Ending blowback terrorism!

❝Terrorist attacks on civilians, whether the downing over Sinai of a Russian aircraft killing 224 civilian passengers, the horrific Paris massacre claiming 129 innocent lives, or the tragic bombing in Ankara that killed 102 peace activists, are crimes against humanity. Their perpetrators – in this case, the Islamic State (ISIS) – must be stopped. Success will require a clear understanding of the roots of this ruthless network of jihadists.

❝Painful as it is to admit, the West, especially the United States, bears significant responsibility for creating the conditions in which ISIS has flourished. Only a change in US and European foreign policy vis-à-vis the Middle East can reduce the risk of further terrorism.❞

❝The recent attacks should be understood as “blowback terrorism”: a dreadful unintended result of repeated US and European covert and overt military actions throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Central Asia that aimed to overthrow governments and install regimes compliant with Western interests. These operations have not only destabilized the targeted regions, causing great suffering; they have also put populations in the US, the European Union, Russia, and the Middle East at significant risk of terror.❞

❝The public has never really been told the true history of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Starting in 1979, the CIA mobilized, recruited, trained, and armed Sunni young men to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The CIA recruited widely from Muslim populations (including in Europe) to form the Mujahideen, a multinational Sunni fighting force mobilized to oust the Soviet infidel from Afghanistan.

❝Bin Laden, from a wealthy Saudi family, was brought in to help lead and co-finance the operation. This was typical of CIA operations: relying on improvised funding through a wealthy Saudi family and proceeds from local smuggling and the narcotics trade.

❝By promoting the core vision of a jihad to defend the lands of Islam (Dar al-Islam) from outsiders, the CIA produced a hardened fighting force of thousands of young men displaced from their homes and stoked for battle. It is this initial fighting force – and the ideology that motivated it – that today still forms the basis of the Sunni jihadist insurgencies, including ISIS. While the jihadists’ original target was the Soviet Union, today the “infidel” includes the US, Europe (notably France and the United Kingdom), and Russia.❞

RTFA. Worth your time even if you already appreciate the events referenced in Jeff Sachs’ article.

Being a really old cranky geek, I would take the analysis even further back in time. At least understanding where and when we “overthrow governments and install regimes compliant with Western interests”. We being not only the United States; but, the UK, France, Belgium, the whole range of Euro Colonial gangsters. I was already trying to figure out what Western Imperialism did when CIA thugs overthrew the first democratically-elected government of Iran. In 1953.

CIA said, Al Qaeda “attacks will be spectacular” — Bush said, “Huh? Wha?”

What, me worry?

“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The CIA’s famous Presidential Daily Brief, presented to George W. Bush on August 6, 2001, has always been Exhibit A in the case that his administration shrugged off warnings of an Al Qaeda attack. But months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming.

By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.”…

The crisis came to a head on July 10. The critical meeting that took place that day was first reported by Bob Woodward in 2006. Tenet also wrote about it in general terms in his 2007 memoir At the Center of the Storm…But neither he nor Black has spoken about it publicly in such detail until now—or been so emphatic about how specific and pressing their warnings really were…

The drama of failed warnings began when Tenet and Black pitched a plan, in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s new national security team. It called for a covert CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat…And the word back,” says Tenet, “‘was ‘we’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.’”

That morning of July 10, the head of the agency’s Al Qaeda unit, Richard Blee, burst into Black’s office. “And he says, ‘Chief, this is it. Roof’s fallen in,’” recounts Black. “The information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw.” Black and his deputy rushed to the director’s office to brief Tenet. All agreed an urgent meeting at the White House was needed. Tenet picked up the white phone to Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. “I said, ‘Condi, I have to come see you,’” Tenet remembers. “It was one of the rare times in my seven years as director where I said, ‘I have to come see you. We’re comin’ right now. We have to get there.’”

Tenet vividly recalls the White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda’s intention is the destruction of the United States.’” [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’”

“What happened?” I ask Cofer Black. “Yeah. What did happen?” he replies.

The critical part is, of course, what didn’t happen? Bush sat on his rusty dusty and achieved nothing that resembled the responsibilities of his office.

RTFA for lots of detail. Sooner or later, take the time to see the documentary this article references. I will.

US invasion of Afghanistan began 12 years ago – today!

Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, began 12 years ago Monday…There are still 54,000 American troops in Afghanistan and the number of coalition bases has gone from a high of 800 to about 100, Stars and Stripes reported…

Discussion and media interest about Afghanistan have faded since President Obama ordered a troop surge three years ago, but a White House spokesman declined to discuss whether Obama is avoiding public discussion, Stars and Stripes said.

A. Trevor Thrall, a professor at George Mason University, said this isn’t the first time a president has tried to avoid news out of Afghanistan, the report said.

George W. Bush stopped talking about Afghanistan almost immediately after he shifted focus to Iraq,” Thrall said. “Afghanistan was truly a forgotten war [when] Obama took over and it became it again after the surge was over. The result is the public really has no idea what’s going on there.”

Troops still in Afghanistan told Stars and Stripes they have mixed feelings about the lack of attention.

“It’s kind of sad, because I think some people are a little more occupied with the latest TV show,” said Lt. Uriel Macias, a Navy reservist assigned to a stability operations team in Kabul. “But what is often forgotten is that we are still losing people all the time.”

Of course, we could have left a long time ago – just as we could have stayed out of Iraq altogether. But, that not only would have required reason and objectivity among our elected officials in the White House and Congress – it would have required courage in the face of right-wing chickenhawks, war-lovers and profiteers.

Not especially likely in the Land of Liberty.

Secret report confirms torture added nothing to our safety

cheney by toles

The public debate over the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the Bush-Cheney administration will be reignited in the coming days, thanks to a new congressional report…

President Obama banned the use of torture as one of his first acts in office. But some (though not all) Republicans claim that “enhanced interrogation techniques” on al Qaida operatives following 9/11 kept the country safe.

And a few more, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, even go as far to argue that intelligence from “enhanced interrogation techniques” made it possible for Obama to order the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The contempt I feel for these fascist-minded creeps beggars description.

But a 6,000-page report, scheduled to be approved on Thursday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, is expected to conclude that “none of this enhanced interrogation worked,” according to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff at the State Department during Gen. Colin Powell’s term.

“[Torture techniques] did not, as Cheney has alleged, lead to the killing of bin Laden,” Wilkerson, a frequent Cheney critic, told Ed Schultz on Tuesday’s edition of The Ed Show on MSNBC. “It was counterproductive. It was damaging to our reputation and he’s still lying about it…”

The Senate Intelligence Committee, however, is not planning to make the findings of the report immediately public, The Hill reports. Even if the secretive panel approves the report on Thursday, there will still be a lengthy review process in which the White House, the intelligence community and members of the panel will determine what information can be declassified and released to the public.

Wilkerson believes at least “portions” of the report should be made public.

“We should have some reckoning,” Wilkerson told Schultz. “If we’re not going to hold people accountable, we should at least let the American people know what was done in their name that basically constituted war crimes.”

Torture has been rationalized away in modern times by the worst murderers, the most egregious and arrogant thugs in history. From Himmler to Cheney, these corrupt slimeballs convince themselves of their success by adding crimes against humanity to their roll of deceit and lies.

Governments founded on their lies dishonor the nations they serve, the citizens they say they represent. Though history makes it clear that these torturers demonstrate only contempt for the ordinary people they say they are saving.

Doctor who aided CIA find Osama bin Laden is sentenced to prison

The Pakistani medical official who ran a fake CIA vaccination programme to help find Osama bin Laden has been jailed for 33 years.

A spokesman for Khyber Agency, an administrative unit in Pakistan’s restless frontier, said Dr Shakil Afridi would face decades in jail – despite calls from senior US officials to release the man who helped with efforts to track down the al-Qaida chief.

