Improvised explosive devices, those deadly roadside bombs that became the biggest killer in Iraq after the 2003 war, have now transformed into a meme for terror everything. And terror everything, overseas and at home, is best manifested in what the military likes to call hybrid war, which also happens to be a dangerous and democracy-smothering splicing of military and civilian.
The TSA failed to identify 73 airport workers with links to terrorism. Ooooh, sounds scary! Yesterday Jalopnik covered, like the rest of America, a story that seems to be of some importance about the TSA. Hooray for the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General but that’s .0081 percent of the 900,000 airport workers that they audited. Sounds pretty good to me, and that’s not even talking about what “terrorist-related category codes” are, or hell, what terrorism is. This type of story can be read any day of the week – and it is – but in this case, the IG could have just as much congratulated the agency for a job well done. But then, that would have made the news AND it wouldn’t have kept the American people in line, which is the entire grand strategy of post 9/11 governance.
“SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines” reads the headline in last weekend’s New York Times. My name is listed as a contributor at the end of four pages of derring-do. Because I worked for the Times last year and have no interest in joining the Shit-on-the-New-York-Times Brigade, I have nothing to say about the article itself except to say I’m glad, especially for the reporters, that it finally saw the light of day.
Edward Snowden’s appearances through video teleconferences and on TV have lent him an air of impermanence and mystery. His name remains a buzzword; his appearances and commentary via tenuous Internet connection generate publicity on a scale rarely seen. His interviewers ask him about an upbringing that led him to his defection from the intelligence ranks, how deep the rabbit hole really goes, how he feels about being separated from his loved ones, his thoughts on the Constitution, our rights, and a myriad of other things that all unite to imply he’s a patiot or a traitor, but never truly both.
Edward Snowden. A product of 9/11, a nobody drawn to patriotic service. Apprentice spy and contractor working for team Cheney, in some ways everything about a generation of mindless and detached worker bees that the east coast elite hates. But before he was a patriot, before he was this century’s most beloved and reviled American citizen, he was just a man with a job. Just like thousands of other contractors that continue to work under the aegis of Booz Allen Hamilton and Northrop-Grumman.
The second anniversary of the Edward Snowden brouhaha is tomorrow, and in honor of our most famous expat former NSA contractor, we’re hosting another Conspiracy Series film at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. Join us June 23rd at 7:30 pm for a screening of Laura Poitras’ Academy Award-winning Snowden documentary, Citizenfour, and then stick around for our panel, which will include special guest, Judith Miller.
If you have a telephone number that has ever been called by an inmate in a federal prison, registered a change of address with the Postal Service, rented a car from Avis, used a corporate or Sears credit card, applied for nonprofit status with the IRS, or obtained non-driver’s legal identification from a private company, they have you on file.
A few weeks ago we started using the hashtag #PZintel to report (and speculate about) things of interest in the world of spying and killing. Follow us on Twitter @GawkerPhaseZero in order to keep track of these secrets large and small, as well as rumors that have echoed from the depths. If you have intel to share, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill at email@example.com.
We can’t decide if this is an intialism or an acronym since we’ve never heard it aloud, but we can’t imagine how it could realistically be pronounced without sounding like someone is choking you. But whatever it is, it’s fricken ridiculous. If you find another acronym or initialism longer than this in the world of military bureaucracy, we’ll get you a Phase Zero t-shirt and hail you as a Master Defense Jargon Analyst and Technician.
The coup is forming now. It’s a takeover not by force of arms and certainly not by our thoroughly emasculated military leadership. Instead, the seeds of devolution are being sown on a feather bed masquerading as an American rescue, plumped up by the sensible masters of polite society, those very few who can proclaim they hate Washington and politics on the one hand and pretend on the other that they have had no part in any or every failed adventure of the past two decades.
In person, he was pretty much what I imagined — he talked almost 90 minutes non-stop and I took notes and drank tea. He explained why Iraq didn’t withdraw from Kuwait under international pressure before the 1991 war but yet how it was also okay that Iraq was defeated by the whole of the world’s army — a matter of physics, he said.