shortformblog:

vinegarwilliams:

think-progress:

Front pages: 5/2/03 vs. 5/2/11

HT @nytjim

It’s almost funny, how sad it all is.

In other words: Bush declared a major victory, while Obama scored one.

theatlantic:

This is the Memo That Killed Osama Bin Laden

If you can manage to decipher Leon Panetta’s chicken scratch, you too can read the final memo that launched the raid that killed America’s most hated enemy.  The memo is part of Peter Bergen’s Time cover story on Osama bin Laden’s last days and Obama’s call to go ahead, despite Joe Biden and Robert Gates’ disapproval, with the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s Abottabad complex.  Here’s the transcription:

Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault. The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

theatlantic:

This is the Memo That Killed Osama Bin Laden

If you can manage to decipher Leon Panetta’s chicken scratch, you too can read the final memo that launched the raid that killed America’s most hated enemy.  The memo is part of Peter Bergen’s Time cover story on Osama bin Laden’s last days and Obama’s call to go ahead, despite Joe Biden and Robert Gates’ disapproval, with the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s Abottabad complex.  Here’s the transcription:

Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault. The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

(via npr)

shortformblog:

Osama bin Laden’s compound currently getting destroyed: The place where the al-Qaeda leader spent his final days is getting razed in what appears to be a surprise demolition. Not that locals are complaining: “We were searched and questioned every time we wanted to reach our homes,” said 22-year-old college student Shabbir Ahmed, who lives in Abbottabad. “When this symbol of evil is finally gone, people in the area will be able to rest.” Last year’s raid angered the Pakistani government, who were not told that it was going to take place by the U.S. government, who feared that an official would tip off the figurehead. (ht idroolinmysleep; photo by Anjum Naveed/AP)

shortformblog:

Osama bin Laden’s compound currently getting destroyed: The place where the al-Qaeda leader spent his final days is getting razed in what appears to be a surprise demolition. Not that locals are complaining: “We were searched and questioned every time we wanted to reach our homes,” said 22-year-old college student Shabbir Ahmed, who lives in Abbottabad. “When this symbol of evil is finally gone, people in the area will be able to rest.” Last year’s raid angered the Pakistani government, who were not told that it was going to take place by the U.S. government, who feared that an official would tip off the figurehead. (ht idroolinmysleep; photo by Anjum Naveed/AP)

(via shortformblog)

(Source: soupsoup)

Money section:

You helped drum up support for George W. Bush in 2000, who is, at least to my knowledge, a born-again Christian. He did a terrible job as president.

I agree, but who was the alternative? It was the lesser of two evils. I’m convinced that we would not have seen the death of bin Laden had it not been for George W. Bush. Two days after Obama was made president of the United States, he quit using the techniques of waterboarding and getting information, from which they were able to get enough clues to catch bin Laden.

Actually, its been proven—as much as it can be—that information received from torture victims was not instrumental in bin Laden’s capture.

I don’t know where you get your information, but some of the key leaders in the government have said that they did.

Well, CIA Director Leon Panetta begs to differ. But do you support waterboarding and other torture methods on prisoners?

When they kill 3,000 of our people or threaten to, you bet. I think that the president should have the right to say yes or no.

Isn’t that very un-Christian? By torturing people to get information, aren’t you being pretty elastic with the Bible?

[Long silence]

Hello?

I’m thinking. Can’t you smell the wood burning? [Long pause] I think that, in a case where you’re surrounded by murderers—enemies of people that have a record of having no respect for human life—you have to use extreme measures to protect the people. One of the first rules the president accepts is to protect the people of America. We’re not doing a very good job of it.

"

As three of the SEALs reached the top of the steps on the third floor, they saw bin Laden standing at the end of the hall. The Americans recognized him instantly, the officials said.

Bin Laden also saw them, dimly outlined in the dark house, and ducked into his room.

The three SEALs assumed he was going for a weapon, and one by one they rushed after him through the door, one official described.

Two women were in front of bin Laden, yelling and trying to protect him, two officials said. The first SEAL grabbed the two women and shoved them away, fearing they might be wearing suicide bomb vests, they said.

