Will Potter, investigative journalist and author of “Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege” recently gave a TED Talk outlining his work on Communication Management Units, (CMU’s) which are special units in the US prison system designed to contain and monitor those labeled as “domestic terrorists.” He was able to contact and meet with environmental activist and former CMU prisoner Daniel McGowan, and he discusses this and other CMU-related information here:
Tag Archives | Counter-Terrorism
ISIS, or Islamic State as it’s variously known, has been hailed for its sophisticated use of social media to recruit fans and followers. The United States Government has been battling them in propaganda stakes reports the Washington Post:
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As fighters surged into Syria last summer, a video surfaced online with the grisly imagery and sneering tone of a propaganda release from the Islamic State.
“Run, do not walk, to ISIS Land,” read the opening line of a script that promised new arrivals would learn “useful new skills” such as “crucifying and executing Muslims.” The words were juxtaposed with images of the terrorist group’s atrocities: kneeling prisoners shot point-blank; severed heads positioned next to a propped-up corpse; limp bodies left hanging from crosses in public squares.
The source of the video was revealed only in its closing frame: the U.S. Department of State.
“Welcome to ISIS Land” was in some ways a breakthrough for the U.S.
Cory Doctorow via The Guardian:
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Why spy? That’s the several-million pound question, in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Why would the US continue to wiretap its entire population, given that the only “terrorism” they caught with it was a single attempt to send a small amount of money to Al Shabab?
One obvious answer is: because they can. Spying is cheap, and cheaper every day. Many people have compared NSA/GCHQ mass spying to the surveillance programme of East Germany’s notorious Stasi, but the differences between theNSA and the Stasi are more interesting than the similarities.
The most important difference is size. The Stasi employed one snitch for every 50 or 60 people it watched. We can’t be sure of the size of the entire Five Eyes global surveillance workforce, but there are only about 1.4 million Americans with Top Secret clearance, and many of them don’t work at or for the NSA, which means that the number is smaller than that (the other Five Eyes states have much smaller workforces than the US).
Job of the future: insurgent organization design, social media, and branding consultant. Via Gizmodo:
Posted online this week, a U.S. Army document guides soldiers through the rigors of recognizing terrorist and insurgent groups in the wild. Not through weaponry or language, but through branding.
Written by the U.S. Army Training And Doctrine Command in 2009, this 60-odd page document (PDF) was designed to guide soldiers through the rigors of recognizing terrorist and insurgent groups through branding. Categorized by geography, it groups the logos and insignia of “insurgents, terrorists, paramilitary, and other militant groups worldwide.” That includes everything from photos of Russian mafia tattoos to Hezbollah logos.
The idea of “branding” insurgency is certainly nothing new. Crime and terror organizations have been borrowing ideas from corporations about graphic design and messaging for years.
From Mr. VI over at Modern Mythology:
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Drones and cybersex. So, what can YOU get out of it? Pornography and the military-industrial complex are often the prime funders of technological research. Without DARPA, we wouldn’t have the internet, and without the urge to stream porn, we wouldn’t be constantly trying to improve data compression techniques.
Without lust, there’d be no YouTube – and without the urge to achieve maximum effect with minimum effort, we wouldn’t develop labour saving devices. We wouldn’t develop technology to extend our reach, and refine our apparent control over the situation. Without apparent scarcity and rarity, we wouldn’t consider certain things precious, and we certainly wouldn’t care about loss. We wouldn’t care about extending our sphere of influence, or expanding our territory.
Here in the UK, we’re seemingly constantly under the eye of CCTV.
Come on guys, the War on Terror is a serious matter! From Great Britain, hijinks ensue as immigration officials put their nagging wives on the terrorist watchlist to prevent their returning from overseas vacation. The Daily Mail reports:
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An immigration officer tried to rid himself of his wife by adding her name to a list of terrorist suspects.
He used his access to security databases to include his wife on a watch list of people banned from boarding flights into Britain because their presence in the country is ‘not conducive to the public good’. As a result the woman was unable for three years to return from Pakistan after traveling to the county to visit family.
The tampering went undetected until the immigration officer was selected for promotion and his wife name was found on the suspects’ list during a vetting inquiry. The Home Office confirmed today that the officer has been sacked for gross misconduct.
An American-led military unit pulverized an Afghan village in Kandahar’s Arghandab River Valley in October, after it became overrun with Taliban insurgents. It’s hard to understand how turning an entire village into dust fits into America’s counterinsurgency strategy — which supposedly prizes the local people’s loyalty above all else. But it’s the latest indication that Gen. David Petraeus, the counterinsurgency icon, is prosecuting a frustrating war with surprising levels of violence. Some observers already fear a backlash brewing in the area. Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate and Petraeus biographer, described the destruction of Tarok Kolache in a guest post for Tom Ricks’ Foreign Policy blog. Or, at least, she described its aftermath: Nothing remains of Tarok Kolache after Lt. Col. David Flynn, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, made a fateful decision in October.
Via The Raw Story:
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New York Police Department officers who showed up for mandatory counter-terrorism training were shown a “spectacularly offensive” anti-Muslim film claiming that American Muslims are secretly plotting to take over the country, a news report alleged Wednesday.
The news is further evidence that US law enforcement agencies are turning to extremist anti-Islamic “consultants” to provide training for terrorism investigations.
According to the Village Voice‘s Tom Robbins, the NYPD used a film called “The Third Jihad” in training sessions this month. Robbins described the film as
72 minutes of gruesome footage of bombing carnage, frenzied crowds, burning American flags, flaming churches, and seething mullahs. All of this is sandwiched between a collection of somber talking heads informing us that, while we were sleeping, the international Islamist Jihad that wrought these horrors has set up shop here and is quietly going about its deadly business. This is the final drive in a 1,400-year-old bid for Muslim world domination, we’re informed.