Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Wikileaks and the Fog of (Afghanistan) War

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, Taliban on July 26, 2010 at 7:41 am

According to the New York Times:

A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal.

The secret documents, released on the Internet by an organization called WikiLeaks, are a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year.

The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the voluminous records several weeks ago on the condition that they not report on the material before Sunday.

The documents — some 92,000 reports spanning parts of two administrations from January 2004 through December 2009 — illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001.

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Welcome to the On-Line Book, “September 11, 2001: United States and the World”

In Welcome on July 25, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Welcome to the internet only book, September 11, 2001: United States and the World.  In this website you can find what the book is about, the book itself, films and multimedia related to 9/11, and teaching materials on a course I co-taught on 9/11 for the American Studies Center, University of Warsaw.

Did Washington Posts’s “Top Secret America” Reveal Top Secret Secrets?

In Civil Liberties, Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on July 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Aggregation of public information can become top secret:

By Peter Grier Peter Grier Wed Jul 21, 9:44 am ET

Christian Science Monitor

Washington – Did The Washington Post’s “Top Secret America” series reveal any top secrets? Not many, literally speaking.

The Post’s two-year investigation into the nation’s massive post-9/11 security buildup was constructed almost entirely from public records, according to the paper. But in a larger sense the project may have produced an overall picture that the US government would consider classified, had it produced such a report itself.

In recent years the US has consistently pushed a “mosaic theory” of intelligence gathering. This holds that individually harmless pieces of information, when combined with other pieces, can produce a composite picture that reveals national security vulnerabilities.

“Under the mosaic theory, even if the individual pieces are part of the public domain, a particular aggregation of data, or method by which the data was compiled, could in fact be classified,” says Stephen Vladeck, a professor and expert in national security law at American University’s Washington College of Law.

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NBA Star Apologizes for World Trade Center Quip

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade made 9/11 comment, apologizes:

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade issued an apology Monday to those who may have been offended by his use of the phrase “World Trade” while answering a question about the upcoming Miami Heat season.

The All-Star guard made the remark Sunday before the annual charity basketball game he co-hosts with Alonzo Mourning.

Standing at his locker before a group of reporters, Wade said:

“There’s going to be times when we might lose one, two games in a row, maybe two games, three games in a row, you never know. It’s going to seem like the world is crashed down. You all are going to make it seem like the World Trade has just went down again. But it’s not going to be nothing but a couple basketball games lost and we’ll have to get back on track.”

On Monday, before leaving on a flight to Los Angeles for some television appearances — he was previously booked to talk with Jay Leno — Wade issued an apology through the Heat.

In the statement, Wade said: “In an interview yesterday, I attempted to explain how some people may view the Miami Heat losing a few basketball games in a row during the upcoming season. It appears that my reference to the World Trade Center has been either inaccurately reported or taken completely out of context. I was simply trying to say that losing a few basketball games should not be compared to a real catastrophe.

“While it was certainly not my intention, I sincerely apologize to anyone who found my reference to the World Trade Center to be insensitive or offensive.”

AOL Fanhouse initially reported the guard saying: “If we lose a couple in a row this season, it will be like the World Trade [Center] is coming down again.”

Hours later, AOL Fanhouse published a different version of the quote, citing a transcription error and an editor’s note saying, “we deeply regret the error.”

Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

In Civil Liberties, Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on July 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm

The Washington Post investigates the massive security apparatus erected after 9/11:

A hidden world, growing beyond control

by Dana Priest and WIlliam M. Arkin

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation’s other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

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JFK Terminal Re-opens after July 4 Bomb Scare

In Other Terrorist Events on July 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

300 people evacuated aftyer caller threatens bomb:

A terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was evacuated Sunday evening for about two hours after a caller phoned in a threat, according to a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.John Kelly of the Port Authority said a female caller claimed there was a bomb in Terminal One in a call about 5:40 p.m.

“Using the utmost due diligence, we evacuated the terminal,” Kelly said. About 300 people were inside at the time, he said.

Once the terminal had been searched, the evacuation was ended shortly after 8 p.m., Kelly said.

Kelly said an earlier, unrelated incident at the same terminal occurred when a Port Authority officer noticed an unattended bag. That bag was examined and cleared, he said.