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May 29, 2006
Times: 20 Terrorist Plots Active In Britain

The Times of London reports that MI-5 and the police have found themselves stretched to the limit from a score of active terrorist bomb plots. The Home Secretary has told the nation that so many Islamist conspiracies are afoot that the security agencies have no time to participate in an inquiry regarding the Tube bombings last year:

TWENTY “major conspiracies” by Islamist terrorists in Britain have been uncovered by the security services, John Reid, the home secretary, has disclosed. ...

Reid revealed the existence of the plots — far more than have previously been reported — at a meeting with some of the victims’ relatives and survivors of the attacks last week.

He failed to give further details but the claim appears to fit in with briefings by MI5 which suggest that as many as 1,200 potential terrorist suspects may now be in the UK.

One of the operations is thought to have been the target of raids by hundreds of police officers last week. Anti-terrorist police believe they may have thwarted a wave of suicide bomb attacks on British and US forces in Iraq.

The police arrested eight men during the armed raids. The men, all from Libya, were being held on suspicion of encouraging and financing Al-Qaeda operations abroad.

British police and MI-5 believe they have foiled at least three al-Qaeda plots since the July 7 bombings that killed 54 Londoners. Three more plots have already been uncovered and suspected terrorists charged. Taking the one plot from last week's raids off the list, and that leaves 13 active conspiracies to engage terrorist attacks in the UK, presumably each separate from the other. Small wonder that MI-5 has no time to appear in an inquiry on a plot long since discharged.

AQ and its affiliates have not stopped probing Western defenses. The UK has a particular vulnerability, especially in London, where radical Islamists have long congregated. Europe's proximity to the Middle East made it a preferred destination for such groups, especially once they got the boot in their home countries. Islamists use Western openness and freedom to gather and organize their assault on both concepts, and our staunch allies will find themselves in the thick of that problem for a generation or more. We have fewer openly radical Muslim organizations in the US, but then again, it doesn't take many to generate a real threat to security, as we saw on 9/11. It only took 19 men to kill 3,000 people in less than an hour.

The problem for Western nations will eventually focus on immigration, although not exactly the immigration issues Americans have debated for the last few months. We may have to start making our doorways much narrower for immigrants hailing from Islamist autocracies, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait, and others. Until they have a democracy in place which allows their political factions representational power, we can continue to expect these nations to export terror, even if unwittingly. They exploit radical Islamists to distract people from their oppression, and eject Islamists as soon as that gambit fails. Those people then go where they can organize like-minded radicals in the easiest manner possible.

It sounds harsh to bar the door, and it would be regrettable. However, in order to keep a free society within our borders, it will be necessary to close the borders down to a much larger degree than we have. Otherwise, we will face the same problem that Britain now has: too many Islamist plots and not enough resources to stop them. If we experience another 9/11, the pressure we put on our government to stop the terrorists will likely force them to assume even greater power, making us more prisoner than freeman in order to distinguish between friend and foe. Hysterics screech that that day has already come, but it has not. It will, however, as long as we allow people from Islamist nations to freely traverse our borders.

It is much more efficient to keep potential terrorists out of the US than it is to find them once they've arrived. The former solution puts no burden on American citizens, while the latter will eventually create a police state where we all must carry papers to identify ourselves in internal transit and account for our every action to the state. By closing our doors to those who hail from Islamist autocracies, we will eventually force them to create their own democracies rather than escape to ours, and terrorists looking to infiltrate our country will have to try a little harder to succeed than simply appllying for a visa.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 29, 2006 8:19 AM

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