By Hugo Odiogor
Security agents in New York police yesterday mounted checkpoint and amassed operatives round the city following intelligence about a car or truck bomb plot linked to the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Officers armed with automatic weapons were stationed at city landmarks including Wall Street, Times Square and the September 11 memorial site where the Twin Towers once stood.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama on yesterday strongly condemned comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that implied a U.S. government role in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Obama, said the Ahmadinejad comments were “offensive,” “hateful,” and “inexcusable,” an administration official said, citing a transcript of the broadcast.
U.S. officials called the threat “credible but unconfirmed” and timed to the anniversary of the hijacked plane attacks that killed 2,995 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. There was reason to believe threat may be linked to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.
New Yorkers who have grown accustomed to bag searches at subway stations and random displays of police presence encountered increased vigilance after the threat, which prompted President Barack Obama to order a redoubling of U.S. counter terrorism efforts.A manhunt was under way for two or three suspects. One said there could be a link to Zawahri, who took the reins of al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in May in a U.S. raid in Pakistan.
Obama is expected to attend a commemorative service tomorrow near the site known as Ground Zero, where a new World Trade Center is under reconstruction and Obama will attend Sunday’s commemoration, amid tight security behind the historic Trinity Church, stopping vehicles, opening the cargo bays of trucks and checking drivers’ licenses. There have been increased police checkpoints went up at Times Square, Columbus Circle on the southern edge of Central Park and outside the Macy’s department store in midtown, creating traffic jams all over Manhattan.
Vice President Joseph Biden said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” programme on Friday morning, “We don’t have the smoking gun but we do have talk about using a car bomb.”A counterterrorism official said the threat information came from Pakistan’s tribal areas. Documents discovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after he was killed in a raid in May by Navy SEALs, highlighted his persistent interest in attacking the United States around the anniversary of the 2001 attacks. But it is unclear if the plans ever evolved beyond aspiration
…Condemns Ahmadinejad’s comments
Ahmadinejad, in an address at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, said it was mostly U.S. government officials and statesmen who believed al Qaeda Islamist militants carried out the suicide hijacking attacks that brought down New York’s World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon.He said that another theory was that “some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack.” The U.S. official quoted Obama as saying: “It was offensive. It was hateful.”Particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation, for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable.”
Obama reiterated the U.S. position that the door to diplomacy with Iran remained open but that Tehran must fulfill international obligations over its nuclear program. The official said Obama decided to sit down for the interview as a way of speaking directly to the Iranian people. BBC Persian is broadcast in Farsi, the dominant language in Iran.
Those cameras have been largely funded by a $120 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has activated 1,400 cameras of its own in the past six months. New York City has been attacked twice — in a 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center and the suicide hijacking attacks of September 11, 2001. Since then another 11 plots against the city have been thwarted, police said.
Ahmadinejad casts doubts on 9/11
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has cast doubts that A-lQaeda was behind the september11, 2001 attack on the United States, prompting the U.S. to the United Nations delegation to leave the hall in protest.
Addressing the General Assembly, the Iranian president said it was mostly U.S. government officials and statesmen who believed al Qaeda Islamist militants carried out the suicide hijacking attacks that brought down New York’s World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon.
Another theory, he said, was “that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime.” Ahmadinejad usually refers to Israel as the “Zionist regime.”
“The majority of the American people as well as most nations and politicians around the world agree with this view,” Ahmadinejad told the 192-nation assembly, calling on the United Nations to establish “an independent fact-finding group” to look into the events of September 11.
As in past years, the U.S. delegation walked out during Ahmadinejad’s speech. It was joined by all 27 European Union delegations and several others, one Western diplomat said
It has become also a clash of faith and socio-economic inequalities, as well as a rejection of body of knowledge from the Western world just as it has thrown Nigeria into the mainstream of nations saddled with dealing with terrorism and anarchist groups that simply want to inconvenience their fellow human kinds.
