Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

UK Thwarts 9/11-Style Terror Attacks

At least five of them. Drudge headlines his link by implying only one attack was prevented, and that it was recent. No, the story is more important than that, for two reasons. First, it shows that Islamic terrorists have tried repeatedly to attack the Brits (and, as a corollary, that the Brits freakin rule at stopping them). Second, it shows that we may or may not hear about these attempted attacks, depending on a determination by the government.

"The disclosure comes as the Government prepares to unveil a series of tough law-and-order Bills in this morning's Queen's Speech, setting out the legislative programme for what is expected to be the final session of the current Parliament."

There's the key to the whole thing. The British government released this information because it wanted something (in this case, political capital to spend on tougher crime bills). Had it not wanted to spend that political capital, or decided the benefits did not outweigh the costs, we might never have known.

Which of course should make us wonder what American law enforcement agencies know, but that they aren't telling us. And there really is no reason to assume that they have told us everything about intercepted or otherwise prevented threats against us.

With that in mind, via Boortz comes a report by a Harvard security expert who says we have a 50/50 chance of being hit by a nuclear attack in the next ten years. I suspect that probability is a function of the effectiveness and freedom of action of our law enforcement weighed against the efforts of the terrorists and the playing field on which they operate. If that is so, then we can manipulate the odds in either direction by granting greater or lesser powers to law enforcement, tightening or opening our borders, or changing the foreign landscape where terrorists train and recruit.

Are tighter controls worth the costs? Because of course we've got a balancing act, and every time we add to our security through increased government control, we diminish our freedoms to the same degree.

With all that in mind, you absolutely cannot miss this article by the intriguingly-named Such Little Things. It's a discussion of Canada's "October Crisis," where they out-Patriot-Acted the Patriot Act over the kidnapping of two people. Oh, yeah, it was done by Canadian liberals. Here's the teaser:

"To make along story short, Trudeau hunted them down... Here's the key to this story though: Trudeau did all this by using Canada's 'War Measures Act,' a holdover from the First World War. Civil liberties? Out the window - there were terrorists at large."

Terrorists? In Canada? Yes, they were Quebecois separatists. But wait, there are no terrorists in Canada now.


Update: Dr. Shackleford reports that Russia just prevented a major attack as well.