Alfred McCoy: It’s About Blackmail, Not National Security

By: Monday January 20, 2014 6:30 pm

Spying has a history almost as ancient as humanity itself, but every now and then the rules of the game change. This post-9/11 moment of surveillance is one of those game-changers and the National Security Agency (NSA) has been the deal-breaker and rule-maker. The new rules it brought into existence are simple enough: you — whoever you are and wherever you live on Planet Earth — are a potential target. Get used to it. The most basic ground rule of the new system: no one is exempt from surveillance.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Lloyd C. Gardner, Killing Machine: The American Presidency in the Age of Drone Warfare

By: Sunday January 5, 2014 1:59 pm

Lloyd Gardner’s new book is an in depth historical analysis of President Obama’s foreign policy during his first 5 years in public office. In 2008, many Americans had deep trust that President Obama was going to bring significant change into the White House and guide our country to a place of more “rightful” and lawful foreign policy strategies by putting an end to torture, drawing down the illegal Iraq War, and closing down Guantanamo prison. President Obama promised the American public more transparency and accountability, and adherence to the rule of law, without “looking back”.

Alone and Delusional on Planet Earth

By: Thursday September 5, 2013 5:45 am

In an increasingly phantasmagorical world, here’s my present fantasy of choice: someone from General Keith Alexander’s outfit, the National Security Agency, tracks down H.G. Wells’s time machine in the attic of an old house in London. Britain’s subservient Government Communications Headquarters, its version of the NSA, is paid off and the contraption is flown to Fort Meade, Maryland, where it’s put back in working order. Alexander then revs it up and heads not into the future like Wells to see how our world ends, but into the past to offer a warning to Americans about what’s to come.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Trevor Aaronson, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism

By: Saturday January 12, 2013 1:59 pm

In the days before Thursday’s start to the trial for alleged Portland Christmas Tree bomber Mohamed Osman Mohamud, pre-trial hearings revealed two new details. First, the government failed to reveal to the defense an effort to “pitch” Mohamud on October 27, 2009, 13 months before they arrested him in an FBI-created plot. This comes on top of earlier revelations about a key meeting the FBI failed to tape, another failure to reveal FBI contacts, and Abu Zubaydah’s brother’s claim that, as an FBI informant, he was asked to track the then-16 year old Mohamud as early as 2008.

Our Unilateral Counterterrorism Operations in Somalia

By: Tuesday July 12, 2011 3:00 pm

A detainee in what Jeremy Scahill describes as “a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shabab members or of having links to the group are held”–one with key US involvement–describes his internment this way.

“I have been here for one year, seven months. I have been interrogated so many times. Interrogated by Somali men and white men. Every day. New faces show up. They have nothing on me. I have never seen a lawyer, never seen an outsider. Only other prisoners, interrogators, guards. Here there is no court or tribunal.”

Afghanistan: “Debacle” is Something You Never Want to See in a Headline

By: Friday August 13, 2010 3:05 pm

After the failure this week of an independently-run Afghan National Army mission, it’s obvious somebody’s gotta clean house in Afghanistan. But who’s it going to be, when Afghan president Hamid Karzai can’t get his parliamentary act together and International Security Assistance Force is trying to be more hands-off?

Left-Right Agreement on Rules of Engagement, Strategy and Counterinsurgency?

By: Thursday July 1, 2010 7:15 pm

I might not agree with the way Uncle Jimbo puts everything in this video about the counterterrorism utility behind a counterinsurgent focus on reducing civilian casualties, but he dispenses quite effectively with the canard that counterterrorism can be successfully divorced from a strategy that invests the local populace in Blue Team/White Hat advances.

Perhaps there’s a better way of doing that than a resource-intensive counterinsurgency strategy, but I’ve yet to hear one that persuades me.

The Death of Due Process -or- The Perils of Giving John Brennan Unchecked Power

By: Friday June 25, 2010 1:30 pm

Would John Brennan be Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor right now if Americans knew the full extent of his role in targeting Americans for illegal wiretapping?

Mudd Wrestling and Torture: Veteran CIA Counterterrorism Specialist Linked to Torture Quietly Retired Weeks Ago

By: Wednesday April 21, 2010 7:05 pm

Spencer’s got one of the big scoops of the day: that Philip Mudd left the FBI about six weeks ago (so early March). The timing of his departure is notable, given Mudd’s role in the CIA and the Counterterrorism Center in 2002-2003.

Those Republicans, Always Downplaying The Threat Of Terrorism

By: Sunday January 3, 2010 5:00 pm

It’s OK to admit that al-Qaeda’s capabilities are eroding as ours are improving!

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