No, Rudy Giuliani Did Not “Forget 9/11.” He Messed Something Else Up, Though.

Jeremy Stahl, Slate:

Rudy Giuliani got a lot of grief on Monday for having supposedly forgotten about the Sept. 11 attacks that took place when he was mayor of New York City and formed a not insignificant portion of the basis for his national political career.

During a speech introducing Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee Mike Pence in Youngstown, Ohio, Giuliani said: “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when [Hillary] Clinton and Obama got into office.”

This led to some hyperventilating on Twitter from outlets saying that Giuliani was ignoring 9/11 (something Giuliani is normally not accused of doing).

This whole story has been a series of embarrassments. Several media outlets, including CNN, inaccurately reported that Giuliani said the US had never been attacked by Islamic fanatics before Obama, which would be an absurd thing to say. But Giuliani doesn’t seem to have said that.

What Giuliani seems to have actually said was that the US wasn’t successfully attacked in eight years prior to Obama taking office. Which is technically untrue — 9/11 was about eight months short of eight years.

But the real problem is that Giuliani is promulgating the bullshit Republican narrative, also promoted by Jeb Bush during the primary, that somehow 9/11 doesn’t count against Bush or the Republicans, while the attacks on American soil since 9/11 completely discredit Obama and the Democrats.

Muslims fighting terrorism for the CIA

As the nation debates the place of Islam, the CIA’s Muslim officers fight terrorism [MIssy Ryan/The Washington Post]

Muslim Americans working for the CIA face pressure from their communities, which associate the CIA with torture and drone killings.

Also, this, unrelated to the main point of the article: The CIA held a gingerbread competition for its staff, and one “someone did a version of Osama bin Laden’s compound.”

[Missy Ryan/The Washington Post]

Gun rights 

A week after Orlando, Republicans protect terrorists’ right to bear arms

I can’t side with the Democrats on this one. The Second Amendment is a bad idea. But the terrorist watch list has many false positives — people on the list who aren’t terrorists. Rights should not be denied to American citizens or visitors without due process, even if those are rights people shouldn’t have in the first place.

Some mechanism to set up an expedited court order would be a better way to go.

[Dana Milbank/The Washington Post]

How a US civil war could start in the fall. Blame direct marketing.

Disruptive Robocalling

John Robb says attackers would just need to use robodialers to phone in terrorism threats to heavily partisan electoral districts. The candidate for the other side wins the White House in a landslide. The losing candidate’s supporters take to the streets. Rioting, bloodshed, dogs and cats living together.

Possible because the direct marketing and debt collections industry has made sure the phone system is easy to hack.

Flying while Greek

My friend Ruth Bazinet relates the disturbing story of a friend of hers who was detained by security at Phoenix airport and verbally abused by American Airlines staff. The woman’s crime? Looking foreign and speaking Greek on a phone call to her father.

 

 

Debunking prejudice

U.S. officials say American Muslims do report extremist threats

While Donald Trump claims Muslim Americans don’t report terror threats, that’s not just true, says FBI Director James Comey, an FBI spokesman,  the anti-terrorism head of the LAPD, and a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who has done studies on Muslim-Americans and terrorism.

A January 2016 study co-authored by the professor, Charles Kurzman, found law enforcement agencies are building bridges to Muslim-American communities:

But the study also found some tensions. In one focus group described in the study, Muslim-American participants debated when to report activity when they were unsure how to detect imminent violence.

“The group participants expressed concern that police would be more likely to encourage a plot in order to make an arrest,” the authors wrote, “rather than to divert people onto a nonviolent path that community members and family members would prefer.”

One imam interviewed for the project told researchers he felt that his “trust is not being reciprocated” by U.S. government officials.

The imam told the researchers that after he attended a meeting with federal law enforcement officials designed to increase cooperation, he went to the local airport, was held for hours at security and missed his flight, the study said.

A Reuters review of court records also produced examples of Muslim-Americans informing law enforcement of possible radicalization within their families.

[Kristina Cooke and Joseph Ax/The Washington Post]

So far away

The Middle of Nowhere – This American Life

Stories from faraway, hard-to-get-to places, where all rules are off, nefarious things happen because no one’s looking, and there’s no one to appeal to.

One segment looks at the tiny, remote island of Nauru:

Nauru is a tiny island, population 12,000, a third of the size of Manhattan and far from anywhere, yet at the center of several of the decade’s biggest global events … the bankrupting of the Russian economy, global terrorism, North Korean defectors, the end of the world, and the late 1980s theatrical flop of a London musical based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci called Leonardo, A Portrait of Love.

At the time this segment aired in 2003, the island, once a tropical paradise, had been strip-mined for phosphates, made home to hundreds of terrorism refugees living in camps worse than Guantanamo Bay.

Wikipedia has more.

Nauru has as terrible history of Western imperialism, in which America is complicit.

FBI Drops iPhone Case Against Apple After Outside Hack Succeeds

The Justice Department asked a federal judge in California court to vacate its petition to force Apple to help it hack the phone. “The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court’s Order,” the filing reads.

The filing doesn’t elaborate on the method used, nor does it hint at any of the information revealed. What it means is that the FBI has achieved a method to access the data stored on the phone, circumventing its security features.

While this case is now moot, there “may well be similar conflicts down the road,” a Justice Department spokeswoman says.

FBI Drops iPhone Case Against Apple After Outside Hack Succeeds [Arik Hesseldahl – re/code]

Ted Cruz’s national security advisor is a crazy Islamophobic conspiracy theorist

Frank Gaffney thinks US officials have submitted to Sharia law and the redesigned logo of the Missile Defense Agency “appears to ominously reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo.”

[Think Trump’s an Islamophobe? Meet Ted Cruz’s national security adviser | Haroon Moghul | The Guardian]

I feel safer already!

Self-described TSA employee: “You don’t have shit for rights. If you don’t like it shut the fuck up.”

A woman named Rebecca Hains expressed skepticism on Facebook about the TSA’s effectiveness, and a self-described TSA employee excoriated her for speaking out.

Hains was previously famous because the TSA confiscated a cupcake from her because it was a potential security threat. I am not making this up.

“Harrowing”

image

“Harrowing” tweets show what life is like in Gaza under Israeli bombing

What does it feel like to be in Gaza right now, under ever-looming threat of bombardment from above? Mohammed Suliman, a resident of Gaza City who identifies himself on his blog as a 22-year-old graduate student, has been tweeting, often poignantly, of the experience.