Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

burnnotice-s1Because we’ve now got two seasons of Burn Notice under our belts and because, also, I am devoting this month’s entries to ladies of the trade of Irish descent, I think it’s time to re-visit our old friend Fiona Glenanne.

As I mentioned before, I like this character because there is a focus on trade-craft, but there’s an aspect to Fiona the show does not capitalize on and that is her past in the IRA. Americans in general are pretty forgiving of the IRA, but St. Patty’s Day and rebel drinking songs aside, there’s a pretty serious background to Fiona that isn’t explored on the show.

The character of Fiona is in her late 30s. This would well place her into some of the nastiness of “The Troubles” of the late 1980s and early 1990s in Northern Ireland. As a “Provo” (Provisional IRA, the truer name of the organization Fiona worked under), she would have been well-versed in weaponry, gunrunning, and bomb making, all of which has carried over into the show. She also wouldn’t be averse to the well planned execution from time to time. Sure, we laugh when Fiona talks about shooting the FBI men trailing Michael simply because they annoy her, but believe me, the Fiona of real life would be pretty darn serious.

The story of modern Ireland is vastly complicated. This isn’t simply a matter of reunification as much as it is fear, institutional prejudice, and classism. There are many reasons Northern Ireland was such a mess for so long.

But if you are up on your modern history, great inroads were made in the Anglo-Irish peace process under President Clinton and the real nail in the coffin of domestic terrorism on the Old Sod really came after 9/11. Gun money dried up like you wouldn’t believe and popular support seriously declined as people re-thought the idea of terrorism.

The reality is that since 2001, the IRA has devolved into a criminal organization. We’re talking Godfather type mob action. Not to say that there aren’t some die-hards in the IRA who still believe in armed insurrection as a means to reunifying Ireland. However, as history has taught us, insurgency is a profitable business. Many people stay in long after The Cause ceases to matter for no other reason than the person knows of no other life.

We’ve seen elements of this in Fiona as she continues to deal in illegal gun sales (particularly in the season 2 finale). Whether this is because Fee is a thug at heart or because being an ex-IRA operative isn’t exactly great resume material we don’t know. But the question itself certainly brings a whole new element to the character of trigger-happy-make-things-go-boom Fiona.

If the show is smart, a little back story on our buddy Fee would be in order for next season. I for one would be terribly curious to know what exactly Fiona is: True Believer or Irish Gangster?

If you’ve been keeping up on the latest news reports, no doubt you have heard that alleged terrorist and FBI’s Most Wanted Female, Aafia Siddiqui, was reportedly nabbed last month in Afghanistan. Of course, if you’ve been listening to other reports, you have also heard that Siddiqui is a dame-blamed, has been a ghost prisoner at an obviously undisclosed black site (courtesy of the CIA’s Extraordinary Rendition program), and this “arrest” in Afghanistan is just a big ruse.

So which story is true?

Beats the hell out of this agent.

Here’s what we know: Siddiqui (1972-) is a Pakistani born, American-educated neuroscientist and mother of three. Siddiqui came to the US sometime in early 1990’s to attend MIT. Upon graduation, she went on to doctoral work at Brandeis University receiving her doctorate in 2001. At some point during all of this, Siddiqui married, had three children, and along with her husband, founded the Institute of Islamic Research and Teaching.

Her troubles seem to begin around 2001 when Siddiqui is known to have made payments to various Islamic charities that are or are suspected of supporting terrorism. Also during this time, Siddiqui’s husband was purchasing quite a bit of high-tech military equipment that was supposed to have been sent back to Pakistan, but the whereabouts of the equipment are uncertain. All these activities are believed to have gone on well into 2002.

So here’s what you need to keep in mind here: banks monitor money flows for illegal purposes. Getting money out one country and into another is not as easy as packing it in a bag and getting on an airplane. This is even more difficult since the passing of the Patriot Act here in the US. Banks are trying thwart fraud, cease money laundering and stop the financing of other illegal activities. Rest assured that reputable financial institutions will report your shenanigans to the FBI faster than you can say “Guantanamo Bay” should they suspect you of something truly evil, like say, terrorism.

Also, there is a Vegas born (yes, Las Vegas, Nevada) software coming into play that allows for the agencies like the CIA to link people of nefarious activities together by means not immediately recognizable to most. NORA: Nonobvious Relationship Analysis is a program that has the potential of linking people together by things they may have in common. In Siddiqui’s case, it was she and another terrorist sharing the same building address during the same time frame and then later, another piece of evidence emerged to further link the two.

