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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘counter terrorism’

Hecklers Flee Israeli Speaker at U of Florida

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Anat Berko is a small-framed woman known for her ubiquitous yards long braid.  She is also one of the world’s leading counter terrorism experts who has sat in prison cells next to some of the most dangerous serial killers and attempted homicide bombers who ever lived.

A handful of anti-Israel University of Florida students chose the wrong speaker to interrupt.

Berko was at the Gainesville campus on Thursday, Oct. 10, as the guest of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

According to CAMERA fellow Avia Gridi, with approximately 7,000 Jewish students, the University of Florida has the single largest number of Jewish students at any university in the United States.

This is Gridi’s first year as a CAMERA fellow and the “More Hummus, Less Hamas” evening with Berko was her first event.

The Smarter Bomb is Berko’s second book about homicide bombers.  In it she tells the story of the women and children who are induced to attempt to become homicide bombers.  Berko knows the experience of those women well.  She spent decades inside Israeli prisons interviewing the women who failed to martyr themselves either because of a technical malfunction or because the authorities were able to disrupt the plans.

Berko gained the trust of dozens of such women in Israeli cells. Her particular interest in writing The Smarter Bomb was to uncover the motivation of the women and children to attempt to commmit such acts, especially the difference in motivations between women and men.

Having as your laboratory the prison cells of people who attempted to kill – they say “martyr” – themselves in order to murder Israeli men, women and children is not the choice of someone who is easily frightened.  But in addition to being a social scientist, Berko is also a Lieutenant Colonel (Res) in the Israel Defense Forces. That is also not a career choice for people who are easily intimidated. And Berko isn’t.

So eight minutes after Berko began speaking at Pugh Hall last Thursday night, when four students, who had arrived late, suddenly stood up, removed their outer shirts and began chanting accusations, Berko was having none of it.

“Hamas is not the Problem, the Israeli Occupation Is!” and “The IDF kills women and children!” were the slogans drawn on the students shirts, and chanted by the students.

“What is wrong with you?” Berko sharply addressed the four. “Sit down and listen to what I have to say and wait for the question and answer portion of this event to raise your issues!”

But the four students who later identified themselves as members of the seemingly ubiquitous, but certainly infamous, Students for Justice in Palestine were not interested in listening to Berko.  They came to make their own voices heard.

“She seemed disgusted by the display,” Gridi told The Jewish Press.

And then Berko really let them have it.

“You think the IDF kills children? You should go to Syria, where everyone knows they are murdering thousands of children with gas and other cruel weapons!  Go to Syria where there are actually thousands of real refugees. They need you to demonstrate in Syria, go!” Berko lectured the SJP hecklers.

And with that, the hecklers left the room and Berko continued her lecture. The people who came to hear about what could possibly motivate women and children (that’s the “smart bomb” Berko means) to want to kill themselves were able to hear from her first hand observations and watch video clips of many who attempted to be smart bombs.

And the four hecklers? They left the room with their tails between their legs, unable to grab the spotlight for their inane chants, unable to disrupt a carefully prepared evening of education which Gridi and CAMERA’s co-sponsors for the event, the ICC, MEMRI and the Gainesville Hillel put on.

“I’m used to sitting in jail cells with serial killers, did they think I would be intimidated by some American college students?” Berko said in a phone interview on Wednesday evening with The Jewish Press.

When asked about the Berko event, Gridi was both pleased and a bit nonplussed.

“The event went really well, although none of it went as expected.”

Saturday’s Chicago Bar Car Bomb Latest in Ongoing Muslim Attacks on American Targets

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Adel Daoud, an 18 year-old from the leafy Chicago neighbourhood of Hillside was charged on Saturday with crimes arising from terrorism after months of surveillance by undercover federal agents.

