Home > Oz Politics > Habib again

Habib again

February 21st, 2005

The Monday Message Board has a lively discussion of the Habib case, and I thought I’d make my own observations. Based on the evidence I’ve seen, I’m fairly confident of three things

* Habib was up to something connected with Islamic militants in Afghanistan

* After his arrest he was tortured (in Pakistan and Egypt) and subject to cruel and degrading treatment (in Guantanamo Bay)

* The Australian government knew about and approved Habib’s treatment[1].

A lot of participants in the debate seem to assume that, if you accept the first point, the second and third don’t really matter. I would have hoped that this kind of position didn’t need to be refuted, but that’s apparently not the case, so I’ll try.

Update A lengthy comments thread already, but it’s interesting that no-one, as far as I can see has disagreed with my factual conclusions. If there are people out there who think that Habib is an innocent bystander they haven’t shown up here. And, although there are plenty of commenters willing to defend torture, no-one, it seems, is willing to put their name (or handle) to a claim that the government is telling the truth.

First, torture is evil.

Second, whether or not Habib was guilty as insinuated (he’s never been charged), if you approve of torture you approve of torturing innocents because this will inevitably happen. In fact, it already has.

Third, Habib’s own case illustrates the point that torture doesn’t work, and is counterproductive. The Americans had him (and many of his alleged accomplices) for three years and still couldn’t pin anything on him. If he was a terrorist to start with, he’s a hardened terrorist now. If he was a noisy malcontent, he and all his friends have a lot more reason to be noisy and malcontented, and some will probably go further.

fn1. Of course, with the kind of definitional legerdemain that characterises this government, no evidence could possibly prove this claim. In matters of this kind, things are now set up so that everyone knows and nobody knows.

Categories: Oz Politics Tags:
  1. Ros
    February 25th, 2005 at 10:03 | #1

    Of those of us who are prepared to admit that they watch crime series on TV, did anyone see the Law and Order SVU last night. What made this one interesting was that it revolved around basically hurting and then torturing an individual to save a victim’s life. here they succeeded. My point, this is popular American culture, this is capitlist society so one can assume that they feel they are on the money with their plot. If their judgment is right the average American would believe that in certain circumstances torture is a goer.
    While it fair enough that as a private individual JQ can simply say I do not talk to people who advocate torture and it is one of the great crimes, this is not I would suggest an option for those we charge with representing us . I would also suspect that like it or not most Australians would see this plot representing a neccessary evil shall we say.
    I also think that because they can run with this without world war 3 breaking out, that not just the “red” people in the US would give it the OK, so would a number of the”blue” people.
    So do we work ourselves up into a absolute fury or do we talk about these issues with those who hold contrary views.
    It is another of these perplexing arguments in that while the US and the UK are constantly in the gun for occasions of tortue? and barbarity certainly, most of the world just get’s on with it. And certainly the Al Qaeda and acolytes are right into it. Is the effect of the total focus on the US and the UK to leave the matter of practice we torture lot very comfortable that they are never going to be under any pressure, thus business as usaul and thank you.
    One of the few moments that the Un has entertained me was listening to the swedish rep re Human Rights explaining in an interview that of course the US had to be tipped off, great abusers that they were, and then without a blink on into how now they weren’t there no onme would stand up to the Chinese so the Yanks had let them down by being kicked off.
    Maybe that is true of many of us whatever our protestations, we don’t like you but we would like you to look out for us, but please hide from us how you do.
    Oh and don’t provoke the bad guys or at least not without making it clear that we are not party to your perfidy.
    Or so it seems to me when I am not being optimistic.

  2. Alex
    February 25th, 2005 at 10:20 | #2

    Why is it that this thread, and others dealing with relations between Islam and the West, remind me of a pack of dogs fighting over a bone?

    Could it be the excessive DOGmatism of those involved?

  3. Andrew Reynolds
    February 25th, 2005 at 10:44 | #3

    Jack,
    On the pink elephants I was just pointing out the flaw in the logic. If you can’t follow that, well…
    As fyodor rightly pointed out, martial law does not give anyone the right to lock people up indefinitely without judicial process – consult any Western military code of justice. Martial law still contains that thing beloved of “us” (amusing – the first time I have been called that in a long time) wets – law. There is no precedent for this and, as a person who is concerned about any power over my life, scary.

  4. Alex
    February 25th, 2005 at 11:19 | #4

    Incarceration of non-combatants thought to be potentially favourably disposed to the enemy has a long history – think Germans in Aust in WWI, Japanese in the US in WWII, Germans and Italians in Aus in WWII. The difficult issue here seems to be that it will be hard to ever say the “war” has ended. Further to that, the conditions under which they are being held are possibly unnecessarily harsh.

    On the point of Mr Habib being sent to Pakistan and Egypt, although it seems highly likely that the main reason for sending him is that the US was outsourcing its torture, it is certainly possible that the Pakistani and Egyptian authorities had legitimate reasons of their own for wanting to question him. His activities in Pakistan seem to have been dubious, to say the least, while I understand he is an Egyptian, as well as Australian citizen. And, while we may disapprove of torture, it seems to be fairly routine procedure in questioning even fairly unimportant prisoners in some places.

    On JQ’s point about the government ensuring that it is impossible to prove definitely that they knew what was happening to Habib, this may be true but it is hardly a startling revelation. While this government may be somewhate better than most at ensuring potentially embarrassing knowledge does not reach the minister’s ears, all governments are prone to fall back on the easy way out. As indeed are individuals. Perhaps JQ should reread some bits of the OT to refresh his memory on the capacity of humankind for deceit.

  5. February 25th, 2005 at 11:33 | #5

    Fyodor — 25/2/2005 @ 8:32 am

    WTF does [terrorist attacks on Bali] have to do with GTMO?

    ………….
    What does Fyodors malicious effusions have to do with my point? I cited Bali as an example of actual and existing terrorism, rather than the efficacy of GTMO per se. This is because Andrew Reynolds, like so many Wets, apparently believes that the threat of terrorism is equivalent to the threat of Pink Elephants. Fyodor is either incompetent at logic or on board with Reynolds “Pink Elephants = Terrorist” thesis. Probably both.

    detention on GTMO had no effect on global terrorist activity – is probably closer to the mark.

    ………
    Fyodor is making fact-free assertions, as usual. The number of global terrorist incidents fell below trend after Afghanistan/GTMO, later spiking after the Iraq/AbuGharib fiasco. The US State Dept “Patterns of Global Terrorism (2002) reports that:

    International terrorists conducted 199 attacks in 2002, a significant drop (44%).

    post-GTMO pre-Iraq decline in terrorism was due to the application of martial law. The higher pace of civilian counter-terrorism did its bit. But some (non-violent) aspects of harsher GTMO conditions did help to extract useful information. As well as keeping some potential terrorists cooling their heels for a while.
    FWIW, my own rule of thumb for regulating interrogations of terrorists is that terrorist incarceration facilities are military installations and shoud be subject to martial law. Insubordinate, or fouling-up, recruits get plenty of harassment at boot camp. So if some (non-violent) argie-bargie was good enough for me when I goofed off then its good enough for terrorists when they plot to incinerate and mutilate my fellow citizens with God knows what kind of fiendish weapons in the future.
    Stating that GTMO, run properly, is efficacious in detecting and deterring terrorists is not self-evidently true. But, since Hume, it is apparent that no synthetic propositions are self-evident. Are is Fyodor going to hobble all world knowledge, as well as martial counter-terrorism, now?
    This is war, not philosophy 101. Fyodor and his Wets would have us bogged down in swamp of epistemelogical nihilism, or endless legalistic pettifoggery, rather than wage an effective struggle against the terrorists. Thats why the Wets are not trusted in Homeland Security matters.

  6. February 25th, 2005 at 11:41 | #6

    Andrew Reynolds # comment 103 25/2/2005 @ 10:44 am shows that his humour is as dull as his rigour is sloppy:

    Jack, On the pink elephants I was just pointing out the flaw in the logic. If you can’t follow that, well…

    ……..
    Andrew, I was making, whats known in logic, as a reductio ad absurdum of your ridiculous argument. If you cant follow that well…

  7. Fyodor
    February 25th, 2005 at 13:57 | #7

    No Jack, what you were making, in logic, is known as an error of inference.

    Given:

    a = GTMO detains terrorists
    b = terrorist attacks decrease

    you propose c = if a, then b.

    You then assert that if b, then c, which anyone with a command of logic knows is an incorrect inference.

    AR did nothing more than point this out. Your response was fatuous hyperbole.

    If you can’t follow that, well…you don’t understand logic. You’ve also mangled Hume, who did nothing to you. Congratulations.

  8. February 25th, 2005 at 14:20 | #8

    Fyodor — 25/2/2005 @ 1:57 pm misses the point:

    No Jack, what you were making, in logic, is known as an error of inference.
    AR did nothing more than point this out.

    ………….
    No. AR & Fyodor are performing acts of fallacio [sic] on themselves. This is an obscene abuse of logic.
    I was lampooning AR’s false identification between proverbial threats (“Pink Elephant”) with actual and existing threats (terrorist murderers). Fyodor & AR are making perfect fools of themselves by confusing this with my criticism of AR’s corollary analogy between the spurious (“hanging signs”) and effective (“GTMO martial law”) remedies for given threats.
    I will concede that I am sometimes recklesslly cavalier in the way I defend the efficacy of partial martial law as counter-terrorist measure in the confine of a comments thread. Considered solely as a syllogism, the conclusion “reducing the number of terrorist incidents” does not follow strictly from the minor premise “declaring martial law”.
    Most people, including me, lazily do not bother to fill in the major premise: “getting tough on terrorists reduces their effective capacity”.
    But then one can never make enough bleeding obvious statements to satisy our terrorist-pampering Wets.
    This matter, thanks be praised, can be settled by empirical (statistical and anecdotal) evidence.
    This is something I provide. But brute facts are conspicuously absent from Fyodor & AR’s dainty ruminations.

  9. February 25th, 2005 at 15:03 | #9

    Andrew Reynolds — 25/2/2005 @ 10:44 am makes a reasonable point:

    As fyodor rightly pointed out, martial law does not give anyone the right to lock people up indefinitely without judicial process – consult any Western military code of justice. Martial law still contains that thing beloved of “us� (amusing – the first time I have been called that in a long time) wets – law.


    I have mainly been concerned with defending the principle of using martial law – allowing the legitimacy of a lawful state to use greater military powers of investigation, interrogation and detention – in relation to penal treatment of those rounded up in the GWOT. And I believe the evidence shows that, surprise, partial martial methods have efficacy in a partially military conflict.
    This is not arbitrary statism, it is getting the right tool for the job and there is plenty of legal precedent for it.
    I will conceded that some of the GTMO MO’s – use of violent force in interrogation, endless denial of habeas corpus – are excessive in practice. I will leave to others whether this is an insitutional or individual failure. Probably both.
    This hardly counts as “arbitrary and lawless statism” since there has been accountability through judicial oversight and congressional committee and the press. Which I have no problem with.
    What I do have a problem with is the Wets tendency to think that the GWOT is a police matter pure and simple, with only civil law applicable. This approach was tried under Clinton and the problem got worse as the nineties wore on.
    After 911 & Bali, both of which were made easier by permissive policing, I am not up for taking any chances with ethnic-lobbying and over-lawyering Wets when hunting down and killing or capturing terrorists. Some discriminate War-War is more effective than jaw-jaw when dealing with fanatical outlaw murderers.

