All Articles Tagged "war on terror"
Imagine working for the CIA for 23 years, spending some of that time interrogating suspected terrorists using methods that might be illegal. When the time comes to share your personal experiences, your former employer chooses to use its power to block your freedom of expression. This is exactly what happened to Glenn Carle, whose book “The Interrogator” was published in June of this year — only after heavy meddling by the CIA. Carle’s memoir was published with heavy black bars through extensive passages of the tome to show where the CIA had demanded omissions — even for information that was common knowledge. The CIA took over complete control of how it was portrayed in another human being’s story.
These invasions were committed in an effort to prevent readers from perceiving a text published by a CIA veteran as being a confirmation by the CIA of anything the agency wanted to remain secretive about, including the emotional effects of its tactics. If that sounds convoluted, so is the reasoning behind it. Salon.com reports on the CIA’s logic in violating this individual’s legal rights:
…Carle complained when the [CIA] insisted on cutting information from his book that was already common knowledge. Two reasons are offered for such demands. One is the “mosaic theory of classification,” characterized by Carle as “one of the most harmful consequences of eight years of the Bush administration. And that is not a partisan statement.” [...]
The mosaic theory alleges that pieces of information that may seem innocuous enough on their own — including material that has already been cleared by the CIA — can, when combined with similar pieces of information, present a potential threat that might be of use to the enemy. “By that rationale,” Carle observed, “you should take every chemistry textbook out of every high school in America.” [...]
The other justification the agency commonly offers for redacting material is that some facts, although widely known, have not been officially acknowledged by the agency or the U.S. government. If the CIA were to approve a book stating those facts, it would supposedly amount to an acknowledgment.
The CIA has also been in the news recently for interfering with the publication of a book by former FBI agent Ali Soufan, which is highly critical of “[the CIA's] use of brutal interrogation techniques in the decade since 9/11,” also according to Salon. The CIA appears to want unlimited power to prevent eye witnesses from sharing their accounts of the agency’s perhaps unethical practices — methods justified by the war on terror.
(Washington Post) — His afternoon meeting was an urgent matter of national security, but Abdirizak Bihi needed to borrow $10 for the gas necessary to get there. The tank in his old truck had sat empty for days, forcing him to ride around town in a dress shirt and tie on a borrowed girls bicycle with purple handlebars. Now he wanted to travel 10 miles down the freeway, and he wanted to move fast. He walked out of his high-rise apartment building and stopped a friend on the sidewalk to plead for a loan. “I promise it’s for a good cause,” he said, and the friend handed over a few bills. Then Bihi drove off to investigate his community’s latest homegrown terrorist. During the previous few days, Bihi, 46, had pieced together some clues that were equal parts surreal and familiar: Farah Mohamed Beledi, 27, had been a Minnesota kid with American problems who ditched classes in high school, joined a gang and answered to the nickname “Bloody.” He had gone to prison for stabbing someone at a soccer game and had come out two years later as a radicalized Muslim, spreading stories about the “United Snakes of America” and meeting other men at a Minneapolis mall to talk about jihad.
In 1951, an African American tobacco farmer and mother of five named Henrietta Lacks admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital after complaining of a knot in her cervix. During treatment, Lacks’ cells were taken without her knowledge so that they could be studied. Scientists had been struggling for years to grow cells but normally, the cells died, but Lacks’ cells never did. The rest, as they say, is history.
Henrietta Lacks was black and so is President Barack Obama. But power has no color, and it would be dangerously gullible of us to assume that just because Lacks was black and Obama is black, or because you are black and Obama is black, that there is less of a need for us to question authority.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and BreakingBrown.com.
By J. Smith
According to The Huffington Post, the death of Osama bin Laden is life for the global market, especially in the Middle East. Economists say his death has decreased the risk of doing business around the globe and it has provided a needed boost to the broader economic recovery.
After President Obama made the official announcement of the al Qaeda leader’s death, the price of a barrel of oil fell; Japanese stocks rose to a post-earthquake high and U.S. stock futures surged. “We live in a new and potentially less dangerous world, headlines are declaring. It’s a change that promises more investment in Middle East countries, cheaper transportation costs and less risk the U.S. economy will tip back into recession,” The Huffington Post reports.
An economist at Wells Fargo said that it lowers the risk premium on almost anything. “It generally decreases what we would call event risk – in other words, a sudden outbreak of terrorism,” he said. Although news of his murder is being proclaimed as a victory around the world, this is a difficult situation to assess that I am cautious of celebrating so quickly. Is this a huge political and economic feat for the president or is it just the beginning of retaliation efforts that not only put the country in high danger, but put our financial future in even bigger jeopardy?
Bin Laden’s death comes at a time of major unrest in the Middle East and a major unbalanced budget at home. If the killing does not actually help the markets as much as expected, would we be able to handle the ramifications of it?
The Washington Post’s George Will wrote this about The Transportation Safety Authority’s adoption of scanners and groping to thwart terrorism: “What the TSA is doing is mostly security theater, a pageant to reassure passengers that flying is safe. Reassurance is necessary if commerce is going to flourish and if we are going to get to grandma’s house on Thursday to give thanks for the Pilgrims and for freedom. If grandma is coming to our house, she may be wanded while barefoot at the airport because democracy – or the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment; anyway, something – requires the amiable nonsense of pretending that no one has the foggiest idea what an actual potential terrorist might look like.”
The trouble is, we don’t have the foggiest idea of what a terrorist looks like. Before 9/11, our ideas of what Arab-Americans looked like were awash with turbans and long tunics. Many Americans were flabbergasted when images of the 9/11 hijackers – men of Arab descent wearing jeans, khakis, and button downs – were released. And grandma may very well have a bomb in her bag amid her peppermints and prescriptions. This would increasingly be the case if grandma was exempt from thorough security screenings at the airport. Wouldn’t a terrorist be more likely to plant an explosive in granny’s bag if he could bet with some certainty that granny’s screening would consist of no more than a polite smile and wave through by TSA personnel? We don’t know what a terrorist looks like. We didn’t know on 9/11 and we don’t know now.
What we do know is what many terrorists believe, the ideas that undergird their desires, and where they might travel to get the required training to plan their operation’s logistics. But in today’s internet age, we could be wrong about that too. A would be terrorist may need only travel so far as their laptop to get all the encouragement and technical expertise required to mount an attack. By all accounts, Timothy McVeigh wasn’t a state sponsored terrorist and the Fort Hood shooter was radicalized online. Welcome to Terrorism 2.0. It’s time that George Will & Co. upgrade from the Beta version.
Will’s cockeyed attempt to connect terror with identifiable physical features –as opposed to behaviors which can actually be instructive – extols a man with an agenda. Will is committed to creating a terror tapestry which reinforces the lie of the Bush administration; We fight them there so we won’t fight them here. Who? Arab Islamists. All this accounts for the flimsy argument which he painstakingly tacked together with duct tape and safety pins.
We’re at war with Arab countries, so the face of terrorism is an Arab face. This is intentional. If we were fighting in an African country instead of Iraq and Afghanistan, the face of terror would be that of the Nigerian underwear bomber Farouk Abdulmutallab or the Somali-American Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the latter of which allegedly plotted to bomb a crowded Christmas tree event in Oregon. Given, at first whiff the case against Mohamud seems to denote an over-zealous FBI that is all too willing to bend the rule of law a bit in order to build its reputation and evoke a collective shriek from the American public.
George Will was correct in his op-ed when he later asserted that “bureaucracies try to maximize their missions.” The FBI is no exception. In my mind, thwarting your own terror plot isn’t indicative of a genuine investigative effort. But genuine or not, Mohamud would be the face of the war on terror if it fit the agenda of those who support America’s adventures abroad,especially since Mohamud and Abdulmutallab are the most recent ones to be charged with plotting acts of terrorism against the American homeland.
In the case of terror spottings, the agenda is driving the data and not the other way around. The only thing we can be sure of is that the face of terror will never be that of a young white male. That’s just not in the playbook.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and GoGirlGuide.com.
(CNN) — Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right move, but the United States made mistakes in the aftermath, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told CNN on Friday. In an interview to be broadcast Monday on CNN International’s “Connect the World” program, Rice acknowledged a failure to focus rebuilding efforts throughout the country and attributed the problem to a lack of understanding.
by Charing Ball
This morning, the New York Landmark Preservation Committee is meeting to vote on the landmark status of 45-47 Park Place, a five-story building which stands as a prominent example of the store and loft structures that dominated the dry goods warehouse districts of Lower Manhattan. As titillating as real estate preservation may sound, there is another part of this story, which has pretty much been ignored by the mainstream press, about the proposed constructing of a Mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.
