Saturday, June 30, 2012

Time To Investigate Muslims, Again

King: Time to investigate Muslims, again

Congress's Biggest Islamophobe, Rep. Pete King, Is Opening His Fifth Set Of Hearings Into American Muslims

TUESDAY, JUN 19, 2012 12:25 PM EDT
Courtesy Of "Salon"

Everywhere Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., looks, he sees Muslims. You know, the gun-wielding, burqa-wearing, America-hating, “stealth-jihadi,” “creeping Shariah,” terrorist type. They enthrall him. So much so, in fact, that not only has he built his entire political career on championing the fight against them, but he’s also fantasized about their destruction in the pages of a mediocre techno-thriller he wrote in 2003, sensationally titled “Vale of Tears.”  “This is something I am absolutely fixated on,” he once admitted.
It came as little surprise, then, when the jowly Long Island sexagenarian announced that he would hold his fifth (count ‘em) congressional hearing on the supposed “radicalization” of the American Muslim community.
The spectacle is set to kick off tomorrow in room 311 of the Cannon House Office Building — a stately chamber that in 1967 hosted the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ investigation into links between race riots and Communist infiltration. It is an appropriate place for King’s witch hunt, one might say.
This time, the panel plans to examine the American Muslim community’s “response” to the four previous hearings. Translated into Peter King language, this means that they will likely consider every single instance of objection or protestation to the inquiries as further evidence that Muslims are a hostile group or religious believers.
It is that kind of logic — stereotyping an entire religious faith as “radical” before a national audience and then pointing to their complaints about being prejudiced as proof that they are indeed fanatics — that has typified King’s hearings thus far.
King has repeatedly suggested that he meets with law enforcement officials and they tell him “how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders.” It would seem, then, that the objective way to convince the American public of that claim would be to call on law enforcement officials who could confirm that such a thing was true.
Objectivity, though, has been absent from this hyper-partisan heyday for a reason: It would disprove King’s accusations. Better, then, for him to avoid the evidence that would make him look bad — evidence that suggests that Muslims do cooperate with law enforcement officials and that claims of increased “radicalization” within the Muslim American community are simply unfounded.
Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that cooperation from the Muslim and Arab-American communities has been “absolutely essential” in identifying and preventing potential terrorist threats. FBI Director Robert Mueller noted that, “Many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States.” Former National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter argued that “Many of the tips to uncover terrorist plots in the U.S. come from the Muslim community,” and Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca lauded the praise that his office receives from Muslims living in California. Moreover, the Triangle Center for Terrorism and Homeland Security reports that the Muslim-American community has been one of the largest sources for information on potential attacks in the U.S., and the Muslim Public Affairs Council shows that Muslim cooperation has been key to foiling some 40 percent of al-Qaida-related attacks in the U.S. since 2001.
Given that the NYPD, the FBI, the CIA and several other law enforcement agencies have spied on the American-Muslim community and trained their agents using material that is unquestionably Islamophobic, it’s a wonder that they feel compelled to cooperate at all. Still, they have, but that’s not good enough for King.
“I’m aware of a number of cases in New York where the community has not been cooperative,” he said. He has never explicitly stated just how many cases he is aware of and when pressed, he grimaces, clears his throat and huffs about his close friends, the police, who share secret information with him that must remain “off the record.”
And so, in place of evidence and objectivity, King’s hearing will feature the testimony of one of his friends who will tell him exactly what he wants to hear. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim-American physician who moonlights as a self-described “expert” on Islam will appear before the panel a second time (he testified during the first hearing) to enumerate the ways in which members of his faith group have supposedly gone astray.
Jasser is a rising star in the Islamophobia industry. His wavy black hair, voguish eyeglasses, colorful neckties, and eagerness to toe the Republican line suggest that he is a “good Muslim,” one who is fully assimilated in the American culture. He is much like a trophy — someone whom various agitators of the political right hold up as shining proof for their talking points. “[You are] the one Muslim that we were all searching for after 9/11,″ Glenn Beck once gushed.
Muslim activist groups have protested Jasser’s influence in the political sphere, including his recent appointment to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. They point to his involvement with anti-Muslim groups and his litany of stereotypical statements. Jasser has been featured in several anti-Muslim films, including “Islam vs. Islamists” and Newt Gingrich’s 2012 documentary “America At Risk: The War With No Name,” and was the narrator of “The Third Jihad,” a propaganda flick produced by Aish HaTorah, a radical Israeli settler group in the West Bank that refracts anti-Muslim animosity through the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. The group was behind the 2008 film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.”
Most recently, Jasser’s foundation, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy received a $10,000 donation from Nina Rosenwald, a right-wing Zionist who has spent her Sears Roebuck-inherited fortune fanning flames of Islamophobia.
If King’s stated intention is to shed light on the American Muslim community’s response to the previous hearings, Jasser’s presence is certainly not the way to do that. He is hardly a representative of the faith group and is despised by many mainstream American Muslims.
But King must surely know that.
He also must know that this is not an impartial hearing that seriously examines issues of radicalization and extremism, but rather, a political performance in which a carefully selected cast appears before an audience and delivers a rehearsed script under the guise of fairness and neutrality.

