Friday, October 28, 2005

Let's stop building terrorist martyr shrines

Simple Christian charity motivates the Americans and British to populate terrorist martyr shrines in Pakistan, but no charity is needed if the act would inspire more terrorists.

The issue here is how the US and UK send dead terrorists to Pakistan for burial. What bureaucrats and others see as the normal, charitable act of sending human remains to the families, the terrorist supporters see as opportunities to create monuments for "martyrs."

This week it was the pieces of one of the July 7 London transit bombers that was brought "back" to the family village of Chhotian Kota (the 22 year-old terrorist was born in Bradford, England) and "buried at an Islamic saint's shrine."

Earlier, the US sent the body of an executed terrorist to Pakistan for burial, allowing radicals to create a media event that sparked anti-American protests.

This must stop.

Bodies of executed prisoners should be buried quietly on prison grounds.

Terrorists who choose to blow themselves up are choosing to turn themselves into garbage on public streets. The act of discarding rubbish is an act of discarding claim to the property, and like all trash left on the ground, a suicide bomber's self-shredded remains become public domain. By choice the suicide bombers blast themselves into bits of sewage fit to be swept down storm drains and devoured by rats and other vermin.

Dead terrorists should be provided the minimum Christian charity of cremation. And if human decency and good form don't prevent authorities from casting the ashes across an Iowa hog farm, officials should at least spread the dirt discreetly and anonymously in a field or at sea, where they will never become a shrine to inspire others.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Texas-sized public diplomacy

Speaking to university students on her image-building trip to Indonesia, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes shared her grasp of world issues:

"My state of Texas is very big," she told the students. "So you can imagine my surprise to learn that your country, Indonesia, is three times bigger than my big state of Texas."

Hughes, the leader of US image-making abroad, then dismissed students' critical questions about US foreign policy. The rector of the school, who sat next to her on stage, said her style created hostility among the students, that she talked like a mouthpiece instead of an ambassador, and that she wasted a great opportunity to have a real discussion, according to the Financial Times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Arrest in Belfast shows North Korea funds 'peace' movement with counterfeit dollars

An arrest in Northern Ireland may shed light on how militant anti-US protests are financed around the world.

The Belfast arrest of Workers Party chief and former IRA man Sean Garland indicates that North Korea may be funding the international peace movement with high-quality counterfeit US $100 bills.

From a legal point of view, Garland is innocent until proven guilty. But from an intelligence perspective, his activities are clear.

Northern Ireland authorities arrested Garland on a US warrant as he was preparing to deliver a keynote address at his party conference. He and six others were indicted October 7.

The case could expose how small extremist groups with no visible means of support have been able to publish weekly newspapers that contain no real advertisements, run websites, coordinate national and international anti-US protests, and finance their leaders' international travel. The main sources of their funding have been a mystery.

The source of Garland's covert counterfeit funding should prompt US investigators to probe the New York-based Workers World Party (WWP), a semi-overtly pro-North Korea fringe group that organizes and staffs the International ANSWER coalition that coordinates "anti-war" protests in the US.

WWP leaders frequently travel to North Korea where they issue anti-US speeches and write articles datelined Pyongyang for their weekly paper and website. Click here for an example. The WWP is secretive about its source of funds. The Garland case, part of a 16-year investigation, might reveal more.

The indictment alleges that Garland and his co-conspirators attempted to shield North Korea's role in the counterfeiting, to make it appear they obtained the fakes in Russia.

Garland denied earlier, similar allegations by Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz as "gross slanders and lies."

This case is something to watch. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the financing of the most militant of the internationally coordinated anti-US movements has been a mystery. The Garland case, and the actions of the WWP and International ANSWER, should be telling in the coming months.