Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: HiJinx; backhoe; KylaStarr; flutters; TheLion; Palladin; JellyJam; TigerLikesRooster; ...

PING to New Thread...

Unclear and present danger
The public is still not fully aware of the gravity of the threat posed by Islamist extremists, Britain's anti-terror supremo tells Patrick Walters

September 23, 2006
BRITAIN'S top counter-terrorist cop has no doubt the nature of the threat has changed dramatically. Peter Clarke, Scotland Yard's 51-year-old head of counter-terrorism, talks with quiet resolution about the challenge of Islamist terrorism and how it has turned British policing upside down.
People often say to Clarke how well placed the British authorities must be to deal with Islamist terror given their long experience of Irish Republican Army killers.

No, he responds emphatically. It's a whole new ball game with no defined rules of engagement or carefully delineated boundaries.

"The current terrorist threat is almost the reverse of all those parameters," Clarke said in Canberra this week.

"What we see is global in origin, global in ambition, global in reach. The networks are loose, they are fluid and they are incredibly resilient," Clarke told a security conference.

Defeating the threat demands a level of resources, including sustained surveillance, unprecedented in modern law enforcement. "Unless you have pace and scale on your side, you will fail to deal with these terrorist conspiracies that we are currently seeing," he stressed.

Clarke tells Inquirer the threat posed by radical Islamists in Britain is growing in scale and complexity. "I think the only sensible conclusion is that it is ... because if you look at the pace of terrorist activity since 9/11, it's clearly unabated and there appears to be a consistency, almost a regularity, in the attack patterns.

"I don't want to sound unnecessarily gloomy, but I don't see many positive signs in terms of it being diminished."

He points out that British authorities have managed to foil four or five attacks in the past 12 months. But the "sad probability" is that another attack will get through at some time.

Clarke brings nearly 30 years of experience to his role as national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism investigations, having joined the Metropolitan Police in 1977 with a law degree from Bristol University.

His postings included a stint in the late 1990s as commander of the royalty and diplomatic protection department, with responsibility for the security of the royal family, before taking on his present job at New Scotland Yard in 2002.

Since 9/11 there has been a four-fold increase in the number of Metropolitan Police officers dedicated to investigating terrorism. In the next few weeks there will be a shake-up as Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch merges with the force's special branch to form a dedicated counter-terrorism command.

"That will be quite a historic change. It's a big move for us to do that," Clarke says. "That will create a single large department as big as many medium-sized police forces in the UK, which will greatly enhance our capabilities."

The Metropolitan Police will co-ordinate other counter-terrorism units across Britain's 43 separate local police forces, building surveillance, intelligence and analytical assets.

Clarke says Britain's experience of Islamist terror, including last year's London bombings and the recently thwarted plot to blow up airliners flying to the US, is driving far-reaching changes in the way police now operate.

It used to be that police would only intervene in the final stages of a terrorist plot, making arrests at or near the point of attack, with the strongest possible weight of evidence to put before a court. However, Clarke says the scale of the threat means "we can no longer afford to wait until that moment".

"It's a complete shift in scale. Mentally we have had to completely change our response in terms of interdiction and intervention to prevent an increased risk to the public."

Clarke says earlier action to pre-empt a mass casualty attack also dictates the need to engage closely with local communities as a key element of counter-terrorism strategy. He believes the British public is still not fully aware of the gravity of the threat posed by Islamist terror groups. This is despite the fact there are now 90 people awaiting trial on terrorism charges.

"We have a whole series of trials which over the coming months and years will unfold in the UK. When that hard evidence is produced the public are able to see what has been planned over the last months and years, that will contribute to their understanding of the threat."

When Metropolitan Police discovered a cache of military training equipment in the Finsbury Park mosque in January 2003, it took three years before the authorities could inform the public of the find because of contempt issues.

"From a law enforcement perspective, the scale of these investigations is simply immense. The level of investigative activity has never been higher," Clarke says.

He acknowledges that the number of people of interest to British authorities looking "right across the span of terrorist activity" is now in the thousands. These included at one end of the spectrum people prepared to mount attacks themselves, and at the other those who might simply facilitate travel or supply forged documentation, or those may one day join the jihadist cause.

"The numbers of people we have to be interested in are in the thousands but I am not saying that we have thousands of people under surveillance or that there are thousands of terrorists in the UK."

International co-operation between law enforcement authorities is critical and transnational intelligence sharing is growing all the time.

"What we are looking at is a global movement that operates across borders. They are extremely mobile. Travel is a key feature of how terrorists are planning and organising themselves."

Clarke says Britain is working closely with Pakistani authorities to better understand the extent of links with British groups, including the 2005 bombers.

The July disruption of a plot to blow up airliners travelling to the US involved the arrest of 17 suspects, of whom 11 have now been charged with conspiracy to murder.

Clarke warns it is vital that the aviation industry examines the implications of the foiled plot for air travel.

The plotters had been planning to smuggle liquid explosives on board several planes.

"I can't go into details about the methodology except to say its very innovative. That will give a clue to the fact that now in response ... new protective measures are required. The methodology is such that there must be an enduring threat to air transport."

So a serious threat to aviation safety remains which has to be addressed?

"Absolutely," comes the reply.,20867,20459724-601,00.html

3 posted on 09/30/2006 10:30:08 AM PDT by DAVEY CROCKETT (John 16:...33In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies ]

To: All

Did He Really Say That?
By: Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital, Inc. -- Posted Thursday, 28 September 2006

In the past two weeks I was treated to two particularly moronic public statements from market experts.

Last week, during an interview on CNBC, Dennis Gartman, editor of the highly regarded Gartman Letter, asserted that the storage currency of choice among drug traffickers, arms dealers, and the Russian Mafia had switched from $100 dollar US bills to €500 Euro notes. Gartman proclaimed the development to be bullish for the U.S. economy and bearish for the Euro zone. Say what?