Ok, I’m kidding as many of you have by now read or heard the headlines about the mosque, which isn’t really a mosque but an Islamic cultural center, being constructed near the site of the World Trade Center, two blocks north. Furthermore, the World Trade Center Mosque, as it has now been dubbed, has been in operation at another site farther north in the neighborhood for 29 years.
But don’t let these facts get in the way, as some have likened the building of this “mosque” near ground zero to constructing a memorial to Hitler at Auschwitz . And what started out as a small chorus of Islam phobics in New York, has been given some weight thanks in part to the media, which has provided a platform to every right-wing, irrational bigot, this side – and that side- of the Mississippi.
Even New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has the common sense to see through this obvious anti-Islamic sentiment and phony outrage to remind folks that “government shouldn’t be in the business of picking” one religion over another. But that hasn’t stopped his Republican opponent Rick Lazio, who is asking for an “investigation” of where this $100 million is coming from, with no basis other than the good donors being Muslim.
Nor has it stopped Sarah “Refudiate” Palin, who has taken her sentiments to twitter saying that “Peace-seeking Muslims,” must understand that, “Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts.” Even the American Defamation League, a group that is supposed to fight against anti-semitism and other forms of racism, has joined the chorus of bigoted loonies to denounce this project.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the founder of the proposed Islamic Center and a Kuwait-born cleric of Egyptian background, had hoped that the proposed cultural center, which will feature a swimming pool, library, and a cafe among other things, would help to bridge the divide between Muslims and the rest of America. He had reasoned, maybe naively, that through this space, which would be open to the public, integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through the arts and culture, would happen. And folks would begin to understand that most Muslims, you know, are not terrorists.
However, that reasonable and noble action has been lost on many opponents, including some family members of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, who claim that the establishment of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero will somehow hinder America’s healing process and, worse yet, would defile the memories of the nearly 3,000 that perished on the site.
Never mind that many of those expressing these sentiments for the families of the victims of the tragedy have no problem with the planned construction of new tower ON the site. Or that the terrorists responsible for 9/11 attacks also managed to kill 60 Muslims, who too worked in the World Trade Towers. And never mind that after the 9/11 attacks, many Americans that practice Islam and have nothing to do with the attacks found themselves the victims of attacks by the hands of so-called freedom-loving, flag waving Americans.
The reality is that the warmongers and right-wing propagandists have done a good job of making this a war on Islam as opposed to a war on terrorists, who happened to misuse religion ideology as justification for their disgruntlement with America. And unfortunately, the outcome of this fear campaign has made it acceptable to lump all Muslims together as one big terroristic network and refuse them the same rights afforded to other religions.
To be outraged about an Islamic Cultural Center blocks away from the World Trade Center is the equivalent of being outraged at a church being constructed near the Murrah Building/Oklahoma City Bombing site, based on the idea that Timothy McVeigh subscribed to some of the views of the extremist Christianity Movement. It just doesn’t make much sense.
(CNN) – The Obama administration’s planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is proceeding “as promised” and should lead to an end of America’s combat mission there by the end of August, President Obama said Monday. Plans to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to 50,000 by the end of this month are on schedule, Obama told the national convention of Disabled American Veterans. At that point, the U.S. mission will shift to the training and support of Iraqi security forces.
(The Fresh Xpress) — PROLOGUE (if you can call it that): Before you get into the letter, make sure to check out ‘The War Logs’, a series of previously-classified military documents outlining many inconsistencies in what the government has told us, and what is really going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. – via The New York Times
(The Nation) — What WikiLeaks did was brilliant journalism, and the bleating critics from the president on down are revealing just how low a regard they have for the truth. As with Richard Nixon’s rage against the publication of the Pentagon Papers, our leaders are troubled not by the prospect of these revelations endangering troops but rather of endangering their own political careers. It is our president who unnecessarily sacrifices the lives of our soldiers and not those in the press who let the public in on the folly of the mission itself.