Original Proposal - The Thistle and The Drone

.
Our focus for July 10th will be The Thistle and The Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam by Akbar Ahmed ($24.32 + shipping hard cover & $18.12 kindle edition from Amazon.com -- 369 pages excluding notes & index).

The former Pakistani-Government Administrator of South Waziristan (the tribal area often called the most dangerous place on earth), Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. He was the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (NB: The Ambassador of one member of the British Commonwealth to another member of the British Commonwealth is known as the High Commissioner rather than as the Ambassador), the first Distinguished Chair of Middle East Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy, and is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Among his previous books are Journey into Islam and Journey into America, both published by Brookings. He is also a published poet and playwright.

AT THE REQUEST OF PAKISTAN, RUSSIA AND CHINA, the United Nations launched last January an investigation of the U.S. drone-assassination program. The report is scheduled to be submitted to the U.N. General Assembly in October.

TOM BROKAW SAID ON MEET THE PRESS 4/21/2013: “And I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved and -- and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say we love America. If you harm one hair on the -- on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever and there is enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.”
Post Reply
ellenbirrell
Site Admin
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:31 pm

Original Proposal - The Thistle and The Drone

Post by ellenbirrell »

.
Thistle and The Drone
Originally proposed by ellenbirrell » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:27 am - 243 views before being transplanted here.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: How about this one?
From: Ellen Birrell
Date: Tue, March 12, 2013 6:02 am
To: readingliberally-saltlake@johnkarls.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi my conscientious friends,

I thought of you while listening to NPR this a.m.

They interviewed a previous tribal leader from Afghanistan. His new book "The Thistle and The Drone" sounds like a valuable read.

Fondly,
Ellen

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************
The Thistle and The Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam by Akbar Ahmed ($18.95 from Amazon.com – 440 pages)

[The former Pakistani-Government Administrator of South Waziristan (the tribal area often called the most dangerous place on earth), Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. He was the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (NB: The Ambassador of one member of the British Commonwealth to another member of the British Commonwealth is known as the High Commissioner rather than as the Ambassador), the first Distinguished Chair of Middle East Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy, and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Among his previous books are Journey into Islam and Journey into America, both published by Brookings. He is also a published poet and playwright.]

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the United States declared war on terrorism. More than ten years later, the results are decidedly mixed. Here world-renowned author, diplomat, and scholar Akbar Ahmed reveals an important yet largely ignored result of this war: in many nations it has exacerbated the already broken relationship between central governments and the largely rural Muslim tribal societies on the peripheries of both Muslim and non-Muslim nations. The center and the periphery are engaged in a mutually destructive civil war across the globe, a conflict that has been intensified by the war on terror.

Conflicts between governments and tribal societies predate the war on terror in many regions, from South Asia to the Middle East to North Africa, pitting those in the centers of power against those who live in the outlying provinces. Akbar Ahmed's unique study demonstrates that this conflict between the center and the periphery has entered a new and dangerous stage with U.S. involvement after 9/11 and the deployment of drones, in the hunt for al Qaeda, threatening the very existence of many tribal societies.

American firepower and its vast anti-terror network have turned the war on terror into a global war on tribal Islam. And too often the victims are innocent children at school, women in their homes, workers simply trying to earn a living, and worshipers in their mosques. Battered by military attacks or drone strikes one day and suicide bombers the next, the tribes bemoan, "Every day is like 9/11 for us."

In The Thistle and the Drone, the third volume in Ahmed's groundbreaking trilogy examining relations between America and the Muslim world, the author draws on forty case studies representing the global span of Islam to demonstrate how the U.S. has become involved directly or indirectly in each of these societies. The study provides the social and historical context necessary to understand how both central governments and tribal societies have become embroiled in America's war. Beginning with Waziristan and expanding to societies in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere, Ahmed offers a fresh approach to the conflicts studied and presents an unprecedented paradigm for understanding and winning the war on terror.

johnkarls
Posts: 1712
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Boston Bombing - The Wisdom of Bill Clinton

Post by johnkarls »

.
Originally posted by johnkarls » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:35 am

Yesterday (4/17/2013), the confusion that reigned over the media from approximately 1 pm EST until 7 pm EST regarding whether the FBI had already arrested a person in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing was intriguing.

Especially since the media was chorusing throughout that period that multiple credible sources had confirmed that the arrest had been made and that the culprit was being brought to the Federal Court House, around which scores of media reporters waited with their cameras and microphones.

Meanwhile, the press conference that the FBI had announced for 1:00 pm EST, the first of the day after two the previous day, kept being postponed and finally, after approximately 6 hours of postponements, was cancelled. However, the FBI did announce that contrary to all of the rumors, there had been no arrest.

If one were a cynic, one would conclude that a war had raged within the Obama Administration between Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA Director John Brennan.

And that the war had been won by CIA Director John Brennan!!!

Why???

Because the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing, though involving all of the resources of the federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies, had been spear-headed by the FBI which, as part of the U.S. Justice Department, reports to Attorney General Eric Holder.

And in the past, Attorney General Eric Holder has always treated terrorism as a law-enforcement problem, rather than a terrorism-prevention problem. [Taking a lot of heat on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, for example, in immediately reading the famous Underwear Bomber his rights rather than subjecting him to interrogation first.]

So, of course, it would make sense to Attorney General Holder for the culprit, upon arrest, to Be Read Her/His Rights immediately. And, indeed, the “multiple confirmations from credible sources” reported by the media that the culprit would be brought immediately to the Federal Court House, though laughable from the viewpoint of why a culprit would have to be brought to a Federal Court House in order to be Read Her/His Rights, would appear to a cynic as nothing more than an attempt by Attorney General Holder and/or his minions to “paint into a corner” President Obama in making the decision in the War Between AG Holder and CIA Director John Brennan.

So what was the supposed War about???

A cynic would immediately posit The Ticking Time-Bomb Issue!!!

What is/was The Ticking Time-Bomb Issue???

We have noted many times that on 9/28/2007, NBC Washington Bureau Chief and long-time Meet the Press Host Tim Russert moderated at Dartmouth College the first Democratic-Candidate Presidential Debate of the 2008 election cycle.

And that he asked Hillary Clinton, in what many commentators viewed as a hostile question attacking Hillary Clinton and protecting Barack Obama, whether she would “water board” a suspected conspirator if American lives were at stake and she believed that “water boarding” was the only way to obtain vital information from the conspirator in time to save those lives.

[For movie buffs, Yours Truly recommended for our 2/6/2013 meeting when we were considering the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director that in addition to our principal focus on “Hard Measures” by Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., that each of us see not only Zero Dark Thirty but also, more importantly, “Unthinkable” starring Samuel L. Jackson and released in 2010. Samuel L. Jackson was a “black ops” interrogator/torturer whose handlers (all the way to the White House) are “Holier Than Thou” except during frequent periods when it looks like substantial numbers of Americans might get nuked.]

But back to the Dartmouth debate on 9/28/2007.

As soon as Tim Russert had mouse-trapped Hillary Clinton into parroting the mainstream-media line that “water boarding” should not be used under any circumstances, Tim Russert disdainfully informed Hillary that “water boarding” under such circumstances had been the official policy of Bill Clinton while he was President.

[Hilary looked confused for a moment but, being the super-bright person she is, she quickly recovered and responded with: “I’ll speak to him later”!!!]

Now ask yourself several obvious questions.

By mid-day yesterday the media had long since been reporting that each of the two bombs at the Boston Marathon had comprised a common pressure cooker normally used in the kitchen and both of them had been stuffed with explosives.

The media had also long since been reporting that each of the two bombs would have been quite heavy and would have had to have been brought to the scene in a backpack or duffel bag.

And that a heavy black-nylon backpack would not have seemed unusual because many of the runners had brought all of their running clothes and equipment to the starting line in heavy black-nylon backpacks into which they had then put all of their warm-up pants, etc., when getting ready for the start. And those heavy black-nylon backpacks had been brought to the finish line by friends so that the runners could immediately have access to their non-race gear during their recovery period.

Question No. 1.

If the explosions were caused by two bombs, each of which comprised a heavy pressure cooker, etc., that had to be transported in a heavy nylon backpack or duffel bag, who carried to the scene the other bomb???

Question No. 2.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know who brought the other bomb???

