Posts filed under 'Terrorism'

IOKIYAR In Action

Democratic opposition to domestic spying by a Republican president: 73%.  Democratic opposition to domestic spying by a Democratic president: 70%.

Republican opposition to domestic spying by a Republican president: 50%.  Republican opposition to domestic spying by a Democratic president: 77%.

Of course this refers only to Democratic and Republican voters.

August 17th, 2013 at 12:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

A Foolish Consistency Is The Hobgoblin Of Little Minds

I would love to see what the OMG OBAMA DIDN’T SAY TERRORISM BECAUSE HE LOVES TERRORISTS right-wing jackasses will say if it turns out that the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be one of their own, what with the bombings taking place at the site of the original Tea Party on Tax Day and all.  Probably complain about how they’re being persecuted and stereotyped.

April 15th, 2013 at 07:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

With Democrats Like These…

Thank God we got those crazy security state Republicans out of the White House, right?

…Right?

December 13th, 2012 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Democrats,Obama,Terrorism,Wankers

This Surprises… No One

Worst. President. Ever.

While [the pre-August 6 PDBs] are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.

History will not be kind.  I just wish Bush’s punishment was something a little more… substantive than the scorn of future generations.

September 11th, 2012 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Terrorism,Wankers

Selectively Small Government

Funny how Republicans and conservatives are all about small government when it comes to guns, regulating or taxing rich people and corporations, or helping the poor, the sick, and the elderly, yet they can’t get enough government when it comes to voting and registration requirements, security theater, domestic spying, immigrants, drug laws, prisons, abortion, or anything to do with the military.

Why, it’s almost as if “small government” is just a convenient excuse for letting moneyed interests have whatever they want at the expense of everyone else, rather than a bedrock principle conservatives sincerely believe in.

September 5th, 2012 at 07:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Taxes,Terrorism,Unemployment,Wankers,War

The Joy Of Partisanship

One of my biggest disappointments since Obama’s election has been not just Obama’s despicable betrayal of Democratic ideals, but liberals and Democrats’ complete willingness to overlook those ideals simply because he’s nominally a member of the same team.  Conservatives did the exact same thing when Bush was president, but I had really hoped progressives were better than that.

When loyalty trumps principles, those principles become meaningless.  And right now neither party has any recognizable principles other than supreme executive power and blind loyalty to moneyed interests.

March 14th, 2012 at 07:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Foreign Policy,Obama,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers,War

I’m Not Sure They Thought This Through…

From a HuffPo story about how the peculiar Mormon practice of retroactively “baptizing” dead people (often Jews) as Mormons might affect the Florida GOP primary:

Any Mormon may baptize any person posthumously. Church members have performed the ritual on Buddha, Catholic popes, 9/11 hijackers, William Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, Elvis Presley, President Obama’s mother and even reportedly Jesus Christ.

So… That means that it was Mormons who attacked the United States on 9/11.  I can only assume Dubya didn’t know about this, otherwise he might have tried to invade Catholicism.

1 comment January 26th, 2012 at 07:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Religion,Romney,Terrorism,Weirdness

“No Apparent Esthetic Value”

Note To Self: Stay out of Long Beach.

Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department  policy.

McDonnell spoke for a follow-up story on a June 30 incident in which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a North Long Beach refinery.

“If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,” says McDonnell, “it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer’s subject has “apparent esthetic value,” officers make such judgments “based on their overall training and experience” and will generally approach photographers not engaging in “regular tourist behavior.”

Wow.  I have been run off by cops and security guards before, and even told that I was not allowed to take photos of the PPG buildings above eye level(!), but detainment?  For taking pictures with no “apparent esthetic value”?  That describes roughly 90% of every picture I’ve ever taken.  In fact, the photo that got Wolff detained looks uncannily like it could be one of mine.

Remember, when they outlaw cameras, only outlaws will have cameras.  Or something.

