Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Counter-Terrorism Is In Shambles

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the honest-guys-never-get-put-in-charge dept.

Government 370

Early last week several questions were submitted to former CIA analyst Ray McGovern about the sad state of counter-terrorism in the United States, and he has answered frankly and in-depth. In addition, McGovern solicited former FBI attorney/special agent Coleen Rowley to review his answers and provide her own comments. Ray's biggest tip to the intelligence community was to "HOLD ACCOUNTABLE THOSE RESPONSIBLE. More 'reform' is the last thing we need. Sorry, but we DO have to look back. The most effective step would be to release the CIA Inspector General report on intelligence community performance prior to 9/11. That investigation was run by, and its report was prepared by an honest man, it turns out. It was immediately suppressed by then-Acting DCI John McLaughlin — another Tenet clone — and McLaughin's successors as director, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, and now Leon Panetta."

cancel ×

370 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So essentially... (5, Insightful)

Peter Steil (1619597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785890)

The people directing the operations believe them to be ineffective? It's all smoke and mirrors, and nothing is really safer? If something was going to happen, it still is, regardless of the measures implemented today? Who could have guess this to be the case?

Re:So essentially... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30785994)

I agree. For example, I think vaginas are fucking revolting. They look like monster faces for fucks sake. They leak blood. BLOOD. And sometimes babies, little mini-people that come into this world screaming and shitting. It's both a biological oddity and quasi-mystical force of nature, and when I think of sticking my dick into one, I imagine it temporarily transitions into a multidimensional hell where up is black and down is white and people hear with their noses. And when my cock returns, it looks and feels and smells like my cock, but it is subtley transformed in some uncanny way, never to be the same again.

Re:So essentially... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786038)

And I would say vaginas (very generally) smell amazing, unlike anything else in this world. They have warm folds of skin to play with and are extremely tempting as their appearence is like a flower. Most importantly, they are attached to women whom are capable of drawing in emotions and care from man. They give life, and coincidentally gave you life. They flow of juices of a the gods. I think I've said enough so I will leave it here, but infinitly many more words can be said.

Re:So essentially... (0, Offtopic)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786174)

They give life, and coincidentally gave you life.

I was grown in a test-tube, you insensitive clod!

Re:So essentially... (5, Insightful)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786002)

The 'War on Terror' will prove to be ineffective as the 'War on Drugs'. When you boil it all down, you are pitting human intelligence against human intelligence. Humans are very clever critters and will find one way or another around obstacles. If any progress at all is to be made, you need to fight the disease, not the symptoms. You have to ask "Why are these people doing this in the first place?" and address that as the root problem.

Re:So essentially... (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786050)

You have to ask "Why are these people doing this in the first place?" and address that as the root problem. Well, that sounds like exactly what the terrorists want us to do, you traitor!

Re:So essentially... (-1, Troll)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786146)

Lets take a look at why Al Qaeda attacked the United States on 9/11. Now, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's minister, would say its because Americas needed to come home and roost. Or you could go with that retard professor and say its because US foreign agrression. OR, you could, if you wanted to, but you dont have to (and most certainly wont because it would just be too easy to do), go with the reasoning of Osama Bin laden.

See, Bin Laden didnt like the United States having military forces in Saudi Arabia (known as the Kingdom, considered by many muslims as "holy ground"). However, the United States was INVITED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF SAUDI ARABIA to station its forces on its soil, to help protect it from a military mad man known as Sadam Hussien (and Iran to some extent). Bin Laden and his goons demanded that the US leave, but the SAUDI GOVERNMENT WANTED US TO STAY. So what do you do? Do you concede to the lunatic fringe (aka: terrorists) like Bin Laden, or do you do whats best for your national interest as invited guests?

But this is difficult for lefties to get. You cant just do what everyone wants you to do because they will threaten you if you dont. Sometimes you have to just fight back until either you or your enemy are no longer standing (or one has to submit).

Re:So essentially... (5, Insightful)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786232)

But this is difficult for lefties to get.

What if I'm right-handed?

Seriously though, that statement cost you all your credibility. I'd have been willing to overlook the fact that the views of both Rev. Wright (Obama's former minister) and the "retard professor" (though I have no idea who would fit the bill here...what alleged professors do you hang out with?) constitute the fringe of society and are not, by any stretch, represented accordingly by the vast majority of folk with more than two brain cells to rub together.

I would also be willing to overlook the fact that your reasoning behind Osama's motives is astonishingly shallow (our military is never "invited" anywhere; arrangements are negotiated and compromises are made in order to establish outposts, mostly for the purpose of political leverage).

I would even have been willing to overlook the fact that your comment really doesn't even have a coherent point to it, and doesn't seem to relate back to the parent comment or even to the original article (who cares that "you can't just do what everyone wants you to do"?).

But then you went and introduced stale partisan bickering (and backed it up with the beaten-to-DEATH random word CAPITALIZATION that so CHARACTERIZES political diarrhea). Is it lonely up there on your pedestal?

Re:So essentially... (0)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786414)

No, our military was invited into Saudi Arabia. Dont be confused between our post war occupation of Germany/Japan following WW2 and our military arrangements with Britain, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.. When you are allowed in without having to fire a shot, your invited. Your characterization is simply trying to frame the US as "occupiers".

As far as politicizing counter terrorism, it was the Obama administration that made it political, threatening to prosecute intelligence agency personnel for actions taken during the Bush administration. Its all about politics.

Re:So essentially... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786680)

To clarify: "invited" by the absolute monarch of Saudi Arabia. Our presence was not at all popular with the population, but the king didn't particularly give a fuck.

Oh, and we executed Japanese commanders for authorizing the waterboarding of POWs during WWII. Can you explain why Bush and Cheney both shouldn't be in front of a firing squad?

Re:So essentially... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786784)

So "we" overreacted once and thus we should execute our former executives? Trigger happy much?

(I don't know about the specific, unnamed officers, but I do know that many WW2 Japanese officers did much, much worse.)

Re:So essentially... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787006)

Sounds convenient... Execute Japanese torturers and then turn around and say "oops our bad we shouldn't have done that" and so we shouldn't be expected to hold our own people to that degree of accountability... No... this is another case of whoever wins the war makes the rules.

Re:So essentially... (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787048)

Oh, and we executed Japanese commanders for authorizing the waterboarding of POWs during WWII. Can you explain why Bush and Cheney both shouldn't be in front of a firing squad?

Because terrorists that hide behind civilians and refuse to obey the laws of war aren't entitled to the same treatment as soldiers who fight under a flag and officers?

Since you brought up WWII, why don't you do a little research and find out what happened to unlawful combatants who violated the laws of war. Start by researching the German troops that fought behind the line in Allied uniforms during the Battle of the Bulge. When we captured them they were subject to summary execution.

Re:So essentially... (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786728)

No, our military was invited into Saudi Arabia. Dont be confused between our post war occupation of Germany/Japan following WW2 and our military arrangements with Britain, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.. When you are allowed in without having to fire a shot, your invited. Your characterization is simply trying to frame the US as "occupiers".

What exactly is your point? It's the "righties" who trot out the tired old "they hate us for their freedoms." Stating that's bin Laden's reasoning doesn't imply agreement with his beliefs.

As far as politicizing counter terrorism, it was the Obama administration that made it political, threatening to prosecute intelligence agency personnel for actions taken during the Bush administration. Its all about politics.

The right has politicized terrorism to the point of absurdity, and Obama's administration just threatened to prosecute intelligence agency personnel for BREAKING THE LAW.

Re:So essentially... (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786982)

and Obama's administration just threatened to prosecute intelligence agency personnel for BREAKING THE LAW.

Doesn't it seem just a little bit unfair to you to prosecute people whom were relying on legal opinions issued by our own Justice Department advising them that what they were about to do was in fact legal?

Re:So essentially... (3, Insightful)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787012)

That just adds to the list of people who need to be prosecuted.

Re:So essentially... (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787070)

Good luck finding 12 American citizens willing to convict a CIA officer of torture when they find out whom he was torturing and the fact that he had legal authorization from DoJ to do so.

