Category Archives: GWOT

Headline of the day: Having his senior moment


The front page of today’s New York Daily News:

BLOG Headlne

Rabid Rudy suffers Trump-induced amnesia


How else to explain that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani seems to have forgotten the city’s most traumatic event.

You know. . .

A little thing we call 9/11. . .

A thing that happened while he was mayor. . .

From the Associated Press:

Rudolph Giuliani, promoting Donald Trump’s national security plan, said Monday that in the “eight years before (President Barack) Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States.” That’s an apparent omission of the largest terror attack in United States history.

Giuliani was mayor of New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 and in the hours after the World Trade Center fell, while then-President George W. Bush was largely unseen, he became the face of American grief and determination. His brave and graceful performance in the weeks after the towers’ collapse earned him the nickname “America’s mayor” and he was soon launched into national political stardom, his name synonymous with the response to the attacks. That made his comments Monday all the more puzzling.

“Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office,” Giuliani said ahead of Trump’s speech on national security.

The eyebrow-raising comments, which were immediately lampooned on social media, were a far cry from Giuliani’s usual speeches, which are often peppered with references to the resolve New Yorkers displayed after the attacks. In fact, his discussions of the attacks were so common that Vice President Joe Biden once said of him there were “only three things he mentions in a sentence: A noun, a verb and 9/11.”

UPDATE: One of the tweets inspired by Rudy’s outburst:

BLOG Rudy

Headline of the day: When spooks go very wrong


From the Intercept:

The Raid

  • In Bungled Spying Operation, NSA Targeted Pro-Democracy Campaigner
  • Tony Fullman is a middle-aged former tax man and a pro-democracy activist. But four years ago, a botched operation launched by New Zealand spies meant he suddenly found himself deemed a potential terrorist — his passport was revoked, his home was raided, and he was placed on a top-secret National Security Agency surveillance list.

Headline of the day: Call it a case of flailing upwards


From the Independent:

Donald Trump’s spokeswoman claims Barack Obama ‘invaded Afghanistan’

  • Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said on Saturday that Afghanistan was “Obama’s war”. In truth, the US and UK led the invasion of the country in October 2001 at the direction of President George W Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
  • Ms Pierson, who is Mr Trump’s national spokeswoman, was talking on CNN about Mr Trump’s shifting views on whether or not Mr Obama was the “founder” of Isis – a claim he made earlier this week.

While Obama certainly aided the rise of ISIS by his Hillary Clinton-enable military adventures in Syria and Libya, the caliphate has longer roots, dating back to Dubya’s days.

Headline of the day: An FBI agent provocateur


A Very disturbing report from the Intercept:

FBI Agent Goaded Garland Shooter to “Tear Up Texas,” Raising New Alarms About Bureau’s Methods

An undercover FBI agent egged on a would-be terrorist shortly before he opened fire on a Texas cartoon contest last year, raising new doubts about the bureau’s approach to cozying up to its targets.

Media Muslim depictions foster intolerance


Back during our first year of posting here at esnl, we took an in-depth look at the demonization of Muslims in America’s films and television shows, the subject of the insightful documentary Reel Bad Arabs.

Back when esnl was a kid in the days just after World War II, screens large and small were dominated by villains who either spoke with German accents [“Vas ist das, dumbkopf?!“], pseudo-Japanese accents [You know very rittle, Amelican!”] or in Hollywood’s version of how Native Americans spoke [“How,” being the greeting, often followed by “Me big chief.”]

But these days, thanks to the massive blowback from the armed petro politics of Bush I-Clinton-Bush II-Obama/Clinton era, screens large and small are dominated by villains who pray toward Mecca and say things like “Time for you to die, infidel!

If you suspect that all those negative portrayals of Muslims might be having an adverse impact, you’d be correct.

From Texas A&M University:

What if most or all you know about Muslims is from what you see in the media — terrorists depicted in movies and TV shows, news reports on suicide bombings and mass shootings. What would your perception of Muslims be? Would you have stereotypical beliefs and negative emotions about them, and would you support policies that are harmful to them? Very likely, according to research co-authored by a Texas A&M University professor.

In “Reliance on Direct and Mediated Contact and Public Policies Supporting Outgroup Harm” [$6 read-only for 48 hours, $38 to read and print out], published in the Journal of Communication, Srividya Ramasubramanian, associate dean of liberal arts and professor of communication at Texas A&M, and her co-authors, used multiple studies, surveying non-Muslims on how much they relied on direct contact with Muslims versus media-based contact. Then they measured participants’ negative emotions toward Muslims, perceptions of Muslims as aggressive, support for civil restrictions against Muslims, and support for military action against Muslim countries.

“We observed that almost on a daily basis, media depictions of Muslims are extremely negative,” Ramasubramanian says. “Almost without exception, they are portrayed in stereotypical ways as violent, criminal and extreme. Islamophobia is on the rise and even some American political leaders have expressed hateful sentiments towards Muslims.”

The researchers found a correlation between people who rely on media depictions of Muslims and having negative attitudes, versus those with direct interactions who were less likely to view Muslims negatively.

“Our findings show that individuals who rely on the media for information on Muslims have greater negative emotions toward Muslims and increased perceptions of Muslims as aggressive, which in turn leads to support for civil restrictions against Muslims and military actions against Muslim countries,” says Ramasubramanian, who studies media psychology and cultural diversity, especially the effects of media stereotypes on users’ attitudes, emotions, and policy support towards marginalized groups.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Both Clinton and Trump will give us more war


From The Real News Network, an interview with Larry Wilkerson, a retired army officer who served as chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and now teaches national security courses at the College of William & Mary and George Washington University.

It’s yet more confirmation that both major party presidential candidates are likely to bring us yet more, which in turn will produce the rise of still more terrorism, which in turn will lead to more wars. . .ad infinitum.

From The Real News Network:

Wilkerson: The Danger of a Clinton or Trump Presidency

From the transcript:

PAUL JAY: And when I said Robert Kagan and others of his ilk are supporting Hillary, the thing they find most supportive in her, the thing they want to support, is her bellicose language about Russia, and that she’s not afraid to–she made a point of this in her own speech to the DNC, to take on, confront Russia. This kind of aggressive rhetoric about Russia, how serious are the neocons about this?

LARRY WILKERSON: She was present at the creation, as it were. She was there when her husband Bill Clinton decided to abrogate, completely abrogate, the promises of H.W. Bush to [inaud.], the Soviet foreign minister, and Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet premier at the time, that if they acceded to the reunification of Germany and its retention at NATO, a monumental diplomatic achievement, perhaps the greatest at the end of the 20th century, that they would not move NATO one inch further east. That’s Jim Baker’s actual words: not one inch further east.

But what Bill Clinton did was not just move it an inch further east, he began to incorporate the former Soviet satellite states in NATO, and even hinted at Georgia, Ukraine. And George W. Bush came along and actually gave a speech in Georgia, indicating Georgia would later be a member of NATO. This is what has caused Putin, a great power leader, to do what he’s done. Not any great desire to fight the United States. Certainly no desire to fight NATO. But a desire to keep his [near abroad], as they call it, think about these northern states of Mexico, the southern provinces of Canada, indeed, vis-a-vis us, intact and not a threat to him. That’s the way he looks at it.

So this is the first lady of those eight years. I’m not confident she’s going to handle the U.S.-Russia relationship as well as it should be.

>snip<

JAY: So just quickly, finally, given two terrible choices here, what scares you more?

WILKERSON: That also frightens me about, as you pointed out, Hillary Clinton’s position on Iran. Because I see it as being almost the opposite of President Obama’s. As you pointed out, he thinks it was a diplomatic achievement of the first order, as do I. And I think historians will, too. She thinks it came about because of massive U.S. power, at the top of which is military power. And so when it starts to unravel, which the Congress is working hard to make it do, she’s going to go to the military power.

JAY: So too horrible choices on foreign policy. Who scares you more?

WILKERSON: You won’t get me to answer that question. I have to say, I don’t know where Donald Trump stands. Some of the things he said, a re-examination of NATO, more equitable burden sharing, a re-examination, indeed, of all our security alliances, has been necessary since 1991. And we haven’t done it.

So those are cogent, reasonable, well-thought-out positions, though the playbook doesn’t agree with them. But I don’t know if he really believes in them. I don’t know if he just concocted them for the moment, or whether he really thought about them and he believes them. Other things he said make sense, too. But I don’t know, as I said, if he really believes in them or he’s just opportunistically throwing them out there as bait for what he considers to be those who might vote for him.