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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

CQ Homeland Security - A CIA Man Speaks His Mind on Secret Abductions
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:12 am EDT, Apr 25, 2007

The parliamentary report featured a handful of cases of mistaken identity, the most prominent of which was the ordeal of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen suspected of terrorist ties and packed off to his native Syria in 2002.

“But the Canadians say there’s absolutely no evidence,” countered Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.

“I would certainly not apologize to him, sir.”

The CIA, he added, is not “in the business of cleaning up afterwards. We’re in the business of pre-emption.”

But, Delahunt persisted, “What about those who are clearly eventually determined to be innocent?”

“Mistakes are made, sir.”

“Mistakes are made.”

“That’s right,” Scheuer said. “They’re not Americans, and I really don’t care.” He spread his arms, smiling. “It’s just a mistake.”

Maybe I can't handle the truth, but is it really necessary for you to be an asshole?

It gets even better...

Not even John O’Neill, the late, legendary FBI counterterrorism agent who died in the World Trade Center inferno, escaped one of Scheuer’s shots.

Delahunt reminded Scheuer that the CIA man had once said O’Neill “was interested only in furthering his career and disguising the rank incompetence of senior FBI leaders.”

“Yes, sir,” said Scheuer, peering back through light-reflecting glasses.

“I think I also said that the only good thing that happened to America on 11 September,” he said, “is that the building fell on him, sir.”

This entire situation is proof that you can say absolute anything, as long as you end it with "sir".

CQ Homeland Security - A CIA Man Speaks His Mind on Secret Abductions

Counterterrorism Blog: Transcripts of Interviews of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Faraj al-Libi, & Ramzi Binalshibh
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:04 pm EDT, Mar 14, 2007

Here are the transcripts of the interviews by the Defense Department of the three most senior Al Qaeda leaders in custody in the world, provided to us by Jean Charles Brisard. The Defense Department has posted more information at a special website.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z"

Abu Faraj al-Libi (who did not attend his session)

Ramzi Binalshibh (who refused to attend the session)

Counterterrorism Blog: Transcripts of Interviews of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Faraj al-Libi, & Ramzi Binalshibh

Topic: War on Terrorism 2:13 pm EDT, Mar 14, 2007

For the past 13 years, offerings from IntelCenter and its sister company, Tempest Publishing, have been designed to assist professionals in furthering this goal. All of our products are designed to achieve real results for the operator, analyst or first responder.

Our focus as a company is on studying terrorist groups and other threat actors and disseminating that information in a timely manner to those who can act on it. We look at capabilities and intentions, warnings and indicators, operational characteristics and a wide variety of other points in order to better understand how to interdict terrorist operations and reduce the likelihood of future attacks.

The results of this work is then disseminated in a variety of Alert, Current Intelligence and Analytical Resource services. It also provides the foundation for our field books such as the "First Responder Chem-Bio Handbook." Our primary client base is comprised of military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the US and other allied countries around the world.

This is another, and apparently older, company doing the same type of of OsInt as the SITE Institute.


Boston PD: Putting the 'error' in Terror
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:13 pm EST, Mar  1, 2007

Oh, the comedy of errors. Thank you Boston for the string of laughs your fair city's bomb squad has provided me in these desperate times. In the face of actual real threats, I'm so glad that someone can lighten things up with a unending string of absurdity.

For those who have not caught the latest over reaction of the Boston bomb squad, you can find details over at BongBoing and video from Fox. In short, they blew up a traffic counter thinking it was a bomb. No, it didn't have flashing LEDs on it.

Props to Bruce Schneier for coming up with Boston PD's new slogan: Putting the "error" in Terror.

Boston PD: Putting the 'error' in Terror

Center for American Progress | The Terrorism Index
Topic: War on Terrorism 7:02 am EST, Feb 15, 2007

To help determine whether the United States is growing more or less safe, FOREIGN POLICY and the Center for American Progress teamed up once again to survey more than 100 of America’s top foreign-policy experts—Republicans and Democrats alike—in the second FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index. First launched last June, the Terrorism Index is the only comprehensive, nonpartisan effort to mine the highest echelons of the nation’s foreign-policy establishment for its assessment of how the United States is fighting the Global War on Terror. Its participants include people who have served as secretary of state and national security advisor, senior White House aides, top commanders in the U.S. military, seasoned intelligence officers, and distinguished academics and journalists. Eighty percent of the experts have served in the U.S. government—more than half in the executive branch, 26 percent in the military, and 18 percent in the intelligence community.

The full report is available in PDF format. There is also video of discussion on YouTube:

Center for American Progress | The Terrorism Index

Osama Team Hunger Force
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:05 am EST, Feb 13, 2007

"We will disrupt their workday with a mildly offensive blinking neon light!"

"Death to America!!!!"

"Death to America!!!!"

Dude, say whatever you want. That meeting was intense. You were not there. Infidel...

Osama Team Hunger Force

Pajamas Media: America’s Boots on the Ground in Somalia
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:36 am EST, Jan  9, 2007

The al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic Courts Union’s surprisingly rapid retreat in the face of Ethiopia’s military campaign in Somalia has puzzled many observers. How could the Ethiopians roll up the jihadists so quickly? Pajamas Media has learned that one significant factor is that U.S. air and ground forces covertly aided the Ethiopian military since its intervention began on Christmas day.

