Tag Archives: terrorism

The unspoken issue of the election: America’s descent into darkness

Summary:  Perhaps the most valuable information, & the most difficult to obtain, is not that about the world, but about ourselves. Hence these posts seeking “mirrors” in which we can see how we have changed and what we’ve become. This post looks at the results of the war on terror. Not the effects on the terrorists (who seem either unaffected or even stronger) but on our national character. It’s the most important issue never to be mentioned during this campaign.

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
— Aphorism 146 in Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil (1886).

Statue of Liberty in the darkness

 

Assassination of jihadist leaders. Torture by the CIA, added by doctors. Torture in Abu Ghraib prison. A mass campaign of assassination, even including American citizens. Etc, etc; we all know the list. After 14 years of moral decay we have become a New America. But we were warned about the danger of this path.

“The French … The Israelis … The Americans … {these deeds} proving that he who fights terrorists for any period of time is likely to become one himself.”
— Martin van Creveld in The Transformation of War: The Most Radical Reinterpretation of Armed Conflict Since Clausewitz (1991).

We concealed this transformation from ourselves — if not from others — with hypocrisy, as describe in “The Uses of al-Qaeda” by Richard Seymour in the London Review of Books, 13 September 2012.

Alan Krueger’s authoritative What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism (2007) was notable for being unable to define its subject. Krueger admits that it might have been as well to discard the word in favour of the more cumbersome ‘politically motivated violence carried out by sub-state actors with the goal of spreading fear within the population’.

This excludes state violence, narrowing the field to insurgency or subversion of various kinds, but not all insurgent groups that Krueger – or the State Department – calls ‘terrorist’ make it a strategic priority to target civilian populations. Insofar as they do, they don’t necessarily differ in their methods from state actors. In the ‘war on terror’, a cardinal claim of ‘civilised’ states was that, unlike their opponents, they did not target civilians. Suicide attacks cause indiscriminate slaughter and are an indicator of barbarism; surgical strikes are the gentle civilisers of nations. There is little evidence for a distinction of that sort in the prosecution of recent wars.

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Stratfor: The Coming Age of Cyberterrorism

Summary: For five years readers of the FM website have learned the facts and myths of cybersecurity and cyberterrorism. Now CEOs are fired for big security breeches, wild headlines stoke the public’s fears — and Stratfor declares the “coming age of cyberterrorism”. Their analysis, as usual, gives a solid introduction to this important subject.

Stratfor

The Coming Age of Cyberterrorism

By Scott Stewart
Stratfor, 22 October 2015

The Islamic State is trying to hack U.S. power companies, U.S. officials told a gathering of American energy firms Oct. 15 {CNN: “ISIS is attacking the U.S. energy grid (and failing)”}. The story quoted John Riggi, a section chief at the FBI’s cyber division, as saying the Islamic State has, “Strong intent. Thankfully, low capability … But the concern is that they’ll buy that capability.”

The same day the CNNMoney report was published, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of Ardit Ferizi — a citizen of Kosovo and known hacker, apprehended in Malaysia — on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant. The Justice Department charged Ferizi with providing material support to the Islamic State, computer hacking and identity theft, all in conjunction with the theft and release of personally identifiable information belonging to 1,351 U.S. service members and civilian government employees stolen from the servers of an unnamed U.S. retail chain.

According to the Justice Department, Ferizi provided the stolen personal information to the Islamic State’s Junaid Hussain (aka Abu al-Britani) who was subsequently killed in an airstrike in the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria.

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Attacks by Muslims in America start a new phase in our long war

Summary: The recent surge in attacks by Muslims in America mark a new phase in our long war, one long predicted and potentially horrific. We have run wild killing at will in the Middle East. Here are some thoughts about the consequences of this inevitable blowback.

Flames of War Propaganda Video

 

Contents

  1. Blowback.
  2. Escalation.
  3. Muslim violence.
  4. For More Info.
  5. Preparation.

(1)  Blowback

Slowly, a new phase in our long war has begun. While we continue operations in Afghanistan, reenter Iraq, look for ways to get involved in Syria in Ukraine, and expand our involvement in Africa — the blowback I (and many others) predicted has begun with attacks in the “homeland”. On Thursday morning Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez (24) shot four U.S. Marines at a military recruiting center and a Navy training reserve center in Chattanooga, TN. It wasn’t the first, and it won’t be the last.

On 1 June 2009, Carlos Bledsoe killed 23-year-old Pvt. William Long and wounded 18-year-old Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula at an Army recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas. The best-known case is, of course, Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 and wounded 32 at Fort Hood, TX, on 5 November 2009. Since then there have been other attacks by Muslims on members of western military forces.

This year has seen a pick-up in our foe’s activities in America. In April Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud was indicted for planning to attack a (unstated) US military base. Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud planned to attack a base in Texas.  Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed 4 Marines and a Navy sailor at Chattanooga TN. Glen Greenwald describes other attacks

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Prepare for terror on the 4th of July!

Summary: Another holiday, another rumor of a terrorist attack. Here we examine today’s alarm, show why it’s probably baseless, and discuss the purpose these fear attacks serve.  It’s a fit subject for the 4th of July weekend, a time for us to compare the Founders’ hopes vs. what we’ve become.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”
— Attributed to Aristotle.

No Fear

The partnership of al Qaeda and America’s Deep State has reshaped our society in ways we don’t fully understand and cannot clearly see — but has made us more fearful, perhaps cowardly. Since 9/11 we have had these holiday warnings (fortunately they’re getting less frequent, and getting less attention).

Meteorologist Anthony Watts runs Watts up with That, one of the largest climate websites (by audience) in the world. Today he posted “About the Fourth of July and ISIS – from a friend who is a police officer, and a ‘spook’“, opening with this from Jeff Greeson’s Facebook page (I can’t find it):

To everyone that reads my wall, ESPECIALLY in big cities: The freakout over the 4th of July is real. I get intelligence that you don’t get, and the FBI is serious this time. Go out and be an American, but keep a charged cellphone with you, and don’t let fear of being called a racist stop you from calling [in] something in that is suspicious. And for the sake of all that’s holy, if something makes your Spidey sense tingle, GET YOUR FAMILY AWAY FROM IT.

He points to this by pseudonymous “Nate Hale”, allegedly a “retired military intelligence officer” who posted a scary note at In From the Cold

Two days ago, former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morrell said there was “nothing routine” about warnings of possible ISIS attacks in the CONUS during the 4th of July weekend. At the time, we noted it was quite unusual for a former intelligence official to be so blunt in his assessment.  Mr. Morrell (who made the observation on CBS This Morning) went on to say that he “wouldn’t be surprised if we’re sitting her a week from today talking about an ISIS attack in the United States over the [July 4th] weekend.”

Now, we’re beginning to see why Morrell offered such a dire prediction.  Shepard Smith of Fox News reported last night the FBI is establishing special command centers in 56 cities around the country, to prepare for possible terrorist attacks during the holiday period.

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Should we panic at the many warnings about domestic terrorism?

Summary:  Since 9/11 the security services have repeatedly warned about domestic terrorists of the Left and Right. The  important conclusion from these — and the numbers — is that domestic terrorism is probably a relatively small problem, one that our security agencies might give too much attention. This diverts attention and burns resources that could go to bigger and more likely risks.  (2nd of 2 posts today.}

Keep calm and carry on

Contents

  1. 2007: Islamic terrorist attacks in the next 3 years!
  2. 2009: right-wing terrorist attacks in the next few years!
  3. What do state and local police think?
  4. Again warning about domestic terrorism.
  5. Rise of the Lone Wolf Terrorist!
  6. Conclusions.
  7. For More Information.

(1)  Islamic terrorist attacks coming to the Homeland!

The July 2007 a summary was released of an National Intelligence Estimate about “The Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland“.  This alarming forecast proved quite wrong, but that has not slowed the gravy train to the security services. Excerpt:

We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next
three years. The main threat comes from Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially al-
Qa’ida, driven by their undiminished intent to attack the Homeland and a continued effort by
these terrorist groups to adapt and improve their capabilities.

… We are concerned, however, that this level of international cooperation may wane as
9/11 becomes a more distant memory and perceptions of the threat diverge. … As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment.

(2) Rightwing extremists might attack the Homeland!

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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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