Thursday, October 21, 2004

We're Safer? Leading Terrorism Experts Disagree with Bush-Cheney Slogan

(Note: The following in a letter being circulated to the media.* Risk Management Solutions is considered a nonpartisan source of information, and its risk modeling is used by government agencies, asset securitization specialists, bond and credit rating agents, insurers and others.)

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Prindle

Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004

Subject: briefing request: RMS sees terrorist attack risk increasing in the U.S. and globally [bcc]


Hope you are well.

I was wondering if you might be interested in speaking with a terrorism expert from catastrophe risk modeling firm Risk Management Solutions (RMS) to discuss the company's just-completed 2005 overview of U.S. and global terrorism risk. Developed over the course of several months by RMS and its network of world-renowned terrorism experts, the overview represents the most accurate and up-to-date insight into terrorism risk available anywhere. In the past, this information has been shared with RMS's clients, but not generally released to the media.

U.S. Terrorism Risk: Increased Risk of Attack RMS sees an increased risk of a terrorist macro attack in the U.S. over the next year, with "macro attack" defined as a major terrorist attack requiring considerable resources and intended to provoke a political reaction. While the overall chances of an attack have increased, the expected severity of an attack has decreased; evidence suggests that a successful attack in the U.S. is now more likely to involve the intelligent deployment of smaller conventional weapons such as vehicle bombs, rather than a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon. The increased risk is due to the proliferation of Islamic militants that are motivated and threatening the U.S., and the preparation time that groups have had to plan attacks that could come to maturity in 2005. In addition, 2004 saw a record number of attacks worldwide, a substantial increase in the number of disrupted suspected attack preparations within the U.S., and increased activity in Islamic militant recruitment.

Global Terrorism Risk: Iraq War Generates New Threats RMS warns of a considerable increase in international terrorism threat generated by the Iraq war. Its advisory group cites repeated examples of European operatives visiting Iraq, becoming involved in attacks on US forces and learning guerilla tactics on the front lines before returning to Europe as now-radicalized and experienced terrorist operatives, ready to advance Jihadist causes in France, Germany, the UK and elsewhere. In addition, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is busily creating a new network of terrorist cells throughout Europe, independent of those created by Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda itself continues to recruit new members, including a cell recently arrested in the UK that was comprised of highly educated UK-born Pakistani men who had not been through the Afghanistan training camps but were inspired by the rhetoric and ideology to plan their own attacks -- truly 'second generation' Islamic militant terrorists.

RMS's Global Terrorism Risk Model: Supporting Development of Overseas Terrorism Coverage The information gleaned for this overview also played a significant role in RMS's development of the first-ever Global Terrorism Risk Model. Released in late September, the model is already being used to facilitate a Montpelier Re/OPIC facility that provides terrorism coverage to U.S. businesses investing in developing countries and transition economies.

RMS's Advisory Group
The company's advisory group of world-leading authorities on terrorism includes Jane's Information Group; Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Singapore; Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Director, RAND, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, Director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrews; and Dr. K. Jack Riley, Co-Director, RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy.

Thank you so much for your time,
Mark Prindle

* I have removed Mr. Prindle's e-mail address and telephone number.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is interesting and enlightening. In a nutshell, the world is one scary place right now. So, the point of the post is that we are not safer today than before iraq? Seems that way. Some follow up questions:

1) If we left iraq, how much worse or better would it get?
2) Is it possible that Iraq is just one offshoot of this and that the success with terrorist attacks in the US on 9-11 and Spain (where it changed a political election) has led to the galvanization of terrorists?
3) Does the increase in the number of terrorist groups or people in them necessarily mean that some of the things we put into place to prevent the attacks didnt make us safer?
4) how much does the palestinian-israeli conflict play into this?
5) what are we supposed to do other than fighting them all over the place?
6) What actions would john kerry take as president wrt iraq and the larger war? lets assume for the moment tha the UN is a voice for a bunch of corrupt regimes and that european nations will not assist with troops in iraq? i guess whatever he does cant be all that much worse than Bush these days, right?
7) an interesting thought (and it may repulse some). what would be the current state of things if a) we had not gone into iraq or b) we hadnt gone into aphganistan or iraq and basically ignored the threat as we had before 911?

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that the NYT and WSJ have contacted RMS/Torrance about pursuing a story on this report. And the Atlantic Monthly is writing a story on it as we speak. I think this is the exact type of objective analysis that the public in deciding whom to vote for on Nov. 2.
And RMS non-partisan findings should not be lightly brushed aside. Governments and insurance companies around the world rely on its models for weighing manmade and natural catastrophic risk. The company was hesistant to release the report at this time on the fear it would be attacked as supporting Kerry.
In my mind, the report reflects Bush's incompetence and foreign relations, and yes, I think Kerry as reflected in his policy speeches early on in the Iraq conflict, would have handled things differently, including reaching a consensus with the U.N. before attacking the country.
On this subject, the news that has buried is how Bush slammed the door on our allies and on the UN when they were seeking to participate in Iraq's reconstruction. Of course, this occurred at about the same time Bush wrongly proclaimed "major combat operations have ended."
Only more evidence that Bush is the wrong president to pursue global unity necessary to defeat terrorism.

4:45 PM  

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