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23451  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 09, 2010, 10:37:40 PM
"In an internal investigation, there is no right to remain silent and no right to an attorney."

Which makes sense to me.

@ZG:  I'm sorry, I am not clear.  You are a naturalized Mexican citizen?  Ay you no doubt know very well, from well before the narco wars the law down there has been and is VERY harsh concerning foreigners and guns.  Additionally, as noted on the US-Mexico thread, the Mex Army is getting concerned about the US military getting involved in Mexico.  Given the conspiracy minded nature of Mexican political thought about the US (not without raw material one might add!) it would be very easy to get caught in the crossfire of these politics-- especially any person of other than native born citizenship as I understand you to be.

I am not unfamiliar with Mexico (e.g. I train the SWAT team for the State Penitentiary for el Estado de Mexico every time I go down there for a seminar.  The situation there is very complicated right now and the narcos have penetrated to very, very high levels.  For example IIRC last year the man who schedules the President's itinerary was caught accepting the equivalent of $400,000 US a month!  Having no personal knowledge of your teammates and their environs upon arrival, I caution you that you would be a pigeon flying with eagles.  This is said with love and respect.
23452  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Count your fingers after shaking hands with him on: December 09, 2010, 08:11:06 PM
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Thu, December 09, 2010 -- 8:53 PM ET
-----

Obama Weighs Overhaul of Tax Code to Lower Rates and Close Loopholes

President Obama is considering whether to push early next
year for an overhaul of the income tax code to lower rates
and raise revenues in what would be his first major effort to
begin addressing the long-term growth of the national debt.

While administration officials cautioned on Thursday that no
decisions have been made and that any debate in Congress
could take years, Mr. Obama has directed his economic team
and Treasury Department analysts to review options for
closing loopholes and simplifying income taxes for
corporations and individuals, though the study of the
corporate tax system is farther along, officials said.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com?emc=na
23453  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 09, 2010, 08:08:25 PM
PGR= Procuraduria General de la Republica?
23454  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 09, 2010, 04:34:18 PM
GM?
23455  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 09, 2010, 04:10:44 PM
I have just floated home in a beautific grooviness trance from my Bikram Yoga class to find this  tongue  This is not the tone of conversation that we look to have around here.  angry Let's all take a deep breath, sing kumbaya, and have a group hug please.  
23456  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Prequel to Iran-Contragate on: December 09, 2010, 03:54:08 PM


http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/the-truth-about-israel-iran-and-1980s-u-s-arms-deals-1.326987
23457  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Whoops , , , on: December 09, 2010, 11:10:46 AM
http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/147680-charges-allege-city-hired-unlicensed-police-officers?utm_source=nlet&utm_content=pl_c1_20101209_unlicensedofficers
23458  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Vigilante action on: December 09, 2010, 10:49:52 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/08/AR2010120806379.html
23459  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: December 09, 2010, 10:49:12 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/08/AR2010120806379.html

Posiblemente si Uds no fueron desarmados eso habira ocurido antes ahora , , ,
23460  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Yoga on: December 09, 2010, 10:38:19 AM
From my comments posted on the DBMA Assn forum:

"As I may have mentioned, the last several months I've been having a lot of hip and lower back pain.  Gradually I have been figuring out the solution and feel like I am on the road forward.

"What is helping at the moment is the Bikram Yoga in combination with weight lifting-- I am experiencing a lot of synergy between the two. e.g. Tuesday was Bikram followed by Squat Day yesterday (Wednesday) and I plan to do Bikram again today and maybe tomorrow.  It is intense, but the Bikram people speak of geometric progress with training it on successive days.

"For reasons beyond my ken, I began yesterday with light weight cleans for speed and form; this seemed to set up my shoulder girdle for nice support for the bar as I began squatting.  For some reason I wanted to alternate with incline bench machine (a very good fluid one with well designed bio-mechanics) with my sets of squats-- maybe also related to opening the shoulder girdle.  I hit my mark for the day for squats at 5x221 (45lb bar + 80 klilos in weights) I am now getting into territory which begins to challenge me a bit and do not have a sense yet of whether I should go up 10 or 20 kilos for next week.  Also, the gym has a very interesting new machine for "bicycling" with the arms.  It is EXTREMELY well made and seems to do very good things."

I would add that I LOVE the heat, but am not wild about some of the BY postures for me and find somewhat irksome the pressurefrom teachers pushing me to precision in form that is currently out of reach for me. 
23461  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How bail outs work , , , on: December 09, 2010, 10:07:39 AM
Bailing out … the Irish, Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese or whoever - SIMPLE

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich German will not suspect anything. At that moment the German comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money and leaves town. No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.
23462  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Blacklisted pilot wins rights case in Canada on: December 09, 2010, 09:56:44 AM
Blacklisted pilot wins rights case against Bombardier
ARI ALTSTEDTER
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Canada’s human-rights laws trump American anti-terrorism efforts in Canada, the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal says in a decision released Tuesday.

The tribunal awarded a Pakistani-born Canadian man $319,000 in damages, ruling his human rights were violated when Bombardier Inc. barred him from flight training at a Montreal facility because U.S. authorities had designated him a security threat.

The decision amounts to a repudiation of the process that U.S. authorities use to label people security threats. The Quebec tribunal decided that because of the secrecy of the process, the lack of appeals and alleged racial profiling in an array of national security practices, applying U.S. threat designations in Canada must be considered a violation of Charter rights.

The rejection that sparked the complaint was actually Javed Latif’s second. He had first applied for training under his U.S. pilot’s licence, which alerted Bombardier to his designation as a security threat by American officials. According to the tribunal, the violation occurred when Mr. Latif applied for training under his Canadian pilot’s licence, and was rejected because of the American threat label.

“Those rules do not apply here in Canada, were not adopted here in Canada by Canadian law,” said Athanassia Bitzakadis, the lawyer who represented the Quebec Human Rights Commission, which brought the case before the tribunal. “So Bombardier cannot simply refer to those rules to justify a discriminatory decision to refuse to someone a service, a service that they offer to everyone here in Quebec.”

Tribunal judge Michele Rivet criticized Bombardier for taking the U.S. designation on faith and not objectively assessing whether Mr. Latif was a security threat. She also said Bombardier could have consulted Transport Canada or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Testifying before the tribunal, Steven Gignac, the Bombardier official who denied Mr. Latif’s request, said he considered the U.S. authorities credible when they had deemed Mr. Latif a threat. He said if he agreed to train him there would have been “serious consequences for Bombardier Inc.”

At the time of the incident in 2004, Mr. Latif had been a pilot for 25 years and had flown over U.S. airspace many times.

In 2008, U.S. authorities removed Mr. Latif’s designation as a threat to national security, and he has since trained with Bombardier in Montreal on three occasions.

According to Mr. Latif’s lawyer, Catherine McKenzie, he now works for an airline based in the Middle East, and she has not been able to reach him with word of the decision.

Much of the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s case rested on testimony from Reem Bahdi, an expert on U.S. national security practices. Prof. Bahdi, of the University of Windsor, argued that because of broadly discriminatory practices, a U.S. threat designation must be considered discriminatory if no specific reasons are given. One example she cited was the National Security Entry and Exit Regulation System, which requires citizens of specific countries, all of which happen to be Muslim, to register upon entering and exiting the U.S.

“Basically what they [the tribunal] were presented with was a whole series of policies that targeted Arabs and Muslims alongside a policy that said, and by the way, all of these policies, all of this decision making is going to take place in secret,” she said.

The amount awarded to Mr. Latif by the tribunal includes moral and material damages as well as the highest amount for punitive damages that the tribunal has ever given, $50,000.

Bombardier is reviewing the decision and considering whether to appeal.

Whatever happens, Prof. Bahdi said, this decision must have an effect on how other cross-border companies operate in Canada.

“What this decision says is that Canadian companies have to conform to Canadian standards of justice,” she said. “And we in Canada still take quite seriously the notions of due process, and individuals not being tarnished with the terrorist label and having no ability to clear their names.”

23463  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Bikram Yoga on: December 09, 2010, 09:27:33 AM
Cindy and I are taking advantage of an introductory offer of one month in Bikram Yoga.   More on this soon.
23464  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Confucius Peace Prize on: December 09, 2010, 09:23:50 AM
By JEREMY PAGE
BEIJING—A ceremony Friday to mark the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a jailed Chinese dissident, is turning into a global showdown.

China is preventing Mr. Liu, his family and friends from attending the ceremony in Oslo, making it the first time there will be no one at the ceremony to accept the award since 1936, when it went to Carl von Ossietsky, a German journalist held in a concentration camp by Nazi Germany.

A furious Chinese government has deployed its rapidly expanding global influence to challenge the Nobel Committee's legitimacy and to press other countries to boycott the ceremony, which will feature an empty chair with a photograph of Mr. Liu on it. The ceremony will be followed by a concert hosted by Hollywood stars Denzel Washington and Anne Hathaway.

A newly established Chinese organization has even introduced its own version of the award—the Confucius Peace Prize—which it says will be awarded on Thursday to Lien Chan, a politician from Taiwan who has promoted reconciliation with mainland China.

