Recently in Asymmetrical Warfare Category

French Writers and the Debate Over the ‘French Condition’

On January 8, 2015, The New York Times published an article by Paris correspondent Rachel Donadio, about French author  Michel Houellebecq, “whose polemical — some say prophetic — new novel, “Submission,” imagines a Muslim becoming president of France in 2022.” See “Before Paris Shooting, Authors Tapped Into Mood of a France ‘Homesick at Home’” I recommend it.

According to The Times,

Even before its official release on Wednesday, “Submission” had already set off intense debates in France — about the line between satire and Islamophobia and between fantasy and realpolitik, about the novelist’s (and Islam’s) treatment of women, and about the political mainstream’s struggles to keep pace with the rise of both Islam and the far right — a debate that the attacks are certain to intensify.

The reference is to the January 7, 2015, attack on  Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper, that resulted in the death of eleven of its staffers.

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Glenn Greenwald, a columnist who analyzes “civil liberties and U.S. national security issues for the Guardian of London, has provided the most insightful critique of President Barack Obama’s “authority” to order the assassination of U.S. citizens associated with Al-Qaeda or some other organization. See “Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens.

Mr. Greenwald (in photo below), a former constitutional lawyer in the U.S., writing in a February 5, 2013, column opined:

The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with U.S. citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.
Mr. Greenwald adds: ”Since then, senior Obama officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, have explicitly argued that the president is and should be vested with this power.”

The former Slate columnist’s analysis is lengthy but worth reading, especially if you seek a perspective contrary to that of the Obama Administration.

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‘54 Nations Collaborated in CIA’s Rendition Program’

The Open Society Foundations project known as the Open Society Justice Initiative has issued a 216-page report titled Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition.

The report asserts that “as many as 54 foreign governments reportedly participated in” U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations against Al-Qaeda operatives and suspected Al-Qaeda collaborators in various ways during the so-called “War on Terror,” which was launched after Al-Qaeda attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.

It’s worth reading.

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Al-Qaeda 3.0 is on the Rise

How has Al-Qaeda evolved since the organization’s September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, and the 12-year war the U.S. has waged against the organization?

According to Bruce Riedel, a retired U.S. Central Intelligence Agent (CIA) and currently a counterterrorism expert at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, "We are witnessing today the evolution of the third generation of Al-Qaeda. Or what I refer to as Al-Qaeda 3.0.

He told the Agence France Press: "The first generation was the generation that created Al-Qaeda, right up to the attacks of September 11. The second generation dates roughly from the fall of the Taliban state in Afghanistan until the death of Osama bin Laden and the Arab awakening.”

To read more from the interview, please see “Al-Qaeda 3.0: exploiting unrest from Syria to Sahel: expert.” 

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Abdul-Mutallab’s Father: ‘I Am Really Disturbed’

This Day of Nigeria has a informative, December 27, 2009,  article that offers background on Abdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab, the 23-year old Nigerian who reportedly tried to blow up NorthWest Airlines Flight 253 arriving in Michigan, USA, from Amsterdam on December 25, 2009. See “Mutallab's Son Charged With Attempted Bombing in U.S.”

Also see “Umaru Mutallab's Son Identified As Delta Airline Attempted Bomber.”

Addition Links to This Development

Nigerian plotter used same explosive as shoe bomberThe Telegraph, UK

Why did US let Abdulmutallab get on a plane to Detroit?The Christian Science Monitor, USA

Detroit attack: terrorist once again confounds airport securityThe Christian Science Monitor, USA

Gibbs: Potus has asked for review of watch listsPolitico, USA

Abdulmutallab: 'Good-looking, bright and heading for the top. What a waste'The Independent, UK

Nigerian in aircraft attack linked to London mosque - The Independent, UK

Suspect's Privileged Existence Took a Radical TurnThe Wall Street Journal, USA

Nigeria bomber's home town blames foreign schooling Reuters, Australia

Yemen, UAE links in Detroit Terrorism AttackInformed Comment, USA

Salon Radio Transcript: Gregory JohnsenSalon, USA   

A new normal in flying?Spector Vision Blog, Canada

Security Problems Appear To Increase Everywhere But AfghanistanThe Huffington Post, USA

Airline bomb plot: At war with the worldGuardian, UK

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India's Security, Intelligence Forces Come Under Scrutiny Over Mumbai

India's newspapers have produced many articles on the November 26-29, 2008, assault on Mumbai, India, that gripped the world. Some have managed to informs readers without being sensational. Yet, they were quite vivid in their description of how security services responded to attacks on south Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the Oberoi-Trident Complex, the Nariman House in the Colaba section of the city, and other landmarks.

The operation to rescue hostages, kill or capture the attackers and gain control of commandeered facilities is known as "Operation Black Tornado."  According to The Times of India, "The war on terror in Mumbai ended on Saturday, November 29, 2008, when security forces "eliminated three terrorists in [the] Taj hotel after 60 hours of intense battle with the band of ultras who struck the country's financial capital killing 195 people.( Watch )" Also see The Hindu's November 29, 2008, article headlined  "Endgame in Mumbai, death toll could be 200."

The attacks were launched on November 26, 2008, from the sea, purportedly a group calling itself Deccan Mujahidden. image See "Who are the Deccan Mujahidden?" Some observer think Laskar e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group, was behind the attacks. See "Three Lashkar fidayeen captured." A November 29, 2008, article in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn says "Clues nudge India to look beyond Pakistan." According to The International News, a Pakistani newspaper, "Pakistan offers support to India in fighting ‘common enemy.’

Some of the attackers reportedly are Britons of Pakistani origin. See "Too early to say attackers are Britons, says Brown."

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, told a press conference in Islamabad on November 29, 2008, that Pakistan will punish any Pakistan-based group involved in the Mumbai attacks.

"Any entity or group involved in the ghastly act, the Pakistani government will proceed against it," he said, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

Regardless of who is the behind the attack, the main questions are: How did the attackers pull it off? See "Mumbai locals helped us, terrorist tells cops."

Why was Indian intelligence, the Navy and Coast Guard derelict in their duty, if they were?  For an analysis, see The Economic Times of India's "Failure of Indian intelligence: The buck stops nowhere." Also see "

World’s media see intelligence failures in Mumbai attacks."
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