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the year of the truthiness

Merriam-Webster's 2006 Word of the Year is NOT in their online dictionary. Officially coined on October 17, 2005, it had already won the American Dialect Society's 2005 Award (pdf) where they claim that "other meanings of the word date as far back as 1824", and is probably a shoe-in for for the Banished Words of 2007 list.

A distant number 2 is our friend "the goog", and after that, it's all NewsFilter/PoliticsFilter/IraqFilter (with that all-time classic "war" at #4).
(From the MeFite who posted the Favorite Words of 2004 and the Banished Words List in 2003 and 2004)
posted by wendell on Dec 9, 2006 - 48 comments

Oh, I wish we had the image tag again...

Bare naked travel? (Previously on MeFi: here, except now they're actually doing it, and here). The TSA wants to see you naked. Just don't paint "Kip Hawley Is An Idiot" on your torso in Pepto-Bismol before you go to the airport.
posted by bitter-girl.com on Dec 3, 2006 - 51 comments

Sodium Azide.

There is a killer lurking in your local auto wrecking yard. Sodium Azide, the chemical used in automobile air bags, is available to anyone who asks for it. Conceivably anyone could obtain several pounds of this poison, yet it takes only a few grams to kill. A late model SUV will have enough in it's air bags to kill a couple of hundred people.

It explodes. It kills on contact with the skin. It kills via air, food, or water. It is odorless and colorless. There is no antidote. Even minor exposure will result in permanent damage to brain cells. University of Arizona atmospheric scientist Eric Betterton was one of the first to expose the hazards of this unregulated material in 2000. The author J. A. Jance used it as the poison of choice in her book 'Partners in Crime'.

The perfect terrorist weapon? It would seem so, but the Federal government doesn't regulate it's post-manufacture distribution. Got a grudge? Go pick up a few hundred pounds.
posted by altman on Dec 1, 2006 - 76 comments

Kafka-esque doesn't do it justice. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.'

Newsfilter: U.S. Seeks Silence on CIA Prisons
"The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods that their captors used to get them to talk...the government, in trying to block lawyers' access to the 14 detainees, effectively asserts that the detainees' experiences are a secret that should never be shared with the public."

Previously: (1) (2)
posted by StopMakingSense on Nov 4, 2006 - 53 comments

The Internet Sucks

Teh Intarweb suXXors! Macleans, the venerable Canadian magazine of declining circulation, declares the Internet a failure. But they're not bitter.
posted by GuyZero on Oct 27, 2006 - 95 comments

Ontario Judge: Anti-Terrorism Act Unconstitutional

Part of anti-terroism act ruled unconstitutional in Canada on the grounds that defining a motive as a crime contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Two days ago, the same court struck down a related official secrets law after the RCMP used it to search the house of a reporter investigating the Maher Arar torture scandal. The act itself was the subject of a rare Senatorial rebuke in 2001 which blocked a number of other dangerous sections. Five years on, are we ready to take a more measured approach to combatting terrorism?
posted by Popular Ethics on Oct 24, 2006 - 13 comments

BNP bomb-makers: not newsworthy?

Not In The Newsfilter: Yesterday, two men attended their pre-trial hearing at Preston Crown Court, accused of possession of explosive material. As previously reported only in local newspapers, Robert Cottage was in possession of 'what is believed to be a record haul of chemicals used in making home-made bombs', while a search of former BNP candidate David Bolus Jackson's house 'uncovered rocket launchers, chemicals... and a nuclear biological suit'. Some webloggers, and the left-wing press, are wondering whether the story might have received more coverage if the suspected bomb-makers had been, say, Muslims. The BBC blame reporting restrictions.
posted by jack_mo on Oct 24, 2006 - 19 comments

Let's play who's the Sunni

Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite? Should the FBI's counter-terrorism chief know the difference? How about the head of the FBI national security branch? How about a vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence?
posted by caddis on Oct 17, 2006 - 125 comments

Plane crashes into building in New York on 10/11

Plane/Helicopter Crashes into NYC high rise. ???
posted by craniac on Oct 11, 2006 - 226 comments

All Quiet on the Terror Front

A U.S. presidential candidate declares that terrorism is no longer a priority on her agenda. Madrid based Institute for Studies of Conflict and Humanitarian Action imagines an end to the War on Terror. By Balder Hageraats
posted by cal71 on Oct 6, 2006 - 52 comments

