Our leaders -- of both parties -- have systematically infantilized Americans to believe that perfect security is attainable. This is one reason the White House reacts so defensively to any intimation that its conduct of the war on al-Qaeda is less than perfect. It’s one reason Republicans cynically argue that the administration is incompetent in its prosecution of the war, and in its mission to keep U.S. personnel alive. So long as both parties react so small-mindedly and opportunistically to the terrorist threat, we won’t be able to have a rational, adult conversation about the best ways to wage this war.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, Benghazi Attack Brings Infantilizing Response
posted by beisny
on Oct 16, 2012 -
Who's the most interesting speaker at this year's Values Voter Summit
? It's almost certainly "former terrorist" Kamal Saleem
, who claims to have smuggled weapons in to the United States and carried out missions for the likes of Yasser Arafat, Moammar Gadhafi, and Saddam Hussein before finding Christ and founding his ministry. He's appeared on The 700 Club
, spoken at the Air Force Academy, and written a memoir, but Kamal might not have the history he claims to [more inside]
posted by 0xFCAF
on Sep 14, 2012 -
"To aid the national security community in imagining contemporary threats, the Australian Security Research Centre (ASRC) is organising Australia’s Security Nightmares: The National Security Short Story Competition
. The competition aims to produce a set of short stories that will contribute to a better conception of possible future threats and help defence, intelligence services, emergency managers, health agencies and other public, private and non-government organisations to be better prepared." (via
posted by vidur
on Sep 12, 2012 -
He turns to the girl. "It would be really nice," he says, "to have a cigarette now."
"Yeah," she says without looking at him.
"Do you think the shop is open?"
The girl laughs and Adrian laughs, and then they laugh about their water-wrinkled fingers and the cabaret scheduled for tomorrow night that probably won't happen, and they keep laughing, because there is nothing else to do until someone finally gets them off Utøya.
— Sean Flynn writes the story of what happened on July 22nd a year ago [single page]
when Anders Behring Breivik carried out a bomb attack and massacre in Norway that killed seventy seven people, and how those who survived and those who lost loved ones have dealt with the trauma. [Warning: It's not the easiest read, emotionally]
posted by Kattullus
on Jul 21, 2012 -
Last year, Wired
reported that 'The FBI is teaching
its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”' (previously
The FBI pledged reform, but the materials appeared to be deeply embedded
. After the President ordered
a review, the FBI 'purged'
the documents from training materials.
Earlier this year Wired
reported that 'U.S. Military Taught Officers
: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jun 25, 2012 -
The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has released its analysis
of 17 de-classified documents captured during the Abbottabad raid where Osama Bin Laden was killed. They also released the documents themselves, available in the original Arabic as well as in English translation. A Pastebin version
of the English translations has been posted for easy searching.
posted by gemmy
on May 3, 2012 -
... it was notable for the nation’s top law enforcement official to declare that it is constitutional for the government to kill citizens without any judicial review under certain circumstances. ... “Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Mar 6, 2012 -
For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats. Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
posted by Trurl
on Mar 2, 2012 -
"The online world of Islamic extremists, like all the other worlds of the Internet, operates on a subtly psychological level that does a brilliant job at keeping people like Abumubarak clicking and posting away -- and amassing all the rankings, scores, badges, and levels to prove it. Like virtually every other popular online social space, the social space of online jihadists has become "gamified," a term used to describe game-like attributes applied to non-game activities. It turns out that what drives online jihadists is pretty much exactly what drives Internet trolls, airline ticket consumers, and World of Warcraft players: competition
." [more inside]
posted by vidur
on Jan 14, 2012 -
Makoto Hirata, a senior member of doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and one of three remaining fugitives from the group, has turned himself in
to police after more than sixteen years on the run, leading to questions about the timing
of his surrender now, after all these years.
While Aum is best known as the group responsible for the deadly sarin-gas attack
on Tokyo's subway system that killed 13 people and injured more than 6000, Hirata is wanted on suspicion of taking part in a different crime, the kidnapping and murder of Kiyoshi Kariya
, the brother of an ex-Aum member who had left the group.
Despite the fact that police stations and koban (police boxes) throughout Japan have prominently displayed wanted posters
of the three Aum Shinrikyo fugitives for the past 16 years, Hirata had remained at large and hadn't had plastic surgery, leading to police speculation that he must have been helped
by others while on the run.
posted by Umami Dearest
on Jan 1, 2012 -
Secrecy defines Obama’s drone war.
"Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory. The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified." [more inside]
posted by homunculus
on Dec 21, 2011 -
Mohammed el Gorani, the youngest prisoner held at Guantánamo, has written a memoir
of his time there, the lead up to his imprisonment, and subsequent release years later.
posted by gman
on Dec 14, 2011 -
At first glance, the new inside-the-CIA Showtime series Homeland
looks like a cynical socio-political potboiler -- an attempt to exploit fears of a terrorist attack on American soil by Muslim extremists. In reality, the critically acclaimed
show, about an anti-terrorism agent (Claire Danes) tracking a U.S. Marine war hero (Damian Lewis) who may now be working for what's left of Al Qaeda, is thoughtful and emotionally complex despite its airplane-thriller trappings. That's why showrunners Howard Gordon and his buddy Alex Gansa gave an interview to Mother Jones
, a self-described "news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting." Reflecting on lessons they learned in the trenches of 24
, they talk about Homeland's self-aware approach to paranoia as entertainment, and how "dangerous and politically incendiary" a TV show can be
posted by Joey Bagels
on Nov 8, 2011 -
The Ally From Hell.
"Pakistan lies. It hosted Osama bin Laden (knowingly or not). Its government is barely functional. It hates the democracy next door. It is home to both radical jihadists and a large and growing nuclear arsenal (which it fears the U.S. will seize). Its intelligence service sponsors terrorists who attack American troops. With a friend like this, who needs enemies?" [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Nov 6, 2011 -