1 comment August 15th, 2011 at 08:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Art/Architecture,Terrorism,Wankers

Going After The Real Jihadis

Jennifer Rubin follows up her mega-wrong OMG NORWAY JIHAD!!!ONE! post with one explaining that even though this time it wasn’t actually al Qaeda, “[t]here are many more jihadists than blond Norwegians out to kill Americans.”

Which may be true, but it does kinda beg the question: How many terrorist attacks on American soil have been committed by jihadists vs. right-wing Christian conservatives?

If you want to be gung-ho about going after jihadists, at least be consistent about going after all the jihadists, not just the Muslim ones.

And maybe the economic ones, too…

1 comment July 24th, 2011 at 10:59am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Great Moments In Irony

More bitter than amusing, I’m afraid:

Masudur Rahman, a professor of Arabic at the University of Memphis, and Mohamed Zaghloul, Imam at the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis, were asked to deplane Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 5452 from Memphis to Charlotte. They were subjected to additional security checks after the plane had pushed back from the gate, Rahman told Reuters by telephone.

After additional screening, the two men were cleared by Delta representatives to re-board the plane, but were then told the pilot would not take them, Rahman said.

(…)

The two men were headed to a North American Imams conference where they were scheduled to lead prayers. This year’s conference is discussing Islamophobia or fears of Islam and discrimination against American Muslims.

Sigh.  At least we know the conference is still relevant.

1 comment May 7th, 2011 at 05:35pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Racism,Terrorism,Wankers

Windication!

As I predicted, Republicans are hailing the death of Osama bin Laden as a great victory forGeorge W. Bush.  Only.  Also.

Because, after all, without Dubya’s decision to use military force against terrorism, we never would have killed bin Laden… with a small strike force in a heavily-fortified compound in a military town in a country we didn’t invade.

And without Dubya’s decision to use torture against detainees, we never would have found him… after torture didn’t work.

So if the right wants to give Dubya credit for killing bin Laden three years after he left office, does this mean that they’re finally ready to give him credit for the deficit and economic slump too?

May 3rd, 2011 at 08:03am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Economy,Iraq,Obama,Palin,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture,Unemployment,Wankers,War

NOOOO THEY BE TAKIN MY BOOGEYMAN!!!

Man, it must be driving conservatives crazy that their favorite scary monster has finally been slain… by a Democrat.  Now they have to explain that he was never really a big deal in the first place, and how killing him will only make terrorism worse, but that it also totally vindicates George W. Bush.

I’d throw in a show-me-the-death-certificate joke, but pretty much everyone else in the country had the exact same thought…

1 comment May 2nd, 2011 at 07:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

Al Qaeda, Nonviolence, And The Dictator’s Dilemma

Interesting story in today’s NYT about how al Qaeda has been marginalized by the mostly nonviolent wave of democracy sweeping the Middle East, demonstrating decisively that dictatorships can be toppled without the use of violence and terror – and also, I think, that most Muslims are more hungry for democracy and freedom than in swapping secular oppression for religious oppression.

I believe that one of the reasons nonviolence has been so successful is that it heightens what I call The Dictator’s Dilemma – that is, how do you crack down on an incipient revolution with sufficient force to disperse it without turning your own military and government against you?  If the revolution is a screaming angry mob hurling stones and insults at the troops, they will find it a lot easier to use force – in self-defense, if nothing else.

But if the revolutionaries are singing songs and welcoming the troops as brothers, the line of acceptable brutality moves considerably.  Depending on how strong the military’s loyalty to the dictator is, it may be impossible to goad them to sufficient violence to break up the resistance.  This is what happened in Egypt, and is partially happening in Libya, although Qaddafi has dampened it a bit with his use of mercenaries.

In any case, I’d like to think that this means that al Qaeda’s moment is past, but I fear it will simply spur them to focus more on the United States, Israel and Europe.  Although the fewer US-backed brutal dictators there are in the Middle East, the smaller the terrorist recruiting pool will be.  Something our government really should consider but won’t.