Question No. 3.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know whether the TWO bomb transporters were part of a larger organization???

Question No. 4.

If the TWO bomb transporters were part of a larger organization, wouldn’t it be nice to know whether that larger organization had other imminent terrorist attacks underway???

Question No. 5.

Isn’t this situation a classic example of The Ticking Time Bomb Issue (or at least a potentially Ticking Time Bomb situation since it is unknown whether there are other Time Bombs that might kill Americans at any moment)???

Question No. 6.

Is it any wonder that if the FBI were about to make an arrest of ONE of the TWO bomb transporters mid-day yesterday and to immediately Read Her/Him Her/His Rights, CIA Director John Brennan would attempt to intervene in order to interrogate the culprit before s/he has been read any rights in order to obtain as much information as possible vis-à-vis Questions 1-5???

Question No. 7.

Is it any wonder that President Obama would decide in favour of CIA Director John Brennan???

After all, the Q&A’s for our 2/6/2013 meeting on the nomination of John Brennan for CIA Director set forth a plethora of evidence that President Obama is as much interested in saving American lives as President Bill Clinton.

And, after all, whatever information is obtained from interrogating the first Bomb Transporter does not appear necessary in order to convict her/him with all of the other evidence that would be admissible and that did identify her/him so quickly.

And, after all, whatever information might be obtained, though perhaps not admissible in a criminal trial of the SECOND Bomb Transporter and any other possible members of their conspiracy, might be the only way to save more American lives -- in which case, the SECOND Bomb Transporter and other possible members of the conspiracy would never have been brought to trial anyway because it would not have been possible to identify her/him/them.

Question No. 8.

Why should President Obama be more focused on a possible criminal trial of the SECOND Bomb Transporter and any other possible members of the conspiracy, rather than saving American lives???

After all, if the SECOND Bomb Transporter and any other possible members of the conspiracy could not have been apprehended without “enhanced interrogation techniques” and it would appear that they could not be successfully prosecuted, wasn’t it still more important to save American lives???

And, for the cynic, if the SECOND Bomb Transporter and any other possible members of the conspiracy cannot be successfully prosecuted and there are qualms about administering summary executions, why couldn’t they be released in, say, Afghanistan or Pakistan and then immediately be assassinated by drone???

Which, as we all know, is proper!!! [At least until the United Nations releases next fall its report on the U.S. Drone Program.]

And which, of course, is the reason for appending this essay to Ellen Birrell’s proposal that we focus on “Thistle and the Drone” at one of our future meetings.

Ultimate Question.

Shouldn’t we, on behalf of the Americans whose lives might be saved in the coming days, wish President Obama and CIA Director John Brennan well in their search for the SECOND Bomb Transporter and the other possible co-conspirators of the TWO Bomb Transporters???


*****************************************
4/20/2013 Addendum - 6:14 am MDT

It was striking that during the official news conference last evening following the apprehension of Boston Marathon Bomber “Suspect No. 2” at which various politicians and law-enforcement officials spoke, a reporter asked whether Suspect No. 2 had been given his Miranda warnings and the U.S. Attorney responded negatively on the grounds that there is a “public safety exception” to the requirement to give such warnings.

[The “public safety exception” was first enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649 (1984).]

One reason why the answer of the U.S. Attorney was so striking is that it implied that the “public safety exception” to giving Miranda warnings is always available in terrorist situations because of the potential Ticking Time Bomb issue -- there may be other imminent attacks underway. [The U.S. Attorney did not elaborate on why she thought the “public safety exception” was available.]

The other reason why her answer was so striking is Attorney General Eric Holder’s immediately giving the famous Underwear Bomber his Miranda warning before he could be interrogated!!!

Why is Attorney General Holder so ignorant on such a pivotal issue that he is unaware of the “public safety exception”???

Or is he merely trying to sabotage terrorism prevention in favor of law enforcement???

*****
Incidentally, http://www.Bloomberg.com reported at 1:29 am EDT this morning (4/20/2013) that the decision NOT to give Boston Marathon Bomber Suspect No. 2 any Miranda warning (the first terrorist suspect not to be given such a warning) was made in the White House “according to a Justice Department official…who asked not to be identified because the move wasn’t announced.” So does anyone still want to bet against our cynic that there was not a War between Attorney General Holder and CIA Director Brennan on Wednesday that was won by CIA Director Brennan???

solutions
Site Admin
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:38 pm

The U.N. Drone Report Requested by Pakistan/Russia/China

Post by solutions »

.
Originally posted by solutions » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:22 am

In the third and second paragraphs from the end of John Karls’ immediately-preceding essay, he refers to the United Nations investigation of the U.S. drone-assassination program which was instituted at the request of Pakistan, Russia and China.

Although that report will not be presented to the United Nations General Assembly until next October, there was an interim report on 3/15/2013.

There follows the Reuters news article on the U.N.’s interim report.


**************************************
Reuters – 3/15/2013

U.S. Drone Strikes Violate Pakistan’s Sovereignty: United Nations
By Louis Charbonneau

The United States has violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and shattered tribal structures with unmanned drone strikes in its counterterrorism operations near the Aghan border, a U.N. human rights investigator said in a statement on Friday.

U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson, visited Pakistan for three days this week as part of his investigation into the civilian impact of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killings.

“As a matter of international law, the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan is…being conducted without the consent of the elected representatives of the people, or the legitimate Government of the State,” Emerson said in a statement issued by the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

“It involves the use of force on a territory of another state without its consent and is therefore a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” he said.

Emerson said in January that he would investigate 25 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Pakistan territories. He is expected to present his final report to the U.N. General Assembly in October.

Washington had little to say about Emmerson’s statement.

“We’ve seen his press release. I’m obviously not going to speak about classified information here,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. “We’ve a strong ongoing counterterrorism dialogue with Pakistan and that will continue.”

Spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House would withhold judgment until it sees Emmerson’s full report.

“We have a solid working relationship with them (Pakistan) on a range of issues, including a close cooperative security relationship, and we’re in touch with them on a regular basis on those issues.”

‘END MILITARY INTERFERENCE’

Emmerson said the Pashtun tribes of northwestern Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, Pakistan’s largely lawless region bordering Afghanistan, have been decimated by the counterterrorism operations.

“These proud and independent people have been self-governing for generations, and have a rich tribal history that has been too little understood in the West,” he said. “Their tribal structures have been broken down by the military campaign in FATA and by the use of drones in particular.”

The tribal areas have never been fully integrated into Pakistan’s administrative, economic or judicial system. They are dominated by ethnic Pashtun tribes, some of which have sheltered and supported militants over decades of conflict in neighboring Afghanistan.

Clearing out militant border sanctuaries is seen by Washington as crucial to bringing stability to Afghanistan, particularly as the U.S.-led combat mission ends in 2014.

Most, but not all, attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles have been by the United States. Britain and Israel have also used them, and dozens of other countries are believed to possess the technology.

“It is time for the international community to heed the concerns of Pakistan, and give the next democratically elected government of Pakistan the space, support and assistance it needs to deliver a lasting peace on its own territory without forcible military interference by other states,” Emmerson said.

The U.N. Human Rights Council asked Emmerson to start an investigation of the drone attacks following the requests by countries including Pakistan, Russia and China.

Criticism of drone strikes centers on the number of civilians killed and the fact that they are launched across sovereign states’ borders so frequently, far more than conventional attacks by piloted aircraft.

Retired U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, who devised the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, warned in January against overusing drones, which have provoked angry demonstrations in Pakistan.

Civilian casualties from drone strikes have angered local populations and created tension between the United States and Pakistan and Afghanistan. Washington has sought to portray casualties as minimal, but groups collecting data on these attacks say they have killed hundreds of civilians.

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Roberta Rampton in Washington; editing by Doina Chiacu)

solutions
Site Admin
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:38 pm

Tom Brokaw on Meet The Press Re Drones

Post by solutions »

.
Originally posted by solutions » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:47 pm

This morning (4/21/2013), Tom Brokaw participated in a Meet The Press panel discussion regarding the Boston Marathon Bombing and said the following, among other things:

“And I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved and -- and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say we love America. If you harm one hair on the -- on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever and there is enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.”

Post Reply

Return to “Original Proposal - The Thistle and The Drone - July 10th”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest