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August 1, 2014
"It is always the case that how free a society is is measured by how it treats its dissidents."

— Glenn Greenwald, speaking LIVE NOW (WATCH HERE) at #YALcon14.  (via hipsterlibertarian)

(via freexcitizen)

Filed under: quote freedom Glenn Greenwald 
August 1, 2014
What Obama DIDN'T say about torture


Obama said today:

We tortured some folks.

We did some things that were contrary to our values.

What does this mean? What is the big picture? Initially, we applaud Obama admitting to this unsavory chapter in U.S. history. The government has denied for years that the U.S. tortures, even though we in the alternative media exposed the torture 10 years ago. And it wasn’t just “some folks” we tortured. The torture was widespread and systemic. And it wasn’t just bad guys who were tortured:

  • U.S. military files show that many Guantánamo prisoners were held on the flimsiest grounds such as wearing a Casio watch, being a prisoner in a Taliban jail, driving cabs in certain geographic regions, or being Al Jazeera reporters

Torturing people is counter-productive.

August 1, 2014
Source: A just cause, not a just war.

Source: A just cause, not a just war.

(Source: lawless523, via oswaldofguadalupe)

August 1, 2014

redonyellow: Sacrifice of Angels

Filed under: gifset Star Trek: DS9 
August 1, 2014
Terrorism: The self-fulfilling prophecy by Joseba Zulaika


In counterterrorism circles, the standard response to questions about the possibility of future attacks is the terse one-liner: “Not if, but when.” This mantra supposedly conveys a realistic approach to the problem, but, as Joseba Zulaika argues in Terrorism, it functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. By distorting reality to fit their own worldview, the architects of the War on Terror prompt the behavior they seek to prevent - a twisted logic that has already played out horrifically in Iraq. In short, Zulaika contends, counterterrorism has become pivotal in promoting terrorism. Exploring the blind spots of counterterrorist doctrine, Zulaika takes readers on a remarkable intellectual journey. He contrasts the psychological insight of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood with The 9/11 Commission Report, plumbs the mindset of terrorists in works by Orianna Fallaci and Jean Genet, maps the continuities between the cold war and the fight against terrorism, and analyzes the case of a Basque terrorist who tried to return to civilian life. Zulaika’s argument is powerful, inventive, and rich with insights and ideas that provide a new and sophisticated perspective on the War on Terror.

August 1, 2014

Israel has instituted a no-man’s land 3 km deep into the Gaza Strip, shrinking the territory by 40%.

Israel has instituted a no-man’s land 3 km deep into the Gaza Strip, shrinking the territory by 40%.

(Source: redphilistine, via badassafghanhippie)

August 1, 2014
U.S. firms dealt another blow by order to Microsoft to surrender overseas emails

stopprism: If U.S. goverment officials really want to promote American business and give the economy a boost, forget the crony-tastic Export-Import Bank; they should just stop making services based here look like convenient extensions of snoopy government agencies. But that’s not the tack they’re following. Instead, Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ordered Microsoft to cough up emails stored in another country, chalking up another win for tech companies based anywhere else. According to CNet’s Charles Cooper: ”A federal judge said Thursday that Microsoft can’t prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from obtaining emails stored in a data center overseas in a case that has raised concern among Internet privacy groups and technology companies. Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska today ordered Microsoft to comply with a December warrant allowing the DOJ to obtain a customer’s email-account data stored in Dublin, Ireland. The U.S. government is seeking the emails in connection with a criminal investigation.” The case isn’t over yet. Preska stayed her order while Microsoft takes it to the next level. The company’s General Counsel Brad Smith commented, “We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the U.S. and around the world.” There’s no doubt the company will continue to fight the government’s effort to extract information from around the world using the company as a proxy - out of survival instinct if for no other reason. Communications companies elsewhere are already using the long reach of the United States government as a marketing point for services located outside of U.S. jurisdiction. After the National Security Agency scandal broke last year, Daniel Castro of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation remarked, “Countries are competing to be the Cayman Islands of data privacy.” And yes, more than a few of these “data havens” are governed by officials every bit as intrusive as ours. International telecom Vodafone recently clarified just how snoopy many governments can be. But the U.S. is the country with the PR problem on the issue, whatever the worldwide reality. Microsoft has a chance of winning this case. Just how the Fourth Amendment applies to data flowing around the globe is a matter that’s still in flux. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the government’s interpretation of search and seizure protections is bogus, and glosses over the inconvenient (for officials) reality that simply copying data from wherever it’s stored is a seizure. By continuing to treat U.S.-based services as wiretaps on the world, American officials hammer civil liberties at home, and hand a huge marketing win to companies overseas.