The Nazis and the Soviets both established their own prizes to rival the Nobels.

A key question for the Communist Party is whether its efforts will backfire by drawing domestic attention to Mr. Liu, who was little known in China until state media launched a vitriolic campaign to demonize him.

Mr. Liu, a former literature professor who took part in the pro-democracy protests in Beijing in 1989, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "state subversion" over his role in organizing a dissident charter calling for multiparty elections.

For the Nobel Committee, meanwhile, the issue is whether this year's prize—which follows last year's controversial award to President Barack Obama—will promote democratic change in China, as it hopes, or reinforce the party's determination to stifle it.

The committee has, as usual, invited only the ambassadors of the 65 nations that have embassies in Oslo to attend the ceremony. But 20 have declined—double the number last year—including many that either have warming relations with China, or share its resentment of being pushed on human rights and democracy by the West.

The countries that have declined are Afghanistan, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and China itself.

One diplomat from Sri Lanka initially told The Wall Street Journal that its embassy in Oslo was sure to send someone "if nobody had a cold," but later said that no one would attend, saying: "We are a small country and China is now our friend."

China provided crucial economic aid, arms and diplomatic support to Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebel movement in 2009.

China also was outraged when the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, won the prize in 1989, but made no effort to organize a boycott, isolated as it was after the military crackdown on pro-democracy protests around Tiananmen Square earlier that year.

Activist Laureates
See advocates for political change who have received the Nobel Peace Prize.

View Interactive

Reuters
 .."I don't think they held any kind of campaign in 1989—they just stayed away and showed their displeasure. Of course, China is much stronger now," Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, told The Wall Street Journal. "Even the Soviets did not mount a campaign like this."

When the Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov won the prize in 1975, Moscow also declined to let him collect it, but did permit his wife, Yelena Bonner, to attend the ceremony.

In 1983, Communist authorities in Poland also permitted the wife of Lech Walesa—the dissident trade unionist—to receive his prize.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's opposition leader, was under house arrest when she won in 1991, but her then-18-year-old son accepted the award on her behalf. Ms. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest last month.

The Nobel Committee, Western governments and human-rights activists have repeatedly urged China to free Mr. Liu, as well as his wife, Liu Xia, who has been under effective house arrest since he won the prize.

Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa—another Nobel Peace laureate—made a public appeal last week for China to release Mr. Liu and his wife or risk losing its credibility as a world power.

View Full Image

Getty Images
 
Protesters demand the release of jailed Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, less than a week before the award ceremony in Oslo.
.However, China has gone on the offensive, denouncing the award as part of a Western conspiracy. It has detained scores more dissidents, and prevented dozens of others from leaving China in case they try to attend Friday's ceremony.

It has delayed talks on a trade deal with Norway, even though the government there says it has no influence over the Nobel Committee, and has warned other countries that they will have to "bear the consequences" if they attend the ceremony.

Jiang Yu, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Tuesday called the Nobel Committee "clowns" and accused the Norwegians of "orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves."

She said more than 100 countries and organizations have expressed explicit support for China's opposition to this year's Peace Prize.

The Nobel Committee countered by saying that ambassadors from 44 of the 65 countries invited would attend the ceremony—along with about 30 to 40 of Mr. Liu's supporters from around the world. But only one of those was on a list of 143 that Liu Xia invited to attend, as most have been unable to leave China. He is Wan Yanhai, an AIDS activist who moved to the U.S. last year. "The ceremony is really important—it's a symbolic event for the Chinese democratic movement," Mr. Wan said in an interview. "This will be like a catalyst in a chemical process. What the Communist Party is doing now is to show how ugly authoritarian government is."

23465  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maybe it was the dot on her forehead that gave her away on: December 09, 2010, 06:53:39 AM


BY TOM WRIGHT
NEW DELHI—India expects Washington to apologize for the patting down of the Indian ambassador to the U.S. during a security check at an airport in Mississippi, a senior Indian diplomat said Thursday.

23466  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH continues to struggle with what to do about Sarah #2 on: December 09, 2010, 06:01:39 AM
A recent segment of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” her live-action show on TLC, was preceded by a warning that parts of it “may be disturbing to some viewers.” Presumably this referred to scenes of Ms. Palin clubbing to death a huge halibut and then triumphantly holding up a still-beating halibut heart, images that probably did send chills down the spines of animal lovers and moderate Republicans. But no scene in the show is as disturbing as the way she uses it to enhance her political glow.

Sarah PalinThe eight hours of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” are a visually sumptuous — if occasionally bloody — marketing campaign for an ostensibly undeclared presidential candidate. They are yet another in a series of brilliant bypasses of conventional politics that may provide Ms. Palin with a legacy. Other candidates have found new ways to reach voters — Barack Obama’s e-mail fund-raising in 2008 comes to mind — but having one’s own hagiographic reality show is a chapter in an entirely new playbook.

And Ms. Palin is astonishingly good at turning every halibut clubbing and caribou shooting into an advertisement for her own ruggedness or a political parable. The program is theoretically nonpolitical and its producers have a blog intended to siphon off heated arguments among viewers. But having converted her lifestyle and family into political accessories, Ms. Palin never resists temptation when it comes along and the cameras are rolling.

Referring to the 14-foot wall that her husband built for protection from the journalist Joe McGinniss, who moved in next door, Ms. Palin says, “This is what we need to do to secure our nation’s border.” She says she loves that the liberals “get all wee-wee’d up” that her baby shower was held in a shooting range. And she exults that her teenage daughter Willow is gutting salmon instead of texting or partying, perhaps suggesting that her parenting skills are what the nation needs, too.

In the two years since her rocky vice presidential candidacy, Ms. Palin has become famously contemptuous of the “lamestream media,” which she has often described as elite and conspiratorial (against her and America’s exceptionalism). She would not be the first politician who has stumbled and then lashed at the press for its lack of balance. But the parallel structure Ms. Palin has created as an alternative to conventional scrutiny and campaigning has been remarkably effective.

She is a regular on Fox News and its affiliated radio shows, and her book tour (no questions from reporters, please) has taken her largely to Republican-leaning primary states. As a recent article in The New York Times Magazine documented, she has no need for an actual press staff and believes it is sufficient to communicate largely through Twitter and Facebook. And as long as she remains more provocative than substantive, her strategy works.

On Monday, at 3:17 p.m., she issued a Facebook broadside that blamed the Obama administration’s “incompetence” for the latest round of WikiLeak revelations. Within three hours, it was “liked” by more than 4,000 followers and picked up by scores of major news organizations and blogs, though its suggestion that the administration might have been able to stop the leaks was partisan wishful thinking.

“She tweets one thing, and all of a sudden you’ve got a room full of people that want to know,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, complained to The Times Magazine, referring to the White House press corps.

But Mr. Gibbs and his successors will probably have to get used to it. Ms. Palin will not be the last potential candidate to aim her political fire from a camouflage blind, and then retreat to a careful seclusion where only easygoing questions can be asked.

We now live in a world where a politician can be the executive producer of her own precampaign show. A world where a governor can quit her elected job and make far more money, and political headway, creating a television legend as America’s most fearless outdoorswoman and most encouraging mother to her brood of hunters and fishers. A world where millions of supporters flock to this portrait of a way of life that is radically different from the way most Americans now live and get some extremist politics mixed in with the supposed nostalgia. To paraphrase TLC, voter discretion is now advised.

23467  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: China's double-edged sword on: December 09, 2010, 05:45:22 AM


China and its Double-edged Cyber-sword
December 9, 2010


By Sean Noonan

A recent batch of WikiLeaks cables led Der Spiegel and The New York Times to print front-page stories on China’s cyber-espionage capabilities Dec. 4 and 5. While China’s offensive capabilities on the Internet are widely recognized, the country is discovering the other edge of the sword.

China is no doubt facing a paradox as it tries to manipulate and confront the growing capabilities of Internet users. Recent arrests of Chinese hackers and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pronouncements suggest that China fears that its own computer experts, nationalist hackers and social media could turn against the government. While the exact cause of Beijing’s new focus on network security is unclear, it comes at a time when other countries are developing their own defenses against cyber attacks and hot topics like Stuxnet and WikiLeaks are generating new concerns about Internet security.

One of the U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks focuses on the Chinese-based cyber attack on Google’s servers that became public in January 2010. According to a State Department source mentioned in one of the cables, Li Changchun, the fifth highest-ranking member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and head of the Party’s Propaganda Department, was concerned about the information he could find on himself through Google’s search engine. He also reportedly ordered the attack on Google. This is single-source information, and since the cables WikiLeaks released do not include the U.S. intelligence community’s actual analysis of the source, we cannot vouch for its accuracy. What it does appear to verify, however, is that Beijing is regularly debating the opportunities and threats presented by the Internet.


A Shift from Offensive Capabilities

On Nov. 2, the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official paper for the PLA and the primary medium for announcing top-down policy, recommended the PLA better prepare itself for cyber threats, calling for new strategies to reduce Internet threats that are developing “at an unprecedented rate.” While the report did not detail any strategies, it quoted a PLA order issued for computer experts to focus on the issue.

The Nov. 2 PLA announcement is part of a long trend of growing network-security concerns in China. In 2009, Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu emphasized that the development of the Internet in China created “unprecedented challenges” in “social control and stability maintenance.” In June 2010, the State Council Information Office published a white paper on the growing threat of cyber crime and how to combat it. Clearly, these challenges have been addressed this year. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced Nov. 30 that it had arrested 460 suspected hackers thought to have been involved in 180 cases so far in 2010. This is part of the MPS’ usual end-of-year announcement of statistics to promote its success. But the MPS announcement also said that cyber crime had increased 80 percent this year and seemed to blame the attacks only on hackers inside China.

These were cases mainly of producing and selling “Trojan” programs (malware that looks legitimate), organizing botnets, assisting others in carrying out denial-of-service attacks and invading government websites. The MPS also closed more than 100 websites that provided hackers with attack programs and taught them various tactics.

The PLA already has two notoriously large and capable network security units: the Seventh Bureau of the Military Intelligence Department (MID) and the Third Department of the PLA. In simple terms, the MID’s Seventh Bureau is an offensive unit, responsible for managing research institutes that develop new hacking methods, train hackers and produce new hardware and software. The PLA Third Department, defensive in nature, is the third largest signals intelligence-monitoring organization in the world. STRATFOR sources with expertise in network security believe that China’s government-sponsored hacking capabilities are the best in the world. But this perception is based in part on the fact that China demonstrates these capabilities quite often. The United States, on the other hand, is much more restrained in exercising its offensive cyber capabilities and is not inclined to do so until there is a dire and immediate need, such as war.


Piracy Vulnerability

The details of China’s escalating effort to improve network security are still murky, but one recently announced campaign against software piracy is notable. On Nov. 30, Deputy Commerce Minister Jiang Zengwei announced a new six-month crackdown on illegally copied products in China. He said the focus was on pirated software, counterfeit pharmaceuticals and mislabeled agricultural products. The Chinese public has pushed for more regulation of pharmaceuticals and food due to a rising number of cases in which people have become sick or even died because of falsely labeled or tainted products, such as melamine-contaminated milk. But Beijing seems to be even more concerned about the vulnerabilities created by running unlicensed and non-updated software, and publicizing the crackdown is clearly an attempt by Beijing to appease Western governments and businesses that are placing growing pressure on China.

Indeed, China has a sizable counterfeit economy, much to the ire of Western businesses. While Beijing may placate Westerners by announcing crackdowns for the benefit of international audiences, it takes more forceful measures when it sees a larger threat to itself, and the security emphasis now seems to be on the threat of running insecure software on government computers. The problem with unlicensed software is that it does not receive automatic updates from the manufacturer, which usually are sent out to fix vulnerabilities to malware. Unlicensed software is thus left open to viral infiltration. It is also cheap and easy to get, which makes it pervasive throughout both government and private computer networks.

One of the measures Beijing has started to implement is requiring licensed software to be installed on new computers before they are sold, which also gives the government an opportunity to install censorship measures like Green Dam. One persistent problem is that much of the pre-installed software still consists of pirated copies. While China has released statistics showing that the use of legitimate software in China has increased dramatically, the Business Software Alliance, an international software industry group, estimates that 79 percent of the software sold in China in 2009 was illegally copied, creating a loss to the industry of $7.6 billion in revenue. Even more important to Beijing, these statistics mean the vast majority of Chinese computer systems — government and private alike — remain vulnerable to malware.

At the same Nov. 30 news conference at which Jiang announced the new anti-piracy initiative, Yan Xiaohong, deputy head of the General Administration of Press and Publication and vice director of the National Copyright Administration, announced a nationwide inspection of local and central government computers to make sure they were running licensed software. While this suggests Beijing’s major concern is the security of government computers, it also emphasizes how widespread the unlicensed software problem is.

This new focus on using legitimate software, however, will not be a complete solution to China’s Internet vulnerabilities. There has been little effort to stop the selling of copied software, and it is still very easy to download other programs, licensed and unlicensed, and malware along with them (such as QQ). Moreover, the new security measures are dealing only with the symptoms, not the underlying problem, of a counterfeit-heavy economy. A six-month crackdown will not undermine or eliminate software piracy in China; to do so would require an immense and sustained investment of time, money and manpower. Indeed, China has been a hub for pirating software, films and other copyrighted material for so long that the enormous domestic economic base that has grown up around it would be virtually impossible to dismantle. In any case, vulnerabilities still exist in legitimate software, even if it is better protected against novice hackers. New vulnerabilities are constantly being found and exploited until software companies come up with the appropriate patches.


From Nationalist Hackers to Dissident Threats

China’s highly developed hacking capabilities, more offensive than defensive, include Internet censorship measures like the infamous Great Firewall, and the official police force run by the MPS specifically to monitor Chinese Internet traffic and censor websites is 40,000 strong. China also has developed two unofficial methods of censorship. First, operators of private websites and forums must follow certain government regulations to prevent statements critical of the government from being disseminated, which encourages private operators to be their own censors. Second, there is a veritable army of nationalistic computer users in China that include “hacktivist” groups such as the Red Hacker Alliance, China Union Eagle and the Honker Union, with thousands of members each. They became famous after the 1999 “accidental” bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, which prompted China-based hackers to attack and deface U.S. government websites. The Chinese government, state-owned enterprises and private companies also engage public relations firms to hire, deploy and manage what have become colloquially known as “Party of Five Maoists.” These are individuals who get paid half a yuan (5 mao) for every positive Internet post they write regarding government policy, product reviews and other issues.

But as China’s Internet-using population nears 400 million, with nearly 160 million using social networking, Beijing recognizes the risk of all this spiraling out of control. Censors have not been able to keep up on the social-networking front. Even with limited or banned access to sites like Twitter and Facebook, their Chinese versions, Weibo and Kaixin, for example, are expanding exponentially. While the government may exercise more control over the Chinese-based sites, it cannot keep up with the huge number of posts on topics the CPC considers disharmonious. The recent announcement of Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize is an example of news that was not reported at first in Chinese media but through social networking sites, spreading like wildfire. And the censorship is not exclusive; even non-dissidents can be censored, such as Prime Minister Wen Jiabao when he recently called for limited political reform.

China’s large Internet population will not all be nationalists. And if those who learn skills from informal hackers turn into dissidents, Beijing would consider them a serious threat. The Internet presents exactly the type of tool that could pose a major threat to the CPC because it spans regions, classes and ethnicities. Most social grievances are local and economic or ethnic-based. The potential for one opposition group to be united nationwide over the Internet is one of Beijing’s gravest concerns. It has realized that a weapon it once wielded so deftly against foreign powers and business entities can now be used against Beijing.


Outside Issues

At the same time Beijing reached this realization, WikiLeaks demonstrated the possibility for sensitive government information to be spread globally through the Internet. Beijing saw that if the United States, with its expertise in signals intelligence and security, could be vulnerable to such a threat, so could China. Stuxnet demonstrated the vulnerability of important infrastructure to cyber attack, one reason for China’s new emphasis on licensed software (Iran is known to run unlicensed Siemens software). China’s recent emphasis on network security is likely linked to all of these factors, or it may be due to a threat seen but as yet unpublicized, such as a cyber attack or leak inside China that the government has been able to keep quiet.

Other countries have also been implementing new network security measures, most notably the United States. On Oct. 31, the Maryland-based U.S. Cyber Command became fully operational, and its commander is also the head of the National Security Agency, the premier U.S. government entity for signals intelligence. (Thus, China’s giving Internet security responsibility to the PLA should come as no surprise to the United States.) And as China realizes the difficulties of defending against attacks in cyberspace, which tends to favor the offense, the United States is wrestling with the same problems and complexities as it tries to shield government, civilian and commercial computer systems, all of which require different degrees of control and operate under different laws. As cyber espionage and cyber sabotage become even greater concerns, China will be forced to face the far more difficult task of not only pecking away at the Pentagon’s firewalls but also providing for its own internal system security.

These new efforts all contradict China’s long-standing policy of cultivating a population of nationalistic computer users. This effort has been useful to Beijing when it sees a need to cause disruption, whether by attacking U.S. sites after perceived affronts like the Chinese embassy bombing in Belgrade or preventing access from powerful foreign entities like Google. But China has also recognized that developing these public capabilities can be dangerous. Nationalist Chinese hackers, if motivated by the right cause and united through the pervasive Internet, can always turn on the government. And the situation seems to have more and more governments on edge, where simple mistakes can raise suspicions. China’s redirection of a large amount of Internet traffic in April caused an outcry from the United States and other countries, though it may well have been an accident.

It is hard to tell what Beijing sees, specifically, as a first-tier cyber threat, but its decision to develop an effective response to all manner of threats is evident.

23468  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 09, 2010, 05:42:35 AM
That's the way I remember it JDN.
23469  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran and Venezuela on: December 09, 2010, 05:41:49 AM
Second post of the morning.  It presents similar deep conceptual questions:

Iran to place missiles in Venezuela according to an article in Die Welt.

http://www.hudson-ny.org/1714/iran-missiles-in-venezuela#_ftn1

23470  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Who fears the Russian bear? on: December 09, 2010, 05:38:29 AM


Who Fears the Russian Bear?