The SEAL behind him opened fire at bin Laden, putting one bullet in his chest, and one in his head.

It was over in a matter of seconds.

Back at the White House Situation Room, word was relayed that bin Laden had been found, signaled by the code word “Geronimo.” That was not bin Laden’s code name, but rather a representation of the letter “G.” Each step of the mission was labeled alphabetically, and “Geronimo” meant that the raiders had reached step “G,” the killing or capture of bin Laden, two officials said.

"

The AP story that everyone else wishes they had, a detailed explanation of the Team 6 operation that took down bin Laden. (via thepoliticalnotebook)

'G' is usually represented as 'Golf' not 'Geronimo' but okay.

lauralauramc:

currently reading.
future of publishing? 

ditto.
and perhaps.

lauralauramc:

currently reading.

future of publishing? 

ditto.

and perhaps.

(via mchughla)

The most surprising thing about the death of Osama bin Laden was his funeral. Islamic law declares that a person must be buried within 24 hours of death. “We are ensuring that it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition,” Time reported a U.S. official as saying, “This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore, this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”

Bin Laden was buried at sea, presumably so that there will be no burial site, no country that owns him, no place on Earth could be associated with him ever after. The sea gets him, being the only place capacious enough to take on the burden. There is dignity in having done it this way. Not dignity for him, but dignity for us. It is understandable that people want to celebrate the death of a man who scared us, who was the author of a traumatizing act of violence, who plotted the deaths of thousands and dreamed of the deaths of thousands upon thousands more. But I am not sure that celebrating death ever does anything very good for the one who celebrates.

I shuddered for the souls of the men at Saddam Hussein’s execution. The footage is, now, widely available on the Internet. It was captured surreptitiously on a cell phone video camera. Saddam is brought into a dingy room in what looks like a basement. He is bustled toward a noose and begins praying. Some of the people standing below begin to shout. They are calling out, “Muqtada,” in reference to Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious and political leader. Saddam says the name Muqtada back to them and then asks, “Do you call this courage?” Another person yells at Saddam to go to hell. He replies, “the hell that is Iraq?” Then he goes back to praying. All of a sudden, the trap door beneath Saddam opens and he plummets. He is gone. It is impossible to watch that footage without feeling that Saddam stole his dignity back in those final moments. The people in the room gave Saddam the opportunity to do it. They gave him a moment to be the honorable one in death. It lessened those men, those witnesses. They became small in the face of the ultimate thing, the death of a human being.

The last few days have seen a lot of talk about whether or not it is appropriate to celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden. I would phrase the question in a different way. What does it do to one human being to celebrate the killing of another human being, whatever the circumstances? What happens inside you, how does it make you feel? Is that something you want to feel? Is it a way you want to be? I think of the witnesses at Saddam Hussein’s funeral, the ones who cried out. I imagine them walking out into the sunlight of the bright day outside and feeling exposed, thinned out, cheated of the euphoria they had hoped to feel. Maybe they wished, in retrospect, that they would have had the strength to stay silent and serious for the final act of a long tragedy in which no one emerged unscathed.

The gently smiling face of Osama bin Laden will be an image that stays with us for a long time, anyway. It was proper to let go of it, down into the ocean’s depths. It will be an accomplishment just to let it go.

(Source: azspot)

"

A senator on Sunday called for a “no-ride list” for Amtrak trains after intelligence gleaned from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound pointed to potential attacks on the nation’s train system.

Sen. Charles Schumer said he would push as well for added funding for rail security and commuter and passenger train track inspections and more monitoring of stations nationwide.

"

Sen. Schumer Proposes ‘No-Ride List’ for Amtrak Trains

nightmare-inducing. There’s so little incentive to ride trains today, why add security headaches? Increase funding for rail maintenance, commuter rail expansion, and faster trains first. Besides, everyone knows it’s the high speed freight trains carrying hazardous chemicals that are the real dangers

(via lauralauramc)

(Source: mchughla)

No, killing of Bin Laden does not represent `continuity’ with Bush

WaPo:

Conservatives have attempted to credit George W. Bush for President Barack Obama’s success in killing Osama bin Laden in various ways, from exaggerating the role of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” to praising Bush’s unsuccessful seven year attempt to do so.

