Boko Haram, the militant group responsible for the recent kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria, was not designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department until November of 2013 despite a long record of violence. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has now come under fire, as reported by Josh Rogin at the Daily Beast, for resisting calls for the FTO designation for Boko Haram during her tenure at the State Department. Rogin says that "[t]he refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen senators and congressmen." But in 2012, even U.S. State Department diplomats in Nigeria seemed mystified about why the government was "reluctant" to issue the designation.
News broke this week that under a plan released by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the United States Army will be reduced to its smallest force since before World War II. Though not directly related to that plan, another announcement this week by the Defense Department gives, perhaps, a taste of what those cuts may look like. Plans are underway for massive cuts to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the organization that has led military's efforts to combat a weapon of choice among insurgents and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. JIEDDO's current staff of 3,000 will be reduced to 1,000 by the end of this fiscal year, and further plans could see the number fall as low as 400 down the road.
The Olympics – ancient and modern divisions – were intended to be celebrations where men laid down their arms and engaged in competitions that did not end with bodies strewn across the landscape. The intentions were noble but the games – especially those of today – were inevitably corrupted by the usual things. Politics, avarice, commercialism, drugs …
The State Department yielded to pressure from a coalition of Seattle and Washington state politicians, community groups, and advocacy organizations and agreed to withdraw at least one ad in the department's Metro bus ad campaign in Seattle promoting the “Rewards for Justice” campaign. The program pays rewards to individuals who provide leads about the location of wanted terrorists.
The names of two terrorists currently "remain" on the Newseum's "Memorial Wall," a letter written by the chief executive officer of the Newseum confirms. The letter is addressed to Warren David, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and signed by CEO James C. Duff.
At one point in The Company You Keep, Robert Redford’s new film about the residue of the Weather Underground, a character named Sharon Solarz is captured by the FBI after living under a series of aliases since her involvement in a Michigan bank robbery decades earlier in which a security guard was killed. Ruminating in her cell, she describes for a young journalist the moral dilemma people like her faced back then. They could either sit by and watch as America destroyed the innocent peasant culture of Vietnam or take arms against atrocity.
President Barack Obama talked about Gitmo prisoners today and said, "I don't want these individuals to die."
"For a lot of Americans, the notion is out of sight, out of mind," Obama said, after referring to his failed attempt to close the terrorist prison. "It's easy to demagogue the issue. That's what happened the first time this came up. I'm going to go back at it because I think it's important."
CNN’s headline this morning reads, “Boston suspect: It was just us.” The headline links to an article that begins by explaining that the “surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told investigators that his older brother, not any intern
Babies are being named for the recent fighting between the terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Israeli media is reporting. At least, babies being born to those affiliated with Hamas.
"Some parents from the Strip have decided to name their newborn babies after operation-affiliated icons – from assassinated Hamas commanders to long-range missiles fired at Israel," reports the Israeli paper Yediot Achronot.