Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism’

NYT: We were wrong to support a police state

Posted by Charles II on November 20, 2015

New York Times Editorial Board

Mass Surveillance Isn’t the Answer to Fighting Terrorism

By THE EDITORIAL BOARDNOV. 17, 2015

It’s a wretched yet predictable ritual after each new terrorist attack: Certain politicians and government officials waste no time exploiting the tragedy for their own ends. The remarks on Monday by John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, took that to a new and disgraceful low.

In June, President Obama signed the USA Freedom Act, which ends bulk collection of domestic phone data by the government (but not the collection of other data, like emails and the content of Americans’ international phone calls) and requires the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to make its most significant rulings available to the public.

These reforms are only a modest improvement on the Patriot Act, but the intelligence community saw them as a grave impediment to antiterror efforts. In his comments Monday, Mr. Brennan called the attacks in Paris a “wake-up call,” and claimed that recent “policy and legal” actions “make our ability collectively, internationally, to find these terrorists much more challenging.”

It is hard to believe anything Mr. Brennan says. Last year, he bluntly denied that the C.I.A. had illegally hacked into the computers of Senate staff members conducting an investigation into the agency’s detention and torture programs when, in fact, it did. In 2011, when he was President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, he claimed that American drone strikes had not killed any civilians, despite clear evidence that they had. And his boss, James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has admitted lying to the Senate on the N.S.A.’s bulk collection of data. Even putting this lack of credibility aside, it’s not clear what extra powers Mr. Brennan is seeking.

In fact, indiscriminate bulk data sweeps have not been useful.

The intelligence agencies’ inability to tell the truth about surveillance practices is just one part of the problem. The bigger issue is their willingness to circumvent the laws, however they are written. The Snowden revelations laid bare how easy it is to abuse national-security powers, which are vaguely defined and generally exercised in secret.

In truth, intelligence authorities are still able to do most of what they did before — only now with a little more oversight by the courts and the public. There is no dispute that they and law enforcement agencies should have the necessary powers to detect and stop attacks before they happen. But that does not mean unquestioning acceptance of ineffective and very likely unconstitutional tactics that reduce civil liberties without making the public safer.

A version of this editorial appears in print on November 18, 2015, on page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: Mass Surveillance Isn’t the Answer.

Maybe this is the beginning of the NYT becoming a newspaper, rather than an organ of government.

Posted in NSA, NSA eavesdropping, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Comments Off on NYT: We were wrong to support a police state

Anyone Remember Bandar Bush’s Threat Against Russia And Sochi?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 30, 2013

In the wake of two major terror attacks in two days in Volgograd, not all that far from the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, does anyone remember this not-so-veiled threat made to Vladimir Putin by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, back in August?

Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values ​​and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. … As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”

In other words, Bandar told Putin “do what I tell you or there will be Islamic-inspired terror attacks on your precious Sochi Games”.

Putin responded thus:

Putin thanked King Abdullah for his greetings and Bandar for his exposition, but then he said to Bandar, “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism that you mentioned. We are interested in developing friendly relations according to clear and strong principles.”

Marcy Wheeler certainly remembers all of this:

Admittedly, this version of the threat was Putin’s version of it, and admittedly Putin has his own history of allowing attacks to happen.

But Bandar has made such threats before, with more reliable countries. And Bandar’s surrogates have been issuing implicit threats since his July “warning.”

By the way, nobody in Iran, the country that Bandar really wants us to hate, has made similar threats against Russian or Western targets.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The way we do business: genocidal African leader is a CIA/DIA asset

Posted by Charles II on January 22, 2012

Bryan Bender, Boston Globe:

When Charles G. Taylor tied bed sheets together to escape from a second-floor window at the Plymouth House of Correction on Sept. 15, 1985, he was more than a fugitive trying to avoid extradition. He was a sought-after source for American intelligence.

After a quarter-century of silence, the US government has confirmed what has long been rumored: Taylor, who would become president of Liberia and the first African leader tried for war crimes, worked with US spy agencies during his rise as one of the world’s most notorious dictators.

Former intelligence officials, who agreed to discuss the covert ties only on the condition of anonymity, and specialists including Farah believe Taylor probably was considered useful for gathering intelligence about the activities of Moammar Khadafy.

Bryan Bender, Boston Globe:

Breaking two and a half decades of silence, former Liberian president and accused war criminal Charles G. Taylor said today that his infamous prison break from the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in 1985 was aided by the US government…

In the second day of his testimony in his war crimes trial that could settle the long-standing mystery, Taylor said that on the night of Sept. 15, 1985, his maximum-security prison cell was unlocked by a guard and he was escorted to the minimum-security part of the facility.

According to news reports from The Hague, he said he then escaped by tying sheets together and climbing out a window and over a prison fence where he said a car with two men he assumed were agents of the US government drove him to New York, where his wife was waiting with money to get him out of the country.

Robtel Neajai Pailey, AllAfrica:

The bombshell news that he was indeed a CIA informant in the early years of his rise to notoriety calls into question America’s complicity in Taylor’s destruction of Liberia.

