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.
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]
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]
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]
NewsFilter: Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID - Conn.) strikes a decisive blow
against another Islamic terror front group: YouTube
Rehearsing the next terror attack.
before 911, the government paid little attention to the role of media and public communications in its national exercises. In 2003, Ogilvy PR was asked by the Department of Homeland Security to develop and manage a full-scale, sophisticated media element
in support of TOPOFF 3
, its most comprehensive terrorism response exercise ever. The result was a simulated yet eerily realistic news broadcast via the Virtual News Network
. The TOPOFF 4
exercise is scheduled to take place October 15-19, 2007.
The "same people who attacked us on 9/11"?
It may be the very latest talking point from the Administration
, but it's actually true--altho it's not Al Qaeda in Iraq, but Saudis. Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia ...
A historical note: 15 of the 19 hijackers
on 9/11 were Saudis.
"War Czar" -- another term for "highly paid radio operator"?
So the Decider in Chief wants to have a War Czar*
in the White House. He appointed Douglas Lute
after three other general officers turned him down
. Note that Lute, a three-star general, is actually inferior in rank to David Petraeus
, the four-star who's commanding the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Black Five had some thoughts on this, as did Jules Crittenden
I am sullied -- no more
. Colonel Ted Westhusing was a soldier's soldier -- a multilingual West Point graduate, tough as nails, who was committed to the ancient Greek warrior's ideal of ἀρετή
("arete," excellence). He volunteered to go to Iraq, where he was commanded by another outstanding
rising-star officer, counterinsurgency expert David Petraeus
. (Westhusing's widow, Michelle, recalls that her husband thought his country was doing "a great thing" there.) After working with one of the shadowy contractors the US has relied on to train Iraqi security forces, USIS
, Westhusing became increasingly despondent. In May 2005, investigators say, he put a 9mm bullet in his brain after writing a note that said, "Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I
know it." Westhusing died, as was previously discussed here
, and his former "cdr" is now running the war
. Lots of new information in this article from the Texas Observer
Now they tell us.
Neocon hindsight is 20/20. War architect Richard Perle
on invading Iraq, 2002: "We have no time to lose, and I think the president understands that and it's probably taken too long already, but I don't think it'll be much longer... Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder.... Now, it isn't going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either
." Four years later: "If I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies'... Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."
"I'm not here for the Iraqis. I'm here for George Bush."
How the reconstruction of Iraq was bungled by inexperienced staffers and officials who passed the GOP's loyalty test -- including their views on Roe v. Wade. A WashPost excerpt from Rajiv Chandrasekaran's new exposé Imperial Life in the Emerald City
. (Corruption in Iraq previously discussed here.)
--Recognizing the imminent threat hippies and assorted leftists obviously pose to us all, a massive cyber terror simulation (international and involving 115 organizations) recently came to light: ...The attack scenario detailed in the presentation is a meticulously plotted parade of cyber horribles led by a "well financed" band of leftist radicals who object to U.S. imperialism, aided by sympathetic independent actors.
At the top of the pyramid is the Worldwide Anti-Globalization Alliance, which sets things off by calling for cyber sit-ins and denial-of-service attacks against U.S. interests. WAGA's radical arm, the villainous Black Hood Society, ratchets up the tension on day one by probing SCADA computerized control systems and military networks ...
The Smell of War
-- the Institute for Creative Technologies preps Quake-happy teens to become first-person shooters in the non-virtual war on terror. Now in Odorama.
"Don't worry Mr. President, we have Kansas surrounded."
Warrantless searches: they're not just for wiretaps anymore. U.S. News and World Report
probes the Bush administration's covert drive to conduct physical searches of American homes without court approval.
Newsfilter: Secret arrests, secret renditions, secret interrogations in secret jails, and now, secret rulings from US federal judges
. More fallout from the Bush administration's NSA domestic-spying program [recently discussed here
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on
in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs
, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence
to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
Evidence of a slippery slope continued: Newsweek
reports that White House counsel Steve Bradbury believes President Bush can order killings on US soil
as part of the Terrorist-Surveillance ProgramTM
. Meanwhile, while Attorney General Gonzales "lashes out" at the media and insists
that the TSPTM
is "not a dragnet that sucks in all conversation and uses computer searches to pick out calls of interest," the Washington Post reports
it's precisely that -- "computer-controlled systems collect and sift basic information about hundreds of thousands of faxes, e-mails and telephone calls into and out of the United States before selecting the ones for scrutiny by human eyes and ears" -- and has led to very few leads. (See also discussion of Arlen Specter and the legality of the TSPTM here
Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?
Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.
The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars
, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money
? Also see here
Ooo es muy macho libertariadadista?
(Ricardo Mantelban es muy macho! Pero es libertariadadista? Yo no se. Quién sabe? )
El Presidente Bushista esay: “Queiro preguntas muy macho
Quein es ooo preforma en la supportidad de la guerra en terror?Diez preguntas.
"We do not torture"
(Bush, Nov. 7)
In an important clarification of
President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture...
(Hadley, Nov. 13) --
The fate of a House provision to ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody is in doubt, strongly opposed by the Administration.
And don't call it torture: the preferred talking point wording is now enhanced interrogation techniques.
Osama bin Laden, littérateur and new-media star
. A thought-provoking analysis of bin Laden's adept use of Koranic language and the Internet by Bruce B. Lawrence, an Islamic scholar at Duke who edited a new anthology of bin Laden's public statements called Messages to the World
. The Western media -- says the millionaire mass-murderer formerly trained as a useful ally by the CIA
via Pakistan's ISI
-- "implants fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media are doing!" Know thy enemy. [via Arts and Letters Daily.]
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.
U.S. Can Detain Padilla Indefinitely. President George W. Bush was handed a major victory on Friday in his effort to assert sweeping presidential powers in the war on terrorism as a US appeals court upheld his authority to imprison indefinitely a US citizen captured on American soil.
In case of emergency, nuke Iran.
From the folks
who brought you Operation Iraqi Freedom
and the "last throes"
of the insurgency, the latest strategy for enhancing homeland security and US global standing is to launch a nuclear first-strike against Iran in the event of another 9/11-style attack -- whether Iran has ties to the attackers or not. As Juan Cole points out, turning a Shiite Muslim nation into the next Hiroshima could have disagreeable consequences
. (First reported by the American Conservative
, not your typical liberal rag, and via DailyKos
President Bush pledged in 2003 that "A free Iraq will not be a training ground for terrorists... A free Iraq will not destabilize the Middle East.
" This past January, the CIA's National Intelligence Council observed that Iraq had become "a training ground, a recruitment ground
" for jihadists. Now the senior Marine commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. James Conway -- in a statement that has not yet been picked up by the media -- acknowledges that the war is furnishing a new "a training ground" for foreign fighters trained in urban warfare who will export terror all over the world, saying, "But there's not much we can do about it at this point in time.
15 of 19 were Saudis.
And now, continuing a trend from the Kingdom
, most of the suicide bombers
in Iraq are known to be Saudi Arabian
"Things just happen, he had decided;
they happen and they happen again, and anybody who tries to make sense out of it goes out of his mind."
For this reason, Tom Rath, the hero of Sloan Wilson's 1955 novel The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,
decides not to "make sense" of the the atrocities to which he bears witness during World War II. Instead, he accepts that war is in itself irrational, and that he must simply forget its horrors before returning to civilian life. This New Yorker article
contrasts Wilson's 1950's stoicism with today's veneration of the grieving process and suggests that this change in attitude has led us to vastly underestimate our own capacity for coping with trauma. The author also draws some interesting parallels with a controversial study
in which victims of childhood sexual abuse were found to be no more likely than others to suffer from mental health problems as adults. Intriguing stuff, to say the least, and as I read it, I can't help but think of Johnny Cash's "The Man Who Couldn't Cry"
(Note: Having thankfully never been subjected to war or sexual abuse myself, I am in no way attempting to demean the anguish of those who have. Rather, I'm more interested in the idea that people are stronger than they give themselves credit for, and how different upbringings affect our experience of trauma.)
Cat Stevens on NatSec watchlist.
"A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam
- formerly known as singer Cat Stevens
- was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, federal officials said... Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. 'He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,' Murphy said, and would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday."
Over a thousand U.S. soldiers have died in the War on Terror.
As of today, 872 soldiers have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 129 in Operation Enduring Freedom
. Time for a moment of silence, perhaps, before sharing your reflections on the subject.
Hot on the heels of the critically-acclaimed War on Drugs
and its blockbuster sequel, the War on Terror
, an alliance of U.S. and Canadian organizations sets its sights on yet another noun, this time with the War on Pornography
. The first salvo in the conflict was, naturally, fired in Utah
Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror. The troubling unknown, he said, is whether the extremists -- whom he termed "zealots and despots" bent on destroying the global system of nation-states -- are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them.
"It's quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this," Rumsfeld said at an international security conference.
Who are you and what have you done with Rumsfeld? And Can you do it some more? via the illustrious oliver willis.
confirms denies confirms link between Iraq and terrorism! " The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction."
In other news, we're at war with Eastasia. We've always been at war with Eastasia... Food rations have jumped by 10%! Doubleplusgood!
Terror's myriad faces Al-Qaeda, conceived of as a tight-knit terrorist group with cadres and a capability everywhere, does not exist in that form. It barely existed before the war in Afghanistan in 2001 destroyed Osama bin Laden's carefully constructed infrastructure there. It certainly does not exist now. Instead, we are facing a different kind of threat. Al-Qaeda can only be understood as an ideology, an agenda and a way of seeing the world that is shared by an increasing number of predominantly young, predominantly male Muslims. Eliminating bin Laden and a few hundred senior activists will do nothing to counter this al-Qaeda. Hundreds more will come forward to fill their ranks. Al-Qaeda, however understood, will continue to operate. The threat will remain and it will grow.
See also Sowing The Dragon's Teeth
Or, alternately, Hercules and the Hydra
Did Bush know?
An article in today's New York Times (link to mirrored site with no reg. req.) pieces together data that the author claims proves that Bush and his inner circle were well-aware that they were using false "evidence" of Iraqi WMD. Sy Hersh from the New Yorker
is also chiming in
, as is Salon's Joe Connason
and Katha Pollitt
of The Nation
. A pretty decent subsection of media is finally descending on this story. If Bush or Powell or Rumsfeld are proven to have been knowingly deceitful, will the American public be even half as angry as the rest of the world?
Mike Hawash Charged
with conspiracy to levy war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda and conspiracy to contribute services to al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Heavy. 5 days ago, a now near-famous letter
was removed from a website
that had recently been trumpeting his cause
. Today, the Feds allege terrorism.
Of note: the frequent allusion to "secrecy" and "secret warrants". Is this ammo for the pro-PATRIOT crowd? Any changing opinions on Mefi?
The Homeland Security Bill.
It has passed the House
, on to the Senate where it is believed that it will pass
. The President will sign it
. Yet the text of H.R.5710 is unavailable to the American public
Saddam Hussein Trained Al Qaeda Fighters - Report
Blair's evidence to convince the Brits that attacking Iraq is going after Saddam is needed because he has been directly involved with Qaeda network.
Why Aren't U.S. Journalists Reporting From Iraq?
"This notion that the Iraqi leader is in cahoots with Osama will be easy to feed the American people. To the American people, one bad Arab is the same as the next, and Osama equals Saddam. People who wonder about the Bush war-urgency only need to think about this: there’s a blind spot that needs to be exploited now, before too many journalists get the idea to go inside Iraq and find out what’s really happening. As long as the Condi Rices, Dick Cheneys and other hawks are talking to journalists with no experience inside Iraq, they won’t get a raised eyebrow about this notion that the secular dictator is in bed with the jihadis
-- even though [reports indicate]....the CIA has found no link between the Iraqi dictator and Al Qaeda."
A bit of a sea change at CNN.com
: the "War on Terror" news heading, which has been part of the right column of CNN's home page since late September 2001, is gone, and not coincidentally, the massive non-news of the arrest of actor Robert Blake
is the lead story. Not the growing world outrage over the Israel action in Jenin
, nor the death of four Canadian soldiers by an errant US bomb
White House media advisor spins the war in London.
President Bush has sent "military advisors" to Yemen, Georgia and the Philippines to help with the war on terrorism. Did anyone know he sent his #2 media man, Tucker Eskew
, to London as a "media advisor" to Tony Blair's #1 media man, Alastair Campbell
, to help spin the war to the Brits?
Do you think a U.S. administration would ever agree to a foreign government rep "advising" them on how to talk to their citizens? Or do they already?
More Q & A on Terror and War
"A number of folks feel that current events -- particularly in the last few days -- have dramatically changed the logic and morality of what has been done in Afghanistan, calling into question much of the analysis and assessment that has been offered by critics of the war. Here are some of the questions we have been asked, and our brief replies."