Sunday, February 19, 2006

"Thinking Like a Terrorist"'s the reasoning about L.A.

This, regarding the FAIR media alert re the purported planned-and-foiled terrorist plot against L.A. -- as posted and commented on at hyperlucidity:

Preceding post: [Actually, I thought it sounded rather trumped up when I read the
story originally....seemed a bit too convenient an incident (and
already "foiled," moreover) to bring up as evidence that the
administration's carte blanche re civil liberties is working.
There's also one *major* flaw in the official story as I read
it.....but I'll bring that up later -- key idea though, ya gotta think like a terrorist
*convincingly* if you're going to fake a terrorist plot. Details at

Simple thing, you honestly think that a pan-Islamic
terrorist cell would target a building simply because it was "the
tallest building in Los Angeles"? And this after successfully
attacking the World Trade Center towers (symbol & center of American
financial power) and the Pentagon (symbol & center of American
military might)?

No. That's stupid. Actually, the only reason that that skyscraper
would be a target for *anything* is that a lot of Americans have a
decent amount of concern for Los Angeles and its environs because of
the cultural/commercial reputation there. We like Hollywood, in
short...and an attack on L.A. = attack on Hollywood, glamour,
creativity, ambition, freedom of the arts....well, bollocks, that
ain't a target that Al-Qaeda cares about, it's one that "we" care
about. And that's why it's a red herring to make us all sigh in
relief and trust our fates and civil liberties to the government,
because they say that they thwarted a terrorist attack.

Terrorism by definition is the methodical intimidation of a populace
through the infliction of maximum physical and
psychological/emotional damage.
Here are the main things that you have to remember about *planned
targets* for terrorism:

* They have to be prominent and/or relevant.
It does no good to attack somewhere that isn't going to be readily
recognized by the citizenry. They must have a quality of instant
and/or iconic identification, or of universal relevance to daily life
and necessity. Airplanes, sports stadiums, skyscrapers that are well-
known in and of themselves for the business that goes on in them.

* There have to be a lot of people in/around them.
Terrorism requires appreciable human carnage, so that it damages the
emotions and morale of the populace. Much as I hate the arrogance of
Mount Rushmore, it's not a useful target for terrorism. Grand
Central Station at rush-hour, though...*possible*, but trains are not
as likely as airplanes, which are far more dramatic and cause more
lasting paranoia. Airport terminals, though they may have more
potential victims, don't have as much velocity and impact to work

* They have to mean something important as representative of
the "enemy" as seen by the terrorist.

The targets on 9/11 made sense, because they were embodiments of U.S. dominance/imperialism in two areas, the military and the financial/economic sectors. Unless something can be seen as a real locus of power that is being
destroyed/damaged by the attack, it is unlikely to be chosen as a target of terrorism. short, that's why I had a gut feeling that that reported
thwarting was a tale full of crap and machination. Just like the
whole purported biological warfare threat in mid-late winter before
the start of the war, with the stocking-up on plastic-wrap and duct-
tape.....and again I say unto you, bullshit (which is what I was
saying then, too, actually).

Winter's a really bad time to attempt biological warfare as a
terrorist weapon, because people aren't as likely to be congregated
together out-of-doors or in large stadiums and such, they cover
themselves more if they do, the air's much colder and/or drier and so
contagion range is likely to be shorter and breathing passages less
efficient to absorb what's in the short, it's really not
that effective a season for toxic gases and such.

It's a great season for fighting in Iraq, though, as compared to
waiting until the desert warms up and the sand gets into everything
and the heat fouls up your computers and navigational instruments and
the metal of the tanks turns them into furnaces on treads...whether
you're not used to fighting in the Middle East or you are, it makes
sense to mount your technology-heavy offensives in the cooler season
as opposed to the hot season -- and that's precisely what the
U.S. administration was gunning for, in my opinion...getting the public
anxiety/fervour strong enough over this to start attacking Iraq as
soon as possible, while it was still easy going to start and maintain
a desert campaign efficiently.

At least, that's the way I see it. Thinking like a terrorist has its
advantages. So does thinking like a general who wants to get his war
on already...strategy, people, strategy...