FBI To Coordinating Domestic Intelligence Activities

By Greg Miller,
Published: June 19, 2012
Courtesy Of "The Washington Post"

The FBI has been given an expanded role in coordinating the domestic intelligence-gathering activities of the CIA and other agencies under a plan enacted this year by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., officials said.

The bureau’s highest-ranking field agents now also serve as the DNI’s representatives across the country.

The change is intended to improve collaboration, but some officials say it has created new friction between
the FBI and CIA.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, assistant director of national intelligence, said the move is meant to enhance the FBI’s ability to lead efforts by federal, state and local authorities to confront terrorist threats and other domestic security concerns.

“This is a connecting bridge between intelligence and law enforcement,” Flynn said in an interview. He added that the DNI designation does not give regional FBI officials power over other agencies’ operations or personnel.

The program was endorsed by CIA Director David H. Petraeus and officials at other affected agencies. But concerns have surfaced in some regional offices that the FBI is exploiting its new clout at the CIA’s expense.

One former U.S. official said senior FBI agents recently used a meeting with executives from major manufacturing companies on the West Coast to instruct them to cut off contact with the CIA.

The FBI’s message was that “they were now in charge of relationships with the corporate sector, so the folks there should feel no need to deal with the agency,” said the former U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. The FBI agents apparently were not aware that a former CIA officer was among the executives in attendance. The former official declined to provide more details about the location of the meeting or its participants.

FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said that officials could not confirm the alleged incident and that such a statement to company executives by an FBI agent would be inaccurate.

Although the CIA is best known for its spy work overseas, the agency has stations in most major U.S. cities.

The National Resources Division, as this group is known, routinely debriefs executives, university officials and other Americans who volunteer to share information gathered on their trips out of the country. The CIA is also allowed to approach foreign nationals in the United States and try to recruit them as spies upon their return to their home countries.

The FBI dramatically expanded its domestic intelligence-gathering operations as part of a reorganization after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Flynn said the DNI program is not meant to disrupt CIA efforts in the United States. “This program doesn’t change the authorities of the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security or anybody else in the system,” he said. “But there is more of a responsibility to share and work together.”

It is unclear whether the change will require the CIA to disclose more information about its domestic sources. In his memoir, former senior CIA official Henry A. Crumpton writes that during his tenure as head of the National Resources Division, the FBI “repeatedly demanded the identities of NR sources” and he refused.

The new DNI program began as a pilot operation in four cities — New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago — and was expanded to 12 regions covering the entire country this year.

The program is analogous to an arrangement overseas in which CIA station chiefs serve as the nation’s senior intelligence officers and main points of contact with their foreign counterparts. A 2009 proposal to change that policy and give the DNI power to select officers from other spy services prompted a fierce bureaucratic battle that the CIA won.

A CIA spokeswoman said the agency has not opposed the move to elevate FBI agents in the United States.

“The CIA endorses and supports the DNI’s decision,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood. “The decision makes sense, and the program is working well. DCIA Petraeus has already met with several of the domestic DNI representatives and has been impressed with them and with their cooperation.”

West's Idea Of Nuclear Disarmament Doesn't Include Itself

By Russ Wellen,
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 10:30
Courtesy Of "Truth-Out"

