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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

Waging the “War of Ideas”
Topic: War on Terrorism 7:51 am EST, Mar  7, 2006

Chapter 72 of the McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook addresses the important issue of the ideological differences between the United States and al-Qaida and the necessity to win the war of ideas. This chapter outlines the ideology promulgated by al-Qaida and associated terrorist groups. It examines recent attempts by the United States to combat al-Qaida’s worldview and compares this effort with America’s global propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union. The chapter concludes with some preliminary ideas about waging an effective counterpropaganda campaign against al-Qaida, including potential themes and approaches.

Waging the “War of Ideas”

Congressional Probe of NSA Spying Is in Doubt
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:32 am EST, Feb 15, 2006

"The administration has obviously gotten the message that they need to be more forthcoming," Snowe said.

Consider this story a pre-pre-trial balloon. The public reaction will determine the outcome of events. Unless people are really freaking mad that they aren't going to have a hearing, whats going to happen is as follows:

1. There will be no hearing.
2. The ACLU will continue to be painted as a crazy group that hates America. (Which isn't so easy to do to a Republican controlled Congressional committee.)
3. The ACLU's lawsuit will be rendered moot by new legislation.
4. The new legislation will mostly strike FISA, enabling warrentless domestic surveillance for "national security" purposes. It will be renewed forever.
5. No questions about the legality of Bush's program will be brought to a serious forum.
6. Dems will raise the issue politically and get tarred as "pro-terrorist."
7. Big red wins in 2006 and 2008.
8. The NSA will be doing what the paranoids thought they were doing 10 years ago.
9. Everyone will use encryption when they move to VOIP.
10. There will be a renewed push for key escrow about 10 years from now.

Oh, and yeah, hackers will be considered a "national security" issue. So will a number of unfavored political groups.

Congressional Probe of NSA Spying Is in Doubt

MemeStreams | Contacts, Ties, and Relationships, Oh My
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:12 pm EST, Feb 12, 2006

Everyone has seen the picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein on an official visit to Baghdad. There is no disputing the fact that this qualifies as a contact.

"The Insider" starts with a scene in which a Hezbollah leader is interviewed for a segment on 60 Minutes. Does this qualify as "Ties" between Viacom and Hezbollah?

We are often reminded that Iraq had "ties" to Al'Queda. TIA like programs and the NSA surveillance system are looking at people with "ties" to Al'Queda as well. Do you have "ties" to Al'Queda?

Clearly the reason that I'm asking questions is because I hate Bush more then I fear Al'Queda. Smart people don't ask questions, only crazy people ask questions.

MemeStreams | Contacts, Ties, and Relationships, Oh My

BBC NEWS | Business | Iran 'moves assets out of Europe'
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:54 pm EST, Jan 22, 2006

Iran has started moving its foreign exchange reserves out of Europe in a bid to shield the country from the threat of sanctions, reports suggest.

9/11 may have caught you by suprise, but whatever goes down with Iran, say you knew it was coming...

BBC NEWS | Business | Iran 'moves assets out of Europe'

Stratfor on what the hell Iran is up to...
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:57 pm EST, Jan 20, 2006

The question, of course, is what exactly the Iranians are up to. They
do not yet have nuclear weapons. The Israelis do. The Iranians have
now hinted that (a) they plan to build nuclear weapons and have
implied, as clearly as possible without saying it, that (b) they plan
to use them against Israel. On the surface, these statements appear to
be begging for a pre-emptive strike by Israel. There are many things
one might hope for, but a surprise visit from the Israeli air force is
not usually one of them.

This analysis is troubling. It suggests that Iran will provoke the U.S. into attacking it, because they want to get attacked.

Stratfor on what the hell Iran is up to...

Wired News: Lawsuits filed over NSA surveillance
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:51 pm EST, Jan 18, 2006

Two lawsuits were filed Tuesday in federal court that seek to end President Bush's electronic eavesdropping program, saying it is illegal and exceeds his constitutional powers.

You'll recall that this is exactly how I said this should be resolved.

Wired News: Lawsuits filed over NSA surveillance

AP Wire | 01/12/2006 | Senator questions Pentagon surveillance
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:13 pm EST, Jan 18, 2006

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday asked for answers on an obscure Pentagon agency that included reports on student anti-war protests and other peaceful civilian demonstrations in a database meant to detect terrorist activities.

"Under what circumstances can peaceful protests at universities or by anti-war groups be monitored?" Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

"What authorities, and under what regulations, do military counterintelligence units have to conduct investigations on U.S. persons?" she wrote.

The NSA story has completely snowed this one over. Instapundit posted an LA Times editorial by right winger "Max Boot" today exclaiming that it is totally irrelevant whether or not the NSA surveillance broke the law because there has been no political abuse of the surveillance system. We don't NEED laws 'cause we're the good guys! In fact, the Pentagon was caught running a program to surveil domestic political groups LAST MONTH!! Where have Glenn and Max been? Obviously somewhere with a lot of sand to stick their heads in.

AP Wire | 01/12/2006 | Senator questions Pentagon surveillance

Our Domestic Intelligence Crisis
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:50 pm EST, Dec 24, 2005

Because of increased political partisanship, advances in communications technology and more numerous and competitive media, American government has become a sieve. No secrets concerning matters that would interest the public can be kept for long.

... so we no longer need structural checks and balances on government surveillance.... No, I'm serious, thats what this editorial offers, written by a 7th circuit justice!

Our Domestic Intelligence Crisis

Congress demands answers about surveillance
Topic: War on Terrorism 6:18 pm EST, Dec 24, 2005

A second former official said the program contributed to the apprehension of Lyman Faris, an Ohio truck driver who pleaded guilty in 2003 to charges of collaborating with al-Qaida on a plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.

The DOJ has named a U.S. Citizen who was surveilled by the extra-FISA NSA program. This provides a platform for questions about Article II to actually be litigated in the court system, where they ought to be answered, rather then through impeachment of the President. This is a good thing from a technical perspective about the law.

However, the other question, which I haven't addressed, is whether or not this ought to be legally authorized. Domestic terrorism raises challenging questions. How do you deal with a situation where U.S. Citizens are involved in foreign terror plots in such a way that ensures that you succeed but prevents the system from running off of the rails and focusing on all manner of domestic political groups. One idea that I have is that instead of putting the court system between the wiretap and the wiretapper, put them between the wiretapper and the rest of the law enforcement system, ensuring that only information which is relevant to terrorism is actually passed across,

Congress demands answers about surveillance

The Volokh Conspiracy - Radiation Surveillance:
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:19 pm EST, Dec 24, 2005

My ultimate conclusion is that such radiation surveillance from outside the buildings should be constitutional, because what's an "unreasonable search" when looking for drugs (or even for evidence of murder) becomes reasonable when looking for radiation weapons.

This is an interesting discussion in relation to previous memestreams threads about particle privacy. I strongly reject the notion that you have no expectation of privacy in particles you emit that are not natually detectable by other humans. However, I recall hearing a rumor that the feds were monitoring all inbound roads toward DC for radiation, and I don't recall being concerned about this from a 4th amendment standpoint. Is this a slippery slope? If its effective and has a low false positive rate then I don't really think so.

The Volokh Conspiracy - Radiation Surveillance:

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