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Foiling Terror Plots Doesn’t Take An Army

August 10th, 2006 | by Ken Grandlund |

Today’s terror plot that was officially foiled in England proves one thing at least- the best way to uncover and stop terror attacks is with police work, not full-scale warfare.

According to reports, law enforcement officials in Great Britian have been tracking this plot for a few months, slowly gaining intelligence and evidence to arrest the would-be perpetrators, and finally, today, rounding up at least 21 suspects. Meanwhile, the potential attack plans have been revealed to the public, including the mode of attack (liquid explosives), giving enforcement officials around the world a good idea of what to watch for next.

Let’s be clear. There are terrorists who want to harm the west, specifically killing as many civilians as they can. If they are determined enough, some will succeed. But through the application of solid investigative work and application of the rule of law, many of these folks have been stopped before reaching their murderous intentions. I can’t say for sure how Scotland Yard operates, or what legal tools were used by the police in Britian, but I can say that they didn’t feel the need to invade Pakistan to eliminate this particular threat.

Let the Bush White House take note. This government has the tools it needs already (and I’m not talkiing about their extra-legal suppositions) to do just as the British did. And by using law enforcement, not only are thousands of lives not ended by warplanes, not only are national infrastructures not destroyed, but new ranks of terrorists are not created in the process.

[tag]terror, law+enforcement, British+terror+plot[/tag]

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  1. 23 Responses to “Foiling Terror Plots Doesn’t Take An Army”

  2. By Jersey McJones on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Exactly.  LAW ENFORCEMENT is for crimes, like terrorism, and armies are for wars, like WWII.

    We are not at war.


  3. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    If Taliban had cooperated and turned over or allowed us to take UBL in the first place, there’d have been no Afghanistan war. Not sayin’ it’s all Taliban’s fault, just sayin’ that it started out as police work/diplomacy and turned to war when police work/diplomacy proved ineffective.

  4. By windspike on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Exactly the point Ken.  But no doubt, the W, Rove and Co is going to list this as another shining example of how the powers of good are working to foil the powers of evil.  Correct me if I am wrong, but the folk rounded up were actually in England at the time, no? Certainly:

    British Home Secretary John Reid said the 21 people were arrested in London, its suburbs and Birmingham following a lengthy investigation, including the alleged “main players” in the plot. Searches continued in a number of locations.

    So, if one argues the “war is fought on foreign soil to beat the terrorists there rather than in our own country,” might they not be a little misleading and misguided?  We don’t need a war in Iraq more than we need better law enforcement at home, now do we?

  5. By Paul Merda on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Hear, Hear Ken!!!!  I was just thinking about posting on EXACTLY the same thing.  Damn right, it wasn’t the US military that stopped this terror attack, but good old-fashioned law-enforcement!!!!

    This is the TRUTH the 1/3 of pussy Americans need to learn.  Quit being afraid, let law-enforcement do their job and quit wasting billions of dollars and countless lives in Iraq and soon to be Iran/Syria…

  6. By Tom Baker on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Ken you beat me to it. I tend to think there really was a plot, it’s not made up and peopel could have died so Cheers to the Brits for sniffing this one out (so far). Armies aren’t meant for finding small groups of criminals who. It takes Intel, elbow greese and good old fashioned police work. All the major arrests in this Perpetual War on Terror have come that way.

    If you find a big rebel training base (like Afghanistan) you destroy it, but you don’t invade a country to get rid of a terror. cell. It’s counter produtive.

  7. By ken grandlund on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Craig- I think you are right, to a point. The Taliban was clearly in a symbiotic relationship with al-Qaeda, each depending on the other for survival. That was never the case in Iraq. And that may be the only case where an invasion was justified…so far.

    Tom- I think there is credence in the charges and that the plot was probably real. I too applaud the Brits on this one. Our gov’t should be taking some notes here and making appropriate adjustments.

  8. By Paul Merda on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    BTW, congrats and thanks to the brits…  That’s if it isn’t a bunch of hype…

  9. By Tim Sarsfield on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Guys: I am at work so I have only been following this story from a distance.  That said the reports I have seen state that the police arrested the suspects.  None gave any details about how the plot was uncovered.  So I think it was a bit premature to conclude that the plot was simply uncovered by old fashioned police work.  In fact it appears that “American Intelligence” was used in part to foil the operation.


    So the assumption that no “extra legal suppositions” was used may very well be wrong. Since I am sure that you all believe we are torturing prisoners down at Gitmo, maybe that is where the information came from that led to the plot being foiled.  Or maybe it came from Bush’s eavesdropping program.

    Also I am not sure why even if it was police work that foiled this operation it follows that military force is not needed in this war.  For example, if this was a police operation than it was Special Branch that carried it out.  Those were the same people that rounded up Nazi spys in WWII.  Likewise the FBI dealt with German spies here during that war. I take it that you all agree that we actually needed a military in that war.

    Finally, the central premise that if we play cops and robbers with these guys (my take on the third paragraph of the original post) some terriost wil eventually get through is corect.  The first WTC bombing, folloewed by the Cole cultimating in 9-11 proves that.  The point is you need to take the fight to your opponents.  Since the instant plot is being described as world wide in scope that seems to be more of a militay matter than a police matter.  Just like WWII was more than just a Special Branch/FBI matter (though they had there role to play). 



  10. By Paul Merda on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Sorry Tim, I think your wrong on the level that it takes Regular Military forces.  Sure, military and civilian intel plays its part, but going and bombing out a city, like say Fallujah, only creates more people who want to kill you.  Certainly special operation forces have their part in hunting down people like Osama and other cells, but regular military forces are a recipe for defeat when fighting 4th Generation Warfare (Check out the link below).  So maybe the title of the post is a bit off, but in the end you can not bomb an ideology out of existence, which is what Dear Leader is trying to do…

  11. By ken grandlund on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Tim- The latest I heard about this, the info was passed to Britain from Pakistani forces (police? military?) who discovered the plot from evidence they seized in a raid. Again, that sounds a little more like ‘police’ work than what armies are usually used for.

    I can’t confirm that information right now, but it doesn’t seem that the U.S. or any of its branches were involved in this case.

  12. By Tim Sarsfield on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Thanks for the link.  A few thoughts.

    First, and I am not trying to be snide here, the first time the world dealt with facism (Germany, Italy, Japan and various minor Axis powers) we bombed the idealogy, essentially, out of existence.  Now I will agree that Franco and Peron and the guy in Portugal hung around.  On the other I am sure that you would agree that facism circa 1948 was not nearly the danger that it was circa 1942.

    Second. it seems to me that 4th generation warfare operates on the assumption that the West will not unleash its full 3rd generation capabilities.  I disagree that using our full strengths is a mistake.

    For example, I just saw a report that the big break came when Pakistan arrested an “Islamic militant” on the Afgahn-pakistan border.  In my view if we had not toppled the Taliban, Pakistan would not be arresting anyone on that border. 

    Third, I am not sure that it is accurate to say we bombed out Fallujah.  When I hear bombed out I think Dresden 1945-and again we havenot fought the Germans for a long time so it would appear that using overwhelming force can have a calming affect.  but I do not want to debate Fallujah or even are precence in Iraq. 

    Let us assume that we had gone into Iran and bombed out Terhan.  You would argue that this just would create anumber of people that would want to kill us.  From what I see they  hate us plenty to begin with.  For example, the death to America rallies every Friday since 1979.  However by taking out Iran you take out a leading state sponser of terrorism.  And it is the state sponsered or sanctioned terrorism that is dangerous and can only be dealt with militarily. 

    Finally, it does not seem to me that every Afgahn or Iraqi hates us. Many are fighting with us.  So to the extent that we created an enemy we also created friends.  I see that counting police there are some 300,000 Iraqi security forces.  Most estimates of insurgent that I have seen are around 30,000. So the numbers seem to favor us.


  13. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply


    You wrote: “I can’t confirm that information right now, but it doesn’t seem that the U.S. or any of its branches were involved in this case.”

    From this BBC article: ” “There has been an enormous amount of co-operation with the US authorities which has been of great value and underlines the threat we face and our determination to counter it,” he said in a statement.”

  14. By ken grandlund on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Thanks Craig- it wasn’t that I couldn’t find anything, only that I haven’t a ton of time to search right now. But your quote was from Blair, I see, and as he is in the Caribbean now, I’m not sure how much of the changing facts he is kept up with.

    I heard about the Pakistani angle on radio news over lunch. Either way, the article you reference highlights police work primarily and does not claim military intelligence broke this plot up.


    Tim- I would like to try and respond to you on this, but it will have to be a little later tonight. Hope you can come back again…

  15. By Sandy on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    We need profiling. Get all the muslims out of here. And have them take the illegal aliens and liberals with them. What a much better country it would be!

  16. By Ari Tai on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    re: “all the ability needed” to “police” terrorists.

    Curious. Brits (and French) are much more trusting of their police and internal security (MI5) than we are. They sneak-and-peek, tap, etc. with little of the process and delays we suffer.

    Be careful what you wish for. One of the reasons to settle these issues with war is so we don’t create a police state (where the victim is treated as responsible, and the criminal is treated as victim).

