Fareed speaks with author Salman Rushdie about the Boston bombings and the challenges of being an immigrant. Watch the full interview on Fareed Zakaria GPS this Sunday on CNN at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.
When you looked at the picture…of the Tsarnaev brothers, these immigrants who come to the West, something goes wrong. Something goes wrong in the family structure. The father clearly feels homesick and wants to go back, perhaps the parents’ divorce. A rift within the family. The brother seems unable to make his way in the world. Does this strike you as a kind of heightened version of traditional immigrant problems?
Yes, I think it is in a way. I thought that the uncle had it right, you know, and when he said that their problem was one of making a success of their lives in the new world, so to speak. I mean he called them losers...
Which I thought was a much better description than terrorists, you know.
"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
Fareed speaks with Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and National Security Agency, about tackling terrorism in the wake of the Boston attack.
So is there some system for stopping this in the future?
If you look at any attack, particularly looking into the rearview mirror as opposed to looking through the wind screen, you can judge that it could have been prevented. This was preventable if…let me also offer you the view that attacks of this nature are inevitable. This is like penalty kicks in soccer. No matter how good the goalie is, sooner or later, this ball is going into the back of the net. And I don't mean to be so dark for your viewers, but they have to understand that we’re working in a part of the spectrum now that is well below what we experienced more than a decade ago.
I mean, what happened in Boston was a tragedy, truly a tragedy. But it wasn’t a catastrophe. And if we force our enemies to work in that band where, from the outside looking in, if it's hard to tell whether this was a high end crime or a low end terrorist event, that's a measure of our success, preventing our enemies from doing that which they want to do – a mass casualty attack against the iconic target.
By Danielle Pletka, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. The views expressed are her own.
The White House admitted Thursday what has been known for some time: The Syrian regime used chemical weapons to attack its own people. But “admitted” isn’t exactly the right word; more like equivocated that the al-Assad government could have, might have, somehow let loose some sarin nerve gas, which could have, but may not have, “exposed” some Syrians, possibly, to chemical agents. Maybe.
The history on this question is a little convoluted: The opposition first accused the al-Assad regime of using chemical agents some time ago, but those accusations were, for the most part, dismissed by the White House. Only yesterday, Defense secretary Chuck Hagel downplayed the charges, saying that, “Suspicions are one thing; evidence is another.” But one nation after another, most recently Israel, made clear that they had little doubt that al-Assad’s regime did in fact employ lethal chemical weapons in an attack on its own people. So, by early on April 25, the White House too allowed that it appear sarin was indeed used.
Here’s the problem for President Barack Obama: In 2012, he said the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” for the United States, a “game changer” that would theoretically move the White House from its position of committed indifference to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Under increasing pressure during the presidential election, Obama sought out a clear position on Syria that would make him appear cautious, yet decisive. Hence, the red line. But with the election won, he stepped back from his earlier decisiveness to a more fuzzy expression of concern, with vague threats that in the event of chemical weapons use, the Syrian government would be “held accountable.”
By Haider Mullick, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Haider Mullick is a fellow at Tufts University, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and a lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School. The views expressed are his own.
Last week, evil visited Boston. In the ensuing weeks and months we will debate preventing and fighting terrorism. Why did a 19-year-old Chechen-American allegedly place a bomb next to an eight-year-old child? How can we stop this from happening again? Some think the answers are in expanding security for all, but by restricting civil liberties and immigration of Muslims. Others believe the best response is business as usual – defeating terrorism by not being terrorized. But before we act we must reflect on what we’re trying to protect and punish: American pluralism and intolerance.
Unlike the founders of many nation-states, America’s founding fathers did not fight for an ethnic or religious state; they fought for Protestants and Deists, blue blood and blue collar, slave owners and humanitarians, soldiers and Quakers, and British loyalists and British-Americans. Soon after, thousands of Irish, Italians, and Germans arrived, and as years went by the American garden of liberty welcomed the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the lonely Christian cross accepted the Star of David, the Islamic Crescent, and Darwin’s fish. The union was – and still is – imperfect and incomplete; yet human malice cannot live long under the seal of E pluribus unum (out of Many, One).
By Veronica Kitchen, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Veronica Kitchen is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The views expressed are her own.
News that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s “Project Smooth” foiled an alleged terrorist plot in Canada was greeted in some quarters with the usual tongue-in-cheek surprise that violent extremists would target a “nice country” like Canada. But the fact is that Canada has long been concerned with its status as a potential terrorist target.
