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Showing posts from January 8, 2014

Life in the Electronic Concentration Camp:

The Many Ways That You’re Being Tracked, Catalogued and Controlled

By John W. Whitehead


“[A security camera] doesn’t respond to complaint, threats, or insults. Instead, it just watches you in a forbidding manner. Today, the surveillance state is so deeply enmeshed in our data devices that we don’t even scream back because technology companies have convinced us that we need to be connected to them to be happy.”—Pratap Chatterjee, journalist

January 07, 2014 - What is most striking about the American police state is not the mega-corporations running amok in the halls of Congress, the militarized police crashing through doors and shooting unarmed citizens, or the invasive surveillance regime which has come to dominate every aspect of our lives. No, what has been most disconcerting about the emergence of the American police state is the extent to which the citizenry appears content to passively wait for someone else to solve our nation’s many problems. Unless Americans are prepared to engag…

Al-Qaeda’s Real Origins Exposed

By Finian Cunningham

January 07, 2014 - "Press TV" - US top diplomat John Kerry must have taken us for fools. Earlier this week, speaking in Saudi Arabia, he warned that al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq are “the most dangerous players in the region.”

The US secretary of state vowed Washington’s support for the Iraqi government in its fight to regain control of towns in its western province taken over by militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

That’s rich. The government of Syria is battling to root out these same al-Qaeda-linked militants. But in that country, Washington offers no such support. In fact, the priority there for Washington is to sack the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.

So, how does Kerry square that contradiction? In Iraq, al-Qaeda is a threat that needs to be defeated, whereas in Syria the very same organization is apparently not a threat, but the Syrian government is.

What’s even richer is that Kerry was issuing his warnings about al-…

Jihadist-Rebel Clashes in Syria

Although the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is ramping up its campaign in Iraq, it is finding itself increasingly threatened in Syria. Hundreds of rebels and ISIL fighters have died as part of the largest and most serious rift between rebel and al Qaeda-linked forces since the start of the Syrian civil war. Provoked by incessant raids, detentions, assassinations, mutilations and the imposition of strict rules on rebel-held territories, Jaish al-Mujahideen and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front attacked a number of ISIL positions in Aleppo and Idlib on Jan. 3. The rebel offensive against ISIL has led to the capture of many ISIL positions across northern Syria, causing the jihadist group to threaten a withdrawal from areas where it is fighting the al Assad regime if rebel attacks do not cease within 24 hours. The rift is understood to represent a blow to the ongoing fight against the Syrian regime, but ISIL has occasionally been so aggressive toward other rebel groups that a consens…

Georgia: Military Upgrade Courts the West

Georgian and American soldiers on Exercise "Agile Spirit 2013" at Vaziani military base outside Tbilsi, Mar 29. Georgia is considering replacing its aging helicopter fleet with Western technology. (VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


A seemingly mundane but potentially controversial plan by the Georgian military to renovate its aging helicopter fleet has put the spotlight on the small but strategic country and its delicate balance between Russia and the West. During a press conference on Dec. 27, 2013, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania announced that Georgia would completely phase out its Soviet-era helicopters and replace them with Western models from the United States and possibly France.

This is not the first time Georgia has looked to the West to renovate its helicopter fleet, but phasing out the fleet entirely, not to mention other possible procurements, will create suspicion in Moscow. The prospect of such an overhaul faces considerable obstacles, but if Tbi…

In Lebanon, a Saudi Militant Leader Dies Under Suspicious Circumstances

Summary


The mysterious death of a Saudi jihadist leader in Beirut is raising questions about Riyadh's increasingly convoluted militant proxy network in the region. Iran and Saudi Arabia are locked in a battle for influence in the Levant, and groups like the Abdullah Azzam Brigades are eager to exploit this dynamic. Saudi Arabia's strategy of selectively supporting jihadists in this active battle zone will come with costs, however.

Analysis


Majid al-Majid, a Saudi national, earned a spot on both the U.S. and Saudi lists of most-wanted terrorists in 2012 when he was revealed in jihadist forums as the new emir of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades came on the jihadist militant scene around 2004 as an offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq. The group has been responsible for attacks across the region, including rocket attacks against Israel from Lebanon and an attack on a Japanese oil tanker off the coast of Oman. When al-Majid took command, he emphasized the battle in …