Re:So essentially... (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787086)

Except that the type of waterboarding supposedly authorized by the DoJ was not the type actually used at gitmo.
So, regardless of all other arguments, the one that claims legal cover due to legal memorandum from the DoJ doesn't fly.

""[T]he waterboard technique ... was different from the technique described in the DoJ opinion and used in the SERE training."
Footnote, page 41, declassified DoJ memo [luxmedia501.com]

Re:So essentially... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786926)

No, our military was invited into Saudi Arabia.

By the extremely repressive regime in Saudi Arabia. And thanks to their rich oil fields, we were only to happy to oblige.

Re:So essentially... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786446)

Yes, I'm quite sure a career CIA officer with a background in Army intelligence who now works for a Church is your stereotypical 'lefty'. Did you even read the article? Certainly there are complex choices to be made, but the rhetoric of '[having to] fight back until either you or your enemy are no longer standing...' is seemingly part of the problem. What wonderful allies our Saudi friends are - were it not for oil, maybe we could've just said, "Uh,.. no.", and if Hussein attacked, well, then he attacked. Hussein, despite his many, many faults, was not a big fan of Islamic fundamentalism either. Perhaps that'd be g good thing in the region right now. Regardless, the point is, oil was our motivation for putting troops on the ground, not some devotion to our wonderful allies. How important is our access to that oil? Worth the increased threat of terror and the cost of fighting it?

Re:So essentially... (1)

Phantom of the Opera (1867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786578)

You might want to look up Operation Ajax.

Re:So essentially... (2, Interesting)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786692)

Hmm. Seems to me that some mods are modding "disagree." I don't see how this is a "troll" at all.

That said, shortly after Obama was inaugurated, Interpol listed 81 international terrorists [interpol.int] with intent to attack Saudi Arabia. Seems like the greatest reason we were being attacked may be because the Bush family was friends with the Saudi royal family, and we were very, very loyal about protecting them, even to the threat of our homeland.

It also tells me that we make an easier, more productive target than the House of Ibn Saud [wikipedia.org] . The best answer to the question of why we get targeted is the simple one. We're more convenient, and we don't live in a fortress. That and the President of the United States actually cares and looks bad when his people suffer, a curse the King of Saudi Arabia doesn't seem to have to live with.

So I would be very careful about making assumptions about who claims to be our friend and the invitations they send us. We're being used. This is exactly the kind of personal, family legacy war Kings would get into before we abolished them here in the U.S. because we were sick of all the stupid pointless warring.

All that needs to be done is to point the bastards at their proper target, and let the chickens come to roost at the House of Ibn Saud, so we don't have to tend his bitter flock. After we get ourselves off oil dependency first, of course.

I don't think left and right matter here. I think we just need to find a way forward that doesn't necessitate we become an authoritarian police state fighting an endless war like Oceania in 1984.

--
Toro

Re:So essentially... (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787056)

All that needs to be done is to point the bastards at their proper target, and let the chickens come to roost

It's very hard to "point" extremists anywhere, especially when they're hopped up on religion, fried from hatred, and/or shackled from ignorance.

Maybe the best we can do is make sure their activities don't have the desired effect, which is to make us terrified.

I can say with statistical certainty that nobody who's reading this tonight is going to die from terrorism, or from terrorists being treated like the criminals they are. All the fear does is make us a more attractive target. If the people who are trying disrupt our society by making us afraid find out that they're not going to have the desired effect, it might not be so easy to convince a 26 year-old young man to blow himself up.

Take reasonable precautions around the soft targets, sure. Investigate extremist groups, sure. If someone wants to learn to fly a plane but not land, maybe ask some questions. But putting society into a forever war won't do a damned thing to stop terrorism. Just the notion of a "War on Terror" plays into the hands of the people who want to disrupt our society.

These are not James Bond super-villians we're talking about here. Not an "existential threat". Just sociopaths who believe that there's something holy and heroic about killing civilians. Nutty, dangerous criminals, in other words. We've used law enforcement to deal with nutty criminals for nearly a millennium and society has survived and progressed.

I think it's pretty clear that the impetus for the "War on Terror" really doesn't have anything to do with "stopping terror" and may be just the opposite. Maybe fighting terrorism has less to do with what our military or intelligence service does than what we decide to do ourselves, as a civil society.

Re:So essentially... (0, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786772)

But this is difficult for lefties to get. You cant just do what everyone wants you to do because they will threaten you if you dont. Sometimes you have to just fight back until either you or your enemy are no longer standing (or one has to submit).

Your cowardice sickens me. Waaah, the world is so scary that we need to shoot at everything that moves otherwise they might come after us. Grow a backbone.

Re:So essentially... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786870)

We were invited by some. We came, then we were asked to leave by virtually everyone (including the royal family which invited us there in the first place). We have yet to leave...

If you want to go back to the real cause of this whole war on terror bs. Look back to the Cold War. The US trained foreign operatives (including Osama Bin Laden) to fight the Soviets. We are GOOD at training people to kill and succeeded admirably. Then, after everything was destroyed and people were starving, the Soviets left and so did we. If we had actually helped the region it would now be a Mecca of US love, think Marshall plan after WWII.

Re:So essentially... (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786884)

Or, as stated in the 9/11 commission report, the U.S. was attacked because of it's financial and political support of Israel's war and apartheid against Palestinians.
A policy change by the U.S. on Israel, to pressure it into peace, would arguably make the U.S. much safer than counter terrorism.

Re:So essentially... (5, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787098)

People were willing to tolerate the US in saudi when the threat from iraq was immediate. People, on the whole, aren't stupid enough to miss the big picture here. The problem is 3, 4, 5 years later why is the wealthiest muslim country reliant on a foreign power to protect itself? (Given that they can buy US weapons) The *continued* presence of the US there shamed every saudi who believed their country should be able to defend itself from a poorer, weaker (and slightly smaller populationwise) potential adversary. If we all woke up tomorrow and realized mexico had an army of 10 million with a huge inventory of tanks aircraft etc, and was sufficiently well armed NATO rushed into help guard the US border that's one thing. But 5 years later if the potential adversary, with less money, technology, trade, access and overall weaker it's a problem. The *continued* US presence, and no fly zones over the oppressed, gassed people of Iraq was a shame on the honour of the people of Saudi, the protectors of the muslim holy places, that they are relying on a bunch of Christians from across the ocean to guard them from another muslim state. Either they lack legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the muslim world, at which point we should wonder why we're supporting them, or they figure we're dumb enough to run in and help them for free, why should they bother, and we should wonder why we're the only ones who think this needs to be done 'our' way.

The US troops in Saudi pushed bin laden over the edge, but he wasn't exactly pro US or Saudi Royal family before that. The house of Saud for all practical purposes may as well all carry US or EU passports, as they syphon off all the money they can, and then store in the US and EU. As a western country that's basically what we want them to do, if they took that money and reinvested in their economy or that of their neighbours we wouldn't have it back (think trade deficits) As it is economically Saudi arabia may as well be part of the US. But long prior to the invasion of Kuwait and the US moving into Saudi he was against what the US puppet in Israel was doing to the Palestinians, the wealth disparity in Saudi between the princes and everyone else, US involvement in southeast asia, Russian control over chechnya, the perceived relations between egypt and the US (hence he was able to merge AQ with the Egyptian IJ)

This is something the lunatic left understands perfectly. The House of Saud are the protrusion of Western imperialism into Saudi, created by Britain (like several middle eastern states) and propped up by their successors in the US. That's the problem. They aren't a government of the people, for the people or anything else, nor, in the best of both worlds old school british system are the people represented. You cannot beat someone into submission, at least not states. Every single rebellion in history has played this out. Either you give them a fair shake or eventually they will come back for it, and the house of Saud is definitely not fair to the people of Saudi arabia or their supposed brothers in the rest of the muslim world who they leave in poverty. France and Germany were at each others throats over the overlapping populations along the rhine, the solution, was first move all of the germans out (since we won WW2), and then push them towards being a single state rendering the issue moot. Indians fought, and lost, a rebellion in 1857, it took them 90 years, but eventually they got independence.

