Tag Archives: terrorism

Our national security leaders are afraid because we’re not.

Summary: Our national security leaders have declared code red about terrorism. The data shows that their fears are justified. Here we see the one chart that chills their hearts, and rightly so.

Islam = terror

Today’s reporting from Oz by the Washington Post: “In campaign against terrorism, U.S. enters period of pessimism and gloom“.

The assessments reflect a pessimism that has descended on the U.S. counterterrorism community over the past year amid a series of discouraging developments. Among them are the growth of the Islamic State, the ongoing influx of foreign fighters into Syria, the collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Yemen and the downward spiral of Libya’s security situation. The latest complication came Saturday, when the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria carried out a series of suicide bombings and reportedly declared its allegiance to the Islamic State.

Unlike the waves of anxiety that accompanied the emergence of new terrorist plots over the past decade, the latest shift in mood seems more deep-seated. U.S. officials depict a bewildering landscape in which al-Qaeda and the brand of Islamist militancy it inspired have not only survived 14 years of intense counterterrorism operations but have also spread.

This is quite mad. First, the “Islamic militancy” has spread because of our “14 years of intense counterterrorism operations”, not despite it. We enter as infidel foreigners, knock down secular regimes, creating chaos in which Islamic fundamentalists thrive. Afghanistan (early 1980s), Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and now Syria were all relatively secular-based regimes. Only the most powerful mental blinders prevent Americans from seeing this.

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What’s in a terrorist’s name? A step to understanding the Islamic State.

Summary: The fires expand over the Middle East, driven by centuries of relative decline and corrupt rule, stoked by our interventions. We struggle to understand this phenomenon, cutting through the lies and misinformation fed us. Today guest author Hal Kempfer takes us to the logical starting point: what to call this movement.

“Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever has not kindness has not faith.”
— Attributed to Mohammad.

Islamic sky

What’s in a terrorist name? Perhaps some meaning.

By Hal Kempfer (Lt. Colonel, USMC, retired)

There is an active debate on terminology regarding the type of terrorists we see involving or inspired by groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. (aka the Islamic State of Iraq & Greater Syria, or ISIL, where they refer to the “Levant” vice “Greater Syria”). ISIS is a former Al Qaeda (AQ) affiliate that has almost eclipsed AQ.

The White House does not like the term “Radical Islam” in describing this threat. However, it is descriptive since it implies from whence their beliefs came. However, it also misses what makes them significantly different from mainstream believers of the Islamic faith.

When Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, most of them school kids, we didn’t call that “Radical Christianity,” nor did we do so in describing the events near Waco, Texas in 1993 or when Larry McQuilliams attacked the Mexican Consulate, Police Headquarters and federal courthouse in Austin, Texas, around Thanksgiving of last year. Further, when Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. attacked the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Assisted Living Facility in Overland Park, Kansas, in April of 2014, we didn’t call it “Radical Paganism,” even though his motivational beliefs were the same as the Nazi pagan cult of WWII.

So there does seem to be a semantic inconsistency.

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France volunteers itself as a front line in the clash of civilizations.

Summary: France has become a front, perhaps even ground zero, in the clash of civilizations. For a brilliant analysis see “France Under the Influence” by Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch, 20 January 2015. A few excerpts follow, with comments expanding on them. I recommend reading her article in full. {2nd of 2 posts today}

Basis for a successful Grand Strategy

Basis for a successful Grand Strategy.

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Contents

  1. Context for the conflict
  2. History strikes back
  3. A banquet of consequences
  4. We fight for Human Rights!
  5. About the author
  6. For More Information

Excerpts and commentary on “France Under the Influence
by Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch, 20 January 2015.

(1) Context for the conflict

The Charlie Hebdo terrorist assassinations struck France at a moment when it has an unpopular government and a weak President, when factories are closing and jobs are being lost, when French economic policy is determined by Germany via the European Union and its foreign policy is determined by the United States via NATO. … the country feels buffeted by winds of conflict it cannot resist.

European governments face domestic unrest from the ugly combination of rising inequality and slow growth — against the backdrop of the souring of the great post-WWII unification project. People’s fear about a challenge from Islam provides them with both an opportunity to distract the public and a difficult issue to manage. Islam provides a tangible outlet for fears about existential threats to their culture as it gets hammered on one side by social changes from modernity, and on the other by immigrants bringing foreign ways.  America too faces similar social tensions.

(2) History strikes back

{T}he so-called “Islamic State”, as well as “al Qaeda in Yemen” and associated fanatic Islamic groups are working hard to recruit fighters out of the Muslim communities in France and other European countries. Some 1,400 jihadists have traveled to Syria from France to join the Holy War. They are lured by the heroic prospect of helping to “build the Caliphate”, a sort of Israel for Muslims, a holy land restored.

Israel was the West’s great nation-building project of the 2oth century, an opportunity to philanthropically ship away a disliked minority by providing legitimacy and support to the Zionist terrorists and insurgents in Palestine. The kibbutz were the dream. The result: a theocratic imperialist State slowly absorbing Jerusalem and the West Bank, inflicting slow genocide on Gaza.

Now comes the blowback. Successful models get copied. The Islamic State has adapted the formula, amping it up for the 21st century (perhaps as Hitler amped up a mad version of Nietzsche’s thought).

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We’re goading our enemies to attack America. Eventually we’ll succeed, and they will.

Summary: Our national security agencies have put us on course for a dark future, albeit one that greatly benefits them. We feel exceptional in our ability to kill people in far-away lands, yet fear the inevitable reprisals on the “Homeland”. Like similarly mad events a century ago in Europe, afterwards nobody will recall why we thought this was rational. Today let’s look at some evidence, trying to do so with the eyes of a future generation.

At almost the same time {Spring 1965} Phil Geyelin, a White House correspondent who knew Southeast Asia well, found himself troubled by the same kind of doubts about the direction of American policy and turned to William Bundy {Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs}. Did we really know where we were headed? he asked. Did we really know what we would do if the bombing failed, if he other side decided to match our escalation with its own?

Bundy reassured him; he said he had never been so confident about any undertaking before. Vietnam was no Bay of Pigs, he emphasized; he had never seen anything so thoroughly staffed, so well planned. It reeked of expertise and professionalism, it all gave one a great sense of confidence.

— From The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam (1972).

New CIA Logo

New CIA Logo.

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More than a decade of studies in Pakistan by organizations such as Pew Research and the New American Foundation show that our drone assassins make people distrust, dislike, and often hate us. Scores of leaked intelligence agency documents and statements by experts report that they’re among the most effective recruitment tools of jihadist insurgents.

Even more obviously, we’ve fought jihadists for 13 years using such tools — spec ops kidnapping and executions, invasion and occupation of their lands, support for their corrupt and tyrannical rulers, and bombings bombings bombings. The result: a region set on fire, with the fire spreading to new lands (a welcome opportunity for DoD to expand Africom).

We have run this course before, obvious to anyone who has read The Pentagon Papers (or its excellent derivative The Best and the Brightest). Mindlessly brutal strategies, endlessly repeated and even expanded despite their failure, until catastrophic final defeat. This time we target a region and a major religion, not just the backwater of North Vietnam. We are exceptional in our FAILure to learn and drive to self-destruction.

Unlike during the Vietnam War, today we have heroes attempting to warn us: whistleblowers and leakers. Like so many heroes in history, they’re unappreciated by us (as bearers of bad news) and attacked by the government (especially by Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize-wearing leader of the “most transparent administration ever“). So far we have ignored their warnings.

What comes next? How long can we send flying robots to kill, with the inevitable “collateral damage” — blowing women and children into red mist — before people get angry enough to come over here to administer tit-for-tat? How many headlines like today’s: “U.S. airstrike in Syria may have killed 50 civilians“? Do we see this retaliation in our future, perhaps explaining our high level of fear?

We probably would respond intemperately to such an attack, perhaps with destruction of a Middle Eastern city — mass murder of people who had as little role in the attack on us as did the people in Iraq and Afghanistan on 9/11. Then we would have fulfilled bin Laden’s dream, starting a full-scale clash of civilizations between us and them. That’s a future our national security agencies lead us to.

The CIA fast-tracks us to disaster.

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As we start a new war, have we learned from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Summary: As we start a new war, will we remember the lessons of our last wars? Most importantly, will we continue to run like hamsters on the wheel? We kill our foes, and nearby citizens. As infidel foreign invaders, the locals consider our actions illegitimate. The insurgents gain support and members. So we ratchet up our effort.  Oddly, we’ve known this for over a decade but repeat our actions.

Albert Einstein

He’s sad about our inability to learn from experience

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“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”

— A warming from Albert Einstein.

By Alcoholics Anonymous, people who know about dysfunctionality.

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(1)  Quotes from those who learned from our wars

These are but a few of the many warnings about our mad tactics. I suspect there are many more stamped SECRET in DoD’s files.

John Kerry, 2 August 2004. This reads differently a decade later, since the Obama administration has continued most of these policies:

“The policies of this administration, I believe and others believe very deeply, have resulted in an increase of animosity and anger focused on the United States of America. The people who are training terror are using our actions as a means of recruitment.”

Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States”, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 2006-02R), April 2006

We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere. The Iraq conflict has become the “cause celebre” for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.

… The jihadists replay images of Muslim civilians under attack by the West to justify their actions to Muslim audiences.

Guantanamo’s Shadow“, The Atlantic, 1 October 2007 — “The Atlantic recently asked a group of foreign policy authorities about the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba”

“The Guantanamo system has hurt the U.S. and our fight against Al Qaeda. We have abandoned the moral high ground and, through our actions, have become one of the principle recruiting agents for Islamic extremism.”

“Our strongest asset internationally was our reputation and credibility on human rights. We have squandered that.”