The tough sentence for the former surgeon general of Khyber will be taken as another sign of the terrible state of US-Pakistan relations.

Also a sign of the terrible state of what passes for justice in Pakistan.

And it will further alarm western critics of Pakistan who say the country has put far more effort into trying to understand how US spies and special forces were able to plan and launch the Bin Laden raid than into how the al-Qaida leader was able to remain for so long in the Pakistani army garrison town of Abbottabad.

The sentence was announced just days after Barack Obama snubbed the Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, by refusing to hold a formal meeting with him at the NATO conference in Chicago…

There had been hopes that Afridi would eventually be quietly released after the controversy surrounding the Bin Laden raid had subsided…

With friends like this…

Why not take something like 10% of the money we waste by handing it over to the Pakistan government – and just use it to bribe the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban? Let them divvy it up among local gangsters.

Pakistan rallies remember bin Laden — With friends like these….

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Hundreds of supporters of Osama bin Laden rallied in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta to pay tribute to former al-Qaeda chief on the first anniversary of his death.

Around 1,000 activists from the pro-Taliban Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam religious political party gathered on Wednesday in the city’s central Mezan square. They were carrying bin Laden posters, shouting “Long Live Osama” and torched a US flag…

“Osama was a hero of the whole Muslim world, he was the real mujahid [holy warrior],” Abdul Qadir Looni, a party leader said while addressing the rally…

Pakistani officials said security agencies had been ordered to be “extra vigilant” on Wednesday. Last year, the Taliban carried out a string of revenge attacks that included a suicide bombing on a police training centre that killed nearly 100 people…

Wednesday’s anniversary of one of the most humiliating episodes fro Pakistan caps a devastating year for the country.

Its reputation has been dragged deeper through the mud and its relationship with the US is as bad as ever, as questions about Islamabad’s intelligence failures or complicity with al-Qaeda remain unanswered.

A year after the al-Qaeda leader was found living with his three wives on the doorstep of Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point, the country is still accused of sheltering a string of the Washington’s most-wanted terrorism suspects.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s successor, is suspected to be in Pakistan, as is Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the de facto leader of the Haqqani network blamed for last month’s assault on Western targets in Kabul, the largest co-ordinated attack by armed groups in 10 years of war, is based in the tribal belt on the Afghan border, as is Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

Last month, Washington offered $10m for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistani accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks, who lives openly in Pakistan.

No claims for any rewards, yet, BTW.

Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan home being sold brick by brick

Osama bin Laden’s last home is being sold off brick-by-brick after his secret Pakistani hideaway was demolished.

Two baths and a homemade TV aerial have also been put on sale by the enterprising contractor who bulldozed the three-storey home in February.

While Pakistan’s political and military leaders are keen to obliterate any memory of how the world’s most wanted man evaded capture for so long, Shakeel Ahmed said his salvage yard in Abbottabad had become a tourist attraction for visitors looking for a souvenir.

“These bricks can be used by people to build new houses,” he said, pointing to a heap of some of the 180,000 bricks he collected from the site. “Some come here looking for just one as so they can have them as a gift…”

In recent months the country has tried to obliterate his memory. Bin Laden’s three widows, along with their children and grandchildren were flown to Saudi Arabia last week and the house itself is now nothing but a pile of bricks in Mr Ahmed’s yard.

As one of the best-known contractors in the town, he was hired to flatten the compound.

The rubble was put up for auction but with other builders too frightened to bid, he said, he scooped the lot for 500,000 rupees or about £3300.

Now the bricks are on sale for anyone who wants to negotiate a deal for 1000 or more – at little more than £20 a lot.

He also snapped up two olive trees, cooking oil and window blinds but fears that his role in disposing of bin Laden’s house could attract the attention of Islamist militants…

The flattened site has become turned into a makeshift cricket pitch for dozens of children who live nearby as the town tries to forget its recent notoriety.

