Posts tagged ‘Terrorism’

July 11, 2010

The Rule of Law within the USA

by Vince

Greenwald points out the issues seen over the past several years:

* If you torture people or eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law, you receive Look-Forward Imperial Immunity.

* If you shoot and kill unarmed rescuers of the wounded while occupying their country and severely wound their unarmed children sitting in a van — or if you authorize that conduct — your actions are commended.

* If you help wreck the world economy with fraud and cause hundreds of millions of people untold suffering, you collect tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.

* If you disclose to the world evidence of war crimes, government lawbreaking, or serious corruption, or otherwise embarrass the U.S., you will be swiftly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and face decades in prison.

As was true for Ellsberg, the issue isn’t that Manning is being prosecuted; the issue is the extreme disparities in how such decisions are made and what that reveals about the objectives and priorities of those responsible for these decisions.

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July 6, 2010

Partisan Politics: GOP

by Vince

Glenn Greenwald opens the shades and exposes one of the many lopsided partisan op-ed’s by Charles Krauthammer:

Krauthammer — needless to say and for reasons too obvious to require explanation — wants to claim that the True Cause of Terrorism is “radical Islam” by itself, and thus accuses the administration of dishonesty because it “has banned from its official vocabulary the terms jihadist, Islamist and Islamic terrorism.”  His primary evidence is this recent statement of Faisal Shazhad, when he pleaded guilty to attempting the Times Square bombing:  “I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier.”  See, Krauthammer argues, even Shazhad admits it was Islam that caused his Terrorism, so why can’t Obama admit it, too?

Except to make this accusation against Obama and Islam, Krauthammer hides from his readers what Shazhad actually said, because it completely negates his claim.  When pleading guilty, Shazhad explained that his attempted bombing was in response to the violence and wars which the U.S. is perpetrating in the Muslim world, telling the court that violence aimed at Americans will continue unless and until the U.S. stops waging wars and spawning violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries.

Krauthammer conceals all of that from his readers because that’s what dishonest propagandists do:  he wants to incite Americans to hate Islam and blame it for Terrorism, and any evidence suggesting a causal relationship between U.S. policy and the anti-American sentiment that fuels it — including (though not only) U.S. support for Israeli violence — must be suppressed and ignored.

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.”

June 30, 2010

Failure is an Option

by Vince

Millman debunks the utopian view of the Afghanistan war:

But failure isalways an option. Ruling it out in advance doesn’t make success probable or even possible – it just rules out doing any kind of cost-benefit analysis of trying to achieve it. Worse, it rules out asking whether “success” actually advances our interests in the region, or actually sets them back.

And, while I don’t want to belabor comparisons between Nixon and Obama that I’ve made before by bringing up the Cambodian incursion, the sign probably should be reversed. The Pakistani military and intelligence services bankrolled the Taliban for years. But their goal is to secure their rear, to make sure that Afghanistan does not become an ally of any potentially hostile power (the old Soviet Union once, now Iran or India) and thereby become a potential base for operations against them. Given that our war in Afghanistan is very unpopular in Pakistan, and is directly contrary to the interests of the Pakistani military, it’s not at all clear why we should assume as a given that the war serves the interest of securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons against capture by terrorists.

June 30, 2010

Thinking about Jihad

by Vince

Robert Wright breaks down the testimony of Faisal Shahzad (would-be Time’s Square bomber), combining it with a National Review piece:

Now, for a Muslim holy warrior to see his attacks as revenge runs counter to Pipes’s longstanding claim that Islamic holy war is about attack, not counterattack. Roughly since 9/11, Pipes has been telling us that jihad is “unabashedly offensive in nature, with the eventual goal of achieving Muslim dominion over the entire globe.” This notion of “jihad in the sense of territorial expansion has always been a central aspect of Muslim life” and is now “the world’s foremost source of terrorism.” That’s why you have to respond with “superior military force.”

Now we have Shahzad suggesting roughly the opposite — that the holy war could end if America would stop using military force. He said in court, “Until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands and stops killing the Muslims and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that.”

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June 29, 2010

The Taliban shoot themselves in the foot

by Vince

Anand Gopal tells a good story:

On a balmy summer’s day in the village of Hiratian in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, locals found the body of eight-year-old Dilawar hanging from a tree of a small fruit farm. Taliban fighters had accused the boy of spying for the American forces and had kidnapped him, strung him up and left his body to sway in the wind for hours for all to see.

The murder was horrifying, yet few villagers would come to the defense of anyone charged with spying for the hated foreign forces. But slowly, the details of the story emerged. The Taliban in the area were involved in a weeks-long campaign to collect donations—money, food or weapons—from the local population. They had demanded either a large sum of money or a weapon from Mullah Qudoos, the ill-fated boy’s father. Qudoos, poor and jobless, had neither. So the insurgents took his son as revenge and killed him as an example.

When villagers learned the truth they erupted in fury. They openly vowed to fight the Taliban. Some called the Taliban “our oppressors.” Others swore never to help the insurgents again.

June 29, 2010

Obama’s Citizen Assassination Program

by Vince

Greenwald makes the great point that if George W. Bush was given heat for warrentless wiretapping, then what is to say of Obama’s program to assassinate “alleged” terrorist suspects who are also American citizens?

June 23, 2010

Killing Terrorists

by Vince

Would you be tried for murder if you killed Osama bin Laden overseas?

Authorities generally frown upon vigilantism, even directed against the worst criminals. The U.S. State Department is  offering a reward of up to $25 million for “information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction,” but that’s not a license to kill.

The U.S. Constitution does give Congress the authority to grant “letters of marque and reprisal” authorizing private citizens to cross international borders to fight enemies. Letters of marque haven’t been issued in the United States since the War of 1812, though U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) has advocated reviving the concept to authorize private militias to fight al Qaeda and Somali pirates.

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June 14, 2010

The 21st century Domino effect

by Vince

Saudi Arabia then Iraq then Afghanistan…and now Pakistan.

June 2, 2010

Home and Away

by Vince

A project by CNN that took over a year to create. It connects the casualties of both wars to the lives and locations of the departed back home.

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