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28 Feb 2012 21:59


Politics: President Obama exempts US citizens from indefinite detainment

  • then On the last day of 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act which, amongst other things, allowed for the indefinite detention of US citizens suspected of terrorism.
  • now Obama signed a policy directive today that exempts US citizens from that provision in the bill (Section 1022, if you’re keeping track). Here’s the fact sheet released by the White House. source
  • » Some nuance: Although the language in the bill as signed did permit for US citizens to be indefinitely detained, it did not mandate this. Obama actually said at the time that he wouldn’t implement the law such that US citizens would face this possibility, so his signing today of this directive is in line with what he’d pledged. Our take: While this development will surely please Obama’s base, we’re scratching our heads as to why the White House announced it on the day of what’s become the most important primary in the Republican nominating contest so far (Michigan). It’ll likely get completely lost in the news cycle amidst all the primary coverage, which would seem to blunt its political utility. Color us baffled.

02 Feb 2012 10:48


U.S.: Size of the TSA’s infamous no-fly list doubles in a single year

  • 10,000 people on the U.S. government’s no-fly list roughly a year ago
  • 21,000 people on the no-fly list one year later; only 500 are Americans source
  • » So, what happened? After the Christmas 2009 “Underwear Bomber” incident, the TSA worked on improving the list, expanding it far beyond the initial set of names. Of note: The federal government is adding names beyond al-Qaeda, believing that the terror threat expands beyond the group behind the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. “Both U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities and foreign services continue to identify people who want to cause us harm, particularly in the U.S. and particularly as it relates to aviation,” said TSA head John Pistole, who has had to deal with some backlash against higher security standards in the past year.

21 Jan 2012 14:20


World: Nigerian Islamic sect claims responsibility for coordinated attacks

  • 143 people killed in Nigerian sectarian violence Friday source
  • » Increasingly sophisticated attacks: The Nigerian terror group Boko Haram, whose name stands for “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language, has been responsible for at least 510 deaths last year and 219 killings this year alone. The latest attack, in the city of Kano, showed increasing sophistication as it targeted major governmental building in the city. While both Muslims and Christians were killed or injured in the attack, Boko Haram intends to target Christians living in the Muslim-leaning northern region of the country.

11 Jan 2012 14:39


World: Syria’s Assad pledges victory over “terrorist” movement

  • I belong to this street. We will make this phase the end for them and their plans. We are going to win without any doubt.
  • Bashar al-Assad • In remarks made to a pro-Assad rally in Damascus. This represents clearly the ongoing narrative by Assad’s government in dismissing the accusations of widespread, lethal violence against the public; the death-toll, while acknowledged, is suggested to be the work of terrorists rather than state security forces themselves (for an illuminating look into these propaganda methods, look at the state news agency’s website). The UN estimates that Assad’s government has killed over 5,000 civilians during the last ten months. source

25 Dec 2011 11:12


World: Nigerian churches bombed by terror group during Christmas services

  • 25+ killed in Christmas Day bombings in Nigeria source
  • » Christmas masses targeted: Nigerian terror sect Boko Haram (a strict Muslim group) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which hit five targets, three of which appeared to be Christian churches holding Christmas services. “I just ran out. Now I don’t even know where my children or my wife are,” said Timothy Onyekwere, who was at one of the churches. “I don’t know how many were killed but there were many dead.”

22 Nov 2011 10:31


U.S.: Jose Pimentel’s mother apologizes for her son’s terror plot

  • I didn’t raise my son in that way. I feel bad about this situation.
  • Carmen Sosa, mother of NYC “lone wolf” bombing suspect Jose Pimentel • Apologizing for her son’s behavior while speaking with reporters outside her Manhattan home this morning. Regarding the NYPD’s actions in this incident, Sosa praised them. “I think they handled it well,” she said. If it helps Ms. Sosa, the FBI didn’t exactly treat this case very seriously, a sign it may not be a strong case. source

21 Nov 2011 20:52


U.S.: Why the FBI reportedly passed on perusing Jose Pimentel

  • They felt the NYPD’s evidence, and Pimentel’s actual threat, was shaky. If given the opportunity, could Jose Pimentel have actually pulled off a terror threat? The NYPD seemed convinced of this, but the FBI wasn’t quite so sure. On top of this, they felt the evidence was a little rough around the edges — particularly the use of a confidential informant, who recorded hours of conversations with Pimentel, but may not be the most reliable witness to whatever happened. As one law enforcement official, speaking off the record, put it: “If the FBI declines a case, it’s not a strong case.” Think it’ll hold up? source

05 Nov 2011 15:21


World: Nigeria: Terror group runs roughshod over Nigerian government

  • 67+ killed after bombings in northern Nigeria source
  • » A terror group takes responsibility: A terror group known locally as Boko Haram seems to be taking advantage of the weakness of the country’s central government in Northeastern Nigeria, planning attacks to escalate sectarian violence and going after government buildings and police stations in the process. “There’s that fear that something might possibly happen again,” said Nigerian Red Cross official Ibrahim Bulama. The group has threatened to continue its attacks “until until security forces stop their excesses on our members and vulnerable civilians.”

11 Oct 2011 16:04


U.S.: Officials say FBI foiled Iranian-backed bombing plot

  • Iranian bombing plot stymied by FBI: American officials reported today that the FBI infiltrated and derailed a terrorist plot backed by Iran. The plan involved paid collusion from an elite Iranian security force to the Zeta drug cartel of Mexico (unbeknownst to the Iranians, the contact they believed to be with the Zetas was cooperating with the FBI). The intended outcome was a bomb going off at a Washington D.C. restaurant, which would have killed Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. This is big news, as a publicly disseminated example of Iran as a state supporter of terrorism; it has been viewed as such by the U.S. State Department since 1984. source

10 Oct 2011 21:40


World: WTF: Wikileaks diplomatic cable claims Jamaicans are terror threat

  • Although not widely known, Jamaicans have been involved in some of the worst or potentially devastating acts of terrorism of the last decade.
  • A recently-uncovered Wikileaks cable from a U.S. diplomat in Jamaica • Suggesting that Jamaicans are a serious terror threat … a claim that the diplomat makes by linking three separate notable terror incidents in the past decade to people of Jamaican descent: Shoe bomber Richard Reid (his parents were Jamaican), D.C. sniper co-conspirator Lee Boyd Malvo and 2005 London bomber Germaine Lindsay. As Talking Points Memo points out, the ties are weak at best, making this 2010 diplomatic cable a bit of a bizarre footnote in the annals of Wikileaks — one with plenty of bizarre footnotes already. source