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Terrorism in Torrance

December 20, 2007

Re "2 plead guilty to Southland terror plot," Dec. 15

How is it possible that a small, suburban police force could squelch a sophisticated plot by Islamic terrorists without resorting to all the sophisticated tools that the president insists are necessary in his war on terrorism? Apparently the Torrance police didn't need to send anyone on a black flight to Syria for interrogation. They didn't need to waterboard a confession from a suspected jihadist. They didn't need warrantless wiretaps. And they didn't even need the Guantanamo super prison to hold their suspects. Is it possible that all police really need to keep us safe is hard work and adherence to tested -- and lawful -- police procedure?

Marvin J. Wolf

Mar Vista Heights

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The discovery of a terror plot devised by two ex-convicts who converted to Islam and planned terrorist attacks while in a California prison should not come as a surprise. It is well known in Europe that prisons are fertile ground for the organization and recruitment of terrorists. In Spain, for example, prison authorities devised a plan to disperse Muslim prisoners across the system in order to minimize their recruitment efforts and reduce their influence in the prison population.

David Shichor

Fullerton

The writer is a professor emeritus of criminal justice at Cal State San Bernardino.

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The case against the suspected JIS terrorist group poses interesting questions concerning the U.S. government's war on terrorism. In its prosecution against the group, the FBI and dozens of government agencies conducted an extensive investigation that allegedly uncovered an eminent threat from this well-organized terrorist cell. However, the most compelling evidence offered consisted of a handwritten note listing desired targets and a "blueprint" document that was no more than a to-do list. One of the four individuals in the group was found to be unfit to stand trial because of mental illness. Are we to believe that this group posed a credible and significant threat? In its zeal to fight terrorism, the U.S. has imprisoned thousands of "enemy combatants" without trial, used torture, infringed on civil liberties and started wars at the expense of thousands of lives and billions of dollars. It would appear that the cure for terrorism has been more devastating than the disease itself.

Angel D. Sistos

San Clemente

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