– A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog: Occasional Musings –

‘President Obama answers questions on CIA Spying and Torture Tactics and says, “We tortured some folks” (1 August 2014)’.

The retired Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years with the Sixth Army Intelligence School David Irvine, who currently practices law in Salt Lake City, Utah, opines that “CIA Director John Brennan had finally confessed, notwithstanding his previous angry and emphatic denials, that the agency had, in fact, spied on a Senate committee investigating CIA torture. Knowing that his CIA had decided it would sneak peeks into congressional computers — a reversal of oversight roles nowhere sanctioned by law”.[1]  And following this preamble, President Obama declared: “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11,  we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values”.[2]  Or, yes, we can and oh yes, we did!!!

[1] David R. Irvine, “Op-ed: Obama burying the truth about ‘we tortured some folks’” The Salt Lake Tribune (08 August 2014). http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/58272737-82/president-cia-folks-report.html.csp.

[2] David R. Irvine, “Op-ed: Obama burying the truth about ‘we tortured some folks’”.

’12. Cumhurbaşkanı seçilen Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, yaptığı “balkon konuşması”nda ‘sadece oy verenlerin değil 77 milyonun cumhurbaşkanı olacağım’ dedi ve “yeni Türkiye” vaadinde bulundu (10 Ağustos 2014)’.

‘The Islamic State group in Iraq is a “threat to the civilized world” US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said on Monday, 11 August 2014. Hagel said the Islamic State group was a threat to US interests, Europe and Australia. (11 Aug. 2014)’.

The day before Hagel said his piece, South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham came out as well, appearing on Fox News Sunday and sounding a tad alarmist by declaring that ISIS or ISIL or the Islamic State, if you will, pose a “direct threat to our homeland”, continuing “Mr. President, be honest with the threat we face. They are coming”.[1] And, to be fair and balanced, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz also said something on the topic at hand on CNN: “They [, the Islamic State] have attracted 1,000 young men from around the world who are now fighting on their side . . . This ISIS is metastasizing throughout region. And their goal, as they’ve stated openly time after time, is the destruction of United States of America”.[2] So, now we know how U.S. politicians create monsters, namely by appearing on television and spelling the word out loud: M, O, N, S, T, E, and R.



[1] “Graham: Islamic State will attack on US soil, Obama must stop terror group’s rise” Fox News (10 August 2014). http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/10/graham-islamic-state-will-attack-on-us-soil-obama-must-stop-terror-groups-rise/.

[2] “Graham: Islamic State will attack on US soil, Obama must stop terror group’s rise”.

On Tuesday, 5 August 2014, RT reported that the ‘United States government has concluded that a new leaker has been supplying members of the media with classified documents, CNN reported on Tuesday [, 5 August]. Earlier that day, The Intercept published a new article based off of disclosures provided to them by an unnamed source pertaining to the US government’s use of watchlists to monitor known and suspected terrorists. Previously, The Intercept has worked closely with top-secret National Security Agency documents admittedly provided to journalists by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the NSA. Tuesday’s leak, however, is of a document dated August 2013 — weeks after Snowden chose to identify himself as the source of the NSA leak and had already arrived in Moscow where he later received asylum and remains today”.[1]

On The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux disclose that these “documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush”.[2]


RT summarizes that “[a]ccording to the journalists’ report, more than 40 percent of the 680,000 individuals listed in the US Terrorist Screening Database shared with local police agencies, contractors and governments around the globe — or around 280,000 people — have ‘no recognized terrorist group affiliation’. Additionally, the documents reveal that the number of people barred from flying in the US — entrees on the infamous ‘no-fly list’ — has increased by 10-times since President Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009 to a total of around 47,000 . . . Tuesday’s Intercept story contains a trove of previously unreported details concerning the administering of federal watchlists and its massive expansion under the Obama administration. As of 2013, the website reported, the main terrorism database operated by the US contains more than 860,000 biometric files on 144,000 people, who are but a sliver of the 680,000 individuals on the lists”.[3]

Scahill and Devereaux, for their part, explain that the “classified documents were prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, the lead agency for tracking individuals with suspected links to international terrorism. Stamped “SECRET” and “NOFORN” (indicating they are not to be shared with foreign governments), they offer the most complete numerical picture of the watchlisting system to date. Among the revelations:

  • The second-highest concentration of people designated as ‘known or suspected terrorists’ by the government is in Dearborn, Mich.—a city of 96,000 that has the largest percentage of Arab-American residents in the country.
  • The government adds names to its databases, or adds information on existing subjects, at a rate of 900 records each day.
  • The CIA uses a previously unknown program, code-named Hydra, to secretly access databases maintained by foreign countries and extract data to add to the watchlists”.