  10. Paul Norton
    February 25th, 2005 at 15:38 | #10

    “Why is it that this thread, and others dealing with relations between Islam and the West, remind me of a pack of dogs fighting over a bone?”

    Alex, another apt metaphor involving dogs can be found in a scripture common to Islam, Judaism and Christianity – Proverbs 26:11.

  11. February 25th, 2005 at 15:48 | #11

    AR, the fallacy in your position is the assumption that there can always be a “non-threatening manner”. It just isn’t so. In certain circumstances any approach is threatening.

    To get at the detail, and to show that I have some knowledge of the law involved, you would normally deal with your scenario as follows:-

    - Call out “halt”.

    - If the person approaching does not halt, repeat the cry once.

    - If the person still does not halt, shoot (to kill); if the person does halt, proceed with the rest of the steps below.

    - Call out “advance one and be recognised”.

    - One and aonly one of the person or persons should proceed; if not, shoot.

    - If we have got that far, at a suitable moment shout “halt” – once. If the person does not halt, shoot.

    - Then one of your own proceeds to discuss terms with their representative. If no agreement can be reached, both return and the attack continues.

    I won’t go into detail on what happens if the agreement is made. Remember, however, that you don’t have to proceed beyond “halt” if you don’t want to – and you can assess any threat on the basis of a persistence in attempting to reach you.

    Don’t forget human bombs. You don’t have to let anyone impose anything on your keeping control of the situation.

  12. February 25th, 2005 at 15:49 | #12

    Oops – I left out the part about “who goes there?”. It doesn’t affect the principle.

  13. Andrew Reynolds
    February 25th, 2005 at 16:32 | #13

    Jack,
    Just to put the last possible misunderstanding in my argument to bed, please change all references to “pink elephants” to “terrorist murderers” and that then adds the requisite seriousness to it without changing the essential logic.
    The question, however, remains. How do you know the GTMO solution has been effective? I believe that the only possible way to know that it has been effective would be if you:
    1 Had access to the (presumably) classified reports from GTMO that detailed upcoming terror attacks.
    2 That you knew that the intelligence had not also arrived from other sources
    3 That those attacks had not proceeded as a result.
    I presume you, like the rest of us, do not have that data, if any exists. Without that there is no way for any of us to know it had been effective. That is the flaw in your logic I was pointing out. All we know for certain is that there have been no major attacks in the US since the 11th of September attacks.
    The problem with the use of ‘partial’ martial law is that you then get to choose which bits to use. It looks like the US has chosen to use the arrest and detention part without the inconvenient judicial oversight bit – their initial arguments to the Supreme Court were that the US judicial system, whether civil or military, had no authority. This would have meant that GTMO was a law free zone. They certainly seemed to be treating it as such before it got to the Supreme Court. (As a side note, I wonder if anyone told this to the producers of “A Few Good Menâ€?. It may have made the court argument a little moot).
    If the ‘enemy combatants’ had been subject to martial law I would not have a problem – they were in a war zone, and presumably they were not picked up purely at random, but they have not even had the benefit of that. Al I have been saying is that this is not good enough and that I believe that this is also counter-productive in the WOT.

  14. Alex
    February 25th, 2005 at 16:49 | #14

    Very apt comment by Paul Norton. Although participants in this thread might take comfort from Ecclesiastes 9:4.

  15. February 25th, 2005 at 18:30 | #15

    Andrew Reynolds — 25/2/2005 @ 4:32 pm apriori, makes an impossible demand, wanting to see the evidence before the experiment:

    The question, however, remains. How do you know the GTMO solution has been effective? I believe that the only possible way to know that it has been effective would be if you:….


    ……………………….
    Or this demand, if aposteriori, is possible but undesirable. The GTMO evidence AR wants would compromise in the GWOT sources. Therefore the only way that AR could agree to GTMO’s approach would in fact undermine the whole approach. This is a perfect Catch-22. My congratulations on AR for stumbling on yet another way to undermine the GWOT.
    Here is my proof, which does not meet the stringent standards of a legal court or a sci-tech lab, but which will do for the purpose at hand. There is the statistical evidence. Maybe a 44% decline in terrorist incidents is not enought because the post-Afghan decline in terrorism might not be propter-hoc GTMO.
    Perhaps this report might satisfy AR’s stringent evidentiary conditions.

    CHICAGO : Guantanamo Bay detainees have given up intelligence that helped foil attacks planned for the upcoming Athens Olympics and possibly a dozen attacks elsewhere,

    ………
    But maybe this wont do because the authorities mabe tampered with the evidence or are a dodgy source:

    The daily did not elaborate on US military claims during an on-site “intelligence briefing,” but noted that they were impossible to verify independently.

    ….
    Or maybe y an actual GTMO interrogator, might sway him:

    Stress broke a young bomb maker, for instance. Six months into the war, special forces brought a young Afghan to the Kandahar facility, the likely accomplice of a Taliban explosives expert who had been blowing up aid workers. Joe Martin got the assignment.
    …………………….
    The interrogation continued: “You’ll stand here until you tell me your friend.”
    Martin picked up a book and started reading. Several hours later, the young Taliban was losing his balance and was clearly terrified. Moreover, he’s got two “big hillbilly guards staring at him who want to kill him,” the interrogator recalls.
    …………………
    The prisoner starts to fall; the guards stand him back up. If he falls again, and can’t get back up, Martin can do nothing further.
    ………………
    In the captive’s mind, days have passed, and he has no idea what awaits him. He discloses where he planted bombs on a road and where to find his associate.
    “The price?” Martin asks. “I made a man stand up. Is this unlawful coercion?”

