Category: news


what jihadists want

July 11th, 2012 — 9:14am

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Nidal Malik Hassan may not be alone. At least, not for long. In late June, NPR reported that the FBI has over 100 open investigations into members of the U.S. military who may have ties to Islamic extremists, roughly a dozen of them are considered serious:

The FBI and Department of Defense call these cases “insider threats.” They include not just active and reserve military personnel but also individuals who have access to military facilities such as contractors and close family members with dependent ID cards.

Officials would not provide details about the cases and the FBI would not confirm the numbers, but they did say that cases seen as serious could include, among others things, suspects who seem to be planning an attack or were in touch with “dangerous individuals” who were goading them to attack.

Whether any of these cases will amount to anything remains to be seen, but recruiting people with access to military materiel seems like a logical and potent approach, especially given the predilection of Afghan nationals working with our military overseas to stage attacks against American troops:

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2 comments » | 9/11, After the Arab Spring, al-Qaeda, Arab Spring, counterterrorism, current affairs, domestic terror, Egypt, faith, islam, islamist, John Bradley, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Middle East, militant islam, Muslim, news, politics, revolution, terrorism

convert or die… or wait a few hundred years

June 30th, 2012 — 4:39pm

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You probably missed the phenomenal article on China in the LA Times a while back, which came on the heels of more and more morose news of what’s looking less and less like a recovery of the American economy. Among other points, one of the more central themes the article focused on was that Chinese culture is not American culture:

The Chinese have a powerful sense of their identity and worth. They have never behaved toward the West in a supplicant manner, for reasons Westerners persistently fail to understand or grasp.

China is simply not like the West and never will be. There has been an underlying assumption that the process of modernization would inevitably lead to Westernization; yet modernization is not just shaped by markets, competition and technology but by history and culture. And Chinese history and culture are very different from that of any Western nation-state.

And so far as I can tell, no one protested this observation as bigoted or racist or even remotely controversial. It’s simply a cultural observation.

Chinese culture is not Western culture. It is, as they say, what it is.

Cultures instill different values, they have different norms, they lead to markedly different behaviors. As the article so aptly put it, our “failure to understand the Chinese has repeatedly undermined our ability to anticipate their behavior.” Western culture, it’s often said, is rooted in “Judeo-Christian” values. These values have become imbued in our legal systems and constitutional rights, over thousands of years religion has seeped into our sense of justice – of right and wrong.

This exact same argument of culture dissonance can be made when it comes to religion, between Christianity and Islam, although just about everyone seems terrified to bring up the obvious.

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Comment » | 9/11, al-Qaeda, Charlemagne, Christianity, Clovis, condoning violence, faith, islam, islamist, Muslim, news, Nicene Creed, organized religion, terrorism

the iron law of prohibition

June 21st, 2012 — 10:28am

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Much like pinatas, there are a plethora of reasons to legalize marijuana.  There’s the fact that it’s easier for American teens to buy than alcohol anyways, the fact that legalizing marijuana alone would raise nearly $20 billion in taxes and savings, the fact that its illegality helps directly fund the muderous multi-billion dollar international drug trade, the fact that scientifically it’s markedly less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco:


But if you’re at all interested in the issue, you’ve likely heard all of the above arguments before. After all, our drug laws have never really been about public safety, but instead “on the belief that there is a class in society that can control themselves, and there is a class in society which cannot.”  However, one argument you may not have heard applied to America’s ongoing War on Drugs is the the Iron Law of Prohibition:

The law says that the more you try to enforce prohibition (bigger budgets, larger penalties, etc.) the more potent and dangerous prohibited drugs become. This is based on the premise that when drugs or alcohol are prohibited, they will be produced only in black markets in their most concentrated and powerful forms. If all alcohol beverages are prohibited, a bootlegger will be more profitable if he smuggles highly potent distilled liquors than if he smuggles the same volume of small beer. In addition, the black-market goods are more likely to be adulterated with unknown or dangerous substances. The government cannot regulate and inspect the production process, and harmed consumers have no recourse in law. When applied to rum-running, drug smuggling, and blockade running the more potent products become the sole focus of the suppliers.

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14 comments » | Breaking Bad, controlled substance, crystal meth, drug violence, gangsters, legalize marijuana, legalize weed, marijuana, news, organized crime, oxycodone abuse, oxycontin, politics, prison system, Prohibition, racial inequality, reform, war on drugs

top 10 reasons you shouldn’t be afraid of terrorists

June 21st, 2012 — 8:23am

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10. After the bungled Glasgow International Airport attack, one of the terrorists was apprehended by a Scottish cabby who kicked a burning terrorist in the balls so hard he tore a tendon in his foot.

9. The Times Square Bomber, Faisal Shazhad, locked the keys to both his get-away car and his house inside the car-bomb he rigged.  The car bomb consisted of a bunch of fireworks stuck in a bucket, and a bunch of fertilizer.  Inert, non-explosive fertilizer that only served to muffle the blast.

8. While terrorist “mastermind” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was hiding out in the Philippines, he kept a low profile by renting a freaking helicopter and making fly-overs of the building where the “cultural dancers” he wanted to date worked. They were impressed enough to allow him to take them on a date. He chose the local Wendy’s.

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1 comment » | 9/11, al-Qaeda, Glasgow bombing, islam, islamist, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, kick a burning terrorist in the balls, news, Pentagon, politics, shariah, stupid terrorists, terrorism, Times Square, war on drugs

more blowback in the Windy City

June 20th, 2012 — 1:17pm

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UPDATE: The summer gun violence hasn’t calmed down at all: the weekend of June 17th saw 7 killed and nearly 40 injured by gun violence in Chicago, the next weekend pushed the total June bodycount to 20, and on the 4th of July alone 5 were killed and 21 wounded,

So far 2012 is on pace to be the bloodiest summer ever in the Windy City, there have been far more murders in the city than U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, and the annual homicide rate is up 38% from last year.

A little while back al-Qaeda’s American-born spokesman “Adam the American” released a video exhorting Muslims in America to wage the “death by a-thousand cuts” version of jihad.  Instead of looking to stage large dramatic attacks which would require months of preparation and planning, he implored would-be jihadis to simply buy guns and start shooting people:

Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders, and to do major damage to the enemies of Islam waging war on their religion, sacred places, and brethren.  This is a golden opportunity.

“The way to show one’s appreciation and thanks for this blessing, is to rush to discharge one’s duty to his [community] and fight on its behalf with everything at his disposal.  And in the West you’ve got a lot at your disposal. Let’s take America as an example, American is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms…

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Comment » | Chicago, innercity violence, news, politics, racial inequality, racial tension, reform

getcha pita-bread ready

June 14th, 2012 — 5:58pm

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Unrest and instability plague a predominately Muslim nation after an economic recession creates growing swells of social upheaval, street demonstrations, and violence.  Islamists are poised to fill a growing power vacuum, but right as their scraggly grasping fingers are closing in on control of the state, the military steps in to prevent them from gaining control.

Sound familiar?

But what’s going down in Egypt isn’t by any means unique, the description at the top of this article was cribbed from the Wikipedia entry on the 1971 Turkey coup d’etat, the second coup in what ended up being a half-century of repeated military interventions that were each enacted to preserve a democratic Turkish state.

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Comment » | After the Arab Spring, Arab Spring, Attaturk, civil rights, Egypt, islam, islamist, John Bradley, news, politics, reform, revolution, shariah, terrorism, Turkey, you can't make an omelette

blowback in the windy city

June 12th, 2012 — 7:06pm

(read the book free online - get a copy for your Kindle - read the Reddit AMA)

A little while back al-Qaeda’s American-born spokesman “Adam the American” released a video exhorting Muslims in America to wage the “death by a-thousand cuts” version of jihad.  Instead of looking to stage large dramatic attacks which would require months of preparation and planning, he implored would-be jihadis to simply buy guns and start shooting people:

Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders, and to do major damage to the enemies of Islam waging war on their religion, sacred places, and brethren.  This is a golden opportunity.

“The way to show one’s appreciation and thanks for this blessing, is to rush to discharge one’s duty to his [community] and fight on its behalf with everything at his disposal.  And in the West you’ve got a lot at your disposal. Let’s take America as an example, American is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms…

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Comment » | Chicago, domestic terror, innercity violence, news, politics, racial inequality, terrorism, Uncategorized, war on drugs

love is all you need

June 10th, 2012 — 1:38pm

(read the book free online - get a copy for your Kindle - read the Reddit AMA)

After the Black September Organization pulled off what’s classically considered the first act of modern terrorism – holding Israel’s Olympic team in Munich hostage while the entire world watched in their living rooms via satellite television repeaters and portable video cameras - the group’s parent organization, the PLO, was faced with a rather troublesome conundrum.

It’s the same problem that our government is now trying to address, as “the Pentagon recently gave a $4.5 million grant to a group of psychologists based at the University of Maryland to conduct a five-year study on not only how to deradicalize militants, but perhaps also find ways to intervene with potential recruits before they sign up.”

Options such as vocational training and financial incentives are being considered, but as usual the Pentagon is flushing money directly down the shitter: neither of those are going to be anywhere near as effective as the solution that was used to dissolve Black September.

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1 comment » | counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, current affairs, domestic terror, islam, news, Pentagon, politics, terrorism

it’s the circle of jihad

June 9th, 2012 — 5:18pm

(read the book free online - get a copy for your Kindle - read the Reddit AMA)

Many of the groups that eventually coalesce into full-fledged terrorist organizations start off as cut-and-dry insurgences: FARC, the Shining Path, the PLO, and more recently al-Qaeda, which got its start fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan before metastasizing into an international terrorist organization and ideology.

But with all the press that it’s getting, it’s important to keep in mind that the ongoing uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has nothing at all to do with al-Qaeda.  As the dead bodies of women and children begin to pile up underneath hand-wringing UN officials, Syria’s Lebanese neighbors are at least mobilizing to do something about it: dusting off their kalashnikovs and crossing the border to once again fight for their fellow Muslims.

Many of their parents fought against Israeli’s invasion of Lebanon, so it’s no surprise that this generation is ready and willing to put their lives on the line in the what’s just about the most classic justification for jihad you can possibly imagine.

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Comment » | current affairs, domestic terror, islam, news, politics, terrorism

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