Going on to say that a “U.S. counterterrorism official familiar with watchlisting data told The Intercept that as of November 2013, there were approximately 700,000 people in the Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, but declined to provide the current numbers. Last month, the Associated Press, citing federal court filings by government lawyers, reported that there have been 1.5 million names added to the watchlist over the past five years. The government official told The Intercept that was a misinterpretation of the data. ‘The list has grown somewhat since that time, but is nowhere near the 1.5 million figure cited in recent news reports’, he said. He added that the statistics cited by the Associated Press do not just include nominations of individuals, but also bits of intelligence or biographical information obtained on watchlisted persons”.[4]

17 Jan 2014



[1] “US officials: New leaker compromised national security documents after Snowden” RT (05 August 2014). http://rt.com/usa/178232-us-national-security-leaker-snowden/.

[2] Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux, “Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers” The Intercept (05 August 2014). https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/08/05/watch-commander/.

[3] “US officials: New leaker compromised national security documents after Snowden”.

[4] Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux, “Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers”.

The news agency Reuters‘ Derick Snyder and Daniel Flynn write that “[h]ealth workers in West Africa appealed on [6 August 2014] for urgent help in controlling the world’s worst Ebola outbreak as the death toll climbed to 932 and Liberia shut a major hospital where several staff were infected, including a Spanish priest. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it would ask medical ethics experts to explore the emergency use of experimental treatments to tackle the highly contagious disease after a trial drug was given to two U.S. charity workers infected in Liberia. With West Africa’s rudimentary healthcare systems swamped, 45 new deaths from Ebola were reported in the three days to Aug. 4, the WHO said. Liberia and Sierra Leone have deployed troops in the worst-hit areas in their remote border region to try to stem the spread of the virus, for which there is no known cure”.[1]

As I originally posted about two years ago: “The website Prime Health Channel informs us that the ‘period of incubation for ebola virus hemorrhagic fever is usually 5 to 18 days but may extend from 2 to 21 days depending on the type of virus that one contracts. The Ebola virus symptoms hemorrhagic disease that is generally noticed in individuals contracting the viral disease are high fever, nausea and vomiting, headache, muscular pain, malaise, inflammation of the pharynx, and diarrhea accompanied with bloody discharge, and the development of maculopapular rashes along with bleeding at other body orifices. Besides these, abdominal pain, joint pain, chest pain, coagulopathy, hiccups, low blood pressure, sclerotic arterioles, purpura, petechia are the other symptoms that are particular to the species of Zaire ebola virus and Sudan ebola virus. This kind of reference to these two particular species of virus is due to the fact that the other three species of ebola virus are either non–pathogenic to human beings or have very few cases to facilitate the detection of its symptoms’”.[2]

Now back to today, August 2014, and Snyder and Flynn continue that the “[i]nternational alarm at the diffusion of the virus increased when a U.S. citizen died in Nigeria last month after flying there from Liberia. Authorities said on [6 August 2014] that a Nigerian nurse who had treated Patrick Sawyer had also died of Ebola, and five other people were being treated in an isolation ward in Lagos, Africa’s largest city. With doctors on strike, Lagos health commissioner Jide Idris said volunteers were urgently needed to track 70 people who came into contact with Sawyer. Only 27 have so far been traced . . . U.S. health regulators on [6 August 2014] authorized an Ebola diagnostic test developed by the Pentagon for use abroad on military personnel, aid workers and emergency responders in laboratories designated to help contain the outbreak. The test is designed for use on people who have symptoms of Ebola infection, are at risk or may have been exposed to the virus. It can take as long as 21 days for symptoms to appear after infection. In Saudi Arabia, a man suspected of contracting Ebola during a recent business trip to Sierra Leone also died early on [6 August 2014] in Jeddah, the Health Ministry said. Saudi Arabia has already suspended pilgrimage visas from West African countries, which could prevent those hoping to visit Mecca for the haj in early October [2014]. Liberia, where the death toll is rising fastest, is struggling to cope. Many residents are panicking, in some cases casting out bodies onto the streets of Monrovia to avoid quarantine measures, officials said”.[3]

USA Today‘s Doug Stanglin reports that the “U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its highest-level alert for a response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. “Ops Center moved to Level 1 response to given the extension to Nigeria & potential to affect many lives,” CDC chief Tom Frieden said [6 August 2014] on Twitter. Level 1 means that increased staff and resources will be devoted to the outbreak, officials said. It is the first time the agency has invoked its highest level alert since 2009, over a flu outbreak. Meantime, a Nigerian nurse who had treated the country’s first fatality from Ebola two weeks ago has died from the virus that has now claimed more than 900 lives in the latest outbreak, Nigerian health officials said. The World Health Organization, which convened a two-day emergency meeting of global health workers to discuss the crisis in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, said [on 6 August 2014] that the death toll had jumped to 932, an increase of 45 fatalities in just four days. Next week, the WHO will convene a panel of medical ethicists to explore the use of experimental treatment in the latest outbreak in West Africa”.[4]


[1] Derick Snyder and Daniel Flynn, “West African healthcare systems reel as Ebola toll hits 932″Reuters (06 August 2014). http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/06/us-health-ebola-idUSKBN0G61ID20140806.

[2] “Uganda’s 2012 Ebola Outbreak” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (06 August 2013). http://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/ugandas-2012-ebola-outbreak/.

[3] Derick Snyder and Daniel Flynn, “West African healthcare systems reel as Ebola toll hits 932″.

[4] Doug Stanglin, “CDC issues highest-level alert for Ebola” USA Today (06 August 2014). http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/08/06/ebola-nigeria-saudi-arabia-virus-death-toll/13663973/.

‘The West looks to ramp up shale gas production in the eastern Ukraine, and as a bonus, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter has been named leader in Ukrainian gas company Burisma, as explained by Dr Michael Hudson, Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (4 August 2014)’.

‘Burisma first pursued an opportunity in natural gas and oil exploration with the commencement of drilling in 2002. In 2004, it acquired its first special permits giving rights to develop natural gas, condensate and oil in Ukraine – with a particular focus on natural gas production. Since then, the Company has actively grown both organically and through a series of acquisitions’.[1] Joe’s son, the Burisma Holdings’ newest Board Member Hunter Biden explains that “Burisma’s track record of innovation and industry leadership in the field of natural gas means that it can be a strong driver of a strong economy in Ukraine. As a new member of the Board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the Company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine”.[2]  


[1] “History of our Group” Burisma. http://burisma.com/company/history-of-our-group/.

[2] “Burisma Holdings’ Board Member Hunter Biden outlines his mission for the Company”. Burisma. http://burisma.com/hunter-biden-joins-the-team-of-burisma-holdings/.

‘Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan says Israel will be brought into account for “tyranny” and justice will be served. Gavino Garay reports (3 August 2014)’.


Or, one could say, like any good Muslim, Tayyip Erdoğan is sure of divine retribution, promising his believers that adopting a wait-and-see policy is the only thing one can do in order not to detract the higher power from delivering the goods . . . In the end, talking tough while walking lame is what the self-proclaimed “darling” of the Arab street (on account of his One Minute stunt at Davos) does best . . .

Associate Professor Savaş Genç from the International Relations Department of the Fatih University in Istanbul asks wryly “[w]hat cards does Ankara have to play to reach a peaceful solution in Gaza? Did Ankara threaten not to allow Israeli gas to pass through Turkey? Did it say that it’s going to cut Turkey’s trade ties with Israel? Or did Ankara say that Turkey will end its military relationship with Israel? If not, how is Ankara going to be an effective negotiator? . . . Mr. Erdoğan is very skillful in transforming the pain of others into votes. The Turkish public perceives Erdoğan as the hero of the Egyptians and Syrians. However, all Erdoğan is doing is playing politics. Be aware that Ankara has paid no attention at all to the Ukraine crisis so as not to disturb Russia and, thus, has not heard a word of complaint from the Crimean Tatars [either]“.[1]


[1] “Erdoğan uses Gaza as domestic policy instrument” Today’s Zaman (03 August 2014). https://www.todayszaman.com/monday-talk_erdogan-uses-gaza-as-domestic-policy-instrument_354488.html.


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