February 28th, 2011 at 08:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foreign Policy,Terrorism

The Perfect Scam

The secret to avoiding Michael Chertoff’s Rapiscans?

Pay $180 for Michael Chertoff’s Clear ID!

Maybe he’s supplying the surgical grope-gloves too.  Boy, I sure am glad that the Bush era of cronyism and corruption is finally over…

November 22nd, 2010 at 07:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Terrorism,Wankers

Holiday Travel Tip

Always be sure to focus your groin before traveling by plane.

You’ll thank me.

November 16th, 2010 at 07:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Terrorism

The War On Terror Really Is Global!

Joe “You lie!” Wilson defends himself against his opponent’s accusations that he’s taking vacations at the taxpayers’ expense:

In one ad, Miller accuses Wilson of taking congressional junkets to locales such as France, Costa Rica, Greece, and Italy.

Wilson said Tuesday the trips “were all military trips to support our troops in combat zones and to show respect for veterans. Every trip that I’ve been on has been to support our military. It’s been with the Foreign Affairs Committee to learn of how I can back up our efforts to make sure our troops are protected around the world.”

He added, “When you arrive in country and you are presented body armor, this is not a vacation. Obviously, I consider it an insult to me, it’s an insult to our troops. If I’m on vacation (visiting the troops) the implication is the troops are on vacation. They are not. They’re defending the families here at home, by defeating the terrorists overseas.”

Ah yes, the deadly combat zones of France, Costa Rica, Greece and Italy.  Rob Miller should be applauding Wilson for his courage in visiting these dangerously unstable locales!

Oh, and bonus chutzpah points for pretending Miller’s ad insults the troops more than using them as vacation props does.  Well played.

October 21st, 2010 at 05:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers,War

Selective Lone-Nuttery

Stanley Fish had a nice column in yesterday’s NYT pointing out the cynical inconsistency of right-wing reaction to terrorist attacks, depending on the perpetrator:

In the brief period between the bombing and the emergence of McVeigh, speculation had centered on Arab terrorists and the culture of violence that was said to be woven into the fabric of the religion of Islam.

But when it turned out that a white guy (with the help of a few of his friends) had done it, talk of “culture” suddenly ceased and was replaced by the vocabulary and mantras of individualism: each of us is a single, free agent; blaming something called “culture” was just a way of off-loading responsibility for the deeds we commit; in America, individuals, not groups, act; and individuals, not groups, should be held accountable. McVeigh may have looked like a whole lot of other guys who dressed up in camouflage and carried guns and marched in the woods, but, we were told by the same people who had been mouthing off about Islam earlier, he was just a lone nut, a kook, and generalizations about some “militia” culture alive and flourishing in the heartland were entirely unwarranted.

(…)

It is wrong, we hear, to regard the proposed mosque or community center as an ordinary exercise of free enterprise and freedom of religion by the private owners of a piece of property. It is, rather, a thumb in the eye or a slap in the face of the 9/11 victims and their families, a potential clearinghouse for international terrorist activities, a “victory mosque” memorializing a great triumph of jihad and a monument to the religion in whose name and by whose adherents the dreadful deed was done.

But according to the same folks who oppose the mosque because of what it stands for, Michael Enright’s act doesn’t stand for anything and is certainly not the product of what Time magazine calls a growing “American strain of Islamophobia.” Instead, The New York Post declares, the stabbing is “the act of a disturbed individual who is now in custody,” and across the fold of the page columnist Jonah Goldberg says that “one assault doesn’t a national trend make” and insists that “we shouldn’t let anyone suggest that this criminal reflects anybody but himself.”

The formula is simple and foolproof (although those who deploy it so facilely seem to think we are all fools): If the bad act is committed by a member of a group you wish to demonize, attribute it to a community or a religion and not to the individual. But if the bad act is committed by someone whose profile, interests and agendas are uncomfortably close to your own, detach the malefactor from everything that is going on or is in the air (he came from nowhere) and characterize him as a one-off, non-generalizable, sui generis phenomenon.

How many violent homicidal right-wing crazies do we have to see before we see some conservatives start to admit that maybe, just maybe, that DHS report was right about the dangers of right-wing extremism, not to mention all the provocative teabagger rhetoric about 2nd Amendment remedies and watering the tree of liberty?  Or are murder and incitement okay as long as you pretend that they’re motivated by patriotism?

August 31st, 2010 at 07:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Racism,Religion,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

DHS Hates To Say We Told You So, But… They Told Us So

I’m not sure this is necessarily an indication of timidity (although in the Obama administration I would never rule that out); it might simply be that a follow-up doesn’t really add anything we don’t already know.

Despite a recent upsurge in threats and violence by far-right groups and loners, the Homeland Security Department appears gun-shy about reporting or monitoring the trend too closely. Domestic security and counterterrorism officials say that even though, in light of recent events, a controversial report issued a year ago by Homeland Security about a “resurgence” in far-right radicalization and recruitment appears well informed, if not prescient, the Department has done nothing to re-issue the report or update it.

When its report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” first leaked to the media last year, the Homeland Security Department was slammed by conservative activists and pundits for even daring to address the issue. Blogger Michelle Malkin called the report a “hit job on conservatives,” alleging it was “one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS. I couldn’t believe it was real.” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted, “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired,” and the issue became major fodder for Fox News hosts.

(…)

While not formally withdrawing the report, Napolitano and other senior Homeland Security officials apologized for it, saying it was poorly written and not properly reviewed before it was issued. But as we reported here last year, Napolitano also indicated that the report would be “replaced or redone in a much more useful and much more precise fashion.”

Napolitano has not followed through on that, however, even though recent news events—including the crashing of a plane into an IRS office in Texas by a tax protestor, a torrent of threats against cCongressional leaders, and the takedown of the bizarre but well-connected Hutaree militia (whose membership, as we noted here, included former U.S. military personnel)—have substantially vindicated Homeland Security’s judgments of last year. Asked why the department hasn’t updated the report or produced a fresh take on evidence about potentially threatening far-right activity, Homeland Security spokesman Sean Smith told Declassified: “The recent arrests and incidents have provided local law enforcement on the front lines more than enough reminder to be vigilant to the threats from violent extremism.”

What’s to update?  The far-right fringe is still full of crazy, potentially violent extremists.

April 19th, 2010 at 11:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

SWOT: The Selective War On Terror

Isn’t it amazing how Republicans and conservatives can be so fanatically gung ho about “confronting” Islamic terrorism, to the point where they’re willing to tear up the Constitution and justify any and all manner of illegal surveillance, torture and imprisonment, yet so utterly blase about right-wing vandalism, threats, and intimidation, even up to outright violence and murder?  Or how they still oppose any efforts to make it harder to obtain guns?  Or how they mock Democrats who suggest that it’s important to understand the source of Islamic rage, but make sure to tell us that while right-wing terrorists’ actions may be misguided, the sources of their rage are entirely legitimate?

Isn’t it amazing how the same people who were so willing to tear up the Constitution and create a police state to fight that very specific kind of terrorism are so worked up about how Obama is supposedly a fascist who is trampling the Constitution with his ruthless power grabs and healthcare bill?

Isn’t it amazing how the same people who decried Democrats’ and progressives’ lack of civility are silent about right-wing slurs and threats against Democratic officeholders?  That they made a hero of the congressman who yelled “You lie!” in the middle of Obama’s State Of The Union address (and I will be shocked if the “baby killer” guy does not become one in short order as well)?  That they had no problem at all with Dick Cheney telling a Democratic senator to go fuck himself (or shooting a guy  in the face with a shotgun, for that matter)?

I dunno, maybe I’m just easily amazed.