Needless to say there was a lot of smoke surrounding Siddiqui and her husband. On top of all that financial intrigue, Siddiqui’s name allegedly began popping out (or was forced out, depending on who you listen to) of captured terror suspects. She was also linked materially to yet another terror suspect when her name appeared in his belongings.

Now this is where things get fuzzy. Somehow, in the middle of all this hooplah, Siddqui manages to leave the country and head for the hills in Pakistan with her three children where an uncle says she was detained by the FBI. Around this same time the international press named Siddiqui as a “fixer”, a coordinator if you will, of terrorist activities for al’Qaeda. Whether this is true or not, no one knows. What is for certain is that after spring 2003, Siddiqui vanished.

In Spring 2004, Siddiqui was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted List. They dis not label her as a terrorist, but as person they wished to locate and question.

Flash forward 2008: In July, there surfaced reports of a mystery woman in a US Afghani Military detainment facility. Some speculate if this isn’t Siddiqui. Shortly thereafter, the US reports of Siddiqui’s arrest in Afghanistan for allegedly attempting to murder to US officers. Reports of the actual events in Siddiqui’s arrest vary. Some say it was outside the governor’s residence in Ghazni, some say it was inside, some include gun fire, others include an “orgy of evidence” that was reportedly on Siddiqui at the time.

Siddiqui has since appeared in court in the US (not in the best of health as it has been reported she was shot during her arrest). This has sparked a fury in Pakistan where it is believed she is wrongly accused. There’s also another interesting plot twist about Pakistani President Musharraf ‘s son having collected a bounty on Siddiqui and a possible link between judges in Pakistan who fired by Musharraf and this case.

In the meantime, the US Intelligence Community is holding firm that they have been unaware of Siddiqui’s whereabouts for the last 5 years. What is claimed however, is that Siddiqui had information regarding US target sites and information regarding potential assassination plots of former US presidents.

ABC News has been airing many reports on the story, and has gone so far as to label Siddiqui (incorrectly of course) as a “Mata Hari”. Someone at ABC News needs to brush up on their history.

Siddiqui’s estranged husband is currently residing in Pakistan where he is a doctor. The location and fate of Siddiqui’s three children are unknown.

Nada Nadim Prouty, aka “Jihad Jane” is a Lebanese immigrant who over-stayed her welcome on a visa in 1990. She faked a marriage for citizenship which then allowed her to not only received clearance and a job at the FBI in 1999, this dame cross-channeled and went to work for the CIA in 2003 as well!

She must have very busy to-do lists.

So let’s get down to it: Overstayed visa? Crime #1. Fake marriage? Crime #2. Lied on application to FBI/CIA? Crime #3. Used position at agencies to check up on herself and the criminal activity of a brother in law who supports terrorist groups? Crime #4.

The list of offenses against this skirt is adding up.

Side note: Seems that Prouty’s brother-in-law, a Detroit-based restaurateur, had been funneling money into a charity operation that supports Hezbollah. He was about to get nabbed for tax evasion when he hiked up skirts and fled the country back to Lebanon where he currently resides. The question is for what purpose Prouty used her position to make unauthorized checks on herself, the family, and Hezbollah.

Wow, this whole story is one big twisted knot of yarn. And this Agent can see both sides of it. On one side, you could say this dame was crafty enough to find a chink in the armor of the security clearance process to infiltrate the FBI & CIA and use the place as her own personal playground for aiding and abetting terrorism.

The other side of this is that, yes, this Prouty did some bad things, like immigration fraud, but she is also regarded as one of the CIA’s top-guns and proved to be ever so helpful in all that nastiness in Iraq in the Clandestine Services. The FBI seems to think pretty highly of her as well. This broad was involved in the investigations of the USS Cole bombing, a high-profile kidnapping, and an overseas assassination of a US diplomat.

Obviously, the Intelligence Community leaned towards door #2, because Prouty, who fully cooperated, fessed up, had her citizenship revoked, paid a nominal fine, and is serving no jail time. Possibly in rewards for what was a job-well-done in service to this county.

The thing to take away from all of this seems to be the flaws in the background checks. Prouty was screened prior to an overhaul in 2001 of the Security Clearance process which was instituted after the whole Robert Hanssen affair. But she passed the polygraph and other checks into family in Lebanon seemed to check out. So this really comes down to a matter of ill-timing.

Last heard on Prouty: she is in Immigration Limbo. Because she is so heavily vetted with national security information, for her safety as well as the for the protection of top-secret info, she has not yet been deported.