Create an Account
username: password:
  MemeStreams Logo

Curiouser and Curiouser


Picture of Acidus
My Blog
My Profile
My Audience
My Sources
Send Me a Message

sponsored links

Acidus's topics
Health and Wellness
Home and Garden
(Current Events)
Local Information

support us

Get MemeStreams Stuff!

From User: Decius

Current Topic: Current Events

Knowing the Enemy | George Packer in The New Yorker
Topic: Current Events 6:33 pm EDT, Apr 15, 2009

I somehow missed this fantastic "Al'Queda is a scene" roundup from NoteWorthy.

George Packer is simply essential. This is a long post because there is no way to boil this down.

"After 9/11, when a lot of people were saying, ‘The problem is Islam,’ I was thinking, It’s something deeper than that. It's about human social networks and the way that they operate."

That's David Kilcullen, an Australian lieutenant colonel who may just be our last best hope in the long war.

"The Islamic bit is secondary. This is human behavior in an Islamic setting. This is not ‘Islamic behavior.’"

“People don’t get pushed into rebellion by their ideology. They get pulled in by their social networks."

In the 1 December issue of Jane's Intelligence Review, John Horgan writes (sub req'd):

People who leave terrorist groups or move away from violent roles do so for a multitude of reasons. Horgan explains why greater understanding of the motivations behind this so-called 'disengagement' will help in developing successful anti-terrorism initiatives.

The reality is that actual attacks represent only the tip of an iceberg of activity.

Here's the abstract of a recent RAND working paper:

In the battle of ideas that has come to characterize the struggle against jihadist terrorism, a sometimes neglected dimension is the personal motivations of those drawn into the movement. This paper reports the results of a workshop held in September 2005 and sponsored by RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Initiative for Middle East Youth. Workshop participants discussed the issue of why young people enter into jihadist groups and what might be done to prevent it or to disengage members of such groups once they have joined.

Now, back to the Packer piece:

The odd inclusion of environmentalist rhetoric, he said, made clear that “this wasn’t a list of genuine grievances. This was an Al Qaeda information strategy." ... “bin Laden’s message was clearly designed to assist the President’s reëlection.” Bin Laden shrewdly created an implicit association between Al Qaeda and the Democratic Party, for he had come to feel that Bush’s strategy in the war on terror was sustaining his own global importance.

You may recall the speculation that Bush would produce bin Laden's he... [ Read More (0.7k in body) ]

Knowing the Enemy | George Packer in The New Yorker

6 Myths About GM, Ford, and Chrysler
Topic: Current Events 9:54 am EST, Dec 19, 2008

I much enjoyed this article.

6 Myths About GM, Ford, and Chrysler

RE: Telling the Truth hurts...
Topic: Current Events 2:44 am EDT, May 15, 2006

Dc0de has joined what we have started referring to as "the club." People we know who have received legal threats for saying true things in a public place. This seems to happen a lot to computer security people.

People who use the legal system to squash critics instead of appropriately addressing their criticism in print are operating in a manner that is out of sync with the core values of this nation. I hold this sort of behavior in very poor esteem.

All around scary stuff. Its a sad day when opinions get silenced by lawsuits.

That slander charge is a bitch. I said a lot of very bad, public things about Blackboard, their executives, and the sexual habits of their mothers. Thankfully no one ever pulled that crap on me.

Actually, slander is a growing concern of mine. The way you all have seen me give a presentation at say, Phreaknic, is the same way I give a presentation at BlackHat: rather informal with a fair amount of profanity directed at those who deserve it.

Its only a matter of time before some no talent ass clown somewhere takes offense.

RE: Telling the Truth hurts...

Keeper of Expired Web Pages Is Sued Because Archive Was Used in Another Suit - New York Times
Topic: Current Events 11:10 am EDT, Jul 13, 2005

Last week Healthcare Advocates sued both the Harding Earley firm and the Internet Archive, saying the access to its old Web pages, stored in the Internet Archive's database, was unauthorized and illegal.

Ignoring robots.txt != DMCA Violation.

This is the most retarded application of the DMCA I have ever seen.

Keeper of Expired Web Pages Is Sued Because Archive Was Used in Another Suit - New York Times

RE: Iraq Predictions
Topic: Current Events 3:54 pm EST, Nov  3, 2004

] On the WOT:
] Iraq will slowly become an Islamic fundamentalist state. The
] U.S. will be largely out of there within a year and on to
] Pakistan. We'll get Bin Laden, but Islamic Fundamentalism will
] continue to fester and will rear it's head again in a decade
] or so. Bush will be seen as having won the WoT in the short
] term.

I disagree. Iraq will become a fundamentalist state, but it will remain in state of civil war for quite some time. You have 2 Islamic sects, the minority one repressed the majority one for decades. Sunni's don't want free or fair elections, because they will not have enough representitives to prevent rather nasty laws against them from being passed. I'm talking Jews in 1930's Germany style laws. The only hope for the Sunni's is to have the ratio of people in the gov't representing them be disproportional to their % of the population. But the Shiits are not going to let them having anything close to power again. Listen very closely: Popular elections, with the number of representatives for different ethic/religous group being proportional to actual populations of those groups will not happen. There is too much hostility between the groups, and we are stupid if we think 2 years has cured it.

None of this even mentions the Kurds, which have basically had their own country for the last decade or so, and aren't really liked by anyone. They sure as hell are not going to disarm and follow the laws being passed in Baghdad. They will resist, with lethal force.

Bush is kind of screwed on Iraq. The only way Iraq will be able to have any type of stable peace in the near term (next decade) is a) A new dictator, or extremely pro-Shiite anti-Sunni government. It will not be anything close to the "island of democrasy" Bush promised. b) A large, non-Iraqi military force staying there basically locking down the country, and enforcing the will of the government composed of equal Shiites and Sunnis (and maybe Kurds, but most likely not). It can't be an Iraqi force, because the Iraqi government would use to against the Sunnis and/or Kurds. The problem for Bush is, thanks to his extreme foreign policy, Non-Iraqi basically means US, unless Bush manages to get a multinational force from different Arab countries instead (he won't).

He pulls out, Iraq collapses, into something maybe slightly than Saddam's government, and Bush has to explain what our sons and daughters were dying for. He stays, and our troops will continue to be killed off one by one, because the people will not view the government as a legitiment representation of the people (because it isn't).

RE: Iraq Predictions

America's Secret War - George Friedman - Author interviews
Topic: Current Events 12:56 pm EDT, Sep 29, 2004

The 30 minute video here is not to be missed.

Great Q&A as well. Can't wait to watch the video

America's Secret War - George Friedman - Author interviews

Terror in the Skies, Again? - WomensWallStreet ***1/2 Gold Star***
Topic: Current Events 7:47 pm EDT, Jul 16, 2004

] On June 29, 2004, at 12:28 p.m., I flew on Northwest
] Airlines flight #327 from Detroit to Los Angeles with my
] husband and our young son. Also on our flight were 14
] Middle Eastern men between the ages of approximately 20
] and 50 years old. What I experienced during that flight
] has caused me to question whether the United States of
] America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of
] every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its
] citizens from terrorist threats.

I'm always extra observant these days when I get on a plane. I size people up. I assess them. I've never seen anything that ended up bothering me. This person did. This is your worst nightmare airplane story.

By Jeremy's Gold Star system I'm giving this story a 1/2 gold star. This is simply the scariest thing I've read in 3 years. Don't read this if you're not prepared. Its fucked up.

Its also important. You're reading about this because of the blogosphere. I imagine that this will get wide coverage online and the mainstream press will pick it up, like the Trent Lott thing. If this is what it claims to be its as important as a successful attack. People need and want to know that things like this are going down. DHS and the airline industry would rather they didn't, for various reasons, not all of which are bad ones.

Is it what it claims to be? Thats primarily the reason why it will be important. Its impossible to know how accurate this account is until someone from the Government actually makes a statement on it. That won't happen until a large number of people are talking about it.

This story is also seriously flawed, hence the 1/2 star. Once the facts are presented, the not so facts are presented. Ann Coultier is quoted. The lack of racial profiling is questioned. Unfortunately the fact that those ideas are tagged onto this information will cloud the value of it. People on the left will think twice about blogging it or considering it. People on the right will be drawn into its conclusions by its information.

The fact is that its properly called Islamic Extremeism, not Arab Extremeism, and there is a very good reason for that, only part of which is the fact that not all Arabs are Muslim. The critical issue from a security standpoint is that if you focus all your investigative efforts on Arabs you will find an airplane full of guys from the Sudan rammed right up your ass, and you cannot tell the difference between guys from the Sudan and guys from Atlanta based on what they look like.

Those that argue for a crackdown on Arabs are not just racist, they're stupid. And not only because they're missing part of the puzzle, but also because whats good for the goose is good for the gander, and they never seem to consider that, even in the context of bombings by radical fundamentalist Christians.

This does not imply that 15 Arabs on a plane acting sketchy as all hell is not a something you ought to investigate. Clearly, in this case, if the story is true, it was investigated. To what end, who knows. I seriously doubt that if there was something substantive going on here that the agents would have just let these guys go and forgotten about it. I also seriously doubt that they would have let this woman know what they did when she called. But its irrelevant.

Assuming this information is accurate, I'll say I no longer find jokes about DHS's alert system so funny.

(Of course, its worth reading this from the other direction. Maybe it was just a group of guys from Detroit rolling down to do a show. Lots of Middle Eastern people in Detroit. Maybe they had a lot to drink and all needed to hit the bathroom. Maybe they wanted to chat in the hallways because they weren't sitting near eachother. But there was enough going on here to spook the security forces. Her fears were not totally unreasonable.)

Terror in the Skies, Again? - WomensWallStreet ***1/2 Gold Star*** A Wretched New Picture Of America
Topic: Current Events 3:26 am EDT, May  6, 2004

] These photos show us what we may become, as occupation
] continues, anger and resentment grows and costs spiral.
] There's nothing surprising in this. These pictures are
] pictures of colonial behavior, the demeaning of occupied
] people, the insult to local tradition, the humiliation of
] the vanquished. They are unexceptional. In different
] forms, they could be pictures of the Dutch brutalizing
] the Indonesians; the French brutalizing the Algerians;
] the Belgians brutalizing the people of the Congo.

An exceptional article A Wretched New Picture Of America

On Lisa Rein's Indictment: Daily Show On The Shrub's Meet The Press Interview
Topic: Current Events 1:53 pm EST, Feb 14, 2004

Yup, here it is if you missed it. The Daily Show on the Meet the Press Interview. The facial expressions are something that didn't make the transcript. This might have been a very different interview had I seen it on video.

On Lisa Rein's Indictment: Daily Show On The Shrub's Meet The Press Interview

Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional (
Topic: Current Events 4:41 pm EST, Jan 26, 2004

] LOS ANGELES -- A federal judge has declared
] unconstitutional a portion of the USA Patriot Act that
] bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups
] designated foreign terrorist organizations.

Lets hope this is the first legal crack to bring the whole thing down

Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional (

Powered By Industrial Memetics