Latest Terrorism Rumblings From US Fedgov

A "bipartisan" (i.e., both the Republicrats and the Demicans) chorus has been reciting that terrorists are likely to attempt to disrupt the '04 presidential election in November.

Senate minority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) has joined that chorus. This is from the Black Hills Pioneer, 9 July 2004:

"The United States is tightening security in the face of a steady stream of intelligence indicating an attack aimed at disrupting elections, the White House said Thursday.


"'It is absolutely essential for the U.S. Senate to turn its attention to what we can do to make America safe,' Daschle said.


"Asked if the timing of the terror concerns might be aimed at stealing political thunder from [the Democratic Party candidates], Daschle replied, 'This report is so sobering and so serious that I cannot bring myself to believe anyone in this administration would use this for political purposes.'

"Daschle said the most recent terror briefing..contained information that there is a higher threat than there has been at any time since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks."

"Daschle Concerned About 'Sobering' Terror Briefing," by Donna Smith.
Look! Over there, a Wolf! Oh sorry, my mistake, it's a red herring. Didn't mean to frighten you at all.
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
-- H.L. Mencken

I'm not convinced that the danger of another episode, along the lines of 9/11, is imaginary. However, aside from that, Mencken's pronouncement seems timely to me.
Not_Whistlin_Dixie said:
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
-- H.L. Mencken

I'm not convinced that the danger of another episode, along the lines of 9/11, is imaginary. However, aside from that, Mencken's pronouncement seems timely to me.
I agree NWD. No doubt AQ have more stuff in the pipeline. In the short term all that will change is the order or location that they intend it delivered in as the security effort succeeds or not. Still if anyone is really worried write your politician and get obvious targets such as polling stations moved further away from your house. On the other hand maybe excercising a democratic right should bring on a sweat.
US Army Gen. (retired) Tommy Franks, recently director of US Forces Central Command, recently gave an interview in "Cigar Afficionado" magazine in which he opined that the next terrorist attack would result in the suspension of constitutional government in the United States.

By overwhelming public demand, he said.

This is from

"Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualities, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.


"[He] warned that if terrorists succeeded in using a weapon of mass destruction ... against the U.S. or one of our allies, it would likely have catastrophic consequences for our cherished republican form of government. (NWD note: what's currently left of it, that is.)


"Franks...offered 'in a practical sense' what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.

"'...a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world -- it may be in the United States of America -- that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country....(w)hich, in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution...'"

"Gen Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack"

Put that in your cigar and smoke it.

The quotations from Gen. Franks' article have, it seems to me, an oddly neutral tone. He speaks neither in praise, nor in condemnation, of any proposal explicitly to revoke the Constitution, although, like all U.S. servicemen, he took an oath to defend it against all enemies, internal and external, even unto death.

He matter of factly proposes a two step sequence: Terrorists kill a bunch of people. The American public demands the imposition of a military dictatorship.

He does not discuss his idea of the process of reasoning by which the American public, or any significant part of it, decides that throwing civil liberties and republican government into the dustbin is a solution to its problems.

And it doesn't really make any difference, does it? When the howling mob demands that the government assume dictatorial powers, what can the government do but sigh its reluctance as it fastens on the shackles that people (according to Gen. Franks) will overwhelmingly demand. Vox populi, vox dei.

From the Associated Press:

"WASHINGTON -- The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.

"Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, had of the voting panel.

"Soaries was appointed to the federal Election Assistance Commission last year by President Bush. Soaries said he wrote to national Security Adviser condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in April to raise the concerns."

"Voting Official Seeks Process For Canceling Election Day Over Terrorism," by Erica Werner, 25 June 2004
"Cigar Afficianado" the journal of record for political debate in the US. God help us. (On the other hand as long as there is a something like NewsMax to pick up on it....)

Obviously though if a situation was to occur which threatened the safety of many would be voters or the integrity of the process a contingency should be in place. On the other hand on polling day in the US how many ballot boxes are compromised during a 'normal' poll for one reason or another (fire, flood, RTA for instance)? Certainly here in NI its not unknown for certain political groups to attempt to subvert voting by forcing the polling station to remain open after 10pm (which is the normal close of voting). The underlying principle should be proportionate and appropriate response.

Also as I'm reviewing this post it occurs to me that the Speaker of the House had a constitutionally established role in the event of a drawn presidential election as was mooted during Bush V Gore debacle?

(Edit:An event large enough to warrant cancelling an election would I think qualify as a disaster on any day never mind polling day).
What a load of s#!t!

Our colonial cousins spout on about "freedom", quoting the War of Independence and WWs I and II ad nauseum. They then contradict themselves by looking to suspend the litmus test of democracy - the ballot - in the event of a terrorist attack!

This is exactly what AQ want to happen and this will encourage AQ.

A pledge should be made by all political leaders to ensure a vote whatever happens, rather than failing to match rhetoric with intentions.
Not_Whistlin_Dixie said:
Speaker of the House is in the line of presidential succession in event of incapacitation of president, vice-president.

He is not an elector and casts no vote in the electoral college.
Thanks NWD.

As I understand it the timings and logistics of the electoral college type system used in the US derives from the fact that it was goverened by the speed of the horse as a means of transportation/communication. (I have to say the whole thing sounds supiciously Soviet to me) Maybe a rethink in line with comms being speed of light thesedays might be in order.

Does the constitution have nothing to say about wartime democracy? Perhaps someone with a better knowledge could enlighten me.

Edit: Or being a member of the IT corps I might go to Google and look it up myself instead of being idle....
A quick scan of the (surprisingly) stirring stuff at leads me to believe that its all down to the individual states to organise it but the Federal Government reserves the right to legislate if needs be.

It's been a while since I've read up on this topic, but, as I recall, the electoral college was a compromise between those delegates who favored direct election of the president by the public and those who wanted the president elected by vote of Congress.

The idea, behind having a small body of picked men (the college) cast the vote was to limit the influence of rabble-rousing and demagoguery on the selection process.
The administration is not speaking with one voice on the topic of potential cancelation of the '04 presidential election.

"Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice...said in a television interview, 'No one's thinking about postponing the election.'"

On the other hand, "federal election officials will meet next week with officials of the Department of Homeland Security to discuss whether and how they would delay the November presidential election in the event of a catastrophic terrorist attack, a top elections official told MSNBC on Monday."

"Officials To Meet On Election Plans: Ridge Is Warned Attack Could Disrupt Voting," 12 July 2004
Not_Whistlin_Dixie said:
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
-- H.L. Mencken

Hobgoblins? Ain't it enough we're facing Rag fanatics? Get me Gandalf...and Merlin. Wait...out.
Last night, somebody told somebody else that al-Qaeda intends to attack "financial institutiions or international institutions" in New York City.

The report did not specify how or when.

Also, "anonymous sources" disclosed, to ABC News, that the perpetrators have been, or are being, infiltrated through the US/Mexican border. These persons plan on using trucks to cause suicide detonations. They intend to strike between now and Election Day.

NYPD is warning office building managers to take "extra security precautions."

The linked story has interesting picture of NYPD patrolman, in Times Square, with PASGT helmet and M-4. I used to marvel that the Europeans allowed their cops to run around looking like that.

"NYC Police Issue Warning Of Terrorist Threat," 1 August 2004
Now the warning is getting a little less nebulous than the malarkey we've been hearing for the last three years. They might actually know something this time.

This is from the Associated Press:

"The government provided details Sunday of new intelligence it had obtained that led to the increased threat level against financial institutions, including several specific buildings."

It says that they have proof that the perps have taken note of sidewalk pedestrian traffic density, security checkpoint locations, police and fire stations, and specific places for clandestine rendezvous and observation.

Also, the perps are discussing combustion temperatures developed by various explosives from the standpoint of their suitability for damaging structural steel.

"Intelligence Obtained On Threats Described Targets In Great Detail"
NWD has it ever occurred to you lot over there in Spam Land that your Gov wants you lot to be paranoid and constantly shitting yourselves? I'm no fan of him but the big lard arse who produced "Bowling For Columbine" seems to have it all summed up.

Reds under the Beds in the 50's all over again.

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