Rapier SAMs on Blackheath Commons in London, apparently installed to protect the London Olympics. They were last used in the Falklands in 1982, where their performance was, frankly, pretty poor. Perhaps they’ve been upgraded. But what will arrest Al Qaida, and its rhizomic offshoots, with or without Osama bin Laden?
Category Archives: Al Qaeda
RT, courtesy of the Eurasia Review, 1 May 2012
Amanda Hodge, in The Australian, 2 May 2012 where it was presented under a different title
A FUNNY thing happened at the site where Osama bin Laden’s house once stood the other day. Three Chinese businessmen, arrested for entering the Abbottabad neighbourhood where the al-Qa’ida chief lived a life of secret mediocrity, tried to cut a deal with police to sell “genuine bin Laden rubble” over the internet.
The story is as notable for its slapstick value as it is for the fact that residents of Bilal Town can finally – after a year of fear and intrusion – see something to laugh about. Continue reading
Two Reviews of Susan Moeller’s Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War, and Death (Routledge, 1999) 392 pp
ONE by Carl Sessions Stepp in American Journalism Review
Here’s one of the perverse conundrums of journalism: If you fail to cover a story, you do wrong; but if you cover it, you can go wrong, too. That is an exaggerated and unfair rendering of Susan Moeller’s point in “Compassion Fatigue,” but it gets at the nature of the problem. Moeller argues that the volume and character of disaster coverage can lull audiences into a “compassion-fatigue stupor” and damage prospects for remedy and recovery.
A former journalist who teaches at Brandeis, Moeller examines coverage of a range of calamities, from Ebola in Zaire and famine in the Sudan, to assassination in Israel and war in Iraq. Almost always, she concludes, news coverage is formulaic and sensationalized. Stories “all sound alike”; causes and solutions are oversimplified; and characters must “fit into the parts of victim, rescuer and villain.” As one crisis bleeds into the next, “it takes more and more dramatic coverage to elicit the same level of sympathy as the last catastrophe.” Continue reading
The reports and images attending the killing of Colonel Gaddafi in the Libyan battlefront brings to mind the killing of Pirapāharan in the swamplands of Nandikadal Lagoon during the final stages of Eelam War IV and, in between these events the US assassination-raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. There are both similarities and differences in these operations and contexts; and more differences will emerge in the way in which the western media organises its presentation of the latest event.
Pic from Daily News
What I wish to mark here is the manner in which the corpse is likely to be displayed …or not displayed. So please note the previous thuppahi items on this topic [click on name]: namely, Death and Eternal Life: contrasting sensibilities in the face of corpses by Michael Roberts, 29 June 2011
THE first thing to say, when reviewing the question of what the US should do about those of its citizens who advocate the murder of random numbers of its civilians is that it is flat-out astonishing to see the debate being conducted at all. Faced with jeering, sniggering, vicious saboteurs who hide from the daylight and pop up on blogs and cheap CDs, calmly awarding religious permission for the capricious taking of life, what do we imagine Vladimir Putin would do? Or the police and security forces of the People’s Republic of China? Or Israel or Saudi Arabia? To ask the question is to answer it.
Pic from WireImage
The US happens also to be almost uniquely generous in conferring citizenship: making it available to all those who draw their first breath within its borders. For comparison purposes, try looking up what it takes for a subject of the “commonwealth” in establishing that he or she has the right of residence in Britain. Continue reading
“Just Yesterday” … said several fireman from the New York Fire services when interviewed recently … … as revealed in the Channel Nine film on 9/11 last Sunday, where remarkable footage by the Frenchmen Jules and Gideon Naudet was shown as they filmed the firemen in the foyer of the World Trade Centre and its environs.
Since this tragedy occurred in the BIG APPLE and in Big America, it is, of course, BIG NEWS …. and may well overshadow the scenes on 26 December 2004
along the coast of Acheh…..
… and Arugam Bay and Kalmunai inSri Lanka
…. and Phi Phi and Phuket inThailand.
The world scale in media power is determined by the world scale of super power……So we must be thankful for AL- JAZEERA
Gwynne Dwyer, in the Island, 7 September 2011 — also in http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article497944.ece
Writing recently in The Washington Post, Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior adviser at the Rand Corporation think tank, claimed that the 9/11 attacks ten years ago were not a strategic success for al-Qaeda. He’s right. Osama bin Laden’s strategy did fail, in the end – but not for the reason that Jenkins thinks.
Jenkins argues that Osama bin Laden believed the US was a paper tiger because it had no stomach for casualties. Kill enough Americans, and the United States would pull out of theMiddle East, leaving the field free for al-Qaeda’s project of overthrowing all the secular Arab regimes and imposing Islamist rule on everybody.
In bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa declaring war onAmerica, Jenkins pointed out, he claimed that theUSwould flee the region if attacked seriously. Indeed, bin Laden gave the rapid US military withdrawal from Lebanon after the bombing of the Marine barracks inBeirutin 1983, and the equally rapid retreat of American forces from Somalia in 1993 after 18 US soldiers were killed inMogadishu, as examples of American cowardice. Continue reading
Countering Terrorism for USA: ‘Kill Osama, Break Cycle of Regeneration’ says Bruce Hoffman in March 2011
There was a measure of prescience in the emphasis brought to this discussion by Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, who has also been for many years the Editor of the vibrant journal Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. More details re his credentials are inserted at the end of this post. Web Editor
NR: How do the recent Middle East uprisings affect al-Qaeda?
I think it’s too soon to tell. Al-Qaeda, like foreign ministries and state departments across the world, is still assessing and taking in what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa and trying to fashion a response to rapidly unfolding events. I don’t think they’ve quite divined what that response will be, but I don’t think we should assume that just because they have been silent and don’t seem to be taking an active part means that they’re neither following it nor seeking to identify opportunities to assert themselves.
CH: In your book you talk about the controversy and disagreement surrounding the definition of terrorism. Do you think we have come any closer to sufficiently defining terrorism?
I stand by the definition that I had in the revised 2006 edition of the book: “the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence, or the threat of violence, in pursuit of political change.” But as far as the international community goes, I don’t think we’ve come any closer. Unfortunately, I actually think we’ve moved backwards. This may be one of the Continue reading