America’s facilitation of Taylor’s escape from a maximum security prison in Boston in 1985 – while he was facing extradition to Liberia for allegedly stealing US$1 million from the General Services Agency, which he headed during President Samuel Kanyon Doe’s regime – was always rumored but never corroborated. …

The Taylor-CIA connection has re-inscribed for Liberians an age-old dilemma, what to do with our so-called historical relationship with the United States, which has been fraught with betrayal after betrayal. Liberians who have been commenting on various notice boards are justifiably angry, upset and disappointed, but not surprised.

It’s no wonder that the U.S. didn’t intervene in the Liberian civil war, though Liberians begged and pleaded for its “father/mother” to stop us from killing each other. One U.S. diplomat at the time even said that “Liberia is of no strategic interest to the United States.” …

This should send a strong signal to Liberians and Liberia once and for all that America cannot be trusted. From Noriega, to Osama, to Saddam, to Samuel Doe, authoritarian leaders who end up in the U.S.’s good graces are never there for long.

Taylor presided over genocide and looting that garnered him hundreds of millions or billions of dollars while costing the lives of 250,000 human beings, including many child soldiers.

1985 would be Reagan. But the “intelligence community” that facilitated Taylor’s release is eternal and non-partisan. The same unelected government which released a man who had robbed the American people of a million dollars so that he could prey on descendants of Americans who chose to return to the country of their ethnic origin very likely participated in the kidnapping of the lawfully elected president of Honduras–indeed, probably presided over a host of criminal actions performed in the name of national security, but ending in innocent blood, public dishonor and the world’s distrust of us.

Apparently it’s just the way we do business.

Posted in Africa, international, Osama bin Laden, Ronald Reagan, totalitarianism | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Mossad, CIA, Jundallah: Hiding Behind Each Other To Commit Terrorism?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 14, 2012

Emptywheel directs our attention to this Foreign Policy article by Mark Perry:

According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation.

The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah — a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.

Now, while US operatives are barred from dealing with Jundallah, Mossad operatives are not — a fact that Perry emphasizes.

But Emptywheel, sharp thinker that she is, senses a few odd things about this story:

Israelis and Americans have long hidden behind each other when working with Iranians, going back at least to the Iran-Contra ops that Dick Cheney had a fondness for. Hiding behind Israelis lets American officials pretend we’re not doing the taboo things we’re doing. Hiding behind Americans lets Iranian partners working with Israelis pretend they aren’t working with the Zionist enemy. That false flag business works in many different directions, after all.

Mind you, whatever the other purposes of this “false flag” story, its publication at this point in time just stripped Jundallah partners of the ability to deny they’re working with Israel, with all the probably dangerous consequences that will have.

As she further explains in her comments section, she wonders if it’s the FoPo article itself that’s a false flag:

I should probably be more explicit about what I think is going on here.

1) I believe we, the Iranians, and Jundallah’s immediate neighborhood are the targets of a current false flag op. The intent of that op is BOTH to foster the same story that State is telling implausibly now–that we haven’t had anything to do with the assassinations (though I think we DIDN’T with this very last one).

2) Such a false flag would create the story that ops the US WAS involved in were run entirely by Israel. (While I don’t doubt whatever involvement Israel has had–maybe training, which they’re good at–they maintained a convenient fiction they were Americans, but that’s not really a false flag.)

3) Such a story would not only give us plausible deniability, allow Iranian partners to continue to talk to us, but also would probably get some Jundallah members killed for cooperating with the Zionist enemy. That would make it a lot harder for Israel and its American partners in warmongering to kill more Iranians, bc Jundallah members would pay a price for cooperating in such things.

It’s all very neat. A nice op, for whoever pulled it off.

[…]

@Jim White: To be clear, I think the false flag op is this article (though I’m agnostic about whether or not Perry knows that or not). The earlier stuff–whatever story the Americans and Israelis decided on to explain away their partnership with Jundallah (which I agree was probably heavily JSOC), yes that was and is deception.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bin Laden’s Death Strengthens Calls for Afghan Pullout

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 2, 2011

Even before yesterday’s raid, Jim Himes had already said he was “done” with backing further fighting in Afghanistan. If a corporatist Goldman Sachs exec turned congresscritter like Himes, a guy who’s not known for sticking his neck out, was already turning against the Afghanistan war even before OBL’s death (which as it turned out occurred in Pakistan where OBL had been living safely since 2005), then it’s not hard to imagine that more would soon join him in calling for a pullout.

And sure enough, that’s what’s happening. David Dayen at FDL quotes both Barney Frank and Carl Levin as calling for a pullout — and Levin’s the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Granted, the raid did not succeed in truly bringing Osama bin Laden to justice in that he was not captured alive to be brought to trial. However, this was likely impossible as, in addition to being adamant on not being taken alive, he was both too well protected by the Pakistanis, and possessed of too much knowledge, especially about his Pakistani hosts, for them to let him live. And the raid did demonstrate, as did then-President Clinton’s successful actions against the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, that full-scale military actions are unnecessary to effectively fight terrorism. (In fact, the invasion of Iraq was exactly what Osama bin Laden had hoped for in terms of a US response to 9/11.)

Might be nice to call your congresscritter and push for this as a way to lower expenses, eh? And tell them to raise the debt ceiling while they’re at it?

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »