Iraq is slammed with bombs yet again. Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jason Hanna (CNN) report, "At least 30 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured in car bombings and roadside bomb explosions in Baghdad neighborhoods Tuesday evening, police officials in the Iraqi capital said. Most of the explosions happened in Shiite areas, police said. Nearly all of the blasts happened just before people were to celebrate iftar, the fast-breaking dinner eaten at sunset during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan." The UK Daily Express adds, "The explosions mainly targeted markets in and near Baghdad." AFP observes, "Iraq is struggling to contain the worst violence to hit the country since 2008 when it was emerging from a bloody sectarian conflict."
Through Monday, Iraq Body Count counts 106 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month -- a month that isn't even 10 days old. National Iraqi News Agency reports that a Hamrin bombing claimed 2 lives and left three people injured, and Nouri's Tigris Operation command has killed at least 11 Iraqis in their latest efforts today at mass arrests. Alsumaria reports 1 police officer was shot dead outside of Falluja, a Mosul armed attack has left 4 people dead (three were brothers). Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) explains, "The past four months have all had higher death tolls than any in the five years before April, leading the Interior Ministry to declare last week that Iraq was now once again in 'open war'."
Since December 21st, Iraq has seen an ongoing wave of protests. The protests continued on Friday and from that day's snapshot:
World Bulletin reports today that reporters who attempted to cover a protest in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, "A group of journalists wanted to go to Tahrir Square to follow the protests which are to be held for the improvement of security standards in the state, but were detained by Iraqi security officials, sources said. The journalists' cameras and video cameras were also confiscated." Nouti's back to imprisoning journalists. Will anyone bother to condemn his latest attack on the press? This protest was part of the Consolidated Friday theme and included recognition of International Quds Day. National Iraqi News Agency notes that it featured "hundreds of members of the League of the Righteous, Hezbollah, Badr Organization and other parties" took part in actions which were "called by Iranian Imam Khomeini." In Baghdad, All Iraq News notes, hundreds turned out. Looking at the photo with the article, you'll see that it should probably be changed to "thousands." They explains "International Quds Day is an annual event that began in Iran in 1979 that is commemorated on the last Friday of Ramadan, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposing Zioneism as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem." But NINA makes clear, that the Baghdad Tahrir Square demonstration also included those who were "demanding the government to address the security file and the elimination of terrorism as well as the abolition of the use of broken sonar devices in the multiple checkpoints in Baghdad and of other provinces. Iraqi Spring MC notes that Nouri's SWAT forces cut off roads leading to Tahrir Square. In addition, the SWAT forces began arresting people in Tahrir Square and downtown Baghdad. And they turned out in Baghdad's Adhamiya, in Baiji, in Jalawla, and these protests also took place today in Basra and in Karbala. The protests have been going on since December 21st (and today's theme was Consolidated Friday which allowed the ongoing protests to also include the Quds focus).
Saturday, Al Mada reported that at least two activists are still being held. Buthaina al-Suhail wants to know where her son Ahmed al-Suhail is?
Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) divides the two protests in Baghdad on Friday, stating that the Quds protest was permitted while the Iraqis protesting each Friday was denied a permit:
The issue of these young people trying to get approval for their demonstration seems like a paradox. In a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page on the evening of Aug. 4, the group said that they went to the local government in Baghdad to get a permit for the demonstration and were told to “go to the Council of Ministers.” So, they went to the Council of Ministers, which told them that demonstration permits were under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry. They then went to the Interior Ministry, which told them that they would get the permit from the Baghdad Operations Command on the day of the demonstration.”
According to the statement they issued, on the morning of the demonstration, the “Iraq Rises Up” demonstrators distributed flowers to the military forces who deployed around them. But soon after, the military forces attacked them.
That long scenario about granting a demonstration permit illustrates one of the most important aspects of the imbalance in the Iraqi legal system. Article 38 of the constitution provides that the state shall guarantee “freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration, and this shall be regulated by law.”
The phrase “regulated by law,” which is everywhere in the Iraqi constitution, may be one of the most prominent aspects of the Iraqi political crisis. The Iraqi parliament never sought to pass a law that translates the essence of the phrase “the state shall guarantee ... freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration.” But rather, the Iraqi administrative and security bodies are relying on laws that go back to the era of the former Iraqi regime.
We're now turning to a topic that has to do with Iraq and will bring us back to it, in fact.
Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. Independent.ie added, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor." February 28th, Bradley admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks. And why.