(via priceofliberty)

August 1, 2014

exposethetpp: Corporations suing nations’ governments.
 For taxpayers’ money. For YOUR money.
 Don’t become an ATM for the likes of Philip Morris, Cargil, Chevron. Stop Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Go here: www.ExposeTheTPP.org Share this. Now.

exposethetppCorporations suing nations’ governments.

For taxpayers’ money. For YOUR money.

Don’t become an ATM for the likes of Philip Morris, Cargil, Chevron.
Stop Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Go here: www.ExposeTheTPP.org
Share this. Now.

Filed under: exposethetpp TPP 
August 1, 2014
"Afghan mujahideen were also trained inside the United States, beginning in 1980 under Brzezinski’s oversight, at various U.S. facilities on the east coast, by Green Berets and U.S. Navy SEALS. “The deadly secrets which trainers of the Afghan holy warriors passed on numbered over sixy. They included the use of sophisticated fuses, timers and explosives, automatic weapons with armor-piercing ammunition, remote-control devices for triggering mines and bombs (later used in the volunteers’ home countries and against the Israelis) and strategic sabotage, demolition, and arson.” The Afghan war unfolded in several phases. It started slowly, and over the first five years the U.S. objective was not to win the war, not to defeat the Soviet Union and force its withdrawal, but simply to bleed the USSR, embarrass it, and win propaganda points. In 1984, however, prodded by Rep. Charlie Wilson and with Casey’s enthusiastic support, CIA funding of the war - and Saudi Arabia’s matching grants - rose rapidly. Funding for the jihad in 1984 totaled $250 million, “as much as all the previous years combined.” And it continued to skyrocket: $470 million in 1986, $630 million in 1987. The United States also worked hard to bring other countries into the war, including China, “From 1981 to 1984, there was about $600 million from Beijing in arms for Afghanistan,” says Freeman. Not only did Casey expand the funding for the war, but he grew more ambitious in his goals. Now seeking victory, he sought to provide more sophisticated weaponry to the mujahideen, including the Stinger ground-to-air missiles that allegedly had a decisive impact on the military dimension of the conflict."

Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 277

[18] John Cooley, Unholy war, 1999, pg 88-89.

[19] Steve Coll, Ghost wars, 2004, pg 102, 151.

[20] Charles Freeman, interview with the author, April 2004.

[21] Some analysts argue that the Soviet Union was already looking for a way out of Afghanistan and planning its withdrawal, under Mikhail Gorbachev, when the Stingers were introduced, and that the missiles themselves had only a marginal impact. The supply of the Stingers did, however, create a big problem for the CIA after the war ended, and the agency scrambled to buy back excess Stingers rather than let them fall into the hands of terrorists around the world.

