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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
96 pages
Sep 2004
Broadman & Holman

Counter-Terrorism Handbook: How to Protect Yourself at Home and Abroad

by Phil Little & Albert Perrotta

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Snapshots of the Truth

PRETEND YOU JUST WALKED into my office. You’ve decided you’re interested in retaining the services of West Coast Detective Group International. Why? Maybe because, like many Americans, you’ve become concerned about the rising tide of terrorism directed against innocent civilians. Or maybe it’s because you own a company whose business crosses national borders, and since the horrifying events of September 11, 2001, you’ve realized you’re responsible for keeping your employees safe in an increasingly hostile world.

For whatever reason you picked up this book, _I want you to know that I will present my information to you as if you are my client and you have retained my company to investigate and give you the facts. By your purchase of this book, you have, in a sense, employed me, and I take my commitment to you quite seriously, as West Coast Detective Group International has done for more than eighty-two years. I will present the facts and let you decide what your part should be in helping keep our country and the world a safe place to live.

The stern voice of the instructor tells the fifth and sixth graders, “The time for toys and games is over. Throw away your toys! Pick up rocks, and they will become a Kalashnikov. Don’t be afraid.” The children chant, “We are on our own. The children, the boys and girls, will go and kill them on our own, murder them, and shoot them all. Just give us weapons—the boys and girls. We will kill them all. We won’t leave a single Jew here.”

Do we have any clue what we are up against _in this war against terrorism?

For more than three decades, I’ve traveled the world, engaged in counter-terrorism and international investigative work. I’ve been shot at by terrorists and hunted down by the media. I’ve taught tens of thousands about the threats we faced, yet I also understand there is so much more we need to know. Through it all, the message has remained constant: we had better learn quickly if we hope to survive terrorism’s madness.

My journey into the history and heart of terrorism started in 1977 with a trip to the Middle East and a chance meeting with Major Haddad, then the leader of southern Lebanon. He took us through the terrorist training camps and brought us face-to-face with the ravaged lives of the innocent Lebanese. I hungered to learn more about the cycle of terrorism, and the more I learned, the angrier I became. At that time, our nation was buying the song-and-dance that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”; we just looked the other way as the PLO slaughtered thousands of Lebanese Arabs and Christians, as well as the Jewish population of Israel.

The destruction of life and property by the Palestinian terrorists who took over Major Haddad’s country gave me cause to stop and consider what I had heard about terrorism. Admittedly, the rockets they fired in my direction also caught my attention!

During my first trip, I met with Israeli military and intelligence agents and was staggered by the facts I learned about terrorists and their ultimate, unwavering agenda. Even then, Israel knew there was no compromise with enemies who desired total destruction. America had yet to learn this principle. In fact, I’m not sure if the vast majority of Americans even now understands this basic fact. Terrorists view negotiation as a sign of weakness and a window of opportunity for carrying out their goal: total elimination of their enemies.

In my view, there are three distinct parts to winning the war on terrorism. The first is having the political will to take the fight to the enemy before we see the smoking gun and the attendant, monumental loss of American life. Prior to 9/11, the political will to engage in an active war with a terrorist entity that we could hardly locate was simply not there. The 9/11 Commission hearings have proven that neither of the major political parties felt they had the mandate to put the country on a war footing, making it easy for a president such as Bill Clinton, weak when it came to maintaining preventive capabilities, to gut the intelligence community. He allowed his attorney general to put unreasonable—even unfathomable—restraints on the FBI and the CIA.