There were lots of mistakes that led to Al qaeda hating the US as much as it does. Some of that was simply not inviting them to be part of the coalition to liberate kuwait, a mistake no one even conceived that we could have been making. Al qaeda offered to do it all, we not only turned them down but insulted them by suggesting they couldn't even participate - something 20 years in hindsight we can see, by definitely had no idea of at the time. Some of it is fundamental and deeply ideological. There are still KKK members in the US, there are still people who apparently think Haiti should be enslaved by the french, you're never going to eliminate an idea, even dumb ones. The problem is when the fringe hits on a fundamental truth. The nazi's were a bunch of genocidal nutcases, but they were right about the treaty of Versailles being unjust and they appeared to be the only ones who could do anything about it. We could never have stopped there being anti semites but maybe a better treaty of Versailles would have prevented them being in power. In that case the US saw the writing on the wall from the start and didn't want to go along with Versailles precisely because the then 'lefties' thought this was going to turn out badly in the end.

If we are to confront Al Qaeda, we need to look at all of what they stand for, not just the straw that broke the camels back (and you personally perhaps need to read the rest of 'in the words of our enemies' and not just one par)t, and ask ourselves whether or not there is some truth to even a small part of what they say. Is Israel basically turning gaza into a giant concentration camp? Does a huge portion of the oil wealth under the arabian desert get syphoned off into the swiss bank accounts of princes and sheiks and never used to better the lives of the people who actually live there? Do we really need a coaling station in Yemen (well not anymore but both aden in yemen and Kuwait were coaling stations)? Maybe we really do want to keep the House of Saud in power- that's ok, but we, as the west, myself in canada or our neighbours to the south, do not appear to be making particularly educated decisions about who we're siding with, and what the consequences are. Of course Al qaeda, like all fringe groups, has more than a one line ideology. We are not going to go along with a rebuilt caliphate that runs from the pyrennes to the indus valley, but the vast majority of the supporters of Al Qaeda are in it because of now what's going on in iraq, or before what was happening in Saudi, Somalia, and Yemen, not because they want a rebuilt caliphate. I wouldn't be surprised if 90% of Al Qaeda supporters are there in support of the 10% of their ideology that isn't crazy - and that's where we have to fight them. Unless you address that small portion of what they stand for that we could agree on they will continue to have unlimited reserves of recruits to draw on.

Lets make a short list of some of the things we, in the west do that pisses off people in the middle east shall we?

We support israel. Even when they basically build a wall around gaza and make it into a concentration camp with 80% unemployment the money and weapons from us don't stop flowing. Oh and we let them have nuclear weapons and say nothing about it. Now I'm all for Israel existing, but our support perhaps out to come with the strings that they have to follow the laws they you know... agreed to (notably about settlements). And if we're going to look the other way when Israel and india built nuclear weapons do we really get to complain about their adversaries wanting to point nukes back?

We support Egypt. Not exactly a democratic government, and they act as the other half of the wall around gaza.

I'm in canada. We have oil. Saudi has oil. A lot of it. Here, you can make 15 bucks an hour working at MacDonalds if you're in the oil patch. In saudi... not so much. If you're lucky enough to work in saudi, or the emirates you're probably an underpaid pakistani or bangladeshi who's had his passport seized, and is trying to scrape by on a couple of bucks an hour. But that 300 billion dollars a year or whatever it is they get for oil (at about 80 bucks a barrel) is nicely funneled back to US in the forms of investment companies.

You invaded Iraq. Honestly, that kinda pisses me off too. If the worlds policeman doesn't follow the law it wants to then enforce it's a bit of a problem.

We (as the UN) bombed and invaded somali in the 1990's. Maybe it was worth the attempt to get food to people, but we sure pissed them off.

Now to be clear, that's cherry picking a short list of negative things. But there's a lot more going on between Al Qaeda and the US than just the US bases in Saudi. They are a worldwide network of ideologically partially aligned groups, just as the US and it's allies are global and mostly, but not perfectly alligned. Of course we don't practice islam (and their particular brand of it), and we certainly are not ever going to agree to that, but then if we can deal with these other issues we might not have to.

Unlike a state, where you can, even temporarily enforce you will on them (think germany), and ideology has an unlimited pool of recruits to draw from. Pardon the star wars reference in a serious discussion but the more you tighten your grip, the more of them will slip away. A state which stands for wiping out jews above all else, can compel, because it is a state, non believers to their cause. Break their control of the state, you break their connection to the bulk of their forces. An ideology isn't like that, you have to break their few appealing positions to destroy their support. And yes, 200 years from now there will probably people in support of the crazy part of Al Qaeda's ideology, just as there are, apparently, people who think Haiti should still be enslaved by France, but at least most people know enough to to not listen to them. Eventually of course, you make all of the reasonable compromises you can, and maybe even some unreasonable ones (*cough giving up Czechoslovakia cough*), and are left with people who will never be turned. We certainly aren't there yet with the muslim world, but we aren't as far of as the rest of my somewhat negative post would imply. The goal would be to have the 'man on the street' in the muslim world turn on Al Qaeda, not just our puppets in the House of Saud.

Re:So essentially... (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786850)

There is no reason to address the root problem as there is no solution to it. This battle goes back over 2000 years. There are instructions in the Old Testament indicating that God directed the Jews to slaughter all others who occupied Israel including infants without any mercy at all. When modern Israel was created Moslems were considered less than human. If you think about that era you will realise that many races were considered less than human at that time. Not being a racist would have been an abnormality in that era.
                    Now we have an established nation of Israel with Jews who do not get along at all with Arabs. The Jews cling to the land out of a historic fear of being in a land like Germany where they were at the mercy of the majority race. The Arabs feel deprived and insulted. Other Arab nations amplify the issue by refusing to accept displaced Arabs into their borders. Meanwhile the US has sadly used policies of supporting whichever nations were willing to act in our best interests which generally puts us in bed with Israel. Making matters worse Israel is to weak in its law enforcement to stop illegal expansions onto Arab lands which establishes violence as the criteria of moral action in the region.
                To think that these issues will resolve is foolish. They will resolve only when one side is beaten down into the dust. And that will still leave expatriot Jews and Arabs with severe grudges scattered around the world willing to kill each other at the drop of a hat.

Re:So essentially... (1)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786886)

The 'War on Terror' will prove to be ineffective as the 'War on Drugs'. When you boil it all down, you are pitting human intelligence against human intelligence. Humans are very clever critters and will find one way or another around obstacles. If any progress at all is to be made, you need to fight the disease, not the symptoms. You have to ask "Why are these people doing this in the first place?" and address that as the root problem.

....but then everyone would have to admit that were at war with Islam.
Not going to happen.

Re:So essentially... (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786906)

Why Counter-Terrorism Is In Shambles

There are quite a few big assumptions in that phrase.

First, is that "terrorism" is a serious threat to the population. The numbers of people who have been killed by terrorists do not bear this out. I live in one of the biggest cities in the US, blocks away from the tallest building in the country, and I'm more likely to die from choking on a cheesey poof than from "terrorism". The real issue then is the disruption to society caused by these acts of violence.

Maybe a "counter-fear" program is what we need instead.

Re:So essentially... (1)

motherjoe (716821) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786942)

I have to disagree on a few points from the previous two posts. No offence to your excellent points, but I just don't see it that way.

1. Terrorism is actually a resistance movement? Ok interesting point, but a resistance movement to what? Are they resisting a free society? Rule of Law? Equality? Coming out of the middle ages? The right to be able to post on websites like this about whatever you? What?

2. Self righteousness brought 9/11 down on our heads eh? Well in my opinion we earned the right to be a bit self righteous don't you think? We earned it with blood, sweat, and tears. We earned it by fighting fascism, Socialism, Communism, and asshole-ism, I get sorta ticked off when people come off like we're some kinda of shake and bake society, like we haven't been working on this little problem called democracy for a few hundred years and it's still a work in progress. Sure we may not always get it right, but at least we try and not throw our hands up and suck the balls of the nearest warlord or dictator. Point of fact, the yahoo who threw the shoes at Bush was able to do so because he's not living in a dictatorship any longer. He was arrested, had a trial, and did his time. He wasn't dragged to the basement, had the shit beaten out of him, videotaped confessing his sins, and then shot moments later.

3. The only clever critters I see are the ones who are able to exert their twisted will over those who are weaker than themselves. Those people exist in every society, even the US. Former President Bush did more to subvert the constitution than any president in recent memory. However, he was removed from office not by a violent coup, but by Voters. See in our imperfect self righteous society we can do that. We don't have to worry about disappearing in the middle of the night and waking up in a gulag somewhere.

Putting my soapbox away now, please return to your normal programming.

Re:So essentially... (1)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786162)

Who could have guess this to be the case?

Uhhh ... anyone with training in physical security. Any decent CISSP with even a modicum of training in physical security can tell you why what they've done is a pointless waste of time.

wait... (0, Troll)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785896)

What does this have to do with my rights online? I'm not a terrorist, so I don't think it effects me.

Re:wait... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786006)

Exactly what a terrorist would say!

Get 'im!

I am from a terrorist country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786452)

No, I am not a terrorist, but my country does actively support terrorism.

There are cases where shiploads of weapons are shipped to some secret destinations for those terrorists. We knew about it when accidents like crates dropped and cases of RPG dropping out.

And I can tell you this one thing --- the terrorists and the sponsors of Islamic terrorism are laughing at America, and they are taking advantage on the nincompoops in CIA / Homeland Security / NSA / FBI that are running the goddamn circus.

Trust me when I say this --- the Islamic terrorists will strike USA again. When I don't know, but the way my government is behaving, I will say, it might happen soon.

Re:wait... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786026)

I'm not a terrorist

That's not for you to decide.

Clearly you deserve neither liberty nor freedom ! (2, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786130)

"What does this have to do with my rights online? I'm not a terrorist, so I don't think it effects me.

That's always what I say whenever I hear about all this 4th Amendment crazy talk. I don't sell drugs, so what the hell do I care?

counterstrike (1)

tbischel (862773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786198)

What does this have to do with my rights online? I'm not a terrorist, so I don't think it effects me.

only n00bs choose to be counter terrorists, cause l33t gamers use the AK. Plus all the maps favor the hostage takers. If this doesn't effect you, I bet you've already been banned as a FC.

Re:wait... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786212)

i dont think it affects me

-

i dont think it has an effect on me

An open letter to CmdrTaco (0, Troll)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785922)

Please do not leave ScuttleMonkey alone and untended in the slashdot offices... he tends to fling poop everywhere when you do!

In shambles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30785926)

http://www.yourdictionary.com/examples/shambles :)
Olly olly oxen free!

The Answer is Obvious (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785950)

The reason counter-terrorism is in shambles is BECAUSE IT CAN WITHOUT CAUSING ANY PROBLEMS.

The number of actual terror attacks is so damn low, it is in the noise. So it doesn't matter if we have an uber-perfect counter-terrorism program or one that is total bullshit. The results are gonna be pretty much the same - barely any terrorist attacks.

In places where there is a substantial threat, like everybody's favorite example - Israel - they have to actually do something in order to make a difference. And even then the results are far from perfect - they have more successful terrorist attacks in Israel than we have just attempted attacks in the USA.

Re:The Answer is Obvious (0, Troll)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786040)

You must be a CIO who has a successful network security team. Your myopic view of security comes from being safe. If you want to see how frequent terrorist attacks can become, take a look at Iraq, or lots of places in Africa. Militant Islam will attack as frequently as it can. Just because you never see the thwarted attacks doesnt mean they dont occur.

Actually, Israel is outsmarting the terrorists by staying on the offensive.

Re:The Answer is Obvious (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786278)

If you want to see how frequent terrorist attacks can become, take a look at Iraq,

Wooooooooooosh!

The reason "terrorist attacks" are so frequent in places like Iraq is because of LOCAL CONDITIONS. Terrorism does not appear out of nowhere. It takes a lot of local infrastructure in order to pull off, including motivated individuals with lots of experience in both the tradecraft of terrorism and the local society.

And, lets see if I get your argument correct here - even though we haven't been doing anything substantial and the number of attacks have been near zero, we need to massively ramp up the amount of effort we put in to stop all those non-existent attacks? Right? Because I'm saying the opposite and you appear to be disagreeing with me.

Actually, Israel is outsmarting the terrorists by staying on the offensive.

And yet they fail far more often than our own counter-terrorism program.

Re:The Answer is Obvious (0)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786368)

The reason "terrorist attacks" are so frequent in places like Iraq is because of LOCAL CONDITIONS. Terrorism does not appear out of nowhere. It takes a lot of local infrastructure in order to pull off, including motivated individuals with lots of experience in both the tradecraft of terrorism and the local society.

Like what happened during 9/11? Or the underpants bomber? Or the shoe bomber? Perhaps the bali bombers? Only the 9/11 hijackers fit the mold of the experienced terrorists. The others are fairly low grade terrorists with nearly no experience, just given a bomb and told to set it off.

And, lets see if I get your argument correct here - even though we haven't been doing anything substantial and the number of attacks have been near zero, we need to massively ramp up the amount of effort we put in to stop all those non-existent attacks? Right? Because I'm saying the opposite and you appear to be disagreeing with me.

I didnt realise you work for the CIA or the DHS to know about every foiled attack or plot to say that attacks have been near-zero. Just because you dont see the attacks being foiled, doesnt mean they arent happening.

And how do you measure that Israel fails more often than the US? Perhaps percentage wise Israel succeeds more often, as they are attacked far, far more often than the US.

Re:The Answer is Obvious (2, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786600)

I didnt realise you work for the CIA or the DHS to know about every foiled attack or plot to say that attacks have been near-zero. Just because you dont see the attacks being foiled, doesnt mean they arent happening.

And how do you measure that Israel fails more often than the US? Perhaps percentage wise Israel succeeds more often, as they are attacked far, far more often than the US.

And I suppose you do work for the CIA? You have precisely as much evidence as he does: none. Sounds like you're preaching what you want to believe, not what is.

Spies the world over have long held their successes close to their vests, because a successful asset is an asset still in place, potentially capable of yet more success in the future. If their efforts are actually meeting with success, you and I won't know about it until long after they're dead, and possibly not until after the organization they infiltrated is dead.

What makes people think there aren't very many successes is their string of prominent failures. The nonsense we undergo at airports still failed to notice a guy with a badly-built bomb in his underwear. I have to take my shoes off because of the shoe bomber. I guess I'll count myself lucky not to have to take my pants off when I fly tomorrow, despite the underwear bomber.

Re:The Answer is Obvious (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786616)

Like what happened during 9/11? Or the underpants bomber? Or the shoe bomber? Perhaps the bali bombers? Only the 9/11 hijackers fit the mold of the experienced terrorists. The others are fairly low grade terrorists with nearly no experience, just given a bomb and told to set it off.

You are proving my point. 9/11 was it. Underpants and shoes didn't work - they weren't good enough. Bali bombers were in their home court they had experience with local society.

I didnt realise you work for the CIA or the DHS to know about every foiled attack or plot to say that attacks have been near-zero. Just because you dont see the attacks being foiled, doesnt mean they arent happening.

Don't try to play that game. Absence of evidence is not evidence. But there is plenty of evidence to the contrary - every single indicted terrorist plotter in the US has been a total incompetent. The JFK bombers [popularmechanics.com] , the Sears Tower Plot [independent.co.uk] , etc, etc. If they are so willing to trot out these incompetents and actually take them to trial, you can be pretty sure they would at least charge ONE competent terrorist. But so far, nada.

Israel succeeds more often, as they are attacked far, far more often than the US.

TADA! Glad you see my point. Now I just don't understand why you thought you had to argue with me in the first place.

