Chaos/Savagery and the elimination of Grey Zones

I’ve been reading Scott Atran to try to figure out what is going on with these attacks in Europe, and he has some important insights. What are their goals? To eliminate the Grey Zone and polarize nations. They win when they isolate immigrant populations.

The core strategy outlined in the ISIS playbook, The Management of Chaos-Savagery (Idarat at-Tawahoush, required reading for every ISIS political, religious and military leader, or amir), is to fill the void wherever chaos already exists, as in much of the Sahel and Sahara, and create chaos that can be filled as in Europe.

In reality, today’s Brussel attacks represented just the latest, ever more effective, installment for fomenting chaos in Europe and thereby “Extinguish the Grey Zone,” along the lines of 12-page editorial published in ISIS’s online magazine Dabiq in early 2015. ‘The Grey ZOne’ describes the twilight area occupied by most Muslims between good and evil – in other words, between the Caliphate and the Infidel, which the ‘blessed operations of September 11’ brought into relief. The editorial quotes Osama bin Laden, for whom ISIS is the true heir: ‘The world today is divided. Bush spoke the truth when he said, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”’, with the actual ‘terrorist’ being the Western Crusaders. Now, ‘the time had come for another event to… bring division to the world and destroy the Grayzone.’A welcome to Syrian refugees would clearly represent a winning response to this strategy, whereas wholesale rejection of refugees just as clearly represents a losing response to ISIS. We might wish to celebrate diversity and tolerance in the grayzone, but the general trend in Europe and the majority of the US political establishment and population is to collude in erasing it.

The following are axioms drawn from The Management of Chaos-Savagery (Idarat at-Tawahoush, required reading for every ISIS political, religious and military leader, or amir), and from the February 2015 editorial in Dabiq (online ISIS publication), on “The Extinction of the Gray Zone.” ISIS’s actions have been, and likely will continue to be, consistent with these axioms:

Diversify the strikes and attack soft targets – tourist areas, eating places, places of entertainment, sports events, and so forth — that cannot possibly be defended everywhere. Disperse the infidels’ resources and drain them to the greatest extent possible, and so undermine people’s faith in the ability of their governments to provide security, most basic of all state functions.

· Motivate the masses to fly to regions that we manage, by eliminating the “Gray Zone” between the true believer and the infidel, which most people, including most Muslims, currently inhabit. Use so-called “terror attacks” to help Muslims realize that non-Muslims hate Islam and want to harm all who practice it, to show that peacefulness gains Muslims nothing but pain.

· Use social media to inspire sympathizers abroad to violence. Communicate the message: Do what you can, with whatever you have, wherever you are, whenever possible.

I suspect that ISIS is planning a coordinated attack across multiple cities in Europe to ramp up the process of extinguishing the gray zone, and to also shift the focus of its possible adherents away form its increasingly noteworthy military containment in Syria and Iraq.

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Brussels attacked

There has been another terrorist attack in Europe, in Brussels.

A series of deadly terrorist attacks struck Brussels on Tuesday, with two explosions at the city’s main international airport and a third in a subway station at the heart of the city, near the headquarters complex of the European Union.

At least 11 people were killed at the airport, according to news agencies, and the city’s transit agency said 15 were killed in the subway bombing. More than 130 others were reported wounded. At least one of the two airport explosions was touched off by a suicide bomber, officials said.

The attacks, a vivid illustration of the continued threat to Europe, occurred four days after the capture on Friday of Europe’s most wanted man, Salah Abdeslam. He is the sole survivor of the 10 men believed to have been directly involved in the attacks that killed 130 people in and around Paris on Nov. 13.

The death toll is still going up; I’ve just heard that 20 were killed on the subway, and 14 in the airport explosion.

This is a horrific attack, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were connected to Abdeslam’s gang of fanatics, since he was captured in Brussels. The people responsible must be tracked down and arrested, but I would hope that we can all retain the civilized values that the terrorists are trying to destroy. That means not abandoning the law — Donald Trump is already advocating more torture. It means focusing on the perpetrators, and not tormenting the innocent.

I fear already that this event will be used to excuse doing great harm to Muslims who were not involved and deplore the bombings as much as I do.

Could this ever be American foreign policy?

Trump was asked about his foreign policy strategy.

I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things. I know what I’m doing, and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people, and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are. But my primary consultant is myself and I have, you know, a good instinct for this stuff.

Oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god. I’m gibbering. The nation with the largest military in the world is considering putting this putz in charge.

Trump does not have a very good brain.

The cephalopods tried to stop him

Ted Cruz wrote “25 things you don’t know about me” — it’s got one interesting thing about him, and leaves off the most important point.

6. I was once bitten by an octopus at the beach and got terribly ill. (Yes, apparently octopuses can be poisonous.)

Yeah, dumbass.

But what I want to know is…forget Cruz, did the octopus survive its poisoning?

Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court?

Obama has announced his nominee for the open Supreme Court slot, and I am unimpressed. Apparently, he’s a compromise: a centrist (which in America, means leaning rightward) who won’t get the Republicans in congress too upset. There’s also one weird comment in that report:

Supreme Court nominees tend to be in their early 50s. In choosing Judge Garland, Mr. Obama very likely gave away the possibility of a justice who would serve on the Supreme Court perhaps three decades. Instead, he imposed a sort of actuarial term limit on the nomination and thus his legacy, offering Senate Republicans a compromise not only on ideology, but also on tenure.

Compromise, compromise, compromise. We always compromise. The other side never does.

Obama noted some good things about Garland.

The president said Judge Garland is “widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence. These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle.”

You know, I could believe all that — conservatives can be decent people, of course. But what I’m concerned about is the issues. What’s his position on women’s reproductive rights? Are we going to see more creeping religion in government? What about campaign finance reform and the excessive influence of billionaires on elections?

Not a word about any of that in the article. He’s a total cipher as far as I know. But there’s lots of stuff about all the Republicans who love him, and how Orrin Hatch has been promoting him for years, which just screams at me that I can’t trust him.

Praising the dead, forgetting the living

Hillary Clinton made some remarks about Nancy Reagan.

It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s, and because of both President and Mrs Reagan, in particular Mrs Reagan, we started a national conversation…

It may be hard for your viewers to remember? Apparently, it’s really hard for Hillary Clinton to remember. I remember the 1980s; I remember our national nightmare of incompetence under the Reagans; and I most vividly remember their dismissal of AIDS, their neglect of the disease, the open ridicule that inflicted on the people suffering from it. Nancy Reagan was not an advocate for empathy or support or research into HIV. Quite the opposite.

Dan Savage remembers, too.

Hillary Clinton needs to walk this back immediately or she risks losing the votes of millions of queer Americans who survived the plague. We watched our friends and lovers die by the tens of thousands while Nancy and Ronnie sat silently in the White House. More than 20,000 Americans died before Ronald Reagan said the word “AIDS” in public—because it was a “gay plague” and Nancy and Ronald Reagan didn’t give a fuck about sick and dying faggots. I’m literally shaking as I try to write this. There are no words for the pain Clinton’s remarks have dredged up. I’m supposed to be writing a column—it’s way overdue—but all I can think about right now are all of my dead friends, lovely guys who might still be with us if Nancy and Ronald Reagan had started a national conversation about HIV/AIDS. Or done something about it.

You want to say something nice about Dead Nancy Fucking Reagan on the teevee? Compliment her taste in china. Don’t go on television and lie about her and her husband’s homophobic, hateful, appalling, murderous record on HIV/AIDS. Just don’t.

He includes a video of the Washington press corps laughing at people dying of the gay plague, and making jokes about each other not being gay, and therefore not having to worry about it.

This isn’t just a lie by Clinton. It’s demeaning a lot of people who watched the inactivity and obstruction of the Reagans in fury.

It’s also the kind of pandering remark to poisonous conservative ahistoricity that could cost her the election. We don’t need Democrats in office who look back fondly on the Reagan years — they were a horror.

On the brink of disaster

Louisiana is screwed. The second poorest state in the country has a $3 billion deficit, and no one is going to do anything about it, apparently. They’re in a race to become the poorest state, which will of course lock in all the citizens to the Republican party as they proceed to become more ignorant and angry about their condition, so it’s a political win for the Idiot Party in America.

Who’s to blame? You can guess.

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