March 25th, 2010 at 11:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Republican Witch Hunt Of The Day

Well, this is thoroughly inappropriate and disgusting:

A day after a conservative group released a video condemning the Justice Department for refusing to identify seven lawyers who previously represented or advocated for terror suspects, Fox News has uncovered the identities of the seven lawyers.

(…)

The video by the group Keep America Safe, which dubbed the seven lawyers “The Al Qaeda 7,” is the latest salvo in a lengthty political battle.

For several months, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has led an effort to uncover politically-appointed lawyers within the Justice Department who have advocated for Guantanamo Bay detainees or other terror suspects.

“The administration has made many highly questionable decisions when it comes to national security, ” Grassley said in a recent statement. “[Americans] have a right to know who advises the Attorney General and the President on these critical matters.”

(…)

Before joining the Justice Department, Jonathan Cedarbaum, now an official with the Office of Legal Counsel, was part of a “firm-wide effort” to represent six Bosnian-Algerian detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, according to the web site of the firm WilmerHale.

That effort brought the case Boumediene v. Bush to the Supreme Court, which reaffirmed the right of detainees to challenge their detention.

So as far as the right is concerned, detainees may have the right to counsel, but attorneys don’t have the right to provide it.  Awesome.

March 4th, 2010 at 11:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Whatever Happened To The Cheney Doctrine?

Peter Daou takes on the climate change deniers – I found this passage particularly compelling:

Another conservative writer goes on about “unsettled science,” as though we were engaging in a hypothetical legal exercise about the merits of reasonable doubt. In fact, this is our only planet. It’s the only place we can survive. We can’t afford to take chances. We can’t afford to do anything less than everything in our power to rectify the problem. We have no choice but to be alarmists — there’s no second chance. We get it wrong and we’ve doomed our children and their children. For what? Because we don’t want to recycle? Because we don’t want to stop polluting? Because we don’t want to bother making sacrifices? Because we don’t want some eager young kid who cares about the earth to dictate to us? Because we don’t like Al Gore? How profoundly selfish can someone be, to deny what they see with their own eyes: car fumes, bus fumes, truck fumes, factory fumes, chemical waste, human waste, toxins coursing through our waterways, in our food, filth we create in immense quantities turning our planet into a garbage dump.

If anything, we should be outdoing one another trying to address the issue, not smugly questioning the need for action under the guise that the science is imperfect. Reversing the damage we’re doing to the earth should be a priority for every citizen. Instead, environmentalism is treated like an annoyance that the media will occasionally poll about and that we bring to the fore once every April.

The right’s willingness to take the hugest of chances that global warming is junk science or some elaborate Al Gore hoax is particularly striking when you consider the Cheney Doctrine that they’re so enamored of:

Cheney defined it: “If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.” Suskind writes, “So, now spoken, it stood: a standard of action that would frame events and responses from the Administration for years to come.”‘

Why such a heavy bias towards action on an improbable threat, and such a heavy bias against action on a much more probable and truly existential one?  Republicans embrace a 1% Doctrine on terrorism, yet it’s more like 99.9% when the fate of the entire planet is at stake.

If I didn’t know any better, I might almost think that their policy prescriptions aren’t really about protecting us from harm.

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Environment,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

Can Doctors Be “Disbarred”?

Looks like yesterday was Professional Misconduct Day on the NYT op-ed pages.

First, the torture doctors:

According to Justice Department memos released last year, the medical service opined that sleep deprivation up to 180 hours didn’t qualify as torture. It determined that confinement in a dark, small space for 18 hours a day was acceptable. It said detainees could be exposed to cold air or hosed down with cold water for up to two-thirds of the time it takes for hypothermia to set in. And it advised that placing a detainee in handcuffs attached by a chain to a ceiling, then forcing him to stand with his feet shackled to a bolt in the floor, “does not result in significant pain for the subject.”

(…)

The medical basis for these opinions was nonexistent. The Office of Medical Services cited no studies of individuals who had been subjected to these techniques. Its sources included a wilderness medical manual, the National Institute of Mental Health Web site and guidelines from the World Health Organization.