Bradley Manning: In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.
For truth telling, Brad was punished by the man who fears truth: Barack Obama. A fraud, a fake, a 'brand,' anything but genuine, Barack is all marketing, all facade and, for that reason, must attack each and every whistle-blower. David Delmar (Digital Journal) points out, "President Obama, while ostensibly a liberal advocate of transparency and openness in government, and of the 'courage' and 'patriotism' of whistleblowers who engage in conscientious leaks of classified information, is in reality something very different: a vindictive opponent of the free press willing to target journalists for doing their job and exposing government secrets to the public." Tuesday, July 30th, Bradley was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial. He remains in his sentencing phase.
We're spending a second day on this week's Law and Disorder Radio, an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI (except during pledge drives) and around the country throughout the week. It's streamable at the Law and Disorder Radio, website and the program is hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights).
Michael Ratner: Then there was the story within the last year taken from the Wikileaks documents -- really the Iraq War Logs from Bradley Manning about torture centers run in Iraq in 2003, 2004 -- around that period. The US knew about them, the US helped set them up. Hundreds of people were taken for torture every single month. Gen [David] Petraeus who was in Iraq at that time was aware of it. Nothing happened at that time. The only reason we kenw about that was Bradley Manning. And, of course, we knew about the [Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali government in Tunisia. The Tunisian government -- the current government -- gives those cables credit for bringing down Ben Ali and beginning the Arab Spring. That's just a little bit of what Bradley Manning has revealed to all of us about the criminality of our own country, and information we ought to know and debate as Bradley Manning has said. I look at the debate that's going on now about 'Well he was just prosecuted too heavily.' Very few people are saying he shouldn't have been prosecuted at all but in fact of course that's the case because he's brought out some material that had to be brought out -- that in a secret government -- which is what we have right now -- a secret government of criminality and blood, really, we need to know what it's doing. But in addition -- and here's the second point, the really critical one in my view. People are crying for Bradley Manning's scalp or they are saying, 'Well at least you have to get him a little bit otherwise or you're going to have people just willy nilly giving u[ classified material, etc." Now before I would ever, ever say that someone like Bradley Manning would be prosecuted for anything, I would have to say, "First, let's prosecute the Bush torture team, then let's look at the people calling for the prosecution and prosecute them for the war crimes they've committed. Let's look at the illegal war in Iraq -- it's killed and hundreds of thousands, cost trillions of dollars and was an illegal war to boot. None of those people are being prosecuted. People like Hillary Clinton who we maybe perhaps can't be prosecuted for voting for the war but she like others, Bill Keller at the New York Times are what people like Tony Jude the famous writer called "Bush's useful idiots" -- the liberals who went along with the war. So every time I hear people saying Bradley has to be prosecuted, I say to them, "First, he's a truth teller. Secondly, and importantly, I don't want to see a hair touched on Bradley Manning until we start -- I never want to see it touched -- We shouldn't even be talking about it until this country starts prosecuting its own war criminals." It's outrageous, it's a one-sided debate. And it's incredible to me that is the focus. That's the main point I wanted to make. The second point -- which I often hear in these debates -- is: 'These cables, these revelations, the Iraq War Logs, the Afghanistan war logs, they caused tremendous harm to the United States. They put people in jeopardy.' I heard it again, I had to debate PJ Crowley -- the former State Dept official who is the one who -- at least to his credit exposed the torture, or criticized the torture of Bradley Manning in prison. Since then, he's become pretty typical, you know, liberal calling for Bradley Manning's prosecution, saying he knows there was harm in the field. Of course, he worked at the State Dept at the very time that Hillary Clinton was exposed as spying on at the United Nations, getting their credit card numbers and their airline reservations and everything else. That's who he worked for apart from Hillary's role in the war.
We're going to start with how to run off listeners: Rank sexism. I have no problem with "Hillary" (or "Bill") but I use the term "Barack" -- Ratner doesn't. It's always "Obama" or "President Obama." If Hillary were President, I'd still say "Hillary." Michael Ratner and Michael Smith already went down sexist lane not all that long ago on Kathryn Bigelow (as disclosed before, I know Kathryn). She, they insisted was promoting torture.
So, big boys that they are, they had to call her out. Bigelow will be distorted and attacked. But watch how they rush to ignore, for example, Doug Liman because they believe his politics line up with their own. They've really never paid attention to those Jason Bourne fans nor Mr. and Mrs. Smith. But they really don't pay attention to the T&A fest he pimps on the USA Network: Covert Affairs. On the most recent episode, Annie (Piper Perabo) is endorsing torture, is present for the torture of a witness (and this is supposed to be the CIA in 2013). A bat's used on the victim, he's beaten, none of it bothers her. It's interesting that when what they falsely accused Kathryn Bigelow of is done a show Liman created and produces, our media critics Ratner and Smith have nothing to say.
Well maybe they didn't see it!
Maybe they didn't. But they hadn't seen Kathryn's Zero Dark Thirty when they spent the opening segment of the show trashing Bigelow.
They've also made a point to ridicule the two women who may have been raped by Julian Assange.
This is how people get a very bad image.
Well Hillary voted for the war and she is their senator!
She was their senator, she was one of two. But they never went after Chuck Schumer, now did they?
As for her ordering the spying -- what's your proof? Let's go to Crapapedia simply because we're short on time:
The disclosed cables on the more aggressive intelligence gathering went back to 2008 when they went out under Condoleezza Rice's name during her tenure as Secretary of State.
US State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley stated that Clinton had not drafted the directive and that the Secretary of State's name is systematically attached to the bottom of cables originating from Washington. In fact, further leaked material revealed that the guidance in the cables was actually written by the Central Intelligence Agency before being sent out under Clinton's name, as the CIA cannot directly instruct State Department personnel. Specifically, the effort came from the National Clandestine Service, a CIA service formed in the years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with the goal of better coordinating human intelligence activities. According to former US officials, the instructions given in these cables may have been largely ignored by American diplomats as ill-advised.
Again, when you constantly attack women, you get a reputation. As for Hillary's "role" in any war -- no, you cannot prosecute her for a vote. In addition, her "role" in a war would be much less significant than Barack's role.
That's right, Barack is the President and Clinton's left the government so why are you obsessing over Hillary?
Michael Ratner should explain who said this:
We should first say that, as hosts, we're against this war to begin with, apart from the legality, that this is just another US imperialistic war in the Middle East. I mean, whatever we think about that. But, in addition, what's come out lately is that it's flatly illegal and the administration is fighting an illegal war. I wrote an op-ed on this way back at the end of March that this was an unconstitutional war because it was attacking another country and under the Constitution you have to get the consent of Congress. He didn't. Since then, of course, the War Powers Resolution has clicked in. That's the resolution that was passed in the wake of the Vietnam War. And it was passed for a particular reason: Congress was afraid that presidents would continue to go to war without their consent and so they built an automatic trigger into the War Powers Resoultion saying that 60 days after the president initiated a war, for whatever reason, whatever basis, if it didn't have explicit Congressional consent, the troops had to automatically be withdrawn. I say that again: automatically be withdrawn within 30 days after the 60-day time clock expires. So that's 90 days. There shouldn't be any attack on Libya going on that the United States is involved in at all -- not involved in coordination, not involved in helping with the radar, not involved in helping send its own missiles -- which it's still doing, not involved in bombing -- which it's still doing. So the 90 days are over. The war started over 90 days ago. And there's now been a big debate in the administration with Obama saying, 'I'm not violating the War Powers Resolution. There's no hostilities. We haven't entered into hostilities.' I mean, it doesn't pass the straight-face test. I mean, it's ridiculous. It's a total lie.
That's Michael Ratner speaking the last Monday in June 2011 on Law and Disorder Radio.
When Hillary became Secretary of State, a lot of us longed for the day when she'd leave the post so that the Cult of St. Barack would have to stop attacking her for Barack's actions. I've held Hillary accountable here. Her January testimony before Congress was called out more loudly here than on any left site and I doubt even most right wingers called Hillary out as loudly as I did. She needed to be called out (instead the press fawned) and, you better believe, had she been Senator Clinton and a witness had spoken to her like that, she would have called them out. Her remarks were unacceptable.
I have no problem calling her out for what she does wrong or calling out Eric Holder when he does something wrong. Hillary's not over The Drone War.
She's not Commander in Chief.
If you don't believe Brad should have been prosecuted, you start your criticism with the name Michael Ratner avoided this week: Barack Obama. Barack could have ended it at any point but instead chose to pronounce Brad guilty before Brad's court-martial had even started.
Michael Ratner needs to grasp real quick that he harms his own reputation (and that of his clients) when he acts this way. The average reaction from those new to Ratner will not be, "Good points," but instead, "Why is he obsessed with Hillary?" It's a question he should ask himself.
Back to his statements noted above:
Now before I would ever, ever say that someone like Bradley Manning would be prosecuted for anything, I would have to say, "First, let's prosecute the Bush torture team, then let's look at the people calling for the prosecution and prosecute them for the war crimes they've committed. Let's look at the illegal war in Iraq -- it's killed and hundreds of thousands, cost trillions of dollars and was an illegal war to boot. None of those people are being prosecuted. People like Hillary Clinton who we maybe perhaps can't be prosecuted for voting for the war but she like others, Bill Keller at the New York Times are what people like Tony Jude the famous writer called "Bush's useful idiots" -- the liberals who went along with the war. So every time I hear people saying Bradley has to be prosecuted, I say to them, "First, he's a truth teller. Secondly, and importantly, I don't want to see a hair touched on Bradley Manning until we start -- I never want to see it touched -- We shouldn't even be talking about it until this country starts prosecuting its own war criminals." It's outrageous, it's a one-sided debate. And it's incredible to me that is the focus. That's the main point I wanted to make. The second point -- which I often hear in these debates -- is: 'These cables, these revelations, the Iraq War Logs, the Afghanistan war logs, they caused tremendous harm to the United States. They put people in jeopardy.' I heard it again, I had to debate PJ Crowley -- the former State Dept official who is the one who -- at least to his credit exposed the torture, or criticized the torture of Bradley Manning in prison. Since then, he's become pretty typical, you know, liberal calling for Bradley Manning's prosecution, saying he knows there was harm in the field. Of course, he worked at the State Dept at the very time that Hillary Clinton was exposed as spying on at the United Nations, getting their credit card numbers and their airline reservations and everything else. That's who he worked for apart from Hillary's role in the war.
What did Brad reveal? As attorney for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, Michael Ratner should be able to address these topics. But he's not. He's doing an awful job conveying what Brad did and what WikiLeaks did. Via Alexa O'Brien's transcript of Brad's remarks to the court-martial Feb. 28th, let's see if we can follow:
I graduated from AIT on 16 August 2008 and reported to my first duty station, Fort Drum, NY on 28 August 2008. As an analyst, Significant Activities or SigActs were a frequent source of information for me to use in creating work products. I started working extensively with SigActs early after my arrival at Fort Drum. My computer background allowed me to use the tools organic to the Distributed Common Ground System-Army or D6-A computers to create polished work products for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team chain of command.
The non-commissioned officer in charge, or NCOIC, of the S2 section, then Master Sergeant David P. Adkins recognized my skills and potential and tasked me to work on a tool abandoned by a previously assigned analyst, the incident tracker. The incident tracker was viewed as a back up to the Combined Information Data Network Exchange or CIDNE and as a unit, historical reference to work with.
In the months preceding my upcoming deployment, I worked on creating a new version of the incident tracker and used SigActs to populate it. The SigActs I used were from Afghanistan, because at the time our unit was scheduled to deploy to the Logar and Wardak Provinces of Afghanistan. Later my unit was reassigned to deploy to Eastern Baghdad, Iraq. At that point, I removed the Afghanistan SigActs and switched to Iraq SigActs.
As and analyst I viewed the SigActs as historical data. I believed this view is shared by other all-source analysts as well. SigActs give a first look impression of a specific or isolated event. This event can be an improvised explosive device attack or IED, small arms fire engagement or SAF, engagement with a hostile force, or any other event a specific unit documented and recorded in real time.
In my perspective the information contained within a single SigAct or group of SigActs is not very sensitive. The events encapsulated within most SigActs involve either enemy engagements or causalities. Most of this information is publicly reported by the public affairs office or PAO, embedded media pools, or host nation (HN) media.
As I started working with SigActs I felt they were similar to a daily journal or log that a person may keep. They capture what happens on a particular day in time. They are created immediately after the event, and are potentially updated over a period of hours until final version is published on the Combined Information Data Network Exchange. Each unit has its own Standard Operating Procedure or SOP for reporting and recording SigActs. The SOP may differ between reporting in a particular deployment and reporting in garrison.
In garrison, a SigAct normally involves personnel issues such as driving under the influence or DUI incidents or an automobile accident involving the death or serious injury of a soldier. The reports starts at the company level and goes up to the battalion, brigade, and even up to the division level.
In deployed environment a unit may observe or participate in an event and a platoon leader or platoon sergeant may report the event as a SigAct to the company headquarters through the radio transmission operator or RTO. The commander or RTO will then forward the report to the battalion battle captain or battle non-commissioned officer or NCO. Once the battalion battle captain or battle NCO receives the report they will either (1) notify the battalion operations officer or S3; (2) conduct an action, such as launching a quick reaction force; or (3) record the event and report-- and further report it up the chain of command to the brigade.
The reporting of each event is done by radio or over the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network or SIPRNet, normally by an assigned soldier, usually junior enlisted E-4 and below. Once the SigAct is recorded, the SigAct is further sent up the chain of command. At each level, additional information can either be added or corrected as needed. Normally within 24 to 48 hours, the updating and reporting or a particular SigAct is complete. Eventually all reports and SigActs go through the chain of command from brigade to division and division to corps. At corps level the SigAct is finalized and [missed word].
The CIDNE system contains a database that is used by thousands of Department of Defense-- DoD personnel-- including soldiers, civilians, and contractors support. It was the United States Central Command or CENTCOM reporting tool for operational reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two separate but similar databases were maintained for each theater-- CIDNE-I for Iraq and CIDNE-A for Afghanistan. Each database encompasses over a hundred types of reports and other historical information for access. They contain millions of vetted and finalized directories including operational intelligence reporting.
CIDNE was created to collect and analyze battle-space data to provide daily operational and Intelligence Community (IC) reporting relevant to a commander's daily decision making process. The CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A databases contain reporting and analysis fields for multiple disciplines including Human Intelligence or HUMINT reports, Psychological Operations or PSYOP reports, Engagement reports, Counter Improvised Explosive Device or CIED reports, SigAct reports, Targeting reports, Social and Cultural reports, Civil Affairs reports, and Human Terrain reporting.
Leaving aside the issue of military jargon, you still may not understand what Brad's disclosing. It's counterinsurgency which is war on a native people. On the left, we rejected that during Vietnam. The Battle of Algiers became a famous film about how awful counter-insurgency is. James Cameron's Avatar is an anti-counter-insurgency film. While artists can still condemn counter-insurgency today, the brave voices of The Nation, The Progressive, et al can't and won't say a word. Speaking out means taking on academia since so much of it is now in bed with the military. The Human Terrain reporting, for examples, misuses anthropology by having them use their training to find the weaknesses in people.
Michael's yacking about the video of an attack. Brad's talking about counter-insurgency:
For me, the SigActs represented the on the ground reality of both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.
In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.
That's not even at the half-way point of Alexa O'Brien's testimony for that day.
Colonel Denise Lind will ask Brad questions repeatedly after the above in that day's transcript -- we're not even at the half-way mark. She will ask about the video and other things -- many other things. She will never touch on counter-insurgency. That's not by accident. And David Coombs' failure to put counter-insurgency on trial was a huge mistake. For all the academic endorsements of COIN, it remains controversial.
Cooms bid Lind a huge favor because she didn't want to talk about it.
Julian Assange is Michael Ratner's client. If Michael's going to help Julian, he's going to need to address counter-insurgency. It wasn't an isolated incident. It was an ongoing policy that robbed Iraqis of their dignity, their right to self-determination and their right to democracy. That's what must be on trial for Brad or Julian's work to matter or have meaning. The whistle-blower aspect becomes stronger when counter-insurgency is addressed and it's even more the case as counter-insurgency tactics come back to the US.
Peter Van Buren (Middle East Online) notes that techniques the US used in Iraq and Afghanistan are now being used within the US:
Even before the [Bradley] Manning trial began, the emerging look of that new America was coming into view. In recent years, weapons, tactics, and techniques developed in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in the war on terror have begun arriving in “the homeland.”
Consider, for instance, the rise of the warrior cop, of increasingly up-armored police departments across the country often filled with former military personnel encouraged to use the sort of rough tactics they once wielded in combat zones. Supporting them are the kinds of weaponry that once would have been inconceivable in police departments, including armored vehicles, typically bought with Department of Homeland Security grants. Recently, the director of the FBI informed a Senate committee that the Bureau was deploying its first drones over the United States. Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security and already flying an expanding fleet of Predator drones, the very ones used in America’s war zones, is eager to arm them with “non-lethal” weaponry to “immobilize targets of interest.”
Above all, surveillance technology has been coming home from our distant war zones. The National Security Agency (NSA), for instance, pioneered the use of cell phones to track potential enemy movements in Iraq and Afghanistan. The NSA did this in one of several ways. With the aim of remotely turning on cell phones as audio monitoring or GPS devices, rogue signals could be sent out through an existing network, or NSA software could be implanted on phones disguised as downloads of porn or games.
