Posts tagged ‘Al Qaeda’

September 6, 2011

Linking al-Qaeda to Baghdad

by Vince

With the new Dick Cheyney book out, this monster under the rug has come back to haunt America. Here is a segment of a conversation Col. Lawrence Wilkerson had with then Secretary of State Colin Powell:

He had pulled me aside in the National Intelligence Council spaces in the CIA, put me in a room, he and I alone, and he told me he was going to throw all the presentation material about the connection between Baghdad and al-Qaeda out, completely out. I welcomed that, because I thought it was all bogus.

Within about an hour, George Tenet, having scented that something was wrong with the Secretary vis-à-vis this part of his presentation, suddenly unleashes on all in his conference room that they have just gotten the results of an interrogation of a high-level al-Qaeda operative, and those results not only confirm substantial contacts between an al-Qaeda and Baghdad, the Mukhabarat and Baghdad, the secret police, if you will, but also the fact that they were training, they were actually training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons. Well, this was devastating. Here’s the DCI telling us that a high-level al-Qaeda operative had confirmed all of this. So Powell put at least part of that back into his presentation.

We later learned that that was through interrogation methods that used waterboarding, that no U.S. personnel were present at the time–it was done in Cairo, Egypt, and it was done by the Egyptians–and that later, within a week or two period, the high-level al-Qaeda operative recanted everything he had said. We further learned that the Defense Intelligence Agency had issued immediately a warning on that, saying that they didn’t trust the reliability of it due to the interrogation methods. We were never shown that DIA dissent, and we were never told about the circumstances under which the high-level al-Qaeda operative was interrogated. Tenet simply used it as a bombshell to convince the secretary not to throw that part, which was a very effective part, if you will recall, out of his presentation.

Advertisements
June 24, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

This one gave me a chuckle.

May 13, 2011

Oh Great of the Day

by Vince

Some news on our toxic relationship with Pakistan and their military:

 Despite mounting pressure from the United States since the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden,Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, seems unlikely to respond to American demands to root out other militant leaders, according to people who have met with him in the last 10 days.

While the general does not want to abandon the alliance completely, he is more likely to pursue a strategy of decreasing Pakistan’s reliance on the United States, and continuing to offer just enough cooperation to keep the billions of dollars in American aid flowing, said a confidant of the general who has spoken with him recently.

Mind you, we have provided $20 billion since 2001 (that figure doesn’t include covert aid) to Pakistan. This article is worth a full read; it’s quite interesting.

February 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden, Egypt, and Us

by Vince

The past week has filled our news outlets with pictures, videos, and stories of the Egyptian riots. What the denizens of Egypt are fighting for is not jihad but democracy:

Middle Eastern tyrannies aren’t falling the way George W. Bush predicted. America isn’t the hammer; if anything, we’re the anvil. But Bush’s argument that Middle Eastern democracy could help drain the ideological swamp in which al Qaeda grew may yet be proved true. Osama bin Laden has never looked more irrelevant than he does this week, as tens of thousands march across the Middle East not for jihad, but for democracy, electricity, and a decent job. It’s a time for hope, not fear. America can survive having less control, as long as the Arab people have more.

Big ups to Bush II. Historian Basheer Nafi adds on:

My feeling is that we are witnessing a second wave of the Arab liberation movement … In the first wave, the Arabs liberated themselves from colonial powers and foreign domiantion. I think now, the very heart of the Arab world, the backbone of the Arab world, is leading the move towards freedom and democracy and human rights.

(Pictured Above: “Sleeping protester at Tahrir Sq. with signs: “people decide for themselves” and “down with the head of the gang” [Reuters])

October 11, 2010

Obama and Lethal Force Under Law

by Vince

The NYT applauds Obama’s assasination program all the while calling him to be transparent:

The Obama administration has sharply expanded the shadow waragainst terrorists, using both the military and the C.I.A. to track down and kill hundreds of them, in a dozen countries, on and off the battlefield.

The drone program has been effective, killing more than 400 Al Qaeda militants this year alone, according to American officials, but fewer than 10 noncombatants. But assassinations are a grave act and subject to abuse — and imitation by other countries. The government needs to do a better job of showing the world that it is acting in strict compliance with international law.

The fine details that separate a president being allowed to single out an extremist for kill and being covered by independent oversight seems minute. Is Obama commanding for these extremists to be killed or is he simply reporting to us what has been reported to him from the DOD or another group?

The Obama administration needs to go out of its way to demonstrate that it is keeping its promise to do things differently than the Bush administration did. It must explain how targets are chosen, demonstrate that attacks are limited and are a last resort, and allow independent authorities to oversee the process.

Obama responded to the above claim in a recent Rolling Stone interview, which I found extremely enlightening and fun to read:

I have been able to make sure that our intelligence agencies and our military operate under a core set of principles and rules that are true to our traditions of due process. People will say, “I don’t know — you’ve got your Justice Department out there that’s still using the state-secrets doctrine to defend against some of these previous actions.” Well, I gave very specific instructions to the Department of Justice. What I’ve said is that we are not going to use a shroud of secrecy to excuse illegal behavior on our part. On the other hand, there are occasions where I’ve got to protect operatives in the field, their sources and their methods, because if those were revealed in open court, they could be subject to very great danger. There are going to be circumstances in which, yes, I can’t have every operation that we’re engaged in to deal with a very real terrorist threat published in Rolling Stone.

These things don’t happen overnight. But we’re moving in the right direction, and that’s what people have to keep in mind.

I side with Obama on this, for the long term process and I applaud his patience.

September 30, 2010

Obama’s Political Direction

by Vince

Andrew Sullivan annihilates Bill O’Reilly’s sermon claiming Barack Obama has gone to the far left since being elected:

He says first that in foreign policy, progressives believe that America is a “bully” and “too aggressive.” Obama, however, has retained most of Bush’s executive powers against al Qaeda (except, critically, torture), has poured more troops into Afghanistan than was ever the case under Bush, has ramped up the drone campaign in Pakistan, retained Bush’s defense secretary, stuck to Bush’s withdrawal timetable in Iraq, and embraced targeted killings of al Qaeda operatives, even US citizens. On Iran, Obama has managed to get a far more comprehensive and global set of economic sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards, and has refused to take military force off the table. Obama, moreover, went to Oslo to defend the necessity of war while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. For this record, O’Reilly says Obama represents the pursuit of “peace at pretty much any price.” There is no other description of this than a travesty of the truth.

Also, check out the Rolling Stone interview with Barack himself.

July 2, 2010

Al Qaeda’s First English Language Magazine Is Here

by Vince

Thanks to James Fallows at TheAtlantic, you have the following excerpts:

It’s called “Inspire,”  and you can read parts of it below. A U.S. official said early this morning that the magazine appears to be authentic.

“Inspire” includes a “message to the people of Yemen” directly transcribed from Ayman Al-Zawahari, Al Qaeda’s second in command, a message from Osama Bin Laden on “how to save the earth,”  and the cover includes a quotation from Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American born cleric who is believed to be directly connected to the attempt to destroy an airplane over Detroit by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day. (The director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, made that disclosure at a security forum in Aspen, CO, Fox News reported.)

The table of contents teases an interview with the leader of AQAP who promises to “answer various questions pertaining to the jihad in the Arabian Peninsula.”  It includes a feature about how to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”