    ……………………..
    Under civil law this interrogation technique is illegal. The interrogators conduct was “tantamount to torture”. If the Wets had their way, the GTMO prisoners could all sit the war out in comfy civil prisons whilst innocent people get blown to kingdom come.
    BTW, this story, and subsequent martial civil and political investigations, make a mockery of AR’s false & defamatory characterisation of GTMO as “a law free zone.” with no accountability. But I suppose its a step up from Fyodor’s serial idiocies about “Big Brother”, “unlimited statism” etc.
    I am sure AR could find fault with all anecdotal, statistical and documental evidence that I could bring to the table. He is convinced that martial action in the GWOT is not certain to get results, or may get hands soiled. So, like Digoenes,
    in a barrel, he is content to do nothing.
    I am not prepared tie the military’s hands behind, whilst the jihadists sense our weakness, sitting around waiting for them to get their hands on the Big One.
    It looks suspiciously like the Wets, in the GWOT, are more interested in process rather than results. Or the result they are interested in results alright: a sqalid partisan one (Howard-hatred etc).

  16. February 25th, 2005 at 19:06 | #16

    Apologies for egregious formatting in comment #115. Here, FWIW, is a properly tagged post. PS Pr Q How about a decent preview field?

    ……………….
    Andrew Reynolds — 25/2/2005 @ 4:32 pm makes, apriori, an impossible demand, wanting to see the evidence before the experiment:

    The question, however, remains. How do you know the GTMO solution has been effective? I believe that the only possible way to know that it has been effective would be if you:….

    ……
    Or this demand, if aposteriori, is possible but undesirable. The GTMO evidence AR wants would compromise in the GWOT sources. Therefore the only way that AR could agree to GTMO’s approach would in fact undermine the whole approach. This is a perfect Catch-22. My congratulations on AR for stumbling on yet another way to undermine the GWOT.
    Here is my evidence which does not meet the stringent standards of a legal court or a sci-tech lab. But which will do for the purpose at hand: making progress. There is the statistical evidence. Maybe a 44% decline in terrorist incidents is not impressive because the post-Afghan decline in terrorism might not be propter-hoc GTMO.
    Perhaps this report might satisfy AR’s stringent evidentiary conditions.

    CHICAGO : Guantanamo Bay detainees have given up intelligence that helped foil attacks planned for the upcoming Athens Olympics and possibly a dozen attacks elsewhere,

    ..
    But this wont do because maybe the authorities mabe tampered with the evidence or are a dodgy source:

    The daily did not elaborate on US military claims during an on-site “intelligence briefing,� but noted that they were impossible to verify independently.

    …….
    Or maybe this report, by an actual GRMO interrogator, might sway him:<

    Stress broke a young bomb maker, for instance. Six months into the war, special forces brought a young Afghan to the Kandahar facility, the likely accomplice of a Taliban explosives expert who had been blowing up aid workers. Joe Martin got the assignment……………………..
    The interrogation continued: “You’ll stand here until you tell me your friend.�
    Martin picked up a book and started reading. Several hours later, the young Taliban was losing his balance and was clearly terrified. Moreover, he’s got two “big hillbilly guards staring at him who want to kill him,â€? the interrogator recalls………………….
    The prisoner starts to fall; the guards stand him back up. If he falls again, and can’t get back up, Martin can do nothing further………………
    In the captive’s mind, days have passed, and he has no idea what awaits him. He discloses where he planted bombs on a road and where to find his associate.
    “The price?� Martin asks. “I made a man stand up. Is this unlawful coercion?�
    ………………..
    Under civil law this interrogation technique is illegal. The interrogators conduct was “tantamount to torture�. If the Wets had their way, the GTMO prisoners could all sit the war out in comfy civil prisons whilst innocent people get blown to kingdom come.
    BTW, this story, and subsequent martial civil and political investigations, make a mockery of AR’s false & defamatory characterisation of GTMO as “a law free zone.� with no accountability. But I suppose its a step up from Fyodor’s serial idiocies about “Big Brother�, “unlimited statism� etc.
    I am sure AR could find fault with all anecdotal, statistical and documental evidence that I could bring to the table. He is convinced that martial action in the GWOT is not certain to get results, or may get hands soiled. So, like Digoenes in a barrel, he is content to do nothing.
    I am not prepared to let over-lawyers and ethnic lobbyists tie the military’s hands whilst the jihadists, sensing our weakness, busy themselves with geting their hands on serious WMDs.
    It looks suspiciously like the Wets, in the GWOT, are more interested in process rather than results. Or the result they are interested in results alright: a sqalid partisan one (Howard-hatred etc).

  17. Ian Gould
    February 26th, 2005 at 11:27 | #17

    I find it ironic that supporters of the “war on terror” cite Bali in support of their position.

    The Indonesian and Australian governments chose specifcally to treat Bali as a criminal rather than a military act.

    The investigation was handled by the Indonesian police with Australkian Federal Police assistance – not the Indonesian military. There wasn’t a massive deployment of Indonesian troops to shut down the Madrassas of eastern Java. Australia didn’t set a deadlien for the capture of perpetrators and threaten a military attack if it wasn’t met.

    Despite this the investigation was an eminent success.

  18. Don Wigan
    February 26th, 2005 at 17:39 | #18

    Terrific post, Observa. You’ve won the point that we can talk across the gap.

    Humour and a bit of self-parody is the best medicine for a lot of problems.

  19. February 26th, 2005 at 23:44 | #19

    Ian Gould — 26/2/2005 @ 11:27 am is right as far as he goes, but that is not far:

    I find it ironic that supporters of the “war on terror� cite Bali in support of their position.
    The Indonesian and Australian governments chose specifcally to treat Bali as a criminal rather than a military act.
    the investigation was an eminent success.

    ….
    The investigation is a less than total success b/c JI and Bashir have not been effectively supressed.
    In any case, I have no where said that I am opposed to the use of civil counter-terrorist methods. It is false to imply this. I am for using whatever weapons that work, and not making contrived, weak & partisan arguments to forestall the martial option.
    The GWOT is a clash within civilisations b/w moderate & militant Islam. On the subject of countering the rise of militant Islam in INDON: the sectarian & ethnic militias of E Timor received heavy support from Islamacist elements in Korpassus. This was dealt with by a fairly massive US/AUS military intervention.
    The pre-911 handling of Al Quaeda as an example of the failure of civil, or half-hearted martial, modes of counter-terrorism.

  20. Fyodor
    February 28th, 2005 at 06:38 | #20

    Jack,

    I was going to leave this thread well alone as you seemed well capable of arguing with yourself for the foreseeable future. However, I can’t let this “howler” go by:

    “The GWOT is a clash within civilisations b/w moderate & militant Islam. On the subject of countering the rise of militant Islam in INDON: the sectarian & ethnic militias of E Timor received heavy support from Islamacist elements in Korpassus. This was dealt with by a fairly massive US/AUS military intervention. The pre-911 handling of Al Quaeda as an example of the failure of civil, or half-hearted martial, modes of counter-terrorism.”

    There’s evidence that Indonesian government forces, including KOPASSUS [please remember that spelling - I corrected you the last time, but you're evidently a slow learner] supported anti-independence militias in ET, but KOPASSUS didn’t need any Islamic incentive to suppress a separatist movement. They haven’t in thoroughly Muslim Aceh, and haven’t in ET.

    KOPASSUS is a fundamentally statist, nationalist organisation, not a hotbed of Islamic fanaticism. They’re particularly good at torture, illegal kidnappings and detentions, all in the name of protecting the sovereignty of their country. You know, all the good stuff you like. They’re noted “for using whatever weapons that work, and not making contrived, weak & partisan arguments to forestall the martial option.” They don’t think much of the rule of law, either, but you know what they say about eggs and omelette.

    Your attempt to tie ET into an overarching GWOT thesis is ludicrous.

  21. February 28th, 2005 at 12:36 | #21

    Fyodor — 28/2/2005 @ 6:38 am sets a new low for mendacity and falsity, both about my position and the GWOT:

    KOPASSUS didn’t need any Islamic incentive to suppress a separatist movement… Your attempt to tie ET into an overarching GWOT thesis is ludicrous. …………………..

    Fyodor, as he has done elsewhere, is propagating falsehoods in order to misrepresent massacres.The GWOT is essentially a conflict within Islamic civilisation, with militants fighting moderates, rather than a clash between Islamic civilisations & the RoW, with Islamics fighting infidels. It is a struggle for the soul & states of Islamia.A key strategy of the contestants is to use xenophobic (sectarian & nationalist) motives to whip up conflict between militant and moderate forces. Race usually goes with religion. That is no reason for Fyodor to deny the Islamacist aspects in the GWOT conflicts roiling the islands to our North. I have corrected Fyodor before on his attempts to play down Islamic militants role in KOPPASSUS terroristic activities. He still seems keen on covering this up, although I do not know why. Perhaps he is not keen on admitting that Islamacist terrorism is a real political threat to the security of our region. The experts and ground-players say otherwise. Too bad for him and his bankrupt ideology.Here is Damien Kingsbury, someone who (unlike Fydodor) is prepared to tell call a spade a spade, reporting on the association between nationalist and sectarian forces in E Timor:

    Kopassus also set up the Islamic organisation Komando Jihad that hijacked the plane in 1981 and which has since emerged as Jemaah Islamiah. Kopassus members trained the notorious Laskar Jihad Islamic militia, which stepped up conflict in the Ambon region, leaving up to 10,000 dead. ……………….

    Fyodor seems ignorant of the political sub-text to the INDON martial and clerical axis, Through the nineties there was a strong connection between rogue elements in the INDON military and the spread of jihadist militias, which were used by the military to countervale INDON’s centrifugal tendencies:

    it is most likely that the jihad forces are also politically backed by Wiranto and Djadja Suparman, two top army generals who have currently been sacked by President Wahid. In East Java, military backing for these Muslim militias comes from Mayor General Sudi Silalahi, chief of the Brawijaya army command. The jihad forces must also have widespread support from police commanders in West Java, Jakarta, and Ambon, Finally, the jihad forces must also have support within the top ranks of the Indonesian Navy,………………………

    Experts on the INDON religious affairs reported the rise of Islamic militancy connected with the desire of martial and clerical authorities to mobilise sectarian sentiment to hold on to what they had:

    Ultra-conservative Muslims rallied to the president’s side, calling for jihad against independence fighters in East Timor, now portrayed not merely as anti-Indonesian but anti-Islamic.…………….

    This ties in with the GWOT. Bin Laden himself explicitly stated that the Bali bombings were jihadist payback for Crusader [AUS] forces taking Muslim lands in Timor.

    TRANSLATION OF OSAMA BIN LADEN: "The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores and they landed on East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world." According to the school’s founder Chozin, the killing of infidels can be viewed as not terrorism, but holy war.…………………

    High ranking US officials report links between Bin Laden supporters and Laskar Jihad, which is supported by the fact that Wahhabists financed the revival of INDON Islamic fundamentalism during the nineties:

    On September 16, the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia stated that the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta would be the next target of terrorists led by Osama bin Laden. The ambassador alleged that bin Laden’s network has joined forces with extremist groups within Indonesia led by Laskar Jihad (the Jihad Troops). Laskar Jihad has long-established links to the Indonesian military. Indonesian academic George Aditjondro traced financial support from a foundation affiliated with the former dictator Suharto to Jihad groups; Indonesia’s former defense minister also accused Suharto forces of supporting the organizations. Jihad leader Ustad Ja’far Umar Thalib, who bragged that he had a hot line to TNI commander Admiral Widodo, was welcomed by the local military commander.………………….

    Much of the militian violence in E Timor was sectarian, specifically targeting Christians:

    PERSECUTION INCREASES AGAINST CATHOLIC CHURCH IN EAST TIMOR Rome, 10 (NE) "It is an attack aiming directly to the Catholic Church: it is a systematic operation", informed yesterday Fides Vatican agency, reporting the tragedy taking place these days in East Timor. In this island, groups of militias supported by the Indonesian government have triggered violence and persecution against the Church and the people.………………

    Some of the targets were nuns:

    militia thugs had forced…six Canossian sisters in Baucau, 115 kilometres east of Dili…into a forest where they were murdered. Many church leaders were identified as independence supporters and the Catholic Church became an important symbol of opposition to the Muslim-dominated Indonesian Government. Ms Ana Noronha, director of the East Timor Human Rights Commission, said information on the deaths had been sentto the United Nations. "It is now obvious that the violence is reaching everyone and that there is a pattern of the Catholic Church being attacked."

    So Islamic militias going on the rampage in Timor murdered nuns – nuns! – but Fyodor wants to cover this up. Why is Fyodor trying to protect the identity of nun-murderers?………………….. The Islamicist-nationalist connection is part of a wider pattern of political violence in the islands to our North. John Martinkus, a front-line journalist with whom I have discussed this, reports:

    The groups say the border is home to Indonesian army-run training camps for Islamic militants and Papuan militia groups. They say the militant groups are being used by the Indonesian Army’s special forces, Kopassus, to foment conflict between Christian Papuans and Muslim settlers from elsewhere in Indonesia.………………

    James Dunn, a foreign policy expert, confirms that KOPASSUS used Islamacist rhtetoric to whip up sectarian conflict in E Timor:

    the so-called militia violence and the huge destruction in 1999 is the best case study of a Kopassus operation. The militia phenomenon in East Timor was, in the first instance, the outcome of deliberate planning by Kopassus generals, They planned the structure of the militia and arranged finance and training for these units to conduct a campaign of violent intimidation. On occasion, Kopassus colonels exhorted militia leaders to kill independence supporters and nuns and priests, "for the church is our enemy".…………………..

    This is something that Fyodor specifically denies. Who are you going to believe: Fyodor or someone who uses their own lyin’ eyes?There is a clear confluence of influence between nationalist and Islamacist forces attempting to maintain a coherent INDON state. Greg Barton made the link between these Islamacist forces and INDON officers who were linked to the Bali bombings:

    Since Suharto was toppled in 1998, key military generals with Islamist sympathies have sought to mobilize Islamist militia for their own purposes, according to Australian academic Dr Greg Barton… points out: "Two years later, in early 2000, when President Wahid sacked General Wiranto over the East Timor post-ballot massacres and began to push hard for profound reforms within the military, non-Islamist, nationalist generals joined forces with generals known to be religious hardliners to use radical Islamist militia to destabilize the Wahid administration." However, the evidence that sections of the armed forces are themselves a party to terrorism – especially in Aceh and West Papua – has created a policy dilemma. ……………..

    So Laksa Jihad, Jemma Islamiah, Komando Jihad are connected with KOPASSUS. And these organisations are part of a military movement that uses terrorism to Islamacise conflicts within the INDON state, including the E Timor independence movement & the Bali bombings. But, according to Fyodor, there were no state-sponsored Islamic militants involved with the E Timor militias. This is just a local judicial issue…move along, nothing to report here.

  22. February 28th, 2005 at 13:04 | #22

    Fyodor — 28/2/2005 @ 6:38 am also concocts a pack of lies about, what he alleges I say is, the best mode of waging the GWOT:

    KOPASSUS are particularly good at torture, illegal kidnappings and detentions, all in the name of protecting the sovereignty of their country. You know, all the good stuff [Jack] likes.

    ………..
    This is a classic slippery slope fallacy. Fyodor fallaciously infers from my support of the use of martial law to complement civil law that I favour KOPASSUS-style police state methods in waging the GWOT.
    FTR, I am not in favour of torture or illegal kidnapping/third-party transporting of terrorist-perps or suspects.
    I am in favour of giving military agencies the lawful power to use lethal force in the hot pursuit of terrorist outlaws harbouring in failed-state Badlands. I also in favour of capturing terrorist militias & civil supporters, placing them in extended detention prior to trial in order to extract life-saving information and ensuring that such detention facilities are run along traditional martial lines ie rigorous but not torturous.
    These institutions should not be easy-going civilian institutions which are ripe for gaming by seasoned jihadists and their over-lawyering, ethnic-lobbying domestic-enablers & fellow-travellers ie Fyodor-type Wets.
    Fyodor lies about the sectarian aspects of regional terrorism and favours soft forms of counter-terrorism. No wonder the Wets are in decline.

  23. Fyodor
    February 28th, 2005 at 13:57 | #23

    Jack,

    We have been through all of this before, and your arguments were similarly incoherent bunk the last time.