Always surprised me (4, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785970)

The answer to that first question (the first part anyway) could basically be summed up in one sentence: Read the goddamned 9/11 Commission Report. As one of probably seven Americans who actually did, I must say that it always surprised me just how flat it seemed to fall on the populous and government both. Sure, it made the NYT best-seller list for a bit, because hey, in 2004 what better coffee table book was there?

Sure, the first third of the report might be horrifying, and the middle third was extremely dry, but they were still extremely telling. What's more, the final section offered some suggestions, potential fixes, and forward-thinking plans that were excellent. Of course none of them were fully-fledged, but they were great jumping-off points. How many were put into action? Surely not too many, and five and a half years later we're still reeling from that inaction.

The main message in the report was that of any good relationship, communication, and that's precisely what hasn't been happening. McGovern hits a lot of good points, but I agree with him that this is all incredibly old. Not stale, because it hasn't been done, but old nonetheless. And lord knows holding those responsible responsible is a novel concept.

Re:Always surprised me (3, Interesting)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786096)

There were many aspects of the 9/11 Commission that were implemented. DHS and DNI were both implemented, and both disasters. Two entities created with bureaucracy as their focal point leads to nothing but disaster. DHS cannot properly allocate resources, cannot hold onto talent, promotes the most incomptent boobs into positions of power, and is lead by a moron, Janet Napolitano who makes former FEMA chief Mike Brown look like Rudy Giuliani. The DNI is a complete wreck, which was suppose to "coordinate" intelligence sharing between all the agencies, but has instead keeps trying to usurp the functions of the CIA.

Re:Always surprised me (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786752)

Janet Napolitano who makes former FEMA chief Mike Brown look like Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani's incompetence caused lives to be lost on 9/11.

Re:Always surprised me (5, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786466)

And lord knows holding those responsible responsible is a novel concept.

I don't know what George Tenet did or didn't do, I don't know how much of a nutball the owner of that site is, and I have no idea if McGovern was good as his job while he was in the business for 27 years, but he was right about that one thing: there are no consequences to being appointed to a prominent US government position and being a fuckup.

That site had a funny smell around the edges and some of McGovern's response starting out seemed pretty hand-wavy, but the part about why the CIA was created and why there's a Director of that organization rang true. Intelligence about Japanese intentions was available, it failed to be correlated, and Pearl Harbor happened. So why did the investigation fail to name names? Why did the 9/11 Commission mumble around with suggestions that didn't involve actual people?

I can think of two answers to that, that are the opposite sides of the same coin. The first being the good old boy network: "George is a good man he is. I know 'cause I see him in passing every Tuesday at my country club. He must be a good man, because I'm a good man, and we're both members of the same clubs and go to the same restaurants and the same shows." The second being everybody on the Commission wanted to believe that each individual in US intelligence was competent, well-meaning, and diligently doing their job. "Aww shucks, he don't mean nuttin'. If he got appointed to that there job, surely he couldn't have done anything wrong. That's unpossible!" They wrote of institutional failure, as if institutions have some existence outside of the people staffing them. The consequences of the two attitudes result in an unholy marriage of cronyism and irresponsibility.

People decry the children of today. Everybody gets a trophy for showing up, everybody wins, everybody is a beautiful and unique snowflake. I've got bad news. It starts at the top, with OLD people. Elementary schools are just falling in line. George Tenet is 57 years old and presided over what was arguably the US's worst intelligence failure of the past 100 years (2402 killed at Pearl Harbor, 2992 killed on 9/11). Judging by his Wikipedia page (which shows evidence of mangling by opposing factions), he's still wealthy and comfortable and happy. They even gave him a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I suppose he got it for showing up.

Re:Always surprised me (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786566)

five and a half years later we're still reeling from that inaction.

Really? We've had, what, like one terrorist attack - the fort hood guy - since then that killed anyone. Ok, I guess the DC sniper counts too.

If anything, we are reeling from too much action - the tens of billions of dollars of wasted productivity every year just because of the pointless hassle at the airports. How many people have died indirectly because of that? What life-saving drugs have been slowed coming to market by 6 months or a year? What charitable contributions to food banks and medical procedures have dried up because the money went to dealing with the inefficiencies created by the TSA?

I'm confident in saying we've killed more people indirectly with our counter-terrorism programs than we have saved. After all, the TSA makes a press release every time they bust a guy with a lot of drugs or water bottle and a taped-up battery pack, [tsa.gov] but they have never once issued a press release stating that they've stopped an actual terrorist attack on a plane. And when they are actually tested - they miss the bomb 90% of of the time. [9news.com] And just look at the idiots they actually convict of plotting terrorist attacks - like the guys who thought they could blow up JFK by igniting a gas pipeline. [popularmechanics.com] The guys they "catch" are so hopeless they were no threat to begin with.

Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (0, Troll)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785974)

So let me get this straight. You want the intelligence community to go out of its way to catch the bad guys, but then you want to prosecute the intelligence community for going out of its way to catch the bad guys.... Brilliant! Punch a terrorist and get court martialed. Nanny Pelosi, Eric Holder and Obama are to be held accountable. Persecute the apparatus that is meant to protect YOUR CITIZENS from FOREIGN AGGRESSION and watch how little they want to do their job.

But maybe if we just had a civilian force which was equal to the military. Perhaps we could call it something like the Protective Squad...

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786072)

We could call it the Ministry of Love (or MiniLuv, for short).

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786172)

Wow, being you must be HELL, all them gorram terrists fucking EVERYWHERE.

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786180)

Wow, I don't think you even bothered to read the summary. There's nothing in the article that is in any way related to your post.

Do you stand on your front lawn and yell at clouds, too?

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (5, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786202)

Two problems with this statement.

1 You can't be sure they are a terrorist while your punching them there have been several people tortured who were, in the end, found innocent.

2 Torture only makes the person say what they think will make you leave them alone. Maybe they confess to something they didn't do or maybe they give you bad intelligence.

In World War two it was discovered that the best way for the allies to get intel from their prisoners on what the Germans were up to was a steak dinner.

Torture is just a violent jerk finding righteous excuses for unconscionable behavior and is counter productive every time.

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786738)

In World War two it was discovered that the best way for the allies to get intel from their prisoners on what the Germans were up to was a steak dinner.

You mean like the one Cypher had with Agent Smith? Yes! I see how that works!

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786874)

In World War two it was discovered that the best way for the allies to get intel from their prisoners on what the Germans were up to was a steak dinner.

Torture is just a violent jerk finding righteous excuses for unconscionable behavior and is counter productive every time.

Coming soon: Inglorious basterds 2: revenge is a dish best served medium rare.

This time, an American shock troop focuses not on brutally killing Nazis, but instead on serving them excellent steak dinners.

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787010)

In World War two it was discovered that the best way for the allies to get intel from their prisoners on what the Germans were up to was a steak dinner.

I heard it a different way from a family member who was actually there and served in his division's intelligence unit. He said that the most effective way to get information out of high ranking POWs was to inform them that we'd turn them over to the Soviets if they failed to cooperate with us.

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (3, Insightful)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786632)

BZZZ. Thanks for playing.

We want them to catch the bad guys - AND WHEN THEY FAIL to do that job, hold them accountable. Which wasn't clear in the summary, but was clear in the article.

George Tenet was the CIA director. CIA's job is to get all of the intelligence information in a CENTRAL agency (who knew?). Mandated by congress at it's creation after WWII.

9/11 happened. CIA blew it, and there was no consequence for the people We The People hired. Tenet wasn't fired for NOT DOING HIS GODDAMN JOB.

Instead of holding the CIA accountable for their failure, we create Homeland Security, National terrorism center, TSA, Patriot Act, so-on and so-forth, ad infinitum. We declare "War on Terror" - which will end up like the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs. Generate a lot of money for a lot of technology and industry without ever providing a path to victory.

Bureaucracy at it's finest.

