Showing posts with label The War On Terror(Democracy). Show all posts
Showing posts with label The War On Terror(Democracy). Show all posts

July 29, 2016

ISIS Loosing Grip of Territory Changes Narrative

 


Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman for ISIS, has come pretty close to acknowledging that the territory controlled by the group is slipping away. 

In a statement released in May, Adnani warned the enemies of ISIS, “O America! Listen, O Crusaders! Listen, O Jews!”

“You will never be victorious. You will be defeated,” he said. “Do you, O America, consider defeat to be the loss of a city or the loss of land?” 

“And would we be defeated and you be victorious if you were to take Mosul or Sirte or Raqqa or even take all the cities and we were to return to our initial condition? Certainly not!” Adnani added.

Back in 2014, after its fighters shocked the world by seizing vast territories in Iraq and Syria, the messengers from ISIS made a pitch to young Muslims that went something like this: Come join the caliphate of the prophecy! Be part of history by helping to build the Islamic state described in the Quran. 

ISIS was never just about state-building, says Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “That being said, as they lose ground, they need to show that they’re still strong,” he says.

The terrorism campaign launched during this past holy month of Ramadan is a case in point. 

“It was an extraordinarily bloody month, with multiple terrorist attacks across at least 10 different countries across the globe that were claimed in the name of ISIS,” Gartenstein-Ross says. 

“Losing 25 percent or 40 percent of their ‘state’ doesn’t mean that they lose 25 or 40 percent of their capabilities to carry out attacks abroad,” he adds. 

ISIS is not giving up on state-building either, says J.M. Berger of George Washington University. He’s a co-author of “ISIS: The State of Terror.” 

But the group’s propaganda has shifted. Instead of calling followers from the West to the caliphate, it's now asking them to stay put and carry out terrorist attacks where they are, no matter how small. 

Does its shrinking "state" undermine the legitimacy of ISIS? 

“It takes a lot of air out of the balloon. But not all of it,” Berger says. 

“A lot of their initial success and propaganda was based on a narrative that they were a very successful group, that they were holding this territory, that they had done things that nobody else had ever done,” Berger says. 

“It will be harder for them to mount that claim. I think it’s going to hurt them. But I don’t think it’s going to end them.”

The followers of ISIS are extremists, which means that many of them will not be easily dissuaded by facts on the ground, Berger says. 

“We’ve seen that ISIS itself is really a mutation that was born out of intense pressure and near-defeat” in the wake of the Iraq War. “When they face that [same near-extinction], we will see a new mutation.” 

Berger says it is too early to be optimistic about the defeat of ISIS as a network, which is quick to claim responsibility for all kinds of violent attacks. 

“What we’re seeing now is an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks that are emanating from ISIS, whether they’re actually directing those attacks … inspiring those attacks, or … successfully claiming credit for people who are mentally ill and carry out [acts of] violence.” 

European police say about 5,000 foreign fighters have answered the ISIS call to go fight in Iraq and Syria, and now about a third of those people have returned to Europe. 

However, Rob Wainwright, the director general of Europol, said recently that he believes ISIS is in decline. 

“I do think that in the end like all forms of terrorism, like all forms of terrorist groups, both domestic and international, they are ultimately defeated. And ISIS will be as well. How long it takes, I don’t know. Between now and then we live in a dangerous time,” Wainwright said.
Matthew Bell (follow) 
PRI.org
 Navy Seals Deploy in Afgh.

~~~~~~~~US Gets Hold of Terabytes of Data from ISIS

The U.S. is sifting through more than four terabytes of data gleaned from the U.S.-led coalition’s offensive on the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in the Syrian city of Manbij. It is the biggest data seizure from the radical Islamist group since the U.S. special forces raid on its finance chief Abu Sayyaf in May 2015.

Manbij has acted as a landing and sorting station for many ISIS foreign fighters after they have entered into Syria from Turkey, officials say, making the information vital to understanding the workings of ISIS’s foreign fighter network and preventing their return to Europe to carry out attacks.

“We think this is a big deal,” Colonel Christopher Garver, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Pentagon reporters in a video briefing from Baghdad on Wednesday, ABC reported. “We're learning about how they ran Manbij as a strategic hub.”

He continued: “It is a lot of material, it is going to take a lot to go through, then start connecting the dots and trying to figure where we can start dismantling ISIS.”

Members of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attend the funeral of eight fellow fighters who died during an assault against ISIS in the town of Manbij, in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane on June 24. The fighters have retrieved a huge trove of data that U.S. intelligence is using to learn about the group's foreign fighters, officials say.
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The gathered material, mostly in Arabic, includes items ranging from notebooks to laptops, as well as textbooks and USB drives.

“As a foreign fighter would enter, they would screen them, figure out what languages they speak, assign them a job—and then send them down into wherever they were going to go, be it into Syria or Iraq, somewhere,” he added. But he noted that no evidence had been discovered that suggested ISIS was sending fighters westwards to Europe.

After helping Iraqi forces capture Fallujah from ISIS in western Iraq last month, the U.S.-led coalition’s focus has been on liberating what is known as the “Manbij pocket” from ISIS.

The coalition is supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, with air strikes and special forces operating in an advisory and support role.

The SDF forces have advanced to the city’s outskirts and have given ISIS two 48-hour deadlines to leave the city, in order to prevent civilian casualties. While many ISIS operatives have fled, the coalition still needs to clear the city of remaining fighters before it can claim that it has been fully liberated.
 
Newsweek

December 13, 2014

“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” BShaw

“We need to cure the satiable taste for blood in mankind” (lag)


Article by WN.com Correspondent Dallas Darling
Over the last century democracy has become regarded as the ideal system of government. Osama bin Laden, and others like him, didn't think so. But if democracy is a pre-eminently legitimate form of government that provides a political and social structure within which people can live happy, fulfilled and responsible lives(1), why did he retaliate against the United States? He assumed in a democracy the entire population was accountable for their elected leaders and their actions. He also believed that "the will of the people" was responsible for America's militant and economically exploitive policies around the world. For bin Laden, then, American democracy appeared to be the rule of the militant many, the tyranny of the market majority. In attacking the Pentagon and World Trade Center, he also thought militarism and capitalism depended on each other. 
The same is true of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and their recent beheadings. While exposing the atrocities of the Syrian Civil WarJames Foley was beheaded by ISIL. David Haines and Alan Henning, who worked for humanitarian groups assisting refugees, were captured and beheaded. Peter Kassig was providing food, clothing, medicines, medical assistance, and trauma care to refugees when he was beheaded. At the time of his execution, Kassig was wearing an orange jump suit like those in Guantanamo Bay-a notorious prison camp where "suspected" terrorists have been tortured. Even if American and British citizens appear to be humanitarians, for ISIL they represent the world's two most powerful democracies. Democracies which are primarily militant and economically exploitive and ruled by the pathological many.
Bin Laden, who thought democracy was a "religion of ignorance", and ISIL are surprisingly in good company. Plato and Aristotle scornfully dismissed democracy as inherently unruly, corrupt and unstable. Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed democracy would lead to a "people of gods" resulting in primordial urges, domestic abuses, and foreign wars. "Democracy," wrote George Bernard Shaw, "substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." Even Thomas Jefferson had misgivings about democracy, claiming it "is nothing more than mob rule."(2) In the U.S. and Britain, militant majorities continually behead humanitarians through censorship, free speech zones, lack of public access, and imprisonment. A rapacious market destroys their aspirations and goals in trying to transform inequality and economic disparity.