(…)

The shabbiness of the medical judgments, though, pales in comparison to the ethical breaches by the doctors and psychologists involved. Health professionals have a responsibility extending well beyond nonparticipation in torture; the historic maxim is, after all, “First do no harm.” These health professionals did the polar opposite.

Nevertheless, no agency — not the Pentagon, the C.I.A., state licensing boards or professional medical societies — has initiated any action to investigate, much less discipline, these individuals. They have ignored the gross and appalling violations by medical personnel. This is an unconscionable disservice to the thousands of ethical doctors and psychologists in the country’s service. It is not too late to begin investigations. They should start now.

And then the legal profession:

The Supreme Court has a chance to reinforce that fundamental protection in the case of Albert Holland. A Florida prisoner, he did everything he could to ensure that his lawyer filed his habeas corpus petition, which would allow the federal courts to review his state-court conviction for first-degree murder and other crimes.

He continually asked about it, and emphasized the importance of meeting the deadlines. The lawyer repeatedly assured Mr. Holland that he would take care of it, and then missed the habeas deadline. Mr. Holland was given a new lawyer, who argued that due to the first lawyer’s extreme negligence, the failure should be excused under “equitable tolling,” which allows for deadlines to be excused in the broader interests of justice.

The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected the argument, ruling that even gross negligence by a lawyer does not provide a basis for equitable tolling. Unless there was “bad faith, dishonesty, divided loyalty, mental impairment,” or something of that magnitude, the court said, the deadline would stand.

Disgraceful behavior by Holland’s lawyer, and disgraceful behavior by the appeals court.  I don’t have high hopes for the Supreme Court, but I hope the criminally incompetent lawyer got disbarred (not holding my breath).  And any doctor who facilitated torture should be shunned and shamed, and never allowed to practice medicine ever again.

5 comments March 2nd, 2010 at 07:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Judiciary,Media,Prisoners,Terrorism,Torture,Wankers

This?

Obama can’t be bothered to involve himself in the healthcare reform process, but he wants to be all hands-on with THIS???

Glad to see that he’s got his priorities and signature issues straight and everything…

February 13th, 2010 at 02:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Terrorism,Wankers

Same As The Old Boss

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

A Pomona College student filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging that he was abusively interrogated, handcuffed and detained for five hours at Philadelphia International Airport in August because he carried a set of English-Arabic flashcards as part of his college language studies.

(…)

According to the suit, George, a college senior from Montgomery County, Penn., majoring in physics and Middle Eastern studies, was returning to school when TSA screeners saw his flashcards. A supervisor asked him his views on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, whether he knew who carried them out and what language Osama bin Laden spoke, adding, “Do you see why these cards are suspicious?,” the suit alleged.

Apparently “Arabic” still automatically equals “terrorism”.

February 11th, 2010 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Obama,Terrorism

Environmentalist Of The Year

Osama bin Laden, who is so committed to the cause of preventing climate change that he’s willing to try to bring down the United States to save the Earth.  Awesome.

Of course, if he really wanted to do something constructive for the planet, perhaps he could have refrained from doing everything humanly possible to guarantee George W. Bush a second term…

(Also, there’s the little detail that taking down the US wouldn’t actually stop global warming.)

January 30th, 2010 at 01:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Environment,Terrorism,Wankers

OMG NO

Multi Medium, 10/30/07:

As the shadowy, mysterious, and currently-under-construction Codename V. and I were commiserating about what a pain airport security is, I came up with an idea that, if implemented, would completely demoralize and crush the American spirit.

Two words: Underwear Bomber.

Of course, I would give the Underwear Bomber explicit instructions to make sure he got caught.

Reality, 12/26/09:

A Nigerian Banker’s son charged with trying to blow up a plane over Detroit claims he trained with Al Qaeda leaders who had explosives sewn into his underwear, it was reported Saturday.

