The Heartland Institute is a fossil fuel-funded think tank that gained notoriety in May 2012 for launching an ad campaign comparing those who agree that humans are causing global warming (that’s 97% of climate scientists and the majority of the rest of us) to the Unabomber and Osama bin Laden.
Heartland also funds a report written by a group calling themselves the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), which tries to be the contrarian response to the IPCC. The NIPCC report itself is BS (Bad Science), repeating numerous long-debunked climate myths and cherry picking data.
However, a branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently decided to translate the NIPCC report. The Heartland Institute has triumphantly trumpeted this as evidence that the Chinese are becoming “skeptics” and the climate consensus is crumbling, claiming for example,
“The trend toward skepticism and away from alarmism is now unmistakable,”
“Publication of a Chinese translation of Climate Change Reconsidered by the Chinese Academy of Sciences indicates the country’s leaders believe their [failure to sign a global climate treaty] is justified by science and not just economics.”
Ari’s double reverse Godwin gains low scores from the judges.
A former Bush White House official on Thursday made the case that Nazi Germany had adhered to the laws of war during World War II when defending the Bush administration’s decision to open the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects.
Nearly 60 percent of the detainees at Guantanamo are currently on hunger strike, in what experts and their lawyers say is a protest against their indefinite incarceration there. Amid the crisis, President Obama announced this week that he will renew his administration’s efforts to close the prison.
The events sparked a debate on CNN last night, prompting former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to defend his former boss’s decision to open Gitmo to begin with. “We have it because these people did not even follow the law of war, let alone the rule of war,” he said, adding, “These people didn’t even wear a military uniform. They engaged in battle against America as terrorists, a violation of the laws of war. That’s why Guantanamo got invented.”
But most legal experts say detention practices at Gitmo violate international law.
“This country fought Adolf Hitler. And I don’t really believe that Osama bin Laden and his group are worse or more dangerous than Adolf Hitler,” CNN legal expert Jeffery Toobin countered Fleischer, adding, “We managed to defeat Adolf Hitler by following the rule of law.”
Backed in a corner, Fleischer then went a bit off the rail:
FLEISCHER: They [the Germans] followed the law of war. They wore uniforms and they fought us on battlefields. These people are fundamentally, totally by design different. And they need to be treated in a different extrajudicial system.
For example, while it has been known for some time that people who believe in one conspiracy theory are also likely to believe in other conspiracy theories, we would expect contradictory conspiracy theories to be negatively correlated. Yet, this is not what psychologists Micheal Wood, Karen Douglas and Robbie Suton found in a recent study. Instead, the research team, based at the University of Kent in England, found that many participants believed in contradictory conspiracy theories. For example, the conspiracy-belief that Osama Bin Laden is still alive was positively correlated with the conspiracy-belief that he was already dead before the military raid took place. This makes little sense, logically: Bin Laden cannot be both dead and alive at the same time. An important conclusion that the authors draw from their analysis is that people don’t tend to believe in a conspiracy theory because of the specifics, but rather because of higher-order beliefs that support conspiracy-like thinking more generally. A popular example of such higher-order beliefs is a severe “distrust of authority.” The authors go on to suggest that conspiracism is therefore not just about belief in an individual theory, but rather an ideological lens through which we view the world.
Edited to add (emphasis below mine):
Interestingly, belief in conspiracy theories has recently been linked to the rejection of science. In a paper published in Psychological Science, Stephen Lewandowsky and colleagues investigated the relation between acceptance of science and conspiricist thinking patterns. While the authors’ survey was not representative of the general population, results suggest that (controlling for other important factors) belief in multiple conspiracy theories significantly predicted the rejection of important scientific conclusions, such as climate science or the fact that smoking causes lung cancer. Yet, rejection of scientific principles is not the only possible consequence of widespread belief in conspiracy theories. Another recent study indicates that receiving positive information about or even being merely exposed to conspiracy theories can lead people to become disengaged from important political and societal topics. For example, in their study, Daniel Jolley and Karen Douglas clearly show that participants who received information that supported the idea that global warming is a hoax were less willing to engage politically and also less willing to implement individual behavioral changes such as reducing their carbon footprint.
I’m thinking this latter bit explains how the TPGOP is starting to implode.
If it wasn’t for gerrymandering, I suspect 2014 would be the first nail in its coffin.
Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiring to kill Americans. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith appeared in federal court in New York City, just blocks from where the twin towers crumbled.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was one of a number of key aides and family members of Osama bin Laden who has spent most of the last decade living in Iran largely under house arrest. Weeks ago, Abu Ghaith managed to get out of Iran, and cross the border into Turkey.
The CIA’s Bin Laden group was able to track Abu Ghaith’s movements to a luxury hotel in downtown Ankara. Abu Ghaith hoped to get help from the al Qaeda network to move to another country, but the CIA was working with the MIT, Turkey’s national intelligence service, and they arrested Abu Ghaith a month ago.
FORT MEADE, Md., Feb. 27 (UPI) — Defense attorneys at the WikiLeaks trial of U.S Army Pfc. Bradley Manning have asked a military judge to block emails found on Osama bin Laden’s hard drives.
The prosecution wants to use the emails found at the bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence that Manning “aided the enemy,” a charge that carries a potential life sentence, Courthouse News Service reported.
…Prosecutors said they want to call nine witnesses to testify to the chain of custody from bin Laden’s hard drive to an FBI agent to a Quantico, Va., laboratory for forensic analysis.
Those emails have not been made public, and the defense is expected to challenge their authenticity.
Defense attorney David Coombs said the government must prove that Manning knew that the files he reportedly leaked could potentially have fallen into the hands of an “enemy.”
So in Manning’s mind it OK to steal and leak sensitive documents to WikiLeaks but when it comes to the govt prosecution bringing out emails from OBL he’s all against it.
No matter how you look at it this is a heart breaking story about one of our bravest.
WASHINGTON (CBSDC)— The Navy SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden is not getting health care or an income from the federal government.
The Shooter tells Esquire magazine that when he retired from the SEALs last September, he and his family lost health care coverage.
“I left SEALs on Friday,” he told Esquire. “My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You’re out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your 16 years. Go f*** yourself.”
Since the Shooter left before 20 years, he currently gets no income from the military or pension.
“He gave so much to his country, and now it seems he’s left in the dust. I feel there’s no support, not just for my family but for other families in the community,” the Shooter’s wife explained to Esquire. “I honestly have nobody I can go to or talk to. Nor do I feel my husband has gotten much for what he’s accomplished in his career.”
The two are separated but still live in the same house with their kids due to financial reasons.
The Shooter discussed with Esquire the witness-protection-like program the Defense Department would set him up with should his name ever get out.
“They [SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee,” he said. “”We’d lose everything.”
In case there is some type of retaliatory attack against him for bin Laden’s death, he taught his children to hide in a bathroom in the most fortified part of their house.
“[M]y family is always going to be at risk. It’s just a matter of finding coping strategies,” the Shooter’s wife explained.
Writing for The Nation, Peter Weiss comments on the new debate about whether the role of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (better, and more accurately known as torture) played any role in the assassination of Osama bin Laden:
Many seem to agree that it (Zero Dark Thirty) is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. But beyond that, the torture scenes shown in grisly detail at the beginning of the film have led to sharply divided opinions. Was the information about bin Laden’s whereabouts obtained through torture? If not, as Leon Panetta affirmed when he was head of the CIA and as Senator Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, insisted in a letter of protest to Sony Pictures, why did the filmmakers go out of their way to portray the contrary? What did Katherine Bigelow, the film’s director, have in mind when she said she didn’t have an agenda and wasn’t judging? How can one not judge torture—what is there to be neutral about?
After more or less eliminating torture at the beginning of President Obama’s first term, though, not incidentally shirking the duty to hold the torturers and those who authorized and encouraged torture accountable, we are now back to a grand debate over whether torture ‘works.’ At PO Box 1142, where we obtained a great deal of information useful for the war effort from German prisoners, many of whom were Nazi sympathizers, even members of the Nazi party, this question never came up. It was not part of the culture. That torture was not to be used was a self-evident proposition. There were, of course, psychological techniques that interrogators used to extract information. They included the establishment of human relationships between interviewer and interviewee, which was no easy matter when one was a Jew and the other a German, but personal feelings had to be suppressed for the sake of obtaining results. To the best of my knowledge, no one ever laid a hand on any of the German detainees.