Thinking that he had loaded a car bomb into the Jeep Cherokee that he was driving, he parked it outside a bar in downtown Chicago and walked away into an alley after doing everything he thought necessary for it to detonate. Safely distant, he then pressed the trigger mechanism in the presence of the agent, intending an explosion and deaths to follow. He was then arrested. Unknown to him, the bomb was inert and was designed not to explode. A preliminary hearing is set for Monday at a U.S. courthouse in Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune’s report says Daoud is a U.S. citizen. It’s alleged that he had been sharing information online about killing Americans in a terrorist attack since last October when he was presumably just 17. The affidavit accompanying the charge sheet [the legal papers are here] says Daoud believes the U.S. is at war with Islam and Muslims. That’s evidently why he wanted his attack to be recognized as terrorism and to be as deadly as possible:

“If it’s only like five, 10 people, I’m not gonna feel that good… I wanted something that’s… massive; I want something that’s gonna make it in the news like tonight.”

Ordinary people living in this terrorist thug’s neighbourhood or in others anywhere else in the United States are, in our view, left to take one of two views:

  1. The US authorities are completely on top of the situation and have all the religiously fanatical wanne-be jihadists and Osama Bin Laden followers under surveillance. They will pounce just in time to prevent the next massacre of innocent Americans whose crime is to believe in something other than what these creatures believe. And the attempted massacre after that, and after that and so on. So there’s nothing to worry about; Or
  2. No one really knows where the next mass-killer is going to come from. In fact, there may be lots of them – a completely unknown number, living in completely unpredictable locations, and they will look perfectly ordinary and will be undetectable until the bombs go off.

Take your pick. For our part, there’s no doubt. America has been lucky, and we need to pray the luck stays good. And to ignore the role that Islamist religious indoctrination is having on parts of American society is simply insane.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Nervous Anticipation of Iranian Terror Attack over Holiday Season; Israeli Soccer Team under Heavy Restrictions Abroad

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Over the past few weeks, the Israeli counter terrorism command approached national security forces in Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, and Thailand, requesting that they increase both the overt overt security for Israeli tourists who will be traveling to these countries during the Tishrei holiday period (Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah) when hundreds of thousands of Israelis are expected to visit abroad, Israel Today reported.

According to a senior official in the counter terrorism command, “Iran is conducting a terror campaign against Israelis abroad, utilizing its satellite, the Hizbollah.”

According to him, “the terror campaign did not top at Burgas, Bulgaria.” In addition to concrete warnings about a possible terrorist attack on Israelis in the Sinai, there is no other alert about plans for a terror attack in the immediate future anywhere else.

According to the counter terrorism official, the Sinai peninsula is today under the most serious terror threats. He estimates that there are thousands of Israelis in the Sinai, most of them Arab-Israelis, and only a small number of Jews. “True, there aren’t many, but one or two is enough for them to kidnap to Gaza or some other place,” he stated. “The terror organizations in Gaza as well as other forces are continuing their operations there, with a focus on kidnapping Israelis in the Sinai in the immediate future.”

The command noted that for Rosh Hashanah approximately 30,000 Israelis are traveling to Uman in the Ukraine, to celebrate the high holiday near the tomb of Reb Nachman of Breslov. Israel has already requested the Ukrainian government to increase security in the area.

However, there are no new travel warnings for Israelis and no new countries added to the list where Israelis may not travel.

The counter terrorism command remarked that in the end the responsibility for Israeli tourists falls on their host countries. The official said that the counter terrorism command is trying to involve travel agents as well, although they are also not responsible for the security of the tourists.

Maariv reported that an entire airport was closed as Eli Gutman, coach of Israel’s national soccer team, and his players, landed in Azerbaijan for Friday’s 7 PM game in the early rounds of the 2014 world Cup.

All traffic in the airport was brought to a standstill, enabling the Israelis to move under heavy security from the plane to their hotel in Baku. The team received strict security instructions because of an active terror alert. The players were asked not to leave their hotel.

During the security briefing in the hotel, the staff and the athletes were told: “Be patient. You see the security here. It’s not for no naught. There are warnings, even hot warnings. You are being asked not to leave the hotel. You will have practice and then come right back to the hotel. You will go out to a game – and then right back. There’s just no other way.”

The security briefing was conducted as soon as the team arrived at the hotel.

Practice will take place Thursday at the stadium where the game is scheduled to take place Friday. 30,000 Azerbaijani spectators have already reserved seats for the game.

With Toughest Counter-Terrorism Laws on the Books, French Add Restrictions

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Just ahead of France’s presidential and legislative elections, the conservative French government Wednesday unveiled new counter-terrorism measures intended to restrain visits to extremist websites and travel to weapons-training camps abroad.

The new measures will be presented to Parliament in the coming days, and may face resistance from the Socialists, who suggest France already has enough counter-terrorism laws on the books, and accuse the government of using the new proposal to boost President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stance at the polls.

French Justice Minister Michel Mercier admitted that France’s laws against terrorism are among the toughest in the western world, but says they can always be improved, particularly in order to enable Police to identify and track down “lone wolf” terrorists.

“There are not just networks, there are also terrorists who act alone, who train by themselves,” Mercier told reporters. “So we’re reinforcing our legislation.”

Canadian Jews to Start Jewish Security Patrols in Toronto

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Anti-Semitic slogans scrawled in Calgary and an Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents conducted by B’nai Brith Canada showing a steady rise in anti-Jewish incidents has prompted a former Israeli counter-terrorism expert to establish a Jewish guard troop for relevant sites throughout Canada.

Program coordinator Doron Horowitz, Director of National Security Infrastructure for the Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs – and decorated former IDF soldier specializing in counter-terrorism – has announced the formation of a network of professionally-trained volunteers who will patrol Canadian synagogues and Jewish community centers.

The “Community Security Network” will be comprised of individuals aged 25 to 50 who will be subjected to background checks and psychological screenings to determine their fitness for the positions.  Those who are accepted will be trained in counter-surveillance, physical fitness, and observation, and be responsible for guarding no less than 5 hours per month at sensitive Jewish locations.

The program, which is being initiated in Toronto, will initially be comprised of 25 unarmed, ununiformed volunteers.  If successful, it will be launched across Canada.

Horowitz stressed that the program is meant to coordinate with current and ongoing law enforcement security efforts on behalf of the Jewish community, and will act in cooperation with local authorities.  It will not exercise force or violence, according to Horowitz, but maintain vigilance, report to law officials and emphasize prevention.

Bnai Brith Canada reported that 1,306 anti-Semitic incidents took place in Canada in 2010, a rise of 3.3% over 2009.

In the UK, the sizable Community Security Trust unites 3,000 volunteers in defense of 300 British synagogues, with the NY Community Security Service modeled after it.  Brooklyn, New York’s Shomrim (“Guards”) also surveys the security situation in New York City and Brooklyn.

The More Things Change… On Fighting A Terrorist Enemy Who Still ‘Loves Death’

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Notwithstanding all of the alleged “progress” in combating Islamist terrorism, our leaders have yet to really understand the core Jihadist rallying cry. “We love death,” the murderers shout ecstatically – and they always shout in chorus, for terrorism is a collective activity – but we seem to think this apparent necrophilia is merely perverse, that operationally it is beside the point. No judgment could be further from the truth. In fact, correctly interpreting this openly lurid affection is ultimately the key to fashioning a genuinely effective strategy of counter-terrorism.

For us – for Americans, Israelis, and many Europeans and Canadians – “suicide” bombers pose the greatest threat. But why should we put “suicide” in quotation marks? The answer lies in a manifold irony.

Terrorist “lovers of death” never commit suicide in the expectation of an authentic death. Rather, as they believe that purposeful acts of “martyrdom” will actually assure them a blissful immortality, their “suicides” mock any pretense of heroism. Jihadists always commit their “suicides” to assure eternal life. Islamist “suicides,” therefore, represent not only barbarism, but also cowardice.

The Islamist terrorist “lover of death” fears much more than a true biological expiration here on earth. Paradoxically, he also abhors the idea of continuing with his materialized life on this mundane planet. Often, apart from its central function to prepare the “martyr” for the next life, this terrestrial existence is deeply disdained and conspicuously loathed. For the “suicide” terrorist -almost always, and included among a number of other interrelated complaints – this life prohibits, inhibits and castigates the most compelling needs of his inborn human sexuality.

Current Islamist terrorism is never really about politics. Exploiting both meaning and Eros, Muslim terrorist masterminds successfully prod young Islamic males to “sacrifice” themselves through the killing of “infidels” or other enemies of the faith. Curiously, the important link between Islamist terror violence and repressed male sexuality still remains widely unrecognized. Regarding female suicide bombers, even less is understood.

Contrary to all conventional wisdom, especially as it is constructed in the universities, anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Western Islamist terror has fundamentally nothing to do with material deprivation or ideological issues. Terror violence is now only rarely produced by anger about some foreign policy issue or other grievance. What genuinely animates Islamist “suicide” terror is the tangibly thrilling promise of personal salvation through sacred acts of killing. It is this particular redemptive promise that routinely blocks the way to American and Western success in counter-terrorism at home and abroad. From a military standpoint, this promise represents an incomparable offer that can never be countered with bombs, bullets or boots on the ground.

The “suicide” murders of American and other men, women and children on 9/11 stemmed from the very same sentiments that now continue to make casualties of American soldiers, Iraqi civilians, British subjects, assorted Europeans and Israeli noncombatants. Consider, for example, the sentiments offered by one Jamal Abdel Hamid Yussef, openly explaining operations of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades (military wing of Hamas in Gaza): “Our suicide operations are a message…that our people love death. Our goal is to die for the sake of God, and if we live we want to humiliate Jews and trample on their necks.”

By “dying” in what is presumed to be the divinely mandated act of killing apostates, infidels, Americans or Jews (it makes no difference to “suicide” terrorists that “Americans” and “Jews” are not mutually exclusive categories), the Islamist “suicide” terrorist firmly believes that he can conquer his own death. In his religiously promised paradise of eternal life, there will be rivers of honey and ample numbers of virgins. This is a terrorist’s very literal expectation; by no means, as I discovered myself several years ago in a personal interview with a failed Palestinian suicide-bomber, is it merely metaphoric.

With the “One True Faith” on their side, the Islamist terrorists we now battle in Baghdad, Gaza and elsewhere see absolutely nothing self-destructive about their willful murder of “enemies.” For them, dreadful cowards immobilized by a pervasive fear of life as well as death, “suicide” is only a momentary inconvenience on the (optimally explosive) path to heaven. Here, in psychological terms, the insufferable death fear of a terrorist ego is relieved by sacrifice of the “infidel” or “apostate.” Desperately, it is through the sacrificial burning and maiming and murder of a despised other that this frightened and frenzied Jihadist figure seeks to buy his own perpetual freedom from real death.

In Washington, in Jerusalem, in London, and in other capitals, our leaders are now left to deal with an apparent oxymoron. What shall they do about a “suicide” that does not intend to end personal life, but rather to extend it forever? For American military forces in Iraq – just as for our remaining allies fighting similar battles in Europe and Israel – there is no point to deterring a Jihadist enemy with deployments of more soldiers or with threats of crushing military power.

Such policies and postures will always fall on deaf ears. These prospects will never be received by our enemies with apprehension, but instead with a delirious cry of joy or a collective groan of fulfillment. Islamist terror is not about politics. It is all about ecstasy.

To deter the Islamist “suicide” terrorist plotting now underway in Iraq, Israel, Europe and also the United States itself, we must confront this formidable enemy with a tangible threat of real suicide. Let my Jewish Press readers recall that violence and the sacred remain altogether inseparable for the Islamist “suicide” fighter. We should think, immediately, in terms of “desacrilizing” this grotesque enemy’s explicit and unashamed inversions of holiness. Without thinking about how exactly to accomplish this desacrilization, our war on terrorists who “love death” will remain based on narrowly military grounds. In any such war we would surely fail.

Copyright©, The Jewish Press, January 18, 2008. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and publishes widely on terrorism and counter terrorism. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/the-more-things-change-on-fighting-a-terrorist-enemy-who-still-loves-death/2008/01/16/

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