“With my current condition, I live in solitary confinement, but I am very happy in my cell because my spirit is free even while my body is being held captive. […] Perhaps a poor detainee may be happy while being water-boarded or tortured or even in solitary confinement where he can’t see the sun or the moon.”
— Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, says in his latest manifesto
11:12 am • 18 April 2014
“I spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent, 15 of them with The New York Times. I interviewed numerous individuals deemed by the U.S. government to be terrorists and traveled with armed groups, including units of al-Qaida, labeled as terrorist organizations. When I reported the statements and activities of these individuals and groups, U.S. officialdom often made little distinction between them and me. This was true during the wars in Central America. It was true in the Middle East. And it was true when I covered global terrorism. There was no law at the time that permitted the government, because of my work as a reporter, to order the military to seize and detain me. Now there is. This law, if it is not struck down, will essentially replace our civilian judiciary with a military one. Those targeted under this law will not be warned beforehand that they will be arrested. They will not have a chance to get a lawyer. They will not see the inside of a courtroom. They will simply vanish.”
— Chris Hedges
9:32 pm • 2 April 2014 • 128 notes
Drones strikes kill 18 in Yemen this week, more transparency is needed
The alleged US drone strike that reportedly killed up to 15 people on their way to a wedding in Yemen on Thursday is just one more reason why the Obama administration has to start talking more – and more honestly – about its drone war.
Local officials in Yemen say this is the second strike this week, which has now reportedly seen the deaths of 18 Yemenis at the hands of the U.S. government, without explanation. That is unacceptable.
On Monday, a U.S. drone reportedly killed three unidentified men driving on a main road in Hadramout province. The U.S. government said nothing.
Then on Thursday, news reports indicate a convoy of vehicles traveling to a wedding in central al-Bayda province was hit by a U.S. drone that killed ten passengers instantly; another five died after arriving at the hospital. There were conflicting reports about whether suspected al Qaida “militants” were traveling in the convoy.
This time, it’s imperative that the U.S. government respond. As human rights organizations argued (again) in a letter to President Obama last week, his administration’s so-called “targeted killing” program will never be seen as lawful and legitimate if U.S. officials don’t explain what right they have to kill the people they’re targeting. In this case, where the strike apparently either missed its target or misidentified it, acknowledging the error and doing everything possible to make amends is critical to U.S. interests.
As Yemeni activist Farea al-Muslimi told The Guardian, this latest U.S. strike “saved AQAP’s image” after the group was broadly condemned for killing more than 50 people in an attack on the Yemeni defense ministry. “Nothing could have made Yemenis forget the horrible images of the attack in Sanaa more than the images of this current drone strike that targeted a wedding party,” al-Muslimi said.
Even CIA Director John Brennan has said that the United States should publicly acknowledge mistaken killings and “make public the overall numbers of civilian deaths resulting from U.S. strikes targeting al-Qa’ida.”
With the US drone campaign evidently being stepped up in Yemen, now is the time to start that practice.
10:12 am • 13 December 2013
“My personal opinion is that they executed Bin Laden. If you strip it down, what you had is an unarmed elderly man, in his bedroom, shot in the face by the most elite force in the world. Almost everything that the White House officials told us that happened in the compound that night turned out to be a total fabrication. I would have loved to have seen Bin Laden put on trial for his crimes. He had been indicted, in the 1990s, and was a reprehensible criminal, but I don’t believe for one second they were given orders to capture him, I think the whole point was to kill him. I wasn’t like, boo hoo, Bin Laden’s dead, but I wasn’t jumping. America’s a very nationalistic country, and in episodes like that of his death, it becomes jingoism. People are drinking, dancing in the street, chanting USA like they’re at the World Cup, like they won it… It’s sick that we turned it into a sporting event.”
— Jeremy Scahill
8:48 pm • 12 December 2013 • 2 notes
Al Qaeda tightens grip on western Iraq in bid for Islamic state
In Iraq’s western desert near the Syrian border, in a landscape of sand and rock, a signpost announces that you are entering al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).A short video of the sign was broadcast on jihadi websites last month and reflects a long-held goal of al Qaeda fighters to establish an Islamic emirate.ISIL insurgents have increased attacks on strategic targets in parts of western Iraq in the past three months in a bid to make their putative state a reality, security officials and analysts say.”Al Qaeda believes these areas do not have strong security and social ties to the central government so it would be easy to separate them from Iraq,” independent analyst Hashim al-Habobi said. “This is the goal of all these attacks.”Al Qaeda fighters seized control of most of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim areas after the 2003 U.S. invasion. American troops and local allies finally beat them back in heavy fighting during the “surge” of 2006-07, but today the fighters once again aim to control towns and cities and realise their dream of a state ruled according to strict medieval Sunni Islamic practice.