Too bad we didn't have a President. He could've said "CIA blew it. Tenet, you're fired. Let's get someone in here who can be bothered to be responsible."
Instead we have all of the BS that's been justified in the name of security, and we're worse off (security-wise) than we were on 9/12/2001.

Re:Hold them accountable? Who? Congress? (3, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786798)

Actually, I would say that's right on. Congress, the whole darned institution, not just your O'Reilly-esque political Punch and Judy show, should be held accountable for any failure(s) of the CIA.

They oversee it. They order it. Michael Scheuer smartly said, during the hearings on extraordinary rendition, that a "half-assed bureaucrat like [himself] wouldn't do anything without the approval of Congress."

I wanted to stand up and applaud him when I saw it. We kidnapped people with Congressional authority, and it is amazing that nobody's been held accountable for their incredible lack of ethics and malfeasance. There needs to be an investigation.

--
Toro

We are focused on symptoms and fear (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785982)

Look, the main thing is we forgot that terrorism is a tactic, and let ourselves get swept up in Fear.

From my personal experience (multiple counter-terrorism ops) what works is fairly simple: basic police detective work.

Torture doesn't work. Fear plays into what they want.

Stop living in fear and treat this as we treat natural disasters and food poisoning - don't overreact, don't reduce your freedom or liberty, but do allocate a PORTION of your police resources to proper detective work in tracking them down.

That works. None of what we've done so far does, sadly.

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786140)

But, if we treated terrorism as a crime instead of a political statement, then how would we justify invading other countries like Afghanistan and Iraq?

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (2, Insightful)

assemblyronin (1719578) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786156)

(emphasis mine)

Look, the main thing is we forgot that terrorism is a tactic, and let ourselves get swept up in Fear.

In my opinion, I don't believe that most people ever knew this tidbit of information in the first place. Sure some people would parrot what they heard on the network news after 9/11, "I won't be afraid and let them take my freedoms!", but then they blindly support the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act.

I agree with you 100% though. People being retarded and killing other people is a fact of life that is perfectly handled by proper detective work.

Also, people need to realize that 'terrorism' is being used by both sides of the fence. The best example, the 'national threat level' has never been set to Blue or Green. This is a system meant to make the citizens of their own country 'feel safe' but all it does is make people think, "Hey.. you gonna get blowed up real-good-like someday.".

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (2, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786222)

I never said we shouldn't use it as a tactic.

Just that we need to remember that.

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787186)

Also, people need to realize that 'terrorism' is being used by both sides of the fence. The best example, the 'national threat level' has never been set to Blue or Green. This is a system meant to make the citizens of their own country 'feel safe' but all it does is make people think, "Hey.. you gonna get blowed up real-good-like someday.".

The entire point of the "national threat level" is to give the government "justification" for continuing the "war on terror". Are we safer than before 9/11? Yes. Why? Because the passengers in flights now are going to overwhelm and take down any hijacker. Before 9/11, you generally did what you could to appease the hijacker, you landed somewhere, if you were uncooperative you might be shot to "make an example", but if you were lucky and cooperative you ended up alive. Anything beyond that is simply pure luck. The US does not have many attempted terror attacks, there are fewer successful ones. Look at how pathetic the "shoe bomber" and "underwear bomber" attempts were. But if we can keep people into thinking there actually is a threat when none really exists.

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786912)

Look, the main thing is we forgot that terrorism is a tactic, and let ourselves get swept up in Fear.

I find your words strange and frightening.

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (1)

ihatewinXP (638000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786948)

I couldnt agree more.

What we have now is 'security theatre' that we are convinced 'doesn't work' because everytime we turn on the tv the news is fear mongering us into believing that the bogeyman is just waiting to pounce.

If you read about the terrorism operations that have been stopped in the last few years _many_ of them have one truly scary thing in common: they were set up by government informants that just recruited a few yokels from a local mosque by offering them money / weapons and whipping previously just hot headed people into actually doing something. The attempted 'missile' attack in NYC about 6 months ago was a perfect example. The heads of the mosque had actually complained to the police that there was some nut offering people money to join his group - but nothing was done because he was a government guy and this is exactly what they wanted to happen.

John C Dvorak made a good point (gasp!) a few weeks ago on his blog: if terrorists are so bound and determined to get a plane down in the US why havent any snuck in a shoulder fired missile over the Mexican border along with the constant flow of immigrants every night? Why hasnt someone just blown themselves up in a security line at the airport (like they do in Israel where terrorism is truly a problem) instead of a poorly hatched plan to blow up their shoes or underwear while on a plane?

Why are we letting the goverment and media convince us that our doom is imminent (the entire point of terrorism) instead of going about our lives?

I find this is the major 'problem' in our current system.

Full disclosure: I live in China where 'terrorism' doesnt exist. Even in the rare cases that something does happen (a bus was blown up before the Olympics in Beijing near my home) it doesnt make the news, it isnt given any chance to 'terrorize' the public, and gives potential terrorists no incentive to try something again. The results are pretty clear - ask any Beijinger about the terrorist problem in China and they will say: "Oh thats an American problem, we dont have that here"

And theyre right.

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (1)

tom's a-cold (253195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787004)

Look, the main thing is we forgot that terrorism is a tactic, and let ourselves get swept up in Fear.

First, who is the "we" in that sentence? For example, I'm not afraid, and the government certainly isn't listening to me or representing me in any way... though I am very concerned that the government will do something idiotic that will mess up my life in some way.

Second, I am not at all convinced that fear is the motivation for many of the government's actions. It's more likely that it's an excuse, or a tactic that they use, in order to get more power or to enrich certain insiders. I don't think they're afraid either. Or rather, they're more afraid of us finding out what they're doing than they are of terrorists.

So the problem isn't that we are afraid. The problem is that we need to put our so-called leaders back in their place. In many cases that place will be a non-leadership position, and in a few cases, a federal prison.

Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787046)

God, I wish we had more people saying this.

Truther Blog (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786028)

Horay! A link to a troother blog, right on the front page!

I look forward to the day when editors are eliminated entirely from Slashdot, and "rights online" is just an RSS feed from WND, "idle" links to the front page of Prison Planet, and "science" selects a random page from Time Cube.

in the US you're doing it the stupid way (4, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786138)

It was since 9/11 that it struck me: the US secret services, intelligence and security communities are... well, a bit dumb. The measures taken on planes after 9/11 should have been there before. Plain-clothes officers on planes were introduced only AFTER the fact. In Israel that has been common practice since the 70's. I don't even need to mention security theater at the airports in the US. And then the more recent Jordanian double-agent that kills 7 CIA officers in Afghanistan. Then there's the ridiculous list of no-fly passengers that is checked against a name!? Really? Now that's really hard to defeat. And it aggravates everybody who happens to have the same name. These just from the top off my head, but there are much more such stupendously silly things.

Beyond drastic, strategic changes in philosophy, the intelligence community in the US should be more imaginative, more broad-minded, more alert. Basically, more intelligent.

Re:in the US you're doing it the stupid way (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786688)

And then the more recent Jordanian double-agent that kills 7 CIA officers in Afghanistan.

2 of those so-called "officers" were Blackwater operatives. They should not be considered "agents".

how to effectively counter terrorism. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786282)

simply start and continue fixing real problems in the world and terrorist won't be able to gather a following of suicidal individuals or other recruits because they won't have a verifiable reason.

What the World Wants [unesco.org] is not what the fewer than 1% of the world population wants.

Its really quite amazing when you consider there are near 7 billion people on this planet and what that equates to in less than one percent being war mongering leaders.

I thought it was because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786294)

... Jack Bauer had retired ....

FBI, CIA, NSA, Intelligence Agencies... (4, Interesting)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786310)

There is a long history here that needs to be taken into consideration... We are seeing a paradigm shift in our government that is long overdue. It used to be that the government had to protect paper documents, "eyes only", and the biggest threat were photocopiers and miniature cameras... not any more.

I wrote about this transformation many years ago. Is it any wonder why the NSA is being brought up and groomed to help protect the critical information assets that the United States has?

From my post:

HumInt/SigInt:
Human Intelligence, CIA
Signal Intelligence, NSA

The English have been masters at the spy trade for centuries. In WWII, the United States felt that it should get into the act and turned to the English for guidance.

With their tutelage, the CIA became a formidable tool against the Soviet threat throughout the cold war. We had clearly defined enemies with clearly defined borders. Gathering intelligence became a methodical science... then, once the Soviet Union collapsed, the clearly defined enemies with clearly defined borders went with it.

The growth of the internet created an atmosphere wherein information and 'intelligence' became a commodity. Then the emergence of an enemy that is not only difficult, if not impossible, to clearly define but who also operates entirely without borders. The polar opposite from what the CIA were trained to do.

Not only has this rule-set reset turned the CIA upside-down, it has rendered it all but useless. The UK isn't doing much better either. The problem is that western society itself is at odds with the rules required to make an effective spy agency. Our open government(s), free access to information, laws against spying on citizens and so forth are what both protect our civil liberties as well as create the environment in which our enemies can plot against us.

The CIA knew about al Qaeda operators operating in the USA prior to 9/11, yet did nothing to notify the FBI. This is because of the opposing nature of each agency. The CIA finds a criminal and wants to string them along to see what intelligence they can uncover by monitoring them. When the FBI finds a criminal, they want to string them up. From the CIA perspective, the FBI sure knows how to screw up an investigation and destroy your intelligence network.

The CIA is now dysfunctional to the point of uselessness. In fact, there isn't a single effective spy agency in the western world. The current battle we're fighting and the enemy we face is one that cannot be defeated by military might, it is a war that MUST be fought using intelligence.

So, the administration turned to the only other agency with experience in gathering and monitoring enemies. It also happens that this agency is experts at SigInt, as opposed to the HumInt. The problem is that the NSA is forbidden by law from spying on American Citizens, UNLESS they are monitoring overseas communications. This exception has always been allowed, no warrant necessary. There is no law that states that I have the constitutional right to conspire with enemies overseas.

No other nation even comes close to the SigInt capabilities of the NSA...

It is imperative that the NSA get on top of this nations information security. A staggering number of government agencies are still not even behind firewalls! There is so much bureaucratic stagnation that nothing meaningful has been done to secure this nations governmental infrastructure.

Finally, they are putting an agency in charge that actually *knows* something about security. I applaud this effort wholeheartedly.

Regards,

Joel Helgeson

Why Counter- Terrorism Is In (3, Insightful)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786320)

Not true. I am trying to address the right questiontrying to deal with causes, not just symptoms and consequences.

What if they don't want you to address the causes, maybe the causes are a natrul effect of how business is done. Dealing with causes means changing how you do business.

Many will say that I'm trolling, but ... (5, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786382)

The so called acts of "terrorism" against the USA, could be called by another name. They are the resistance. The United States is an empire. it's ok, it's not a bad thing in itself. Embrace what you are. So, there is a resistance. A small, stupid, disorganized, and full of religious fanatics resistance. The fact that the resistance isn't bigger doesn't mean there are not a lot of other people that would like to resist, they just don't think blowing up buildings is the way to resist the empire.

So, when you say "Anti-terrorism" you actually mean "Anti enemies of the empire". What the government is doing is chasing the enemies of the empire. It is doing so using the worth methodologies: fear, violence, persecution, surveillance. And what the US is accomplishing is far from stopping that resistance: It actually gets more people to join in, and causes even more hate against your country.

The UK was once a Huge Empire, and they conquered most of the known world. And nobody hated them as much as everyone hates the US. And many times, what they did was actually far worse than the actions of the US. Then, why is the US hated so much? two reasons: One, people don't like self-righteous fucks. Do what you must, but don't pretend to be the land of the free and home of the whatever anymore. You are an empire. Conquer and STFU. Stop trying to sell the "American" way to everyone. Second: Conquer, but don't destroy. The UK conquered half the world, and now those places are known as Australia, The United States, Canada ... The US, OTOH, conquered Iran, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and those places are the same shitholes they were before. They are actually worse now after you screwed them up. Want their oil? Conquer them, get their oil, and in the process establish there and build trains and schools. The Colony model works, the big country takes the resources and cheap work that they need, and the small startup country grows and learns. Eventually, it becomes independent.

But if you keep conquering, screwing the place up, and then leaving, with the sole goal of selling more weapons and controlling the price of oil, people will hate you mroe and more, and they'll continue trying to blow the fuck out of your country.

Being a self righteous fuck and saying "why does the world hate us" doesn't help. Realizing what you are, and acting in consequence does.

Re:Many will say that I'm trolling, but ... (-1, Flamebait)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786448)

And the SlashKOS crowd will mod this insightful. fucking hilarious.

Re:Many will say that I'm trolling, but ... (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786532)

hilarious.

Why!

Re:Many will say that I'm trolling, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787032)

And the FascDot crowd, which is bigger, will mod it down. Not too hilarious.

Re:Many will say that I'm trolling, but ... (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786650)

religious fanatics verses self serving and knee jerk reaction, in my opion.

Re:Many will say that I'm trolling, but ... (1)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786970)

The so called acts of "terrorism" against the USA, could be called by another name. They are the resistance. The United States is an empire. it's ok, it's not a bad thing in itself. Embrace what you are. So, there is a resistance. A small, stupid, disorganized, and full of religious fanatics resistance. The fact that the resistance isn't bigger doesn't mean there are not a lot of other people that would like to resist, they just don't think blowing up buildings is the way to resist the empire.

So, when you say "Anti-terrorism" you actually mean "Anti enemies of the empire". What the government is doing is chasing the enemies of the empire. It is doing so using the worth methodologies: fear, violence, persecution, surveillance. And what the US is accomplishing is far from stopping that resistance: It actually gets more people to join in, and causes even more hate against your country.

The UK was once a Huge Empire, and they conquered most of the known world. And nobody hated them as much as everyone hates the US. And many times, what they did was actually far worse than the actions of the US. Then, why is the US hated so much? two reasons: One, people don't like self-righteous fucks. Do what you must, but don't pretend to be the land of the free and home of the whatever anymore. You are an empire. Conquer and STFU. Stop trying to sell the "American" way to everyone. Second: Conquer, but don't destroy. The UK conquered half the world, and now those places are known as Australia, The United States, Canada ... The US, OTOH, conquered Iran, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and those places are the same shitholes they were before. They are actually worse now after you screwed them up. Want their oil? Conquer them, get their oil, and in the process establish there and build trains and schools. The Colony model works, the big country takes the resources and cheap work that they need, and the small startup country grows and learns. Eventually, it becomes independent.

But if you keep conquering, screwing the place up, and then leaving, with the sole goal of selling more weapons and controlling the price of oil, people will hate you mroe and more, and they'll continue trying to blow the fuck out of your country.

Being a self righteous fuck and saying "why does the world hate us" doesn't help. Realizing what you are, and acting in consequence does.

So what we remove the Iraqi government and declare it the 51st state?
I sincerily doubt we will be hated less by doing that.

Re:Many will say that I'm trolling, but ... (4, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787024)

Nonsense.

First, the US is not an empire. Empires take from their subject states, the United States gives out money, technology and protection. Look at the Roman Empire or British Empire, they levied troops from their subject territories while ripping out the natural resources and taxing trade.

Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan have never been part of this American Empire you are spouting about. the US sold Saudi Arabia technology, bought oil and let Saudis come to school in the US. Afghanistan's relations with the US were even more tenuous, Iraq was more of a French and Soviet client-state than American ally, while Yemeni-American relations have been distant while the US helped Pakistan for decades against the Soviets and India.

The UK didn't conquer most of the world, at peak they controlled 1/4 of the land mass and population, and they never controlled the vast bulk of the continental United States.

Your examples of countries the US "conquered" are all wrong, here are some countries the US did control and did conquer.

Japan.
Western Germany.
Italy.
South Korea.
Central and western United States.

Look at Israel's economy (a client state of the US) compared to the economy of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi - they have the highest per capita GDP.

Take some time to look at Vietnam - the US pulled out, the south was lost and now that its opened up to the west, its booming. Look at the quality of life in Afghanistan now, oh and it's far from conquered.

Copyright police (1)

greenbird (859670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786428)

Because the FBI and CIA are wasting huge resources tracking down and chasing CD and DVD counterfeiters acting as the private police for a group of corporations who have convinced the governments of the world, through extensive bribes, that they're obsolete business models are vital to the modern world.

agree with the spirit, but some of the details...? (2, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786436)

I'm basically on board with McGovern, but some of the particulars stuck out to me as half-baked: "Add Washington's propping up of dictatorial, repressive regimes in order to secure continuing access to oil and natural gas -- widely (and accurately) seen as one of the main reasons for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan." I think it's true that the US props up dictatorial, repressive regimes in the Middle East and southern Asia (Kuwait, Pahlavi's Iran, ...). I think it's true that we would never have gone to war in Kuwait/Iraq in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001, or Iraq in 2003, if this hadn't been an oil-producing region. This is clearest in the case of Kuwait, and also reasonably clear in the 2003 Iraq invasion, since the WMD pretext was obviously bogus. The least clear one is Afghanistan, which really did have at least some reasonable justification in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks -- although if the region had never had oil, it would have made more sense to invade Saudi Arabia, from which 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists originated.

But how can McGovern say that "one of the main reasons for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan" was "to secure continuing access to oil and natural gas?" This doesn't make any sense. Saddam Hussein was exporting oil before we invaded in 2003. The invasion devastated oil production. And Afghanistan has never been a big oil producer.

I think it would be more accurate to say that we went to war in Kuwait in 1991 in order to stabilize the Middle East oil producing region, and we went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 as knee-jerk reactions to the 9/11 attacks (which is pretty pathetic, because the whole purpose of terrorism is basically to cause a knee-jerk reaction).

He makes a big deal out of how nobody admits that one of the main motivations for terrorist attacks on the US is anger about Israel. This is undeniably true. The problem is, what the heck can we do about it now? We tried to hand democracy and territory to the Palestinians on a silver platter, and they messed up. Is there some obvious solution to the Israel problem that I'm missing?

Re:agree with the spirit, but some of the details. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787068)

> Saddam Hussein was exporting oil before we invaded in 2003.

Perhaps to give US firms a better chance of securing oil development contracts which were at the time dominated by firms from other countries, and to place forward operating bases in the area which could facilitate future interventions for access to desired resources.

Maybe thats not going so well though.
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1948787,00.html

> And Afghanistan has never been a big oil producer.

Perhaps pipelines running through Afghanistan.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/sardi7.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1984459.stm
http://afghanistan-canada-solidarity.org/pipeline-politics-afghanistan-ubc-event

Re:agree with the spirit, but some of the details. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787142)

as half-baked: "Add Washington's propping up of dictatorial, repressive regimes in order to secure continuing access to oil and natural gas

He's talking about Saudi Arabia so it's not really half-baked.
The Iraq war had a lot of reasons, most of which are stupid and to the detriment of the USA even if they help individuals and a few corporations, and to this point it's failed at the sensible one (site for US base which he refers to later). I'm surprised that leading retired military figures think that Iraq will eventually settle down like post-war Japan but that Afganistan is a basket case because the press is generally reporting things the other way. I think we should listen to the experts like McGovern.
As for the bit about causes, it makes it a lot easier to identify potential terrorists if nothing else. It doesn't mean it has to be fixed.

Re:agree with the spirit, but some of the details. (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787178)

But how can McGovern say that "one of the main reasons for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan" was "to secure continuing access to oil and natural gas?" ?" This doesn't make any sense. Saddam Hussein was exporting oil before we invaded in 2003. The invasion devastated oil production. And Afghanistan has never been a big oil producer.

You're thinking "nation-state" and not "regional".

We are not interested in anybody's particular oil fields -- not Iraq's, not Iran's, etc. What we want to ensure is that there is a free market, which means a free flow, of oil and natural gas, throughout the region. As you may know, there is a big narual gas pipeline being built through Afghanistan, which will connect the Ukraine and other big natural gas fields to the west. We want to make sure that no President Hussein or President Ahmadinejad can distrup the regional market over there, and that multi-national corporations are free to do their business. And we need military bases so nobody can even think about acting up.

The mafia boss in the neighborhood doesn't want to run anybody's business. They just want to make sure that business is happening, and they're getting the protection money, and nobody else is. Governments and their armies are the goons, and the Corporations are the bosses.

Axe to grind (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786440)

Clearly there is an axe to grind here, probably for more than what Tenet deserves. That said, what is left out of this critique is the failings of policy makers who in fact determine what the intelligence community focuses on. When policy makers (be they politicians or career employees) focus on short term intelligence needs the IC must reallocate resources to address those wants. Inevitably this is at the expense of longer term intelligence gathering and asset development. Then when something does go wrong or a situation blows up the IC is left scrabling to 'advise' the policy makers on subjects they really do not have sufficiently extensive information on. See Iran, UBL, Iraq. The author does, however, point out how policy decisions made by elected politicians and career govt employees, such as perceived unbalanced support of Israel, can create unfavorable outcomes. What the IC had to say about possible ramifications of those decisions is of course affected by what intelligence they have previously developed on the subject which may have glaring holes when it lacks strategic, long term focus.

Oh ffs people. (4, Insightful)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786490)

Terrorists are trolls.

Don't feed the trolls, it's fucking simple.

Re:Oh ffs people. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786846)

Don't feed the terrorists. Isn't that torture?

We should stop maintaining the world order (1)

qqi239 (1397769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786496)

just let them do what they want, namely, kill each other, we simply cannot put an American MP on every crossroad of the world.

Re:We should stop maintaining the world order (1)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786984)

just let them do what they want, namely, kill each other, we simply cannot put an American MP on every crossroad of the world.

Yeah it's not like they would ever try to kill us.

Dabbling at maintaining the world order (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787038)

That's been the world's complaint for years. Israel is big and bad enough to look after itself and doesn't need free bombs with "made in USA" written on them to make Syrians, Lebanese and their own citizens angry at the USA after the bombs kill their children. Indonesia, East Timor, the Phillipines and most of Latin America has suffered from poor US intelligence getting manipulated by the unscrupulous. They pushed the line "give me help or the commies get in" or "thanks for coming to my country, here's a big donation to your party Mr Ford, we invade tommorrow before they turn into commies (1975)" and played the US like a banjo.
It's the stupid little mistakes that create the mess - propping up an evil bastard like the Shah was a mistake but letting him into the country after he was deposed was the thing that made an enemy out of Iran. Similarly going into Lebanon to "show the flag" in a poorly conceived operation convinced the world that the USA would cut and run at the first sign of trouble. Sending some token warships into the Iran-Iraq war was a fiasco that did nothing but make people very angry (no minesweeper so the ships hid behind the tankers they were supposed to protect, US ships attacked by Iraqi allies, and an airliner shot down that provoked a revenge attack on a PanAm 747 over Scotland).
Sometimes it's better to sit back and watch instead of dabbling at helping one thug beat another. The real lesson of this mistakes is to take things seriously when action is taken - no stupid halfhearted "show the flag" exercises that just get people killed for a minor political advantage. It should be a wake up call when the guy you've been backing orders a car bombing to kill a political opponent in Washington D.C. (Pinochet 1976), but it wasn't.

I'll tell you why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786604)

The elites, members of the large corporations, who lobby our government into passing the laws that only help large corporations, and their "New World Order" agendas, and hurt the people - are the _real_ terrorists here.

You can't win a war on a word (1)

aaandre (526056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786748)

Especially if you keep redefining the word. Simple as that.

What if this was never about winning a war (on a word) but rather redirecting attention from the war on human rights and personal freedoms (many of which defined in the Constitution everyone loves foaming about), in the interest of money-driven slavery and mass-mind control?

Now, put *this* in your pipe and smoke it :)

Or, wake up and get off the grid.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?