The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 July 2005

New Attack Tied To Al-Qaeda?

NEW TERRORIST ATTACK?

Thirteen Injured, Plus: New UK Arrests, Irish Islamists?







According to a late BBC report, a bomb explosion in central Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad, has injured 13 people, two critically.

Port of Spain skyline
From BBC: Cosmopolitan Port-Of-Spain is a major port and industrial centre, Central Bank towers in view.



It appears to bear the hallmarks of an Al-Qaeda attack, or at least one in sympathy with recent Islamist atrocities in London and elsewhere.

With extensive Trinidad and Tobago experience, allow me to build a case for Islamo-fascism as the cause, even if local police aren't yet saying so.

Trinidad's internal stability is an American national security issue.

Police and pedestrians help one of the wounded in Port of SpainThis twin-island, democratic, English-speaking nation of 1.4 million residents sits just a few miles off the coast of Venezuela. Like America, it's a melting pot of many different ethnic groups.


Monday's bomb attack left 13 injured. BBC/AP


A former British colony, since independence in 1962, it has built
a relatively high standard of living as a non-OPEC exporter of oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and asphalt components, nearly all sent to the US.

An American ally, Trinidad has close connections to the US in many areas. A number of Americans live and work in the southern part of the island, representing oil companies.

Any Al-Qaeda-backed destablisation attempt could help send American energy prices even higher and give extremists a stronger foothold in the hemisphere.
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago
So far, details of this attack are still emerging, but a man was seen dropping a package into a trash bin near the national parliament building shortly before the attack.

Islamic extremism hit Trinidad several years before the first World Trade Center attacks, with a 1990 coup attempt by 114 Muslim radicals, who blew up police headquarters, took over parliament, television stations and held the country's president hostage.

It took five days for order to be restored and the country's reputation for stability was shattered. It also exposed the country's weak police and military forces.

From a US State Department account of the incident:

In July 1990, the Jamaat al Muslimeen, an extremist Black Muslim group with an unresolved grievance against the government over land claims, tried to overthrow the NAR government. The group held the prime minister and members of parliament hostage for 5 days while rioting shook Port of Spain.

After a long standoff with the police and military, the Jamaat al Muslimeen leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, and his followers surrendered to Trinidadian authorities. In July 1992, the Court of Appeal upheld the validity of a government amnesty given to the Jamaat members during the hostage crisis.

Abu Bakr and 113 other Jamaat members were jailed for two years while other courts debated the amnesty's validity. All 114 members were eventually released after a ruling by the U.K. Privy Council.


Since then, Trinidad has been able to hold the line on the radicals, with no new attacks, but this could be evidence of a new push.

Map of Trinidad and TobagoThe irony is that very few of Trinidad's citizens are Muslims, only six percent, according to the State Department.


The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago sits just a few miles off the coast of Venezuela. BBC graphic


There's a fairly even balance between Africans and Europeans, predominantly Roman Catholics and East Indians, nearly all Hindus. In recent years, Protestant missionaries have converted a significant chunk of the population.

With ongoing minor tensions between the two groups, played out politically in parliament, there are no radical factions associated with either side. It's generally a civil society, with other problems: it's used a trans-shipment point for South American drugs headed to the US.

Trinidad has made a huge effort to be supportive of the many faiths practiced in the country, by recognizing their religious holidays. Muslims have been included, despite their tiny population percentage.

Clearly, this was a terrorist action and there's simply an absence of other groups in Trinidad that could be responsible for the attack.

Islamic extremists have a history of violent radicalism on the island, therefore suspicion should begin there.

Is Al-Qaeda directly responsible? Possibly, but it could be something done in sympathy with recent attacks in London and Madrid.


UPDATE
: Tuesday Trinidad newspaper coverage here. Warning: graphic images of victims. Police not eager to blame terrorism, in denial. What else is it?

At Free Republic, posters add relevant links to previous stories about suspected movement between Al-Qaeda operatives hiding in Trinidad later attempting, or possibly succeeding, in entering the US.


UPDATE: UPI reporting military ruling out terrorism. Tell that to a shaken public, thousands of whom evacuated the city after the attack. What else could you call it? A bomb goes off near parliament, what's that, an accident? Smells like a cover-up attempt.

Other Caribbean nations worried. Jamaica Observer story here.


Writer Taran, at a site called KnowProSE takes issue with my account of the Trinidad bombing, here's an excerpt:

All that's lacking is... evidence. We may never actually know that there were 'terrorist links' because of the helicopter wash, but what usually happens in a terrorist attack is someone claims responsibility. To the time of this writing, nobody has done so - or if they have, the general public hasn't been informed.

So while Al-Quaeda is as much of a solution for a scapegoat as a disgruntled Maraj Jeweller employee, nobody knows - and it's unlikely that the crackpipeshot police force will ever know. Further, if it was Al Quaeda- there are plenty of other targets in Trinidad and Tobago which would have been more devastating and have less security than Frederick Street.


My response: the government has bent over backwards to placate Muslims in the country for many years. Admitting this is a terrorist action by Al-Qaeda members or sympathizers means facing the failure of this policy to prevent further violence.

Taran admits that mishandling evidence put a damper on the investigation, so downplaying its origin becomes necessary for police. Trinidad's police have been notoriously inept over the years, to the point where the government had to call in Scotland Yard for retraining.

Declaring it a "criminal action" echoes the language of Howard Dean and American Democrats. Of course it's terrorism. The speed with which they ruled it out is laughable, despite having no other real theory.

News accounts have politicians decrying societal decay, as though it's a problem with common criminals. Coming just days after London, however, it's too big of a coincidence to ignore, given the radical Muslim element in the country.

If Trinidad regularly had bombings linked to criminals, that would be one thing, but this is not common in the country.

Second-guessing the bombing location doesn't provide insight, either. It was placed in a busy city location, near parliament. That's where you'd expect a terrorist to operate.


Basque separatists claim responsibility for today's bomb blasts in Spain.


Breaking: arrests in UK. From the BBC:

Arrests have been made in Yorkshire after the identity of the suspected London bus bomber led police to make a series of raids.

Security sources said the bus bomb suspect died in the blast but it is unclear if it was a suicide bombing.

They believe the four bombers were British born and all died in the Thursday's bombings.

Police have carried out controlled explosions in Leeds and Luton and searched six houses.

Former Queen guitarist Brian May blames US and UK for bomb attacks.

Via WorldNetDaily: The Scotsman has a report on Islamists moving to Ireland from the UK.

The reason: possibly to operate in an area away from British intelligence services. However, PM Bertie Ahern says Ireland is working with the UK on data-sharing.


Biased BBC scores again
, skewering the Beeb for striking the word "terrorist" from news reports. Well done!


Stupid Euro tricks: EU
more worried about vitamin sales than terrorism.

Welcome Michelle Malkin and Free Republic readers.

9 Comments:

  • Doctor Files Lawsuit Against Don Imus--- Jul 11, 5:11 PM (ET) By SAMUEL MAULL
    --- NEW YORK (AP) - A doctor who once took care of sick children at Don Imus' New Mexico ranch has sued the tart-tongued broadcasting personality for slander, . . .

    To:
    Dr. Dr. Howard Allen Pearson
    Professor Emeritus Pediatrics
    Yale University
    howard.pearson@yale.edu

    From:
    Plinio Designori, Magistor
    www.New Ruskin College.com PlinioDesignori @NewRuskin College.com

    Re. Imus Watch: 07-11-05

    Dear Dr. Howard Allen Pearson;

    You do not know me but for a number of years I have been targeted by Don Imus. Whenever I read how Don
    Imus has hurt someone else I write to them and offer what information I have about Don Imus in the hopes that his other victims will benefit from knowledge about my experience.



    Therefore, I invite you to visit my web site, www.NewRuskinCollege.com , where I have described how Imus has harassed and oppressed me for these many years.

    My troubles began when I inadvertently came to the attention of Don Imus and a number of other figures in the mass media. Starting in 1988 I wrote some letters to the U. S. Senate about the importance of technology in education. (These letters are available for review at my web site just follow the links to the Math Project Archives and the New Ruskin College Project Archives which are located in the Moynihan Memorial Library @New Ruskin College.com.)

    My letter writing campaign was a success only in the sense that I did manage to attract public notice. Unfortunately not for or in the way I had intended. Rather than focusing on the use of laser disk technology in education many people, including Don Imus, focused their attention on me. On me as an individual.

    I will not here bore you with the details but is suffices to say that over the following fifteen years, even though I stopped my letter writing campaign, years ago, these people, including Don Imus, have followed me from place to place, job to job, harassing me, oppressing me, in short they have driven me to ruin and despair.

    In 2003 I set up my web site in the hopes that they would leave me alone. They have not.

    My hope was that by making their actions public people would come forward and testify against them. No one ever came forward. I am all alone.

    I wish you good luck with your law suit against Don Imus.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 July, 2005 11:58  

  • Anon, working on the Imus topic for later today.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 12 July, 2005 12:19  

  • Taran doesn't ADMIT anything. Your entry's title is inflammatory and doesn't hold evidence to support the title.

    The site called 'KnowProSE.com' is in the Caribbean region, and I'm a Trinidadian.

    Pull in the reins. You're in our house.

    By Anonymous Taran, at 12 July, 2005 19:36  

  • Taran, here's what I took to be an admission of a police mishandling:

    "We may never actually know that there were 'terrorist links' because of the helicopter wash"

    Yes, the helicopter landing that scattered the evidence before police could collect it. Nice.

    I don't think the headline was inflammatory, it's more than fair to speculate about terror links in this case.

    Your take is that it can be ruled out, because no evidence has yet been found. That's faulty reasoning.

    It's a country with a history of Islamic radicalism, particularly the 1990 coup attempt. A bomb goes off just a few days after attacks in London.

    The Free Republic link above takes you to a discussion where readers, some of them Trinidadian, include other links to stories on Al-Qaeda connections to the country. They've been documented over the last couple of years.

    Questioning the police and governmental response is not an attack on the country as a whole.

    I don't mind the sparring, in fact it's encouraged here, I take issue with only one point: your assumption I'm not familiar with the country.

    By Anonymous Brian Maloney, at 12 July, 2005 21:05  

  • Outstanding report, Brian.

    Very well done, great depth.

    (Chirping bird asks...Audio clips?)

    Cheers!

    By Anonymous USMC_Vet, at 13 July, 2005 09:59  

  • I think there isn't enough evidence to confirm that its an Al Qaeda or Jamaat Al Muslimeen terrorist attack since there clearly isn't enough information found thus far and most importantly noone has taken credit for the attack.

    By Blogger Christopher, at 13 July, 2005 14:34  

  • Well, well you kick in the pants the MSM who should have covered this attack as much as the London bombings...

    By Blogger Josef, at 13 July, 2005 23:55  

  • Brian. That's not an admission. You're twisting things so that you can maintain some level of sensationalism, and I find it unethical and reeking of hubris. The fact is that you are discounting local weblogger perspectives.You pretend to have a discussion for weblog ratings, and that stops here.

    Without one iota of evidence, you and Michelle Malkin have perpetuated a fear instead of finding basis in facts. Congratulations.

    Of course, I've already commented on my weblog. Frankly, you know nothing about Trinidad and Tobago. Stick to what you know, kid.

    By Anonymous Taran, at 14 July, 2005 16:01  

  • I'd like to think the blogger believes the BBC and other International news organisations have more credibilty than local bloggers and for that reason, only, he advanced this sensationalist post.

    I don't think anything here is intentionally malicious, particularly as there appears to be very little editorialisation.

    By Blogger anti, at 29 November, 2005 20:28  

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