The West insists on nuclear nonproliferation but refuses to reciprocate with meaningful disarmament.
When dueling narratives clash and the subject is nuclear weapons, the sparks that fly could make flashing sabers seem dim in comparison. According to conventional thinking in the West, Iran is not abiding by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and restraining itself from all nuclear weapons activities. Thus, it should be denied its right to enrich uranium. But in the view of much of the rest of the world, the West is making little more than cosmetic efforts to roll back its nuclear arsenals. Therefore, it has no business denying Iran nuclear energy - not to mention nuclear weapons (but that's another story).
In other words, the side that committed to disarming thinks that the side that promised not to proliferate continues to proliferate. And the side that promised not to proliferate thinks that the side that committed to disarming is not disarming.
In truth, abundant evidence exists that any nuclear weapons work Iran has done since 2003 is conceptual - if that - work which is not expressly forbidden by the NPT. The uranium Iran enriches to the higher levels that worry the West seems to be for medical isotopes, which are used for radiation therapy, as well as diagnosis. Combined with enrichment at lower levels for nuclear energy, it serves as a bargaining chip in negotiations.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Imperfect Arbiter
The drafters of the NPT, as with any treaty, sought to balance the needs of different parties. In this case, it was between Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) and non-NWS. Signatories among the latter forfeited their rights to develop or acquire nuclear weapons; the former, meanwhile, promised to roll back the numbers of their weapons with an eye toward total disarmament. In addition, they would assist non-NWS to establish their nuclear energy programs and use their own possession of nuclear weapons to extend an umbrella of deterrence to certain non-NWS.
Ideally, the NPT bestows equal benefits on all parties, but, like many treaties, it's riddled with loopholes and gray areas. For example, Article 6 - debated nigh unto death - is chock full of them. It reads: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
Where there should be key words are noncommittal terms. For example, preceding "to pursue" with "undertakes" adds a preliminary step that almost seems designed to allow parties with nuclear weapons to stall. "Good faith" may be inherent to contracts, but in the context of a nuclear treaty, it sounds Pollyanna-ish. "Effective measures" and "early date" are much too open to interpretation.
With regards to disarmament, a recent report that the Obama administration may be considering reducing the total numbers of deployed strategic nuclear weapons to as low as 300 generated a flurry of excitement - and a blizzard of overwrought reactions from conservatives. Whether or not the leaked news was just red meat for conservatives, no weapon reductions will be enacted until after the election.
In fact, even though President Obama assumed office with an apparent personal investment in disarmament, his administration seems to have suffered few qualms about letting it, if not exactly die, then wither on the vine. When push came to shove over the New Strategic Arms Reduction (START) treaty, it bet the farm to secure Republican ratification of a treaty that guaranteed little more than verification and confidence building. The administration proposed to increase funding for nuclear-weapon modernization to $88 billion during the next decade - 20 percent more than the Bush administration sought. Even the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee balked at such exorbitance in the current economic climate and allocated $500 million less than the administration's $7.6 billion request for fiscal year 2013.
As Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, recently wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine: "Obama has let the bureaucracy suffocate his plan to move step by step toward, as he said in Prague, 'the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.'" Cirincione explained that, "there are far more entrenched officials and contractors that benefit from the sprawling nuclear complex than officials who believe in the president's stated vision."
The apparent intention on the part of the United States to fund its own program into perpetuity at however fluctuating levels likely isn't lost on non-NWS. This realization has finally begun to rear its head in established media such as the London Review of Books. In the February issue, national-security specialists Campbell Craig and Jan Ruzicka write of the vast sums that the Obama administration committed to nuclear-weapon modernization.
What clearer demonstration could there be that the US government is not serious about reducing its stockpiles? Central to the idea of nonproliferation is the presumption that if smaller states are to be discouraged from acquiring a bomb, nuclear states will need to take real steps towards disarmament. Otherwise, non-nuclear states will regard their demands as self-serving and hypocritical - reason enough to think about creating an arsenal of their own.
Extending this line of thinking one step further, New START may not only seem perfunctory to non-NWS, but might also look like a smokescreen for continued nuclear-weapons funding.
Disarmament and Nonproliferation: No Longer Two Sides Of The Same Coin
According to conservatives and many realists, it's not the enduring nature of our nuclear-weapons infrastructure that's lost on non-NWS. It's those disarmament measures themselves, which, by their reckoning, are much more substantial than they appear to non-NWS. They believe that disarmament "leadership" by NWS does little to discourage non-NWS from proliferating. If anything, disarmament creates a national-security vacuum into which non-NWS can't wait to insert themselves.
In a briefing for the Hudson Institute, where he's a senior fellow, Christopher Ford, who served as US special representative for nuclear nonproliferation for the George W. Bush administration, describes the argument that NWS have failed to demonstrate the requisite disarmament leadership to non-NWS. "First," writes Ford, "it explicitly assumes that the commitment of the NWS [nuclear weapons states] to the ideal of disarmament lacks credibility, and implicitly assumes that the United States is both the most important locus of the problem and the key to its resolution."
This point of view was illustrated by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini in a 2011 speech during which he said, "The greatest violators of the NPT are the powers that have reneged on their obligation to dispose of nuclear weapons mentioned in Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty." Credibility may also be undermined by NWS toleration for Israel's nuclear-weapons "ambiguity." Another likely sticking point for non-NWS is the 123 Agreement that the United States signed with India, which, like Israel, is not party to the NPT. Notable for its lack of a call for disarmament on India's part, it provided for full cooperation on nuclear energy between India and the United States.