U.S. ground forces have been active in Somalia from the start, a senior military intelligence officer confirmed. “In fact,” he said, “they were part of the first group in.”

These ground forces include CIA paramilitary officers who are based out of Galkayo, in Somalia’s semiautonomous region of Puntland; Special Operations forces; and Marine units operating out of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti.

Pajamas Media previously reported that Ethiopia’s use of helicopter gunships capable of targeting the Islamic Courts Union’s ground forces was a decisive factor in the army-to-army fighting against the ICU. A senior military intelligence source says that some of the gunships earlier described as Ethiopian were in fact U.S. aircraft. This has been confirmed by Dahir Jibreel, the transitional government’s permanent secretary in charge of international cooperation, who said that U.S. planes and helicopters with their markings obscured have been striking targets since December 25.

The ground forces have been serving in the role of military advisors. Their duties include identifying ground targets for the Ethiopian air force.

This coverage in Pajamas Media is written by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross who also writes for the Counterterrorism Blog.

Pajamas Media: America’s Boots on the Ground in Somalia

Counterterrorism Blog: U.S. Targets Al Qaeda's 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombers in Somalia Strike
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:50 am EST, Jan  9, 2007

To follow-up my previous post about US airstrikes, here is a collection of links to commentary on the Counterterrorism Blog about the situation in Somalia:

In the first publicly acknowledged military action against Somalian territory since 1993, the U.S. targeted key Al Qaeda operatives on the run in Somalia. Among them is Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a.k.a. Harun Fazul, suspected of masterminding the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, for which he was indicted in the U.S. Previous CT Blog posts provided background on the Al Qaeda operatives in Somalia and targeted in the strike, and the slow recognition of Al Qaeda's role in the ICU:

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross:
"Islamic Courts Abandon Kismayo, Establish 'Shadow Governments,'" January 1: "Thus far, ICU forces have been melting away as the Ethiopians advance. This is reminiscent of the Taliban's dispersal after Kandahar fell in Afghanistan. There is confirmation that the three suspects in the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings who were in Somalia escaped during the ICU's retreat."

"Somalia's Terrorists," Dec. 29: "Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, members of al-Qaeda's Somali cell, had returned to Somalia. They were financed by Sudanese al-Qaeda operative Tariq Abdullah (a.k.a. Abu Talha al-Sudani), who operated between Somalia and the UAE. Mohammed and Nabhan were involved in preparations for the 1998 embassy bombings, and masterminded the November 2002 Mombasa attack on the Paradise Hotel."

Douglas Farah:
"The Wrong Questions on Somalia," Jan. 8: "But there is ample evidence, from their own statements and actions, that the Court leadership that triumphed was a intergral link in the Islamist narrative, woven and rewoven in different conflicts around the globe."

"Blind Spots on Somalia," Dec. 18: "One of the most astonishing statements in today's Washington Post look at Somalia comes from John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence. Negroponte said that "I don't think there are hard and fast views," on al Qaeda in Somalia..."

"A Belated Acknowledgement on Somalia," Nov. 30: "Finally, rather than pretending Somalia is an unimportant side show in fighting Islamists in Africa, a senior official has actually acknowledged what is really happening. Jendayi Frazer, the State Department's head of Africa, told reporters that al Qaeda is operating 'with great comfort' in Somalia."

Counterterrorism Blog: U.S. Targets Al Qaeda's 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombers in Somalia Strike

BBC | US launches air strike in Somalia
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:15 am EST, Jan  9, 2007

The US has launched an air strike against members of a suspected al-Qaeda cell in a village in southern Somalia.

The targets were reported to have been tracked by aerial reconnaissance and then attacked by a US gunship based on a US military base near Djibouti.

There has been no official confirmation from the Pentagon that the air strike took place, but correspondents say a statement is expected within hours.

The attack was carried out by an Air Force AC-130, a heavily-armed gunship that has highly effective detection equipment and can work under the cover of darkness.

Other coverage from NYT and CNN.

CBS broke the story:

The gunship flew from its base in Dijibouti down to the southern tip of Somalia, Martin reports, where the al Qaeda operatives had fled after being chased out of the capital of Mogadishu by Ethiopian troops backed by the United States.

Once they started moving, the al Qaeda operatives became easier to track, and the U.S. military started preparing for an air strike, using unmanned aerial drones to keep them under surveillance and moving the aircraft carrier Eisenhower out of the Persian Gulf toward Somalia. But when the order was given, the mission was assigned to the AC-130 gunship operated by the U.S. Special Operations command.

Meanwhile, a jungle hideout used by Islamic militants that is believed to be an al Qaeda base was on the verge of falling to Ethiopian and Somali troops, the defense minister said Monday.

BBC | US launches air strike in Somalia

2007 Counterterrorism Calendar (PDF)
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:43 pm EST, Jan  7, 2007

This desk calendar provides information on terrorist incidents throughout recent history along with information on key groups and people.

Now available for download from the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) website. There does not appear to be a place where you can buy a printed copy. These would have made splendid Christmas gifts..

The NCTC also has a kids website, which aside from coloring book images of the mascots Little Lady Liberty and Beaker The Eagle, doesn't appear to have anything even remotely of interest to kids. It's not nearly as cool as the NSA Kids site.

2007 Counterterrorism Calendar (PDF)

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