Tag Archives | War On Terror

Big Data Mining With NSA Director Keith Alexander

keith alexanderA snippet from a Foreign Policy piece on NSA chief Keith Alexander reveals the logic at play in our surveillance state:

“He said at one point that a lot of things aren’t clearly legal, but that doesn’t make them illegal,” says a former military intelligence officer who served under Alexander at INSCOM.

When he ran INSCOM, Alexander was fond of building charts that showed how a suspected terrorist was connected to a much broader network of people via his communications or the contacts in his phone or email account.

“He had all these diagrams showing how this guy was connected to that guy and to that guy,” says a former NSA official who heard Alexander give briefings on the floor of the Information Dominance Center. “Some of my colleagues and I were skeptical. Later, we had a chance to review the information. It turns out that all [that] those guys were connected to were pizza shops.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Inside The NYPD’s Secret CIA-Style Demographics Unit

demographics unit

New York Magazine has an epic report on the secret unit built by the NYPD to infiltrate and monitor the city’s various communities for un-American sentiment:

The activities Kelly set in motion after 9/11 pushed deeply into the private lives of New Yorkers, surveilling Muslims in their mosques, their sporting fields, their businesses, their social clubs, even their homes in a way not seen in America since the FBI and CIA monitored antiwar activists during the Nixon administration.

Putting a CIA officer inside a police department was unprecedented. The CIA, by its very charter, was prohibited from having any “police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions.” But 9/11 had changed the equation.

To the extent Sanchez had an official title, it was the CIA director’s counter­terrorism liaison to the state of New York. In reality, he was Cohen’s personal CIA representative, with an office at the CIA station in Manhattan and another at NYPD.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.
Continue Reading

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.

summon

Read the rest

Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest

Continue Reading