The attack on the United States had come at a time the country was coming out of a flawed presidential election, where the mass media awarded victory to the Republican Party candidate, Mr. George W. Bush, even when the counting of votes was still in progress in key states like Florida. While Bush was having legitimacy problems, a right wing government led by Ariel Sharon had taken office in Tel Aviv, hereby presenting a major foreign policy challenge for President George W. Bush.
The Palestinians resumed intifada in the occupied West bank and Gaza. America under George W. Bush simply ignored the crisis in the Middle East and Afghanistan, which had become a training ground for radical Islamist groups. Again, the end of the cold war and East West ideological conflict had given the US a false sense of security, believing that the end of the cold war had reduced the threat to its ways of life and values of freedom, and democracy.
The excessive premium on secularism simply ignored the theocratic pre-occupations and postulations of countries like Iran which had since the 1970s began to gradually export radical religious teachings that see the super powers as the evils that must be destroyed. It projected the doctrine that American values and world views were anti-Islam and everything that America and its allies stood for was double stands and evils that must be toppled through jihad.
For the first time in human history, we saw a declaration of war against an invisible enemy, that is a non state actor in the international system. The United states mobilised its allies to invade the nation of which was suspected to be the breeding ground for Islamic jihadists that are recruited by Al-Qaeda to attack US and its interest in any part of the world.
The invasion led to the toppling of the anachronistic and fundamentalist Taliban administration that emerged at the end of the Soviet occupation. The defeat of Taliban in 2002 was quickly followed by the invasion of Iraq where the United States and the United Kingdom told the whole world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could destroy the western world within months. The Bush administration mobilised its traditional allies, Britain, Australia among others to invade Iraq in March 2003. According to reports, the US loss of over 5,000 service personnel in Iraq, was far more than it did in the Second World War, the Vietnam war and the first Gulf war. The cost of prosecuting the war in Iraq was put at over $10billion per month and this was a huge burden to the American tax payers for a country that was already suffering huge budget deficit.
Global Economic Ruins
The global war against terrorism has thrown the global political economy in turmoil given the wide spread macro-economic crisis plaguing the economies of Europe, the United States and Asia. According to Mrs. Uchenna C. Ekwueme, the author of the Global Economic Recession and the Human Condition: The African Perspective, the “cost of prosecuting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are the primary causes of deficits and failure of fiscal policies in the global economies”. As we have seen, America has devoted a considerable amount of its resources to fight two major wars and to tackle Al-Qaeda terror network in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. According to the Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, “the US has spent about three trillion in the past decade to fight the war against terrorism without fruitful result.”
Dr. Francis Oshodi said “ Not even the death of Bin Laden and some key leaders of Al- Qaeda has abated the operation of terrorist organisations”. In fact on Thursday, September 9, security agents in the United States raised alert that it has uncovered tangible and concrete plots by some terrorists in America, to attack America on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The group was said to have been in America since July. In the face of the widespread threat of terrorist within and out side America, there has been increased security consciousness in the country. There has also been increased anti-Muslim sentiments in America as exemplified in the opposition to the proposed construction of an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero.
Europe has become increasingly uncomfortable with multiculturalism which seem to permit Islamic culture and tradition to thrive along the liberal culture and civilisation of the Western world. In Nigeria, we have seen the Boko Haram phenomenon.
According to Dr. Oshodi, before Boko Haram we had the Maitasine riots in Kano in 1981, the secret enlisting of Nigeria into the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), were flash points that have became too manifest in the political face of Islam which is what Boko Haram in the contemporary discussion of what Al-Qaeda represents in the 9/11 attack. The world has become so unsafe as radical elements in Muslim world, continue to use violence to express their points of view According to Mrs. Uchenna C. Ekwueme, “the global economic recession in some ways, has its foundation in the war against terrorism and it has worsened the human condition from the point that it has increased inequality and expanded the poverty base of nations”.
he cameras at the Times Square, Penn Station and Grand Central subway stations marked an expansion of a previously announced program that aims to increase the number of security cameras in Manhattan to some 3,000 from 1,159.