The London Review of Books, By Seymour M. Hersh, May 21
It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.
The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions, including one by Carlotta Gall in the New York Times Magazine of 19 March 2014. Gall, who spent 12 years as the Times correspondent in Afghanistan, wrote that she’d been told by a ‘Pakistani official’ that Pasha had known before the raid that bin Laden was in Abbottabad. The story was denied by US and Pakistani officials, and went no further. In his book Pakistan: Before and after Osama (2012), Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank in Islamabad, wrote that he’d spoken to four undercover intelligence officers who – reflecting a widely held local view – asserted that the Pakistani military must have had knowledge of the operation. The issue was raised again in February, when a retired general, Asad Durrani, who was head of the ISI in the early 1990s, told an al-Jazeera interviewer that it was ‘quite possible’ that the senior officers of the ISI did not know where bin Laden had been hiding, ‘but it was more probable that they did [know]. And the idea was that, at the right time, his location would be revealed. And the right time would have been when you can get the necessary quid pro quo – if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States.’
You’ll no doubt recall the hue and cry when Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his stand on nuclear non-proliferation and his attempts to engage the Muslim world. Both the right and left in this country had great sport at this — and here I’ll agree — premature awarding of a prize to a man with few signal accomplishments in foreign policy, apart from being “not Bush”.
Six years later and I think it’s time to give him the Prize for real this time. Think about this past year: for a man who started his administration hoping to hit singles and doubles in foreign policy (consumed as he had to be by the domestic economic crisis), he’s kind of knocked a couple out of the park, provoking admiration from aboard and from mainstream Americans, and consternation from the idiot fringe that will sit on perches and poop all day, parroting “Obama bad, BRAWK!” Read More
Vice News, By Jason Leopold, March 19
Thirteen years ago, the intelligence community concluded in a 93-page classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq that it lacked “specific information” on “many key aspects” of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
But that’s not what top Bush administration officials said during their campaign to sell the war to the American public. Those officials, citing the same classified document, asserted with no uncertainty that Iraq was actively pursuing nuclear weapons, concealing a vast chemical and biological weapons arsenal, and posing an immediate and grave threat to US national security.
BBC, March 15
The US embassy in the Saudi capital Riyadh has cancelled all consular services for Sunday and Monday due to “heightened security concerns”.
In a statement, the embassy said consular services in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran would not be available.
It urged US citizens to take extra precautions when travelling in Saudi Arabia and to keep a low profile.
On Friday, the embassy warned that Western oil workers could be the target of militant attacks.
It said it had information that “individuals associated with a terrorist organisation” could be targeting people working in the oil-rich Eastern Province.
Embassy of the United States of America Riyadh,Saudi Arabia:
Security Message for US Citizens, March 13
Security Message for US Citizens, March 14
Reuters, By Matt Siegel, February 22
Sydney– Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday announced a national security crackdown that could deny welfare payments to people seen as potential threats, strip the passports of those with dual nationality and curb travel overseas.
Abbott, bruised politically and facing pressure for dramatic action after surviving a leadership challenge this month, unveiled the measures in the wake of a hostage siege in a Sydney cafe that left three dead in December.
He said some personal freedoms would have to be curtailed to fight what he called a rapidly growing threat from radical groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“For too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt,” Abbott said.
AP, By Desmond Butler, February 19
Istanbul — Turkey and the United States signed an agreement Thursday to train and arm Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group, said the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
The two countries have been in talks about such a pact for several months. The deal was signed Thursday evening by U.S Ambassador John Bass and Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, said Embassy spokesman Joe Wierichs. He gave no further details.
Sinirlioglu called the deal “an important step” in the strategic partnership between Turkey and the United States, according to Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency.
The Turkish government has said the training by U.S. and Turkish soldiers could begin as early as next month at a base in the central Anatolian city of Kirsehir, and involve hundreds of Syrian fighters in the first year. The U.S. has said the goal is to go after the Islamic State group, but Turkish officials have suggested that the trained rebels could also target the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad.
Google says increasing the FBI’s powers set out in search warrants would raise ‘monumental’ legal concerns that should be decided by Congress
The Guardian, By Ed Pilkington, February 18
New York – Google is boldly opposing an attempt by the US Justice Department to expand federal powers to search and seize digital data, warning that the changes would open the door to US “government hacking of any facility” in the world.
In a strongly worded submission to the Washington committee that is considering the proposed changes, Google says that increasing the FBI’s powers set out in search warrants would raise “monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide”.
The search giant warns that under updated proposals, FBI agents would be able to carry out covert raids on servers no matter where they were situated, giving the US government unfettered global access to vast amounts of private information.
Los Angeles Times, By Richard A. Serrano, February 14
Abdullah al-Kidd approached the Dulles International Airport ticket counter in March 2003 expecting to catch a flight to Saudi Arabia to study Arabic and Islamic law.
