Monthly Archives: February 2013

Usama bin Laden’s Trademark Concerns

One year after the killing of Usama bin Laden, the U.S. Government has declassified some of the materials seized during the raid on his compound.  The media had earlier reported that the terrorist leader was concerned that his organization’s brand had become tarnished by its association with attacks on noncombatants.  CNN gave this account last April:

Bin Laden well understood that al Qaeda’s brand name was in deep trouble, in particular, because the group and its affiliates had killed so many civilians.  ….  So badly tarnished had the al Qaeda brand become that bin Laden noodled with changing the name of his group. In an internal memo, bin Laden pointed out that “[President] Obama [says] that our war is not on Islam or the Muslim people, but rather our war is on the al Qaeda organization. So if the word al Qaeda was derived from or had strong ties to the word ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslims,’ or if it had the name ‘Islamic party’ it would be difficult for Obama to say that.”usama.trademark

A recently declassified transcript of an audiotape seized during the raid documents bin Laden’s trademark concerns.  The following transcript was translated by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, located in Monterey, California.  Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Law

Grading Hillary

As the guard changes at the State Department, speculation is rife regarding Hillary Clinton’s future.   Will Hillary run for President?  If she does, her star power will be a formidable asset.  After all, how many politicians are instantly recognized by his or her first name?  (You don’t read columns wondering whether “Paul” or “Mark” or “Chris” will run.)hillary

To move from cabinet member to President is of course a promotion. For mere mortals known by both their first and last names, promotions usually depend on how well they handled their prior jobs. Do the same rules apply to Hillary? If they do, has her performance as Secretary of State earned her a promotion?

Hillary Clinton (the switchover to using both names signals that we’re about to get serious here) is a polarizing figure. To her admirers, especially those in the media and the entertainment industry, she is a rock star, a glittering symbol of what modern American womanhood can be. To her detractors, she is a doctrinaire ice queen, with all the ideological baggage of her husband but without her husband’s warmth and humanity.

What does an objective assessment reveal? Continue reading


Filed under Foreign Policy, Politics