August 1, 2014
"Muslim governments emptied their prisons and sent those bad boys over there," says a CIA official who spent several years as station chief in Pakistan during the jihad. Not only were they packaged and shipped to Afghanistan, but they received expert training from U.S. Special Forces. "By the end of 1980," wrote Cooley, "U.S. military trainers were sent to Egypt to impart the skills of the U.S. Special Forces to those Egyptians who would, in turn, pass on the training to the Egyptian volunteers flying to the aid of the mujahideen in Afghanistan." The British, for whom Afghanistan was the playground for the Great Game of the nineteenth century and who had long-standing colonial ties to Pakistan, had an extensive history of dealing with the tribes and religious leaders of the Pakistan-Afghanistan area. Gus Avrakotos, a CIA official closely involved with the jihad for years, reported that the British "have guys who have lived over there for twenty years as journalists or authors or tobacco growers, and when the Soviets invaded, MI6 activated these old networks." Added Avrakotos: "The Brits were able to buy things that we couldn’t, because it infringed on muder, assassination and indiscriminate bombings. They could issue guns with silencers. We couldn’t do that because a silencer immediately implied assassination - and heaven forbid car bombs! No way I could even suggest it, but I could say to the Brits, "Fadlallah in Beirut was really effective last week. They had a car bomb that killed 300 people." I gave MI6 stuff in good faith. What they did with it was always their business." Much of this training in assassination, car bombs, and the like found its way to the Arab volunteers who eventually became Al Qaeda’s foot soldiers. Some mujahideen were even trained to organize the low-tech, Afghan version of car bombs. "Under ISI direction, the mujahideen received training and malleable explosives to mount car bomb and even camel bomb attacks in Soviet-occupied cities, usually designed to kill Soviet soldiers and commanders," wrote Steve Coll. "CIA director Casey endorsed these techniques despite the qualms of some CIA career officers." And it was not just Soviet soldiers who were blown up by such devices. In at least one instance, the mujahideen carried out an extension of the battles that raged at Kabul University during the 1960s and 1970s, when a briefcase bomb exploded under a university dining room table. "This is a rough business," said the CIA’s Bill Casey. "If we’re afraid to hit the terrorists because somebody’s going to yell ‘assassination,’ it’ll never stop." Soon, the CIA and ISI were providing stealthlike explosive devices to the mujahideen, including bombs disguised as pens, watches, cigarette lighters, and tape recorders. "Do I want to order bicycle bombs to park in front of an officers’ headquarters?" asked Avrakotos. "Yes. That’s what spreads fear." Among the targets of mujahideen bombs were soft targets such as Kabul cinemas and cultural shows. Although the Afghan mujahideen rebelled at the idea of suicide bombs, Arab volunteers did not: "It was only the Arab volunteers - from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, and other countries, who had been raised in an entirely different culture, spoke their own language, and preached their own interpretations of Islam while fighting far from their homes and families - who later advocated suicide attacks. Afghan jihadists, tightly woven into family, clan, and regional social networks, never embraced suicide tactics in significant numbers."

Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 275-276

[9] Retired CIA official, interview with the author, June 2004.

[10] John Cooley, Unholy wars, 1999.

[11] George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s war, 2003.

[12-17] Steve Coll, Ghost wars, 2004.

August 1, 2014
"The war in Afghanistan was fought, for the most part, by the mujahideen of the fractious coalition backed by Pakistan and made up mostly of guerrillas associated with one of four fundamentalist organizations. “In Afghanistan,” says a former CIA official who ran the covert operation, “there were about 300,000 fighters, all of whom, with the exception of about 15,000 moderates, were Islamists.” The vast majority were Afghans, but some were jihadists drawn to the fighting from other parts of the world, especially from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. These would be the raw material for Osama bin Laden and the fledgling Al Qaeda organization that grew out of the jihad. The so-called Arab Afghans included bin Laden himself, Ayman al-Zawahiri in Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, and tens of thousands of jihadists from the Arab states, Indonesia, the Philippines, Chechnya, and other far-flung corners of the Muslim world. They were the guerrillas who, after the war was over, went home to Algeria, to Egypt, to Lebanon, to Saudi Arabia, and to central Asia to continue the jihad. Many, of course, learned terrorism skills - assassination, sabotage, car bombs - at the hands of the United States and its allies. In January 1980, Brzezinski visited Egypt to mobilize Arab support for the jihad. Within weeks of his visit, Sadat authorized Egypt’s full participation, giving permission for the U.S. Air Force to use Egypt as a base, supplying stockpiles of Egyptian arms to the rebels, and recruiting, training, and arming Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood activists for battle. “Sadat and his government became, for a time, virtual recruiting sergeants and quartermasters to the secret army of zealots being mustered to fight the Soviets in south and central Asia.” U.S. cargo planes took off from Qena and Aswan in Egypt, ferrying supplies to the jihad bases in Pakistan, and, according to John Cooley, “Egypt’s military inventories were being scoured for Soviet-supplied arms to send to the jihad. An old arms factory near Helwan, Egypt, was eventually converted to supply the same kind of weapons.”"

Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 274-275

[6] Former CIA official, interview with the author, March 2004.

[7] John Cooley, Unholy wars, 1999.

[7] John Cooley, Unholy wars, 1999, pg 32.

July 31, 2014

orwellianlegacy: [Above from pages 35 and 36 of the Obama Administration’s “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance.”] According its own definition, the Obama Administration could be considered a terrorist organization:

July 31, 2014
"At the CIA, Martha Kessler was one of the few analysts who consistently paid attention to political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood. In the field, she says, many CIA operatives missed it, because the most militant Islamists were organizing under the radar. “We had a World War II-era system of just plopping our officials down in capital cities, and the Islamist movement wasn’t happening in those cities, it was happening out in the country and in small towns.” In her opinion, it was taking on a decidely anti-American character. She wrote an analysis at the time warning that when governments such as Egypt, Sudan, and Pakistan begin to play ball with Islamists, it would have profound consequences. “I said that when governments in the region started making efforts to co-opt the Islamists, it would change the character of those governments,” she says. “I was of the school that it would be largely anti-Western in tone.” Needless to say, Kessler’s analysis did not dissuade policy makers from the Afghan jihad. The same view prevailed among U.S. government counterterrorisn professionals. “After the Sadat assassination, I was in the counterterrorism center,” says Robert Baer, a former CIA operative. “I came across some documents, some trial transcrips for the assassins of Sadat, and I started asking, who are these people? What’s their agenda? What’s the connection? I started looking for documents on the Muslim Brotherhood.” But, he says, “It just wasn’t in our consciousness to go after these people.” Sadat, who had used the Muslim Brotherhood and the financial resources of its Islamic banking network to strengthen his grip on power after becoming president of Egypt in 1970, was least of all aware of how dangerous the Islamic right might be. Within days of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Sadat enthusiastically joined the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan in sending jihadists to Peshawar, and war. So the jihad in Afghanistan expanded into a full-scale war. And the Reagan team, preoccupied with the Cold War, struck a deal with Iran’s ayatollahs in 1980, winked as Israel armed Iran from 1980 to 1987, gave Khomeini’s regime secret intelligence about the Iranian left, and finally, in the Iran-contra affair, actually sold U.S. arms to Iran in search of mythical Islamist “moderates.”"

Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 273-274

[4] Martha Kessler, interview with the author, April 2004.

[5] Robert Baer, interview with the author, March 2004.

July 31, 2014
"In the wake of the Iranian revolution there was a brief flurry of directives from Washington to CIA stations overseas to provide an evaluation of Iran’s impact. Intelligence analysts at the CIA and the State Department took a look at countries that might be threatened with Khomeini-style revolution, and concluded that the internal threat seemed minimal. As long as existing, pro-U.S. regimes were not at risk, almost no U.S. officials raised alarm about the growing strength of political Islam, its effects within countries plagued by it, or the eventual possibility that radical Islamists might turn against the United States. “At first, there was the assumption that it was going to spread, that it was going to happen in Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, that the monarchies were an anachronism,” says a former CIA station chief in Morocco. “I got to Morocco and found nothing like that. There was a very small Islamist movement.” In the CIA’s field manual for Morocoo, there were eight pages on Islam and politics, he says. “I’d tell my case officers: Know it cold. And when they were talking to an Islamist, I told them to say: ‘I don’t understand this or that.’ And then listen.” The conclusion reached in Morocco, as for other states, was that there was nothing to worry about."

Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 272-273

[3] Retired CIA official, interview with the author, March 2004.

July 31, 2014

mapsontheweb: Armenia throughout history

mapsontheweb: Armenia throughout history

(Source: armenica.org)