Why Fort Dix?

[Updates below, under the “fold.”]

Regarding the terrorist plot against Fort Dix, which was foiled by standard law-enforcement proceduresSteve M. correctly predicted much chest-pounding and feces-throwing on the Right, although Michelle so far has not resorted to multiple exclamation points (!!!). Steve also says,

So apparently no warrantless wiretapping led to these arrests, no torture of suspects in overseas prisons, nothing liberals have objected to in the Patriot Act. Remember that when you’re told that these arrests prove that we can’t trust liberals and Democrats.

In fact, what led to these arrests, apparently, is something right-wingers might object to — a video processor calling the FBI after watching people on a tape shooting guns. I’m surprised that that isn’t already illegal, as the result of pressure from the gun lobby. But maybe that’s a fight for another day.

I should add that it won’t surprise me if it turns out that there’s a lot less to this plot than current reports are suggesting — an overhyped terror arrest would go very nicely with the “did we really kill a top al-Qaeda guy?” reports coming from overseas lately.

Whatever the case, we’ll also hear that this proves that “we have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here,” even though we are fighting them over there and these guys are here anyway (and they came from Albania, where no one’s suggesting we start a surge).

The basic story is that six Islamic radicals were planning to attack Fort Dix and kill soldiers as part of a jihad against America. This is what the Department of Justice is saying, anyhow, so take that with a grain of salt. They were arrested after they tried to purchase AK-47s from a gun merchant who was also an FBI informant, but the six had been under FBI surveillance for more than a year. It appears they were all in the country illegally. [Correction: Some news sources are saying one was a U.S. citizen.] Four were ethnic Albanians, one was born in Turkey, and one was born in Jordan.

Fort Dix today is a training and mobilization center for the Army Reserve and National Guard. I don’t know if there’s a connection, but back in 1999 thousands of ethnic Albanian Muslims were housed at Fort Dix after they had fled war-ravaged Kosovo.

And don’t forget — the NRA wants suspected terrorists to be able to buy guns.

Update: According to CBS News, five of these guys lived in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Cherry Hill is an enclave of old money; there are rumors the public schools there have gold-plated restroom fixtures. Weird.

Oh, CBS News also says:

At the time of the arrests, the plot was in the planning stages and no attack was imminent, CBS News has learned. Officials said this is more of a “homegrown” plot with no ties to al Qaeda or any other international terrorist organization, CBS News reports.

I forgot to mention earlier that one of these geniuses tried to get a terrorist training video tape converted to DVD at a store in Cherry Hill. A store employee notified authorities.

Update 2: Pam the Superboob blames Bill Clinton.

Update 3: Brilliant as ever, La Shawn Barber calls for “ethnic and religious profiling.” Four of these jihadists were ethnic Albanians, dear. As in European. But I’ll go along with religious profiling if it means Pat Robertson goes on a no-fly list.

26 thoughts on “Why Fort Dix?

  1. Pingback: The Heretik : Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

  2. Something I don’t understand… Apparently these guys were planning to go to a military base and shoot soldiers with guns…

    So how exactly is that a “terrorist” plot? A plot, for sure, an attck, for sure … but where does the “terrorist” part come in?


  3. Quoting from the HeraldNet story on the NRA wanting terror suspect so be able to buy guns:

    In a letter this week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, NRA executive director Chris Cox said the bill, offered last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., “would allow arbitrary denial of Second Amendment rights based on mere ‘suspicions’ of a terrorist threat.”

    “As many of our friends in law enforcement have rightly pointed out, the word ‘suspect’ has no legal meaning, particularly when it comes to denying constitutional liberties,” Cox wrote.

    I’m … damned near speechless. Haven’t we been denying the right of habeas corpus to suspects on the mere suspicion of terrorist threat? And the right to a speedy trial? And the right to be represented by an attorney during questioning? And… Jeeze!

    I remember hearing NRA supporters tell us that “if we let them kill the Second Amendment, all our other rights are at risk” or words to that effect. Doesn’t it also work the other way around, guys?

  4. God save us from guys with box cutters. Guys with guns? Move along, nothing to see here. Just a typical day in America.

  5. It’s too bad Pam isn’t consciously funny. What an idiot she is. We went into Bosnia to stop the killing between religious/ethnic groups. She is not even logical – because we kept Muslims from being killed they are attacking us today? Or a good Muslim is a dead Muslim? Bill Clinton comes up repeatedly – what a fixation. Too bad any no brain person can have their own blog, but there it is.

  6. And don’t forget — the NRA wants suspected terrorists to be able to buy guns.

    I’m disappointed, Barbara. You don’t take away someone’s rights because you “suspect.” To support that is foolish and irresponsible and a threat to our constitution.

    Aren’t we always complaining about how arbitrary and often incorrect these terrorist watch lists are? Like the “no-fly” list that is made up of 485,000 terror “suspects”—most of them probably innocent people? The one that you can’t get yourself take off of even after you prove you’re not a terrorist?

You and many of the other lefty bloggers are so eager to beat up on the NRA that you’re not thinking this through. I wish more progressives would stop and think a moment before jumping on the “guns are evil” bandwagon. It’s sad that when it comes to guns, all of a sudden certain people are more than willing to trust the government to determine who is and who is not a terrorist.

    We should not be denying anyone’s rights based on suspicions, especially not when the administration is able to just declare people terrorists and enemy combatants at their whim. Innocent until proven guilty. If someone is a terrorist, arrest them. If they are not—or if we’re not sure—then we cannot deny them their 2nd amendment rights any more than we can deny them their 1st amendment rights.

    If the legislation was taking away 1st amendment rights instead of 2nd amendment rights, you’d be up in arms criticizing it—rightfully so. But because it’s about 2nd amendment rights, you use it as an opportunity to attack our “boogeyman,” the NRA.

    The NRA are right on this one, and you should know better.

  7. Guav says that if illegal aliens under surveillance by the FBI for possible terrorist activities want to buy guns, law enforcement doesn’t need to know about it.

    “Terrorist suspect” means the person is at least on a watch list, if not under active investigation. The article says

    The proposed law described in the article I linked to does NOT automatically prevent a gun sale to a suspected terrorist. It does allow the attorney general the discretion to block gun sales, licenses or permits to terrorist suspects, but it also provides a means for a person so blocked to challenge the A.G.’s decision. If Guav wants to tweak the law to be less burdensome to citizens he is welcome to do so, but if persons already on a terrorist watch list attempt to make a firearm purchase, it should at least set off some alarm bells somewhere.

  8. No, I’m saying that I don’t trust our government—especially under the current administration—to accurately and objectively designate who is or is not a “terrorist.”

    The ability to deny someone who is “appropriately suspected” of being a terrorist seems like a slippery slope to me. The term isn’t defined, and it’s obviously less than probable cause, because if we had probable cause we could just arrest them.

    Would Walter F. Murphy be denied the ability to purchase a firearm in the same way he was almost denied the ability to fly? How did he get on the Terrorist Watch List in the first place? Who decides that? Does this bill deny the suspect of renting a truck or buying fertilizer?

  9. The ability to deny someone who is “appropriately suspected” of being a terrorist seems like a slippery slope to me. The term isn’t defined, and it’s obviously less than probable cause, because if we had probable cause we could just arrest them.

    Not necessarily; law enforcement might just keep the individual under surveillance even if they have probable cause for arrest because they think he will lead them to bigger fish, so to speak.

    I don’t know how “appropriately suspected” is defined in the bill, and as I said if you want to tweak it so that it is less burdensome to the rights of citizens that’s OK with me. Also, I say again, the A.G.’s decision can be challenged.

    However, you’re talking to an eyewitness to the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Don’t talk to me about slippery slopes and watch lists. If there are suspected terrorists in the New York City area I want law enforcement to be all over ’em like ants on a sandwich.

  10. “Appropriately suspected” isn’t defined in the bill, I don’t believe, which is the problem, and no doubt why the NRA is opposing it—not because they want terrorists to be able to buy guns.

    The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof

    You’re talking to an eyewitness to the collapse of the World Trade Center towers as well (I’m on 29th & 7th right now, I was a bit farther downtown on 9/11) although I’m not really sure why that is relevant. The 9/11 hijackers certainly didn’t need guns. If there are terrorists in the NYC area I want the cops all over them as well—but you can’t buy guns in NYC anyway, this bill isn’t very relevant the threat you and I face anyway.

    The terrorist threat we both face is not one of firearms, but of gas attacks in Grand Central, or collapsing a bridge or one of the underwater subway tunnels at rush hour. I think the terrorists have noticed by now that America is unfortunately used to people getting shot—a gun attack is probably the least effective way to terrorize Americans, wouldn’t you say?

    Especially not when we have unguarded ports, chemical and nuclear plants, and extensive public transportation and economic hubs. One single car bomb or suicide bomber would be 500 times more terrifying than any public shooting. I’m not saying I want terrorists to have guns, obviously—I just think they’re thinking a wee bit bigger than that.

    If these “suspected terrorist” watch lists weren’t such an abysmal joke, I wouldn’t care about this bill. But I think we need to be wary of stripping people’s constitutional rights under the guise of “fighting terrorism.”

  11. P.S. In regards to this Fort Dix situation, can a plan to attack a military base and shoot soldiers with guns really be called a terrorist attack? It’s a military operation. Isn’t it only terrorism if it’s directed towards civilians?

    If past experience is any indication, within a couple weeks we’ll find out that this plot only marginally more serious than that “terrorist cell” in Miami of incompetent boobs who were going to launch a “full scale ground war” against the US and blow up the Sears Tower.

    I’ve grown pretty cynical (can you tell?) and I doubt this is all it’s being blown up to be. But we’ll see.