“Hurt, on balance, because it has severely damaged our moral case in the world, which we have to have in order to rally support for combating Al Qaeda.”

“Both in the obvious public relations way, worldwide, and quite directly, in showing Al Qaeda that we can very easily and quickly be seduced into wild overreactions. That is just what Osama Bin Laden hoped. Since it worked so well, he has an incentive to repeat.”

“It has done enormous damage to our reputation and soft power.”

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Israel learned from its patron the art of righteous theft and killing

Summary:  Just as the West’s endemic antisemitism has infected other nations in the Middle East (or exacerbated it), Israel acts out the West’s standard imperialist scripts on the Palestinians. Take the natives’ land, oppress them, and their violent reaction justifies repeating the cycle. In Israel today, as in the many previous times in Western history, it’s done with righteousness. and indiscriminate violence.

The trade of Bible for Land

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The Most Dangerous Moment in Gaza“, Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, 1 August 2014 — “What happens if this conflict comes off the rails?” Excerpt:

There is near-unanimity in Israel already that Hamas represents an unbearable threat. Add in the perfidy of a raid conducted after a ceasefire went into effect and near-unanimity becomes total unanimity. The most interesting article I’ve read in the past 24 hours is an interview with the Israeli novelist Amos Oz, the father of his country’s peace-and-compromise movement, who opened the interview with Deutsche Welle in this manner:

Amoz Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusual way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners. May I do that?

Deutsche Welle: Go ahead!

Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?

Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

With these two questions I pass the interview to you.

The point is, if Amos Oz, a severe critic of his country’s policies toward the Palestinians, sounds no different on the subject of the Hamas threat than the right-most ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet, then there will be a national consensus that it is not enough to manage the Hamas rocket-and-tunnel threat, but that it must be eliminated if at all possible.

This is the typical madness of imperialism. Let’s look at from different perspectives.

First, consider Oz’s question. If I shoot my neighbor it is simple self-defense. But that’s not an analogy with Gaza, which require that I use heavy weapons to destroy his entire apartment building — or the entire city block. By Oz’s analogy, I’d be guilty of mass murder. How odd that neither Oz or Goldberg see this.

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Well-funded organizations inciting us to hate & fear, again. How gullible are we?

Summary: Today we examine yet another example of agitprop by well-funded organizations inciting hatred of Muslims in America.  Will we fall for this, again? A divided and fearful people are an easily led flock, a gift to their rulers. Please push back against this propaganda, and those that believe it. Being sheep is a choice.

Islam = terror

” διαίρει καὶ βασίλευ”
— Greek for “divide and rule”

“I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who….”
— Speeches given by Senator McCarthy on 9 February 1950. He never released the names.

“Mr. President, if that’s what you want there is only one way to get it.  That is to make a personal appearance before Congress and scare the hell out of the country.”

— Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s advice to Truman about starting the Cold War.  On 12 March 1947 Truman did so.  From Put yourself in Marshall’s place, James P. Warburg (1948); in 1941 Warburg helped develop our wartime propaganda programs.

(1)  A case study of our Failure to Learn

A cardinal sign of Failure to Learn is repeatedly falling for the same con. It’s a common weakness. Grifters exchange sucker lists, because falling for a con makes one a good prospect for another con.

How sad is for an entire nation to do this?  The consequences of the 1950’s red baiting were horrific for America (including damage to the State Department, which unbalanced our national security establishment, contributing to the Vietnam War).  How stupid must we be to fall again for fear-mongering to divide and control us?

On the other hand, our leaders have seen and exploited this weakness. As have right-wing agitators. This shows that pockets of insight and political skill remain in America.

Today’s example of our folly, a story that’s been ricocheting all year around right-wing circles (including communities of military, security, and intelligence personnel): “Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrates Obama Administration“, Investors.com (blog of Investors Business Daily), 5 December 2013

The radical Muslim Brotherhood is often dismissed in the media as a distant threat. In fact, this sworn U.S. enemy isn’t just overseas. It’s inside the gates of the White House.

At least six American Islamist activists who work closely with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism {IPT} and the Center for Security Policy {CSP}  in Washington.

… Also know that, despite media dismissals of the Brotherhood as a “benign” group, it is in fact the parent group of al-Qaida and played a role in the 9/11 plot. The hijackers got support from several Muslim Brotherhood mosques across the country and were handled by a key Brotherhood leader in America — the CIA-droned cleric Anwar Awlaki, now thought to be the U.S. field commander of the operation.

Let’s start with Mohamed Elibiary, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council who has met with national security staff inside the White House. He raises perhaps the most alarms.

Most of this is exaggerated or questionable, at best. Let’s examine the key points.

(a)  The flimsy basis of the story

This is classic agitprop. A flimsy story in a third world magazine. Repeated by a US advocacy group. Others cite their report, ignoring the dubious source. See “Report: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrated Obama Admin“,  Elad Benari and Arutz Sheva, Investigative Project on Terrorism, 9 January 2013 — Excerpt:

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