Which all goes to reinforce the questions still asked about the political sense of maintaining Pakistan as our sham ally.

Pakistani doctor charged with treason for aiding bin Laden raid

Pakistani police guarding the bin Laden compound
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

The doctor who is suspected of helping the CIA target Osama bin Laden will be charged with treason…

“A case of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason is made” against Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the information ministry said, summarizing a commission’s investigation into the death of the al Qaeda leader.

Afridi is accused of helping the CIA use a vaccination campaign to try to collect DNA samples from people who lived in bin Laden’s compound.

The United States “has repeatedly asked” for the release of the Pakistani doctor, a U.S. official said Thursday. The official declined to comment further on the treason charges…

“This was one very small piece of a very large intelligence effort to determine that bin Laden was located at the compound,” a senior U.S. official told CNN over the summer.”People need to put this into some perspective,” the official added. “The vaccination campaign was part of the hunt for the world’s top terrorist, and nothing else. If the United States hadn’t shown this kind of creativity, people would be scratching their heads asking why it hadn’t used all the tools at its disposal to find bin Laden.”

Pakistan demonstrates once again what passes for priorities and standards in that nation.

While the Obama administration trots out the usual diplomatic smoke-and-mirrors to maintain some sort of relationship with a corrupt government the fact remains that they can be trusted as far as I can throw the Aiwan-e-Sadr uphill into a heavy wind left-handed.

Hillary says “Anti-Americanism will not end Pakistan’s problems”

Pakistan needs to to understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make their problems disappear, according to Hillary Clinton.

Her warning came as US officials said documents seized during the raid to kill Osama bin Laden suggested the al-Qaeda leader and his aides were considering striking a deal with Pakistan to guarantee them a safe haven.

In return, the terror group would have reined in terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil.

Mrs Clinton, the US secretary of state, became the first member of the Obama administration to visit Pakistan since the death of bin Laden…

After meeting President Asif Ali Zardari, Mrs Clinton also met General Ashfaq Kayani, head of the Pakistani military, and General Shuja Pasha, director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency. A US official described the meetings as “difficult”…

Mrs Clinton, looking stony-faced at a press conference afterward, said: “This was an especially important visit because we have reached a turning point. Osama bin Laden is dead but al-Qaeda and his syndicate of terror remain a serious threat to us both.”

America cannot and should not solve Pakistan’s problems. That’s up to Pakistan. But in solving its problems, Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear,” Mrs Clinton said.

“Anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear”? Why not?

Seems to work in the little minds of some members of the Kool Aid Party and other right-wing Republican religious sects. Why shouldn’t the same effect carry over into a theocratic nation led around by the nose by ultra-nationalist parties and dedicated, demented sectarian religious bozos? Did I mention Israel?

Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden death – someone tell the nutballs

Al Qaeda confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden Friday in an Internet message that vowed revenge on the United States and its allies, including Pakistan…

Five days after President Barack Obama announced bin Laden’s death in a U.S. raid in Pakistan, al Qaeda vowed not to deviate from the path of armed struggle and said bin Laden’s blood “is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain.”

“It (bin Laden’s blood) will remain, with permission from Allah the Almighty, a curse that chases the Americans and their agents, and goes after them inside and outside their countries,” the militant network said in a statement released on Islamist Internet forums and translated by SITE.

al Qaeda had to confirm or deny Bin Laden’s death. If they’re to have credibility among the fools who follow their jihad, they must identify a new fearless leader. If they are to call for revenge, they must admit to the reason for that rabid outcry.

In related news, Andrew Napolitano and Michael Scheuer have said “the government might not be ‘telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama’s…presidency'” and Washington Times editor Emily Miller tweeted “no photo of the body. That’s what we need for proof.”

The looneybirds of the world have a champion in American politics and unfortunately, they generate a great deal of the ideology of the Republican Party.