Friday, December 31, 2004

Will Islamists try to exploit tsunami disaster?

With warring factions in Sri Lanka momentarily putting aside their differences to deliver relief to tsunami victims, one would hope that the Islamists would do the same.

It isn't enough simply to hope, though, so the US and its aid coalition partners must keep an eye on the Saudi Red Crescent and other relief groups run by Wahhabis and other Islamic extremists.

One shouldn't be surprised that the United States is already being blamed for the disaster. US-generated global warming unleashed the killer quake, some say. Others accuse the US of engineering the seismic shock to destroy Islamist movements in Thailand and Indonesia, which happens to be the world's largest Muslim country.

We shouldn't laugh off these idiotic conspiracy theories. The people who spread them are serious. A good propagandist on the Islamist side would spin these theories for all they're worth - knowing full well that Washington still hasn't the spleen to wage a decent public diplomacy campaign, let alone a political warfare operation, in its own defense.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Wanted: A warm and cuddly defense secretary

After 9/11, most Americans wanted the toughest, gutsiest man possible running the Pentagon, and they found it all in Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Even the weenies applauded America's made-for-TV hero. The secretary's televised wartime news conferences, which a media wag nicknamed "The Rummy Show," was a smash hit. Millions of Americans tuned in to C-SPAN and any other cable channel that carried the live sparrings between Rumsfeld and the press.

When Rumsfeld was riding high - in the historic invasion, liberation, and democratization of Afghanistan; the unheard-of push into Baghdad that smashed military record upon military record; and the mean slog through the transformation of a reluctant Pentagon bureaucracy - everybody seemed to be on his side.

Now that the going is almost as tough as President Bush and Rumsfeld himself warned about from the start, and with the unpleasant surprises that are inevitable in every military conflict, some of the cheerleaders are not so tough.

Some have let themselves become demoralized by the terrorist attacks on our forces in Iraq. Some have let themselves unwittingly advance the terrorists' propaganda strategy of defeatism.
With the public now accustomed to the war, it's becoming its old, soft, picky self. Much of the public - led not just by limp-wrists in the journalistic profession or on the political Left, but even in the Republican Party - don't want a nasty, tough Pentagon chief whose unabashed goal is to slay the terrorist enemy by the thousands.

They want a defense secretary who's more "sensitive" and "caring" than the autopen-wielding Rumsfeld. Now, on the eve of 2005, they want their Pentagon leader to be warm and fuzzy and cuddly in time of war against the terrorists.

No wonder we make such a soft target. No wonder the terrorists in Iraq are escalating their bombing attacks on our troops and on the Iraqi people.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"Dear Comandante" signer to take US intelligence post?

Among the names of potential National Intelligence Directors being sent up as trial balloons: a former congressman who signed the notorious "Dear Comandante" letter to Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega.

Lee Hamilton, the former Indiana congressman who served as the Democrat co-chair of the congressionally-mandated 9/11 Comission, is being floated as a possible co-National Intelligence Director under the new intelligence reform law.

Hamilton is absolutely the wrong person for the job. His public record is one of consistently poor judgments that, if enacted, would have had the unintended effect of keeping the Soviet empire in power. He tried to tie the Reagan Administration's hands in the war against Soviet-sponsored terrorism in the 1980s.

Nicaragua was a battleground of international terrorism in the Americas when the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) ruled the impoverished country. President Reagan and a majority in Congress backed funding for the Nicaraguan Democratic Force and other resistance groups. Hamilton was one of the minority who opposed it.

His opposition was so extreme that he was one of the signers of the infamous "Dear Comandante" letter to Ortega of March 20, 1984.

Hamilton was among 10 signers, all Democrats, who told Ortega that he was sorry that US-Nicaraguan relations were so bad under Reagan, and that he remained opposed to US support for military action directed against the people or government of Nicaragua."

After criticizing his own government, Hamilton praised Ortega's Marxist-Leninist regime: "We want to commend you and the members of your government for taking steps to open up the political process in your country."

Hamilton and the others said, "We support your decision to schedule elections this year, to reduce press censorship, and to allow greater freedom of assembly for political parties. Finally, we recognize that you have taken these steps in the midst of ongoing military hostilities on the borders of Nicaragua."

The signers did not call for elimination of press censorship. They did not ask Ortega to guarantee freedom of assembly. Instead, they tacitly blamed the US government for the "military hostilities," in reference to US support for the Nicaraguan resistance.

To Hamilton and the others, Daniel Ortega and his Soviet-backed regime were not the problem. Ronald Reagan was. The congressmen told Ortega that if the Sandinistas took their advice, "those responsible for supporting violence against your government . . . would have far greater difficulty winning support for their policies than they do today."

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Dutch Cold War operation a model for fighting Islamists

A brilliant Cold War intelligence operation run by the Netherlands offers a blueprint for a new method of strategic warfare against Islamist extremists.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of the Netherlands (MPLN) was for 25 years a phony organization run by Dutch intelligence to penetrate "militant Marxist subculture" and infiltrate the People's Republic of China.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian, the MPLN attracted Dutch extremists and was so successful that Chinese intelligence gave its leader, Peter Boevé (aka Chris Petersen), clandestine funds to finance a Maoist newspaper that was secretly edited by the Dutch intelligence service.

"Petersen" had been a Dutch intelligence agent since 1955, when he infiltrated a Soviet-sponsored world student congress in Moscow. He set up the MPLN in 1969. The party central committee was "stacked with secret agents" and gave the impression it had a large underground cadre organized among clandestine and disparate cells. This attracted real extremists to join.

"The whole thing was a hoax, set up by the secret services to learn all they could about what was going on in Marxist Peking," the former MPLN head told the Guardian. "Petersen" was so credible that he was received personally by Mao Tse-tung and Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha.

"We took everybody in," Boevé/"Petersen" said. "As far as I know, the MLPN was the only wholly fake radical party to have existed, and certainly the only one to have really worked. We passed inside information on every Maoist policy nuance to all the western intelligence forces. It was a wonderful adventure."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "the fake party helped the Dutch secret police divide Holland's legitimate [sic] Communist movement, keep tabs on Maoist groups and gain access to China's elite." MPLN leader "Petersen," the WSJ reports, "issued regular communiques - all drafted by [Dutch intelligence] - denouncing real Communists as sellouts and urging voters to reject them."

This is exactly the type of operation the US and its allies - no doubt the Dutch - should be running against Islamists.

As he cleans up and reorganizes the US intelligence apparatus, CIA Director Porter Goss should establish an entire permanent office devoted to running such operations.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Canada's opposition to US not as militant as it looks

Televised images of Canadian hordes denouncing President Bush, the United States and the war on terror provide a distorted image of the political differences Canada presently have with the U.S.

Clearly, most Canadians oppose US actions in the Iraqi front of the war on international terrorism (they supported the US in Afghanistan), but the made-for-TV protests from Vancouver to Halifax show not only a militant fringe, but a poor turnout as well.

Though organizers said 20,000 demonstrators converged on Ottawa, the press reported only 5,000 actually showed up - an indication that despite their differences, almost no Canadians even bothered to show up to protest the visiting American president.

Many of the demonstrators came in by bus from other cities and possibly from the US.

In the Canadian capital, protesters were as upset with Bush's opposition to homosexual "marriage" as they were with Iraq. They included an organizer of the Young Communist League, according to the Ottawa Citizen, who had brought in demonstrators by bus from Toronto to protest Canada joining a US missile defense system.

TV coverage in several cities showed many protesters wearing Muslim headgear - not representative of the Canadian mainstream - and that most of the protesters' pre-printed signs bore the name of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).

The SWP isn't a Canadian group at all. It does not appear on lists of Canada's registered or unregistered parties. It is a Trotskyite organization based in the UK, Ireland, Australia and the United States. The posters shown on CNN and Fox News were of the same design and font as SWP posters at US protests.

Were the "Canadian" demonstrators another American export?