• It would seem to most that it is easy to move an accused terrorists from one “civilized” nation to another for trial, but a perfect example of democracy in action is that on April 17, British authorities rearrested Palestinian-Jordanian Muslim cleric Abu Qatada, who had been released from prison in February when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that he could not be deported to Jordan on terrorism charges. The Home Secretary informed British legislators the same day that the United Kingdom has received pledges from Jordan that should address the European court’s concerns, and clear the way for Abu Qatada’s deportation.
• As reported in LWOT there is trial that is underway that is attracting particular scrutiny in New York City: a home-grown alleged terrorist is in the dock. “Seven prominent journalists and civil rights activists have filed suit against Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and other top U.S. officials over the recently approved National Defense Authorization Act, which the plaintiffs claim puts them at higher risk of arrest, and allows the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil.” Saajid Badat, who has been convicted in Britain in for plotting to blow up a passenger plane in the December 2001, the famous “shoe-bomb attempt”, testified for the prosecution via video deposition about the leadership and training methods of al-Qaeda.
• Once again we hear the argument made by defense attorneys for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is on trial at Guantánamo Bay for allegedly masterminding the 2000 USS Cole bombing. Defense attorney argued that a military tribunal is unconstitutional because it applies only to non-U.S. citizens, discriminating against people “simply by the accident of where they were born”. Editor’s Note: That distinction plays an enormous role in numerous federal acts, and in particular, when dealing with interdiction of electronic communications. There is a clear distinction when dealing with US citizens and noncitizens.
• A branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) has once again claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that killed 38 in Baghdad and across that war torn nation. The ISI claims it has targeted security forces and government officials in “response” they claim,” to the campaign of detaining, torture, embargo and confiscation of lands of Sunni people, especially in Baghdad and its outskirts.” They claimed that their wave of violence was a “new wave” a “new invasion” and that the violence would “not stop until God judges between us” and the Shiites. Their violence has produced dozens of bombings and shootings in seven different provinces killing 38 people and wounded more than 170. Each day seems to have produced the deadliest day in Iraq since “some previous day”, when scores of people have been killed and wounded in attacks also claimed by al-Qaeda’s ISI. Editor’s Note: As a child, I learned of different tribes of Indians who attacked each other and the “white man”, today it seems inconceivable that tribes, within the same nation, continue to attack each other. These tribal feuds continue as man reaches beyond the moon and computers talk to each other at imaginable speeds.
• Finally, China, who has long been Pyongyang’s most important backer, recently joined with other countries in condemning North Korea for a failed missile launch earlier this month. For Beijing it was one of those very rare public censure of it’s internationally and isolated ally. Beijing once again has denied allegation that it provides North Korea help in violation of international mandates. “We’ve made very clear to China that China has a responsibility,” claims an American Official, “to make sure that North Korea — if they want to improve the situation with their people, if they want to become a part of the international family, if they, in fact, want to deal with the terrible issues that are confronting North Korea, there’s a way to do that.” Beijing has in the past not only provided enormous economic aid to that financially strapped nation but acted as its protector and advocate when North Korea behaved in its usual belligerent manner which only resulted in escalated tension in the international community.
-Water War Tomorrow
In the early 90’s, on a sunny spring day sitting on a bench in Budapest with the late Ian Cuthbertson, who was the smartest person I had ever known, I remember being shocked when seeing the Blue Danube for the first time. Somehow I expected something more ….blue and probably more majestic, and it was neither. He was amazed at my lack of knowledge and said in passing: In a couple of decades, people will be fighting over water. I realized, as he made that offhand comment, that a few years earlier, as the guest of an advisor to the then Prime Minister of Israel, I was shown the Jordan River and was amazed that it looked more like a neglected stream than the mighty river I had been lead, as a child, to envision. Then too, this top ranking security official had indicated that future wars would be fought over water. At the time, I was led to believe that Israel, a country that is two-thirds arid and surrounded by hostile voices, was experimenting in developing a desalination system.
I have not thought of those two incidents until I stumbled across two articles. The first was about the regions of the world that were so extremely water poor. The second stated that Israel has developed a new and cheaper –no chemical process– for desalination. The claim by the Israeli’s is that once their project is complete over 50 percent of their household water use will come from a desalination process. The 50 percent that will not have this advantage is a huge percentage of that nation’s total need—not merely for household use but for their extensive agriculture ventures. It only takes a moment, when you stop to think that without water a people/nation/civilization dies.
In an article by Alan Bierga, U.S. Intelligence Says Water Shortages Threaten Stability, Mr. Bierga reports “An all-out water war is unlikely in the next 10 years, as nations will be more likely to use water as a bargaining chip with each other, according to the report from the Director of National Intelligence….” I respectfully disagree. Water will not be, as claimed, a “bargaining chip”. Not in a world where at present almost one in eight people on the entire planet aren’t able to secure a glass of safe water to drink. Water will be held hostage, and the immediate response will be violence between those that depend upon the water flow to their nation and the nation that dams the rivers to dry beds. The reason is understandable: clearly, one neither has the time nor inclination to “negotiate” with a hostile neighbor for an item held captive as dear as water, when it means the difference between eating and not eating and life and death.
The key areas to focus upon are the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. Much of the real facts regarding the need for water and national security are buried in a classified document released by the National Intelligence Estimate that was narrowly distributed to policymakers. From the unclassified edition one can unmistakably draw unambiguous conclusions. They are very disturbing and certainly not reassuring. In addition, the assessment from the NIE is that 70 percent of all fresh-water supplies are now used for agriculture. “The downside, the NIE claims, is that many regions are “pulling water out of aquifers faster than it is being renewed.” You can then read that “when it’s gone it’s gone.” The conclusions from that statement are ominous: when water is gone crops die and life ceases.
The strategic water basins that feed the rivers in several geographic areas include:
1. The Nile. This river runs through 10 countries before ending up in Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. (Note that this river runs south to north.)
2. The famous Jordan River. The Palestinians and Jordan have long been at odds with Israel.
3. Tigris-Euphrates in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.
4. And, last, for most of us, the least known is the Indus, whose rainwater collection area includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Tibet.
Subsequent reviews of these geographic areas provide us with a special prospective beyond merely the absence of water and beyond their strategic location for human use and agriculture. They are potential targets for terrorism of a greater proportion than the twin towers in New York City. When the Twin Towers were attacked and destroyed, the loss of human life resulted in 2,996 –immediate at time of attack—deaths. Now envision a terrorist attack at a major water collection center that feeds into streams and rivers, and irrigates thousands of acres of fertile land and provides drinking water to untold numbers of people. What of the lives that are connected to that source of water supply—water that is not merely contaminated but undrinkable and dangerous? And although Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States would employ both its knowledge and political will to seek “solutions to global water accessibility challenges, especially in the developing world”, we have been allowed to see only the tip of the world problem. Major water supplies intentionally polluted beyond redemption are beyond the scope and magnitude of the Twin Towers.
Where there is an insufficient or poorly husbanded water supply that is but one concern for the world. And not to minimize that concern, nevertheless this problem is easily conquered. It has been done in the past, and surely, it can be accomplished on a grand scale in the future. All it takes it the will and the financial support.
It is the second and third water issue: Where those who control the supply of water will intentionally withhold or deny it from others for political or religious reasons, and, last, where as a weapon of terrorism and violence, a water supply is destroyed. The importance of such an act—if successful– can only be envisioned as being immediate with sickening consequences. At times the obvious must be said: terrorism is beyond a car bomb in a city square or commuter train.