American Resistance To Empire

Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Stop Homegrown Terrorism is Terrifying

The Democratic nominee says she’ll surge intelligence to prevent threats before they happen,

but that’s only possible in dystopian scifi novels.’

John Knefel

After 9/11, a new imperative took hold in law enforcement agencies across the country: it wasn’t enough to arrest and prosecute terrorists after an attack — the attack itself had to be prevented.

In pop culture, this mindset is often presented as an example of hubristic overreach by governments or people with authoritarian leanings. In Captain America: Winter Soldier, for instance, Nick Fury tells Cap about a new initiative to prevent attacks before they occur.

“The satellites can read a terrorist’s DNA before he steps outside his spider hole,” says Fury. “We’re gonna neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen.”

“I thought the punishment usually came after the crime,” responds Cap.

“We can’t afford to wait that long,” says Fury.

In the movie, the program to kill millions of people based on an algorithm in the hopes of saving billions turns out to be a terrible idea. It’s just one of dozens of fictional examples of how the illusion of perfect security distorts society by introducing impossible standards of safety at the expense of personal and social freedom.

Probably the most famous example of punishment before the crime is Minority Report, the Phillip K Dick story-turned-movie (and one-season-and-done season television series. In that universe, people are arrested for “pre-crime,” that is, crime that the government has determined they are about to commit but haven’t yet carried out. The turn comes — spoiler alert — when an agent tasked with enforcing pre-crime arrests becomes the target of the system – wrongly, at least from his point of view.

The obvious lesson here is that although the promise of total safety can be alluring, the unintended consequences can be far reaching and disastrous.

Enter Hillary Clinton. (It should go without saying that Donald Trump is worse on this issue than Clinton, though this article will focus on her recent comments.)

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of the national security team receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama later announced that the United States had killed Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of the national security team receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama later announced that the United States had killed Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

On Thursday, Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for President. In her speech, she made the following promises.

“I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS,” she said. “We will strike their sanctuaries from the air and support local forces taking them out on the ground.” Nothing controversial there.

Then, she stepped into the future. “We will surge our intelligence so we detect and prevent attacks before they happen,” she said.

Again, this philosophy, called “prevent” in law enforcement circles, isn’t new or unique to Clinton. It became a major FBI priority after 9/11, and was the theoretical foundation of some of the worst NYPD abuses that targeted Muslims all over the East Coast.

In the Obama administration, the catchphrase “Countering Violent Extremism” has become ubiquitous, and shares a lot with the “prevent” approach to policing. In a recent article in Psychology Today, J Wesley Boyd offered a harsh critique of CVE, drawing parallels between the administration’s current approach and COINTELPRO, considered a period of large-scale abuse by the FBI in the 1960s and early ‘70s.

“Currently, the FBI, in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and other government agencies, is again launching programs that are at best doomed — and at worst designed — to disrupt the Muslim communities in cities where they are launched,” Boyd writes.

“Under the umbrella term Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) the programs include attempts, with no basis in evidence, to predict who might some day become violent due to a passionate investment in a cause,” Boyd continues. “In the absence of evidence, the agencies are now asking people close to young Muslims to report to law enforcement, including local and federal enforcement agencies, on kids who they just think (note, without any knowledge of what the actual signs are) might be on a path towards extremism.”

Boyd’s critique of CVE can be equally applied to Clinton’s proposal of promising to “surge our intelligence” under the pretext of preventing future attacks. Determining who will engage in political violence is notoriously difficult, and relying on indicators like political speech and presumed thought patterns is both unconstitutional and unreliable.

Muslims say prayer during the 'Islam on Capitol Hill 2009' event at the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol September 25, 2009 in Washington, DC. Thousands of Muslims gathered for the event to promote the diversity of Islam.

Muslims say prayer during the ‘Islam on Capitol Hill 2009’ event at the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol September 25, 2009 in Washington, DC. Thousands of Muslims gathered for the event to promote the diversity of Islam.