[…]

While there are indeed many examples of Obama continuing Bush-era policies to the frustration of liberals, killing bin Laden is not one of them. Rather, Obama’s focus on bin Laden represents a departure from his predecessor, who had decided shortly after 9/11 that bin Laden was “just a person who’s been marginalized,” just a small part of a much larger battle. As Michael Hirsh wrote last week, Obama rejected the Bush approach that “conflated all terror threats from al-Qaida to Hamas to Hezbollah,” replacing it with “with a covert, laserlike focus on al-Qaida and its spawn.”

During the 2008 election, Bush mocked Obama for asserting he would target bin Laden if he was hiding in Pakistan. GOP presidential candidate John McCain attacked Obama as “confused and inexperienced” for saying so.” It is a bit rich to regard the results of an operation that Bush and McCain would have opposed as “continuity” with the prior administration. There are a number of disturbing continuities between Bush and Obama on national security, but the singular focus on bin Laden isn’t one of them.

What is notable however, is that the major distinction between Obama and Bush that has formed the basis of GOP criticism of Obama — the President’s rejection of torture — has proven so decisively wrongheaded. Conservatives attempting to attribute successfully killing bin Laden to torture are merely attempting to take credit for what President Bush pointedly failed to do. Far from yielding the necessary intelligence, the two al Qaeda suspects who were waterboarded pointedly resisted identifying the courier whose activities lead to the U.S. discovering Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. The pro-torture argument ignores the obvious — that if torture was so effective, bin Laden would have been dead long ago. Bin Laden was found through years of painstaking intelligence gathering, not through the barbarous methods supported by many Bush apologists.

One cannot discount how shattering the Obama administration’s killing of Bin Laden has been to the self-image of conservatives who have convinced themselves of that the fight against al Qaeda hinges not just on torture, but on how many times the president says the word “terrorism,” or on Obama’s refusal to engage in juvenile expressions of American toughness.

While we’re far from the moment where terrorism ceases to be a threat, what torture apologists fear most now is a future in which al Qaeda is destroyed without the U.S. embracing the war-on-terror “dark side” that’s become central to their identity. Indeed, having rejected torture, Obama has nevertheless lead the country to its greatest victory in the fight against al Qaeda.

"

While the killing of Osama bin Laden may help protect the U.S. from terrorism, as much or more credit should go to the Obama administration’s decision to shut down the Bush-era CIA interrogation program. Under this secret program, the details of which are still not fully disclosed, the U.S. abandoned the rule of law and embraced a system of detention and interrogation that was not only illegal and immoral, but severely damaged U.S. national security.

In fact, each time the U.S. has strayed from core values there have been national security consequences. Senior military officials report that foreign fighters joined the war in Iraq following the release of the Abu Ghraib abuse photos, and the continued existence of Guantanamo has been used as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda. Earlier this year when a detainee died at Guantanamo of apparently natural causes, the fact that it happened at Guantanamo made it a major focal point for anti-U.S. and militant propaganda. The Taliban issued a statement condemning the U.S. for violating international law and thousands attended his funeral in Afghanistan.

We will never know how much information the U.S. lost because it failed to use time-tested, effective, and humane methods of interrogation. We will never know how many years earlier bin Laden could have been captured and how many lives spared if, instead of whisking them off to a prison outside the law, the U.S. had instead charged Mohammed and al Libi in federal courts and treated them properly and in accordance with due process. We do know that bin Laden’s death does not end the threat terrorists pose to the U.S. and other nations. But we also know that the best way to guard against future attack is by rejecting the use of torture outright and staying faithful to the rule of law and basic tenets of decency. This is true not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it works.

"

Andrea J. Prasow, writing “How Illegal Interrogations Hurt the U.S.” for the Daily Beast

Prasow is a senior counsel in Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program and previously served as defense attorney with the Office of Military Commissions and assistant counsel for Salim Hamdan in the only contested military commission trial to date.

Pakistani media ‘name’ CIA station chief in Islamabad

Guardian:

Media outlets publish incorrect name of the station head as relations worsen between spy agencies

Fresh tension has erupted between the CIA and Pakistani intelligence after several Pakistani media outlets published the alleged name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad.

Two senior Pakistani officials said the name published, Mark Carlton, was incorrect, but one said it was similar to the real one.

Despite the inaccuracy, publication of the name was seen as a sign of worsening relations between the two spy agencies a week after the death of Osama bin Laden in a garrison town north of Islamabad.

The CIA chief, Leon Panetta, said last week that he did not warnPakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) about the raid because he feared the information could leak in advance, prompting furious ISI denials of complicity.

Publication of an American spy’s name caused friction between the two agencies six months ago.

The previous station chief, Jonathan Banks, was identified in court papers and the media in December, causing him to leave Pakistan immediately. Some US officials blamed the ISI for the leak.

This time, the name was published by the private television station Ary One on Friday, then reprinted in the rightwing Nation newspaper on Saturday.

According to reports, “Mark Carlton” was given an angry reprimand by the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha, over the operation to kill Bin Laden.

The published name sounded similar to the real one, a senior Pakistani official said, suggesting the leak had come from a lower-level ISI source rather from than the top.

"It sounds similar. Mike can be misheard as Mark," he said. "It sounds like something someone misheard in the corridor, perhaps someone who is ideological or not very well educated."

The official declined to give the real name. US media did not report the incorrect name, saying that the information remained classified under US law.

A senior ISI official said the agency did not release the name. “If you’re asking, no we didn’t,” he said. Asked about the state of relations with the CIA, he declined to comment.

evilteabagger:

A U.S. drone strike in Yemen Thursday was aimed at killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric who is suspected of orchestrating terrorist attacks on the U.S, but the missile missed its target, according to Yemeni and U.S. officials.

The drone strike comes less than a week after a U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden at a compound in Pakistan. Had the drone strike in Yemen been successful, the U.S. would have killed two of the top three most-wanted terrorists in a single week.

A liberal democrat president campaigned on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing the troops home “first thing”. Since then, 30k more troops have gone to Afghanistan and drone strikes in countries we haven’t even declared war with have tripled under his administration. To top it all off, this same liberal democrat is signing off on targeted killings of American citizens without due process.

Get your facts right before you start calling him a liar. President Obama said often during the campaign that he would refocus our efforts in Afghanistan.

On July 20, 2008, then-Senator Obama spoke with CBS’ Lara Logan and discussed his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan. Here are some quotes:

"For at least a year now, I have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three. I think it’s very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough.

The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism.

[…]

And despite what the Bush Administration has argued, I don’t think there’s any doubt that we were distracted from our efforts not only to hunt down al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but also to rebuild this country so that people have confidence that we were to here to stay over the long haul, that we were going to rebuild roads, provide electricity, improve the quality of life for people. And now we have a chance, I think, to correct some of those areas.

There’s starting to be a broad consensus that it’s time for us to withdraw some of our combat troops out of Iraq, deploy them here in Afghanistan. And I think we have to seize that opportunity. Now’s the time for us to do it.

He even discusses his plans regarding Pakistan:

What I’ve said is that if we had actionable intelligence against high-value al-Qaeda targets, and the Pakistani government was unwilling to go after those targets, that we should. My hope is that it doesn’t come to that - that in fact, the Pakistan government would recognize that if we had Osama bin Laden in our sights that we should fire or we should capture him.

Here’s then-Senator Obama’s plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, in which he calls for two additional brigades to be sent to Afghanistan, that is, 7,000 troops.

Seems to me he’s doing exactly what he said he would. And when and where did he sign off on killing American citizens without due process? Provide some evidence for your claims. Oh, what’s that? You can’t? Because it’s not true? Then stop lying.

Kind of sucks when facts get in the way of your ranting, doesn’t it?

(Source: antigovernmentextremist)

lauralauramc:

Death of a Terrorist by Michael Yon