Gartman’s “logic” was that when the dormant $100 bills sitting in attaché cases, safety deposit boxes, and mattresses returned to America, the additional spending would boost the US economy. Conversely, he asserted, the removal of euros from circulation would hurt the euro-zone economies. Basically, Gartman’s comments boiled down to the belief that economic growth can be created by introducing more money into circulation. Or, more precisely, that inflation creates prosperity.

The reality is that Americans receive a huge subsidy as a result of U.S. currency being stashed away in foreign suitcases. It’s like writing checks that no one cashes. Dollars circulating abroad do not bid up consumer prices at home, which results in Americans having more goods to consume at lower prices. If the hoarded bills were to suddenly return to domestic circulation, the result would not be more growth but only higher prices and interest rates. Alternatively, were those dollars deposited in foreign bank accounts, Americans would be required to pay interest on balances that previously earned nothing.

Any way you slice it, the fact that criminals are moving from dollars to euros is a negative development for an American economy accustomed to the subsidy. In addition, it reveals the diminishing prestige of the dollar and the increasing concerns others have for its reliability as a dependable store of value. Because cash under a mattress earns no interest, the only consideration given is it’s preservation of purchasing power. The fact that criminals increasingly prefer euros to dollars speaks volumes. If only Gartman had the good sense to listen.

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, this week, in response to the first national year-over-year decline in housing prices since 1995, David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors said “We've been anticipating a price correction and now it's here. The price drop has stopped the bleeding for housing sales. We think the housing market has now hit bottom.''

First of all, when did Lereah ever predict a price decline? Isn’t he the same guy who constantly assured us that real estate prices would never fall? That all that would happen to prices is that they would rise more slowly.

Second, what makes him an economist? Is he really employed to give an honest assessment of the future prospects of the housing market and real estate prices? Lereah is no more an economist than Henry Blodget was an analyst. Despite their titles, both were hired to help salesmen move inventory. For Blodget it was internet stocks, and for Lereah it is houses. Realtors cannot convince as many people to over-pay for houses if their own economist forecasts prices to drop. Why this man still gets taken serious by the media is beyond me. Anything he says should either be printed in the classified section or as part of a legitimate display advertisement for realtors.

Finally, what the hell is he talking about? How can he say that the bleeding has stopped, when its barely just begun? It reminds me of the Monty Python skit where the Black Knight claims his severed limb is “just a flesh wound.” Does it seem feasible that the biggest real estate bubble in U.S. history would bottom out after a mere 1.7% price decline? What signs could he possibly see to confirm that the housing market has bottomed? Let’s see, national home prices fell for the first time in 11 years, with 2006 likely to be the first calendar year in 70 where that occurred. Inventories are at record levels and still rising, sales have fallen for five months in a row and are down 12.6% in the past year, foreclosures are surging, builders are offering additional incentives to sell houses, reporting higher cancellation rates, and repeatedly lowering their earnings estimates. Further, over-stretched homeowners are facing a wave of ARM resets beyond their abilities to pay, the economy is headed for a recession and everyone is still expecting a soft-landing. Yep, it sure looks like a bottom to me.

Anecdotally, the house I rented two years ago, and moved out of six months ago, sits vacant, despite its advertised rent being 15% below what I initially leased it for. In addition, when I first rented it in New Canaan, CT there were only about a half dozen single family rentals available there. Now there are over a hundred.

The reality for real estate is that the only visible signs are those confirming the formation of a major top. It’s more likely that Mr. Lereah saw Elvis than a bottom in the housing market. My guess is that we are a very long way from a bottom, and by the time its visible, Lereah will be out of a job.

In the mean time, why not take advantage of the big drop in oil and gas prices. Download my must-read, free report on Canadian Energy Trusts here, and discover the best way to profit from this timely opportunity.

-- Posted Thursday, 28 September 2006

4 posted on 09/30/2006 10:41:10 AM PDT by DAVEY CROCKETT (John 16:...33In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ]

To: All

Russia for equal terms on world uranium market - nuclear chief
MOSCOW, September 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will never tolerate discrimination against its nuclear companies on the world market, Russia's top nuclear official said Thursday.

Russia has been looking to increase its presence on the world nuclear fuel market, but has encountered resistance, particularly from the United States

Closure of U.S. base in Iceland to mark end of an era

Russia accuses new NATO members of illicit arms sales to Georgia

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on Friday accused some new NATO members of illicit arms sales to Georgia, which was embroiled in a fresh dispute with Russia over alleged espionage.

"Some younger members of NATO" were supplying Georgia with arms and ammunition of Soviet production, which is in breach of international arms trade accords, Ivanov told a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council meeting in the Slovenian coastal resort of Portoroz.

Russia may revise Georgia troops plan

© 2006 The Associated Press

TBILISI, Georgia — Russia warned on Friday that its plans to close military bases in Georgia were in doubt and Georgia claimed Russia was moving troops near their shared border, as relations between the countries deteriorated in one of their worst crises since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Tensions between Russia and Georgia, which have increased since pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili came to power in 2003, escalated after the arrest in Georgia on Wednesday of four Russian military officers accused of spying.

Indian student’s killing triggers protests in Russia
Moscow: The brutal killing of an Indian in a suspected racial attack has triggered angry protests by foreign students in the Russian city of St Petersburg, prompting its governor to personally monitor the probe into the murder.

Putin to visit Germany October 10-11 (Part 2)
MOSCOW. Sept 29 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a working visit to Germany on October 10-11 at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's invitation, the presidential press service reported on Friday.

14 posted on 09/30/2006 11:08:42 AM PDT by DAVEY CROCKETT (John 16:...33In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson