Posts tagged al qaeda
It’s a scary world and there are a lot of very angry people in it. To the people out there who want to protect America/Israel/Europe/wherever by bombing people in Iran/Afghanistan/Yemen/wherever, “I get it!” I really do. It’s scary as hell thinking about a nuke going off on a civilian population (unless it was in Japan and “it saved good Americans lives and ended WW2,” right?).
I don’t blame you for wanting to defend our country and innocent people around the world by trying to attack our enemies before they attack us, it’s fight-or-flight; human nature.
However I do passionately advocate a balanced, objective view before deciding to sign and drive the “Kill ‘em all, let God sort them out!” train.
Here is yet another foreign policy expert detailing the incredible risks that policy poses and the counter-productive reality of our foreign policy.
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. -Albert Einstein
Drone attacks create terrorist safe havens, warns former CIA official via theguardian.co.uk
A former top terrorism official at the CIA has warned that President Barack Obama’s controversial drone programme is far too indiscriminate in hitting targets and could lead to such political instability that it creates terrorist safe havens.
Obama’s increased use of drones to attack suspected Islamic militants inPakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen has become one of the most controversial aspects of his national security policy. He has launched at least 275 strikes in Pakistan alone; a rate of attack that is far higher than his predecessor George W Bush.
Defenders of the policy say it provides a way of hitting high-profile targets, such as al-Qaida number two, Abu Yahya al-Libi. But critics say the definition of militant is used far too broadly and there are too many civilian casualties. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates up to 830 civilians, including many women and children, might have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan, 138 in Yemen and 57 in Somalia. Hundreds more have been injured.
Now Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA’s counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006 and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, has told the Guardian that the drone programme is targeted too broadly. “It [the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences,” Grenier said in an interview.
Read the civilian death tolls and decide for yourself how you would feel if your family among the estimated 500-1000 civilians killed in anonymous drone-based airstrikes.
Also, please remember that unlike Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran, Pakistan has nuclear weapons.
The nuclear power chillingly declared it “has the means” to retaliate unless the carnage ceases.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan told The Sun in an exclusive interview that his country’s relations with America are at their lowest ebb.
He said: “Patience is definitely reaching exhaustion levels.”
Mr. Hasan said Pakistan backs the War on Terror waged by Britain and the US. But he urged PM David Cameron to condemn US drone attacks on al-Qaeda and Taliban training camps in the north west of his country — dubbing them as “war crimes” and “little more than state executions”.
Tough-talking Mr Hasan also declared Pakistan would have no choice but to support Iran if “aggressive” Israel attacks it.
But his immediate concern is the drones known to have killed 535 civilians, including 60 children, in three years.
Pakistan claims the real death toll is more than 1,000. The unmanned aircraft blast missiles at targets, directed by a computer thousands of miles away. The High Commissioner said: “I think time is running out until the Pakistan government can take a stand.” They will have to at some stage take punitive actions to stop them. They have got means to take such actions to defend their own frontier and territories.
“But that will inflame the situation and stop the War on Terror and that is not what we want.”
The US military claim drones have “decimated” the al-Qaeda leadership since 2008 with no reported civilian casualties.
But Mr Hasan said: “We know the damage — destroyed schools, communities, hospitals. They are civilians — children, women, families. Our losses are enormous.
“Generally people think that deaths caused by drone attacks should be treated as war crimes. There is so much animosity that perhaps the Americans are the most hated people in the minds of the people in Pakistan.”
Mr Hasan urged Britain to tell the US its drone strikes are counter-productive.
On Iran, Mr Hasan said: “We would not like Israel to attack any country, irrespective of whether it’s Iran or any nuclear country. We wouldn’t like to be seen as part of Israel’s campaign against any country. If Israel attacks Iran, it will have an impact on Pakistan as well.
He warned that India and Gulf countries could also get involved in any conflict.
Historian Mark Almond said of Mr Hasan’s declarations: “This represents an escalation in tension.”
Key quote: “It wasn’t careless oversight. It was purposeful. No question about that in mind. It was purposeful.” Tom Kean, 9/11 Comissioner
In his recent book The Black Banners, former FBI agent Ali Soufan portrays a key 9/11 Commission staff member, Doug MacEachin, as believing the CIA deliberately withheld information from the FBI in January 2001. This is in contrast with the Commission’s final report, which states that the CIA failed to pass on intelligence to the FBI on multiple occasions, but puts it down to honest failings.
MacEachin was one of the best-known of the Commission’s staffers before its formation. He was a career CIA officer and even served as Deputy Director for Intelligence between 1993 and 1996.
According to Soufan, MacEachin believed that the CIA purposefully withheld information placing al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash at the Malaysia summit, a gathering of top al-Qaeda figures in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000 that was monitored by the CIA. This intelligence was especially significant because it linked bin Attash, then known to be a mastermind of the October 2000 USS Colebombing, to future Flight 77 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi.
Had the FBI learned what the CIA knew of the Malaysia summit at this time, its Cole investigators would have focused on Almihdhar and Alhazmi eight months before 9/11, giving them plenty of opportunity to stop the plot.
In his book, Soufan describes a meeting between himself and some Commission staffers, evidently Soufan’s second interview with the Commission on September 15, 2003.
Soufan says he started the interview by discussing a source inside al-Qaeda that he and his partner Steve Bongardt had helped recruit some time before the Cole bombing. In late 2000, the source had been shown a passport photo provided by the Yemeni authorities of a person the FBI thought to be bin Attash, and had identified him as such to a CIA officer known only as “Chris” and FBI agent Michael Dorris. This was another plank in the case being built against bin Attash for the Cole bombing.
Shortly after, in murky circumstances Soufan does not discuss, the CIA sent pictures of Almihdhar and Alhazmi taken at the Malaysia summit for the source to try to identify. While Dorris was out of the room, Chris showed the pictures to the source, who said he did not know Almihdhar, but identified the photo of Alhazmi as bin Attash; the two men had similar facial features.
Although the photo was not actually of bin Attash, it simply caused the CIA to believe something that was, in fact, true. Bin Attash had been at the Malaysia meeting, the agency had photos of him there; it simply omitted to show them to the source.
Whereas Chris had had the previous identification, of bin Attash in the Yemeni-provided photograph, repeated for Dorris’ benefit, this second identification of bin Attash was not repeated. In fact, Chris kept completely silent about it.
Soufan quotes himself as telling the Commission:
After 9/11 we learned that the CIA went behind our backs and showed the pictures of the Malaysia summit meeting—the pictures they wouldn’t share with us—to the source. They didn’t tell us that they had shown him the pictures, nor did they share with us what he told them about the pictures. He didn’t know that the CIA wasn’t sharing information with the FBI; nor was he told why these pictures were important. …
… This shows that the CIA knew the significance of Malaysia, Khallad, and Mihdhar but actively went out of their way to withhold the information from us. It’s not a case of just not passing on information. This is information the FBI representative working with the source should have been told about. It was a legal requirement. Instead we were deliberately kept out of the loop.
Opinion: I’m a confused man tonight. I don’t know how we can self-righteously glare out at the world through glazed, defiant eyes watching the wild fury of our wars around the world and not choose to stand up and push against our war machine. Somehow we’ve become believers, somehow we’ve become convinced that we are “doing the right thing,” somehow we think there won’t be bold, organized, long-term blowback to our actions.Article: We Americans have to decide what kind of country we want to have. Chalmers Johnson summarized the dilemma. “A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship.”
Many Americans are rightly appalled at what has happened over the past ten years. A culture of fear has taken hold nationwide and there are regular accounts of swat teams kicking in the wrong door in the middle of the night and killing a homeowner seeking to defend his family from unknown intruders. Neighbors have been encouraged by the government’s Department of Homeland Security to look at those living next door to see if they might be terrorists.
Recently, questionable provisions of the Patriot Act have been extended for an additional four years, without any debate at all. It all means that many constitutional liberties that were taken for granted for more than two hundred years have recently been relegated to the dust bin of history.
And there is considerable danger that the “overseas contingency operations,” as the Obama Administration refers to its war on terror, will increase in number. A section of the current $690 billion Defense Appropriation bill referred to as the “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” will permit the president to wage war against anyone anywhere without any specific approval by congress, an expansion of the executive authority authorized by the legislature to pursue al-Qaeda which was granted in the aftermath of 9/11.
The fact that neither group actually threatens the United States appears to be irrelevant. Congressman Buck McKeon, the drafter of the relevant section of the appropriation bill, has said “the threats posed by al-Qaeda cells in Yemen and Africa underscore the evolving and continuing nature of the terrorist threat to the United States.”
The following article highlights a number of reasons that Thomas Jefferson seems dead-on when he advocated a foreign policy of non-intervnetionism.
In an accusatory and incendiary article, EUTimes.net describes a deadly gun fight between accused CIA agent Raymond Allen Davis, his arrest by Pakistani intelligence, and his alleged attempt to sell al Qaeda “nuclear material” and “biological agents.”
Is this proof of a massive conspiracy by rogue American intelligence agents to supply terrorists with weapons that will be used against civilian targets in order to fuel the “War on Terror?”
Or is it simply a clever setup by the CIA looking for al Qaeda members trying to buy nuclear arms?
If the rational “setup” answer is correct, why did a gunfight start between Davis and the Pakistanis who would likely be on “our side” in the war with al Qaeda? Although I agree there is a lot of assumption in that statement; why would deadly force be used–in a crowded area with extremely high risk of capture–if a simple conversation behind closed doors would have sufficed?
This tragic event takes place within a chaotic and wildly emotional climate of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan after–among many other major problems–continuous aerial drone strikes on Pakistani targets believed to be linked to al Qaeda have killed hundreds, including many civilians.
Many Pakistanis want their government to stand up to American influence believe in “vast U.S. conspiracy against them.”
Raymond Allen Davis’ gunfight and arrest was also reported in The Washington Post however an anonymous U.S. official said that “both sides agree [the killed Pakistanis] were probably would-be robbers” and that Davis was only a “member of the technical and administrative staff at the U.S. Embassy.”
The Washington Post continues to state that, “The shooting, as well as ambiguous answers from U.S. officials about whether Davis was part of the CIA, have fanned speculation that the incident was not a botched robbery but a deadly confrontation between spies.”
Whatever the case may be, the world is far too complex for us to think our chess games will not have ramifications and blowback that is beyond our control. When you view events like the ones described here with long-term vision, do you feel that way too?
The CIA calls the reaction to acts this “blowback.” Here’s the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit Michael Scheuer (with an intro from Ron Paul) describing the phenomenon:
To discover more details on the complex, intense and shaky relationship between Pakistan and The US, have a look:
Despite the temptation and instinct to explode with anger and aggression, we must force ourselves to deal with these troubling instincts and emotions with logic.
From the attached video (at about the 6:30 mark) Michael Sheuer, former Chief of The CIA’s Bin Laden unit states that, “Dr. [Ron] Paul has hit on exactly the only indispensable ally that Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and their allies have; and that’s US foreign policy…this war has to do with our foreign policy and its impact in the Islamic world…[this is] what motivates our enemy…[US foreign policy] is a glue of cohesion–a glue of unity–across the Islamic world.”
So, is Scheuer a credible source? Yes, absolutely.
Does he have an insight into the Islamic world? Yes, absolutely.
Did this world-class former CIA CHEIF preach theories about radical Islam, Sha’ria law or other propaganda? No, he did not.
Even the neo-con stalwart Paul Wolfowitz joins the fray, “It’s [US troop presence] been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda.” Vanity Fair, May 2003.
Yes, I agree terrorism poses a threat to America’s peace, prosperity and happiness. Yes, Islam is the common religion of many radicals. Yes, there are many “extreme Muslims” who are very happy to kill Americans in large numbers.
No, I do not submit to the popular and well-financed opinion that we are targeted due to Islam’s organic beliefs and that Muslims would seek to harm Americans for no additional reason.
During the 2008 Presidential election Dr. Ron Paul brought up this point and Rudy Giuliani mocked him and said that he’d never heard of such theories. That’s surprising considering he is “an expert on terrorism since he was in NYC during 9-11.”
Here are a few book titles that Dr. Paul recommended to Mr. Giuliani. If you’re open to the idea that there might be slightly more to the story of terrorism than “they hate our freedoms,” then have a look.
“Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror,” by Michael Scheuer.
“Dying To Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” by Professor Robert Pape.
“Blowback: The Costs and Consuquences of American Empire,” by Chalmers Johnson.
If we can recognize the evidence that shows that radical Muslims and other terrorists are far more likely to want attack us because of our foreign policy over seas than because of their innate, religious, “radical” desire to enact Sharia law upon the world at large, then we can live in reality, produce true solutions, and strike the root of the issue–not just pour gasoline on a fire in hopes of burning it out more quickly.
I pray that the following evidence from extremely credible sources shows that at least some of what we’re being told in the media is deceitful, divisive and deadly advertising designed to propagandize us.