Second, Ford writes, the thesis "assumes that if this disarmament 'credibility gap' is closed, it will be possible to meet today's proliferation threats much more effectively and with a much wider base of diplomatic support." But, he maintains, "few people seriously argue that countries such as Iran and North Korea seek nuclear weapons simply because the United States or other NWS possess such devices themselves, and that proliferators' interest in such devices would accordingly diminish if only the United States reduced its arsenal further."
We decided to ask authorities on arms control and/or disarmament this two-part question implied by Ford's summary of the credibility thesis:
One: "Do you agree that nuclear-weapons states, especially the United States, have yet to show non-nuclear-weapons states enough in the way of disarmament to convince them that the nonproliferation waters are safe?" Two: "Do you think that, were the disarmament measures of NWS sufficient, some non-NWS would still seek nuclear weapons? If so, what then is the best route to nonproliferation?"
Michael Krepon, co-founder of The Stimson Center and regular contributor to the respected blog Arms Control Wonk rejects the premise of the first question. "The United States and Russia," he replies, "have reduced their nuclear stockpiles by 70%. Is this not 'substantive disarmament'?"
Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the founder of Arms Control Wonk also does not "agree that the United States has done too little to convince NPT signatories that the nonproliferation waters are safe." In fact, he thinks that the "frame that you've chosen is a straw-person that right-wing opponents impute to those of us who would seek a world where the growing obsolescence of nuclear weapons is reinforced by the legally binding agreements."
Besides, he reminds us, the NPT is not "a bargain between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' - it is a commitment by the 'have nots' to one another to remain that way. Whom do North Korea's nuclear weapons threaten most? The United States? Or non-nuclear Japan and South Korea?"
"The agreement among the non-nuclear weapons states to remain that way," said Lewis, "is either forgotten or obscured in many of these debates."
However, Lewis does believe "that the United States can, and should, do more to demonstrate its commitment to Article 6. In particular, the United States should ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty [CTBT]."
Greg Thielmann is a senior fellow of the Arms Control Association. First, he states that my characterization of the New START treaty as "'little more than verification and confidence building" does not do it justice. Then, he writes: "Although I would have preferred deeper cuts, restoring and improving on a verification regime for the two parties' strategic forces was a critical prerequisite for any subsequent steps." He also relates a little-known story about New START that casts the president in a more resolute light: "What I find especially impressive about Obama's determination was his rejection of his political advisers' advice in late November 2010 (according to Rahm Emanuel) that he postpone New START ratification in the lame duck session because it was too difficult and jeopardized other political objectives. Had he done so, I believe the treaty would never have been ratified."
Whether non-NWS would be as quick to credit the president is another matter. Continuing with question one, Thielmann states that the Obama administration has "demonstrated its NPT Article 6 bona fides during the last three years." Its "positions and efforts on shrinking the role of nuclear weapons, on endorsing CTBT ratification, and on leading an international campaign to achieve nuclear security improvements put it at the forefront of the nuclear weapons states on disarmament."
Thielmann concedes that non-NWS "want to see more done to reduce nuclear arsenals by the US, Russia, China, the UK, and France - as do I." He's also willing to answer the question of whether some non-NWS would still seek nuclear weapons even if they deemed NWS disarmament measures sufficient. While, he writes, the disarmament "thus far is significant ... in and of itself, [it] will not be sufficient to satisfy those states, which see their own nuclear weapons development as necessary for security or desirable to enhance influence."
Taking up where Thielmann left off, Ward Wilson, who directs the Rethinking Nuclear Weapons Project at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, notes that "nuclear weapons have become a currency of power in international relations. Irrespective of their actual utility, they are perceived as the key to great power status. Before proliferation can be definitively halted, not only do nuclear-armed states have to do better at disarming, but the belief that nuclear weapons are the sine qua non of international status has to be broken."
Wilson concludes: "Disarmament progress was nil during the first 20 years of the NPT, but since then there has been real, if painfully slow, progress. Even if disarmament progress were faster, however, some states would still want to proliferate. Disarmament by nuclear-armed states is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to halt proliferation."
We All Just Want To Be Safe
Ultimately, national security is as foremost in the minds of those who believe that disarmament leadership acts as an incentive to keep non-NWS from proliferating as it is in the minds of those who think it's immaterial. The latter are apprehensive about a national-security gap opening when non-NWS ignore NWS disarmament measures and proceed to proliferate. Disarmament advocates are at least as concerned with the existingnational-security gap created by nuclear risk. They believe that the deterrence crowd underestimates the chance of nuclear war breaking out as a result of an accident, miscommunication or that relic of the cold war - the launch-on-warning setting to which many nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia are still dialed.
Due to the staggering number of variables that come into play, comparing the threat of steeply reducing the number of nuclear weapons with that posed by their very existence would likely be an exercise in futility.
There's no guarantee that a steep rollback in the number of nuclear weapons won't result in the opening of a national-security gap. Whether one does or not, it can't be denied that negotiating the span to a nuclear-weapons-free future requires a leap of faith. But launching ourselves into an era of disarmament, however frightening, certainly beats waiting for nuclear weapons - our own or another's - to launch.

