Posts tagged war on terror
By Eric Blair
Two disturbing developments have occurred in the last couple of days that have gone relatively unnoticed compared to the recent IRS, AP, and Benghazi scandals.
First, the senate is debating an expansion of the already broad powers of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) so the U.S. can essentially engage any area in the world in the war on terror, including America. Which brings us to the second development: the Pentagon has recently granted itself police powers on American soil.
Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan told Congress yesterday that the AUMF authorized the US military to operate on a worldwide battlefield from Boston to Pakistan. Sheehan emphasized that the Administration is authorized to put boots on the ground wherever the enemy chooses to base themselves, essentially ignoring the declaration of war clause in the US Constitution.
Senator Angus King said this interpretation of the AUMF is a “nullity” to the Constitution because it ignores Congress’ role to declare war. King called it the “most astoundingly disturbing hearing” he’s been to in the Senate.
Even ultra-hawk John McCain agreed that the AUMF has gone way beyond its authority.
“This authority … has grown way out of proportion and is no longer applicable to the conditions that prevailed, that motivated the United States Congress to pass the authorization for the use of military force that we did in 2001,” McCain said.
Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent piece describing how this hearing reveals the not-so-secret plan to make the war on terror a permanent fixture in Western society.
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.
A self-perpetuating permanent war against a shadowy undefinable enemy appears to be the future of American foreign policy. How convenient for the war machine and tyrants who claim surveillance is safety.
But perhaps most disturbing of all of this is the military’s authority to police American streets as if it was in civil war. For all those still in denial that America is a militarized police state, this should be the ultimate cure to your delusion.
Jeff Morey of AlterNet writes:
By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule: “Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
A law from 1878 called the Posse Comitatus Act was put in place to prevent the Department of Defense from interfering with local law enforcement. But now, the DoD claims they’ve had this authority for over 100 years.
Julia Davis, DHS whistleblower, speaks out on how DHS declared her a “Domestic Terrorist” then dispatched a Blackhawk Helicopter SWAT raid on her home because — She was doing her job protecting the border.
After 60 MINUTES interviewed former DHS Officer Julia Davis – they never aired it… effectively blocking the truth from the American people… because it would destroy the “War on Terror” facade and expose how DHS is brutally abusing their authority.
America Sets Its Sights On Controlling African Resources … And Reducing Chinese Influence
The U.S. is sending troops to 35 African nations under the guise of fighting Al Qaeda and related terrorists.
Democracy Now notes:
U.S. Army teams will be deploying to as many as 35 African countries early next year for training programs and other operations as part of an increased Pentagon role in Africa. The move would see small teams of U.S. troops dispatched to countries with groups allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, such as Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. The teams are from a U.S. brigade that has the capability to use drones for military operations in Africa if granted permission. The deployment could also potentially lay the groundwork for future U.S. military intervention in Africa.
[A special American brigade] will be able to take part in nearly 100 separate training and military exercises next year, in nearly three dozen African countries
Glenn Ford writes:
The 2nd Brigade is scheduled to hold more than 100 military exercises in 35 countries, most of which have no al-Qaida presence. So, although there is no doubt that the U.S. will be deeply involved in the impending military operation in Mali, the 2nd Brigade’s deployment is a much larger assignment, aimed at making all of Africa a theater of U.S. military operations. The situation in Mali is simply a convenient, after-the-fact rationale for a long-planned expansion of the U.S. military footprint in Africa.
Timothy Alexander Guzman argues:
AFRICOM’s [the U.S. military's Africa command] goal is to eliminate China and other countries influence in the region. Africa’s natural resources is another important element to consider because it includes oil, diamonds, copper, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, bauxite, silver, petroleum, certain woods and tropical fruits.
In a must-watch interview, Dan Collins of the China Money Report agrees that the purpose of the deployment is to challenge China’s rising prominence in Africa:
And the U.S. is not shy about backing our “mortal enemies” to topple those standing between us and resources we pine for.
The unmanned drones that have become a hallmark of the Obama administration’s foreign policy wreak havoc across the world every day as part of the broadening war on terror, but you don’t have to be an insurgent or soldier to have a front-row seat.
The US military relies on stealthy, remote controlled Reaper and Predator drones — unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVS — to take out insurgents and suspected terrorists overseas without ever putting boots on the ground. But while the transmissions sent from the empty cockpits to control centers around the globe broadcast each and every move of America’s insanely expensive and extraordinary technology, that doesn’t mean the data is streamed solely to Uncle Sam.
In 2008, the US discovered that Shi’ite militants in Iraq had accessed the video feed sent from those stealth drones using only a $26 piece of software, then sent the footage to laptops that eventually landed in the hands of American intelligence. Wired.com’s Danger Room reports that the problem stemmed from something that warranted a relatively easy solution: retrofitting those aircraft with encryption devices that ensured only authorized eyes could see the stream. Four years down the road, however, a source involved in those upgrades tells the website that it’s still easy to hijack transmissions with hardly any trouble.
Only “30 to 50 percent” of the United States’ Predator and Reaper drones are using fully encrypted transmissions, a source familiar with the retrofitting effort tells Danger Room, adding that the United States’ missile-firing fleet of secret spy ships aren’t likely to be fully fixed until 2014, at which point US President Barack Obama says we will already be ending the war in Afghanistan.
U.S. Army calls social network use and ‘frustration with mainstream ideologies’ indicators of violent extremism0
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 17:13 CDT
When the US Army asked the Asymmetric Warfare Group for a guide to identifying the radicalization of troops into violent extremists, some items – like asking about WMDS – were expected to make the list. But how about involvement in social networks?
Documents obtained by Wired‘s Danger Room reveal that the AWG, a US military unit created during the War on Terror to provide additional means of support to American troops, may have had a rather peculiar notion about what breeds extremism among US troops. According to presentations that Danger Room has come to possess, frustration with mainstream ideologies and displaying a concentrated rhetoric among other recruits may be warning sides of radicalization, as well as factors such as being “highly emotional,” involved in “social networks” or being a “youth” also indicating a great risk for expediting the process into identifying as a violent extremist.
The materials are dated from 2011, and that August’s tactical reference tear-sheet on “Radicalization into Violent Extremism: a guide for military leaders,” suggest that the Army division assigned to identifying trends to be weary of on the battlefields and barracks may make just any average American – especially a young one, apparently – on track to become an unpredictable insurgent.
Wired’s Spencer Ackerman says that that AWG assessment in question came to be shortly after Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a rampage at Fort Hood in 2009, but notes that the indicators used to identify any copy-cat attacks on US soil are anything but explicit.
While first running for the White House, Barack Obama campaigned on ending America’s war. Not it seems though that the focus now shifting away from the war on terror and toward the war on drugs. And that war is expanding from Latin America to Africa, two locales emerging as powerful hubs for drug cartels. RT’s Liz Wahl gives insight on what’s going on there.
President Barack Obama is shredding the U.S. Constitution faster than any of the 42 men who preceded him in office, according to Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, author of the brand new “It is Dangerous to be Right when the Government is Wrong.”
It is so bad he should be impeached over the murder of American terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki – and if Congress won’t take that action, he should be indicted once he is out of office.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Napolitano said it doesn’t matter that Awlaki was probably guilty – the fact is he was a U.S. citizen and the Constitution outlaws his killing without due process.
“The president in the past couple of weeks became judge, jury and executioner for a very hated and probably guilty individual. But the Constitution says no person shall be denied life, liberty or property –much less an American which this guy was – without due process of law.”
“The killing of an American is unforgiveable under the Constitution and it is an impeachable offence and the president, if not being impeached, should be indicted for it after he leaves office.”
Napolitano hosts the libertarian show Freedom Watch on the Fox Business Channel. His sixth book on human freedom, “It is Dangerous to be Right when the Government is Wrong,” was released on Tuesday. Its title comes from a quotation attributed to 18th Century French civil libertarian Voltaire.
In the interview, the judge admitted that Obama is not the first president to undermine the Constitution. “I have never hesitated to attack the administration of George W. Bush,” he said. “In fact I have argued in this book and elsewhere that the Patriot Act is the most abominable Congressional assault on personal freedom since the Alien and Sedition Acts which were enacted in the late 1700s.
“The Obama administration, notwithstanding the president’s lofty words as a candidate and even as president, has actually ratcheted up the police state; has ratcheted up the assault on personal liberties.”
Napolitano said that shortly after 9/11, he and colleagues at Fox debated whether a president could kill an American who was a danger to national security. “When I posed that question, we all laughed, saying this could never happen, this is the United States of America, we have the Constitution. Now it happens and nobody does anything about it.
“I remember arguing, could the president start a war on his own? And the answer was no, of course not, the Constitution says only the Congress can declare war. Well, we’re in Libya and the Congress never declared it.
“The president is shredding the Constitution more so than George W. Bush did. It’s not only this president who does it, but he is doing it in a more in-your-face, more obvious and, if I may, more boastful way.”
Napolitano, a former superior court judge in New Jersey, claimed the assault on Americans’ freedoms – “real serious heavy-duty nanny-state regulation,” – started in earnest under Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in the early 20th Century.
“That’s when the administrative state begins. That’s when the federal government creates administrative agencies that are neither fish nor fowl – they are not in the executive branch and they are not in the legislative branch. They don’t run for office but they acquire power through appointment, they survive from one president to the next.
“The administrative agencies began regulating private behavior and it started about 100 years ago. Coincidentally that’s also when the Federal Reserve and when the Income Tax started.”
He said one of the most important tests of the Constitution will be decided by the Supreme Court this year in the Antoine Jones case, where police attached a GPS device to a suspected drug dealer’s car to track his movements.
“The government claims it can come on to your property and open your garage door and go into your garage and open up your car and put a GPS tracking device in there if you don’t carry a cellphone. Can the government do that? Answer: The Supreme Court will tell us in a couple of months. In the interim, the government does this.”
Napolitano, like many libertarians, said he has sympathy for many of the causes of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
“They have a legitimate complaint that their future in the economic world is grim. It is grim because the government has spent the future’s money today and has mortgaged the future by printing cash and borrowing against the future. It is grim because the government fights wars of opportunity.
“When they say end the Fed and end the wars, I am with them,” he said. “But when they say take from the rich and give to those who don’t have it, the Constitution is supposed to prevent that from happening.
“The political side of this is just as dangerous,” he added. “The political side of this is that labor unions and hard left organizations and entities of the Democratic National Committee are going to co-opt those young people and take over the message.”
When Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul told a rapturous crowd of young people in New York last week that “the country is ripe for a true revolution”, he might have been tapping into the zeitgeist.
Outside, social disobedience was in the air, as the Occupy Wall Street protests rippled across the nation.
Anger at the status quo, evident for several years and politically potent since the Tea Party – inspired by Paul’s staunch libertarianism – swept to power last November in Congress seemed palpable.
“The country has changed in the last four years, but my message hasn’t changed,” Paul said. He insisted the “people in charge” were deaf to his message: in particular that the Federal Reserve must be axed, a call that brought an ecstatic response. For Americans who loath what satirist P.J. O’Rourke called the “Parliament of Whores” – inside-the-Beltway politics – Paul has almost messianic appeal.
“Freedom is a young idea,” he told PBS Newshour in July.
“It’s only been tested for a couple hundred years. And we had a taste of it and we’re throwing it away.”
Far from being too old – a frequent jibe from media pundits – he insists his rivals have “old ideas” and that by championing liberty he challenges a reactionary status quo.
He cites the Patriot Act, a draconian touchstone for conservatives in the “War on Terror”, as a prime example of how Washington chips away at civil liberties, a scary thought to his rivals who, unlike Paul, cheered last week’s drone-assassination of al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki.
At a breakfast held by the Christian Science Monitor, Paul excoriated both parties. “They are not talking about what I’m talking about, they are not talking about free market economies, they are not talking about how the middle class gets wiped out, they are not talking about a foreign policy that would defend this country and not pretend that we can police the world forever.”
Such sentiments bolster Paul’s image as a straight shooter unafraid of special interests.
Boston: FBI Thwarts Own R/C Bomb
Another case of FBI entrapment, proving the only terrorism Americans must fear, comes from within the bowels of their own government.
Sept 29, 2011
The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims to have thwarted their own “drone” bomb, in yet another farcical case of entrapment and fear mongering aimed not at ending the “War on Terror” but perpetuating the mythological, unending conflict. FBI agents apparently strung along another subpar malcontent by providing him with materials, including a model airplane, real C4 explosives, and small arms. Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, was approached by undercover FBI agents and tasked first with building remote detonation devices he was told would be used in Iraq against US troops. FBI agents went as far as falsely telling Ferdaus that one of his devices had killed 3 US troops. The grand finale was assisting Ferdaus in a spectacular, Hollywood-style attack we are told by FBI agents, would have involve simultaneous assaults on both the US Capitol and the Pentagon involving drone bombs and multiple gunmen.
Photo: Your FBI at work – sneaking around the United States, constructing drones made of toy planes like the one above, building bombs, handing out weapons and live explosives to prospective “terrorists” then stopping them “just in time” for sensational headlines to get Americans wringing their hands in fear from what Media Monarchy calls, “terronoia.”
According to an AFP report, FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers claimed the sting operation proved ”a committed individual, even one with no direct connections to, or formal training from, an international terrorist organisation, can pose a serious danger to the community.” DesLauriers fails to explain where, if not from the FBI or other federal agencies, Ferdaus could have acquired C4 explosives for his alleged plot. Additionally, DesLauriers fails to explain how Ferdaus can be considered acting as an “individual” with no “direct connections” to an international terrorist organization, when FBI agents were posing as just that, supplying him with motivation, supplies, explosives, logistics, and weapons.
Polls Show that Americans Think We Overreacted, Overspent and Weakened Ourselves Through the War on Terror
As the Brooking Institution reported yesterday, Americans that the government overreacted and overspent in reaction to 9/11:
These are a summary of findings of a new poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.
Six in ten Americans believe that that the United States weakened its economy by overspending in its responses to the 9/11 attacks. In particular, respondents felt this was especially true of the U.S. mission in Iraq. Two out of three Americans perceive that over the decade since 9/11, U.S. power and influence in the world has declined. This view is highly correlated with the belief that the United States overspent in its post-9/11 response efforts – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At this point, a large majority (73%) wants the United States to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan, but less than half (44%) want troops withdrawn completely.
Fifty-five percent say that the United States has spent too many resources in the Iraq war, while a plurality of 49% called the Iraq war a mistake (45% right decision). This criticism is a bit lower than other polls that asked similar questions in 2010 and found a majority ranging from 51 to 62% saying that it was not the right decision.
Support for the decision to go to war is highly correlated with beliefs held by substantial and undiminishing minorities that Iraq was providing support to al Qaeda (46%) and either had a WMD program or actual WMDs (47%). Among those with such beliefs, large majorities say the war was the right thing while among those without such beliefs large majorities have the opposite views.
A modest majority (53%) believes that the U.S. should withdraw its troops according to schedule even if the Iraqi government asks the US to stay another year.
A clear majority (61%) says that the United States should not take sides in its efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while just 27% want the United States to lean toward Israel (5% toward Palestinians).
(Incidentally, top American military leaders agree, saying that the war on terror has weakened our national security).
Rasmussen has repeatedly noted that Americans are strongly opposed to further military or other types of intervention in Arab countries:
As with the recent turmoil in Egypt, most Americans (67%) say the United States should leave the situation in the Arab countries alone. Just 17% say the United States should get more directly involved in the political situation there, but another 17% are not sure.
This was true for Libya. And it is true elsewhere. For example, the overwhelming majority of Americans are also opposed to intervention in Syria.
Polls Show Widespread Doubt About Official Explanations
The results of polls on peoples’ beliefs about 9/11 around the world might surprise you:
- In its January 2011 issue, the popular German magazine “Welt der Wunder” published the results of a poll conducted by the Emnid institute on 1005 respondents. The poll indicated that nearly 90% percent of Germans are convinced that the government of the United States is not telling the whole truth about the September 11 attacks
- A new poll conducted in England by ICM shows that more UK residents agree than disagree that the official account of what happened on 9/11 might turn out to be wrong in important respects. Only 8% strongly agree that they have been told the full story of the 9/11 attacks
- A new poll conducted in France by HEC Paris shows that 58% of French people doubt the official version of 9/11, and 49% believe the U.S. government might have intentionally allowed the attacks to happen
- A Zogby poll conducted in August 2007 found that 51% of Americans want Congress to probe Bush/Cheney regarding the 9/11 attacks, two-thirds (67%) of Americans say the 9/11 Commission should have investigated the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7
- A poll conducted by CNN-IBN in August 2007 found that only 2 out of 5 of those polled in India – the world’s second most populous country – believe that al-Qaeda is responsible for the 9/11 attacks
- Indeed, a poll taken by World Public Opinion, a collaborative project of research centers in various countries managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, College Park, polled 16,063 people in 17 nations outside of the United States during the summer of 2008. They found that majorities in only 9 of the 17 countries believe Al Qaeda carried out the attacks. The poll showed that in the world’s most populous country – China – only 32% believed that Al Qaeda carried out the attacks.
[CIM: Beams of Light photo added to original for improved re-posting.]