    I’d prefer war over having our cities look like London, with surveillance cameras every 50 ft. 

    Live free or die - words to live by.

  17. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply


    Well, Okay, you won’t take Blair’s word for it, how about this:

    “U.S. intelligence has been working closely with the British on the investigation, which has been ongoing for months, the second official said.” 

    Surely not ever official is on vacation (and do you really believe that Blair is not being continually updated on this thing no matter where he is). Are they all just misinformed or are they all just giving the US credit whether credit is deserved or not? I’m not trying to say that it was the Americans that are the most responsible here. Merely that Brits are giving credit to US intel agencies. I can’t think of any good reason to think that they don’t mean it or that it isn’t true.

    Ari Tai,

    It seems to me that, in spite of Bush’s militarization of the war on terror, we are still getting our share of liberty tightening policies. I don’t know how demilitarizing could or would make a whole lot of difference unless you really believe that having our military fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan really is what has kept Al Qaeda from striking America again. I mean, yeh, that could be it but consider that there were a good many years between the first attack on the World Trade Center by AQ and the second and in that time we were not engaging AQ militarily, except for the occassional missile attack on an aspirin factory. It is just as likely that we haven’t had a successful attack because AQ simply was not ready to attack. I would offer the 7/7/2005 London attack and the Spain train attack as evidence that AQ can and have organized and carried out attacks even in the midst of our militarized engagement of them.

  18. By John Stephens on Aug 10, 2006 | Reply

    Yoe liberal f-cking idiots have no damn clue what’s happening here. Read some history, ie, 1930’s! Yoe better figure this out or your kids are FRIED!

  19. By ken grandlund on Aug 11, 2006 | Reply


    I find it curious that the fight against radical religious terrorism is so often compared to WWII. Though leaders on both sides are striving to remake the world in their image (similar to WWII) the enemy we fight is not a defined nation or even region, and does not have all the accoutrements that a formal nation would have to draw from. There are no defined borders to secure. (Except maybe our own- and oh how great we’re doing there.) There are no real battle lines, but instead ever shifting points of distress. There is no static military presence to address, but instead shadowy cliques who melt away.

    Today’s rogue enemy (leaving the Bush administration off the list for now) fights in small bands. The siphon off money and arms from rogue elements in some nations, but always at a plausible arms length. You can’t expect to rout small bands of terrorists in the midst of hundreds of thousands of non-combatants with a standard military and expect to not kill many non-combatants. When you do, you are not winning any heart and minds, that’s sure.

    As for Iran- you can bet that the ruling mullahs hate us. But not too long ago, the general population, which is predominantely younger, was seeking to bridge the gap between our countries. They elected a moderate (by their standards) president and sought detente. This administration pushed them away and threatened their country, assuring that the moderates would be driven back and the haters would again reclaim all their winnowed power.

    I never claimed that Afghanistan was an erroneous effort, but it was certainly done haphazardly. Why, after 4 years, are we still there while the country slowly reverts to its former self? Another opportunity squandered, and the only one so far that had a rational purpose, unless of course your real purpose is to drain the treasury for your friends.



    You misunderstand me. I say that the government already has the laws they need to find the bad guys. I am speaking of the laws that predated Bush but that he has now perverted into those extra-legal methods I alluded to. Used in accordance with the law, this government can tap all the wires it wants, read every shred of recovered documents and interrogate any suspect. That they have chosen not to is another sigh that we are losing. After all, the government says that the terrorists want to change our way of life, if not end it. Looks like Bush is doing that for them.

    I am not advocating for a Big Brother society. Only one that uses the tools already available, legally, to do what is mostly a police job.

    John- All things considered, the kids are fried anyhow. If not by terror attacks then by having to work 80 hour weeks to repay the debt of this misguided administration. No one here is talking about appeasement, which is what I’m sure you are referring to with your cryptic ‘1930’s’ remark. Try reading the post again, and exercising some comprehension skills you surely picked up along the way.

  20. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 11, 2006 | Reply

    On US intelligence involvement in the investigation, from Time:

    “MI5 and Scotland Yard agents tracked the plotters from the ground, while a knowledgeable American official says U.S. intelligence provided London authorities with intercepts of the group’s communications.”

    Of course, the “knowledgeable American official” could be blowing smoke, I suppose.

  21. By ken grandlund on Aug 11, 2006 | Reply


    I give. Any American intelligence effort that aided in stopping this plot deserve their commendations. I’m not trying to discount their part, whatever it may have been, in this successful derailment of a terror attack in the making.

  22. By Sandy on Aug 11, 2006 | Reply



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