Ad Finem

Post by "Sayf Maslul"

On the white throat of the' useless passion
That scorched my soul with its burning breath
I clutched my fingers in murderous fashion,
And gathered them close in a grip of death;
For why should I fan, or feed with fuel,
A love that showed me but blank despair?
So my hold was firm, and my grasp was cruel--
I meant to strangle it then and there!

I thought it was dead. But with no warning,
It rose from its grave last night, and came
And stood by my bed till the early morning,
And over and over it spoke your name.
Its throat was red where my hands had held it;
It burned my brow with its scorching breath;
And I said, the moment my eyes beheld it,
"A love like this can know no death."

For just one kiss that your lips have given
In the lost and beautiful past to me
I would gladly barter my hopes of Heaven
And all the bliss of Eternity.
For never a joy are the angels keeping,
To lay at my feet in Paradise,
Like that of into your strong arms creeping,
And looking into your love-lit eyes.

I know, in the way that sins are reckoned,
This thought is a sin of the deepest dye;
But I know, too, if an angel beckoned,
Standing close by the Throne on High,
And you, adown by the gates infernal,
Should open your loving arms and smile,
I would turn my back on things supernal,
To lie on your breast a little while.

To know for an hour you were mine completely--
Mine in body and soul, my own--
I would bear unending tortures sweetly,
With not a murmur and not a moan.
A lighter sin or a lesser error
Might change through hope or fear divine;
But there is no fear, and hell has no terror,
To change or alter a love like mine.

[Ella Wheeler Wilcox]

Memory Of Forbidden Love

Post by "CavalierZee"

Artist "Makis Ablianitis"
Song "Love Secret"

Meet A Paralyzed Man Who Tweets With His Eyes


Post by "CavalierZee"

How a stroke victim who lost all motor control used Twitter for the first time this week

This is Tony Nicklinson. For the past seven years he's lived in a state of complete paralysis after suffering a stroke. Nicklinson is in the midst of a court battle for the right to end his own life -- he's called his post-accident existence "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable" -- but on June 13, the Brit did something uniquely remarkable: he made his debut on Twitter using only his eyes.

Nicklinson's lost all motor function as a result of his stroke, although his powers of thinking and reasoning are undiminished. The only remaining parts of his body that can move are his eyes. It's symptomatic of a condition called locked-in syndrome, named for the way in which patients who suffer from it are effectively trapped inside their own bodies.

With the help of a computer that tracks his pupil activity, Nicklinson logged onto Twitter from his wheelchair Wednesday and sent a single tweet. Within 24 hours, he had racked up nearly 2,500 followers. In the days since, Nicklinson's sent a handful of new messages, but follows only one other account --@C4Dispatches, operated by the British television channel that produced a video of Nicklinson's tweeting.


Courtesy Of "The Atlantic"

Friday, June 29, 2012

The “War On Terror” Creates “Islamic” Terrorism

By Danios
Source: "Loon Watch"
Posted Jun 18, 2012
Courtesy Of "The American Muslim"

Following the 9/11 attacks, President George Bush signed into law the Patriot Act and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA), both of which gave “the government sweeping authority to spy on individuals inside the United States.”  IRTPA also established theNational Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which began publishing annual terrorism reports since 2005.  The 2011 report, released to the public last week, ominously warned of “the persistent treat terrorism poses.”

Yet, the NCTC’s own data belies its predetermined conclusions: the threat of terrorism to the average American is virtually non-existent.  In the entire year of 2011, exactly zero civilians in the U.S. were killed by terrorism.  In fact, not a single civilian in the U.S. has been killed by Islamic terrorism since 9/11, well over a decade ago.  Put another way: more Americans are killed from being crushed to death by their television sets than by terrorism, a realization that should put “the persistent threat” of terrorism into some much-needed perspective.

The same is the case across the pond: Europol has released yearly terrorism reports since 2006.  Going through these, one cannot find a single civilian in Europe who has been killed by Islamic terrorism.  (It should be noted, however, that the as of yet unreleased 2012 report will no doubt reflect the Toulouse shootings, which resulted in the death of four civilians.)  Indeed, the truth is that less than 1% of terrorism in Europe is by Muslims.

In other words, the threat of Islamic terrorism in the Western world is very minimal.  It has been grossly exaggerated in order to justify the multiple wars being waged in Muslim majority countries.  The charge is led by anti-Muslim ideologues, but the overarching premise–that Islamic terrorism is a great threat to Western civilization (even an existential threat to it)–is accepted by virtually all segments of American society.

Not only do Muslims inflict zero civilian deaths in America and Europe, they bear the brunt of terrorism in the Middle East and South Asia.  The 2011 NCTC report found that the vast majority of deaths from religious terrorism were in fact Muslims.  The report reads:

• In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined,Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.
• Muslim majority countries bore the greatest number of attacks involving 10 or more deaths, with Afghanistan sustaining the highest number (47), followed by Iraq (44), Pakistan (37), Somalia (28), and Nigeria (12).
• Afghans also suffered the largest number of fatalities overall with 3,245 deaths, followed by Iraqis (2,958), Pakistanis (2,038), Somalis (1,013), and Nigerians (590).

The bulk of these terrorist attacks (68%) were carried out by Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and the Taliban (see p.11 of the report).

Based on these two facts–1) that Muslims are the number one victims of Islamic terrorism, and 2) that Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and the Taliban are most responsible for this—the American mind, fully ensconced in the national mythology, reaches the conclusion that Muslims ought to support America’s War on Terror; or, worded in an even more imperial tone:

Muslims should be grateful to us for fighting for them against the Bad Guys.

And yet, grateful is the last word to describe Muslim sentiment.  Muslims around the globe (including in Afghanistan and Iraq), overwhelmingly disapprove of the so-called War on Terror.  In fact, they hold very negative views of the United States (at least in regard its foreign policy), viewing “‘U.S. interference in the Arab world’ as the greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East.”  This, in spite of the majority holding very negative views towards Al-Qaeda and its tactics.

So, why aren’t these Moozlums grateful for all that we’ve done for them?

It’s because they know what is painfully obvious: it is U.S. military intervention in the region that is most responsible for creating the problem of terrorism.

This becomes very clear if we look at the three countries that have reported the highest number of terrorism-related fatalities (according to NCTC data):  Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  These three countries alone accounted for 64% of terrorism-related fatalaties in 200574% in 2006,77% in 200759% in 2008, 61% in 200966% in 2010, and 70% in 2011.

Iraqis specifically have suffered the most from terrorism: according to the NCTC, from 2005 to 2007 some 55-65% of terrorism-related fatalities occurred in Iraq alone.  The 2009 reportdeclared: “Since 2005, Iraq continues to be the country with the most attacks and fatalities due to terrorism.”

The report also stated that the group most responsible for terrorism was (and continues to be) Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).  What the NCTC failed to point out, however, was that (in the words of Barack Obama) “Al-Qaeda in Iraq…didn’t exist before our invasion.”  Al-Qaeda in Iraq was founded with the intent to “[e]xpel the Americans from Iraq” and topple the interim government propped up by the United States.  The Iraqis can thank the United States for creating the conditions that spawned this terrorist group, as well as for the resulting violence.

In fact, is it very easy to see the correlation between the U.S. invasion and terrorism in Iraq using the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents (RDWTI), which has tracked terrorist incidents for several decades.

In the year before the Iraq War (from 3/19/2002 to 3/19/2003), there were only 13 terrorist attacks and 14 terrorism-related deaths in Iraq.  In the year after the Iraq War (from 3/20/2003 to 3/20/2004), there were 225 terrorist attacks and 1,074 terrorism-related deaths.  In other words, the U.S. invasion of Iraq resulted in an over 1700% increase in terrorist attacks and an over 7600% increase in terrorism-related deaths in just one year.  

At the height of the Iraq War, there were 3,968 terrorist attacks, resulting in 9,497 deaths–which amounts to an over 30,000% increase in terrorist incidents and over 67,000% increase in terrorism-related deaths as compared to pre-war years.

Here is a graphical representation to help visualize the data from RDWTI:

With the U.S. invasion Iraq went from having a virtually non-existent terrorism problem to becoming the world champion of terrorism, a title it continued to hold up until 2010.  It is difficult to attribute this to mere coincidence.

In 2011, Iraq dropped to second place, being overtaken by another one of America’s arenas of war: Afghanistan.  This war-torn country is a second example of how U.S. military interventioncreated the problem of terrorism.

According to the NCTC reports, the Taliban have been responsible for the vast majority of terrorism-related deaths in Afghanistan.  Yet, prior to the invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were not terrorists, at least not how the term is commonly employed today by the United States.  Certainly, they were theocratic tyrants who imposed a frighteningly fundamentalist interpretation of Islam on the Afghan people.  But, the Taliban at this time weren’t associated with Al-Qaeda style tactics such as suicide attacks, car bombs, or IED explosives.

The RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents supports this assertion, recording only two incidents involving the Taliban in the year prior to 9/11: an assassination attempt of a rebel leader and a rocket attack.

As government documents reveal, it was only after ”[t]he Taliban was driven from power in late 2001, during the course of a United States-led invasion of Afghanistan” that “the Taliban has operated as a violent insurgent organization–bent on driving the United States and its allies from Afghanistan…resort[ing] to armed violence: car bombings; suicide strikes; rocket attacks; kidnappings; and murder.”  The Taliban resorted to terrorist tactics in their fight against foreign occupiers and the U.S.-installed puppet regime in Kabul.  This conflict, almost wholly a result of U.S. actions, is responsible for the violence and wave of terrorism that has rocked Afghanistan for the last decade.

Using the data from RDWTI, we find that in the year just prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, there were only three terrorist attacks in the country, resulting in eight fatalities. By 2008, the number of terrorist attacks had jumped to 450 and the number of terrorism-related deaths to 1,228.  In other words, the U.S. War in Afghanistan resulted in a 150,000% increase in both terrorism related incidents and deaths. 

Here’s what it looks graphically:

The U.S.-led War in Afghanistan has created a worsening terrorism problem for Pakistan as well.  There are many complex reasons for this spike in violence within Pakistan (which is beyond the scope of this article), but all are ultimately rooted in America’s War on Terror.  Using the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents, we find that there was an over 750% increase in terrorism-related fatalities in Pakistan as a result of America’s war (568 deaths in 2008 as compared to 73 in 2000).

Lest Democratic supporters be tempted to think that the blame belongs to George Bush’s administration alone, let them be informed that war-making has bipartisan consensus.  

President Barack Obama has continued the legacy of warring in the Muslim world.

We can actually trace American war-making using Muslim corpses as an indicator.  Obama promised to shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan.  U.S. troop levels in Iraq decreased by 400%from 2007 to 2011; coincidentally, in the same time span there was a 400% decrease in Iraqi fatalities from terrorism (according to NCTC data).

Meanwhile, Noble Peace Prize winner Barack Obama increased U.S. troops in Afghanistan by 300% between 2008 and 2011.  According to NCTC data, between 2008 and 2011 there was anover 230% increase in terrorist attacks and over 150% increase in terrorism-related deaths in Afghanistan.