At the same time, Western militant and market democracies have for decades waged imperial wars against Islamic societies. Others have exploited their natural resources and labor forces. Still, some have disregarded Islamic nations and their peoples by overthrowing popular rulers, as was the case when the U.S. toppled a democratically elected leader in Iran. From the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia, preemptive wars, lengthy military occupations, economic sanctions, promoting internal strife and divisions, and favoring some nations and peoples at the expense of others-like Israel and the Palestinians-have caused the deaths of millions of people, including tens of millions of refugees. This is why bin Laden and ISIL have little regard for militarized and market oriented democracies, along with their consenters.
Also, recall that when Jesus started to identify with the marginal ones, when he was moved to compassion and humanitarian concerns, it was then that the Roman Empire and religious rulers planned to kill him. Humanitarian and compassionate acts always constitutes a radical form of criticism, for it announces that the hurt and despair of others is to be taken seriously. At the same time, empathetic acts of social uplift declare that dehumanization and injury are not to be accepted as the norm but are an abnormal and unacceptable condition for humanness and society. Since empires live by numbness, personal emotional reaction is a type of public criticism against the numbness, against the blindness of the militaristic majority and corporatized many which demand allegiance or death.(3) It is why the democratic crowd, or mob rule, chose to execute Jesus.
Whether at home or abroad, democratic empires also directly or indirectly behead their own humanitarians. Can imperial and aggressive democracies behead so many reformers-with competing visions of economic equality and political liberty for all-that even the true meaning of democracy disappears? ISIL's beheadings of individuals is a misguided and symbolic representation, a defense mechanism, of their desire to behead politically militant and economically aggressive democracies wanting to rule their region. What is the U.S.'s and Britain's excuse? U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry just called ISIL's beheadings a cowardly act. Cowards are also those who fail to fight injustices in their own nation. The actors and bystanders who participate in the "crimes of war" committed by the same. The voracious and unequal profiteering performed by the majority.
Dallas Darling (darling@wn.com)
(Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, SpiritualityHistory, and Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. You can read more of Dallas' writings at www.beverlydarling.com and wn.com//dallasdarling.)
(1) Dupre, Ben. 50 Political Ideas You Really Need To KnowLondon, United KingdomQuercus Publishers, 2011., p. 24. 
(2) Ibid., p. 25, 26.

October 22, 2013

It’s 3am and Your Door is Tore Down and Lights and Guns Flash Your Face { isNot Democracy}

By  (about the author)      
by Official U.S. Navy Imagery (pic below)
"Democracy means that if the doorbell rings in the early hours, it is likely to be the milkman."--Winston Churchill

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/56594044@N06/7179931903/It's 3 a.m. You've been asleep for hours when suddenly you hear a loud "Crash! Bang! Boom!" Based on the yelling, shouting and mayhem, it sounds as if someone--or several someones--are breaking through your front door. With your heart racing and your stomach churning, all you can think about is keeping your family safe from the intruders who have invaded your home. You have mere seconds before the intruders make their way to your bedroom. Desperate to protect your loved ones, you scramble to lay hold of something--anything--that you might use in self-defense. It might be a 
flashlight, your son's baseball bat, or that still unloaded gun you thought you'd never need. In a matter of seconds, the intruders are at your bedroom door. You brace for the confrontation, a shaky grip on your weapon. In the moments before you go down for the count, shot multiple times by the strangers who have invaded your home, you get a good look at your accosters. It's the police.




Before I go any further, let me start by saying this: the problem is not that all police are bad. The problem, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, is that increasing numbers of police officers are badly trained, illiterate when it comes to the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment, and, in some cases, willfully ignorant about the fact that they are supposed to be peacekeepers working for us, the taxpayer.

Unfortunately, with every passing week, we are hearing more and more horror stories in which homeowners are injured or killed simply because they mistook a SWAT team raid by police for a home invasion by criminals. Never mind that the unsuspecting homeowner, woken from sleep by the sounds of a violent entry, has no way of distinguishing between a home invasion by a criminal as opposed to a government agent. Too often, the destruction of life and property wrought by the police is no less horrifying than that carried out by criminal invaders.

