditional structures have great difficulties.

America's current adversaries present a significant challenge to our
government and law enforcement organizations so enamored with
high-technology devices and tradecraft that we are grossly unprepared to
handle operations and adversaries in a low-tech environment. As
mentioned, terrorists are low-tech brutes. It's common knowledge (to
VIP visitors at NSA and the public) that Osama stopped using satellite
phones once it was learned that NSA was intercepting his calls. This
begs the question regarding the responsibility of the media and NSA tour
guides in reporting these types of facts in the first place, and how
entities balance national security, public knowledge, and the needs of
organization's ego about its capabilities.

Information Resiliency and Futility of the Government's Self-Imposed Web

Late last week, word got out that the federal government started to
items from their web sites that 'could help' terrorists. William
spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said in an AP
last week that NRC pulled the coordinates of all 103 US nuclear power
from the agency's web site. "In most cases it is common
information...nothing top secret was on the Web site to begin with," he
said. "We just don't want to provide anything that a terrorist might
helpful." The Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety
pulled maps of various domestic pipelines from their web site as well,
the Environmental Protection Agency conducted similar actions on its own
site with regard to chemical plant security.

The casual observer may find this a prudent measure to prevent
from gaining any information that could be used to conduct additional
against the United States, and thus wrongfully assume that once this
information out-of-sight, it is therefore out-of-mind. Unfortunately, I
see this mindset in action in the IT security industry all too
and it does not work. They are attempting to 'nuke' information out of
public eye, but they're only succeeding in NERFing it to another public

The reality is that any information published on the Internet becomes
to be instantly copied and archived by any number of sources aroundthe
world. Further, while the government may restrict pipeline information
coordinates of nuclear plants, it does not take a terrorist mastermind
uber-spy to find the same information via any other traditional
methods, including visiting local libraries, industry associations,
the local phone book, or (dare I say it?) using common sense. A fact of
physics is that while you may be able to remove information about a
plant or pipeline from one site in cyberspace, you can't easily remove
physical presence in real life or everywhere on the Internet - you have
look at the entertainment industry's cartel and its failed attempts to
music file-sharing services to see this exercise in futility. Think
about it
-if someone drives by Turkey Point Nuclear Plant in Florida, they know
it is without having to visit a website, right? Again, only blind
assumes that removing information from a few websites will impact a
terrorist's plans. As mentioned earlier, it's an ineffective and
approach to an effective and low-tech adversary.

I've said repeatedly that terrorists are by definition low-tech brutes.
don't use Joint Directed Air Munitions (JDAM), Joint Stand Off Weapons
(JSOW), or Tomahawk cruise missiles reliant on Global Positioning System
(GPS) coordinates to locate their targets. Being low-tech means that
adversaries have much simpler methods of determining the locations of
targets, and an easier time conducting such attacks. It's a good bet
the hijackers didn't need the GPS coordinates of the World Trade Center
towers in New York on September 11th, and didn't step all over
coordinating radio frequencies, codewords, go/abort signals, and network
adapters. They Keep It Simple.

Despite the government's clampdown on pipeline and power plant
on its federally-owned websites, a few minutes at my local library and
online resulted in information that can be found here. You'll see
examples of information that could be considered 'helpful' to a
terrorist in
planning attacks. Yet this information is also quite useful for the
law-abiding citizens, visitors, and businesses of the United States.
Some of
this information was removed from government websites recently, but most
it is freely available in a variety of formats to the public.

Thus, the realist knows that the government's much-publicized
restriction of
its various web sites does little to impact or prevent an adversary from
obtaining useful targeting information from a variety of sources - both
electronic and traditional - and is the government's inside-the-box
to a non-issue. As we see in the IT security community, information is a
dual-use item, and the mere fact that a given set of facts (or
can be used for evil does notnecessarily follow that it will be used for
evil. The point-and-click convienience may be gone, but the information
exists in a multitude of other formats.