Obama has also stepped up the war in Pakistan.  NCTC data reveals a 600% increase in terrorism-related fatalities in Pakistan from 2005 (338) to 2011 (2,033).  In 2011, Pakistan had the dubious honor of entering into the top three when it comes to terrorism, coming behind Afghanistan and Iraq.  What but the War on Terror could have so efficiently created such an epidemic of terrorism in Pakistan?

Before the so-called War on Terror, levels of terrorism in Muslim lands were similar to what they were in other parts of the world.  For example, the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents indicates that, up until the U.S.-led War on Terror, the Middle East and Latin America had similar incidents of terrorism; it was only after the U.S.-led War on Terror that terrorism in the Middle East shot way up:

In the year 2000, there were a total of 404 terrorist attacks in all of the Middle East and South Asia.  By 2006, this number jumped to 5,738–an increase of more than 1400%!  This is what America’s War on Terror has done for terrorism in the Muslim world.

The same trend holds for terrorist attacks globally.  In the year 2000, there were 1,151 total terrorist attacks.  By 2006, this number had rocketed up to 6,660.  In other words, the U.S.-led War on Terror caused a more than 570% increase in worldwide terrorism.

Islamophobes would have us believe that it is Islam itself that is responsible for the upsurge in terrorism.  Most Americans, even many liberals, believe that “radical Islam” is the root of the problem.  The data, however, suggests that it is the United States of America that is most responsible for creating the conditions on the ground that inexorably lead to terrorism.

It is difficult to deny the correlation between the U.S.-led War on Terror and the rise of terrorism worldwide.  Is it not a great irony of our times that the very policies designed to combat terrorism are most responsible for creating terrorism?  To add another layer of perverse irony, the steep rise in terrorism–a direct result of U.S. action–is used to justify further such action.

In the words of Glenn Greenwald:

How could any rational person expect their government to spend a full decade (and counting) invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting huge numbers of innocent children, women and men in multiple countries and not have its victims and their compatriots be increasingly eager to return the violence?

But it is Muslims who not only have to deal with American “inva[sions], droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting huge numbers of innocent children, women and men”, but also have to bear the brunt of the terrorism that inevitably follows.  It is truly a double whammy for them.

The vast majority of Americans will never face religious terrorism in their lives: less than 1% of terrorism victims are U.S. civilians.  Meanwhile, up to 97% are Muslims.

It is truly an Orwellian world we live in.  The nation most responsible for creating rampant terrorism lays the blame on the victims of such terrorism.  Muslims are told that “they aren’t doing enough to combat terror”, even while Americans do their utmost to reflexively continue such action that would ensure the continued survival–nay, the rapid proliferation–of terror.

The Dirty Art Of Secret Assassination

3290149 300x187 Intelligent kill: The dirty art of secret assassination

By Mohammad I. Aslam
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 3:00 am
Courtesy Of "The Independent"

