The Interpreters We Left Behind.
"As our troops pull out of Iraq
and Afghanistan, we're abandoning fixers and translators to the dangerous countrymen who view them as traitors. Asylum in the U.S. could be their last hope. If only we'd let them in
The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, is an Iranian dissident group that has been formally designated for the last 15 years by the US State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization". When the Bush administration sought to justify its attack on Iraq in 2003 by accusing Saddam Hussein of being a sponsor of "international terrorism", one of its prime examples was Iraq's "sheltering" of the MEK. Its inclusion on the terrorist list has meant that it is a felony to provide any "material support" to that group.
Now, in the with the support of A-list American politicians who have been handsomely compensated for their efforts
, the MEK are being delisted
. [more inside]
UK's official use of torture policy.
For MI5 & MI6, special renditions: when to proceed knowing torture would be used during the interrogation. [more inside]
"... Al Qaeda was forcing local affiliates (or at least its Iraqi one) to sustain themselves financially. If local groups must make their own money, governments and counterterror operatives can use Al Qaeda’s need to raise money - often using illicit means and pressure against local citizens - against the organization. That kind of counterterrorism would look less like war, and more like careful police work against what amounts to a criminal syndicate or mafia." [Inside Al Qaeda’s hard drives
Cartoonist Tim Kreider
) of The Pain
talks about the last decade, our "disastrous decline" and his latest book of cartoons and essays, Twilight Of The Assholes. Part 1
Soldiers involved in the "Collateral Murder" video
have come forward to tell their story
. [more inside]
Suicide bombers from Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya have two things in common: they are Muslim and they live under occupation.
University of Chicago Professor Dr. Robert A. Pape, who has assembled a comprehensive database of every (or nearly every) suicide bombing since 1980, has been the most prominent proponent of the view that it is occupation, not religion, that is the single most important motivating factor for suicide bombers... more than 95% of suicide bombers come from countries under occupation...
Pape and his colleagues at the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, ask What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?
-Via The Washington Note
A farewell to Yasser.
The Times of London's driver of seven years in Baghdad was killed in a bombing this week. This was his story. [more inside]
: "A woman suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame."
: "Evil al-Qaeda chiefs are raping young male converts to shame them into becoming suicide bombers, it emerged yesterday. "
The Long War Journal.
Regardless of your politics, the aggregation of info is useful, and the chief blogger doesn't seem to have been mentioned on MeFi before.
Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted.
A newly declassified report
(PDF) by the Pentagon's inspector general claims that Iraq was not working with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion and that the intelligence was manipulated
by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith
. On the same day as the report came out, Dick Cheney claimed that they did have a relationship
via Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
. Zarqawi may be dead, but he's still useful
. [Via TalkLeft.]
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East
from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole
"Is the Administration’s new policy aiding our enemies in the war on terrorism?" New article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker.
The Iraq Effect: The War in Iraq and its Impact on the War on Terrorism.
"The war has inspired a wave of terrorism
around the world. Excluding Iraq
, the number of jihadist attacks has jumped 35 percent in the past four years. A Mother Jones
exclusive study by Peter Bergen
and Paul Cruickshank
Iraq: The Lost Generation.
This 47 minute long documentary was filmed by an anonymous Iraqi journalist. Broadcast on the UK's Channel 4 in November, it tells the stories of several young Iraqis whose lives have been changed by the invasion and occupation of their country.
Shooting War: a graphic novel by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman.
The 11-chapter first act has been lauded in Rolling Stone
and The Village Voice
. It's 2011: President McCain is fighting for political survival, America is stuck in Iraq, and there's another oil embargo. 'Vlogger' and indie icon Jimmy Burns happens to catch a terrorist attack in NYC on his web cam, making him the new face of wartime journalism.
Suicide Bombing: Just Say No.
Hollywood-style anti-suicide bombing PSA now in heavy rotation on Iraqi TV. Previously discussed here
before the spot was finished.
Personality, Ideology and Bush's Terror Wars
[...]Just as disturbing as Al Qaeda's plans and capabilities are the descriptions of the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror and its willful determination to go to war against Iraq. That war, according to the author's sources who attended National Security Council briefings in 2002, was primarily waged "to make an example" of Saddam Hussein, to "create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States."[...]
[NewsFilter] "Beginning of the End." The death of al Zarqawi
, in itself, may have been a bit of a pyrrhic victory
, but the latest news is a "treasure trove
" of intelligence from al Qa'ida in Iraq. Of course, al Qa'ida in Iraq is largely an open source
movement, so they never kept this exactly secret
--but now, it's being widely reported that al Qa'ida "sought war between US and Iran
." With speculation
that al Zaraqwi's death may lead to a drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq, might his death now also defuse tensions with Iran, as well? Did we end two
wars in one blow?
The International Crisis Group
is a private agency which attempts to improve the response to international disasters by working out a strategy and providing detailed recommendations to policymakers. Their website is full of reports on crises around the world; here's what they have to say about Darfur
, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict
. For the rationale behind the ICG, see William Shawcross's tribute to humanitarian aid worker Fred Cuny
, who disappeared in Chechnya.
Special operations were fully engaged in Iraq
back in 2003. Since that time the mission has (officially) shifted focus a bit to hunting down high value individuals like Osama bin Laden
and a cavalcade of al-Qaida stars. But if that’s the case why are we drawing down our forces in Afghanistan?
Apparently a bunch of things are going on folks are hard pressed to figure out: “Nobody understands — other than the SecDef — what the hell Kearney is supposed to do,
” the Pentagon source said. “Is he supposed to be the future JSOC commander, or is the intent to continue JSOC as a three-star billet? Only the SecDef, as far as I know, knows. There’s been absolutely no explanation.”
Marine's One Finger Salute
becomes an iconic image in the Iraqi War. Analysis and politics aside, this guy is one tough mother.
We Negotiate With Terrorists.
With an abrupt move opposite of stated policy, abducted American journalist Jill Carroll's life may have been saved by the US military yielding to the demands of her captors. Have gender, politics, and media coverage become factors erroding the mantra that the US Government formally
We don't not make deals with terrorists.
Yesterday, the Guardian reported
: "Kidnappers threatened to kill the abducted US journalist Jill Carroll unless the Bush administration ordered the release of Iraqi women prisoners within 72 hours, according to a report on al-Jazeera television yesterday." Today, the BBC reports
"Iraq's ministry of justice has told the BBC that six of the eight women being held by coalition forces in Iraq have been released early. The six were freed because there was insufficient evidence to charge them, a justice ministry spokesman said." Cause, meet effect. Effect, this is cause.
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
A surprise from Al Gore:
I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.
How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?
I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.
Taking Stock of the Forever War.
"A terrorist leader four years ago, Osama bin Laden is now an ideology as well — and a viral movement. Terrorist attacks worldwide are on the rise. Iraq could well end up a 'failed' state. Maybe it's time to stop fighting on their terms." Also, Osama bin Laden: Lost at Tora Bora.
They've found those WMDs!
Well, not quite. Just chemicals that eventually could be turned into weapons. But what's interesting is that this chem lab dates from AFTER the US invasion.
You can't make this stuff up: Rumsfeld announces that the Bush administration is planning to commemorate
the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
with an "America Supports You freedom walk
" from the Pentagon saluting the troops deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom
, followed by a show by "country music superstar" Clint Black
at the National Mall. (Not to imply that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 or anything...)
