Tag Archives | War On Terror

Ohio School Children Participate In Surreal Bus Hijacking Drill

Contrary to some reports, the children involved had previously signed waivers for their participation. Nonetheless, it's surreal that a community of parents and teachers were complicit in this exercise in paranoid fantasy, with terrorist hijackings of their kids' bus in the middle of Ohio apparently being considered a serious possible threat:
Rossford, OH – Police staged a realistic hijacking of a school bus — with children on board — in order to allow a SWAT team to perform an explosion-packed rescue drill.
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Click To Summon The NSA

Want to make your afternoon more interesting? A few keystrokes online can bring a hot pizza to your door, but what about delivering stone-faced FBI agents? There’s a new site for that called SUMMON THE NSA! (click through to actually hit the button):

Disclaimer: By clicking this button your browser will do a google search for a list of known words that the NSA monitors.

These searches will summon the police and FBI to your house because, just like everyone living in America today, all of your digital transactions are being monitored.

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Glenn Greenwald’s Boyfriend Detained And Interrogated For 9 Hours Under Terrorism Act

Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda

Via the Guardian, Greenwald writes that the UK authorities targeted his partner as punishment for Greenwald’s journalism:

At 6:30 am this morning my time, I received a telephone call from someone who identified himself as a “security official at Heathrow airport.” He told me that my partner, David Miranda, had been “detained” at the London airport “under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000.”

David had spent the last week in Berlin. A Brazilian citizen, he was returning to our home in Rio de Janeiro this morning on British Airways, flying first to London and then on to Rio.

According to a document published by the UK government about Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, “fewer than 3 people in every 10,000 are examined as they pass through UK borders”. Moreover, “most examinations, over 97%, last under an hour.” An appendix to that document states that only .06% of all people detained are kept for more than 6 hours.

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Why Hunting For Terrorism With A Data Panopticon Doesn’t Work

data miningFrom seven years ago, Bruce Schneier explains why collecting massive amounts of data won’t allow us to find terrorist patterns hidden within:

Many believe that data mining is the crystal ball that will enable us to uncover future terrorist plots. But we’re not going to find terrorist plots through systems like this. We’re not trading privacy for security; we’re giving up privacy and getting no security in return.

Data mining works best when there’s a well-defined profile you’re searching for, a reasonable number of attacks per year, and a low cost of false alarms. Credit card fraud is one of data mining’s success stories: all credit card companies data mine their transaction databases, looking for spending patterns that indicate a stolen card. Many credit card thieves share a pattern — purchase expensive luxury goods, purchase things that can be easily fenced, etc. — and data mining systems can minimize the losses in many cases by shutting down the card.

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Inside The Neverending Simulated Middle Eastern War At The U.S. National Training Center

simulated warVenue visits the surreal Fort Irwin, arguably the Pentagon’s Universal Studios, where U.S. soldiers spend three weeks role-playing urban warfare in a mock city, complete with gruesome special effects, food markets filled with burqa-clad women, and gamer-style cards which instruct soldiers as to what injuries they must pretend to have:

Fort Irwin is a U.S. army base nearly the size of Rhode Island, located in the Mojave Desert about an hour’s drive northeast of Barstow, California. There you will find the National Training Center, at which all U.S. troops, from all the services, spend a twenty-one day rotation before they deploy overseas.

Sprawling and infernally hot in the summer months, the base offers free public tours twice a month of the simulated battlefields in which imaginary conflicts loop, day after day, without end. Picture paid actors shooting entire magazines full of blank rounds out of machine guns behind simulated Middle Eastern buildings in the Mojave desert.

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Murdered Soldiers and the Mythology of Terrorism

From Mr VI on Modern Mythology:

Wednesday 22nd 2013, 1421  – Woolwich, South London.

That’s when the call was placed to police – that’s when the authorities became aware that two men were hacking another to death with machetes. But there were witnesses to this act – it happened in broad daylight. Bloodstained hands were caught on camera-phones, tweets going viral while the perpetrators explained why they had done it, to passers by.

They didn’t run, they waited for police. Fourteen minutes later, armed police showed up, and were charged by at least one of the perpetrators. They promptly shot him. Both perpetrators are now in hospital, under guard.

The dead man was a serving soldier. The perpetrators were young black men, who were Muslims. Media makes much of them shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic, and their statements that the reason for this is Western troops in Muslim countries.

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Obama Calls For End To “Perpetual War On Terror”

perpetual war on terror

A welcome development? Via Yahoo! News, the president announces new guidelines which will reduce the use of drone strikes and once again pushes for the closure of Guantanamo Bay:

Twelve years after the “war on terror” began, President Barack Obama wants to pull the United States back from some of the most controversial aspects of its global fight against Islamist militants.

In a major policy speech on Thursday, Obama narrowed the scope of the targeted-killing drone campaign against al Qaeda and its allies and took steps toward closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.

He acknowledged the past use of “torture” in U.S. interrogations; expressed remorse over civilian casualties from drone strikes; and said that the Guantanamo detention facility “has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.”

New U.S. drone rules are likely to reduce “signature” drone strikes, which target suspicious-looking groups.

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Dr. Noam Chomsky Breaks the Set on War, Imperialism, and Propaganda

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to Dr. Noam Chomsky, philosopher, linguist, professor, political critic, and author of over 100 books, about the Boston bombings, US terror inflicted abroad, drones, Obama’s rebranding of Bush administration policies, the National Defense Authorization Act & Holder v. Humanitarian Law, conventional wisdom, the evolution of media propaganda, and education as a form of elite indoctrination.

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Since 9/11 Private Contractors Have Made $385 Billion From Overseas Bases

baseworldVia TomDispatch on the staggering sum being passed from U.S. taxpayers to a handful of contracting corporations in the name of maintaining the Pentagon’s global “baseworld”:

Outside the United States, the Pentagon controls a collection of military bases unprecedented in history. With US troops gone from Iraq, it’s easy to forget that we probably still have about 1,000 military bases in other peoples’ lands.

The Pentagon has dispersed around $385 billion to private companies for work done outside the US since late 2001, mainly in that baseworld. That’s nearly double the entire State Department budget over the same period. Almost a third of the $385 billion has flowed into the coffers of just 10 top contractors, [with the largest amount going to] KBR, the former subsidiary of Halliburton.

Once upon a time, however, the military, not contractors, built the barracks, cleaned the clothes, and peeled the potatoes at these bases. This started to change during the Vietnam War, when Brown & Root, better known to critics as “Burn & Loot” (later KBR), began building major military installations in South Vietnam as part of a contractor consortium.

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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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