Airport Security as The Screen Door on The Submarine (NERF Security @

Since September 11th, we've seen airport and airline security measures
reviewed and least as far as the public is concerned.
camouflaged and armed National Guardsmen patrolling our airports
the appearance of increased airport security. Prohibiting everything
nail clippers to tweezers, Swiss Army Knives, box cutters, and sewing
needles results in increased pre-board search times at airports, and the
public's perception that security is being strengthened on our
For a firsthand account of the current airport security fallacies -
including bags not being matched to passengers and arriving at a
before their owners - I encourage you to read this missive from a
intelligence professional who's also a close friend. While some security
procedures, such as reinforcing cockpit doors and developing 'auto-land'
capabilities for aircraft will truly increase aircraft safety, some of
other measures - particularly at the airports - are just downright

Recently, an officer friend in the National Guard called and asked if I
noticed anything odd about his fellow Guardsmen posted at the airports I
frequent. I said that nothing looked strange, but that I'd look again
on travel later in the week. Sure enough, a closer, casual observation
revealed that many of the Guardsmen at airports are either unarmed or
apparently instructed to hold their hands strategically over their
(perhaps containing an unloaded or non-existent weapon) to give the
impression they are indeed armed. To the average person, this presents
warm-and-fuzzy illusion of security, but that's just about what it is -
an illusion.

Let's not forget that a pen, house key, a piece of plastic, string,
shoelace, belt, credit cards, and any number of other innocuous everyday
items or trinkets can be made into a weapon, yet can be carried onboard
aircraft, even after the latest security changes. More fundamentally,
with two fists, feet, and teeth - regardless of any martial arts
training -
can endanger passengers or flight crews. Even something as innocuous as
airplane fire extinguisher - a handheld device readily available to all
passengers in an emergency -could be misused as a blunt trauma weapon
onboard an aircraft. Are we going to prevent anyone from using such
under anything but 'approved' circumstances? Who determines what those
circumstances are?

It is important to realize that the items used as weapons to commandeer
aircraft on September 11 were not prohibited by existing federal airport
security guidelines. Anything that can be controlled by a person -
pens, trinkets, guns, knives, and information - can be turned into a
with the proper modification and intent. Incidentially, a six hundred
Danielle Steele hardback novel could be used as a weapon. And what about
blunt force trauma caused by impact from a metallic laptop or
from a power cord or a Walkman's headphones? As if airline food wasn't
enough of a concern for us.

Are we destined to live in a hardened world of safety scissors and
sporks, boarding airplanes in hospital scrubs after being strip-searched
separated from our carry-on bags? Will our flights become extended
of people sitting at a cramped 'attention' in their airborne sardine
staring at the seatbacks in front of them, prohibited from standing,
reading, listening to music, or using anything sharper than a witty
to their seatmates? If this becomes reality - and were' on that course
already - you can bet I'll start driving home for the holidays.

The reality is that these are feel-good, scrunchy, NERFy steps to
the public to fly again by presenting the appearance of increased
Yet, there have been numerous cases of pilots, flight attendants, and
passengers 'testing' these new security requirements and successfully
newly-prohibited objects past security checkpoints since September 11.
fact alone should indicate the nature and state of these vaunted
security measures, and question its true effectiveness.

Terrorists Don't Keep Bankers' Hours (But Those Guarding Our Buildings

There are currently new provisions prohibiting semi-trailers from
driving on
the two major DC roads that flank the Capitol grounds. The casual
will interpret this as increased security to prevent against future
terrorist attacks.

Realists, however, will note that the events of September 11th
one of any number of ways to attack a facility that bypasses street
closings, and something that's been quietly discussed in security
for years. While street closings may reduce the size of vehicles that
pass through it, nothing precludes an explosives-laden SUV or Volkswagen
from wreaking havoc in the area at an opportune moment.

More strikingly, working close to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia,
week after the attacks saw increased police vehicles and military
checking credentials of those driving into garages of military buildings
here. Three weeks after the attacks, there was no sign of military
checking vehicles as they entered was as if the threat to
buildings had magically disappeared. However, after the October 11th FBI
advisory warning that additional attacks were possible, military police
back checking vehicles and patrolling the sidewalks in front of their
buildings during the business day. However, driving by at 7:45 one
I did not see any police or guards checking vehicles, and was able to
into the same garage that was protected by military policeman three
earlier! I've also been in DoD facilities that prohibit entry from any
but the front door during work hours, where staff identification is
- but after 5:00pm, since there are fewer security guards to check
monitor cameras, and make rounds, authorized staff are free to use their
access cards and enter the building from any external door. This is
Feel-Good, Look-Good security in action, plain and simple.

Based on these observations, one assumes that those in charge of
security believe that we're facing an adversary working on a 9-5 40-hour
workweek schedule. Something tells me that an unconventional adversary
doesn't keep bankers hours or regular schedules.

Contrary to Patriotic Rhetoric, America Is Reaping What It Sowed (We
don't want to know or admit it)

Any discussion of Islam would take several pages alone, but suffice it
say that those that understand Islam know it is a religion rooted in
and peace. Those Americans that equate Islam to terrorism, Hezzbola,
bin-Laden, and al Qaeda are ignorant of the reality of Islam, and
interpret these extremists as representatives of the Islamic and Arab
communities, as evidenced in the increased anti-Arab, anti-Islamic
incidents in recent weeks. Nothing could be further from the truth --
is a religion of peace and tolerance; the nut-cases in al Qaeda do not
for the world Islamic community, just as a Christian blowing up an
clinic does not speak for all Christians around the world. In the same
American evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson used religious
overtones to explain and justify the September 11 attacks, but these two
don't represent mainstream Christianity as a whole. As Americans, we
always prided ourselves as a tolerant mixing pot of world cultures and
ideologies, and we should continue being tolerant of our fellow Islamic
Arab citizens and neighbors. Being Islamic or Arab does not indicate a
proclivity for terrorism. Thus endeth my soapbox sermon.

Truth be told, the Taliban have a reason to hate America - as is often
case when America gets involved in foreign nations' conflicts, we tend
pull out once our goals are reached, leaving those we supported to fend
themselves. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in February 1989,
Untied States also withdrew its support of the anti-Soviet mujhadeen,
American interests in the country were reached once the Soviet war
and communism departed. Post-Soviet Afghanistan became one of deep
civil war, estranged elections, and famine....yet because the Soviets
gone, the United States had little interest in helping rebuild the
nation. It is this type of foreign policy that generates anti-American
sentiment and support for al Qaeda. It may also be justifying our
humanitarian relief mission in Afghanistan as a way for the United
States to
relieve its guilt at 'abandoning' the Afghans in 1989. If we do not
from our history, we're potentially doomed to not only repeat it, but
endangered by it, as we are today.

Club Osama, on the other hand, is filled with individuals possessing
education and exposure to (and perhaps are jealous of) the international
standards of conduct and society. Nearly all of what they know comes
cave-borne propaganda and religious brainwashing. Simply put, their goal
to return the Arab world to the strict medieval Islamic culture of the
Century, using the world's oil interests in Saudi Arabia and the
presence of
Israel as a cassus belli for an Islamic holy war with the intentions of
freeing Saudi Arabia's religious lands from so-called "Western invaders"
restoring the Palestinean State where Israel currently sits. Club
radical, tyrannical view uses a very warped interpretation of the Koran
strive toward an isolationist Islamic world where religion is the
law, women serve as disposable walking wombs (incidentally, female US
soldiers in Saudi Arabia really angers Osama) and anything non-Islamic
inherently evil and must be destroyed.

The concept of a holy war (a jihad) in the Club Osama Brochure does not
refer to the quest by Muslim individuals to lead a wholesome life
to their religion, but to use any means necessary to defend the Islamic
culture against the declared Evil De Jour. Unfortunately, the word
has been in frequent use in the Western press over the past decade or
explained directly or subtlety, to mean an Islamic 'holy war.' (As a
of fact, the term 'holy war' was coined in Europe during the Crusades,
referring to the many wars waged against Muslims by European invaders in
Middle Ages.) Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions
certainly not against Christians and Jews as some media and political
circles want it to be perceived. Islam does not fight other religions.
Christians and Jews are considered as fellow inheritors of The Abrahamic
traditions by Muslims (historically called "People of The Book") that
worship the same God.

The Koran makes reference to war as a last resort, very much like the
War Ethic of the Catholic Church or international laws. Reading similar
the United Nations Charter, the Koran states that adveraries should
peace between them (the two fighting groups), but if one of the two
in aggression against the other, fight the aggressors until they revert
God's commandment." (49:9) Military action is therefore a subgroup of
Jihad and not its totality, and represents the ultimate scenario when
diplomacy and communications break down between international parties.

We have to acknowledge that nearly all major religions - Islam,
Christianity, and Judiasim, among others - had their lapses in honestly
following the valued ideals of their religions or philosophies. Over the
course of human history, religion has been responsible for more man-made
deaths than any man-made device. This is no reflection on religion, but
shows how desperately humanity is in need of better education, more
concern for human dignity, rights and freedom, tolerance, and vigilant
pursuit of justice, even at the price of curbing political, economic,
ideological, and individual greed.

Unfortunately, as we saw during the 1930s in the Great Depression and
World War I Germany, people that are impoverished, with little direction
life, and not much to live for tend to elect and follow leaders
radical change for their society. This, coupled with religious laws,
customs, and occasional brainwashing, presents a significant adversary
no reservations about dying (and ascending to heaven) for conducting
that their religious beliefs or national loyalties - however warped -
deem a
just cause (Incidentally, Adolph Hitler's campaign slogan in the 1930s
'give me four years and you won't recognize Germany.' A historical
demonstration of the Law of Unintended Consequences.)

What Osama's Real Problem Is (Rick's Patriotic Comedy)

Has anyone else noticed the Freudian picture presented whenever
adversaries (Osama, Omar, and al Qaeda representatives) appear in the
Has anyone seen these individuals without a Kalishnikov rifle slung over
their shoulder, hanging on the wall behind them, next to them on a
or being casually stroked in their lap while they deliver their messages
the world? While the casual outsider would probably interpret this as an
attempt to convey fear in the image on television - I suggest this
demonstrates a high degree of personal insecurity, possibly hinting at
deeper personal issues, perhaps physical limitations or the absence of a
significant, meaningful adolescent experience. Maybe that's what this is
really about, these warped men trying to enhance their manhood in a part
the world that doesn't carry Viagra. After all, everyone has personal


The co-authors of "Terrorism Today and Tomorrow" noted that "the world
today and tomorrow is one dominated by a conflict between those ìwho
and those ìwho have notî. Those with a conflicting cultural or religious
ideology are likely to challenge our superiority according to their
not our rules. Their modus operandi blurs and will continue to blur the
distinctions between crime and war, criminal and civil, combatant and
non-combatant. Their actions will seek to exploit the seams of the
stateís internal and external security structures. These emerging
challengers will embrace unconventional means not amenable to

If we begin to live in constant fear, we allow the adversary to win. The
United States is not the first industrial nation to experience terrorism
home - Israel has lived with assorted Arab-sponsored terrorism since it
became a state in 1948, and the United Kingdom has been victimized by
terrorism for longer than that. We, too, will survive thisÖ.and we will,
provided we keep things in perspective, do our own research, and draw
own conclusions on what the real threats and security measures are,
of taking what is presented by the government and media as undeniable

The wisdom I hope you've gleaned from this article is that contrary to
is presented on the media and enacted as law or new procedures, little
really effective at preventing or adversely impacting future terrorist
activities. This is a different kind of war - not only is it a military
but a psychological one for us at home. We're not as secure or as
as the government would lead us to believe, and there is no clear
against the impact of terrorism except to keep an open mind and continue
normal lives the best we can.

The President is waging a self-declared "war on terrorism" against a
enemy" that modern America is not prepared to face. This article has
however, that much of the defensive posturing in this new war --
at home -- is conventional, traditional, and predictable - and thus
ineffective against an unconventional adversary and philosophy. We would
wise to recall the warning of Edward Luttwak in his 1997 text Strategy:
Logic of War and Peace:  "War, in common with sport, has the
that what worked well yesterday may not work well tomorrow, precisely
because it worked yesterday."

Welcome to tomorrow.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A military intelligence professional's firsthand report on the state of
airport security

A demonstration of what can be gleaned online despite the government's
removal of information from its websites. Anyone with the right
time, and effort could use libraries, phone books, and traditional
methods to obtain this type of targeting information.

"Terrorism Today and Tomorrow" - Currently unpublished article (draft
co-authored by Col. G.I. Wilson, USMCR, Sgt. John P. Sullivan, Los
County Sheriff's Department, and Lt.Col. Hal Kempfer, USMCR.

Thomas Friedman's Op-Ed: "A Tweezer Defense Shield?" appearing in the 19
October 2001 New York Times Foreign Affairs Section. (We've all had a
moment in recent days when we realized the new world we're living in
post-Sept. 11. For me it came at National Airport the other day when,
checking in for the Delta Shuttle to New York, my small overnight bag
searched and the security agent found my tweezers. "I'm sorry," she
"You have to check this...")

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