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Is there a better alternative to drone strikes for counterterrorism in northwest Pakistan?
[…]Looking at how residents in the FATA have behaved in other violent campaigns is instructive. In early 2009, the Pakistani Army announced its campaign to “clear” the Swat Valley, north of Islamabad, of terrorist groups that had been systematically murdering elders and tribal policemen and destroying hundreds of schools and other government buildings. As the campaign proceeded, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said more than 300,000 people fled the fighting. By the end of the campaign, more than 1 million people got displaced by the army-Taliban fighting in Swat, which left the region completely devastated.
There have been no reported mass movements of people fleeing the drones in the last four years. The mere threat of a Pakistani army offensive into Waziristan, however, prompts thousands to flee in terror. There are several possible explanations: for example, people in heavily affected drone areas might be terrified to leave their houses.
But there is a simpler explanation: Perhaps drones are not as scary as opponents claim.
Read more. [Image: Ho New/Reuters]
Rush Limbaugh and others on the right have uncovered a shadowy alliance of evil-doers with wildly disparate evil interests has formed to advance a single evil goal: reelect President Obama. Members of the evil super group hail from Pakistan, the Tropic of Cancer, Washington, D.C, Hollywood, and Twitter, each with a special talent for boosting Obama or crippling the Republican Party. Meet the Committee to Reelect the President, a secret society only recently uncovered by Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report, and how they do their dastardly deeds.
Read more. [Image: Serena Dai]
A few minutes ago, I received an email proclaiming the opening of a new cultural institution, “The Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History.”
Several artists are showing work in the Tipton Three Exhibition Space, and there’s a critical studies center as well. If you look up the place on Google Maps, you can see it above.
But The Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History is not actually a real place, but a clever alternate reality fiction predicated on the idea that Gitmo’s closed and that Americans wanted to come to terms with what went on there.
Read more. [Image: Google Maps]
Role-playing participants use high-end paintball guns to attack a guy wearing pads and a bin Laden costume in what looks… like a bare room.
[…] Of course, none of this would probably work if the guy running the whole operation, Commander Larry Yatch, wasn’t a former Navy SEAL himself, getting people involved in the fantasy through his own connection to the reality.
Read more. [Images: Sealed Mindset Studios / Facebook]
Having flattened so many laws (and a good many innocents) in pursuit of the terrorist, the American majority is naturally loath to focus its attention on a terrorist who looks, talks, and dresses as they do. It is particularly uncomfortable for those in the country who feel most reflexively safe when “an American” is beside them on a plane, instead of a bearded man with a turban. Watching Oak Creek, that subset of Americans was put in a position to realize that a day prior they’d have identified with the terrorist more than his victims.
And so they quickly looked away."
Why do we spend at least 1,000 times more money protecting ourselves from terrorism than we do protecting ourselves from gun violence? I’m not necessarily suggesting that we spend less on anti-terrorism programs. Like everyone else, I am grateful there have been no mass casualty terror events since 9/11. I’m just wondering, instead, what possible justification there could be for spending so relatively little to try to reduce the casualties of gun violence. […]
Our government has asked us consistently since 9/11 to sacrifice individual liberties and freedom, constitutional rights to privacy for example, in the name of national security. And we have ceded these liberties. Yet that same government in that same time hasn’t asked anyone to sacrifice some Second Amendment rights to help protect innocent victims from gun violence.
As long as President Obama is listening, Daniel Klaidman is writing, and Washington seems interested, U.S. District Judge William G. Young reckons it’s as good a time as any to pitch an idea he’s been tinkering with for a few years. It’s a bold suggestion, designed to solve one of the most difficult problems raised by the war on terror, and to work it would require leaps of faith and policy that seem far beyond the cognitive ability of the current crop of public officials. But surely it’s worth the conversation. Nearly 11 years after 9/11, perhaps its time to listen carefully to a serious judge with a practical plan.
A 1985 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, Judge Young, as you will see below, already has earned himself a measure of immortality in the world of terror law. And now he’s back with an earnest pitch: Why not prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terror suspects in federal civilian court at the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? If Mohammed can’t be brought to the federal courts, how about bringing more of the federal courts to Mohammed?
When Newt Gingrich arrived in Paris last week to speak to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian exile umbrella group that’s been based there since shortly after the 1979 revolution, he seemed to know exactly who Maryam Rajavi is. He praised Rajavi and her work several times in his speech, which he delivered as the prominent exile stood at his side. Before the speech, as he neared the end of a long line of attendees who stood in the rain to shake his hand, he turned to face Rajavi, smiled, and at approximately 1:02 minutes into the above video, folded at the waist and bowed solemnly. Rajavi, clothed head-to-toe in green, handed him a bouquet of flowers as the crowd cheered.
Maryam Rajavi, the woman who so warmly received Newt Gingrich’s bow, is the president-elect of the NCRI. But she’s better known as the “principal leader” of Mujahadeen-e-Khalq or MEK, which is officially designated by the United States as a terrorist group.