That brings us to the second part of winning the war on terrorism. We must take proper intelligence and preventive law enforcement actions to stop terrorists before they can complete their attacks. Since 9/11, we have started the rebuilding of our intelligence agencies, resulting in the interception of many terrorist plots before they could harm the United States. These successful interventions may surprise you because you likely don’t know about most of the heroic efforts by the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community. Furthermore, you will never know how close some of the intended terrorist attacks have come to destroying thousands of lives. Later, I’ll detail one planned attack with weapons of mass destruction that was stopped within miles of our nation’s southern border. These successes are attributable to the leadership we’ve been fortunate to have in Washington. This has nothing to do with the party in power but with the character of our current president and his fundamental grasp of the problem and how to fight it. Also, because George W. Bush is a man of his word—he follows through, a rare commodity in Washington! At this time in history, our nation cannot tolerate the consequences of electing a president who is opposed to intelligence gathering or who is weak on defense. We must provide no enticement to a committed terrorist who is just waiting for a sign of weakness or lack of resolve on our part.

The third and equally important key to combating terrorism is an energized, informed citizenry that is proactive in running government, from the local to the federal level. By way of explanation, let me take you to Los Angeles in 1981, as I assisted with preparations to make the city safe for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

I had just returned from a month in Europe with a group of American law enforcement officials. We met with police and intelligence officials in England, France, Germany, and Italy. Also we were briefed by Interpol, and I discovered the terrorist trail I had followed out of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon in 1977 was running through the countries of Europe. The plans we had discovered in the terrorist training camps—to export terrorism beyond the borders of the Middle East—were already being carried out by daily bombings of the cities of Europe. Interpol explained how terrorists seek to diminish, through protest and sympathetic media coverage, intelligence gathering and preventive law enforcement in each country they target, prior to and in concert with their bombings and kidnappings. Such tactics were successful in Europe. I wondered, Will terrorist groups try the same tactics in America?

I got my answer one morning in 1981 while listening to the radio. The report was about certain radical groups in Los Angeles and their efforts to inhibit intelligence gathering at the local level. These groups—I’d be shocked if the media had described them as radical—were using the same tactics, even the exact language used by the leftists in Europe, where whole cities and countries were being held hostage by terrorist attacks. As I listened to the radio report, I was hearing a precise repetition of the tactics of the terrorists and their supporters, particularly the use of deception and misinformation. It was as if the protesters in L.A. were reading from the playbook drawn up in the Middle East’s terror camps.

Not surprising, as I later learned. Some of the same radical groups who were behind the mayhem in Europe, such as the Communist Workers Party, were identical to those protesting in L.A., led by the ACLU and others. Further investigation proved their purpose was to start a campaign in L.A. to disband the police department’s intelligence unit. I became alarmed and decided to get involved after seeing what had happened in Europe—particularly at the 1972 Munich games, where lack of intelligence and preparation facilitated the slaughter of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists.

As I watched the daily barrage of media attacks spread fear of intelligence gathering in L.A., I decided that someone had to stand up for preventive law enforcement. I was encouraged by friends in the intelligence community who warned of the perils of not being able to know what the terrorists were planning. At first, there were only a few of us—but within a few weeks after our own press conferences and my debate with the leaders of the ACLU, the tide began to turn. I was asked by a L.A. city councilman, “Where have you people been?” He said that the only voices they were hearing at city hall were those “on the left.” He asked us to step up and balance the record. We did, and within three months we had the support of thousands who showed up at press conferences and sent letters and made phone calls to elected officials. These actions by concerned citizens turned the tide, and we beat back the attack to disband the LAPD’s intelligence-gathering unit. As a result, we had a safe 1984 Olympics. To this day, we still have a strong intelligence unit in Los Angeles.

The damage to our federal capabilities was more subtle; because it took place at the national level, more removed from local scrutiny, the radicals were able to slip through measures to decrease intelligence-gathering capability and other law enforcement tools. I must admit I, too, was asleep at the wheel after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, since the USSR was a large supporter for world terrorist groups. There was no outcry like the one regarding L.A. If there had been, if we had been able to increase our intelligence capability and if we had broken down the walls between the police agencies and the extra walls thrown up by the Clinton administration, we could have, in my opinion, prevented 9/11. We are not the only country where we, the people, are uninformed and too busy to get involved in issues that seem so far away. The most powerful weapon of citizens in the battle for a safe society is still the ballot box. We have become jaded to the point of losing hope that we can really make a difference in politics, so we simply choose to stay out of the fray. This type of thinking is a guarantee of society’s further descent into violence.

Please understand: this is not a doomsday prophecy. Remember, you are my client. I wish to alert you to the facts—so that together we can beat back the evil of terrorism and violence. Think of it this way: America is a big, powerful company and we, its citizens, are all on the board of directors. Unfortunately, a large majority of the board members—people like you and me—have long been absent from the board meetings. Consequently, the management team has gone into left field, following its own agenda. Even a president like the one we have at this writing, a man who understands the battle, still needs to know we support the men and women who are leading the charge to keep us safe.

In order to provide the service you deserve as my client, I must help you understand what this battle is all about. Later in this book, I’ll talk about my investigation into the ultimate source of terrorism, and you may be surprised at what you find. From, at least, the beginning of the twentieth century, the world has moved in cycles of violence that run in roughly twenty-five-year periods. One such period ran through the seventies, eighties, and into the nineties. Then there was a tapering off and a time of what we thought was peace settling on the world. We were deceived by the signs and information supplied to us. Furthermore, while we were falling into a complacent state, terrorist organizations such as Hezzbollah, al-Qaeda, and the Iranian terror machine were working overtime to prepare for what we now know as 9/11.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were to have been only a start, but thanks to the sitting president, the game plan was altered.

We know what happens during election years. We see people go to any lengths to destroy the other candidate. To get elected they will tell lies, distort the records, and promise unrealistic changes. I have heard many Democrats say, “Thank God Bush and not Gore was president on 9/11.” This is not a personal attack on Gore but reflects the reality of his politics and international policy, his perceived character as a potential president. Can we compromise with and appease the terrorists? Can we concentrate on the specific individuals who perform terrorist acts? Will they leave us alone if we let them have their way in the Middle East? History tells us no, no, and no. Actually, recent history speaks for itself.

The people of Spain are now at a crossroads. Unfortunately, they are making the same mistakes others have made before them.

No sooner had the dead and wounded been removed from the mangled rubble of the trains in Madrid than the terrorists received their sought-after victory. Their objective wasn’t the death and destruction caused by the blast per se but the surrender of the Spanish people to the al-Qaeda agenda: Spain’s withdrawal from Iraq. Spain immediately caved in to the demands of the terrorists and elected a new proappeasement government that took immediate action to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq. Was al-Qaeda satisfied? Well, judge for yourself: within two weeks they attempted another attack on the people of Spain. So much for succumbing to the wishes of terrorists. The government of Spain sent al-Qaeda the message that terrorist acts can influence national elections—not exactly the message we’d like for Osama bin Laden to receive as we head toward our elections.

The same pattern was working in the Europe of the seventies and eighties as the terrorists attempted to break the will of the people—and for a time they were successful. They used lies and deception to sell Europe on the fallacy that measures meant to protect them were really a danger. Sound familiar? The terrorists were able to induce the people to believe that they could negotiate and compromise and everybody would get along just fine. The results in Europe should have been a lesson for the Spanish—who apparently didn’t study. The Italians, French, Germans, and others also have learned the hard way that you cannot compromise with terrorists. But why? What is it about the thinking of the radical Muslim terrorist that makes him hate Westerners, the Jewish people, and, now, Americans so deeply that he will even kill fellow Muslims who dare befriend us?

We need to look beyond his or her hateful acts and try to understand the real reason for the hatred that spawns the behaviors. The things we can see on the surface are the generations of young people who have been trained from birth to hate Jews, all Jews; who have been indoctrinated in the belief that the Jews as a nation stole their homeland; who have absorbed as unquestioned truth the belief that the only cure is to push the Jews into the sea. In recent years, Americans have been added to the list of people to hate and have become a viable target of choice and opportunity.

We all know about the impressionability of children. If we start early, we can form our children’s thoughts and actions into whatever form we desire—even one that is evil and violent.

Can there be a greater sin than teaching a child’s heart to see darkness as light?

We’ll find out in the next chapter.