SHAC 7

The first member of SHAC 7, an animal rights group convicted for their organizational role in a campaign against animal research at Huntingdon Life Sciences (previously discussed here and here), began his three-year prison sentence today. Meanwhile, Horowitz and Malkin are still at large.
posted by homunculus on Oct 3, 2006 - 38 comments

The Not Too Distant Future

Shooting War: a graphic novel by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman. The 11-chapter first act has been lauded in Rolling Stone, Wired 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.
posted by spaltavian on Oct 1, 2006 - 36 comments

Martin Amis - The age of horrorism

The age of horrorism. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Martin Amis analyses - and abhors - the rise of extreme Islamism. In a penetrating and wide-ranging essay he offers a trenchant critique of the grotesque creed and questions the West's faltering response to this eruption of evil.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Sep 19, 2006 - 66 comments

"Do you mind if I write down that website?"

"The thing is, we're in Central London and we have to be really careful these days. I like your shots though... very nice." Dave Gorman's ever-so-slightly surreal Flickr adventure.
posted by greycap on Sep 12, 2006 - 61 comments

Paranoiac Party Time!

Slate's ongoing "Survivalist" series lays out the steps that you can take to prepare for the disasters threatening to snuff out civilization in general (and, apparently, New York City in particular). Find out how to survive nuclear terrorism, an earthquake, a skyscraper collapse, an electronic apocalypse, and global warming.
posted by Iridic on Sep 10, 2006 - 21 comments

My analysis of this is somewhat tongue in cheek, please don't flame.

The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities. Now that this former rogue nation has fallen in line, we can turn out attention to the real terrorist threat: Britain.
posted by thirteenkiller on Sep 5, 2006 - 30 comments

Executive Excess

Executive Excess 2006: Defense and Oil Executives Cash in on Conflict (PDF). A new study from United for a Fair Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies looks at who is making a killing from the war on terror (or whatever they're calling it this week.) Looking ahead, I better review my portfolio. [Via C&L.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 31, 2006 - 23 comments

I Want My Hez TV!

Feds Bust Guy Pitching Hezbollah TV. Censorship, or reasonable use of the Patriot Act?
posted by MarshallPoe on Aug 25, 2006 - 53 comments

Fight terror with anti-terror

Anti-terror. A great little common sense article from Bruce Schneier. via
posted by ObscureReferenceMan on Aug 24, 2006 - 45 comments

Make pumps not bombs.

News of stupidity in the fight against terrorism: Up to three years in jail for not loudly enunciating, in front of his mom, that he had a penis pump. If you do not know that you are an American citizen, it's your fault and you may be deported as an illegal alien. Manhattan train stopped because of some woman's bottle of iced tea? BC Ferry delayed 3 hours because of a forgotten briefcase (my coworker lives next to the terminal and has learned that this was an RCMP officer's briefcase, though that detail has not made the media). There are so many of these stories...we really need one place to group them all together.
posted by Kickstart70 on Aug 24, 2006 - 87 comments

Puerile ozzies.

Last call for Mr Al Kyder and Mr Terry Wrist...
posted by marvin on Aug 19, 2006 - 18 comments

Suicide Bombing: Just Say No.

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.
posted by CunningLinguist on Aug 18, 2006 - 57 comments

Has 9/11 Made Us Nostalgic for the Golden Age of Skyjacking?

Japanese leftists seize plane with samurai swords. AWOL Marine sets record by hijacking plane from Fresno to Rome. Female Palestinian hijacker becomes radical chic pin-up. D.B. Cooper parachutes from 727 with $200,000 in unmarked bills. Have airplane bombings made us nostalgic for old-school skyjackers who just wanted money or a trip to Cuba? Academic papers analyze skyjacking in the 60s & 70s according to contagion and rational choice models. Check out a prescient pre-9/11 documentary on the subject with great archival clips.
posted by jonp72 on Aug 18, 2006 - 21 comments

The Ultimate Assist

In the Hollywood version of the Kwame James story, he becomes an NBA All-Star, helps achieve world peace and, of course, lives blissfully ever after. While the real-life plot hasn't followed quite that arc, perhaps it's headed toward a happy ending. (via SpoFi)
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 17, 2006 - 7 comments