  12. All but one were in the country illegally? And were being watched for a year?

    Lucky them, they weren’t Mexican. Them we get rid of immediately because they threaten the…. I forget, is it the sanctity of marriage? Oh yeah, they go around forcing employers to make deductions from our wage earner paychecks. (It’s a little box they check that says ‘labor pool too large’ that grants them license to pay every non-Mexican less.)

    So anyway, rather than deport them immediately, they just start stalking them. Maybe, just maybe this one will turn out to be a terrorist in a year or two.

    And rather than doing a mall or other crowd suicide bomb (like a functional terrorist could do), they create a plot to get past military checkpoints to battle a few trained soldiers who might be armed?

    So the operative affiliation would be that these aren’t solely terrorists, they’re living breathing Dumb Terrorists. Much like the nefarious ones in Florida that got caught trying to buy combat boots, if I recall correctly.

    Next we’ll be catching guys planning a frontal attack on a SWAT team.

    Yet for some, the fear button’s pushed and the terror collaborators will be us treasonous liberals. The timing has NOTHING No-How No WAY to do with Bush’s new 28% approval rating.

    Albanians, a Turk and Jordanian, huh? Let me check my Pre-emptive War Guidebook…. yessirree, that means our acceptable strategic course is a naval assault on Monaco. Good, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie were really getting on my nerves.

    Mission accomplished.

  13. A little Aesop…anybody?…

    The Shepherd’s Boy and the Wolf

    A Shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep”; but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.

    There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

    It’s sad, but that’s the way I feel. Bush and his clown posse have made a mockery of terrorist threats, and my inclination is to believe our government if fabricating a far greater danger than actually exists.

  14. give it a week and we will find out the truth. probably tourists wanting to visit fort dix or something like that. very bad when we can’t trust our government. these “terrorist stories” are going to become very common as we get closer to the primaries and elections. is there a color high than red????

  15. Six Albanians this, Six Alabamians last week. It’s getting hard to keep up with the terrorists in this country. That’s why the wingnuts focus on only the ones with brown skin. It’s less confusing.

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  17. I as an Albanian am enraged with and embrarrased of these four scumbags who call themselves Albanians. They are the scum of our nation and they are traitors. They wanted to attack the country which Albanian people are most grateful to. They wanted to attack our most valued friend, the USA. I just hope the FBI hands them over to us so they get exactly what they deserve.
    May god bless the USA, and save us all from these lunatics.

  18. What a ridiculous persective to think this is nothing. You would not even be mentioning this if those terrorists had been successful.
    Your quote, “At the time of the arrests, the plot was in the planning stages and no attack was imminent, CBS News has learned….” How cowardly can YOU get to make a statement like that? Are you MIND READERS? not IMMINENT? you must have seen their ‘work breakdown structure? You are a fool if you do not see any imminent danger here. So, if they had caught the nineteen hijackers BEFORE they flew the planes into the buildings, you would have said, ” At the time of the arrests, the plot was in the planning stages and no attack was imminent, CBS News has learned.” you are the epitome of double minded…go away.

  19. marilyn — and you are the epitome of stupid. You are objecting to a quote from CBS News; not anything I wrote. Go holler at CBS News about it if you don’t like it.

    Please note that I was in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and take terrorism very seriously. Probably more so than you do, actually. I’ve seen it.

  20. Guys, these ‘albanians’ are those ‘poor kosovars’ – remember?
    Not from albania, but from Kosovo… (not that it makes big diff. but it sounds a little bit more clear when called the right name).

    US bombed Serbia to protect these P.O.S. jihadists. US went all the way in supporting them… ‘instructors’, ‘training camps in albania’, equipment, propaganda…

    Remember that?

    I kind of have my opinion about why and what here, but being an AverageSerb – you’ll probably think I have a conflict of interest, so I’m interested to hear from you what now and how (and when).

  21. AverageSerb — I remember that very well, and in fact I mentioned Kosovo and linked to an article about Kosovo refugees in the post.

    I don’t know if there’s a connection or not. These six guys were not the sharpest tacks in the box. It’s possible they weren’t thinking of the Kosovo War at all.

  22. Your Update: “According to CBS News, five of these guys lived in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Cherry Hill is an enclave of old money; there are rumors the public schools there have gold-plated restroom fixtures. Weird.”

    Point of information: We sold all our gold faucets on Ebay just recently – Needed the cash to pay Cherry Hill taxes.

  23. Different from you – AverageSerb, we Albanians in Kosova, Albania or other parts of Europe and the world did not celebrate when 9/11 terrorists attacks happened in New York as your compatriots – Averageserbs- were celebrating in Belgrade streets and other major Serb towns and cities. Different from you my ‘buddy’, Albanians all around the world have been unanimous in condemnation and denunciation of this hideous plot against the military base in Fort Dix, involving a very few of our own people who cannot be at all the true representatives of our nation. The American Army enjoys great respect in Kosova and future Kosova’s army will be built based on the models of American national guards and the army.

    Best regards to all Americans!

    Albanian from KOSOVA

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