The emphasis in the first quoted paragraph is mine, because torture played no role whatsoever in extracting the information that led to the assassination of bin Laden:
Filling in the Gaps
Years before the Sept. 11 attacks transformed Bin Laden into the world’s most feared terrorist, the C.I.A. had begun compiling a detailed dossier about the major players inside his global terror network.
It wasn’t until after 2002, when the agency began rounding up Qaeda operatives — and subjecting them to hours of brutal interrogation sessions in secret overseas prisons — that they finally began filling in the gaps about the foot soldiers, couriers and money men Bin Laden relied on.
Prisoners in American custody told stories of a trusted courier. When the Americans ran the man’s pseudonym past two top-level detainees — the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed; and Al Qaeda’s operational chief, Abu Faraj al-Libi — the men claimed never to have heard his name. That raised suspicions among interrogators that the two detainees were lying and that the courier probably was an important figure.
As the hunt for Bin Laden continued, the spy agency was being buffeted on other fronts: the botched intelligence assessments about weapons of mass destruction leading up to the Iraq War, and the intense criticism for using waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods that critics said amounted to torture.
Once again, the emphasis is mine. Read the whole Times article for the complete story.
What was once the exclusive domain of highly trained, elite forces- insertion into hostile territory, locating the bad guys and eliminating the threats they posed is receding. To a large degree unmanned drones have replaced these highly trained and ever ready special force units. Not always and not entirely- going after bin Laden was clearly a necessary boots on the ground operation, Still, recent drone successes in eliminating threats while keeping personnel risks to a minimum have insure drones are here to stay.
So where do that leave special operations forces? What will be their role in the future? In truth, there will always be a need for human forces. While drones can kill and take pictures and videos they are not a replacement for intelligence and on the ground analysis. As our enemies respond to the use of drones you can be sure they will use deception in attempt to fool the camera.
We will always have a need to communicate with people- and that may be the most critical aspect of what special forces assets do in the future. People- human assets- are essential to success on the battlefield and beyond.
Special forces may very well be the best ambassadors we have in a conflict or potential conflict. People cannot really relate to or bond with remote technology. Drones cannot inspire confidence and courage in oppressed people. Technology cannot explain or even show others what it means to be free and technology cannot comfort those who are terrified. Only other people can do that. Special forces will evolve and will always be needed- the front line forces we can and should be proud of.
Over the past decade, the United States’ military and the country’s national security strategy have come to rely on special operations to an unprecedented degree. As identifying and neutralizing terrorists and insurgents has become one of the Pentagon’s most crucial tasks, special operations forces have honed their ability to conduct manhunts, adopting a new targeting system known as “find, fix, finish, exploit, analyze, and disseminate.” They have adopted a flatter organizational structure and collaborated more closely with intelligence agencies, allowing special operations to move at “the speed of war,” in the words of the retired army general Stanley McChrystal, the chief architect of the contemporary U.S. approach to counterterrorism.
Implementing McChrystal’s vision has been costly. Spending on sophisticated communications, stealth helicopters, and intelligence technology; building several high-tech special operations headquarters; and transforming a C-130 cargo plane into a state-of-the-art flying hospital have consumed a large (and classified) portion of the total special operations budget, which has increased from $2.3 billion in 2001 to $10.5 billion in 2012. The investment has paid clear dividends, however, most dramatically in May 2011, when U.S. Navy SEALs, operating in coordination with the CIA, raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden.
The target and location of that raid made it exceptional. But similar operations, which in earlier eras would have been considered extraordinary, have become commonplace: during the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. special operations units sometimes conducted as many as 14 raids a night, with each successive raid made possible by intelligence scooped up during the previous one and then rapidly processed. When decision-makers deem raids too risky or politically untenable, they sometimes opt for strikes by armed drones, another form of what special operators refer to as “the direct approach.” (The CIA conducts the majority of drone strikes, but special operations forces are also authorized to employ them in specific cases, including on the battlefields of Afghanistan.)
A month after the bitterly fought election, President Barack Obama has his highest approval ratings since the killing of Osama bin Laden, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll, and more Americans say the nation is heading in the right direction now than at any time since the start of his first term.
Obama’s approval rating stands at 57 percent, the highest since May 2011, when U.S. Navy SEALs killed the terror leader, and up 5 percentage points from before the election. And 42 percent say the country is on the right track, up from 35 percent in January 2009.
A majority think it’s likely that the president will be able to improve the economy in his second term.