Danse's blog

Obama adviser suggests 'breaking up core' of 'conspiracy theorists'

Got Fascism? : Obama Advisor Promotes 'Cognitive Infiltration'

Your government appointees at work: Cass Sunstein seeks "cognitive" provocateurs.

WRITTEN By Marc Estrin / The Rag Blog / January 11, 2010

Cass Sunstein is President Obama's Harvard Law School friend, and recently appointed Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

In a recent scholarly article, he and coauthor Adrian Vermeule take up the question of "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures." (J. Political Philosophy, 7 (2009), 202-227). This is a man with the president's ear. This is a man who would process information and regulate things. What does he here propose?

[W]e suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of believers by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity. (Page 219.)

Officers accused of inciting violence to testify before police ethics panel

Bill Curry

Ottawa — From Saturday's Globe and Mail Published on Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 9:15PM EDT Last updated on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009 10:24AM EDT

Three undercover officers accused of inciting protesters to attack riot police at the 2007 North American leaders summit in Montebello are being summoned to testify before Quebec's independent police ethics committee.

The decision from the committee released this week overrules an independent review that exonerated the officers. It also comes more than two years after the black-clad trio were first exposed on YouTube.

Dave Coles, the union leader who confronted the men at the time and filed a complaint against the police, said a public inquiry is needed to determine whether they were acting on orders from federal officials.

Five days in September

Five days in September

By Holland Van den Nieuwenhof

Posted: October 15, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The recent spate of foiled terror plots in this country have given this author an uncomfortable feeling of dread, for we have been down this road before. I am referring specifically to a trio of bomb plots that serve to remind the American people that we are eternally unsafe, and bound under the ever-tightening screws of National Security that we shall never be without.

On September 19, 2009 Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan citizen and legal resident of the U.S., was arrested in Denver by the FBI for planning and preparing a series of bomb attacks on the New York City subway system. The FBI was intensely concerned about a trip that Zazi had made back to NYC, where he had recently resided, on September 10 when President Barack Obama was also visiting that city. Also arrested were Zazi’s father and the Imam of a mosque they attended.

Obama: Afghan war secures America

Obama: Afghan war secures America
August 18, 2009

US President Barack Obama says there will be no quick or easy victory over the Taliban, noting that the war in Afghanistan is crucial in protecting Americans from terrorism.

Talking in a meeting of veterans in Arizona on Monday, Obama tried to step up the campaign in Afghanistan. “The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight and we won't defeat it overnight," he said.

US administration is sending 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan, therefore the success or failure of the mission of US forces in the war-torn country is crucial for its future plans in the region.

Torturing Children: Bush's Legacy and Democracy's Failure

Torturing Children: Bush's Legacy and Democracy's Failure
Henry A. Giroux

The torture of children under the Bush administration has gone relatively unpublicized.

Monday 03 August 2009 - t r u t h o u t | Perspective

This is an excerpt from Henry A. Giroux's forthcoming book, "Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror," to be published by Paradigm Publishers.

The Big Lie of Afghanistan

The Big Lie of Afghanistan

By Malalai Joya

July 26, 2009 "The Guardian" -- July 25, 2009 -- In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in Afghanistan had liberated women. But this democracy was a facade, and the so-called liberation a big lie.

On behalf of the long-suffering people of my country, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all in the UK who have lost their loved ones on the soil of Afghanistan. We share the grief of the mothers, fathers, wives, sons and daughters of the fallen. It is my view that these British casualties, like the many thousands of Afghan civilian dead, are victims of the unjust policies that the Nato countries have pursued under the leadership of the US government.

Almost eight years after the Taliban regime was toppled, our hopes for a truly democratic and independent Afghanistan have been betrayed by the continued domination of fundamentalists and by a brutal occupation that ultimately serves only American strategic interests in the region.

Cheney's Secret CIA Program

Cheney's Secret CIA Program

Worse Than Foreign Assassinations?

By Digby

July 14, 2009 "Hullabaloo" --- Pretty much every news outlet has confirmed that the secret CIA program held from Congress by Dick Cheney concerned targeted assassinations of Al Qaeda members abroad, basically the "executive assassination ring" discussed by Sy Hersh earlier this year.

Dick Cheney, the former vice president, ordered a highly classified CIA operation hidden from Congress because it pushed the limits of legality by planning to assassinate al-Qaida operatives in friendly countries without the knowledge of their governments, according to former intelligence officials.

Former counter-terrorism officials who retain close links to the intelligence community say that the hidden operation involved plans by the CIA and the military to launch operations, similar to those by Israel's Mossad intelligence service, to hunt down and kill al-Qaida activists abroad without informing the governments concerned, even though some were regarded as friendly if unreliable.

Pentagon’s Black Budget Grows to More Than $50 Billion

Pentagon’s Black Budget Grows to More Than $50 Billion

* By Noah Shachtman Email Author
* May 7, 2009 |
* 7:39 pm |
* Categories: Paper Pushers, Beltway Bandits, Politicians, Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance

The Pentagon wants to spend just over $50 billion on classified programs next year, newly-released Defense Department budget documents reveal. “That’s the largest-ever sum,” according to Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman, a longtime black-budget seer — a three percent increase over last year’s total.

It makes the Pentagon’s secret operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside, “roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan,” Sweetman adds. All in all, about seven and a half percent of the Defense Department’s total spending is now classified.

Black-world weapons-buying “remains dominated by the single line item,” according to Sweetman. (You can find it under the Air Force’s “other procurement” section, on page F-21 here.) “This year’s number stands just above $16 billion. In inflation-adjusted terms, that’s 240 per cent more than it was ten years ago.”

Hitchens, Raimondo debate "Al-Qaeda"

Program from Al-Jazeera entitled "Al-Qaeda at 20" sees Christopher Hitchens, Justin Raimondo from anti-war.com and Nazar Janabi from the Washington Institute debate the nature and development of "Al-Qaeda".

Raimondo argues "blowback" and mentions early CIA funding but is hamstrung by his refusal to explore present-day intelligence concerning "Al-Qaeda" and 911. This allows Hitchens to move in for the kill.

Al-Qaeda – Who Else?

Article does not question the existence of "Al-Qaeda" as a real entity nor "Al-Qaeda in Iraq". However it contains useful information about the media's cavalier usage of the term for acts of violence committed in Iraq and elsewhere.

Al-Qaeda – Who Else?
MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media
30 March, 2009

Al-Qaeda – Who Else?

On March 23, BBC online reported another bloody day in Iraq:

“It was the second bomb attack in Iraq on Monday, with an earlier explosion near the capital. Baghdad, killing at least eight people.

“The BBC’s Hugh Sykes, in Baghdad, says al-Qaeda have launched several attacks in Diyala since losing support in other parts of Iraq.” (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7959918.stm)

The foe, naturally, was the global bad guy, “al-Qaeda”. Thirty years ago the BBC would have declared them “Communists” or “Marxists”. We wrote to the BBC’s “man in Baghdad” the same day:

Dear Hugh

Hope you’re well. A BBC online report today says:

Detainees Say They Planned Sept. 11

Now might be a good time brush up on Stalin's Show Trials...

Published: March 9, 2009

The five detainees at Guantánamo Bay charged with planning the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have filed a document with the military commission at the United States naval base there expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting full responsibility for the killing of nearly 3,000 people.

The document, which may be released publicly on Tuesday, uses the Arabic term for a consultative assembly in describing the five men as the “9/11 Shura Council,” and it says their actions were an offering to God, according to excerpts of the document that were read to a reporter by a government official who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The document is titled “The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations,” the military judge at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp said in a separate filing, obtained by The New York Times, that describes the detainees’ document.

The document was filed on behalf of the five men, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has described himself as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ex-Gitmo detainee joins al-Qaida in Yemen

Propaganda story attempts to justify Gitmo, torture

Report: Ex-Gitmo detainee joins al-Qaida in Yemen

By MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press Writer Maggie Michael, Associated Press Writer – Fri Jan 23, 10:56 am ET

CAIRO, Egypt – A Saudi man released from Guantanamo after spending nearly six years inside the U.S. prison camp is now the No. 2 of Yemen's al-Qaida branch, according to a purported Internet statement from the terror network.

The announcement, made this week on a Web site commonly used by militants, came as President Barack Obama ordered the detention facility closed within a year. Many of the remaining detainees are from Yemen, which has long posed a vexing terrorism problem for the U.S.

The terror group's Yemen branch — known as "al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula" — said the man, identified as Said Ali al-Shihri, returned to his home in Saudi Arabia after his release from Guantanamo about a year ago and from there went to Yemen, which is Osama bin Laden's ancestral home.

The Internet statement, which could not immediately be verified, said al-Shihri was the group's second-in-command in Yemen, and his prisoner number at Guantanamo was 372.

'Conspiracy Blogs' bigger threat than Stalin, Hitler

Antony Beevor on films that rewrite history

Open Minds: Films that rewrite history, says Antony Beevor, are fatally warping our sense of reality

Antony Beevor

In the West, we tend to assume that the greatest threats to democracy and liberty come from outside. We think of the totalitarian systems of the last century or fundamentalist terrorism today, but we fail to recognise the viral strain that has developed out of our own entertainment industries.

Over the past dozen or so years, television and movie-makers have managed to blur the border between fact and fiction to an unprecedented degree. They pretend increasingly that their film is based on a true story. Every device possible, from computer-generated imagery to place names and dates thrown onto the screen seek to suspend the disbelief of historically illiterate audiences. Alarmingly, the new technology has coincided with a dramatic growth in conspiracy theories.

Abu Nidal "was US spy"

Abu Nidal, notorious Palestinian mercenary, 'was a US spy'

Secret papers claim the feared assassin was hired to find links between Saddam and al-Qa'ida. Robert Fisk reports

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Years of terror: A man as feared as Bin Laden

Abu Nidal was once as feared as Osama bin Laden. His most notorious attacks included: