Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Archive for the 'National security' Category

Jun 12th, 2016

Summary: Largest U.S. mass killings since 9/11 … After pledging allegiance to ISIS, Omar Saddiqui Mateen opened fire in Orlando’s gay Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people and wounding 53 in the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history before dying in a hail of police gunfire.

Jan 26th, 2011

Summary: While most Americans are focused on legitimate economic concerns, looming threats to our national security are building on the horizon, for example, the regrouping of al-Qaida to mount coordinated attacks on the United States — including Mumbai-style swarm attacks, Beslan-style school massacres, and other low-intensity, low-casualty (but panic-inducing) acts of terror with the potential to inflict serious damage on the U.S. economy. This week’s suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport is a tragedy that could just as easily happen in the United States. One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 26, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that a new report warned that al-Qaida had not abandoned its goal of attacking the United States with a chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapon and examined al-Qaida’s high-value target list for terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Jan 23rd, 2011

Summary: Tea Party-backed lawmakers are not exempting the military’s multibillion-dollar budget from spending cuts in a time of war. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 23, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that the death of two U.S. soldiers in southern Afghanistan brought to at least 22 the number of American service members killed January 2010, compared with only 14 for the whole of January 2009. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, militants ambushed Pakistani security forces at checkpoints in two regions close to the Afghan border, sparking gunbattles that left 22 insurgents and two troops dead.

Nov 28th, 2010

Summary: WikiLeaks’ cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders, and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 28, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that many soldiers and policy makers believe the conflict in Afghanistan may be harder and more intractable than the war in Iraq.

Oct 2nd, 2010

Summary: Responding to credible al-Qaida threats, the U.S. State Department is issuing a travel alert urging American citizens to be vigilant if they travel in Europe. Officials have not identified specific targets, but it’s likely terrorists might be considering Mumbai-style “swarm attacks.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Fearmonger-in-Chief — as though vying for the title of “World’s Greatest Exaggerator” — made the histrionic claim that by fall 2010 “someone’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back, and go home on the school bus that night … [with] Mom and Dad … never the wiser.”

Sep 22nd, 2010

Summary: As terror groups move away from planning complex 9/11-style attacks, involving months of planning and a large group of participants, it’s more difficult to detect and disrupt plots against the United States, according to three of the nation’s top counterterrorism officials. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 22, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and reported that Al-Qaida marked the 8th anniversary of 9/11 with a new 106-minute video predicting President Barack Obama’s downfall.

Sep 10th, 2010

Summary: Americans approach the 9/11 anniversary with a lower-than-usual sense that the country is safer today than it was before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2010, just 48 percent of Americans say the country is safer now than it was before the 9/11 attack, down from 62 percent two years ago to the lowest level in polling since 2003. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 10, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the Dump Bachmann blog, citing the Minnesota Independent’s coverage of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s visit to Virginia to support Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, reported that “Michele Bachmann’s political poison continues to taint other Republican politicians.”

Summary: Baitullah Mehsud, commander of the Pakistani Taliban until he was killed in a U.S. missile strike in August 2009, said in March last year his group was planning an attack on the White House that would “amaze” the world. In that regard, it’s notable that Osama bin Laden reportedly told 9/11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh that he preferred the White House over the Capitol as a target. Hence, it must be assumed that the White House is currently at the top of al-Qaida’s high-value target list. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 18, 2009, Aubrey Immelman considered how George W. Bush might restore his legacy upon leaving office in a climate where 98 percent of historians view his tenure as a failure and only 13 percent of Americans believe he helped solve the country’s problems.

Dec 12th, 2009

Summary: A spike in terrorism cases involving U.S. citizens is challenging long-held assumptions that Muslims in Europe are more susceptible to radicalization than their better-assimilated counterparts in the United States. According to several U.S. and international terrorism analysts, immigration trends, the global spread of a militant Islamism, and controversial actions by the United States and its allies since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks increase the chances that U.S. Muslims could carry out a domestic attack. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 12, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee found that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He also reported that a suicide bomber struck a crowded restaurant near the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk where Kurdish officials were meeting with Arab tribal leaders, killing at least 55 people and wounding about 120 in the deadliest attack in Iraq in nearly six months.

Feb 13th, 2009

Summary: The economic crisis has trumped bullets and bombs in the intelligence agencies’ latest assessment of threats to the United States. Sounding more like an economist than the war-fighting Navy commander he once was, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told a Senate panel that if the economic crisis lasts more than two years, it could cause some nations’ governments to collapse. “The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the greater the likelihood of serious damage to U.S. strategic interests,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee, as Congress prepares to vote on a $789 billion stimulus package.