Tag Archives: terror

Obama Outsmarts the Terrorists

Posted by: BetsM

President Obama isn’t nearly as scared of the terrorists as Bush was—and that’s precisely why al Qaeda is falling apart

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart

The Daily Beast/Peter Beinart~Republicans think about terrorism the way Democrats think about poverty. Democrats know their anti-poverty policies don’t always work. But they tell themselves that at least their hearts are in the right place, at least they care about the problem.

That’s the way Republicans think about terrorism. In unguarded moments, honest Republicans will admit that not all of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies worked. But they tell themselves that at least they know America is at war; at least they know the terrorists are evil; at least they really care about the problem.

In a sense, the Republicans are right: they do worry more about terrorism than Democrats. You can see it in the polls. Democrats–especially liberal Democrats—focus part of their foreign policy anxiety on things like climate change, global pandemics and financial collapse. For many Republicans, by contrast, the terrorists are today’s equivalent of the Nazis and the communists: they’re the only threat that really matters. Everything else is an afterthought.

But as conservatives used to say during the poverty debates of the 1960s and 1970s, intentions and outcomes are not the same thing. Sometimes, ironically enough, not worrying quite so much can produce better results.

Which brings us to Barack Obama’s “war on terror.” Conservatives keep saying that Obama doesn’t really believe we’re at war; that he sees terrorists as mere criminals, not the epic evil-doers that they really are. But here’s the irony: It’s precisely because he doesn’t see the terrorist threat as quite so epic that al Qaeda is falling apart.

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BBC Airing Guantánamo Guard/Detainee Reunion

Posted by: Audiegrl

“He would say, ‘you ever listen to Eminem or Dr Dre’ and… I thought how could it be somebody is here who’s doing the same stuff that I do when I’m back home”~~Former Guard Brandon Neely

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Why would a former Guantanamo Bay prison guard track down two of his former captives – two British men – and agree to fly to London to meet them?

BBC News/Gavin Lee~~”You look different without a cap.”

You look different without the jump suits.”

With those words, an extraordinary reunion gets under way.

The journey of reconciliation began almost a year ago in Huntsville, Texas. Mr Neely, 29, had left the US military in 2005 to become a police officer and was still struggling to come to terms with his time as a guard at Guantanamo.

He felt anger at a number of incidents of abuse he says he witnessed, and guilt over one in particular.

Highly controversial since it opened in 2002, Guantanamo prison was set up by President George Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to house suspected “terrorists“. But it has been heavily divisive and President Barack Obama has said it has “damaged [America’s] national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al Qaeda“.

Mr Neely recalls only the good publicity in the US media.

The news would always try to make Guantanamo into this great place,” he says, “like ‘they [prisoners] were treated so great’. No it wasn’t. You know here I was basically just putting innocent people in cages.”

The prisoners arriving on planes, in goggles and jump suits, from Afghanistan were termed by then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the “worst of the worst“. But after getting to know some of the English-speaking detainees, Mr Neely started to have doubts all of them were fanatical terrorists.

Mr Neely was 22 when he worked at the camp and left after six months to serve in Iraq. But after quitting the military his doubts about Guantanamo began to crystallize. This led to a spontaneous decision last year to reach out to his former prisoners on Facebook.

Released in 2004, after being held for two years, Mr Rasul and Mr Ahmed and another friend from Tipton had been captured in Afghanistan on suspicion of links to the Taliban. The three said they were beaten by US troops although this was disputed by the US government at the time.

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But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?

They explain that, being in their late teens and early twenties at the time, they had made a naive, spontaneous decision to travel for free with an aid convoy weeks before a friend’s wedding, due to take place in Pakistan.

Mr Ahmed admits they had a secret agenda for entering Afghanistan, but it wasn’t to join al-Qaeda.

Aid work was like probably 5% of it. Our main reason was just to go and sightsee really and smoke some dope“.

Does their former prison guard believe them? Yes, says Mr Neely, who says he thinks it was a case of “wrong place, wrong time“.

Both sides are beginning to bond, yet towards the end, Mr Neely has a confession of his own. It threatens to destroy the mood of reconciliation.

He is deeply ashamed of an incident in which he “slammed” an elderly prisoner’s head against the floor.

Mr Neely recalls that he thought he had been under attack because the man kept trying to rise to his feet. But weeks later he discovered the prisoner thought he was being placed on his knees to be executed and believed he was fighting for his life.

Mr Ahmed is speechless, then evidently conflicted as he wrestles in his mind with whether or not he can forgive. Eventually, he says he can.

But should Mr Neely be prosecuted for his actions? Mr Ahmed pauses again.

He’s realized what he did was wrong and he’s living with it and suffering with it and as long as that he knows what he did was wrong. That’s the main thing.”

Afterwards, each say they had genuinely found some sort of closure from meeting. The sense of relief in all their faces speaks volumes, and they leave the meeting closer to one another.

Their story will be featured on the documentary Guantanamo Reunited on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday 14 January at 2200 BST.

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NYT-Guantánamo Reunion, by Way of BBC

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Terror 2.0: Stewart Rips Security Failure, GOP Response

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The “New” New Normal: Privacy versus Security

blogpost by GeoT

How much are we willing to give up to get security?

After the terror attacks on 9/11 the term coined to describe how life had changed for Americans, and indeed the world, was “The New Normal”. This new paradigm brought us a dramatically expanded FISA and The Patriot Act that forever changed how we see the world and even how we interpret our own Constitution. Recent terrorist attacks by Al Queda, both successful and unsuccessful, on U.S. interests have prompted a renewal of calls for tighter security measures and “profiling” of the traveling public as well as demands to halt the GITMO base closure. Is this just an overreaction to recent events meant to mollify the public? “Too little too late” measures from a balky Federal bureaucracy? Are the inmates (terrorists) one step ahead of the wardens? Is this the beginning of the “New” New normal?
We need to be in on this discussion and not just casual observors. So what’s ahead, and are we willing to yield more of our civil liberties to help bolster our security? Get ready, because we’re going to see more and more stories like these in the days to come and this issue is not going away:

Watch list grows as extra airline screening begins

Jan 4–WASHINGTON (AP) — The names of dozens more people have been added to the government’s terrorist watch list and no-fly list after a failed terrorist attack on Christmas prompted U.S. officials to closely scrutinize a large database of suspected terrorists, an intelligence official said Monday.
People on the watch list get additional checking before they are allowed to enter this country; those on the no-fly list are barred from boarding aircraft in or headed for the United States.

source:



Passengers on US-bound flights face more screening

Jan 3, 8:29 PM EST–Passengers flying into the United States from Nigeria, Yemen and other “countries of interest” will be subject to enhanced screening techniques, such as body scans and pat-downs, the Transportation Security Administration said Sunday.

source:


Brown gives go-ahead for full-body scanners at Britain’s airports

Monday 4 January 2010– Full-body scanners are to be introduced at Britain’s airports after Gordon Brown gave the go-ahead for the technology in a move which pre-empted his own urgent review of airline security.

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Attack Sparks Fiery Racial Profiling Debate
Dec. 29, 2009– ACLU Adviser: Profiling Is Unconstitutional and Counterproductive; Terrorism Expert: ‘It Will Stop Terrorist Attacks’

source:


of course there are always the extremes:
McInerney: “If you are an 18 to 28-year-old Muslim man then you should be strip searched.’
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What do YOU think?

suggested reading: Inside Obama’s War on Terrorism

“The challenge of leading the struggle against violent extremists is more than just hunting down bad guys; it’s distinguishing between what’s real and what’s not, tracking down where threats begin, figuring out the right response and finding a balance between acknowledging danger and projecting confidence. The Obama administration spent its first year in office trying to find its balance.”

read more here:

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It’s Veteran’s Day: Share Your Stories And Memories

veteransday2X
Veteran’s Day commemorates the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when an armistice signaling the end of World War I descended.

Please visit the official Veteran’s Day website for information on:

Attending the National Ceremony
Proclamation
Regional Observances

To honor our veterans, we want to hear your personal stories about those who have served in your family. You can submit your written story or photos in the comments section.

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13 dead, 30 injured in Fort Hood shooting: Gunman In Custody

breakingnewsanimationhasan_ft_hood_

Suspected Gunman Is Identified as PSYCHIATRIST Dr. Malik Nadal Hasan an American born man of Jordanian descent.
ABC News

From Flox News: His cousin says Hasan was in the military prior to 911 and apparently he was being harassed for being muslim…complained to superiors, hired a military lawyer…did not want to be deployed



13 DEAD, 30 wounded… one suspect IN CUSTODY…a 40 year old army major (see profile below). Three Others who were in custody have now been released. “All military personnel involved” (military spokesman)… handguns used…

Images of the tradgedy
APTOPIX Fort Hood Shootings
Fort Hood Shooting
fthood4
forthood6


forthoodmaingate FORT HOOD, Texas — An Army psychiatrist set to be shipped overseas opened fire at the Fort Hood Army post Thursday, authorities said, a rampage that killed 12 people and left 31 wounded in the worst mass shooting ever at a military base in the United States.
The gunman, first said to have been killed, was wounded but alive and in stable condition under military guard, said Lt. Gen. Bob Cone at Fort Hood. “I would say his death is not imminent,” Cone said. Col. Ben Danner said the suspect was shot at least four times.
The man was identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old, eight-year veteran from Virginia.
President Barack Obama called the shooting at the Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening, “a horrific outburst of violence.”
“It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas,” the commander in chief said. “It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.”
There was no official word on motive. Hasan had transferred to Fort Hood in July from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he received a poor performance evaluation, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case public.

HP
Link to Local TV Station: KWTX.COM

Fort Hood Website

Dr. Malik Nadal Hasan
hasanMilitary officials say the suspected shooter at Fort Hood is a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for six years before being transferred to the Texas base in July.

The officials had access to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s military record. They said he received a poor performance evaluation while at Walter Reed.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because military records are confidential.

The Virginia-born soldier is single with no children. He is 39 years old.

He is a graduate of Virginia Tech University, where he was a member of the ROTC and earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1997. He received his medical degree from the military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., in 2001. At Walter Reed, he did his internship, residency and a fellowship.

Past Shootings at Fort Hood

August/2009Two Fort Hood Soldiers Arrested In Connection With Fatal Early-Morning Shooting

July/2009Victim Of Fort Hood Shooting Identified

September/2008Soldier kills Fort Hood officer, then self

October/1991Deadly Mass Murder in Killeen, TX, Shooter kills 23, wounds 20, before shooting himself


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Karzai accepts Afghanistan election runoff

posted by GeoT

**44 Update**
A runoff between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah will take place Nov. 7

from CNN:

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — A presidential runoff between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger Abdullah Abdullah will take place on November 7, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission told CNN.

The runoff was accepted by Karzai at a news conference with U.S. Senator John Kerry and United Nations representative Kai Eide.

“We welcome the decision made by the Independent Election Commission, we believe the session is legitimate, legal and according to the constitution of Afghanistan,” Karzai said. “It’s going to be a historic period that we all are waiting to go through.”

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Rahm Emanuel WHCOS

Rahm Emanuel WHCOS

Before President Obama makes a decision about sending any additional troops to Afghanistan, there must be a careful assessment of the strength and viability of the Afghan government, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday.

“It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if, in fact, you haven’t done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country,” Emanuel said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Emanuel criticized the culture in Washington that immediately ramps up calls for a more hawkish policy in Afghanistan when the war has been going on for eight years and the urgency to contain extremism and corruption in Afghanistan was ignored for efforts in Iraq.
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Sen. Kerry on Afghanistan

“I don’t see how President Obama can make a decision about the committing of our additional forces or even the further fulfillment of our mission that’s here today without an adequate government in place or knowledge about what that government’s going to be,” he said.

Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, is resisting international pressure to accept fraud rulings that could force him into a runoff with his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah.

Kerry said there also should be a clear commitment in Afghanistan to eliminating government waste and corruption before Obama agrees to send more U.S. troops.

Full Story here:

18 OCT 2009 Update: Pakistan, Taliban both claim success in fighting

MIR ALI, Pakistan –

Pakistani Army In the mountains of Waziristan

Pakistani Army In the mountains of Waziristan

The Pakistani army and the Taliban claimed to be inflicting heavy casualties on each other as fierce fighting raged Sunday on the second day of a military assault on an al-Qaida and Taliban sanctuary close to the Afghan border.
The outcome of the operation in South Waziristan stands to shape the future of nuclear-armed Pakistan and the militant groups seeking to topple its U.S.-backed government. The region is home to jihadists behind soaring terrorist attacks around the country, as well as al-Qaida and other extremists believed to be plotting strikes in the West.
The army said 60 militants had been killed on the first day of the operation, while six soldiers had died. The Taliban claimed to have inflicted “heavy casualties” on the army and to have pushed invading soldiers back into their bases.
It was not possible to independently verify the conflicting claims because the army is blocking access to the battlefield and surrounding towns.

More detail here:


**44-D Update**
UN-backed panel confirms massive Afghan fraud

KABUL – U.N.-backed fraud investigators on Monday threw out nearly a third of President Hamid Karzai’s votes from the August election, undercutting his claim of victory and stepping up the pressure for him to accept a runoff.
The Obama administration has been holding off on a decision to send more troops to Afghanistan until a credible government is installed in Kabul.
Both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the U.N. secretary general signaled on Monday that a resolution was near.
Clinton said Karzai planned to announce his intentions on Tuesday, adding that she was “encouraged at the direction the situation is moving.”

Full Story Here:

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