Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Obama Directs Hillary Clinton’s Dept of State to Take Over Iraqi Security in 2011

In Iraq on August 19, 2010 at 8:04 am

A shift from military to civilian “security:”

As the United States military prepares to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, the Obama administration is planning a remarkable civilian effort, buttressed by a small army of contractors, to fill the void.

By October 2011, the State Department will assume responsibility for training the Iraqi police, a task that will largely be carried out by contractors. With no American soldiers to defuse sectarian tensions in northern Iraq, it will be up to American diplomats in two new $100 million outposts to head off potential confrontations between the Iraqi Army and Kurdish pesh merga forces.

To protect the civilians in a country that is still home to insurgents with Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias, the State Department is planning to more than double its private security guards, up to as many as 7,000, according to administration officials who disclosed new details of the plan. Defending five fortified compounds across the country, the security contractors would operate radars to warn of enemy rocket attacks, search for roadside bombs, fly reconnaissance drones and even staff quick reaction forces to aid civilians in distress, the officials said.

“I don’t think State has ever operated on its own, independent of the U.S. military, in an environment that is quite as threatening on such a large scale,” said James Dobbins, a former ambassador who has seen his share of trouble spots as a special envoy for Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo and Somalia. “It is unprecedented in scale.”

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9/11 in the 2010 Obama Administration’s National Security Strategy

In Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on August 18, 2010 at 8:13 am

Here are the direct mentions of 9/11 in the Obama administration’s National Security Strategy:

P. 1  “To succeed, we must face the world as it is. The two decades since the end of the Cold War have been marked by both the promise and perils of change. The circle of peaceful democracies has expanded; the specter of nuclear war has lifted; major powers are at peace; the global economy has grown; commerce has stitched the fate of nations together; and more individuals can determine their own destiny. Yet these advances have been accompanied by persistent problems. Wars over ideology have given way to wars over religious, ethnic, and tribal identity; nuclear dangers have proliferated; inequality and economic instability have intensified; damage to our environment, food insecurity, and dangers to public health are increasingly shared; and the same tools that empower individuals to build enable them to destroy.

The dark side of this globalized world came to the forefront for the American people on September 11, 2001. The immediate threat demonstrated by the deadliest attacks ever launched upon American soil demanded strong and durable approaches to defend our homeland. In the years since, we have launched a war against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, decided to fight a war in Iraq, and confronted a sweeping economic crisis. More broadly, though, we have wrestled with how to advance American interests in a world that has changed—a world in which the international architecture of the 20th century is buckling under the weight of new threats, the global economy has accelerated the competition facing our people and businesses, and the universal aspiration for freedom and dignity contends with new obstacles.”

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Tapes of 9/11 Co-Conspirator Ramzi Binalshibh Interrogated in a Secret Prison “Found Under a Desk”

In al Qaeda, Rendition, Secret Prisons on August 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm

In an unbelievable — really, unbelievable — turn of events, one of the 92 tapes the CIA destroyed of interrogations in secret prisons was reportedly found “under a desk” at the CIA.

The CIA has tapes of 9/11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh being interrogated in a secret overseas prison. Discovered under a desk, the recordings could provide an unparalleled look at how foreign governments aided the U.S. in holding and questioning suspected terrorists. The two videotapes and one audiotape are believed to be the only remaining recordings made within the clandestine prison system.The tapes depict Binalshibh’s interrogation sessions at a Moroccan-run facility the CIA used near Rabat in 2002, several current and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the recordings remain a closely guarded secret.

When the CIA destroyed its cache of 92 videos of two other al-Qaida operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri, being waterboarded in 2005, officials believed they had wiped away all of the agency’s interrogation footage. But in 2007, a staffer discovered a box tucked under a desk in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center and pulled out the Binalshibh tapes.

A Justice Department prosecutor who is already investigating whether destroying the Zubaydah and al-Nashiri tapes was illegal is now also probing why the Binalshibh tapes were never disclosed. Twice, the government told a federal judge they did not exist.

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U.S.’s War on Terror Widens

In Drones and Assassination, Targeted Killing on August 15, 2010 at 12:31 pm

According to the NYTimes, in the “Shadow War,” the “Secret Assault on Terrorism Widens on Two Continents:”

This article is by Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti and Robert F. Worth.  