After years of plotting underground and on the Internet, they have joined forces with powerful groups fighting in neighbouring Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, and aim to establish a Caliphate that would transcend modern state borders.
"They want to establish their own state on the ground. It is not enough to have a state in the virtual world anymore," said a senior federal police officer who has attended interrogations of al Qaeda detainees in Baghdad.
2:24 pm • 12 December 2013
“No, the next Nelson Mandela of the world is rotting in a jail cell tonight, just like Mandela nearly withered for 27 years on Robben Island. Or he is on someone’s terrorist watch list, or she is segregated and searched every time she travels through an international airport. Somewhere, government spies are reading the emails of the next Nelson Mandela. They are tracking his cell phone and listening to his calls, or monitoring her meetings with their undercover cops.”
— Philly.com writer Will Bunch nails it on the head, discussing who could be the next Mandela for America or across the world.
1:46 pm • 10 December 2013 • 5,002 notes
Intel chair warns of 'huge malevolence'
Americans are in more danger of terrorist attacks than ever before, the leaders of congressional intelligence panels said on Sunday.
“The threat level has never been more diverse than it is today,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union.”
“The more efforts [extremists] try, the more perfect you have to be in trying to stop something, and that’s a challenge,” he said.
“There are more groups than ever and there is huge malevolence out there,” Feinstein said. “The fatalities are way up, the numbers [of attacks] are way up.”
New updates in the intelligence field say America is under grave danger of different kinds of terrorist attacks, the U.S. intelligence committee shares. Feinstein also adds, “There is a real displaced aggression within this fundamentalist, jihadist Islamic community. And that is, the West is responsible for all the things that are going wrong.”
And I don’t know about the whole blaming the Islamic community; aren’t there jihads that aren’t Islamist? Rather bad on her part.
5:36 pm • 3 December 2013 • 37 notes
FBI video shows al Qaeda in Kentucky handling heavy weapons
An al Qaeda-linked terrorist, who was resettled in the U.S. as an Iraq war refugee after allegedly killing American soldiers, was caught on camera in Kentucky handling heavy weapons that the FBI said he believed would be sent to insurgents back in Iraq. The 2010 video, obtained exclusively by ABC News, was part of a broader ABC News investigation into the flawed refugee vetting program, which officials said may have let “dozens” of terrorists into the country.
8:48 pm • 21 November 2013
"Dozens" of terrorists may be in the United States as refugees
Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky — who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq — prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists’ fingerprints.
5:36 pm • 21 November 2013 • 1 note
“The United States obsession with Al Qaeda is doing more damage to the nation than the terrorist group itself.”
— David Rohde of Reuters
2:24 pm • 7 November 2013
“Over 12 years, the United States has rounded up an unknown number of innocents and held them alongside terrorists at an island prison, without evidence, charges, or trial, keeping some for years even after deeming them no threat. The U.S. tortured an unknown number of prisoners in an official torture program, then destroyed evidence of it. Americans ran a prison at Abu Ghraib where many others were tortured and abused in the most disgusting ways imaginable. The Iraq War implicates us in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents. Successive presidents set precedents such that American citizens can now be put on a secret kill list on one man’s orders and killed without any due process. A 16-year-old American was killed in a drone strike with no explanation given to this day; scarcely no one in power demanded one. With the blessings of the White House, the New York Police Department has ethnically profiled and spied on innocent Muslim Americans who were deemed suspicious for no reason besides their religion.”
— Conor Friedersdorf
5:29 pm • 5 November 2013 • 29 notes
“It disturbs me, and it should disturb every American, that I told them exactly where bin Laden was in 2003, and they let him live another eight years…”
— Mich. man claims he told US where bin Laden was
2:24 pm • 4 November 2013 • 20 notes
“It was like a week-long Taliban recruiting drive. And we had fun doing it. I love recruiting for the Taliban. It’s called job security”
— The assessment of an American military operation offered by “James Givens,” the pseudonym of an American staff sergeant in Afghanistan, from Neil Shea's “Afghanistan: A Gathering Menace.”
11:12 am • 4 November 2013 • 11 notes