News from North America, Monday 3rd June 2013

Daily Telegraph: “More than three years after the anti-secrecy website began publishing a trove of classified US government documents, Private First Class Bradley Manning will appear for the start of his long-delayed court martial.

The 25-year-old soldier faces life imprisonment if military prosecutors successfully argue that the largest intelligence leak in American history also aided al-Qaeda’s efforts to wage jihad.

Prosecutors are expected to call a US Navy Seal who took part in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound as they try to prove that the terror leader made use of the leaked documents.”

The Guardian: “The head of a US congressional delegation said on Sunday that its meetings in Russia had shown there was ‘nothing specific’ that could have helped prevent April’s Boston Marathon bombings, but that the two countries needed to work more closely on joint security threats.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who led the six-person delegation, said discussions with Russian parliament members and security officials had been productive. Some of the meetings, he said, had been made possible by actor Steven Seagal.”

Huffington Post: “The military leader of al-Qaida’s Yemeni branch says Americans will not be safe unless their leaders respect the security of other nations and do not attack or oppress them.

In a message addressed ‘to the American nation,’ Qassim al-Rimi, commander of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, said: ‘your security is not achieved by despoiling other nations’ security or by attacking and oppressing them.”

The six-minute English-subtitled audio, posted on a militant website late Saturday, implored Americans to ‘leave us with our religion, land and nations and mind your own internal affairs.’”

Sky News: “American Islamist militants jailed for threatening violence over the internet are still posting political writings on the web from prison.”

Jesse Curtis Morton, a Muslim convert, was jailed for threatening the writers of the satirical television show ‘South Park’ for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a bear outfit.

Writing under the name Younus Abdullah Muhammed, he managed to post a lengthy tract opposing US drone policy on May 21 on a website he launched in 2010. He argued the policy had encouraged homegrown Islamist extremism.

Comment: START: ‘Discussion Point: Counterterrorism Strategies and Democracy: Lessons for the US from the (Unfortunate) Example of Turkey’ by Nil Satana. “The United States has not faced large-scale terrorist campaigns at home following the 9/11 attacks. And it is dealing with global terrorism and not ethno-nationalist separatism. Nevertheless, the approach used has centered on the military and shares other similarities to the Turkish case. Should we expect a similar decline in the quality of American democracy?

The 9/11 attacks were presented as an existential threat to the nation, and shortly after, the counterterrorism response was framed as ‘War on Terror’ by President George W. Bush. After twelve years of war and the increasing use of drone strikes, little has changed except for the lost lives of thousands of American soldiers resulting in withdrawal from Iraq (Romano 2011). From my Turkish perspective, it looks like the American society has started internalizing the military approach of the War on Terror. We have seen this gradually happening in our war against the PKK. Indeed, Richard Kohn (2005) argues that the global war on terror ‘brings back the problem of militarization and the threat of militarism’ to the American society.”

Comment: LA Times:‘Tea party’ tempest brewing” by Doyle McManus. “The ‘tea party’ is back and is brewing trouble for the Republican establishment.

After the GOP debacle in the 2012 election, when Republicans not only failed to win the presidency but blew a chance to take over the Senate, party leaders paused to consider what had gone wrong.

The Republican National Committee issued a scathing report warning that the party was in “an ideological cul-de-sac” and resolved to act friendlier toward women, minorities and low-income voters. Strategist Karl Rove said the lesson was to nominate more moderate candidates and set about raising money to do just that.

But tea party and other conservative leaders, undaunted, drew the opposite conclusion.”

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