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Thread: What We Haven't Learned Since 9/11

  1. #1

    What We Haven't Learned Since 9/11

    "The Patriarch"

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post

    Not going to happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    The man did not think clearly. It was almost as if he had brain cancer of something.



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  3. #2

    What I Donít Like About Life in Post-9/11 America

    http://www.gilmermirror.com/view/ful...t-9-11-America

    Sep 10, 2018 by JOHN W. WHITEHEAD, The Rutherford Institute

    ďA patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.Ē―Edward Abbey, American author

    Life in a post-9/11 America increasingly feels like an endless free fall down a rabbit hole into a terrifying, dystopian alternative reality in which the citizenry has no rights, the government is no friend to freedom, and everything we ever knew and loved about the values and principles that once made this country great has been turned on its head.

    Weíve walked a strange and harrowing road since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties.

    We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade the citizenry to march in lockstep with a police state.

    Osama Bin Laden right warned that ďfreedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in ó and the West in general ó into an unbearable hell and a choking life.Ē

    These past 17 years have proven Bin Laden right in his prediction.

    What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

    The citizenryís unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

    This is not freedom.

    This is a jail cell.

    Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the likeóall of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courtsóour constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

    Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

    Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the governmentís war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.

    Since the towers fell on 9/11, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.

    In allowing ourselves to be distracted by terror drills, foreign wars, color-coded warnings, underwear bombers and other carefully constructed exercises in propaganda, sleight of hand, and obfuscation, we failed to recognize that the true enemy to freedom was lurking among us all the while.

    The U.S. government now poses a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist, extremist or foreign entity ever could.

    While nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government and its agents have easily killed at least ten times that number of civilians in the U.S. and abroad since 9/11 through its police shootings, SWAT team raids, drone strikes and profit-driven efforts to police the globe, sell weapons to foreign nations, and foment civil unrest in order to keep the military industrial complex gainfully employed.

    No, the U.S. government is not the citizenryís friend, nor is it our protector, and life in the United States of America post-9/11 is no picnic.

    In the interest of full disclosure, here are some of the things I donít like about life in a post-9/11 America:

    I donít like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds.

    I donít like being viewed as a consumer and bits of data.

    I donít like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy, especially in my own home.

    I donít like government officials who lobby for my vote only to ignore me once elected. I donít like having representatives incapable of andunwilling to represent me. I donít like taxation without representation.

    I donít like being bullied by government bureaucrats, vigilantes masquerading as cops, or faceless technicians.

    I donít like being railroaded into financing government programs whose only purpose is to increase the power and wealth of the corporate elite.

    I donít like being forced to pay for wars abroad that serve no other purpose except to expand the reach of the military industrial complex.

    I donít like being subjected to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA.

    I donít like VIPR raids on so-called ďsoftĒ targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes.

    I donít like fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.

    I donít like being treated like an underling by government agents who are supposed to be working for me. I donít like being threatened, intimidated, bribed, beaten and robbed by individuals entrusted with safeguarding my rights. I donít like being silenced, censored and marginalized. I donít like my movements being tracked, my conversations being recorded, and my transactions being catalogued.

    I donít like free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws that restrict Americansí First Amendment rights.

    I donít like laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at home, growing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater.

    I donít like the NDAA, which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.

    I donít like the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

    I donít like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has become Americaís standing army in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country.

    I donít like military weapons such as armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like being used against the American citizens.

    I donít like government agencies such as the DHS, Post Office, Social Security Administration and Wildlife stocking up on hollow-point bullets. And I definitely donít like the implications of detention centers being built that could house American citizens.

    I donít like the fact that police departments across the country ďhave received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.Ē

    I donít like Americaís infatuation with locking people up for life for non-violent crimes. There are thousands of people in America serving life sentences for non-violent crimes, including theft of a jacket, siphoning gasoline from a truck, stealing tools, and attempting to cash a stolen check.

    I donít like paying roughly $29,000 a year per inmate just to keep these nonviolent offenders in prison.

    I donít like having my hard-earned taxpayer dollars used against me.

    I donít like the partisan nature of politics today, which has so polarized Americans that they are incapable of standing in unity against the governmentís abuses.

    I donít like the entertainment drivel that passes for news coverage today.

    I donít like the fact that those within a 25-mile range of the border are getting a front row seat to the American police state, as Border Patrol agents are now allowed to search peopleís homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.

    I donít like public schools that treat students as if they were prison inmates. I donít like zero tolerance laws that criminalize childish behavior. I donít like a public educational system that emphasizes rote memorization and test-taking over learning, synthesizing and critical thinking.

    I donít like police precincts whose primary purposeówhether through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, or red light camerasóis making a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect. I donít like militarized police and their onerous SWAT team raids.

    I donít like Department of Defense and DHS programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. I donít like local police dressing and acting as if they were the military while viewing me as an enemy combatant.

    I donít like government programs that reward cops for raiding homes and terrorizing homeowners.

    I donít like being treated as if I have no rights.

    I donít like cash-strapped states cutting deals with private corporations to run the prisons in exchange for maintaining 90% occupancy rates for at least 20 years. I donít like the fact that American prisons have become the source of cheap labor for Corporate America.

    I donít like answering to an imperial president who operates above the law.

    I donít like the injustice that passes for justice in the courts.

    I donít like prosecutors so hell bent on winning that they allow innocent people to suffer for crimes they didnít commit.

    I donít like the double standards that allow government officials to break laws with immunity, while average Americans get the book thrown at them.

    I donít like cops who shoot first and ask questions later.

    I donít like police dogs being treated with more respect and afforded more rights than American citizens.

    I donít like living in a suspect society.

    I donít like Americans being assumed guilty until they prove their innocence.

    I donít like technology being used as a double-edged sword against us.

    Most of all, I donít like feeling as if thereís no hope for turning things around.

    Now there are those who would suggest that if I donít like things about this country, I should leave and go elsewhere. Certainly, there are those among my fellow citizens who are leaving for friendlier shores.

    However, Iím not giving up on this country without a fight.

    I plan to keep fighting, writing, speaking up, speaking out, shouting if necessary, filing lawsuits, challenging the status quo, writing letters to the editor, holding my representatives accountable, thinking nationally but acting locally, and generally raising a ruckus anytime the government attempts to undermine the Constitution and ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

    Our country may be in deep trouble, but all is not yet lost.

    The first step begins with you.

    1. Get educated. Know your rights. Take time to read the Constitution. Study and understand history because the tales of those who seek power and those who resist them is an age-old one. The Declaration of Independence is a testament to this struggle and the revolutionary spirit that overcame tyranny. Understand the vital issues of the day so that you can be cognizant of the threats to freedom. Stay informed about current events and legislation.

    2. Get involved. Become actively involved in local community affairs, politics and legal battles. As the adage goes, ďThink nationally, act locally.Ē America was meant to be primarily a system of local governments, which is a far cry from the colossal federal bureaucracy we have today. Yet if our freedoms are to be restored, understanding what is transpiring practically in your own backyardóin oneís home, neighborhood, school district, town councilóand taking action at that local level must be the starting point. Responding to unmet local needs and reacting to injustices is what grassroots activism is all about. Getting involved in local politics is one way to bring about change.

    3. Get organized. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and tap into your resources. Play to your strengths and assets. Conduct strategy sessions to develop both the methods and ways to attack the problem. Prioritize your issues and battles. Donít limit yourself to protests and paper petitions. Think outside the box. Time is short, and resources are limited, so use your resources in the way they count the most.

    4. Be creative. Be bold and imaginative, for this is guerilla warfareónot to be fought with tanks and guns but through creative methods of dissent and resistance. Creatively responding to circumstances will often be one of your few resources if you are to be an effective agent of change. Every creative effort, no matter how small, is significant.

    5. Use the media. Effective use of the media is essential. Attracting media coverage not only enhances and magnifies your efforts, it is also a valuable education tool. It publicizes your message to a much wider audience.

    6. Start brushfires for freedom. Take heart that you are not alone. You come from a long, historic line of individuals who have put their beliefs and lives on the line to keep freedom alive. Engage those around you in discussions about issues of importance. Challenge them to be part of a national dialogue. As I have often said, one person at a city planning meeting with a protest sign is an irritant. Three individuals at the same meeting with the same sign are a movement. You will find that those in power fear and respect numbers. This is not to say that lone crusaders are not important. There are times when you will find yourself totally alone in the stand you take. However, there is power in numbers. Politicians understand this. So get out there and start drumming up support for your cause.

    7. Take action. Be prepared to mobilize at a momentís notice. It doesnít matter who you are, where youíre located or what resources are at your disposal. What matters is that you recognize the problems and care enough to do something about them. Whether youíre 8, 28 or 88 years old, you have something unique to contribute. You donít have to be a hero. You just have to show up and be ready to take action.

    8. Be forward-looking. Beware of being so ďin the momentĒ that you neglect to think of the bigger picture. Develop a vision for the future. Is what youíre hoping to achieve enduring? Have you developed a plan to continue to educate others about the problems youíre hoping to tackle and ensure that others will continue in your stead? Take the time to impart the value of freedom to younger generations, for they will be at the vanguard of these battles someday.

    9. Develop fortitude. What is it that led to the successful protest movements of the past headed by people such as Martin Luther King Jr.? Resolve. King refused to be put off. And when the time came, he was willing to take to the streets for what he believed and even go to jail if necessary. King risked having an arrest record by committing acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. A caveat is appropriate here. Before resorting to nonviolent civil disobedience, all reasonable alternatives should be exhausted. If there is an opportunity to alter the course of events through normal channels (for example, negotiation, legal action or legislation), they should be attempted.

    10. Be selfless and sacrificial. Freedom is not freeóthere is always a price to be paid and a sacrifice to be made. If any movement is to be truly successful, it must be manned by individuals who seek a greater good and do not waver from their purposes. It will take boldness, courage and great sacrifice. Rarely will fame, power and riches be found at the end of this particular road. Those who travel it inevitably find the way marked by hardship, persecution and strife. Yet there is no easy way.

    11. Remain optimistic and keep hope alive. Although our rights are increasingly coming under attack, we still have certain freedoms. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we can still fight back. We have the right to dissent, to protest and even to vigorously criticize or oppose the government and its laws. The Constitution guarantees us these rights. In a country such as the United States, a citizen armed with a knowledge of the Bill of Rights and the fortitude to stand and fight can still be a force to be reckoned with, but it will mean speaking out when others are silent.

    Practice persistence, along with perseverance, and the possibilities are endless. You can be the voice of reason. Use your voice to encourage others. Much can be accomplished by merely speaking out. Oftentimes, all it takes is one lone voice to get things started. So if you really care and youíre serious and want to help change things for the better, dust off your First Amendment tools and take a standóeven if it means being ostracized by those who would otherwise support you.

    It wonít be easy, but take heart. And donít give up.

  4. #3

    Seventeen years after Sept. 11, Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever

    http://www.latimes.com/world/middlee...910-story.html

    SEP 10, 2018 By NABIH BULOS



    In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, the United States set out to destroy Al Qaeda. President George W. Bush vowed to “starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest.”

    Seventeen years later, Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, U.S. policies in the Mideast appear to have encouraged its spread.

    What U.S. officials didn’t grasp, said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, in a recent phone interview, is that Al Qaeda is more than a group of individuals. “It’s an idea, and an idea cannot be destroyed using sophisticated weapons and killing leaders and bombing training camps,” she said.

    The group has amassed the largest fighting force in its existence. Estimates say it may have more than 20,000 militants in Syria and Yemen alone. It boasts affiliates across North Africa, the Levant and parts of Asia, and it remains strong around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

    It has also changed tactics. Instead of the headline-grabbing terrorist attacks, brutal public executions and slick propaganda used by Islamic State (Al Qaeda’s onetime affiliate and now rival), Al Qaeda now practices a softer approach, embedding itself and gaining the support of Sunni Muslims inside war-torn countries.

    Here’s a look at how Al Qaeda has grown in some key Middle Eastern countries:

    Iraq

    The United States went to war against Iraq in 2003, based in part on the assertion — later debunked — that Al Qaeda had ties to dictator Saddam Hussein.

    That claim turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    In victory, the U.S. disbanded the Iraqi army, putting hundreds of thousands of disgruntled men with military training on the street. Many rose up against what was perceived as a foreign invasion, feeding an insurgency that has never stopped. The insurgency gave birth to Al Qaeda in Iraq, a local affiliate that pioneered the use of terrorist attacks on Shiite Muslims, regarded as apostates by Sunni extremists.

    In its 2007 “surge,” the U.S., in concert with pro-government Sunni militias, largely defeated Al Qaeda in Iraq. But by 2010, the group was “fundamentally the same” as it had been before the boost in troops, according to Gen. Ray T. Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq at the time.

    The 2011 uprisings in neighboring Syria gave the group the breathing space it needed. Two years later it emerged as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, and split from Al Qaeda’s central leadership.

    It also launched an audacious offensive that saw large swaths of Iraq fall into the hands of the jihadists. Although Islamic State has since lost most of its territory, it remains a threat.

    Yemen

    Al Qaeda was active in Yemen even before Sept. 11: It orchestrated the October 2000 bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole in the port of Aden. After the World Trade Center twin tower attacks, Bush hailed Yemen’s then president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, as a vital partner in the U.S.-declared war on terrorism.

    Saleh received what he called “limitless” U.S. support to fight the jihadists. He in turn gave the U.S. a free hand to conduct attacks against the group’s operatives, including controversial drone strikes, which began in 2002.

    But by January 2009, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (known as AQAP) had emerged and was soon considered the group’s most dangerous branch.

    President Obama unleashed special forces teams to hunt down AQAP operatives. He also ramped up drone strikes, launching roughly 200 from 2009 to 2016, according to a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. President Trump has launched 160.

    But the strikes and raids often killed more civilians than militants.

    In late 2014, Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim rebels known as Houthis swept in from the country's northwest to seize the capital, Sana. Amid the resulting chaos, AQAP netted a prize: the city of Mukalla, with Yemen’s third- largest port. It became the centerpiece of an Al Qaeda fiefdom.

    As early as 2012, Nasser Wuhayshi, AQAP’s self-styled “emir” and founder, had said the group needed to win people over by “taking care of their daily needs.”

    The group rebranded itself as Ansar al Sharia, or Supporters of Islamic Law, and slowly introduced Al Qaeda’s harsh form of Islamic law and governance.

    Under Trump, the United States has largely continued Obama’s policies in Yemen. It has given full support to an air campaign led by Saudi Arabia against the Houthis, despite criticism that the strikes have caused most of the 16,000 civilian casualties in Yemen since the war began.

    But even as the U.S. has continued to carry out airstrikes and raids against AQAP, the group has positioned itself as a virtual ally, battling the Houthis alongside tribal fighters supported by Saudi Arabia.

    Somalia

    The fall of Somalia’s government in 1991 led to the rise of the Islamic Courts Union, a collection of clerical organizations that formed a sharia-based judiciary. It gained legitimacy by offering services such as education and healthcare.

    Washington, suspecting links to Al Qaeda, supported the group’s enemies, and enlisted the Ethiopian army to crush it, which it did in 2006. In the de-facto occupation that followed, the Islamic Courts Union’s radical youth wing, the Shabab, grew as an independent resistance movement that took over most of Somalia’s central and southern regions.

    Despite its unpopular application of fundamentalist Wahhabi doctrine, residents tolerated the Shabab because it fought the Ethiopians, who are mostly Christian and have a long-standing enmity with Somalis.

    In 2012, it was declared as the new Al Qaeda affiliate. The change of status attracted a significant number of foreign fighters, including some from the United States.

    The Obama administration’s policy of drone strikes along with support for African Union peacekeeping forces, flushed the Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011. It lost control of most of Somalia’s towns and cities.

    And in September 2014, a U.S. drone strike killed its leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr.

    But the group held sway in rural areas, where its estimated 4,000 to 6,000 militants make it one of Al Qaeda’s largest franchises. They carry out guerrilla attacks on African Union forces and civilian targets and have launched attacks in others parts of East Africa, including the 2013 attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Syria

    On Dec. 23, 2011, a car bomb struck a residential neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, that was home to the State Security Directorate.

    The building was all but destroyed. Drivers unfortunate enough to be near the explosion were burned alive. A second car bomb detonated soon after. All told, 44 people were killed.

    That attack marked the debut of Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

    The Syrian government had once given the jihadis passage to Iraq to fight coalition forces there. With the civil war, many had now come to return the favor. Nusra’s battle-hardened fighters delivered dazzling successes to the rebel coalition seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

    It was so effective that U.S. officials, including former CIA Director David Petraeus, suggested arming and deploying the Al Qaeda jihadis to fight their former comrades in Islamic State.

    And despite its adherence to a strict Islamist code of behavior and its imposition of sharia in areas it controlled, the group enjoyed popular support from civilians tired of dealing with rapacious opposition factions more interested in looting than fighting.

    Yet here again, the affiliate did not declare a caliphate. Instead, it rebranded itself, publicly cutting ties with Al Qaeda even while retaining some of the group’s top operatives.

    The group, now known as the Organization for the Liberation of Syria, is estimated to have 10,000 to 15,000 fighters, including foreigners from as far as Albania and China.

    Libya

    Officially, there is no Al Qaeda group in Libya. Its affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, was disbanded in 2011; its members renounced violence but distinguished themselves as relatively disciplined rebels once the revolution against Libyan strongman Moammar Kadafi kicked off.

    Since then, some, such as former group leader Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was renditioned by the U.S. after 2001, have become powerful Islamist leaders, with a significant role in Libya’s chaotic politics.

    Others have gone over to Islamic State’s Libyan branch or joined other Islamist groups, including a number that took over the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

    But while the U.S., other Western nations and the United Arab Emirates have focused almost exclusively on dislodging Islamic State from its bastions in the north and northeast, Al Qaeda has enjoyed a resurgence, according to an August report from the United Nations.

    The group’s threat in Libya registered with the U.S. only this year. In March, the Pentagon’s Africa Command said it had killed two Al Qaeda militants in a drone strike, including what was said to be a high-ranking official, Musa Abu Dawud.

    It was the first such attack against the group in Libya. More followed, including another in June, in what is thought to be an expanded counter-terrorism campaign in the country.

  5. #4


    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Dr. Ron Paul. "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." - Sophie Magdalena Scholl
    "War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne "Freedom is the answer. ... Now, what's the question?" - Ernie Hancock.



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