WASHINGTON — At first, the news from Yemen on May 25 sounded like a modest victory in the campaign against terrorists: an airstrike had hit a group suspected of being operatives for Al Qaeda in the remote desert of Marib Province, birthplace of the legendary queen of Sheba.But the strike, it turned out, had also killed the province’s deputy governor, a respected local leader who Yemeni officials said had been trying to talk Qaeda members into giving up their fight. Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, accepted responsibility for the death and paid blood money to the offended tribes.

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“This is America:” Obama Supports Building of New York City Mosque

In Muslims and Arabs after 9/11 on August 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

Obama supports Cordoba Center mosque near NYC’s Ground Zero:

President Obama threw his support behind a controversial proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque near New York’s ground zero, saying Friday that “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.””That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” Obama said at a White House Iftar dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The president’s remarks drew praise from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced his support for the Islamic center last week.

Bloomberg compared Obama’s speech to a letter President George Washington wrote in support of a Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. “President Obama’s words tonight evoked President Washington’s own august reminder that ‘all possess alike liberty,’ ” Bloomberg said in a statement.  “I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion tonight,” he said.

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House Reject of 9/11 Health Bill

In Health Issues on August 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

The proposed 9/11 health bill for NYC responders was defeated in the house, but may be up again for vote in Fall:

WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Thursday blocked a Democratic plan to provide billions of dollars for medical treatment to rescue workers and residents of New York City who suffered illnesses from the toxic dust and debris at ground zero.

A majority of the lawmakers in the chamber supported the bill, but the 255-to-159 vote fell short of the two-thirds margin needed under special rules that were used to bring the measure to the floor. In the end, 243 Democrats and 12 Republicans supported the measure; 155 Republicans and 4 Democrats opposed it.

Democrats used rules requiring a wider majority for approval to prevent Republicans from offering amendments on the floor that would embarrass Democrats in an election year.  Republican opponents of the legislation expressed concern over the $7.4 billion cost of the program. But Democrats accused Republicans of being callous and vowed to bring the bill back for another vote in the fall.

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Obama Administration Enshrining Bush Administration War on Terror Policies

In Civil Liberties, Guantanamo Bay, Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on August 14, 2010 at 8:44 am

According to ACLU, Obama is establishing a “new normal” that enshrines Bush era policies into permanance:

National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Under the Obama Administration
An 18-Month Review

In the eighteen months since the issuance of those executive orders, the administration’s record on issues related to civil liberties and national security has been, at best, mixed. Indeed, on a range of issues including accountability for torture, detention of terrorism suspects, and use of lethal force against civilians, there is a very real danger that the Obama administration will enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration. There is a real danger, in other words, that the Obama administration will preside over the creation of a “new normal.”

Casualties of 9/11

In Official History on August 13, 2010 at 5:45 pm

According to Wikipedia:

Casualties of the September 11 attacks included a total of 2,976 fatalities (excluding the 19 terrorist hijackers): 246 on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,605 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon.[1][2] An additional 24 people remain listed as missing.[3] All of the fatalities in the attacks were civilians except for 55 military personnel killed at the Pentagon.[4] More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center.[5] In 2007, the New York City medical examiner’s office added Felicia Dunn-Jones to the official death toll from the September 11 attacks. Dunn-Jones died five months after 9/11 from a lung condition which was linked to exposure to dust during the collapse of the World Trade Center.[6]

Muslims Died in the 9/11 Attack, Too

In Muslims and Arabs after 9/11, Official History on August 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm

How many Muslims died in the 9/11 attacks?  No official list has been compiled.  Here is an internet sites with information:

Partial List of Muslim 9/11 Victims

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Muslim Holiday Falls on 9/11: Americans, Don’t Panic

In Muslims and Arabs after 9/11 on August 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Muslim groups tell Americans not to panic about the upcoming Muslim holiday that, by lunar luck, falls around 9/11:

NEW YORK – The lunar calendar that Muslims follow for religious holidays is creating a potential for misunderstandings or worse in a year when American Muslims are already confronting a spike in assaults on their faith and protests against new mosques.

Eid al-Fitr, a joyous holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, this year falls around Sept. 11. Muslim leaders fear that their gatherings for prayer and festivities could be misinterpreted by those unfamiliar with Islam as a celebration of the 2001 terrorist strikes.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council, an advocacy group based in Los Angeles, is contacting law enforcement and the Justice Department civil rights division to alert them to the overlap.

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