when Iran wants to assasinate someone

October 12th, 2011 — 5:36pm

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

They simply find a way to make sure the guy gets shot.  In a sense the Iranians are the hipsters of assassinations on American soil, because although they’ve done it here at least once before -  you’ve probably never heard of it.

But in light of the recent “plot” that was foiled, it’s important to bring up that historical precedent.  As Salon‘s Glen Greenwald among many others have noted, this particular scheme seems about as far-fetched and shadily-orchestrated as international terrorist plots of sinister assassination come:

The Terrorist Mastermind at the center of the plot is a failed used car salesman in Texas with a history of pedestrian money problems. Dive under your bed. “For the entire operation, the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents,” explained U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and “no explosives were actually ever placed anywhere and no one was actually ever in any danger.’”

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3 comments » | Arab Spring, counterinsurgency, islam, news, politics, Saudi Arabia, terrorism

New Black Panthers and Jesse Jackson warn of impending unrest

October 5th, 2011 — 12:24pm

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

It doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to imagine that the sky really is falling this time.

A few decades ago Malcolm X basically threw himself under the political bus by speculating that JFK’s assassination was simply the proverbial chickens coming home to roost, a statement that got him all but kicked out of the Nation of Islam.  After the fact he claimed that the statement just referred to the fact he wasn’t surprised an assassination occurred given the pervasive climate of hatred in America at the time, although it doesn’t seem too much of a jump to imagine that perhaps he might have been referring to American interventionism abroad finally returning to bite the nation in her backside.

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Comment » | current affairs, domestic terror, racial inequality, terrorism, Uncategorized, war on drugs

the jinn in the machine

October 5th, 2011 — 9:29am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

A kettle which has been just on the edge of simmering for a good long time now finally began to boil over earlier this week, as violent protests erupted in Qatif, a city in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia that like almost every city in that region of the nation is majority Shia.  And like almost every other city in the Shia-dominated eastern edges of Saudi Arabia – it sits directly on top of the world’s largest remaining easily-accessible oil reserves.

Instability has been built into the region since the founding of the Saudi Kingdom, a geopolitical reality that bodes disaster for American geopolitical goals in the region.  Namely, securing access to the lifeblood of Western civilization:

The Shia of Saudi Arabia, mostly concentrated in the Eastern Province, have long complained of discrimination against them by the fundamentalist Sunni Saudi monarchy. The Wahhabi variant of Islam, the dominant faith in Saudi Arabia, holds Shia to be heretics who are not real Muslims.

The US, as the main ally of Saudi Arabia, is likely to be alarmed by the spread of pro-democracy protests to the Kingdom and particularly to that part of it which contains the largest oil reserves in the world. The Saudi Shia have been angered at the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain since March, with many protesters jailed, tortured or killed, according Western human rights organisations.

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Comment » | Arab Spring, counterinsurgency, economics, islam, news, politics, Saudi Arabia, terrorism

click click, bang bang

September 15th, 2011 — 3:35pm


(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

UPDATE: Another shooting occurred outside Phoenix, AZ at about 10:30pm Friday night, this time the victim died either of his wounds or after the gunshot caused him to crash into the highway median.   It seems notable that this attack also occurred along I-10, the same highway as the earlier incident outside LA.

Last night on the George Washington Parkway, a bullet shattered the back window of an SUV just after midnight.  All the way over on the Left Coast on Interstate 10, at approximately 3am, an unidentified victim was shot through the door of their vehicle and rushed into surgery.

Two isolated incidents on opposite ends of the country does not a big deal make, but given what al-Qaida’s top American spokesman urged prospective terrorists in the U.S. to do back at the start of the summer, they’re still worth noting.

Large, symbolic attacks are no longer necessary – al-Qaida’s mission statement has long-since congealed in the blood of its victims.  There’s little to no reason to carry to carry out large-scale attacks that require time, planning, and risk – especially when the DC Sniper already sketched out such an effective blueprint in the DC metro area almost a decade ago for small-scale attacks then in a way are even more effective than massive one-shot attacks.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that in early June, al-Qaeda’s American-born spokesman “Adam the American” released a video in fluent English imploring Muslims living in the United States to “buy guns and start shooting people.”  He explains his reasoning further in the video:

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, America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms…

So what are you waiting for?

Comment » | books, current affairs, domestic terror, terrorism

Cali Police using armored military vehicles in downtown Ventura

September 14th, 2011 — 12:06pm

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

Apparently police in California are expecting things to get even hairier than they already are, since they’ve carted out military-grade armored tactical vehicles – basically the Barry Bonds version of  the Humvee.  As the level of drug-related violence in Mexico has shot through the roof, perhaps it make sense to assume that it will begin to bleed across the border and into southern California – but all the same it’s gotta be just a wee bit unsettling for the average California to see these things rumbling down their streets.

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1 comment » | terrorism, war on drugs

top 10 reasons you shouldn’t be afraid of al-Qaeda

September 9th, 2011 — 7:29am

(read the book free online - help launch the Kickstarter - read the Reddit AMA)

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.

7. Terrorists in the cell caught by an FBI-NYPD sting in the Bronx were called “intellectually challenged” by their lawyer, said they were high when they were arrested, and claimed that the FBI entrapped them with fried chicken.

6. On 9/11, the terrorists who flew out of Logan – after having spent years preparing, months training, and tens of thousands of dollars on the attack – made it onto their flight with just six-minutes to spare.

5. Part of this close-call may have been due to being up late the night before.  Hotel records show the night before they carried out what they saw as a sanctified assault against the forces of Evil – they rented a porno together.

4. The aforementioned Glasgow International Airport attack was originally thwarted by another unusual hero.  The height of the airport’s doorway – the terrorists never bothered to check if it would allow clearance for the jeep they were driving, so they got stuck. Their bomb detonated anyways, lighting one of them on fire – the attack’s only serious injury (unless you count the cabby as well).

3. The terrorist in charge of the 1993 van-bombing of the World Trade Center waited until the night before the scheduled attack to find a Ryder van they could use, and someone willing to drive it beneath the Towers.  They were ultimately all tracked down after one of them returned to the rental agency to noisily insist that he should get their deposit back – three separate times.  The FBI was waiting for him the third time.

2. This 1993 World Trade Center cell was finally caught in Manila, where a policewoman – a grandmother wearing a flowered muumuu, hoop earrings, and rubber slippers – ran Abdul Murad down in the street, bound his hands with clothesline, and hailed a taxi to get him back to the station. Police were tipped off to his presence after he managed to light his apartment on fire.

1. A cell plotting a car-bombing in Southeast Asia were foiled when an issue arose with the guy they’d spent months recruiting and training to drive their car-bomb.  When he got into the vehicle the morning of the attack he explained there was a problem: he didn’t know how to drive stick.

Political Terrorism is a gyre that’s only set into motion when fear and panic cause the target to overreact with disproportionate violence, which draws sympathizers into the terrorist fold and creates justification for further attacks. If we don’t lose our shit – the terrorists lose.

(help launch the Kickstarter!)

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11 comments » | domestic terror, terrorism

when Justice lies

September 8th, 2011 — 9:08am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

When you are sworn into Federal Court, you are exhorted to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Each of these phrases carries a slightly different angle against any possible lie – not only are you swearing to speak the truth, but also to not hold any part of the truth back, and to not mix in lies among the truth you do tell.

And so by its own standards, the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has been openly and unabashedly lying about the racial divisions that remain within the American penal system for at least the past five years.  It’s a lie so patently absurd that if our current President was incarcerated, the Department of Justice would pretend he wasn’t there, and whitewash his existence from their racial prisoner data entirely.

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1 comment » | current affairs, racial inequality, war on drugs

by whatever means necessary

September 2nd, 2011 — 8:18am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

This September the UN will vote on whether or not Palestine should be officially recognized as a state, an aspiration that first gained international attention two generations ago.

Although statehood would largely just be a technical distinction, Israel is still bracing itself for unrest.  The IDF has reportedly begun arming settlers in the West Bank with tear gas and stun grenades and setting “red-lines” for each settlement.  The plan is that should any Palestine cross a red-line, IDF soldiers will open fire at their feet.  Given the visceral decades-old hatred between Israel and Palestine, violence in one form or another once again seems inevitable.

And should Palestine finally get recognized as a state by the UN, it would bring full-circle a series of events that first ushered the specter of international terrorism onto the world stage.  Events that would gather the world, rapt in horror, around the flickering macabre  spectacle playing itself out in their darkened living rooms.

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Comment » | current affairs, islam, terrorism

it’s hard out here

August 25th, 2011 — 1:33pm

(read the book free online - read the Reddit AMA)

Imagine you live in a small apartment above a bookstore.

Like most bookstores, it has an area set aside for perusing novels and consuming refreshments where you can relax with a alluring and fragrant pile of books stacked in front of you.  The only sounds come from the soft mood music the establishment is piping in and the contented signs of other customers.  You’re free to evaluate each prospective purchase at your own leisure, languidly stroking their pages one-by-one, seeing if this one or that one’s spine has what you’re looking for attached to it.

No one who works there ever comes up and hassles you about hurrying up and buying something already, there’s an implicit pact between client and business – you’re free to lounge for as long as you’d like, but if you want the convenience of taking the book with you, a fee is required.

That’s really all you’re paying, a convenience fee.  Each book sits on the shelf open and waiting, shyly beckoning you with coyly designed covers and promising words – tempting you to pick them up, sit them in your lap, fall in love with them, and pay to take them home. But whether or not payment is rendered, you can still have your way with as many books as you want, regardless of whether or not you pay a single cent.

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8 comments » | books, current affairs, e-books, news, publishing, terrorism, war on drugs

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