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Entries in War on Terror (11)


EA Animated Video: A 4-Point Guide to Obama's Not-Quite-War-On-Terror

On 23 May, President Obama set out what he claimed what was a new US approach to threats abroad: "We must define our effort not as a boundless 'global war on terror' – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America."

So what is this not-quite-War-on-Terror? Your 4-point animated guide....

1. A War By Any Other Name is Just as Deadly
2. We Are Killing Them To Bring Your Boys Home and To Prevent Attacks on You
3. The Fear Will Never Stop
4. Where Did Our Values Go?


US Feature: Obama's Man Writing the "Playbook" for the "War on Terror" (DeYoung)

John Brennan & Barack Obama (Pete Souza/White House)In his windowless White House office, presidential counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is compiling the rules for a war the Obama administration believes will far outlast its own time in office, whether that is just a few more months or four more years.

The “playbook,” as Brennan calls it, will lay out the administration’s evolving procedures for the targeted killings that have come to define its fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It will cover the selection and approval of targets from the "disposition matrix", the designation of who should pull the trigger when a killing is warranted, and the legal authorities the administration thinks sanction its actions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond.

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War on Terror Special: How Britain's Rendition Sent "Suspects" to Qaddafi's Libya (Cobain)

Fatima Bouchar's case is different from the countless other renditions that the world has learned about over the past few years, and not just because she was one of the few female victims.

Documents discovered in Tripoli show that the operation was initiated by British intelligence officers, rather than the masked Americans or their superiors in the US. There is also some evidence that the operation may have been linked to a second British-initiated operation, which saw two men detained in Iraq and rendered to Afghanistan. Furthermore, the timing of the operation, and the questions that Bouchar's husband and a second rendition victim say were subsequently put to them under torture, raise disturbing new questions about the secret court system that considers immigration appeals in terrorist cases in the UK – a system that the government has pledged to extend to civil trials in which the government itself is the defendant.

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War on Terror Feature: Don't Tell the US Border Police You Do Islamic Studies (Stewart)

Pascal AbidorOn May 1, 2010, Pascal Abidor was riding an Amtrak train from Montreal to New York. His parents live in Brooklyn, and he was on his way to visit them. The school year at McGill had just ended, and he felt relieved and calm as the train rolled south towards America.

At about 11 a.m., the train arrived at the U.S. border and made a routine stop. A team of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers boarded the train and advanced through each car, questioning passengers. Pascal had made this trip countless times before, so when a customs officer approached him, he didn’t give it a second thought.

But Pascal had never met Officer Tulip.

After looking over Pascal’s U.S. passport and customs declaration, Officer Tulip asked two simple questions: Where do you live, and why?

Pascal answered that he lived in Canada. He lived in Canada because that’s where he was pursuing a PhD in Islamic Studies.

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Yemen Feature: Drones & the Killing of an American Teenager (Greenwald)

Salon's Glenn Greenwald explores the moral and legal issues surrounding the use of drone strikes against militants by the United states. As the US draws down the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of drones is the newest iteration of the "War on Terror", and Anwar Awlaki's 16 year old son is one of it's most recent collateral casualties:

Two weeks after the U.S. killed American citizen Anwar Awlaki with a drone strike in Yemen — far from any battlefield and with no due process — it did the same to his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, ending the teenager’s life on Friday along with his 17-year-old cousin and seven other people. News reports, based on government sources, originally claimed that Awlaki’s son was 21 years old and an Al Qaeda fighter (needless to say, as Terrorist often means: “anyone killed by the U.S.”), but a birth certificate published by The Washington Post proved that he was born only 16 years ago in Denver. As The New Yorker‘s Amy Davidson wrote: “Looking at his birth certificate, one wonders what those assertions say either about the the quality of the government’s evidence — or the honesty of its claims — and about our own capacity for self-deception.”

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Reflecting on 9-11: What the War on Terror Has Cost the US...and Us (Dunn)

The near decade of war that followed the attacks has been destructive of America’s geopolitical position. The two wars have cost the US more than $3 trillion and have been fought, unlike all previous wars, while simultaneously cutting taxes. The result, together with the 2008 financial crisis, is that the US is $14 trillion in debt, is in a deep recession, and is too politically divided to agree a pathway out of this crisis.

Geopolitically, while the US has focused on the Middle East, the international system has been dominated over the last decade by the rise of new emerging powers, most notably China, but also by India, Brazil, Russia and others.

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Bin Laden Follow-Up: He Didn't Change the Arab World --- He Changed "America" (Engelhardt)

Bin Laden’s greatest wizardry was performed on us, not on the Arab world, where the movements he spawned from Yemen to North Africa have proven remarkably peripheral and unimportant.  He helped open us up to all the nightmares we could visit upon ourselves (and others) -- from torture and the creation of an offshore archipelago of injustice to the locking down of our own American world, where we were to cower in terror, while lashing out militarily.

In many ways, he broke us not on 9/11 but in the months and years after.

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Bin Laden Follow-Up: Osama, Obama, and the LOLs of History

How does a nation still looking for justice almost ten years after the worst terrorist attack in its history react when the attack's mastermind is captured? With solemnity, celebration, and the sharing of funny pics.

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WikiLeaks War-on-Terror Special: How the US Pressured Germany To Drop the Khaled al-Masri "Rendition" Case

At the end of 2003 Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen,was abducted in Macedonia, flown to Afghanistan, and interrogated and allegedly tortured by the CIA for several months. He was released in May 2004 after high-level officials concluded he had been detained in error, probably because of the similarity of his name to that of an al-Qa'eda operative. 

In February 2007, amidst growing pressure for legal action against those responsible for the abduction and abuse of el-Masri, the Deputy Chief of the US Mission approached Germany's Deputy National Security Advisor: "Our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German Government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S."

Yesterday, almost four years after that meeting, a German court rejected el-Masri's lawsuit seeking to force the German government to prosecute the American operatives involved in his kidnap and interrogation.

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The War on Terror: Who are the Remaining US Prisoners in Guantanamo? (Worthington)

Of the hundred or so prisoners seized in Pakistan — mostly in house raids, but also in random raids on mosques, on buses and in the street — all but these 40 have been released. The cases of those released reveal, in general, how US intelligence was often horrendously inaccurate, and how opportunism often played a part in the actions of the Pakistani authorities, who were being rewarded financially. As [Pakistan's] President Musharraf admitted in his 2006 autobiography, In the Line of Fire, in return for handing over 369 terror suspects to the US, “We have earned bounty payments totaling millions of dollars.”

Moreover, of the 13 men whose stories are described in this chapter, many appear to be victims of the same failures of intelligence or opportunism as those already released.

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