In November 2003, Weekly Standard
writer Stephen Hayes published a report alleging collusion between terrorist agents and Saddam Hussein
which received little attention in the press
. In June of '04, Hayes published another article called "The Connection
" excerpted from his book of the same title. His newest follow-up, with economist Thomas Joscelyn, entitled "The Mother of All Connections
" goes one step further to illustrate the alleged connections, contradicting what the 9/11 Commission & Bush himself have claimed
Bob Parson's may have (somewhat) changed his tune
when it comes to inhumane treatment of prisoners, but there are still plenty of ways to show
for the little terrorist resort
that could (toture people)
Another Fan Of Torture Reveals Himself
Eugene Volokh, a former clerk to Justice O'Connor and a leading voice in conservative legal circles has some interesting opinions on punishment:
[T]hough for many instances I would prefer less painful forms of execution, I am especially pleased that the killing — and, yes, I am happy to call it a killing, a perfectly proper term for a perfectly proper act — was a slow throttling, and was preceded by a flogging. The one thing that troubles me (besides the fact that the murderer could only be killed once) is that the accomplice was sentenced to only 15 years in prison, but perhaps there's a good explanation.
While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers
, which detail Torture's Paper Trail
, and, then there's Hungry for Air
: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
Iraqi Citizens Fight Back:
"The residents of a small Iraqi village have killed five insurgents who had attacked them for voting
in last weekend's national elections." ABC Journalist Mark Willacy
: "It would appear that people are getting sick of the insurgency. But certainly many people here see the insurgency as the work of foreigners who want to turn their country into some sort of Islamic state, like Afghanistan under the Taliban." On Sunday, insurgents used a kidnapped boy with Down's syndrome
as a human bomb
. From IraqTheModel
: "The poor victim was so scared when ordered to walk to the searching point and began to walk back to the terrorists. In response the criminals pressed the button and blew up the poor victim almost half way between their position and the voting center's entrance".
Ken Bigley murdered by Iraqi terrorists.
The third of his group to be beheaded, his ordeal lasted three weeks, whilst his kidnappers demanded that the British release prisoners they didn't even hold. The poor man did not deserve this.
Iraqi Indicted for Proposal to Open Talks With Israel
Bringing democracy to the Middle East--let freedom ring. "A court of Iraq's interim government has brought criminal charges against a prominent politician for attending an antiterrorism conference in Israel and publicly suggesting that Iraq should open talks with Israel.
The indictment and arrest warrant, based on a 1969 law promulgated by the Baath Party that bars Iraqis from having contacts with enemy states, are likely to anger the United States government, which has sponsored Iraq's new courts and is a close ally of Israel." So it goes...
"Iraqi blogger" indulges in disinformation.
"Sam" of http://hammorabi.blogspot.com
has graphic pictures on his site of children killed by Zarqawi terrorists in Baghdad on Thursday. Horrible and tragic, indeed. Even more tragic, however, is that a Reuters camera crew filmed their identical twins
, who died that same day after a US airstrike in Fallujah
. Is "Sam" a victim of US disinformation, or is "Sam" a practicioner? Could "Sam" be an uncle, perhaps?!
‘Staying the Course’ Isn’t an Option
"If Bush is re-elected, there are only two possible outcomes in Iraq:
Four years from now, America will have 5,000 dead servicemen and women and an untold number of dead Iraqis at a cost of about $1 trillion, yet still be no closer to success than we are right now, or
The U.S. will be gone, and we will witness the birth of a violent breeding ground for Shiite terrorists posing a far greater threat to Americans than a contained Saddam."
Joe Previtera, a 21 year old student at Boston College, was arrested Wednesday and charged with felonies after dressing as a hooded Iraqi prisoner in front of a military recruitment center in downtown Boston
. Previtera faces misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and felony charges of making a false bomb threat and using a hoax device. The charges apparently reflect the District Attorney's concern that Mr Previtera might have been mistaken for a terrorist
Sarin gas bomb used in Iraq...
Could this be the beginning of chemical warfare by the insurgents? Sarin
is a particularly nasty one too that has been previously used by terrorists
. Did the CIA actually call it correctly?
Cheney outlines Bush's vision of the war on terrorism
in a January 14th speech
, likening it to the Cold War in both scope and duration. Does this represent a change in tenor for the 2004 campaign and a move away from Reagan-esque
sunny optimism that defined the 2000 run?
New report says Bush planned Iraq War before 9/11
Jan. 10 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill charges in a new book that President Bush entered office in January 2001 intent on invading Iraq and was in search of a way to go about it.