Consider, for example, the sad scenario that played out when a SWAT team kicked open the door of ex-Marine Jose Guerena's home during a drug raid and opened fire. Thinking his home was being invaded by criminals, Guerena told his wife and child to hide in a closet, grabbed a gun and waited in the hallway to confront the intruders. He never fired his weapon. In fact, the safety was still on his gun when he was killed. The SWAT officers, however, not as restrained, fired 70 rounds of ammunition at Guerena--23 of those bullets made contact. Guerena had had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home.

Seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was sleeping on her living room sofa, which was positioned under a window, when suddenly, the silence of the night was shattered by a flash grenade thrown through the living room window, followed by the sounds of police bursting into the apartment and a gun going off. Rushing into the room, Aiyana's father, Charles, found himself tackled by police and forced to lie on the floor, his face in a pool of his daughter's blood. It would be hours before Charles would be informed that his daughter was dead. The 34-year-old suspect the police had been looking for would later be found elsewhere in the apartment building.

Then there was the time police used a battering ram to break into the home of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnson, mistakenly believing her house to be a drug den. Fearing that burglars were entering her home, which was situated in a dangerous neighborhood, Johnson fired a warning shot when the door burst open. Police unleashed a hail of gunfire, hitting Johnson with six bullets. Johnson died.

Eighty-year-old Eugene Mallory suffered a similar fate when deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, claiming to have smelled chemicals related to the manufacture of methamphetamine, raided the multi-unit property in which Mallory lived. Thinking that his home was being invaded by burglars, Mallory allegedly raised a gun at the intruders, who shot him six times. Mallory died. "The lesson here," observed the spokesman for the sheriff's department, "is don't pull a gun on a deputy."

In Fort Worth, Texas, two rookie police officers sent to investigate a possible burglary circled 72-year-old Jerry Waller's house with flashlights shining. Waller, concerned that his home was being cased, went to his garage, armed with a gun for self-defense. The two officers snuck up on Waller, who raised his gun on the intruders. When Waller failed to obey orders to lower his gun, the officers shot and killed him. It turned out the officers had gone to the wrong address. They blamed the shooting death on "poor lighting."

During a raid in Ogden, Utah, police dressed in black and carrying assault rifles charged into a darkened home. Upon entering the hallway and encountering a man holding a shiny object that one officer thought was a sword, police opened fire. Three shots later, 45-year-old Todd Blair fell to the floor dead. In his hands was a shiny golf club.

In Sarasota, Florida, a mixture of federal and local police converged on the apartment complex where Louise Goldsberry lived after receiving a tip that a child rape suspect was in the complex. Unaware of police activity outside, Louise was washing dishes in her kitchen when a man wearing what appeared to be a hunting vest pointed a rifle at her through her window. Fearing that she was about to be attacked, Louise retrieved her revolver from her bedroom. Meanwhile, the man began pounding on Louise's front door, saying, "We're the f@#$ing police; open the f@#$ing door." Identifying himself as a police officer, the rifle-wielding man then opened the door, pointed a gun at Goldsberry and her boyfriend, who was also present, and yelled, "Drop the f@#$ing gun or I'll f@#$ing shoot you." Ironically, the officer later justified his behavior on the grounds that he didn't like having a gun pointed at him and because "I have to go home at night."

These incidents underscore a dangerous mindset in which civilians (often unarmed and defenseless) not only have less rights than militarized police, but also one in which the safety of civilians is treated as a lower priority than the safety of their police counterparts (who are armed to the hilt with an array of lethal and nonlethal weapons), the privacy of civilians is negligible in the face of the government's various missions, and the homes of civilians are no longer the refuge from government intrusion that they once were.

It wasn't always this way, however. There was a time in America when a man's home really was a sanctuary where he and his family could be safe and secure from the threat of invasion by government agents, who were held at bay by the dictates of the Fourth Amendment, which protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. 

The Fourth Amendment, in turn, was added to the U.S. Constitution by colonists still smarting from the abuses they had been forced to endure while under British rule, among these home invasions by the military under the guise of writs of assistance. These writs were nothing less than open-ended royal documents which British soldiers used as a justification for barging into the homes of colonists and rifling through their belongings. James Otis, a renowned colonial attorney, "condemned writs of assistance because they were perpetual, universal (addressed to every officer and subject in the realm), and allowed anyone to conduct a search in violation of the essential principle of English liberty that a peaceable man's house is his castle." As Otis noted:

"Now, one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one's house. A man's house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire. Bare suspicion without oath is sufficient."

To our detriment, we have now come full circle, returning to a time before the American Revolution when government agents--with the blessing of the courts--could force their way into a citizen's home, with seemingly little concern for lives lost and property damaged in the process. 

Actually, we may be worse off today than our colonial ancestors when one considers the extent to which courts have sanctioned the use of no-knock raids by police SWAT teams (occurring at a rate of 70,000 to 80,000 a year and growing); the arsenal of lethal weapons available to local police agencies; the ease with which courts now dispense search warrants based often on little more than a suspicion of wrongdoing; and the inability of police to distinguish between reasonable suspicion and the higher standard of probable cause, the latter of which is required by the Constitution before any government official can search an individual or his property. 

Indeed, if Winston Churchill is correct that "democracy means that if the doorbell rings in the early hours, it is likely to be the milkman," then it's safe to say that we no longer live in a democracy. Certainly not in a day and age when the Fourth Amendment, which was intended to protect us against the police state, especially home invasions by government agents, has been reduced to little more than words on paper.

August 19, 2013

The Partner of British Gay Journalist Detained at Heathrow On His Way Back From Russia


Glenn Greenwald on security and liberty



At 6:30 am this morning my time - 5:30 am on the East Coast of the US - 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, where he stayed with Laura Poitras, the US filmmaker who has worked with me extensively on theNSA stories. 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. When he arrived in London this morning, he was detained.
At the time the "security official" called me, David had been detained for 3 hours. The security official told me that they had the right to detain him for up to 9 hours in order to question him, at which point they could either arrest and charge him or ask a court to extend the question time. The official - who refused to give his name but would only identify himself by his number: 203654 - said David was not allowed to have a lawyer present, nor would they allow me to talk to him.
I immediately contacted the Guardian, which sent lawyers to the airport, as well various Brazilian officials I know. Within the hour, several senior Brazilian officials were engaged and expressing indignation over what was being done. The Guardian has the full story here.
Despite all that, five more hours went by and neither the Guardian's lawyers nor Brazilian officials, including the Ambassador to the UK in London, were able to obtain any information about David. We spent most of that time contemplating the charges he would likely face once the 9-hour period elapsed.
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" (David was not entering the UK but only transiting through to Rio). 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.
The stated purpose of this law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism. The detention power, claims the UK government, is used "to determine whether that person is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."
But they obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot. Instead, they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying. They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop "the terrorists", and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name.
Worse, they kept David detained right up until the last minute: for the full 9 hours, something they very rarely do. Only at the last minute did they finally release him. We spent all day - as every hour passed - worried that he would be arrested and charged under a terrorism statute. This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ.
Before letting him go, they seized numerous possessions of his, including his laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would.
This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.
If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further. Beyond that, every time the US and UK governments show their true character to the world - when they prevent the Bolivian President's plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did today - all they do is helpfully underscore why it's so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark.
David was unable to call me because his phone and laptop are now with UK authorities. So I don't yet know what they told him. But the Guardian's lawyer was able to speak with him immediately upon his release, and told me that, while a bit distressed from the ordeal, he was in very good spirits and quite defiant, and he asked the lawyer to convey that defiance to me. I already share it, as I'm certain US and UK authorities will soon see.

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