Someone set up us the bomb

[ConspiracyFilter] Was the alleged "binary liquid explosives" plot actually plausible, in the sense of being capable of producing "mass murder on an unimaginable scale?"
posted by ijoshua on Aug 17, 2006 - 138 comments

Some Nifty Screening Toys

Photo-like X-ray backscattters (even from mobile units), explosive trace portals, CT scanning, and real-time discrimination software clearly reveal such threats as radioactive materials, explosives and key bomb ingredients, chemical weapons, human cargo, weapons and drugs. Even "single molecule biology" analyzers are being developed to detect biological weapons.
posted by CodeBaloo on Aug 10, 2006 - 12 comments

Six places to nuke when you're serious

Six places to nuke when you're serious
posted by lupus_yonderboy on Aug 9, 2006 - 75 comments

Missed Opportunities

Missed Opportunities...Lawrence Wright tells, for the first time, the story of the F.B.I. agent who had the best chance of foiling the 9/11 plot. Here, with Amy Davidson, Wright talks about how turf wars with the C.I.A. got in the way. Wright’s book “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” will be published by Knopf in August.
posted by Postroad on Aug 2, 2006 - 13 comments

Only one link here!

Apparently, all the exhibits entered into evidence in US v. Moussaoui are available online. Enjoy!
posted by thirteenkiller on Jul 31, 2006 - 28 comments

Baby, You Can Drive My Car Bomb

The Poor Man's Air Force: A History of the Car Bomb Part 1 & Part 2. Written by Mike Davis, the two-part essay argues that the first car bomb was actually a horse-drawn carriage filled with dynamite that Italian anarchists used to blow up Wall Street in 1920. (more inside)
posted by jonp72 on Jul 31, 2006 - 15 comments

Nuclear waste UK rail hazard?

A timetable of UK trains carrying nuclear waste. (PDF file). The related Greenpeace UK article. UK nuclear waste train route graphic. Mirror tabloid hack plants fake bomb on nuclear waste train. "The gate was open, there were no security guards. I walked up to the train and planted my bomb". The Guardian's take on the story.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 30, 2006 - 16 comments

Police infiltrates..or maybe more then just that ?

Newsfilter: Police officer infiltrates anti-war group obtains leadership position. Still no pacifist have infiltrated terror cell to discredit their activity by reducing terror.
posted by elpapacito on Jul 28, 2006 - 40 comments

Israelis celebrate terrorism

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by the Zionist Irgun organization, which killed 92 people. Bibi Netanyahu attended a celebration of the event.
posted by Ty Webb on Jul 23, 2006 - 69 comments

In the Party of God--Hezbollah

IN THE PARTY OF GOD This is archival from New Yorker but well-worth know in light of events taking place in Middle East.
posted by Postroad on Jul 15, 2006 - 5 comments

Memory of Mankind

A US court has decided that Persian antiquities on loan to the University of Chicago can be confiscated and sold to compensate American victims of Hamas violence in Israel.
posted by thirteenkiller on Jul 13, 2006 - 80 comments

Inspector: Homeland Security database flawed

Homeland Security Ranks Indiana As State With Most Terror Targets

The Homeland Security's National Asset Data Base [PDF] of vulnerable critical infrastructure and key resources "reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified 'Beach at End of a Street.'" The report noted that Indiana has 8,591 assets listed in the database — more than any other state and 50 percent more than New York. New York had 5,687 listed. Inspector General Richard Skinner finds that the database "is too faulty to accurately help divide federal funds to states and cities."
posted by ericb on Jul 12, 2006 - 66 comments

Trains are blowing up in India

135 or more dead, 7 blasts, terrorists to blame
posted by bmpetow on Jul 11, 2006 - 91 comments

Marc Sageman on the global Salafi jihad

Who are the jihadists? Marc Sageman on the global Salafi jihad: its goals, its history, who the jihadists are, how they're drawn to the jihad, how the movement is organized. [more inside]
posted by russilwvong on Jun 30, 2006 - 38 comments

All You Need Is Love

All You Need Is Love. Sometimes, love is all you need. Or maybe aerosolized MDMA
[via longbough]
posted by Freen on Jun 28, 2006 - 45 comments

Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook

Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook (PDF)
If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete. - Sun Tzu

In 2005 Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies & West Point's Combating Terrorism Center worked together to translate what appears to be one of the most important works defining al Qaeda's strategic goals & methods, Management of Savagery (PDF) by al Qaeda strategist Abu Bakr Naji. Then they analyzed it along with three other al Qaeda works: Knights Under The Banner of The Prophet by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Between Two Methods by Abu Qatada and Observations Concerning the Jihadi Experience in Syria by Abu Mus’ab al-Suri. The result is Stealing al-Qa`ida's Playbook (PDF) (also Google cached HTML). If you want to understand more of al Qaeda than the simplistic cant that "they're evil", these two books are the place to start.
posted by scalefree on Jun 27, 2006 - 26 comments

Personality, Ideology and Bush's Terror Wars

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."[...]
posted by Postroad on Jun 20, 2006 - 56 comments

"What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight"

[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?
posted by jefgodesky on Jun 15, 2006 - 106 comments

The Mathematical Structure of Terrorism

It's all one's and zero's eh? The complex patterns of the natural world often turn out to be governed by relatively simple mathematical relationships. A seashell grows at a rate proportional to its size, resulting in a delicate spiral. The gossamer network of galaxies results from the simple interplay between cosmic expansion and the force of gravity over a wide range of scales. As our catalogue of natural phenomena has grown more complete, more and more scientists have begun to look for interesting patterns in human society.
posted by Unregistered User on Jun 10, 2006 - 17 comments

"Mr. Shady Nasser, a grad student at Harvard they found for me, was my Arabic consultant."

An interview with John Updike on Terrorist, his most recent novel. Some reviews: Kakutani, Donohue (USAToday), and fellow novelist Amitav Gosh (Wapo).
posted by bardic on Jun 9, 2006 - 31 comments

Terror and the language.

I would have thought that these charges could fairly be represented as terrorism, yet in 108 links in Google News, there is no mention of "terror" or any of its derivations. Has the word been hijacked?
posted by Neiltupper on Jun 9, 2006 - 104 comments

CIA Spider Web

Report on CIA "Spider Web" - image
posted by pwedza on Jun 7, 2006 - 20 comments

"Massive terror attack averted"

Newsfilter: Canadian Police (led by the RCMP) have arrested at least 17 people that were plotting to "launch attacks against targets in Southern Ontario", apparently in large part by monitoring Internet co-ordination and communication. This days after the CSIS deputy director warned of "homegrown extremists" plotting "large scale attacks".
posted by loquax on Jun 3, 2006 - 204 comments

Are We Safer Yet?

Wen Ho Lee has just won his lawsuit against the federal government and news agencies for violating his privacy rights while under investigation for being a spy. Mr. Lee lost his job, his reputation and racked up huge legal bills as a result of the accusations -- which were later found to be greatly exaggerated. In a case of deja vu, a Chinese scientist at a state lab in Albany, NY recently lost his job (and his wife was placed on leave from her job) after being accused of illegally purchasing weapons -- a charge which was later dismissed. Note that his firing was justified on the pretext of misusing his work computer to visit the ESPN website too often -- a criteria by which a large chunk of the state workforce would be fired. And then there is the ongoing terrorism case against the Albany imam and the pizza shop owner which has had its own evidentiary shortcomings. And to top it all off, the Albany FBI head has just been promoted. Are we feeling any safer yet?
posted by bim on Jun 2, 2006 - 13 comments

Heckuva job, Chertoff?

"Feds to City: Drop Dead." So say the usually Republican-leaning New York tabloids, the Post and the Daily News, after the Department of Homeland Security announced 40% budget cuts for New York, in favor of giving more anti-terrorism funding to cities like Louisville, KY, and St. Louis, MO. Among the reasons for the funding cuts? New York doesn't have any monuments or national icons that need protection. Was New York given a bloated anti-terror budget to begin with, or is this (ab)using the Homeland Security budget for pork spending?
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Jun 2, 2006 - 80 comments

The more things change.

Newsfilter: Members of Iraq's tennis team shot "for wearing shorts." Being an Iraqi athlete is no easier than before. Just ask members of the Iraqi Taekwondo squad. More.
posted by bardic on May 28, 2006 - 48 comments

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