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Cost-benefit analysis of the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud

Killing the leader of the Pakistani Taliban the day before talks between the Taliban and the Government of Pakistan were due to commence might not have been a sensible move. As leader of the Taliban HM was responsible for thousands of innocent lives being lost – most of them Muslims. In that sense his death […]

Lessons from Boston

I agree with The Australian’s editorial (for once). We don’t want immigrants or those entering Australia via the refugee and humanitarian program to be people who despise our democracy, our legal system and our tolerant society. It is reasonable to be totally intolerant towards their intolerance. Of course we don’t want those fanatics who will […]

Terrorists targeting marathoners

The bombings set off to coincide with the end of the Boston marathon killed 3 (an 8 year old boy one of the dead) and left many with horrific injuries and trauma. I feel depressed with the world.


Cricket & terrorism

The attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore cannot be condemned too forcefully.  Very plausibly it is Islamic terrorists who have killed 8 innocents (civilians and police officers) whose committed no crime at all.  A number of prominent cricketers were injured.  What a tragedy – cricket is much more than a game – […]

Cost efficient terrorism control

The Chinese show how to deal with a terrorist blackmail threat.

Thanks Sir Henry

Violent, racist Islamists kill innocents in Mumbai

The reports of the overnight killings in Mumbai are horrifying. The image of religiously-motivated young men searching for totally innocent civilians with American or British passports and then killing them because they originate from these particular countries makes all civilised humanity recoil.  Pure evil.

Sympathies for the 100+ dead innocents and for the 280+ injured and something […]

To succeed as a terrorist

This early Freakonomics post made a much criticised approach to the issue.

This recent clip makes useful (cutting edge) suggestions.

More on sexual frustration & the supply of religious fanatics

I posted some time back about sexual frustration under Islam as a source of inspiration for terrorism. Gary Becker has argued that sexually-frustrated nobodies whose lives are going nowhere are a primary source of terrorist supply.

In poor Islamic societies – this NYT report documents the situation in Egypt – youth are turning to religious […]

Supply & demand for terrorism

Gary Becker argues that terrorism should decline with improved economic development because the supply of terrorist foot-soldiers falls with the implied demographic transition and the opportunity cost of such things as suicide missions rises when you have a good job and good prospects. Becker argues that those who are well-educated and earning high incomes will […]

Costs of the war on terror

Greg Mankiw’s blog provides estimates of the cost of military operations in Irag, Afghanistan and the war on terrorism from the Congressional Budget Office.

The estimated present value of costs from 2001-2017 is between $1.2-$1.7 trillion. This is, of course, a vast amount. But it is quite a bit smaller than the estimates of […]

Md. Haneef again

Nothing in the Four Corners show last night caused me to change my view that Mohammed Haneef was the subject of an entirely reasonable investigation by Australian authorities earlier this year. Liz Jackson carried out a superb, probing interview for the show.

To be clear Mr. Haneef on appearence seems a decent young man who […]

Daft law overturns Haneef visa cancellation

The judgement overturning the Haneef visa cancellation by Justice Spender is extraordinary. He claims not that Kevin Andrews was wrong in cancelling the visa -there were plenty of grounds to do that on the basis of UK police reports – but that Andrews has applied the wrong test. After setting out the highly technical grounds […]

Crowing, apologising & denying

It is now quite clear (also here) that the action of Kevin Andrews in cancelling Md. Haneef’s visa was entirely appropriate under the Migration Act. Indeed, as the only requirement for cancellation was that Haneef could reasonably be suspected of associating with criminals, the cancellation was reasonable even before last night’s revelations. It is even […]

Andrews was prudent to act on valid suspicions

Imre Salusinszky says it as well as anyone in relation to Minister Andrew’s handling of the Haneef case:

‘On balance, this is one of those no-scandal scandals where the stridency of some commentators only underlines their estrangement from the man and woman on the street.

Unfortunately, this estrangement reveals a pattern we have seen repeatedly […]

Last word on Haneef?

Md. Haneef has now left Australia. He has been cleared of the charges levelled against him. This does not mean that the charges against him and his possible terrorist links should not have been investigated. On the basis of information available at the time (and in the absence of the ex post wisdom so beloved […]

Md. Haneef in custody – keep a balanced view

Mohammed Haneef may be innocent on being involved with terrorism but he did associate with at least two men charged with terrorist offenses in the UK and a SIM card of his was found in a burned-out vehicle used to attack an airport in Glasgow on June 30. He had sent an email to an […]

Religious fundamentalism debases science

The International Herald Tribune carries an article asserting that religious fundamentalists use science to further ideology, not to challenge core beliefs.

Abu Hanieh, who researches and has close ties with militant Islamist movements in the region, says they have their own scientific perspective in which there are simple questions and clear answers. “They have […]

Doctor Do No Harm

The arrest of an Indian doctor (Mohammed Haneef) based in Queensland in connection with the attempted terrorist bombings in Britain is a fearful development for Australia. This takes the number of arrested doctors to 6 in total. As I write another doctor is being interviewed in Queensland although as yet he has not been arrested. […]

Outsourcing torture

Last night Four Corners continued its two-part series into the case for officially-sanctioned torture. My review of the first part was here. The second part is entitled Ghost Prisoners. It deals with the outsourcing of torture. This show is less concerned with the theory and with more of the practical implications of torture. Its findings […]

The case for torture

Last Monday Four Corners provided a discussion of the moral and practical case for torture. It is the first of a two-part coverage. The second-part will deal with the issue of shipping suspects to foreign countries and ‘outsourcing’ torture.

I have previously discussed torture via the ‘ticking bomb’ problem on John Quiggin’s blog. This […]