Bin Laden’s Nuclear War

The mastermind of the 9/11 attacks warned that al-Qaeda has hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe which will unleash a “nuclear hellstorm” if Osama bin Laden is captured, leaked files revealed.

The terror group also planned to make a 9/11 style attack on London’s Heathrow airport by crashing a hijacked airliner into one of the terminals, the files showed.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told Guantanamo Bay interrogators the terror group would detonate the nuclear device if the al-Qaeda chief was captured or killed, according to the classified files released by the WikiLeaks website.

Sheikh Mohammed, the self-professed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, has been held at Guantanamo since 2006 and is to be tried in a military court at the US naval base on Cuba over the attacks.

His nuclear threat was revealed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, one of several media outlets which have published the classified assessments of detainees at Guantanamo.

The German weekly Der Spiegel, also citing WikiLeaks, said that Sheikh Mohammed had told his interrogators he had set up two cells for the purpose of attacking Heathrow in 2002.

The aim was to seize control of an airliner shortly after take-off from Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, turn it around and crash it into one of the four terminals.

Sheikh Mohammed said one cell had been formed with the aim of taking flying lessons in Kenya, while the other had been tasked with recruiting participants.

Read more here.

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So What Exaclty is the Navy‘s Secret ’SEAL Team 6?’

The news today is riddled with references to the Navy’s elite “SEAL Team 6,” the team being hailed for killing Osama bin Laden. But what exactly is SEAL Team 6? For most people it’s the stuff of Tom Clancy and Brad Thor novels. But in the spy and military world, it is an elite black ops fighting group shrouded in secrets that reports to the president himself.

“Officially, the team’s name is classified and not available to the public,” Business Insider writer Robert W. Johnson reports, “technically there is no team 6. A Tier-One counter-terrorism force similar to the Army’s elusive Delta group, Team 6′s mission rarely make it to paper much less the newspaper.”

He continues:

The members of Team 6 are all “black” operatives. They exist outside military protocol, engage in operations that are at the highest level of classification and often outside the boundaries of international law. To maintain plausible deniability in case they are caught, records of black operations are rarely, if ever, kept.

The development of SEAL Team 6 was in direct response to the 1980 attempt to rescue the American hostages held in Iran. The mission was a terrific failure that fell apart at many points and illustrated the need for a dedicated counter-terrorist team capable of operating with the utmost secrecy.

Read more here.

A symbolic death with great meaning

What does the death of Osama bin Laden mean? A few quick thoughts:

1. Al-Qaeda has been on the ropes for years. First President Bush, then President Obama pulverized their leadership, forced them to communicate by courier, smashed cell after cell in cities around the world, strangled their financing, and because al-Qaeda killed more Muslims than westerners, the terrorists lost the PR war in the Muslim community. Al-Qaeda was a shadow of an organization before bin Laden’s death and morale will now sink even lower for them.

2. Does this mean that Osama bin Laden’s death is meaningless? Far from it. It gives the US military a massive shot in the arm for one thing. Not that morale was a big problem, but even professionals like good news. His death will also boost the morale of our professionals in intelligence. What a fabulous piece of work! And it will give a big psychological boost to the American people. In my FrontPage.com article this morning, I point out that bin Laden’s death couldn’t have come at a better time:

At a time of economic despair and uncertainty, a time of doubting our abilities to overcome obstacles and questioning our national greatness, the death of Osama bin Laden temporarily, at least, has lifted nation’s spirits and reminded us who we are and of what we are capable.

3. Al-Qaeda prestige – such as it was – has suffered a blow from which it may not recover. Bin Laden was the face of terrorism and al-Qaeda and the organization will be hard put to replace him. Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama’s deputy, does not have the charisma or the stature of his now dead boss.

4. Political fallout? President Obama will get an immediate boost but even the left knows it will be transitory. In 1980 after the US defeated the Soviet Union in hockey and went on to win the Gold medal, Jimmy Carter tried to bask in some reflected glory of the moment. It didn’t work for him and I doubt it will work for Obama.

Osama and Obama

Does the killing of Osama bin Laden by an American Special Forces unit translate into a re-election boost to President Obama?

In the coming days, expect President Obama’s poll numbers to bump up. Also expect a spate of articles and opinion pieces in the mainstream media to celebrate the President for keeping his pledge to kill the diabolical bin Laden.

But expect the President’s political advantages from the bin Laden killing to be short. As presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s 1992 political team famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

With the nation’s economy still ailing, and, in fact, hanging precariously at the edge of a fiscal cliff, the nation’s attention will return quickly to jobs – or the lack thereof – job security, and higher prices at the gas pump and in grocery stores. Pay checks and family budgets will trump bin Laden’s death and any advantages President Obama gains from the news.

Even Nicholas Kristof at the reflexively liberal New York Times assesses the Bin Laden killing as no great long term gain to Mr. Obama’s re-election chances:

Finally, what does this mean for President Obama’s political prospects? I don’t think very much. November 2012 is a long way away, and the main political issue is likely to be the economy. After all, George H.W. Bush was a hero after the Gulf War victory in early 1991, and by Nov. 1992 was defeated by Bill Clinton because of the economic slowdown.

Barring some great calamity – a major war, or threat of a major war, or a terrorist attack near the scale of 9/11 – the condition of the nation’s economy will be the driver that determines President Obama’s political fate in 2012.