Tag Archives | Counterterrorism

The Counterterrorism Olympics

Village-Urban Area

Photo: KASOTC

How long before this becomes a reality TV event? Josh Eels tags along with Team America for the New York Times:

The men of Team America were missing an assault rifle. “Everybody pulled a rifle, right, guys?” Eric asked. A 38-year-old ex-Navy lieutenant, he had blond hair to his shoulders and a few days’ worth of deployment stubble.

“We’re supposed to have eight,” Brian said. He and Eric worked SWAT together in Virginia and sometimes hunted together, too.

Brandon, 33, had six 9-millimeter Glock pistols stuffed in his pockets. He surveyed the room: “Two . . . four . . . six. . . . “

Carey, a sniper, tried to stifle a laugh. “Good thing they don’t have a counting event.”

It was a spring Saturday at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (Kasotc) in Jordan.

The members of Team America were in their barracks after a morning at the range, cleaning their guns so the desert sand wouldn’t jam the actions.

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875,000 People Are On America’s Terrorist Suspect List

terrorist suspect list

They’re all around us — the number of people being tracked as suspected terrorists will soon cross the one million mark, Reuters reports:

The number of names on a highly classified U.S. central database used to track suspected terrorists has jumped to 875,000 from 540,000 only five years ago, a U.S. official said. Among those was Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose name was added in 2011.

Maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center, the highly classified database is not a “watchlist,” but a repository of information on people whom U.S. authorities see as known, suspected or potential terrorists from around the world.

The “Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment” is a master database which agencies use to build other catalogs of possible terrorists, like the “no-fly” list which prevents people on it from boarding airplanes.

Karen Greenberg, an expert in counter-terrorism policy at Fordham University, questioned whether the growth in the database’s size made it easier for officials to spot threats before they materialize.

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How Should We React To A Terrorist Attack?

terrorist attackParadoxically, in a sense, by doing nothing, says security theorizer Bruce Schneier, speaking to the Washington Post:

What should policymakers do in the aftermath of this kind of event? Nothing. This is a singular event, and not something that should drive policy. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent this sort of thing 100 percent.

By definition, news is something that almost never happens. The brain fools you into thinking the news is what’s important. So what should we be afraid of? Car crashes. Global warming. It feels insensitive to say it so close to the tragedy, but it’s true. Things so common that they’re no longer news — that’s what kills people.

The damage from terrorism is primarily emotional. To the extent this terrorist attack succeeds has very little do with the attack itself. Imagine if the bombs were found and moved at the last second, and no one died, but everyone was just as scared.

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Did a Commited Jihadist Lead the CIA to Anwar Al-alwaki?

Anwar Al-alwaki, a well known radical cleric with ties to the accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hassan, “Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and three of the 9/11 hijackers was killed last year by a CIA drone strike in Yemen.  Al-alwaki also holds the dubious distinction of being one of the first US citizens placed on the list of people the CIA was allowed to kill.  In a story worthy of the silver screen, a Danish man claims to have led the CIA directly to Al-alwaki.

Picture: Brigadier Lance Mans, Deputy Director, NATO Special Operations Coordination Centre (CC)

via CNN
A 36-year-old Dane called Morten Storm says he was the man who led the CIA to Anwar al Awlaki, the al Qaeda cleric killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year. And he says he did it with a computer thumb-drive that secretly contained a tracking device.

Among the evidence he’s produced: recorded telephone conversations, passport stamps showing multiple trips to Yemen, correspondence with Awlaki, and a recording of a conversation with an unidentified American – who acknowledges his role in the pursuit of Awlaki..

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Make The Call: Even More Suspicious Terrorist Behaviors To Look Out For

Did you know that IEDs planted in urban areas is the greatest threat facing our country? The city of Houston and the Department of Homeland Security have once again teamed up to create a PSA video for the Run, Hide, Fight campaign to free Texas from the scourge of terrorism. Anyone who leaves a bag unattended, takes photos in public, wears an article of clothing that seems unseasonable, acts nervous, or does anything quirky should be reported. And if they haven’t engaged in any of these behaviors, but your “instincts” (i.e. your prejudices) tell you that they are suspicious, call the authorities:

Large, heavily populated urban centers all over the world have long been the favored targets of terrorists. If you see suspicious behavior, Make the Call.

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A ‘Sonic Weapon’ Can Be Deployed At the London Olympics (If Needs Be)

LRADReports Gavin Thomas for BBC News:

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed a device which can be used as a “sonic weapon” will be deployed in London during the Olympics.

The American-made Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) can be used to send verbal warnings over a long distance or emit a beam of pain-inducing tones.

The equipment was spotted fixed to a landing craft on the Thames at Westminster this week.

An MoD spokesman said it would be used “primarily in the loud hailer mode”.

Royal Marines operating in patrol craft from HMS Ocean are also heavily armed with conventional firearms.

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Britain To Install Missiles In Apartment Complexes For London Olympics

London 2012More 2012 Olympics dystopianism as a dense East London neighborhood will be turned into a military base, in the name of pole-vaulting. Robert Booth writes in the Guardian:

The Bow Quarter complex of more than 700 apartments is the first of a handful of housing developments close to the Olympic Park chosen by military planners to host high velocity rockets aimed at preventing an airborne terrorist attack on this summer’s Games.

Ministry of Defence officials will this week inform a number of other residents that their homes have been selected to become part of London’s military lockdown. The missile units will be installed and armed with dummy rockets in time for a national Olympic security exercise starting on Wednesday. The test of the government’s £1bn security plans will see RAF Typhoon fast jets and military helicopters operating above London and the home counties.

“It is rather surreal,” said Nathan Lewis, a software developer who lives in the block beneath where the weapons will be located.

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The Terrorist Plots Hatched by the FBI

These practices do not receive enough attention in the press. As Davis K. Shipler writes in the NY Times:

The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.

When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I.

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Why I’m Suing Barack Obama

AP090316045641-300Chis Hedges explains why. From earlier this year, via TruthDig:

Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint…on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.

The act authorizes the military for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing. With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.

We have already seen the persecution and closure of Islamic charity organizations in the United States that supported the Palestinians.

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