Terrorism in Canada (and the United States) is a rare event. In the 1960s, the FLQ, a group of violent and revolutionary Québec separatists, launched a bombing campaign that culminated in the 1970 October Crisis, when they kidnapped and murdered the deputy premier of Québec, Pierre Laporte; Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau controversially enacted the War Measures Act and declared martial law. Canada’s most deadly terrorist attack came in 1985, when Sikh militants orchestrated the bombing of Air India flight 182, which exploded near Ireland killing all passengers, including 268 Canadians. Twenty-six Canadians were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
More recently, it was revealed last month that two young Canadian men from London, Ontario travelled to Algeria and allegedly participated in a terrorist attack on a gas plant that resulted in the deaths of dozens of workers, as well as most of the terrorists. Soon after, it became clear that two others from the same high school were also suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. Coming from different ethnic backgrounds – and not all from Muslim or even particularly devout families – these young Canadians have forced us to confront our stereotypes about what a terrorist looks like. While Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to score political points by arguing that Canada doesn’t spend time figuring out root causes, understanding domestic radicalization is imperative both to avoid attacks on Canadian soil and to help stop Canadian citizens travelling to other countries to participate in terrorism. (And indeed, as the journalist Paul Wells has pointed out, the Canadian government funds research into precisely that question).
Canada’s response to terrorism has evolved with the terrorist threat. The response to the Air India attacks was generally considered to be poor, marred by a lack of co-operation between the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP. Now, intelligence and law enforcement officials co-operate on national security matters under a strict set of guidelines through the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) located in Vancouver, Alberta, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.
The Toronto and Montreal INSETs led the investigation in to the plot against VIA rail. Information is also shared beyond Canadian borders; in this case, the FBI was closely involved. Such co-operation can yield excellent results, as it appears to have this week. But we should also be conscious of cases such as that of Maher Arar, where information shared by the RCMP with American officials without the correct qualifications and restrictions led to the detention, rendition and torture of an innocent individual.
This week, the Canadian House of Commons is debating Bill S7, the Combatting Terrorism Act, which would re-introduce controversial provisions allowing for preventive arrest and investigative hearings that expired in 2007. The Canadian Bar Association argues that such provisions duplicate existing laws; the charges in Montreal and Toronto this week would lend credence to that view. While Bill S7 has made its way rather slowly through the legislative process up to now, Harper’s Conservatives now have a majority. The bill is also likely to gain momentum from the arrests in Project Smooth. Indeed, some critics have suggested that the last-minute scheduling of the Combatting Terrorism bill debate is suspicious.
Yet despite a few missteps, the Canadian government has largely avoided excess in its domestic governance of counter-terrorism, as befits the comparatively small magnitude of the terrorist threat relative to other public policy concerns. In some cases, Canada has been able to learn from American errors, for instance, in a more prudently designed no-fly list with clearer provisions for removing names. In others, Canada has bent too much to perceived American priorities. Delays in returning Abfousian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, to Canada after charges of terrorism were dropped seem to be influenced at least in part by concerns about the American reaction. The reality is that terrorism policy in Canada is shaped by what happens in the United States. Our shared continent and the fact that threats can come from anywhere at home or abroad make this inevitable.
As the rhetoric of terrorism inevitably ramps up in Canada and the United States in the wake of the Boston bombings and the VIA rail plot, we should avoid drifting back into the intense culture of fear and division that characterized the years after 9/11. While the Boston bombings show the impossibility of perfect security from attack, they also demonstrate the superior preparedness of our first responders.
The Canadian arrests demonstrate that our security agencies have the tools they need to work together to investigate and charge violent extremist plotters. Trying Tsarnaev as an unlawful combatant or routinizing extraordinary measures such as those proposed in Bill S7 would be a step backwards. We can’t end terrorism, but we can address it without unduly changing the fabric of our societies.
By Wesley Wark, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Wesley Wark is a Canadian expert on security, intelligence and terrorism issues and visiting professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He served for two terms on the Canadian prime minister’s Advisory Council on National Security. The views expressed are his own.
When it comes to terrorism, North America is a shared space. That has always been the conviction of Canadian officials and is written into our official counter-terrorism strategy. It is also a belief shared by much of Canadian society, though subject to a multitude of interpretations.
Sometimes the reading of this shared political space is that terrorist events will occur in the United States, and Canada will feel the consequences in things such as tightened border security and more restrictive measures around travel to the U.S., or the movement of goods across our shared border. Since the 9/11 attacks Canadians have gotten used to girding themselves for something bad to happen in the aftermath of a terrorist outrage or foiled attack south of our border. We have also been keenly aware that a perception exists in some U.S. quarters that Canada is “soft” on terrorism. This has been an unhelpful slur.
Canadian government and society at large are profoundly moved when tragedy strikes the United States, as was evident in their response to the tragic circumstances of the Boston marathon bombing last week. What they are relatively unused to is the notion that we might face our own serious terrorism threats.
By Stephen E. Flynn, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Stephen Flynn is founding co-director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security and a professor of political science at Northeastern University. The views expressed are his own.
The twin bombings at the Boston marathon and the manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers captivated the nation last week. Nearly a dozen years after 9/11, a great American city was once again under attack. The response by Bostonians was to care for the wounded, support efforts by law enforcement to identify and apprehend the culprits, and take back their lives. As Fenway Park roared back to live on Saturday, fans armed with “Boston Strong” signs, cheered on their home team who had swapped out “Red Sox” for “Boston” on their uniforms.
The people of Boston have shown the nation how to cope with the new face of terrorism.
“Boston is a tough and resilient town,” President Barack Obama rightly observed, and resilience is the critical ingredient for confronting this ongoing risk. Terrorism’s primary appeal for an adversary is its potential to cause the targeted society to overreact in costly, disruptive, and self-destructive ways. So when an attack is met with fearlessness, selflessness, and competence, it fails. The British and Israelis have learned this lesson and practice it. As an Israeli friend reminded me shortly after the bombs went off on the finish line of the Boston marathon: “The most effective way to cope (with) and to beat terror is to return as fast as you can to routine.”
By Robert Schaefer, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Robert Schaefer is a Special Forces (Green Beret) and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer and author of The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus, From Gazavat to Jihad. The views expressed are his own.
As we all struggle to make sense of the Boston bombings, and the revelation that the two suspects are ethnic Chechens, there has been a rush to reacquaint ourselves with the troubled North Caucasus region in the hope that we might be able to answer questions like “why did this happen,” or “are we under attack again?” And as the airwaves and the blogospheres are swarmed with facts and opinions, it’s worth taking a step back to put this deluge of information in some context.
It’s not as though we haven’t heard of Chechnya before, it’s just that it’s one of those places that is only occasionally in the news before fading again as our attention is pulled elsewhere. Yet it isn’t actually all that long ago that we were hearing about the two wars of independence that Chechnya fought against Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. And although we may remember President Bill Clinton drawing comparisons between Boris Yeltsin’s efforts to quell the Chechen independence movement with the U.S. Civil War, many may not be aware that the same law that Yeltsin used to declare Russia’s independence from the Soviet Union gave Chechnya (and many other Russian regions) the legal basis to do the same. It was this that created a constitutional crisis that almost destroyed Russia in the mid-1990’s, and created the conditions that resulted in a de-facto independent Chechen republic from 1996-1999.
"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
Fareed speaks with New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly about the lessons from the attack in Boston this week, and how New York law enforcement is working to protect the city.
Congressman Peter King says that what we need, what this Boston marathon attack proves is we need a more aggressive and explicit targeting, or targeting investigation of America's Muslim communities. Would you agree with that?
Well, I certainly wouldn't single out a community, but what we do is follow leads wherever those leads take us. As I said, we've been targeted 16 times, a combination of good work on the part of the federal government, NYPD, and sheer luck we haven't been attacked. But we will follow leads wherever those leads take us, irrespective of the community that we're talking about.
But the vast majority of those attacks did come from people who would have been Muslim radicals, Islamic radicals?
That's correct, yes.
And as a result of that, presumably, the NYPD had a program of listening in on mosques, infiltrating communities. And last August, in court testimony, however, your department asserted or acknowledged that, in six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloging mosques, it did not generate a single lead…
That’s incorrect information. Basically, and I know this is somewhat detailed, but we have a stipulation, the Handschu agreement, that's been in place since 1984, which limits our ability to investigate political entities.
In 2002 we petitioned the court to change that so we could do a more effective job in investigating terrorism. And in fact the court did that. And it said, particularly, we could do three things. We could go to any public meeting that the public is invited to. We can go to any website the public has access to. And we can do reports and analysis that will enable us to have context as to what's going on in a particular area, particular neighborhood. And that's precisely what was done with our reports.
"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
On GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and repeated at 1 p.m., a special live show with expert analysis and discussion of the lessons and implications of this week’s terrorist attack in Boston.
First, Fareed speaks with New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Also on the show: Stephen Flynn, founding co-director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University, Philip Mudd, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health fellow Jessica Stern and Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens.
By Arthur L. Kellermann, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Arthur Kellermann holds the Paul O'Neill-Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. The views expressed are his own.
A pair of deadly bomb blasts marked a violent and tragic finish to this year’s Boston Marathon. But as shocking as the attack may have been, an act like this has been anticipated for some time. It was a surprise, because none of us awoke the morning of the Marathon anticipating the race would end this way. Yet a terrorist attack against a symbolic target or a heavily attended event was something for which authorities had long prepared.
Authorities have known for some time that a wide range of terrorist organizations, extremist groups and individuals – both foreign and domestic – seek to inflict harm on the United States. And this knowledge motivated federal, state and local agencies to devise protocols to enhance their response to mass casualty events. Although official after-action reports are still being compiled, it looks like Boston’s first responders and hospitals delivered under difficult circumstances.
For more What in the World, watch GPS on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET
By Global Public Square staff
Senator Rand Paul decided to drone on last week about drones. He employed a rare talking filibuster to stall a confirmation vote for John Brennan as the CIA's director. All told, he went on for 12 hours and 52 minutes, including when he took questions from his Republican colleagues.
Washington also saw some tough questioning for Eric Holder. The attorney general was forced to admit it would unconstitutional to kill an American citizen with drone strikes on U.S. soil unless there was a Pearl Harbor-type imminent threat.
Usually, filibusters can be viewed as a bizarre, quasi-constitutional mechanism that is basically anti-democratic. But it's important to have a serious debate about drones, not just on the legality of whether they can be used to kill an American citizen, but a broader debate about them.