Connie Bruck in The New Yorker: Why Obama Has Failed to Close Guantánamo
Congress is blamed for preventing the President from fulfilling his pledge. But that’s not the whole story.
Extreme airliner landings at Wellington International Airport, New Zealand, 13 January 2012. Extreme airliner landings at Wellington International Airport, New Zealand, 2 January 2013. Extreme airliner landings and takeoffs at Wellington International Airport, New Zealand, 8 September 2012. Extreme airliner landings and takeoffs at Wellington International Airport, New Zealand, 3 July 2013. [All videos via the Airside TV YouTube channel.] [more inside]
"I am on the US kill list. I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again."
Multiple shootings are happening at popular venues and restaurants in Paris The Guardian seems to be very well informed. But here is a link to Liberation as well [more inside]
Sweden school attack: horror as sword attacker kills teacher and pupil. [The Guardian] [Article contains graphic descriptions of violence.] [more inside]
The Edison Talking Doll is just what it sounds like: a doll, with a small phonograph in its body, mass-produced by Thomas Edison’s lab in the 1890s -- and it … shrieks. It’s like an unearthly Carol Kane screaming in a wind tunnel, trapped in the body of a lifeless totem. Listen at your own risk. Even more Edison Talking Doll recordings.
2 Deadly Shootings Within Hours in Copenhagen; 5 Wounded [New York Times]
A shooting at a free speech event featuring an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad and a second shooting hours later outside a synagogue left two dead and five police officers wounded in Copenhagen, stirring fears that another terror spree was underway in a European capital a month after 17 people were killed in Paris attacks.[more inside]
Extracts of Mohamedou Ould Slahi's Guantanamo diary are read by Stephen Fry, Colin Firth and others as part of the Guardian's Guantanamo Diary series. Previously on Metafilter. [more inside]
Speaking of global memes... it started first in California, where a man dressed as a clown has been threatening people with an axe. And then it spread to France, where armed clowns have been assaulting people all over the country. Where will this horror strike next? (Me, I think they're space aliens.)
Lauren Davis rounds up webcomics to give you thrills and chills on io9, calling out 18 specifically, then listing additional titles in some of the descriptions. [more inside]
In This Horror Film, Blood Is All Too Real [New York Times] ‘Terror at the Mall’ on HBO documents an Attack in Kenya.
One year ago, gunmen from the Shabab militant group in Somalia laid siege to the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Armed with AK-47s and grenades, they stalked their victims from a gourmet burger restaurant at the entrance to the vegetable aisle of a grocery store at the back. The British filmmaker Dan Reed assembled thousands of hours of footage gleaned from more than 100 security cameras inside the mall, video from television crews and modest cellphones, as well as still photographs. Then he and his team tracked down more than 200 people and interviewed 82 of them on camera, many survivors or their rescuers.[more inside]
7 month old baby pulls tail of cat. Cat scratches baby. Father of baby kicks cat butt. Then things go rapidly downhill between the 22 pound house cat "with a history of violence" and the family... [more inside]
March 11 will mark the tenth anniversary of M 11 - the Madrid train bombings in which 192 people were killed. Projet 192 coordinated by Ciro Prota sees 192 photographers each making one black and white image to remember a victim. One photograph for each victim, and each name written “inside” the picture, on a piece of paper... (Controls for zooming and reducing of page turning sound are at the bottom left of the gallery)
"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org[more inside]
The Appointment is a horror film from 1981, starring Edward Woodward as the father of a family possessed by some sort of malevolent entity. Although it has (probably quite rightly) been largely forgotten, it does have a really fantastic opening scene. [more inside]
When the car exploded, the same two words occurred to him, and to the ticket taker, and to every other person who saw or heard the blast, which could be heard on the other side of Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city: Boko Haram. That neither they, nor practically anyone else in Nigeria, knew what Boko Haram was exactly or why it would want to bomb a bus station was beside the point. Officially, according to the Nigerian government, Boko Haram is a terrorist group. It began life as a separatist movement led by a northern Nigerian Muslim preacher, Mohammed Yusuf, who decried the country’s misrule. “Boko Haram” is a combination of the Hausa language and Arabic, understood to mean that Western, or un-Islamic, learning is forbidden. In 2009, after Yusuf was killed [BBC, The Guardian]—executed, it’s all but certain, by Nigerian police—his followers vowed revenge.[more inside]
The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike
Opponents of drone strikes say they violate international law and have caused unacknowledged civilian deaths. Proponents insist they actually save the lives of both U.S. soldiers, who would otherwise be deployed in dangerous ground operations, and of civilians, because of the drone’s capacity to survey and strike more precisely than combat. If the alternative is a prolonged and messy ground operation, the advantage of drone strikes in terms of casualties is indisputable, and it is not my intention to dispute it here. But the terms of this debate give a one-sided view of both the larger financial and political costs of drones, as well as the less than lethal but nonetheless chronic and intense harm continuous strikes wage on communities.[more inside]
The Drone That Killed My Grandson — Dr. Nasser al-Awlaki, Fulbright scholar, founder of Ibb University and former president of Sana University, served as Yemen’s minister of agriculture and fisheries from 1988 to 1990. His 16-year-old grandson Abdulrahman (an American citizen born in Denver, Colorado) was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen on Oct. 14, 2011, two weeks after his father Anwar was killed by a previous drone strike.
BREAKING NEWS: Groundhog supervillain terrorizes NJ Little League then escapes from animal hospital. Suspect is still at large.
Mau Mau to Midnapore: Confronting the brutality of empire There are certainly some Britons, including academics, journalists and human rights lawyers, who are aware of the realities of colonialism. However, in the society as a whole and in the media in the UK there are still far too many who seem strangely reluctant, even after so many decades after the end of the British empire, to come to terms with the true nature of colonialism or learn from the perspective of former subjects who had rebelled against it.
Years after the first hints of "harsh interrogation practices" in the US war on terror, years after Obama's decision to "look forward, not back" and not investigate or pursue official torture by the CIA and other agencies, the 577-page Report of the Task Force on Detainee Treatment that was released today is, "[i]n many respects, . . . the examination of the treatment of suspected terrorists that official Washington has been reluctant to conduct." The New York Times' Scott Shane reports. [more inside]
Remember BigDog, the robot 'mule' that Boston Dynamic is developing? Well, now it throws cinderblocks. [more inside]
If Doom and Nethack lived in Estonia and had a baby, it'd be named Teleglitch, a recently released pixelated action roguelike that will completely murder you if you're not very careful about how you explore its procedurally-generated corridors, fighting off former coworkers, crafting spare parts into new stuff and hunting for ammo and food and clues as to what the hell went so terribly wrong at the Militech R&D facility on Medusa 1-C. The game has a 4-level demo (Windows and Linux, Mac too apparently) which will probably kick your ass plenty all by itself. [more inside]
1. Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Pity. A signature strike leveled the florist’s. The Disposition Matrix. Anti-Drone Camouflage: What to Wear in Total Surveillance. Drone City. Books Not Bombs.
The Snipist - a post-apocalyptic nightmare set in a post-rabies Britain (warning: absolutely bleak). A Gun For George - a short film about crime-writer Terry Finch, author of the 70s Kentish fiction masterpieces The Reprisalizer. [more inside]
"Hundreds of Kashmiri militants who left home as young men two decades ago have begun to return, middle-aged and disillusioned. What happens to them now?"
What if Edward Gorey illustrated Lovecraft? It'd look like John Kenn Mortensen's work, that's what. Except Mortensen makes his art in his spare time, on post-it notes. He has an art book.
This past November, news broke of a rather odd domestic terror plot that had been broken up by the FBI. Four senior citizens in northern Georgia who met regularly at a local Waffle House, were allegedly planning to spread ricin and botulinum toxin in Atlanta and Washington, DC, in order to kill millions of people and "save the Constitution." But was there ever really a conspiracy?
Today is the third anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. And India, tired of waiting, wants answers. [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]
It might be instructive to ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders to invade Iraq -- that is, to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.There is Much More to Say by Noam Chomsky.
A little bit of security theater will shut down in April as the Department of Homeland Security will end the color coded Homeland Security Advisory System. The terror alert has not changed from yellow in over four years, unless you are on an international flight. The system has been criticized immensely since its introduction. And don't forget the jokes. [more inside]
"U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says" From the LA Times.
His terrors are eternal, he's a master of cosmic horror, and now he can also liven up a dull trip to the North East: 6 Boring New England Destinations Made Awesome by H.P. Lovecraft
Mass wedding for former Tamil fighters Fifty-three couples of former Tamil Tiger rebels were married Sunday ... at a rehabilitation camp near the northern town of Vavuniya. [more inside]
Threats of right wing violence have doubled in the past year. What is behind the latest upsurge in the movement to create a Christian theocratic state? [more inside]
Seven are arrested in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana in FBI raids linked to Christian militia group Hutaree, an extremist antigovernment group whose members are "preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive", after threats to Islamic organisations.
National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told representatives that American citizens can be assassinated by the US government when they are oveseas. Blair said the comments were intended to “reassure” Americans that there was a “set of defined policy and legal procedures” in place... (via antiwar.com) [more inside]
Daily life of the jihadis: rants, the usual aggressive posturing, murderous threats, and dreams of paradise. Also, problems with frying eggs.
Is aviation security mostly for show? An essay by Bruce Schneier.
A journalist tries to track down the truth about a recent terror detainee.
Big Newsfilter: US Attorney General Holder appoints a prosecutor to investigate abusive CIA interrogations in the War on Terror. [more inside]
US News reports that in a new tell-all book, Tom Ridge admits manipulating terror threat levels for political motives. In the forthcoming book, Ridge reportedly acknowledges for the first time that he was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he "saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over." But as The Atlantic points out, Ridge apparently gave in to the White House demands anyway, resigning only after the election. Huffington Post also provides additional discussion on this developing story.
"Be Prepared" A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.
Without much fanfare, the Global War on Terror has ended. The new name for these military interventions is the Overseas Contingency Operation. Press Q&A. Some Republican representatives discuss. (SPOILER: They are not pleased.) Military blogs discuss. Similarly, the War on Drugs also looks to be on the way out, though no new name for the project has been announced at this time.