Using fake cell phone towers that actually intercept phone signals en route to real towers, the U.S. could harvest hardware information in Iraq and Afghanistan that would forever label a phone and allow the NSA to always uniquely identify it, even if the SIM card was changed. The fake cell towers also allowed the NSA to gather precise location data for the phone, vacuum up metadata, and monitor what was being said.
At one point, more than 100 NSA teams had been scouring Iraq for snippets of electronic data that might be useful to military planners. The agency’s director, General Keith Alexander, changed that: he devised a strategy called Real Time Regional Gateway to grab every Iraqi text, phone call, email, and social media interaction. “Rather than look for a single needle in the haystack, his approach was, ‘Let’s collect the whole haystack,’â€Š” said one former senior U.S. intelligence official. “Collect it all, tag it, store it, and whatever it is you want, you go searching for it.”
Sound familiar, Mr. [Ed] Snowden [NSA whistle-blower]?
These tactics 'come home' because they aren't called out when they're used elsewhere. So, for example, the cowardice of The Nation magazine on the issue of counter-insurgency led to silence. They should have been calling out its use in Iraq. The magazine certainly called out counter-insurgency in the past. But it was silent as Iraqis were subjected to this terrorism -- as they still are. And what's the result, what's the end product?
Counter-insurgency rushes throughout the US. From Lesley Stahl's 60 Minutes report:
In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers have been waging what's known as counterinsurgency. They're supposed to be both warriors and community builders, going village to village driving out insurgents while winning the hearts and minds of the population. But counterinsurgency has had mixed results - at best. We met a Green Beret who is finding out -- in his job as a police officer -- that the strategy might actually have a better chance of working, right here at home, in the USA.
Call him and his fellow officers counterinsurgency cops! As we first reported in May, they're not fighting al Qaeda or the Taliban, but street gangs and drug dealers in one of the most crime ridden cities in New England.
We'll close with this from Senator Patty Murray's office (she Chairs the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee):
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 (202) 224-2834
TOMORROW: Murray at JBLM for Update on Local Implementation of Veterans Jobs Law
90% of transitioning service members from JBLM are taking advantage of transition programs mandated by Murray’s VOW to Hire Heroes Act
Murray will receive briefings from Joint Base officials on transition programs, tour a classroom where veterans receive apprenticeship training
(Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 7th, 2013, at 2:00 PM U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will travel to JBLM to discuss her VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a landmark veterans employment law, to see how it is making an impact in Tacoma. The Senator will receive briefings from Joint Base officials on the successes of VOW at JBLM, and will discuss VOW’s impact within the local community, ongoing challenges to implementation, and how to work together to produce better outcomes in the future.
JBLM was selected as the first installation in the nation to pilot the apprenticeship program where active duty members are allowed to take time to participate in apprenticeship programs and still get paid. Senator Murray will tour a classroom where veterans receive this apprenticeship training.
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act is a bipartisan, comprehensive law that works to lower the rate of unemployment among our nation’s veterans. The law is designed to help put veterans back to work by providing them with real-world skills and job training as they leave the military and by easing the training and certification process veterans face. At JBLM, it is estimated that 90% of transitioning service members are taking advantage of the programs Senator Murray’s legislation created, and nationally, veterans’ unemployment rates among recent veterans have dropped dramatically from double-digits, and are now at or below civilian unemployment rates.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Colonel Hodges, Joint Base Commander
Mark Brown, Director of Human Resources, JBLM
Robin Baker, Transition Services Manager, JBLM
Lourdes “Alfie” Alvarado Ramos, Director, WDVA
Mike Schindler, President, Operation Military Family
Chris Winters, Veterans Rep, International Union of Painters & Allied Trades
Todd Mitchell, Helmets to Hardhats
Kathleen Connelly, Education Director, JBLM
Amy Moorash, Chief, Advising Branch, David L. Stone & John D "Bud" Hawk Education Centers, JBLM
WHAT: Senator Murray will meet with JBLM officials to discuss the successes of her VOW to Hire Heroes Act within the local community
WHEN: TOMORROW: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
2:00 PM PT
WHERE: Joint Base Lewis McChord Stone Education Center
Deputy Press Secretary
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510
the associated press
national iraqi news agency
all iraq news
law and disorder radio
michael s. smith