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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

The View From Guantánamo
Topic: War on Terrorism 3:01 pm EDT, Sep 17, 2006

How many right wing blogs are gunna link this one?

I was locked up and mistreated for being in the wrong place at the wrong time during America’s war in Afghanistan. Like hundreds of Guantánamo detainees, I was never a terrorist or a soldier. I was never even on a battlefield. Pakistani bounty hunters sold me and 17 other Uighurs to the United States military like animals for $5,000 a head. The Americans made a terrible mistake.

It was only the country’s centuries-old commitment to allowing habeas corpus challenges that put that mistake right — or began to. In May, on the eve of a court hearing in my case, the military relented, and I was sent to Albania along with four other Uighurs. But 12 of my Uighur brothers remain in Guantánamo today. Will they be stranded there forever?

Like my fellow Uighurs, I am a great admirer of the American legal and political systems. I have the utmost respect for the United States Congress. So I respectfully ask American lawmakers to protect habeas corpus and let justice prevail. Continuing to permit habeas rights to the detainees in Guantánamo will not set the guilty free. It will prove to the world that American democracy is safe and well.

I am from East Turkestan on the northwest edge of China. Communist China cynically calls my homeland “Xinjiang,” which means “new dominion” or “new frontier.” My people want only to be treated with respect and dignity. But China uses the American war on terrorism as a pretext to punish those who peacefully dissent from its oppressive policies. They brand as “terrorism” all political opposition from the Uighurs.

The View From Guantánamo

Bush Untethered - New York Times
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:25 pm EDT, Sep 17, 2006

[Bush] seems to [have] a deeply seated conviction that under his leadership, America is right and does not need the discipline of rules. He does not seem to understand that the rules are what makes this nation as good as it can be.

Bush Untethered - New York Times

Democratic Effort to Limit Surveillance Bill Is Blocked - New York Times
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:17 am EDT, Sep 14, 2006

“We just don’t want to see Americans’ rights abused for the next 50 or 60 years because of an oversight on our part,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, told The Associated Press.

You know when Dianne Feinstein makes a pro civil liberties comment things are totally screwed up. Specter is feebly attempting to retain the appearance of the rule of law. You can sense how far things have gone in the mere symbolism of this act and the weakness of his position. Relenting to totalitarianism seems less hassle then dealing with all this beaurocracy, knowing that its just for show. Why bother with an election this year? Clearly, the outcome is the product of marketing anyway, and the Repbulicans will win, again. Whats the point? I'm sure Bush will keep us safe, and there is nothing we can do about it anyway.

Democratic Effort to Limit Surveillance Bill Is Blocked - New York Times

The U.S. War, Five Years On
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:02 pm EDT, Sep 13, 2006

Stratfor: Geopolitical Intelligence Report - September 12, 2006

The U.S. War, Five Years On

By George Friedman

It has been five years since the Sept. 11 attacks. In thinking
about the course of the war against al Qaeda, two facts emerge

The first is that the war has succeeded far better than anyone
would have thought on Sept. 12, 2001. We remember that day clearly,
and had anyone told us that there would be no more al Qaeda attacks
in the United States for at least five years, we would have been
incredulous. Yet there have been no attacks.

The second fact is that the U.S. intervention in the Islamic world
has not achieved its operational goals. There are multiple
insurgencies under way in Iraq, and the United States does not
appear to have sufficient force or strategic intent to suppress
them. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has re-emerged as a powerful
fighting force. It is possible that the relatively small coalition
force -- a force much smaller than that fielded by the defeated
Soviets in Afghanistan -- can hold it at bay, but clearly coalition
troops cannot annihilate it.

A Strategic Response

The strategic goal of the United States on Sept. 12, 2001, was to
prevent any further attacks within the United States. Al Qaeda,
defined as the original entity that orchestrated the 1998 attacks
against the U.S. embassies in Africa, the USS Cole strike and 9/11,
has been thrown into disarray and has been unable to mount a
follow-on attack without being detected and disrupted. Other
groups, loosely linked to al Qaeda or linked only by name or shared
ideology, have carried out attacks, but none have been as daring
and successful as 9/11.

In response to 9/11, the United States resorted to direct overt and
covert intervention throughout the Islamic world. With the first
intervention, in Afghanistan, the United States and coalition
forces disrupted al Qaeda's base of operations, destabilized the
group and forced it on the defensive. Here also, the stage was set
for a long guerrilla war that the United States cannot win with the
forces available.

The invasion of Iraq, however incoherent the Bush administration's
explanation of it might be, achieved two things. First, it
convinced Saudi Arabia of the seriousness of American resolve and
caused the Saudis to become much more aggressive in cooperating
with U.S. intelligence. Second, it allowed the United States to
occupy the most strategic ground in the Middle East -- bordering on
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Iran. From here, the United
States was able to pose overt threats and to stage covert
operations against al Qaeda. Yet by invading Iraq, the United
States also set the stage for the current military crisis.

The U.S. strategy was to disrup... [ Read More (1.9k in body) ]

Boing Boing: War-on-Terror-themed photo spread in Vogue Italia
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:43 am EDT, Sep 11, 2006

State of Emergency, a most disturbing fashion pictorial shot by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia, September 2006. Models: Hilary Rhoda & Iselin Steiro.

Police State Style... Everyone is going to be watching you while the cops are beating you down at the airport this fall. Better make sure you're decked out in the latest Italian fashions.

These pictures are kind of disturbing, but they are also iconic.

Boing Boing: War-on-Terror-themed photo spread in Vogue Italia

Bin Laden Trail 'Stone Cold'
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:29 am EDT, Sep 10, 2006

Dana Priest sums up the situation.

In the last three months, following a request from President Bush to "flood the zone," the CIA has sharply increased the number of intelligence officers and assets devoted to the pursuit of bin Laden.

The problem, former and current counterterrorism officials say, is that no one is certain where the "zone" is.

The Afghan-Pakistan border is about 1,500 miles.

At least 23 senior anti-Taliban tribesmen have been assassinated in South and North Waziristan since May 2005.

Pakistan has now all but stopped looking for bin Laden.

"Once again, we have lost track of Ayman al-Zawahiri," the Pakistani intelligence official said in a recent interview. "He keeps popping on television screens. It's miserable, but we don't know where he or his boss are hiding."

"There's nobody in the United States government whose job it is to find Osama bin Laden!" one frustrated counterterrorism official shouted. "Nobody!"

"We work by consensus," explained Brig. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. "It's not that effective, or we'd find the guy."

This is an interesting vignette:

In early November 2002, a CIA drone armed with a Hellfire missile killed a top al-Qaeda leader traveling through the Yemeni desert. About a week later, Rumsfeld expressed anger that it was the CIA, not the Defense Department, that had carried out the successful strike.

"How did they get the intel?" he demanded.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then director of the National Security Agency and technically part of the Defense Department, said he had given it to them.

"Why aren't you giving it to us?" Rumsfeld wanted to know.

Hayden, according to this source, told Rumsfeld that the information-sharing mechanism with the CIA was working well. Rumsfeld said it would have to stop.

Bin Laden Trail 'Stone Cold'

Al Qaeda Finds Its Center of Gravity
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:28 am EDT, Sep 10, 2006

Over the last year, as Iran, Iraq and Lebanon have dominated headlines, hopes of gaining firmer control of a largely forgotten corner of the war on terrorism — the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region — have quietly evaporated.

On Tuesday, the Pakistani government signed a "truce" with militants which lets militants remain in the area as long as they promised to halt attacks.

Is this the "separate peace" that Rumsfeld was talking about? He must be furious about this, right?

The Taliban leadership is believed to have established a base of operations in and around the Pakistani city of Quetta. The Pakistani government sees the group as a tool to counter growing Indian influence in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, roadside bomb attacks have doubled this year, and suicide bombings have tripled.

This year, the United States cut its aid to Afghanistan by 30 percent.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are no doubt betting that time is on their side.

Al Qaeda Finds Its Center of Gravity

Did the war end today?
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:07 am EDT, Sep  7, 2006

The government of Pakistan today denied it would allow Osama bin Laden to avoid capture under terms of a peace agreement it signed with Taliban leaders in the country's North Waziristan area.

Q. ABC News: If bin Laden or Zawahiri were there, they could stay?

A. Gen. Sultan: No one of that kind can stay. If someone is there he will have to surrender, he will have to live like a good citizen, his whereabouts, exit travel would be known to the authorities.

What the fuck?

Did the war end today?

President Moves 14 Held in Secret to Guantanamo - New York Times
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:51 am EDT, Sep  7, 2006

Representative Jane Harman of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr. Bush should have disclosed the program years ago and called his speech “the opening salvo in the fall campaign.”

Oh, so now they want trials? I recall partisan democrats bitterly claiming that Bush would pull Bin Lauden out of a hat prior to the 2004 election. Alas, he did not. However, he appears to have done the next best thing this year. I wouldn't, however, characterize this as the opening salvo in the fall campaign. The opening salvo is the reason you can't bring water on an airplane.

President Moves 14 Held in Secret to Guantanamo - New York Times

27B Stroke 6: Michigan cellphone 'terror' case dismissed
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:23 am EDT, Sep  6, 2006

A federal magistrate today dismissed with prejudice a disgraceful DMCA prosecution against three young Texas men who bought a lot of cell phones while looking Arab.

The three were rousted by local law enforcement in Michigan last month after they were spotted driving from Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart buying as many low-cost pre-paid cell phones as they could get their hands on. Tuscola County authorities arrested them as suspected terrorists and made a lot of noise.

Then when the case didn't pan out the feds stepped in with charges that the men conspired to violate the DMCA. "I think (law enforcement) dug themselves a hole and they tried to dig themselves out," defense attorney Nabih Ayad told me.

This is exactly what happenned in Georgia when a prosecutor brought a Tech student up on 4 felony charges for making dry ice noise makers because the local police told the press it was "terrorism."

It's hard to imagine anything creepier than the FBI merging homeland security hysteria with corporate IP extremism.

I agree.

27B Stroke 6: Michigan cellphone 'terror' case dismissed

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