A Tragedy of Errors.
On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools
in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail
in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA
of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature
provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq
on Apr 10, 2011 -
That afternoon, American signals operators picked up bin Laden speaking to his followers. Fury kept a careful log of these communications in his notebook, which he would type up at the end of every day and pass up his chain of command. “The time is now,” bin Laden said. “Arm your women and children against the infidel!” Following several hours of high-intensity bombing, the Al Qaeda leader spoke again. Fury paraphrases: “Our prayers have not been answered. Times are dire. We didn’t receive support from the apostate nations who call themselves our Muslim brothers.” Bin Laden apologized to his men for having involved them in the fight and gave them permission to surrender.
posted by jason's_planet
on Jan 29, 2010 -
“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas."
A Vanity Fair
reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes
-- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here
] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense."
that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here
posted by digaman
on Apr 3, 2008 -
The greatest enigma of the US "war on terror":
He was an intelligence officer of the Egyptian army
, a CIA agent
, a drill seargent and instructor at Fort Bragg
, an FBI informant
, and Al Qaeda's number one man inside the US
. He was directly or indirectly involved in the assassination of Anwar Sadat
, the 1993 WTC bombing
, the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
, and 9/11
. He trained al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan and Sudan
and wrote manuals on intelligence, terrorism and asymmetric warfare while living in Silicon Valley with his American wife
. He plea bargained, never went to trial, and may be free or in witness protection today
. Incidentally, he is barely mentioned
in the 9/11 Commission report
. Is there some sort of conspiracy
or are officials simply afraid of having their gross negligence exposed
posted by inoculatedcities
on Mar 5, 2007 -
Cheney Clarifies Iraq, Afghanistan on Meet the Press.
For the first time in three years, Cheney appears on Meet the Press. Transcript here
. "We’ve never been able to confirm any connection between Iraq and 9/11[,]" but Iraq "...was a state sponsor of terror" and "while they found no stockpiles...[the Duelfer report claimed that] Saddam did in fact have the capability and that as soon as the sanctions were ended—and they were badly eroded—he would be back in business again." "[T]his was the place where, probably, there was a greater prospect of a connection between terrorists on the one hand and a terrorist-sponsoring state and weapons of mass destruction than any place else." "...if we had to do it again, we would do exactly the same thing..."
posted by shivohum
on Sep 10, 2006 -
The administration's latest innovation in its effort to export democracy: Soviet-style gulags
, a network of secret C.I.A. prisons known as "black sites." [From the Washington Post
]. Meanwhile, SecDef Rumsfeld says no thanks
to the idea of U.N. inspectors talking to detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
posted by digaman
on Nov 2, 2005 -
A peek at Al Qaeda pre 9/11.
Reports surfaced in early 2002 about al Qaeda computers purchased by a journalist from the Wall Street Journal. In this article details from one of these computers come to light - complaints about their new home in Afghanistan after being expelled from Sudan, rocky relationships with the Taliban and a difficult merger with Islamic Jihad. "Perhaps one of the most important insights to emerge from the computer is that 9/11 sprang not so much from al-Qaeda's strengths as from its weaknesses. The computer did not reveal any links to Iraq or any other deep-pocketed government; amid the group's penury the members fell to bitter infighting. The blow against the United States was meant to put an end to the internal rivalries, which are manifest in vitriolic memos between Kabul and cells abroad."
via The Agonist
posted by caddis
on Aug 11, 2004 -
The New York Times Magazine (yes, I know the link disappears in a week or two, sorry) published a fascinating article about , "The Philosopher of Islamic Terror."
An Egyptian born in 1906, he veered toward radical Islamic fundamentalism by the 1950's, but had much company in Egypt in this endeavor. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a precursor to Al Qaeda, and became the editor of their journal. Nasser imprisoned him and eventually executed him. In prison he wrote powerful works which described in his view a diversion in society between human nature and human reason, with human reason having so overwhelmed human nature as to lead to mankind's potential downfall.
The answer was a return to human nature through a ritualistic adherence to the teachings of God, as described by Muhammad. Rather than separate science and reason from religion, he sought to combine them as taught in the Koran, thus providing real freedom for mankind. For a liberal Episcopalian (me) these are difficult ideas, but they are nevertheless compelling not only to the poor and uneducated Muslims but more importantly to the intelligentsia. They explain the pain of modern existence, especially to those raised on the Koran. The author describes Qutb as the Islamist's Marx. Scary - religion and philosophy carry much greater power than Marx's mere economics and philosophy. Western media portray Islam as mostly a fringe group drawing power from economic poverty and the power imbalance between the West and most Muslim countries. This article shows that, at least at its heart, the movement draws upon a powerful philosophy which for many answers their agony of modern existence, regardless of their economic status.
posted by caddis
on Mar 23, 2003 -
All Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology
Why did Bin Laden's homies do what they did on September 11? Why did Lindh (as per the Steve Earle thread below) do what he did? Here is a cogent answer.
posted by kozad
on Aug 21, 2002 -
Satan Doesn't Wear Sweaty Socks.
Matthew Parris of The Times weighs in on the War on Terrorism, painting the U.S. as the 900-lb. gorilla of world affairs and offering the observation that maybe Al-Qaeda isn't as scary as the Bush and Blair administrations say it is.
posted by mr_crash_davis
on Jan 18, 2002 -
Since the "battle against terrorism will be fought worldwide", is it going to target, among others, the groups in Northern Ireland, ETA, Kach and Kahane Chai(!)? Also, it's notable there has been no mention of the long history of financing and arms for the IRA and such that emanates from the US.
posted by mmarcos
on Sep 29, 2001 -
Al Qaida Message Board
- Yahoo/Geocities pulled down the page hosted on their site, but Google has it cached
. Among the still-working links are this message board
, which includes such discussion topics as "How do you determine when muslim can use violance[sic] against innocent people".
A curious note, there have been no posts on the board (save for one grammatically-challenged American) since September 9th.
posted by tpoh.org
on Sep 16, 2001 -