(…)

A Saudi bomb maker rigged up a six-inch packet of high explosives – known as PETN – and a syringe and sewed it into his underpants, the report said.

We. Are. Doomed.

4 comments December 26th, 2009 at 08:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Terrorism

When America Does It, It’s Not Illegal

Shorter Cheney: Laws are for the weak.

A CIA inspector general’s report released Monday documented how interrogators menaced “high-value” detainees with a gun and a power drill, threatened their families and used other methods that went beyond even the permissive interrogation rules set by the Bush administration Justice Department.

Cheney, who strongly opposes the Obama administration’s new probe into alleged detainee abuse, was asked in the Fox News interview whether he was “OK” with interrogations that went beyond Justice’s specific legal authorization.

“I am,” the former vice president replied.

“My sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks,” he said. “It was good policy. It was properly carried out. It worked very, very well.”

In other words, the ends justify the means, even when the means have nothing to do with achieving them.

August 29th, 2009 at 12:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Constitution,Prisoners,Terrorism,Torture,Wankers

What. I’ve. Been. Saying. (Again)

Almost four years ago, I observed that “Bush’s claim that he had to take extraordinary measures to fight terror is at odds with his resolute unwillingness to take ordinary measures against terror.”  Apparently the intel inspectors general agree with me:

We’ve known for years that the Bush administration ignored and broke the law repeatedly in the name of national security. It is now clear that many of those programs could have been conducted just as easily within the law — perhaps more effectively and certainly with far less damage to the justice system and to Americans’ faith in their government.

That is the inescapable conclusion from a devastating report by the inspectors general of the intelligence and law-enforcement community on President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program. The report shows that the longstanding requirement that the government obtain a warrant was not hindering efforts to gather intelligence on terrorists after the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the argument that the law was an impediment was concocted by White House and Justice Department lawyers after Mr. Bush authorized spying on Americans’ international communications.

(…)

So why break the law, again and again? Two things seem disturbingly clear. First, President Bush and his top aides panicked after the Sept. 11 attacks. And second, Mr. Cheney and his ideologues, who had long chafed at any legal constraints on executive power, preyed on that panic to advance their agenda.

It is absolutely criminal that these people are not being treated as criminals.

July 17th, 2009 at 09:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture,Wankers

People Unclear On The Concept

Unclear

John McCain and David Gregory:

MR. GREGORY:  Should there be an investigation, do you think?

SEN. McCAIN:  I don’t know if–first of all, I’d like to know the facts of the case before there should be an, “an investigation.”

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

Um.

July 14th, 2009 at 10:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,McCain,Media,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Fox Newsworthiness

So, according to BillO, the fatal shooting of an Army recruiter should have gotten a lot more media coverage, the fatal shooting of Dr. Tiller by a right-wing nut was over-covered, and the shooting of two Holocaust Museum guards by another right-wing nut isn’t even interesting at all:

O’Reilly never covered the shooting on his show. In fact, the only mention of the act of domestic terrorism came in a segment that, ironically, decried the media’s inadequate coverage of Long’s death:

O’REILLY: But the central question remains according to a new Pew study, the American media spent far more time on the murder of Tiller than on the murder of Private Long. … 10 to 1 the Pew study which was released yesterday, 10 to 1 more coverage. I mean, come on, come on.

[...]

O’REILLY: All right. Now, we had a murder today at the Holocaust Museum in D.C.

HENICAN: That was an awful case. Awful.

O’REILLY: Now, this is an 89-year-old anti-Semite bigot kills an innocent guy in the Holocaust Museum. OK? Now, what about the newsworthiness of this? … Is it as newsworthy as Private Long?

I can kind of see BillO’s point.  After all, is it really news anymore that the far right is populated by homicidal crazies?  It’s almost a dog-bites-man kind of thing.  Now, if someone from the left goes off and starts shooting people, that would be some news.

(Note: As best I can tell, that doesn’t appear to be what happened with the recruiter shooting.)

June 11th, 2009 at 07:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

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