A better approach involves attempts to minimize violence throughout society, whether based on political beliefs, misogyny, racism, or any other structure of oppression. Specifically focusing on Muslim youth, and the violence a small percentage may or may not commit, is both morally repugnant and tactically counterproductive. Similarly, it is tragedy that Muslims are talked about in mainstream discourse primarily as “the best” people to report threats before they happen, as though Islam is little more than a counterterrorism tool. Even well-intentioned attempts to frame Islam as a religion of peace often fall into a bigoted framework that accepts violence committed by Muslims as a unique and existential threat to the United States.

With her most recent comments, Clinton has shown that she will continue to focus intelligence and law enforcement resources disproportionately on Muslims, while offering a nominally inclusive broader message. That is a mistake, both morally and tactically.

No one, not the FBI or the CIA or the NSA, have a crystal ball they can look in to determine who will engage in political violence. Neither do psychologists. “We do not read minds, and we know that none of us can predict the future,” concludes Boyd.

Captain America knew it. Hillary Clinton should know it too.

Photos via Getty Images / The White House, Getty Images / Alex Wong, Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

John Knefel is a freelance journalist covering national security and civil liberties. He is the co-host of Radio Dispatch, a daily political podcast.

Actress/Activist Susan Sarandon Calls Hillary More Dangerous Than Trump

– The Washington Times

Hollywood actress and activist Susan Sarandon says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be a more dangerous U.S. president than Donald Trump — provided she’s not indicted first.

Ms. Sarandon, a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, told a liberal news outlets this week that Mrs. Clinton’s track record portends a much worse future than anything Mr. Trump might catalyze as commander in chief.

“I believe in a way she is more dangerous,” the actress told The Young Turks on Thursday. “They’re both talking to Henry Kissinger, apparently. … She did not learn from Iraq, and she is an interventionist, and she has done horrible things — and very callously. I don’t know if she is overcompensating or what her trip is. That scares me. I think we’ll be in Iran in two seconds.”

The former “Thelma and Louise” star said voters are being “fed” a message that Mr. Trump is “so dangerous” when his promises on illegal immigration amount to a wall being built.

“I don’t know what his policy is. I do know what her policies are, I do know who she is taking money from. I do know that she is not transparent, and I do know that nobody calls her on it,” the Oscar-winning actress continued.

The activist also appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and predicted Mrs. Clinton would be indicted by the Department of Justice for the secret email server she operated out of her New York home as President Obama’s top diplomat.

“There’s going to be [an indictment]. I mean, it’s inevitable,” Ms. Sarandon said, Salon reported Friday.

The State Department’s inspector general released a report last week saying the Democrat front-runner violated policies on storing official records and did not cooperate with its investigation.

Mrs. Clinton maintains that she did nothing illegal.

US Provides Evidence Against Pakistan In India’s Pathankot Probe

US dossier bares Pakistan’s role in Pathankot terror attack

times of india


A file photo of NSG commandos guarding IAF base at Pathankot.
A file photo of NSG commandos guarding IAF base at Pathankot.
NEW DELHI: In a boost to India’s probe against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed handlers in the attack on the Pathankot IAF base, the US has handed over evidence, comprising over 1,000 pages of chats and conversations between handler Kashif Jaan and the four fidayeen who were eventually killed, to the NIA.

The conversations, as in the case of the Lashkar bosses who scripted the carnage in Mumbai in 2008 from a safe house in Karachi, make it clear that the terror strike on Pathankot was micro-managed from Pakistan.

The four fidayeen of JeM, identified as Nasir Hussain from Punjab, Abu Bakar from Gujranwala and Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum from Sindh, were in regular touch with their handlers in Pakistan during the 80-hour attack.

Sources told TOI that the documents also include Kashif Jaan’s conversations with other Pakistan-based JeM office-bearers apart from other exchanges over a period of time. NIA officials are analysing the documents.

The investigations reveal that apart from chats on WhatsApp and other platforms, Jaan was using a Facebook account connected to the same mobile number which the attackers called from Pathankot after abducting Punjab police SP Salwinder Singh.

The terrorists had also called another number in Pakistan connected to a Facebook account of ‘Mulla Daadullah’. These accounts, operated by Jaan, were accessed before and around the time of the attack using IP addresses of telecom firms based in Pakistan (Telenor and Pakistan TeleCommunications Company Ltd, Islamabad).

These Facebook pages also contained jihadi material and videos and comments condemning arrest of Jaish cadres in Pakistan by authorities there. The terrorists had also called numbers connected to Al-Rahmat Trust – JeM’s financial arm – for which technical details were sought from the US.

Great!! But what to do with these evidences.. Is there going to be an action..!!Times Reader

The NIA had approached the US to provide details of these accounts and chats, which have been shared in full, said sources. TOI is not reporting the mobile numbers used by terrorists in India and Pakistan as these are a matter of investigation.

The proof shared by the US through MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty) will strengthen India’s case ahead of home minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Islamabad next week for the Saarc interior ministers’ and home ministers’ conference. It can also help in India renewing its plea that the UNSC sanction Masood Azar as a terrorist.

Nusra remains a target for US and Russia

Despite breaking ties with al-Qaeda, Syria’s Nusra remains a target for US and Russia

Despite breaking ties with al-Qaeda, Syria’s Nusra remains a target for US and Russia

Militants of Nusra Front, Syria’s Qaeda branch. File photo

The head of Al-Nusra Front in Syria said his militant group was breaking ties with Al-Qaeda and changing its name.

Abu Mohamad al-Jolani said Al-Nusra would change its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and expressed his gratitude to the “commanders of Al-Qaeda for having understood the need to break ties.”

The US State Department said on Thursday that Nusra Front militants remained a fair target for US and Russian warplanes in Syria despite a decision to cut ties with al-Qaeda and change its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the Nusra Front’s announcement could simply be a rebranding exercise and the United States would judge it by its actions, goals and ideology.

Kirby also said the Russian and Syrian humanitarian exercise around Aleppo on Thursday appeared to actually be an attempt to force the evacuation of civilians and the surrender of militant groups.

Meanwhile, Jolani made the statement after Al-Qaeda told its Syrian branch, the Nusra Front, that it could break organizational ties with global militant organization to preserve its unity and continue its battle in Syria, in an audio statement released on Thursday.

“You can sacrifice without hesitation these organizational and party ties if they conflict with your unity and working as one body,” al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said in an audio statement directed to the Nusra Front.

“The brotherhood of Islam among us is stronger than any organizational affiliation … Your unity and unification is more important to us than any organizational link.”

Listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, Nusra Front was excluded from Syria’s February cessation of hostilities truce and Russia and the United States are also discussing closer coordination to target the group.

Speaking before Thursday’s announcement, Charles Lister, an expert with the Middle East Institute, said that while Syria’s opposition has always demanded Nusra leave al Qaeda, Western powers are unlikely to change their assessment of the group.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed closer cooperation with Russia against Nusra Front, including sharing intelligence to coordinate air strikes against its forces.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a research fellow at US think tank Middle East Forum, said a formal break with al-Qaeda and the possible formation of a new coalition of fighters with al-Qaeda’s blessing “arguably represents the worst outcome from the US perspective”.

He said it would make “targeting of terrorist figures much more difficult as they will be ever more deeply embedded in the wider insurgency”.

A larger coalition between the Nusra Front and other groups “would then quickly and easily dismantle many of the US-backed groups among the Syrian rebels in the north”, he wrote.

Nusra Front was set up shortly after the uprising against Assad broke out in 2011. Originally supported by ISIS, which controls swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, it split from the hardline group in 2013.

It has been sanctioned by the UN Security Council, although in many parts of Syria it frequently fights on the same side as mainstream groups favored by Washington and its Arab allies.

Rebels fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army have denied direct coordination with Nusra, which has also fought and crushed several Western-backed rebel groups.

After lying low in the early days of the February truce, Nusra has re-emerged on the battlefield as diplomacy has unraveled, spearheading recent attacks on pro-government Iranian militias near Aleppo, Nusra commanders and other rebels say.

Proposals to distance Nusra from al-Qaeda have been floated before. Last year, sources told Reuters that the group’s leaders considered cutting ties with al Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf Arab states seeking to topple Assad but which are also hostile to ISIS.

Computers will require more energy than the human race can generate by 2040

[This is the ultimate price for putting the entire world online.  The world’s dominant culture is pushing the rest of the world to join the cyber-revolution, where everybody has their own i-pod, their own Internet hook-up, even their own email address.  This path may lead to ultimate disaster, even before the first AI has the opportunity to tamper with the deep defects apparent in human society, whatever the cost in human lives.  Using these tools, mankind has accelerated and altered his own fate, as if networking and computing has accelerated the flow of history itself.   The technology which we have created to serve us will one day either force the human race to evolve, or it will become the instrument of our destruction, as a civilization.]

computersComputers will require more energy than the world generates by 2040

science alert

Moore’s Law is about to hit a wall.


Scientists have predicted that unless radical improvements are made in the way we design computers, by 2040, computer chips will need more electricity than what our global energy production can deliver.

The projection could mean that our ability to keep pace with Moore’s Law – the idea that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years – is about to slide out of our grasp.

The prediction about computer chips outpacing electricity demand was originally contained in a report released late last year by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), but it’s hit the spotlight now, due to the group issuing its final roadmap assessment on the outlook for the semiconductor industry.

The basic idea is, that as computer chips become ever more powerful thanks to their greater transistor counts, they’ll need to suck more power in order to function (unless efficiency improves).

Semiconductor manufacturers can counter this power draw by clever engineering, but the SIA says there’s a limit to how far this goes in current methods.

“Industry’s ability to follow Moore’s Law has led to smaller transistors but greater power density and associated thermal management issues,” the 2015 report explains.

“More transistors per chip mean more interconnects – leading-edge microprocessors can have several kilometres of total interconnect length. But as interconnects shrink they become more inefficient.”

In the long run, the SIA calculates that, at the rate things are going using today’s approaches to chip engineering, “computing will not be sustainable by 2040, when the energy required for computing will exceed the estimated world’s energy production”.

You can see the problem graphed in the image below, with the power draw of today’s mainstream systems – the benchmark line, represented in orange – eclipsing the world’s projected energy production sometime between 2035 and 2040.

These days, chip engineers stack ever-smaller transistors in three dimensions in order to improve performance and keep pace with Moore’s Law, but the SIA says that approach won’t work forever, given how much energy will be lost in future, progressively denser chips.


“Conventional approaches are running into physical limits. Reducing the ‘energy cost’ of managing data on-chip requires coordinated research in new materials, devices, and architectures,” the SIA states.

“This new technology and architecture needs to be several orders of magnitude more energy efficient than best current estimates for mainstream digital semiconductor technology if energy consumption is to be prevented from following an explosive growth curve.”

The challenge then is well and truly on for today’s computer engineers and scientist, with the SIA’s new roadmap report also advising that, beyond 2020, it will become economically unviable to improve chip performance by traditional scaling methods, such as shrinking transistors.

It’s a huge ask, but the next leaps in computing efficiency and research might need to come then from areas not strictly related to transistor counts – and hopefully the spirit, if not the specifics, of Moore’s Law continues in the coming decades.

“That wall really started to crumble in 2005, and since that time we’ve been getting more transistors but they’re really not all that much better,” computer engineer Thomas Conte from Georgia Tech told Rachel Courtland at IEEE Spectrum.

“This isn’t saying this is the end of Moore’s Law. It’s stepping back and saying what really matters here – and what really matters here is computing.”