State-sponsored foreign assassinations of military, religious, ideological and political figures are an ugly reality of world history.
By means of sudden, irregular or secret attack, there is even a common euphemism in international law which bluntly describes the practice: targeted killing.
According to a UN special report on the subject, targeted killings are “premeditated acts of lethal force employed by states in times of peace or during armed conflict to eliminate specific individuals outside their custody”.
And it works something like this.
A state deems a certain individual wanted or a danger to its national security. After ruling out any feasible attempt to bring them to their own jurisdiction, usually because they are based in a third country, it deems itself responsible with silencing them by whatever means necessary.
The operational dynamics are then conducted under the auspices of one of two possible dimensions.
Either to eliminate the target under a fog of plausible deniability, in order for the state authorities to wash their hands clean of any discreditable action in a foreign land, and by extension any prosecution should its agents be captured; or to have blatant disregard to the norms of international law by reference to domestic constitutions that empower them to act under the guise of self-defence – in order to protect themselves from imminent threats of attack.
The use of targeted killing has become quite common in the aftermath of 9/11. U.S. Predator drones strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan and the Yemen, Israeli airstrikes against Palestinian leaders in the occupied territories and Russian targeting of Chechen separatists in the Caucasus — are just a few recent examples.
But the covert practice of this art has always been a lot murkier.
In 1942, formerly secret memos now reveal how the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) secretly trained Czechoslovakian volunteers to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, one of the most feared men in Nazi Germany, in a daring ambush on his motorcade.
Alternatively, the main security services of the Third Reich, the RSHA, had in place its own clandestine unit which planned to target Allied soldiers with poisoned coffee, chocolate and cigarettes; as part of a ruthless terrorist campaign.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s equivalent of the CIA, the KGB, poisoned two of its dissidents abroad, once by firing a tiny Ricin-infested pellet from a specially designed umbrella into the target’s leg; and on another occasion by a spray gun firing a jet of poison gas from acrushed cyanide ampoule.
But even when the intended targets happen to miraculously survive a surreptitiously planned death, the devil that’s in the detail can be just as intriguing.
The CIA attempted to kill Cuban dictator Fidel Castro on numerous occasions by utilizing everything from exploding cigars, mafia contractors and femmes fatales — albeit without success.
On another occasion, the CIA unsuccessfully attempted to kill the Republic of Congo’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, using a tube of doctored toothpaste which would have left him dead, apparently of Polio.
In 2004, Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yushenko was poisoned with TCDD, the most toxic form of Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins, otherwise known as Dioxins, by what is largely suspected were pro-Russian individuals within the state’s security apparatus.
Although many of the shrewd techniques that have been secretly used in the murder of dissidents and enemies abroad have long been acknowledged in the post-cold war era, many practices may still be eluding us by virtue of remaining shrouded in anonymity, even to this day.
But generally speaking, secret state-sponsored targeted killings are still synonymous with booby-trapped car bombs, sniper hits, exploding cell phones and even small arms fire.
In recent years, however, the art of these smart assassinations – designed in the most part to make a person’s death look somewhat natural – have now been refined by the most unthinkable of materials.
And you don’t have to look beyond what happened to Alexander Litvenenko, a former officer in Russia’s internal security force, FSB, and critic of Vladimir Putin’s rule, in London on November 2006.
After meeting what he ostensibly thought were two former KGB officers for tea in a hotel bar, within hours he was hospitalized with mysterious symptoms including progressively severe hair loss, vomiting and diarrhea for three weeks — before he ultimately succumbed to his horrible death.
His post-mortem finally furnished us with details. He was poisoned it turns out, with tiny a nuclear substance, the radioactive isotope, Polonium-210. Its acute radiation syndrome that he ingested virtually meant he had no chance of survival.
The UK authorities were able to piece together trails of the material as left by the culprits, incidentally right back to Russia itself, where almost all the world’s polonium is produced.
The logic of administering such toxic materials was in fact deliberate. Polonium-210 is something which is normally undetectable; as a rare radioactive isotope it emits alpha particles, not the common gamma radiation that standard radiological equipment would detect in hospitals.
The accused culprits may have underestimated the determination of the British authorities to uncover the whole plot, but simultaneously the incident also told us something; the Russians were not going to play by the old rules – they were going to rewrite them.
It would be wrong to assume, however, that biological poisons, chemical agents and nuclear materials are the only things used in smart killings. In fact, the use of materials designed for rudimentary medical procedures have also taken on a new course.
Israel’s Mossad, long considered the most effective intelligence agency in the world per magnitude, and no stranger to the world of targeted killing in foreign countries, has two shiny examples.
In September 1997, Mossad agents sprayed Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal with the poison Levofentanyl – a modified version of the widely-used painkiller Fentany – by using a small camera which served as a trajectory. Although the agents were later apprehended, and eventually exchanged the antidote (following lengthy behind-the-scenes negotiations before it was eventually given to the victim), the audacity of the materials they used spoke volumes: it was designed not to leave any visible or tell-tale signs of harm on the target’s body.
In January 2010, Hamas military commander Mohammad Al Mabhouh was found dead in his Dubai hotel room in what initially appeared to be death by natural causes.
However, upon thorough investigation, not only were 26 suspects (believed to have emanated from Israel) fingered, but the circumstances surrounding his death also soon transpired.
Al Mabhouh was injected in his leg with Succinylcholine, a quick-acting, depolarizing paralytic muscle relaxant. It causes almost instant loss of motor skills, but does not induce loss of consciousness or anesthesia. He was then apparently suffocated — ostensibly to quicken the pace of his death.
In his bestselling book, Gordon Thomas, author of Gideon Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad, gives a chilling and detailed account of how the Mossad uses Biochemists and genetic scientists in order to develop lethal cocktails as bottled agents of death.
This includes the development of nerve agents, choking agents, blood agents, and blister agents – including Tuban (virtually odorless and invisible when dispensed in aerosol or vapor form), Soman (the last of the Nazi nerve gasses to be discovered which also has a slightly fruity odour and is invincible in vapour format), blister agents (which include chlorine, phosgene and diphosgene, and smell of new-mown grass) and blood agents (including those with a cyanide base).
The point to extrapolate is clear. States that employ the practice of smart assassination techniques see them as effective strategies that are justified. They don’t need to admit to carrying them out, but we know they are happening.
An obvious concern raised here is that their almost pathological unwillingness to answer questions about the consequences of resorting to such assassinations – or covert targeted killings – will result in the practice becoming more widespread.
The arbitrary stretching of legal justifications for such assassinations, premised on what an individual country recognizes as self-defence, indirectly renders them to be bound by no limits — and by extension may serve as encouragement for other nations to follow suit, if they interpret their national security considerations being failed by international treaty and cooperation.
Just last month, British Police warned two outspoken Rwandan dissidents of threats to their lives by the Rwandan government, which could come in ‘any form’ or by ‘unconventional means’.
Perhaps this is all just a worrying reflection of international pusillanimity. But the truth is that fear does not grow unless it’s fed. Even if we sigh with relief, or at the very least with muted approval, at the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden and his associates; it also raises the question of whether or not such actions are any less morally culpable than Russia daring to kill those it designates as traitors so mercilessly in Central London.
The greatest failure may have been the failure to face the truth.
Either way, it will take more than occasional public condemnation, the mewing of pitiful apologies by impotent politicians and the visionary words of empty treaties to finally bring to fruition the unequivocal call for ending this decades-long practice.