Florida Teen Suicide Bomber

31bomber_inline-blog427Linked here is an edited version of a 31 min. video message from Mohammad Abusalha, a 22-year-old suicide bomber from Florida who attacked in Syria, who was raised in a gated community, and was once described as a “basketball-obsessed teen.” Abusalha used this testimonial to explain why he left home to live as a Mujahedin in the civil war against Bashaar Al-Assad.

I got this video from an NYT article focused on the fact that after Abusalha initially trained in Syria as a Mujahedin, he came home undetected by the authorities for several months before leaving again for the last time. But that is not the point here.

What I took away from this piece is the contents of the video and the troubled young man it portrayed. He expresses rage against the West and it even includes a teary-eyed expression of love for his mother. It made me just want to scream aloud, “What happened here?!”

I almost did not post this video here and have been saving it since July 30, 2014, gripped by indecision. I was afraid of seeming too sensationalist, or even being perceived as pro-terror. Yet I am posting it now for I believe that it needs to be seen for it shows how an American kid can end up a suicide bomber manipulated by the Islamist fighters who found him.

I leave it to your interpretation. Find it here.

 

 

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Afghanistan and The Gordian Knot

Alexander_cuts_the_Gordian_KnotThe top story on the NYT website today is how Afghanistan’s Attorney General released 65 prisoners from the Bagram Airport Prison facility today for lack of evidence against them…and these are 65 detainees who the U.S. military deems terrorists and do not want released.

This article today reminded me of a myth today then regarding Alexander the Great and the “Gordian Knot.” Let me tell it to you and show you how they relate.

As Alexander’s Macedonian army entered the Phrygia at Gordium city-state, a myth resided their where to become the next ruler of the ruler-less city, one would have to untie the “Gordian Knot”: an enormous knot on an oxcart tied in a fashion wherein the ends of the rope were not visible, and therefore enabled to be untied.

(The myth is very similar to the one about Arthur and The Sword In The Stone in English Mythology, if that reference helps.)

So Alexander looked about the knot and found no way to untie it in a traditional sense and then, with suddenness and guile, draws his sword and hacks away at the knotted rope until it becomes “untied.”

Now the most popular interpretation of this mythical metaphor is that it should teach one to think “outside the box” as Alexander did even though he somewhat slighted the rules. In other words, Alexander got the job done in the usually glorious Alexander way and know one was about to argue.

Back to Afghanistan and the Gordian Knot mythology.

In 2001, when the U.S. Army invaded Afghanistan, we metaphorically looked at the Taliban-ruled Nation as a “knot”: It was very complex and seemed to remain tied despite thousands of years of attempted conquest by those characters such as the Russians and Alexander The Great…and they both failed.

But without thinking about it too hard and with extreme hubris we cut and hacked, and hacked and cut at the Afghanistan knot until it was left in pieces. But unlike the myth, those pieces that we hacked apart are now growing back together.

As we move to withdrawal from Afghanistan in late this year, we can metaphorically see the “knot” reassemble and reform. And one of these pieces mending back together is through the release of supposed terrorists right back into society.

So the lesson of Afghanistan know is we should have observed our knot much more than we did.

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Guantanamo Review Board

Guantanamo Prisoner ReviewsA good article in The Guardian on the press’s chance to witness the “president’s inmate review board” being held at Guantanamo Bay aiming to free certain prisoners seen as fit to release. But, as the article explains, the process remains cloudy when witness’s were led to see more revealed.

Read Here.

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Rising Islamic Groups Raise Concern in Syria

I have made no secret here that I fully support the liberation groups in Syria courageously trying to overthrow both pro-Assad forces and Hezbollah. But according to this article in The Guardian, Islamic-fundamentalist groups are on the rise and they cannot be funded by outside groups when they have links to Al-Quaida and other terrorist-affiliated groups.

Read Here.

“The chickens have come home to roost”

AP_kenya_mall_attack_jt_130922_16x9_992I was watching CNN today and was lucky enough to catch an interview with a couple, with the wife carrying their baby daughter, who were trapped in a mall store in Nairobi, Kenya, when the Al Shabaab terrorist forces broke in. They stated that the gunmen were shooting indiscriminately. But after both of the interviewed couple were injured (the woman was shot and the husband had shards of glass in his left eye) they tried to reason with the gunman who had shot them, standing outside of the mall store entrance.

The husband/father began to relate to the terrorist through the teachings of the Koran, for he was a Muslim also, through it’s preachings of peace and love for one another, Muslim or not. But it was a failed attempt. What the gunman replied to the husband/father was, “We don’t usually try to kill women in children, but they kill our women and children.” The talk then broke off. The couple was then able to escape with both their daughter and a good lesson for the citizens of the United States.

The lesson for the U.S. is that, and I hate vaunting cliches but, violence breeds violence. For years now the “drone war” has been operating in the Horn of Africa. And when you send a Hellfire missile into the town square of a small village at a just “suspected” terrorists, there are going to be many civilian deaths. That was what the Al Shabaab gunman was trying to explain to the injured couple.

It was true in Vietnam, Chechnya, and now in all corners of the Middle East: The “collateral damage” of the War on Terror just creates so bitterly consumed people that they see terrorism as the only way to express their anger and feelings of injustice.

Now I do not support violence in this fashion, which is so random and pointless, but I think I understand a little bit more after hearing from that couple on CNN.

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Greenwald: “I Don’t Support Terror”

Gleen_Greenwald-140A great op-ed by Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian that is a must read. He defends himself and others against accusations that they are terror apologists and how this point of view is just a ridiculous lack logic and a propagandist’s tactics.

You Must Read Here.

 

 

Effects of Gitmo Detention

father_in_gitmo-620x412A good article by Letta Tayler at Salon.com based around the story of a Yemeni family whose father is a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The man was determined to be a non-threat to the U.S. in 2006 and yet he sits in his cell only allowed a 30 minute webcam meeting once every 2 months with his family. The article also goes into a good amount of analysis regarding drone strikes and how they kill civilians which serves as a recruitment tool for terrorist groups.

Read Here.

Putin Labels Opposition Terrorists

In light of future international events in Russia that will draw tourist from around the world,  Vladimir Putin is asking for higher vigilance amongst security forces regarding terror groups. But Putin is also cracking down on any opposition to his regime by labeling opposition leaders and groups as terrorist organizations. Here is good article from the CSM that outline details as Putin makes a further move to the right.

Read Here.