    To say that KOPASSUS elements are alleged to have supported Islamist militias against separatist movements says more about their [dare I say it, Machiavellian] ruthlessness than about their religious fanaticism. I suppose when the CIA funds Islamic terrorists (e.g. Afghanistan), it’s “fighting commumism”, but when KOPASSUS does it, it’s doing its bit for the Jihad? Greg Barton, at least, had the decency to mention KOPASSUS’ role in suppressing the MUSLIM insurgency in Aceh, but you weren’t quite honest enough to do that, were you? And you call me mendacious. Bah!

    Your last comment shows how comprehensively you have managed to twist your own position. You say that “FTR, I am not in favour of torture or illegal kidnapping/third-party transporting of terrorist-perps or suspects.” But that is precisely what you have condoned with the GTMO episode.

    You may be fooling yourself with this nonsense, but it’s obvious to others that you are a rank hypocrite.

  24. February 28th, 2005 at 17:19 | #24

    Fyodor — 28/2/2005 @ 1:57 pm backs down, scuttles away amidst a welter of self-serving rationalisations and finally winds up tangled in thicket of fallacies and fabrications:

    To say that KOPASSUS elements are alleged [sic] to have supported Islamist militias against separatist movements says more about their [dare I say it, Machiavellian] ruthlessness than about their religious fanaticism. I suppose when the CIA funds Islamic terrorists (e.g. Afghanistan), it’s “fighting commumism�, but when KOPASSUS does it, it’s doing its bit for the Jihad?

    ……………………
    Gotcha! Fyodor now concedes that INDON security forces have been mobilising Islamic jihadists in our region, incl. Timor. This is a significant back-down on his previous denial that KOPASSUS had anything to do with militant Islam:

    Kopassus, is a profoundly secular, nationalist organisation, and not militantly Islamic.

    ……………….
    Fyodor is now forced into rationalising his backdown with a spurious & strained analogy between KOPASSUS’ mobilisation of Timorese jihadists in ET with CIA’s mobilisation of Afghan mujhadeen in AFGHAN, thereby providing the JS Mill service of making his howlers explicit. Fyodor’s analogy is obviously false to anyone with minimum competence with logic.
    Fyodor implies, by analogy, that the CIA are active partisans for religious fundamentalist rule at home and abroad. But CIA officers fighting on foreign turf in Afghanistan were more interested in opposing the USSR rather than promoting Islamacism in AFGHAN or the US ie the CIA were supporting their enemies (USSR) enemy (mujhadeen). And even the CIA’s harshest critics do not charge the CIA with supporting the conjugation of Church and State, still less Mosque and State.
    I have a better analogy than the rubbish that Fyodor serves up. The KOPASSUS-jihadist axis in ETIMOR is a precise fit to the GWOT template ("clash within, not between, Islamic civilisation") that I have been putting forward. KOPASSUS officers are linked to INDON Islamacist political organsisations and support the propagation of militant Islam much as the ISI supports Islamacism in Pakistan, Katmandu and Agghanistan.

    "Every jihadi has links with ISI," said a military source." You cannot be a jihadi without having links with the ISI." A select few are in very close contact with ISI officers. But the ISI is playing a dangerous game. Gen Musharraf is left trying to balance his promise to rein in Islamic militancy with his army’s belief in the moral justice and diplomatic necessity of the Kashmir war.


    Fyodor would be well advised to not retail lies about me on this blog where my explicit statements are manifest and known to the regular readers and contributors. He claims, by implication, that I support the practice of "extraordinary rendition" ie state sponsored kidnapping. This charge is a lie which I can refute by reference to comment # 28 22/2/2005 @ 11:01 am in this thread where I explicitly criticised the practice of unlawful extradition of AUS citizens to third-party states:

    given the dodgy human rights records of Egypt & Pakistan, the practice of outsourcing terrorist perps and suspects to foreign jurisdictions is unworthy.

    …………..
    As regards the charge that I support the US military’s use of torture, I can do no better than refer readers to a post on this blog, that is critical of the US’s interrogation malpractices, where Pr Q explicitly acknowledges my initiation of the debate around key point ie the GWOT hawks denial or support of US torture:

    Jack Strocchi sent me this piece by Anne Applebaum asking Does the Right Remember Abu Ghraib? . Since I’ve been critical of her recently, I’m pleased to endorse her comments here.

    ………………….
    Only a member of the surreality-based community could believe that could argue that allegedly pro-US torture partisans (Jack) assist in the production of anti-US torture blogs. Reductio refuations do not come any better than that. In the GWOT, not all hawks (eg Jack) support torture. But it seems that some doves (eg Fyodor) are happy to appease terrorists, at least until the next Bali comes around, by which time the Wets will be a spent political force.

  25. Fyodor
    March 1st, 2005 at 07:43 | #25

    That’s truly impressive spin, Jack. I’m very pleased to see that this blog’s chief chickenhawk has finally renounced torture and illegal detention. It provides a nice bookend to this thread. Of course, it makes your hypocrisy on GTMO that much more “manifest�, to use your overblown rhetoric, but I’m sure you’ll spin that little bit harder (but not too hard, mind: you are a credulous nutter, after all) to maintain your self-delusion on that score.

    Incidentally, where is the evidence behind your assertion that I’m “happy to appease terrorists�? That’s the kind of insult worth documenting.

    P.S. your “Gotcha!� is typically flawed, and a little pathetic. KOPASSUS is not a militantly Islamic organization – neither is the CIA for that matter – and you can produce no statement from me contradicting that view. No, instead you introduce Pakistan’s ISI for some reason, probably to gloss over the fundamental weakness of your position on KOPASSUS. You’ve refused to tackle the Aceh issue because it shows that KOPASSUS, a supposedly militant Islamic group in your view, has brutally suppressed a, you guessed it, militantly Islamic separatist movement.

    “Which off-topic tangent will Jack introduce next?!!� The suspense is killing me.

  26. March 1st, 2005 at 13:01 | #26

    Fyodor — 1/3/2005 @ 7:43 am manages to pack a lot of nonsense & falsehoods into 17 short words:

    I’m very pleased to see that this blog’s chief chickenhawk has finally renounced torture and illegal detention.

    ………………….
    Fyodor seems to think that this blog is something like the Council Tip, which he can rock up to each day when he wants to dispose of his rubbish. I think Pr Q should consider putting me on retainer for cleaning up the mess.
    Rubbish #1: I am, for almost two years, against the Iraq war and in favour of a peace settlement with the Suunis at the earliest possible date. Not altogether an unreconstructed hawk.
    Rubbish #2: I am an active member of the ADF. At the Ministers discretion, although things would have to be dire if he called on me, I am available for military service. Unlike Fydodor who, the evidence to hand indicates, combines the worst aspects of “chicken” and “dove”.
    Rubbish # 3: Since I never announced for torture, as Fyodor knows or he would quote me, it is logically impossible to "renounce" torture.
    Rubbish # 4: Detention of terrorist perps or suspects in martial facilities is not, per se, illegal. Therefore I am not about to renounce it.

    Of course, it makes your hypocrisy on GTMO that much more “manifest�
    …………………
    To a big-mouthed, blowhardy ideologe like Fyodor, every example of ambivalence, or error-correction, is a sign of “hypocrisy”. I am happy to embrace a philosophy that embraces the complexity, contradiction and fuzziness of the world if it means avoiding Fyodor’s solipsistic & moralistic ideological trap.

    KOPASSUS is not a militantly Islamic organization…and you can produce no statement from me contradicting that view.

    ………………….
    KOPASSUS is an enabler of militant Islam, which has been my GWOT point all along. Fyodor denies this reality. He is on record as saying that “KOPASSUS…is not militantly Islamic.”
    I am not a mind reader. Whether KOPASSUS pers. deep down, really and truly believe (or not believe) in militant Islam is a moot point. I read bodies ie actions speak louder than intentions. I say that if it looks like a militant Islamic duck, walks…etc then it is militant Islamic. Thats real world politics. Pakistan’s ISI is, likewise to KOPASSUS, an enabler of militant Islam in its region. Fyodor needs to look at the Bigger Picture.
    The GWOT is mostly about the Clash within Islamic Civilisation, between militants and moderates. It appears that the spear-throwers of the militant side are the security agencies, who seem to be crypto-Islamic. Much as security agencies in pre-war Europe were crypto-Fascist. Roughly speaking the current wave of national fundamentalism in Southern Asia is analogous to the wave of national socialism that swept through Central Europe in the thirties. Nationalism remains the objective ethnological “base” whilst Islamacism is the subjective theological “superstructure”.

    You’ve refused to tackle the Aceh issue because it shows that KOPASSUS, a supposedly militant Islamic group in your view, has brutally suppressed a, you guessed it, militantly Islamic separatist movement.

    ……………….
    If I tackled Fyodor’s every red herring tosssed up or straw man constructed then I would have little time for the real world. He is clueless about the sectarian reality of Islamic politics. The Islamic world is full of conflicts between militant Islamics, as well as the larger one between militants and moderates and the headline one between Islamics and infidels. Its a contentious old faith, is Islam.
    As we speak there are Suuni militants trying to suppress a Shiite militants in Iraq, over the issue of sovereignty. The disputes between militant believer movements (Bin Laden v Khomeinei) are why they call it sectarianism.
    The fact that KOPASSUS has supressed an Islamic secessionist movement in Aceh does not imply that KOPASSUS is anti-Islamic militants. It only implies that KOPASSUS is interested in INODN sovereignty as well as Islamic fidelity, which I have never denied.

    where is the evidence behind your assertion that I’m “happy to appease terrorists�?

    ……………………..
    I dont really have any evidence to support the accusation that Fyodor “appeases terrorists”. Although he does radiate a soft-on-terrorism vibe when he mounts his, rather water-logged, high horse. I hurled the appeasement charge at him because he annoyed me with his equally baseless charge that I am in favour of torturing terrorists. I withdraw.

  27. Fyodor
    March 1st, 2005 at 13:59 | #27

    Jack,

    #1 You neglected to mention you were (vociferously) for the Iraq war before it started and while it was on. It’s good to see you can change your mind, but you don’t mind rewriting history, do you?
    #2 Which unit do you (potentially) serve with?
    #3 Of course you don’t support torture but “bastardizing terrorist suspects� is OK, right? And nothing untoward happened at GTMO? Glad we cleared that up.
    #4 The detention at GTMO is illegal. Martial law does not apply on US territory when the US judicial system is functioning. The Supreme Court has ruled that GTMO is US territory. You’re dead wrong on this point. Further argument will only embarrass you.
    #5 Either you support the rule of law or you don’t. You say that you’re opposed to torture and illegal detention, but then apologise for the flagrant example of both at GTMO. You are a hypocrite, and it has nothing to do with the “fuzziness� of the world.
    #6 As I’ve demonstrated, you’re clearly wrong on KOPASSUS, not that it matters all that much. You only introduced the organization into this thread in a bizarre attempt to connect ET with the GWOT. You’ve subsequently introduced the Sunni [not “suuni�] – Shiite conflict in Iraq as a parallel to Indonesia without mentioning that there is NO similarity in Indonesia – Sunni Islam is overwhelmingly dominant there.

Comment pages
1 2 3 2222
Comments are closed.