Instead, federal agents slapped handcuffs on the Kansas-born former University of Idaho running back.
He spent the next 16 days in three jails without criminal charges on a warrant as a potential witness in a terrorism-related case. He was shackled, strip-searched and confined in a cell.
The government’s case eventually fell apart, but not before the husband and father had lost his family and livelihood.
More than a decade later, the U.S. government has presented Kidd with something rarely seen in the U.S. war against terrorism: an apology.
How Britain’s new police state will radicalise us all
Medium, By Nafeez Ahmed, February 13
In the UK, an insidious secret network of violent extremists is plotting to subvert democracy. The members of this network detest our way of life, and hate our freedoms. Walking amongst us, this dangerous fifth column is exploiting the very laws we hold dear to campaign for the establishment of an extremist, totalitarian state that would police every aspect of our lives based on a fanatical ideology that is devoid of reason.
No, the ‘Islamic State’ is not about to conquer Great Britain. But the neocons in government and industry who profit from fear might well be.
In the name of fighting terror, the UK government, hand-in-hand with the US, is leading the way to turn freedom of speech and dissent into mere formalities that, in practice, have no place in societies that will function, effectively, as full-fledged police-states.
RINF, By Eric Zuesse, February 11
Zacarias Moussaoui was the bookkeeper for Al Qaeda, but the U.S. intelligence services have been keeping this fact secret as much as they can, because what he knows about the crucial financial backers of Al Qaeda can be very damaging to the U.S. aristocracy, which is heavily oil-based and closely allied with the Saudi royal family, which created Al Qaeda in order to please the Saudi clerics, who are Wahhabist Muslims who constantly threaten the royals with exposure of their economic and sexual corruption unless the royals finance the spread of the Wahhabist sect (such as by Al Qaeda), and thereby finance the spread of those clerics’ own international influence and power.
Or, so says the former bookkeeper of Al Qaeda, who was selected by Al Qaeda’s military chief, Abu Hafs (also known as “Mohammed Atef”), to serve Osama bin Laden in that capacity: Zacarias Moussaoui. This is his testimony, in brief.
The Globe And Mail, By Sean Fine, January 11
Toronto – Canadians need to gird for a long battle against terrorism while maintaining their unity and not singling out any religious groups for blame, Mayor John Tory and federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver told several hundred people demonstrating on a cold Sunday afternoon at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.
“We must look evil in the eye and call it by its name – jihadist terrorism,” Mr. Oliver said at one of several rallies in Canada held in a gesture of solidarity with France, after Islamic terrorists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the shooting of a policewoman and two hostage-takings left 20 people, including three gunmen, dead. Those attacks followed separate terrorist incidents in Ottawa and St-Jean-Sur-Richilieu, Que., in October in which three people, including one armed attacker, were killed.
Addressing terrorists directly, Mr. Oliver said they should know that they cannot divide Canadians. “You will not succeed because we are united by our determination to protect our values, our freedoms and our citizens, be they Christian, Jews, Muslims or Hindus. We will defeat you. We will ultimately win because we are in solidarity and we are strong.
He suggested the battle could last decades. “We need continued support and endurance. With that we will triumph over evil. . . and our grandchildren will live in freedom and peace.”
Al Arabiya News/AP/AFP, January 12
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Monday said 10,000 security forces will be mobilized throughout the country, with 5,000 policeman deployed to protect Jewish schools.
Cazeneuve said the deployment will begin Tuesday, and will focus on the most sensitive locations, the Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, one of the three gunmen who killed 17 people in a series of attacks in Paris this week “undoubtedly” had an accomplice, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Monday.
Amedy Coulibaly, one of the three gunmen, likely received help from someone else, Valls said, pledging, “the hunt [for the accomplice] will go on.”
Video emerged on Sunday of her husband Amedy Coulibaly, explaining how the attacks would unfold and police want to find the person who shot and posted the video, which was edited after the attacks were over.
Coverage and many pictures of the rally in Paris at the usual news links.
Two million marched across France.
Update: At least 3.7 million marched in Paris alone.
Netanyahu, recognizing an opportunity, was in the line at the head of the march with Hollande,
Cameron, Merkel, and Mahmoud Abbas for the photo op.
Obama, not recognizing one, sent
retiring Attorney General Eric Holder and Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.
Update- Holder was in Paris but did not attend the rally. So where was Joe Biden?
The radical Islam movement shares some things in common with the radical Reactionaries in America. Among them is the promotion of fear as a way to both unify and discipline those who would nominally identify superficially with their cause.
To-wit, let me bring in Juan Cole:
Originally posted Dec 18,2014
The recent Senate report on torture has brought the issue to the forefront of late. Once again people line up, mostly according to party affiliation. I see plenty of bull shit coming from both camps.
To begin, there’s nothing conservative about torturing people. And there’s nothing liberal about covering up these acts when they do occur.