"Most Americans today have no idea that since 9/11, one single organization has been responsible for hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other. That organization isn’t Al Qaeda, the terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden and responsible for the spectacular 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. And it isn’t Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al-Shabaab, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any of the other more than forty U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations. No, the organization responsible for more terrorist plots over the last decade than any other is the FBI. Through elaborate and expensive sting operations involving informants and undercover agents posing as terrorists, the FBI has arrested and the Justice Department has prosecuted dozens of men government officials say posed direct—but by no means immediate or credible—threats to the United States."-The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism by Trevor Aaronson (Excerpt)
So remember that time everyone was in a frenzy over Afghan protesters overreacting after an alleged “isolated” Quran burning with “no malicious intent”?
The National Counterterrorism Center released its annual report on terrorism this week. The findings in a nutshell:
Seventeen U.S. private citizens worldwide were killed by terrorist attacks in 2011. These deaths occurred in Afghanistan (15), Jerusalem (1), and Iraq (1). Overall, U.S. private citizen deaths constituted only 0.13 percent of the total number of deaths worldwide (12,533) caused by terrorism in 2011.
So to be clear, there were no terrorism-related deaths in the US last year (which has held true for every year since 9/11). And out of the seventeen American deaths worldwide, all of them occured in countries we’re militarily occupying or actively assisting the occupation of.
Meanwhile, we’ve spent over a trillion dollars in the War on Terror, our budget reserves ten times the amount for military spending as it does for education and health services, and our government justifies civil rights violations using the overwhelming threat of “Islamic terrorism.”
When will people realize just how absurdly overblown that threat is? Moreover, when will our government admit responsibility for the cycle of violence that results in the few deaths that DO occur from terrorism? The “threat” is used to justify military occupation, while that occupation itself is in large part the source of the threat.
Reopening Nato supply: Pakistan's Justification for a $5,000 fee per container
ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan and the United States make some headway in bilateral talks, Islamabad’s demand for $5,000 per container for transporting goods to Afghanistan through its territory remains the biggest stumbling block.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has ruled out paying Pakistan this amount, but officials familiar with the talks say Islamabad’s demand is “neither irrational nor out of the blue.”
The supplies made to Isaf and Nato forces stationed in Afghanistan have ruined Pakistan’s road infrastructure over the last nine years of cooperation, they added.
The infrastructure was used for eight years without paying any charges. In the ninth year, the US started paying a nominal handling fee of $220 per container to National Logistic Cell – the army’s logistics arm, officials said. Terming Pakistan’s demand as “extortion,” Senator John McCain, a former Republican presidential aspirant, had claimed that the US was paying $250 per container to Pakistan.
The US can’t just continue to not acknowledge the cost its wars have on other countries and expect unconditional support without anything in return.
Roads in Pakistan can withstand ten years of normal traffic, but a single NATO container causes the damage of 1500-2000 cars. This has resulted in $1.6 billion worth of damage to Pakistan’s infrastructure, not to mention the costs incurred from scanning, inspection and examination of the supplies, environmental impact, and port services. Also worth noting: the alternate route would cost double the amount Pakistan is asking.
"What that means is, as soon as a member of al Qaeda sets foot on American soil, the first thing he hears after ‘You are under arrest’ is, ‘You have the right to remain silent, you have a right to be provided an attorney and if you can’t afford one, one will be provided for you. […] There may be differences about how we treat illegal aliens who come here as members of al Qaeda to conduct terrorist attacks, but I think the vast majority of people in this body and around the country do not think telling them they have the right to remain silent as the first thing they hear is a wise thing."-
Texas Rep. Mac Thornbury’s incredibly stupid reasoning behind voting against a bill to end indefinite detention in the United States. The measure was defeated by the House earlier today.
What Thornsbury and the 237 people who sided with him fail to acknowledge is that the implications of the National Defense Authorization Act that was passed late last year do not merely affect the rights of Al Qaeda terrorists; they present an unprecedented assault on the civil liberties of all Americans. Earlier this week, US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest ruled the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision unconstitutional, saying it had a ”chilling impact on First Amendment rights.” Forrest found that reporters and activists had a reasonable fear that the government could deem them to have provided support to someone associated with terrorist groups simply by interviewing them.
I had been hoping Obama would say something intelligent about what drove Abdulmutallab to do what he did, but the President uttered a few vacuous comments before sending in the clowns. This is what he said before he walked away from the podium:
‘It is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations … to do their bidding. … And that’s why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death … while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress. … That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.’
But why it is so hard for Muslims to ‘get’ that message? Why can’t they end their preoccupation with dodging U.S. missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Gaza long enough to reflect on how we are only trying to save them from terrorists while simultaneously demonstrating our commitment to ‘justice and progress’?
Does a smart fellow like Obama expect us to believe that all we need to do is ‘communicate clearly to Muslims’ that it is al Qaeda, not the U.S. and its allies, that brings ‘misery and death’? Does any informed person not know that the unprovoked U.S.-led invasion of Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and displaced 4.5 million from their homes? How is that for ‘misery and death’?" -Ray McGovern: The Obama Team Just Doesn’t Get It: US Violence and Occupation Spark Terrorism
"So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders – Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It’s what I’ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it’s not extremism. It’s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland. So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don’t have to agree with my beliefs – no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home.
But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed ”terrorism” and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become “the terrorists” who are ”killing Americans.” The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 ½ centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It’s the mentality of colonialism."
Afghan villagers pray over the grave of one of the 16 victims killed in a shooting rampage in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province, on March 24, 2012. Mohammad Wazir has trouble even drinking water now, because it reminds him of the last time he saw his 7-year-old daughter. He had asked his wife for a drink but his daughter insisted on fetching it. Now his daughter Masooma is dead, killed along with 10 other members of his family in a shooting rampage attributed to a U.S. soldier. The soldier faces the death penalty but Wazir and his neighbors say they feel irreparably broken. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
From The Atlantic’s March 2012 collection of images from Afghanistan.
The fact is, the American and Pakistani publics are entirely ignorant of a drone strike in Pakistan until after it occurs, and then we have little more than rumors. The hundreds of plausible drone attacks in Pakistan are documented by a handful of Pakistani papers or international press agencies in articles that, once stripped of their veneer explaining the political sophistication of the issue, are hardly longer than a Craigslist posting announcing the street corner where you can pick up a used bicycle. […]
Where, exactly, did the attack happen? What, exactly, is meant by terms like “militant compound”? Are the compounds being attacked ever near other compounds, or perhaps near homes? Are they near mosques, or schools? How many people are killed? What names do those bodies, often charred beyond recognition, bear? Were they carrying their Taliban, Haqqani or al-Qaida bomb-proof identity cards? Or maybe there is some tracking device on their bodies that allowed the Hellfire to home in on a signal? Or is there some local informant, no doubt entirely objective and well-versed in international law, who attested to the nature of those being targeted? Did those killed ever take part in armed action against NATO or ISAF forces? Did they ever cross over the border to Afghanistan?
No one in America or elsewhere can answer these questions, at least not publicly." -Umar Farooq on the ongoing drone operation in Pakistan which has killed between 467 and 815 civilians, 178 of them children, while injuring at least 1100.
"They guaranteed no civilians would be killed again, but we don’t believe them any more."-Haji Mehboob, an elderly resident of Kandahar who found three of his family members wounded after the recent shooting spree in Afghanistan. Six years ago, a US bombing that killed several Taliban members also killed at least 50 civilians.