Monday, November 17, 2014

ISIS, Assad, Putin—The New Totalitarians

The end of the the old totalitarianism witnessed with the fall of the Berlin Wall; the beginning of the new totalitarianism witnessed with the rise of Putin, Assad and, indeed, ISIS.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Ghosts of Gaza-A Zealous Commander, the Hannibal Protocol & Israeli Soldier Suicides

Creede Newton has written an excellent story for The Daily Beast following up on the Gaza War and the toll it has taken on the Israeli soldiers who fought there. He asked repeated questions about the action in Khuzaa and the apparent summary execution of Islamic Jihad fighters, first reported by Jesse Rosenfeld on August 1 in his article "Who is Behind Gaza's Mass Execution?" and followed up on September 7 in an interview with a member of Islamic Jihad who shared some information about the incident from the Palestinian side. The IDF, thus far, has provided no substantive information about the incident. These are photographs taken at the scene in Khuzaa the day the bodies were discovered. It is no wonder if the ghosts linger in the minds of the men involved.


War on Terror, War on Muslims? A Lively Debate on Al Jazeera English

My part in this discussion with Faiza Patel and Marwan Bishara——runs from 16:25 to 23:25.

From Al Jazeera:

With a renewed fight against terrorism in the Middle East and with Muslims often the principle target of much of the counter-terror campaign in the west, Empire set out to examine if the global fight against terrorism is eroding the democratic principles it set out to defend.

What happens when the war on terror turns inwards, and prolonged military action abroad turns into a culture of fear at home?

What is the impact of increasing surveillance of Muslim communities, banning Islamic dress and equating a religion with a threat?

Marwan Bishara traveled to New York, London, and Paris to discuss and debate these questions with Hamid Dabashi, Faiza Patel, Slavoj Zizek, Edwy Plenel, Christopher Dickey, Michael Clarke, Alan Mendoza, Dilip Hiro and more.

Watch the trailer here:

For those in the United States, you can catch the episode online here after Sunday 20GMT:

Outside the U.S., you can also view the episode on Wednesday, October 29: 0600 GMT

Friday, October 24, 2014

Updated: Lone Wolves and the Stray Dogs of ISIS - What does "self-radicalized" mean?

My appearance on France 24 early Thursday afternoon, New York time, linking the Canada attacks to ISIS propaganda.

And my colleague Jacob Siegel's analysis on The Daily Beast on Friday after the New York City hatchet attack:

Lone Wolves, Terrorist Runts, and the Stray Dogs of ISIS

Why ISIS and al Qaeda rely on loners and losers to carry out their terrorist agenda in the West.

Bob Baer commenting on CNN after NYPD Commissioner Bratton and Intel Chief Miller acknowledge the hatchet attack was carried out by a "self-radicalized" Muslim convert:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canadian Terrorists Following ISIS Playbook to the Letter

Recent small-scale attacks, as written about by my colleague Tim Mak in the article "Terrorists End Canada's Innocence," appear to be following precisely the admonition of ISIS propagandists.

As noted in my recent story about covert wars:

One recent missive from ISIS to its followers advised them, "If you are able to kill an American or European infidel—particularly any of the hostile, impure Frenchmen—or an Australian or a Canadian, or any [other] infidel enemy from the countries that have banded against the Islamic State, then put your trust in Allah and kill him, by any way or means. Do not consult anyone and do not seek a fatwa from anyone. It is immaterial if the infidel is a combatant or a civilian. Their sentence is one; they are both infidels, both enemies. The blood of both is permitted…"

And then there’s this, in the same message: "If you cannot [detonate] a bomb or [fire] a bullet, arrange to meet alone with a French or an American infidel and bash his skull in with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison."

Below, the cover of the most recent issue of the ISIS online magazine:

Monday, October 20, 2014

On CNN: Why, Despite US Bombing and Supplies, Kobani May Yet Fall to ISIS

From Contras to Al Qaeda to Syrian anti-ISIS Forces: My Take on Covert Action, Obama and Savage Wars of Peace

President Obama has weighed the options and concluded America does more harm than good when it sets out to topple regimes. OK. But don’t pretend that’s the CIA’s fault.

PARIS, France—What could be more cynical than a covert operation? Sure, there’s always a lot of talk about fighting for freedom, defeating tyranny. What was it Ronald Reagan called the Contras and the Afghan mujahedin? “They are the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers.”

Actually some of the Contras whom I knew were the moral equivalent of pathological killers. They were so out of control that the CIA, which had armed them and trained them, finally had two of their commanders hunted down and executed. [NOTE: The men in question, known as Krill and Comandante Suicida, are the two standing in the middle in the photo above.]

As I say, covert ops: cynical business.

But recent reporting on the subject has been profoundly and, indeed, dangerously misleading about both the truth and the consequences surrounding such operations. ... READ ON