The global focus on Tuesday returned to the North European Plain, specifically east of the Oder and north of the Pripyat Marshes, where Russia, Poland, Belarus and the three Baltic states continue to share what is the geopolitical version of an awkward Soviet-era communal apartment. Russian envoy to NATO Dmitri Rogozin, referring to the leaked U.S. diplomatic cables revealing NATO plans to defend the three Baltic states from Russia, asked that the plans be formally withdrawn at the next NATO-Russia meeting. Rogozin pointed out that the recently penned NATO 2010 Strategic Concept speaks of a “true strategic partnership” — a direct quote from the mission statement — between the alliance and Russia and that the supposed “anti-Russian” military plan to defend the Baltics is incompatible with the document. Referring to the plan, Rogozin rhetorically asked, “Against who else could such a defense be intended? Against Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, against polar bears, or against the Russian bear?”

Rogozin was being sardonic for dramatic effect — Moscow is not actually surprised that NATO has an active war plan against it. Russia completed joint exercises — called “Zapad” (meaning west in Russian) — with Belarus at the end of 2009 that placed 13,000 troops on the borders of the Baltic states and had as its supposed aim the simulation of the liberation of Kaliningrad from NATO forces. Russian defense establishment sources referred to the exercise as a “drill,” as in something that the Russian military routinely prepares for. Russia purposefully allowed the simulation scenario of Zapad to leak, emphasizing to the Baltic states and Poland that it is very much the bear to be feared in the region.

” Polish officials do not have the luxury of dismissing American horse-trading with the Russians over Polish security as a “one-off” affair.”
STRATFOR therefore highly doubts that Rogozin was astonished by the revelation of the defense plans, particularly as the Russian SVR — the foreign intelligence service — does not need WikiLeaks to collect intelligence from the NATO headquarters in Brussels. Moscow is using the recently adopted Strategic Concept as a way to emphasize to the Balts and the rest of Central Europe that the NATO alliance is inconsistent with its security needs — particularly that any security guarantees offered by the alliance are undermined by the very Strategic Concept of that alliance just penned in Lisbon. And ultimately, Western European — and specifically German — lobbying for inclusion of Russia as a “strategic partner” should be the writing on the wall for the region: Its fate was to either adopt a neutral posture and accept Russian security hegemony or keep being pressured by Moscow.

The countries of the region, Poland and the Balts specifically, are therefore — politically as well as geographically — stuck between a Russia that threatens them and a Germany that refuses to offer security guarantees. Berlin instead prefers to develop its own relations with Moscow and dismiss Baltic and Polish insecurities as paranoia, arguing that Russia is best countered with investments, integration into the European economy and offers of security dialogue. Warsaw and the Baltics are therefore left to look expectantly toward the United States for bilateral security guarantees.

The problem, however, is that the United States is distracted, by both its domestic politics and the management of its Middle East entanglements. Furthermore, Poland feels spurned, especially by Washington’s decision first to pull out on the initial ballistic missile defense (BMD) plans in September 2009 and then, on a rotational basis, to deploy an unarmed Patriot missile battery to the country with a minimal contingent of 20-30 personnel, when Warsaw hoped for an armed deployment with a more robust — and more importantly, permanent — U.S. military presence.

In this context, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk— symbolically returning from a Monday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin —referred to the WikiLeaks controversy as a “problem” for Poland because the various dispatches referring to Polish-American relations reveal “illusions over the character of relations between different states.” If we understand Tusk correctly, he essentially hints that the current public Polish-American relationship is an “illusion” and that, in reality, the U.S. security guarantees are insufficient.

It is difficult to disagree with Tusk if we place ourselves in the shoes of Polish policymakers. The United States ultimately decided to back away from the initial BMD version and supposedly also the armed Patriots because it needed Russian help on a number of issues in the Middle East, particularly pressuring Tehran with U.N. sanctions and making sure that Russia does not sell the S-300 air defense system to Iran. To Warsaw, the American decision illustrates that it placed its own interests — in a tangential region of no concern to Central Europe — above the security relationship with Poland. And what is worse, Washington trades Polish security for concessions with Russia in the Middle East.

To Americans, Poland looks like a country with no options. Sure, it feels spurned, but where will the Poles turn? As it did prior to WWII, Germany is making deals with Russia, and French and British security guarantees are unreliable. The United States, remembering its history of fighting wars to defend small allies for the sake of its credibility, would say that the Poles should know better than to doubt American guarantees. An alliance with Poland is therefore not one that needs to be micromanaged. In fact, the guarantees provided by Washington should be seen as sufficient, if not generous. Poland will get over the American spurn and go about pursuing its only option of being a solid American ally. That pretty much sums up Washington’s view on the matter.

That may sound harsh, but there is much truth in that statement. Poland is not going to cease being an American ally — not considering its current geopolitical circumstances. But Polish officials also do not have the luxury of dismissing American horse-trading with the Russians over Polish security. For Poles, it isn’t a “one-off” affair easily reassured with: “But, we’ll be there when it matters.” No nation can make that sort of a bet, not with its security and not when it has a history of seeing Western powers fail to live up to their security guarantees that far east on the North European Plain.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski will travel to the United States on Wednesday, a day after he spent two days with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and half of the Russian Cabinet, inaugurating the supposed new era in Polish-Russian relations. But when Komorowski travels to Washington, he will expect the Americans to have an answer to Warsaw’s burning question of the moment — what exactly is Washington’s global security strategy and where does Poland fit? Because, as Rogozin so aptly stated, Poland is not looking for assurances against Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Iceland or against polar bears…but very much so against the Russian bear.

23471  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Venezuela to become base for Iranian missiles? on: December 09, 2010, 05:31:14 AM


http://www.hudson-ny.org/1714/iran-missiles-in-venezuela#_ftn1
23472  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / ?Cohetes Iranes van a Venezuela? on: December 09, 2010, 05:30:13 AM
http://www.hudson-ny.org/1714/iran-missiles-in-venezuela#_ftn1
23473  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Intelligence on: December 08, 2010, 09:56:33 PM
Konrad Lorenz wrote quite often of "jackdaws".  This was translated from German.  Does anyone know if this is another word for crows?  or?
23474  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Paraspinals on: December 08, 2010, 09:49:33 PM
http://abbottcenter.com/bostonpaintherapy/2009/10/21/low-back-pain-causes-lumbar-paraspinal-muscles/
23475  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Intelligence on: December 08, 2010, 05:58:06 PM
I liked that Freki.
23476  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 08, 2010, 03:31:32 PM
" I wonder how many fewer lives would have been lost if the enemy wasn't constantly told we were right on the verge of quitting - because of no WMD threat."

My wonderment goes deeper than that.   IMHO the liberal left/progressives/liberal fascists deserve considerable credit/blame for the current state in which we find ourselves in Iraq and vs. Iran due to their destructive temper tantrums and sometimes downright disloyal words and actions and for it not being what could have been achieved but for them. angry angry angry 
23477  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Prepare for dawn on: December 08, 2010, 12:07:30 PM


They say the most profound darkness comes just before the dawn. The harshest oppression of our forefathers in Egypt came just before their liberation.

That was a coarse darkness of slavery of the body. Today it is a darkness of the soul, a deep slumber of the spirit of Man. There are sparks of light, glimmerings of a sun that never shone before --but the darkness of night overwhelms all.

Prepare for dawn.


23478  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Zebra vs. Lion on: December 08, 2010, 11:57:43 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx796zSg5gs&feature=player_embedded
23479  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jon Stewart on Bernanke on: December 08, 2010, 10:56:43 AM

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-7-2010/the-big-bank-theory
23480  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: China-Philippines agreement coming soon? on: December 08, 2010, 10:40:11 AM
Summary
High-level meetings between Philippine and Chinese military officials beginning Dec. 7 are expected to culminate in the signing of a bilateral military logistics agreement to aid the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As the U.S.-Philippine military relationship cools, China sees an opportunity to gain a foothold in the country as it aggressively pushes toward its Southeast Asian periphery. Manila, meanwhile, sees U.S.-Chinese military competition as a way to maneuver its relationship with both countries for its own benefit.

Analysis
The chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Gen. Ricardo David Jr., flew to Beijing on Dec. 7 for a five-day visit to meet with officials from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and sign a military logistics agreement. Details of the agreement were not disclosed, but an AFP spokesman described it as a possible starting point for increased military ties between Beijing and Manila that would have a substantial benefit for the AFP’s 130,000 troops.

The AFP is one of Asia’s weakest military forces, according to a 2007 report by the Jamestown Foundation, despite being one of the top recipients of U.S. military aid (and the oldest U.S. ally) in the Pacific region. Currently, its military force is unable to fully defend against internal threats to the country, let alone handle external security challenges such as control of its many islands and sea-lanes. Thus, the deal would both help the AFP to diversify its sources of military funding and send a message to Washington that Manila has other options for such aid. The anticipated deal is the latest manifestation of the Philippine government’s recent strategy to leverage military assistance from other countries, particularly China and the United States as the two compete for military influence in the region.

The Philippines established defense relations with the United States during the U.S. colonial period from 1898-1946, and these defense relations were enshrined after World War II by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. The Philippines occupied a strategic location to U.S. interests in the Pacific. Until November 1992, the United States maintained and operated military facilities at Clark Air Base, Subic Bay Naval Complex and several other subsidiary installations in the country. The United States closed these facilities in 1992, but U.S. forces returned seven years later through the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a bilateral agreement deal that allows U.S. soldiers to be stationed on Philippine soil.

Washington has considerably stepped up its military assistance to the country since the Sept. 11 attacks, viewing it as a frontline for U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Southeast Asia. It is estimated that the United States has donated more than $500 million-worth of military equipment and supplies since then and provided a vital deterrence capability against potential external threats. However, AFP’s heavy reliance on aid and second-hand weapons systems — including aircraft, patrol boats and small arms from the United States — to equip, train and deploy its forces, means the country still lacks the resources to deal with its security threats.

As the country shifted its focus primarily to internal security threats, particularly from various Islamist separatist groups, namely the Abu Sayyaf Group and Moro Islamist Liberation Front in the southern islands, and the communist group the New People’s Army, an urgent request was made to upgrade Philippine defense capability. The country initiated a military modernization program in 1992, which in 1995 became the AFP Modernization Act. The law aimed to upgrade AFP enough to be able to safeguard the country’s territory and assist government agencies in socio-economic development, but this modernization plan made no substantial gains in the ensuing decade. After newly elected Philippine President Benigno Aquino III took office, the modernization plan was again placed as the top military priority, and China has become a potential alternative to the United States in this endeavor.

Opportunities began emerging for China soon after U.S.-Philippine military relations hit a high point after Aquino returned from a trip to the United States in September and brought back billions of dollars in aid and investment opportunities. In October, Manila began reviewing the VFA. Washington has repeatedly emphasized the deal’s importance, pointing out long-standing military and security assistance to the Philippines. However, Manila argues that the United States has failed in its VFA-mandated obligation to help modernize the AFP and that more aid is needed. Bilateral ties also were strained when the White House released a travel advisory warning of potential terrorism in Manila, which the Philippine government interpreted as retaliation for the VFA review.

Seeing the opening, Beijing stepped up ties with the Philippines, with Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao meeting with senior Philippine defense officials on Nov. 11 to deliver 172 million Philippine pesos-worth ($3.95 million) of heavy equipment to the AFP. China’s “military” aid consists of a small consignment of heavy construction equipment — neither the military hardware the Philippines needs for its counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts nor anything approaching the scale of U.S. aid — but the delivery reflects Beijing’s growing efforts to get a foothold in the country. Along these lines, China has since 2007 offered to sell eight Harbin Z-9 utility helicopters to the Philippines to replace the country’s aging Bell UH-1H helicopters, as well as other modern armaments. It is not clear whether those arms would be included in the deal to be signed by David, but it would be an important indicator to measure any substantial progress in Chinese military assistance to the country.

In the past decade, China has become a major investor in Philippine infrastructure, energy and agriculture and has stepped up its influence on the political and military front. China recognizes U.S. dominance in this sphere, however, and its attempts to gain ground remain cautious to avoid a direct challenge to Washington. However, China may be shifting that behavior to move more aggressively to secure relationships in its periphery, both diplomatically and militarily, since it feels greater pressure from the United States and wants to establish tangible ties to dissuade neighbors from working against China and increase the costs if they choose to do so. Since Manila is the formal U.S. mutual defense treaty ally in the region, the potential for Chinese military influence is somewhat limited, but for the same reason the gains China makes in drawing the Philippines closer are all the more valuable.

Ultimately, the Philippines will remain a close U.S. ally and within the U.S. sphere of influence in the region, but from Manila’s point of view, the renewed U.S. interest in the region, in part to counterbalance China’s growing power, has provided the country room to maneuver its relations with the two powers for its own benefit. Nevertheless, it has to carefully manage these relations to avoid a bold challenge to either side or getting caught in the middle of a brawl between the two giants.

23481  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 08, 2010, 10:26:17 AM
I too support the best and the brightest coming to the America.
23482  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wikileaks: There WERE WMD in Iraq on: December 08, 2010, 10:24:41 AM


http://www.examiner.com/public-safety-in-national/wikileaks-wmd-program-existed-iraq-prior-to-us-invasion
23483  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wikileaks: There WERE WMD in Iraq on: December 08, 2010, 10:23:39 AM


http://www.examiner.com/public-safety-in-national/wikileaks-wmd-program-existed-iraq-prior-to-us-invasion
23484  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 11:23:23 PM
The two stories he told me that I remember:

a) a feud with the Army over 10,000 cases of captured Japanese beer,

b) A movie about the impeachment of President Andrew Jackson was interrupted by an air raid.  A few of the officers were making bets with some of the less educated enlisted men over how it was going to turn out.
23485  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 06:22:07 PM
My dad served in the Navy in New Guineau during the war.  He was a Sea Bee building airstrips.
23486  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bird Intelligence on: December 07, 2010, 06:17:59 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efcIsve5wu8&feature=related
23487  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / African Grey on: December 07, 2010, 06:17:14 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WUyQcg8WCA&feature=related
23488  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia prepares capability to go after US satellites on: December 07, 2010, 10:49:28 AM
It appears that not only the Chinese are working on this:

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-11/russia-invests-2-billion-clean-space-debris

Worth noting is that BO has virtually eliminated our space efforts, including military.  Although this has not gathered any attention, IMHO this is a huge error.  We are going to wake up one morning with our satellite capabilities neutered by the Chinese, just as Iran had its nuke program disrupted by Stuxnet, and our military very seriously exposed e.g. our navy in the western Pacific.
23489  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on Assange on: December 07, 2010, 10:24:44 AM
By DIANNE FEINSTEIN
When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.

The law Mr. Assange continues to violate is the Espionage Act of 1917. That law makes it a felony for an unauthorized person to possess or transmit "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation."

The Espionage Act also makes it a felony to fail to return such materials to the U.S. government. Importantly, the courts have held that "information relating to the national defense" applies to both classified and unclassified material. Each violation is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

No doubt aware of this law, and despite firm warnings, Mr. Assange went ahead and released the cables on Nov. 28.

In a letter sent to Mr. Assange and his lawyer on Nov. 27, State Department Legal Adviser Harold Hongju Koh warned in strong terms that the documents had been obtained "in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action."

Mr. Koh's letter said that publication of the documents in Mr. Assange's possession would, at minimum:

• "Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals—from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security;

• "Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and,

• "Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries—partners, allies and common stakeholders—to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability."

View Full Image

AFP/Getty Images
 
That WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is breaking the law is clear.
.None of this stopped Mr. Assange. That he is breaking the law and must be stopped from doing more harm is clear. I also believe a prosecution would be successful.

In an October analysis of earlier WikiLeaks disclosures, the Congressional Research Service reported that "it seems that there is ample statutory authority for prosecuting individuals who elicit or disseminate the types of documents at issue, as long as the intent element can be satisfied and potential damage to national security can be demonstrated."

Both elements exist in this case. The "damage to national security" is beyond question. As for intent, Mr. Assange's own words paint a damning picture.

In June, the New Yorker reported that Mr. Assange has asserted that a "social movement" set on revealing secrets could "bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality—including the U.S. administration." The same piece revealed Mr. Assange's stunning disregard for the grave harm his actions could bring to innocent people, which he dismisses as "collateral damage."

Mr. Assange claims to be a journalist and would no doubt rely on the First Amendment to defend his actions. But he is no journalist: He is an agitator intent on damaging our government, whose policies he happens to disagree with, regardless of who gets hurt.

More
U.K. Police Seek Assange Interview
.As for the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has held that its protections of free speech and freedom of the press are not a green light to abandon the protection of our vital national interests. Just as the First Amendment is not a license to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, it is also not a license to jeopardize national security.

This latest WikiLeaks release demonstrates Mr. Assange's willingness to disseminate plans, comments, discussions and other communications that compromise our country. And let there be no doubt about the depth of the harm. Consider the sobering assessment, delivered in an email to employees of U.S. intelligence agencies late last month, by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: "The actions taken by WikiLeaks are not only deplorable, irresponsible, and reprehensible—they could have major impacts on our national security. The disclosure of classified documents puts at risk our troops, law enforcement, diplomats, and especially the American people."

Mrs. Feinstein, a Democrat, is a U.S. senator from California and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

23490  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Mortgage Delinquency rate falls on: December 07, 2010, 08:46:54 AM
The percentage of U.S. consumers who are delinquent on their mortgages could fall to about 5% by the end of 2011, from an expected 6.2% at the end of this year, according to a leading credit bureau.

Even so, the proportion of consumers who are 60 or more days overdue on their mortgages would still be sharply higher than the historical range of 1.5% to 2%, according to TransUnion LLC, which analyzed about 27 million randomly selected consumer records from its database. The Chicago credit bureau first started tracking these statistics in 1992.

In data released Tuesday, TransUnion forecasts that mortgage delinquencies will fall to 4.98% in the fourth quarter of 2011 from 6.21% at the end of this year. According to TransUnion, this delinquency rate peaked at 6.89% in fourth quarter of 2009, as lenders tightened underwriting standards.

A decrease in mortgage delinquencies, traditionally a precursor to foreclosure, could boost the faltering recovery in the U.S. economy and the residential real-estate market.

"We think that the mortgage industry isn't out of the woods yet, but it's starting to move in a better direction," said Steve Chaouki, a group vice president in TransUnion's financial-services unit.

Protracted and high unemployment and depressed home values are contributing to the elevated delinquency rate.

TransUnion also forecast that credit-card delinquencies, an important gauge of future losses for lenders, will continue to fall, though not nearly as sharply. By the end of this year, the ratio of credit-card borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent on one or more of their credit cards is expected to reach 0.75%—below the levels at the beginning of 2007, at the peak of the credit boom, according to TransUnion.

As credit quality improves, this delinquency rate is expected to fall to 0.67% by the end of 2011. Credit-card delinquencies are lower than mortgage delinquencies in part because credit-card lenders have more ways to control the potential losses, such as reducing customers' credit lines.

23491  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chuck Norris" BO's 7 Creator Omissions on: December 07, 2010, 08:33:25 AM
I have no idea about the particular's of what Chuck is pushing concerning the bible here, but post this because of its specificity with BO's deliberate deletion of our rights coming from our Creator.
===============

Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)
 
 
Chuck Norris
Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)

Last week, I detailed seven occasions in the past few months at which President Barack Obama omitted the words "by their Creator" from direct quotes of the Declaration of Independence: "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Though you can read the actual quotes in detail in Part 1, let me briefly remind readers where and when they occurred:

--On Oct. 21 at a rally for Sen. Patty Murray in Seattle.

--On Oct. 18 at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dinner in Rockville, Md.

--On Oct. 17 at a reception for Gov. Ted Strickland in Chagrin Fall, Ohio.

--On Sept. 22 at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee/DSCC dinner in New York.

--On Sept. 15 at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 33rd Annual Awards Gala in Washington.

--On Sept. 11 at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va.

--On Sept. 10 at the president's news conference at the White House.

Those presidential omissions might seem justifiable to some, but it alarms me when omissions are exclusively divine and so easily exit and are excused by the United States' supreme leader.

Even at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and drafted, divine omissions seem to be in vogue.

Recently, my pastor and the chaplain of my organizations, Todd DuBord, was on a tour of Independence Hall with David Barton, Jim Garlow and dozens of others. The National Park Service guide leading their group blurted out five unbelievable lies and distortions about our Founders' religious beliefs and history, with school-age children present, as well, in the room:

--"We have no record that George Washington ever attended church."

--While the NPS guide, physically hunched over, mimicked and mocked one carrying and swinging an oversize Bible in his hand, he said to the crowd: "Even if I said the Founders were Christians, how could we really know? Just because people carry a big ol' Bible in their hand, they can still be atheists!"

--"Most of these men owned slaves. How could good Christians do that?"

--"We know that Benjamin Franklin was a deist."

--"We don't really know for sure about their religion. It's open for interpretation. You'll have to do your own study on that."

To add insult to injury, this past week my chaplain received an unfortunate response letter about their grievous tour from Cynthia MacLeod, the superintendent of the Independence National Historical Park. She dodged culpability and refused to cast blame against the NPS guide, justifying that "each ranger leads a tour in his or her own way ... allowing visitors to draw their own conclusions." Really? Even if the ranger misleads and lies about our Founders? (You can read MacLeod's letter in its entirety at my chaplain's website, http://www.NationalTreasures.org.)

That's no way to teach more than 2 million annual guests who visit Independence Hall, including hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren being bused in from across the nation, ready and eager to learn about the accurate history of our republic and its Founders.

The truth is that if you want an accurate religious history of America, you no longer are going to get it from our president, our progressive society or secular schools, at least not without unbiased and trained teachers or the induction of a religious curriculum that hasn't tampered with and twisted history.

Remembering the role of religion in our republic is why I included an entire chapter on the subject (titled "From Here to Eternity") in my latest New York Times best-seller, "Black Belt Patriotism." It is also why my wife, Gena, and I are on the board of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, which has a Bible-based curriculum that has been used in public schools -- on campus, during school hours, for credit -- for the past 15 years. The NCBCPS curriculum has been implemented in 2,075 public high schools. More than 370,000 students nationwide have taken this elective course to date.

We are proud to announce that the NCBCPS will have an electronic version of its curriculum available starting Dec. 15. It will include movies, videos and slides, in addition to its hardcover text, "The Bible in History and Literature," and also "The Teacher's Companion Guide."

The NCBCPS' curriculum is not the Bible curriculum in circulation that promotes UNESCO in its Bible textbook for students. Please make sure your district uses the Bible curriculum textbook titled "The Bible in History and Literature," by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. Don't accept counterfeits, if even under candy-coated biblical titles!

If you would like more information on the NCBCPS' curriculum or want help getting it into your local school district, go to http://www.BibleInSchools.net or call 336-272-8838. To date, 94 percent of the school boards approached with this Bible curriculum have voted to implement it.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was right: "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."

That is why, for the sake of our posterity and the preservation of truth in each of our own communities, we all need to accept this challenge by Ronald Reagan: "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
23492  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chuck Norris: BO' on: December 07, 2010, 08:31:18 AM
Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)
 
 
Chuck Norris
Obama's 7 'Creator' Omissions (Part 2)
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Sign-Up  Last week, I detailed seven occasions in the past few months at which President Barack Obama omitted the words "by their Creator" from direct quotes of the Declaration of Independence: "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Though you can read the actual quotes in detail in Part 1, let me briefly remind readers where and when they occurred:

--On Oct. 21 at a rally for Sen. Patty Murray in Seattle.

--On Oct. 18 at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dinner in Rockville, Md.

--On Oct. 17 at a reception for Gov. Ted Strickland in Chagrin Fall, Ohio.

--On Sept. 22 at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee/DSCC dinner in New York.

--On Sept. 15 at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 33rd Annual Awards Gala in Washington.

--On Sept. 11 at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va.

--On Sept. 10 at the president's news conference at the White House.

Those presidential omissions might seem justifiable to some, but it alarms me when omissions are exclusively divine and so easily exit and are excused by the United States' supreme leader.

Even at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and drafted, divine omissions seem to be in vogue.

Recently, my pastor and the chaplain of my organizations, Todd DuBord, was on a tour of Independence Hall with David Barton, Jim Garlow and dozens of others. The National Park Service guide leading their group blurted out five unbelievable lies and distortions about our Founders' religious beliefs and history, with school-age children present, as well, in the room:

--"We have no record that George Washington ever attended church."

--While the NPS guide, physically hunched over, mimicked and mocked one carrying and swinging an oversize Bible in his hand, he said to the crowd: "Even if I said the Founders were Christians, how could we really know? Just because people carry a big ol' Bible in their hand, they can still be atheists!"

--"Most of these men owned slaves. How could good Christians do that?"

--"We know that Benjamin Franklin was a deist."

--"We don't really know for sure about their religion. It's open for interpretation. You'll have to do your own study on that."

To add insult to injury, this past week my chaplain received an unfortunate response letter about their grievous tour from Cynthia MacLeod, the superintendent of the Independence National Historical Park. She dodged culpability and refused to cast blame against the NPS guide, justifying that "each ranger leads a tour in his or her own way ... allowing visitors to draw their own conclusions." Really? Even if the ranger misleads and lies about our Founders? (You can read MacLeod's letter in its entirety at my chaplain's website, http://www.NationalTreasures.org.)

That's no way to teach more than 2 million annual guests who visit Independence Hall, including hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren being bused in from across the nation, ready and eager to learn about the accurate history of our republic and its Founders.

The truth is that if you want an accurate religious history of America, you no longer are going to get it from our president, our progressive society or secular schools, at least not without unbiased and trained teachers or the induction of a religious curriculum that hasn't tampered with and twisted history.

Remembering the role of religion in our republic is why I included an entire chapter on the subject (titled "From Here to Eternity") in my latest New York Times best-seller, "Black Belt Patriotism." It is also why my wife, Gena, and I are on the board of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, which has a Bible-based curriculum that has been used in public schools -- on campus, during school hours, for credit -- for the past 15 years. The NCBCPS curriculum has been implemented in 2,075 public high schools. More than 370,000 students nationwide have taken this elective course to date.

We are proud to announce that the NCBCPS will have an electronic version of its curriculum available starting Dec. 15. It will include movies, videos and slides, in addition to its hardcover text, "The Bible in History and Literature," and also "The Teacher's Companion Guide."

The NCBCPS' curriculum is not the Bible curriculum in circulation that promotes UNESCO in its Bible textbook for students. Please make sure your district uses the Bible curriculum textbook titled "The Bible in History and Literature," by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. Don't accept counterfeits, if even under candy-coated biblical titles!

If you would like more information on the NCBCPS' curriculum or want help getting it into your local school district, go to http://www.BibleInSchools.net or call 336-272-8838. To date, 94 percent of the school boards approached with this Bible curriculum have voted to implement it.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was right: "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."

That is why, for the sake of our posterity and the preservation of truth in each of our own communities, we all need to accept this challenge by Ronald Reagan: "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
23493  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 08:17:39 AM


  Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 01:01:14 PM »     

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Remembering Pearl Harbor
"December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. ... Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. ... With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounded determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God." --Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat far removed from today's crop of defeatists

On that fateful "Day of Infamy," 353 Japanese planes attacked a military target killing 2,390 American servicemen and civilians and wounding 1,282. The attack sank or damaged eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers and one minelayer and destroyed 188 aircraft. It took four years and the full military-industrial capability of the United States to defeat Japan. It is with honor and respect for those who died or suffered terrible injuries that Sunday morning that we should never again fall into the slumber that allowed such a tragedy as Pearl Harbor -- or the attack on Sept. 11, 2001 -- again.
 
23494  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 07, 2010, 08:16:36 AM


  Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 01:01:14 PM »     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Remembering Pearl Harbor
"December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. ... Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. ... With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounded determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God." --Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat far removed from today's crop of defeatists

On that fateful "Day of Infamy," 353 Japanese planes attacked a military target killing 2,390 American servicemen and civilians and wounding 1,282. The attack sank or damaged eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers and one minelayer and destroyed 188 aircraft. It took four years and the full military-industrial capability of the United States to defeat Japan. It is with honor and respect for those who died or suffered terrible injuries that Sunday morning that we should never again fall into the slumber that allowed such a tragedy as Pearl Harbor -- or the attack on Sept. 11, 2001 -- again.
 
23495  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for Teachers, Schools, and Training Partners on: December 06, 2010, 08:20:18 PM
BTW, Randall is C-Wolf Dog  cool
23496  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Death Tax on: December 06, 2010, 04:18:50 PM
Overlooked in the brawl over expiring Bush-era tax rates is what will happen to the death tax. Without action in the lame duck Congress, the estate tax will rise from the dead on January 1 with a vengeance, the rate climbing back to 55% from zero this year. The exemption amount will revert to a miserly $1 million, unindexed for inflation, so more middle class taxpayers will get hit year after year.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats don't think this is a high priority, but voters do. A November Gallup Poll found that Americans think that keeping the estate tax "from increasingly significantly" is "very important" by 56% to 17% "not too important." That's more than think it is a priority to extend current tax rates (50%), extend jobless benefits (48%), ratify the Start treaty (40%) or let openly gay men and women serve in the military (32%).

Liberals are content to let the rate revert to 55%, with some moderate Democrats arguing for a 45% rate. Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona and Democrat Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas are pushing a compromise that would lower the top rate to 35% with a $5 million deduction. That rate is still 35 percentage points too high for our liking, but we'll take it as an alternative to the greedy political confiscation of more than half of the wealth built by someone who has saved over a lifetime. An estate of $5 million isn't all that much for a successful and thrifty business person with some real estate to accumulate over 50 or 60 years.

 Senior Economics Writer Stephen Moore says congressional Republicans may drive a harder bargain on behalf of taxpayers. Also, Global View Columnist Bret Stephens explains why Iran's foreign minister doesn't want to talk to the US Secretary of State.
.Mr. Obama, who professes to care about small businesses and jobs, should pay attention to new estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The committee finds that reverting to the 55% rate with a $1 million exemption will tax roughly 10 times more small businesses and farms than would Mr. Kyl's proposal. A recent study by Doug Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, finds that the estate tax reduces savings and capital formation and forces family businesses to liquidate at the time of an owner's death, which puts hundreds of thousands of jobs in peril.

As for the deficit, Congress could give relief to families and enhance revenue collections by lowering the gift tax rate to 10% or 15% from 35% on any gifts above $13,000 a year. This would allow parents to pass along more money to their kids and grandkids while they are still alive, increasing federal tax collections in the next few years by billions of dollars.

The Gallup results confirm that voters intuitively understand this tax isn't really about socking Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. Those two billionaires, like most others, have made sure they'll escape the grim tax reaper by parking most of their wealth into tax-exempt foundations. That may explain why the estate tax is so fiscally inconsequential, raising barely 1% of all federal revenue (0.6% in 2009).

At least 10 Senate Democrats have campaigned at one time or another for death tax repeal or relief. The next few days will determine whether they were telling the truth. The result will tell us if Congress is turning to a tax agenda rooted in growth and fairness, or sticking with the policy of government greed and envy that has defined the last four years.

23497  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: How to fight and win the cyberwar on: December 06, 2010, 04:06:42 PM
By MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
Several years ago, during the presidency of George W. Bush, many banks and Wall Street firms were knocked offline. The financial industry, which had long been considered to have the best safeguards against cyberinfections in the private sector, discovered its computers had been penetrated by a worm, so-called because a virus grown on one computer can worm its way to millions of others. Mr. Bush asked then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to examine what it would take to protect our critical infrastructures. The upshot was that steps were taken to strengthen the security of the military networks, but little else was done.

The major shock about the mischievous WikiLeaks—even more than the individual headline items—is that it dramatizes how vulnerable we still are. Digitization has made it easier than ever to penetrate messages and download vast volumes of information. Our information systems have become the most aggressively targeted in the world. Each year, attacks increase in severity, frequency, and sophistication. On July 4, 2009, for instance there was an assault on U.S. government sites—including the White House—as well as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. There were similar attacks that month on websites in South Korea. In 2008, our classified networks, which we thought were inviolable, were penetrated. Three young hackers managed to steal 170 million credit-card numbers before the ringleader was arrested in 2008.

The Internet was originally intended for thousands of researchers, not billions of users who did not know and trust one another. The designers placed a higher priority on decentralization than on security. They never dreamed the Internet could be used for commercial purposes or that it would eventually control critical systems and undergird the world of finance. So it is not surprising that the Internet creators were comfortable with a network of networks rather than separate networks for government, finance and other sectors.

A symbol to many of the open communication of American culture, the Internet has thus evolved into a two-edged sword. Our extensive systems facilitate control of pipelines, airlines and railroads; they energize commerce and private banking. They give us rapid access to medical and criminal records. But they also offer a growing target for terrorists and thieves.

View Full Image

Corbis
 .Most people who experience "malware" have been victims of so-called phishing, whereby criminals pretending to be bank employees, for example, trick the gullible into revealing account numbers and passwords. But cyberwarriors can do damage on a much larger scale, as former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke points out in his revealing book "CyberWar," published earlier this year. They can tap into these networks and move money, spill oil, vent gas, blow up generators, derail trains, crash airplanes, cause missiles to detonate, and wipe out reams of financial and supply-chain data. Havoc can be created at the blink of an eye from remote locations overseas. Criminal groups, nation-states, terrorists and military organizations are at work exfiltrating vast amounts of data from the U.S. public and private sectors.

Another worrisome threat is the distributed denial of service attack, a deluge of Internet traffic specifically intended to crash or jam networks. Hackers using malicious computer code can mobilize a "botnet," or robotic network, of hundreds of thousands of machines that simultaneously visit certain websites to shut them down.

More recently, a virus that targets special industrial equipment has become widely known as the "Stuxnet" attack. This is the worm that this fall reportedly infiltrated the computers controlling Iran's nuclear centrifuge facilities, thereby delaying or even destroying its nuclear-weapons program (the one Iran denies it has). It is the world's first-known super cyberweapon designed specifically to destroy a real-world target.

Similarly, many believe that the immobilization of hundreds of key sites in independent Georgia in 2008 was a Russian government operation accompanying its kinetic war in support of breakaway regions in the former Soviet republic. In a cyberattack on South Korea last year, an estimated 166,000 computers in 74 countries flooded the websites of Korean banks and government agencies, jamming their fiber optic cables.

Mr. Clarke argues in his book that China is one of the key players in developing a cyberwar capability. The Chinese use private hackers to engage in widespread penetration of U.S. and European networks, successfully copying and exporting huge volumes of data. That's on top of their capacity to attack and degrade our computer systems and shut down our critical networks. He believes that the secrets behind everything from pharmaceutical formulas, bioengineering designs, and nanotechnologies to weapons systems and everyday industrial products have been stolen by the Chinese army or private hackers who in turn give them to China.

The United States has done little to enhance the safety of the networks that bolster our economy. We urgently need to develop defensive software to protect these networks and create impermeable barriers to the profusion of malware. Network convergence—transporting all communications over a common network structure—increases the opportunities for and the consequences of disruptive cyberattacks. Hackers and cyberwarriors are constantly devising new ways to trick systems.

Not many people realize that all of our nation's air, land and sea forces rely on network technologies that are vulnerable to cyberweapons, including logistics, command and control, fleet positioning and targeting. If they are compromised or obliterated, the U.S. military would be incapable of operating. It does not help that there is a disproportion between offense and defense. The average malware has about 175 lines of code, which can attack defense software using between 5 million and 10 million lines of code.

It is currently incredibly challenging to figure out the source of an attack, and this in turn inhibits our capacity to prosecute the wrongdoers or retaliate. Malicious programmers are always able to find weaknesses and challenge security measures. The defender is always lagging behind the attacker.

The task is of such a scale that it needs nothing less than a souped-up Manhattan Project, like the kind that broke the scientific barriers to the bomb that ended World War II. Our vulnerabilities are increasing exponentially. Cyberterrorism poses a threat equal to that of weapons of mass destruction. A large scale attack could create an unimaginable degree of chaos in America.

We should think of cyberattacks as guided missiles and respond similarly—intercept them and retaliate. This means we need a federal agency dedicated to defending our various networks. You cannot expect the private sector to know how—or to have the money—to defend against a nation-state attack in a cyberwar. One suggestion recommended by Mr. Clarke is that the our government create a Cyber Defense Administration. He's right. Clearly, defending the U.S. from cyberattacks should be one of our prime strategic objectives.

Few nations have used computer networks as extensively as we have to control electric power grids, airlines, railroads, banking and military support. Few nations have more of these essential systems owned and operated by private enterprise. As with 9/11, we do not enjoy the luxury of a dilatory response.

Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.

23498  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline and Fall of the American Empire-2 on: December 06, 2010, 12:42:36 PM
Military Misadventure: Present Situation

Counterintuitively, as their power wanes, empires often plunge into ill-advised military misadventures.  This phenomenon is known among historians of empire as “micro-militarism” and seems to involve psychologically compensatory efforts to salve the sting of retreat or defeat by occupying new territories, however briefly and catastrophically. These operations, irrational even from an imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the loss of power.

Embattled empires through the ages suffer an arrogance that drives them to plunge ever deeper into military misadventures until defeat becomes debacle. In 413 BCE, a weakened Athens sent 200 ships to be slaughtered in Sicily. In 1921, a dying imperial Spain dispatched 20,000 soldiers to be massacred by Berber guerrillas in Morocco. In 1956, a fading British Empire destroyed its prestige by attacking Suez. And in 2001 and 2003, the U.S. occupied Afghanistan and invaded Iraq. With the hubris that marks empires over the millennia, Washington has increased its troops in Afghanistan to 100,000, expanded the war into Pakistan, and extended its commitment to 2014 and beyond, courting disasters large and small in this guerilla-infested, nuclear-armed graveyard of empires.

Military Misadventure: Scenario 2014

So irrational, so unpredictable is “micro-militarism” that seemingly fanciful scenarios are soon outdone by actual events. With the U.S. military stretched thin from Somalia to the Philippines and tensions rising in Israel, Iran, and Korea, possible combinations for a disastrous military crisis abroad are multifold.

It’s mid-summer 2014 and a drawn-down U.S. garrison in embattled Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is suddenly, unexpectedly overrun by Taliban guerrillas, while U.S. aircraft are grounded by a blinding sandstorm. Heavy loses are taken and in retaliation, an embarrassed American war commander looses B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters to demolish whole neighborhoods of the city that are believed to be under Taliban control, while AC-130U “Spooky” gunships rake the rubble with devastating cannon fire.

Soon, mullahs are preaching jihad from mosques throughout the region, and Afghan Army units, long trained by American forces to turn the tide of the war, begin to desert en masse.  Taliban fighters then launch a series of remarkably sophisticated strikes aimed at U.S. garrisons across the country, sending American casualties soaring. In scenes reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, U.S. helicopters rescue American soldiers and civilians from rooftops in Kabul and Kandahar.

Meanwhile, angry at the endless, decades-long stalemate over Palestine, OPEC’s leaders impose a new oil embargo on the U.S. to protest its backing of Israel as well as the killing of untold numbers of Muslim civilians in its ongoing wars across the Greater Middle East. With gas prices soaring and refineries running dry, Washington makes its move, sending in Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the Persian Gulf.  This, in turn, sparks a rash of suicide attacks and the sabotage of pipelines and oil wells. As black clouds billow skyward and diplomats rise at the U.N. to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach back into history to brand this “America's Suez,” a telling reference to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of the British Empire.

World War III: Present Situation

In the summer of 2010, military tensions between the U.S. and China began to rise in the western Pacific, once considered an American “lake.”  Even a year earlier no one would have predicted such a development. As Washington played upon its alliance with London to appropriate much of Britain's global power after World War II, so China is now using the profits from its export trade with the U.S. to fund what is likely to become a military challenge to American dominion over the waterways of Asia and the Pacific.

With its growing resources, Beijing is claiming a vast maritime arc from Korea to Indonesia long dominated by the U.S. Navy. In August, after Washington expressed a “national interest” in the South China Sea and conducted naval exercises there to reinforce that claim, Beijing's officialGlobal Times responded angrily, saying, “The U.S.-China wrestling match over the South China Sea issue has raised the stakes in deciding who the real future ruler of the planet will be.”

Amid growing tensions, the Pentagon reported that Beijing now holds “the capability to attack… [U.S.] aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean” and target “nuclear forces throughout… the continental United States.” By developing “offensive nuclear, space, and cyber warfare capabilities,” China seems determined to vie for dominance of what the Pentagon calls “the information spectrum in all dimensions of the modern battlespace.” With ongoing development of the powerful Long March V booster rocket, as well as the launch of two satellites in January 2010 and another in July, for a total of five, Beijing signaled that the country was making rapid strides toward an “independent” network of 35 satellites for global positioning, communications, and reconnaissance capabilities by 2020.

To check China and extend its military position globally, Washington is intent on building a new digital network of air and space robotics, advanced cyberwarfare capabilities, and electronic surveillance.  Military planners expect this integrated system to envelop the Earth in a cyber-grid capable of blinding entire armies on the battlefield or taking out a single terrorist in field or favela. By 2020, if all goes according to plan, the Pentagon will launch a three-tiered shield of space drones -- reaching from stratosphere to exosphere, armed with agile missiles, linked by a resilient modular satellite system, and operated through total telescopic surveillance.

Last April, the Pentagon made history.  It extended drone operations into the exosphere by quietly launching the X-37B unmanned space shuttle into a low orbit 255 miles above the planet.  The X-37B is the first in a new generation of unmanned vehicles that will mark the full weaponization of space, creating an arena for future warfare unlike anything that has gone before.

World War III: Scenario 2025

The technology of space and cyberwarfare is so new and untested that even the most outlandish scenarios may soon be superseded by a reality still hard to conceive. If we simply employ the sort of scenarios that the Air Force itself used in its 2009 Future Capabilities Game, however, we can gain “a better understanding of how air, space and cyberspace overlap in warfare,” and so begin to imagine how the next world war might actually be fought.

It’s 11:59 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday in 2025. While cyber-shoppers pound the portals of Best Buy for deep discounts on the latest home electronics from China, U.S. Air Force technicians at the Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) on Maui choke on their coffee as their panoramic screens suddenly blip to black. Thousands of miles away at the U.S. CyberCommand's operations center in Texas, cyberwarriors soon detect malicious binaries that, though fired anonymously, show the distinctive digital fingerprints of China's People's Liberation Army.

The first overt strike is one nobody predicted. Chinese “malware” seizes control of the robotics aboard an unmanned solar-powered U.S. “Vulture” drone as it flies at 70,000 feet over the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan.  It suddenly fires all the rocket pods beneath its enormous 400-foot wingspan, sending dozens of lethal missiles plunging harmlessly into the Yellow Sea, effectively disarming this formidable weapon.

Determined to fight fire with fire, the White House authorizes a retaliatory strike.  Confident that its F-6 “Fractionated, Free-Flying” satellite system is impenetrable, Air Force commanders in California transmit robotic codes to the flotilla of X-37B space drones orbiting 250 miles above the Earth, ordering them to launch their “Triple Terminator” missiles at China's 35 satellites. Zero response. In near panic, the Air Force launches its Falcon Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle into an arc 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and then, just 20 minutes later, sends the computer codes to fire missiles at seven Chinese satellites in nearby orbits.  The launch codes are suddenly inoperative.

As the Chinese virus spreads uncontrollably through the F-6 satellite architecture, while those second-rate U.S. supercomputers fail to crack the malware's devilishly complex code, GPS signals crucial to the navigation of U.S. ships and aircraft worldwide are compromised. Carrier fleets begin steaming in circles in the mid-Pacific. Fighter squadrons are grounded. Reaper drones fly aimlessly toward the horizon, crashing when their fuel is exhausted. Suddenly, the United States loses what the U.S. Air Force has long called “the ultimate high ground”: space. Within hours, the military power that had dominated the globe for nearly a century has been defeated in World War III without a single human casualty.

A New World Order?

Even if future events prove duller than these four scenarios suggest, every significant trend points toward a far more striking decline in American global power by 2025 than anything Washington now seems to be envisioning.

As allies worldwide begin to realign their policies to take cognizance of rising Asian powers, the cost of maintaining 800 or more overseas military bases will simply become unsustainable, finally forcing a staged withdrawal on a still-unwilling Washington. With both the U.S. and China in a race to weaponize space and cyberspace, tensions between the two powers are bound to rise, making military conflict by 2025 at least feasible, if hardly guaranteed.

Complicating matters even more, the economic, military, and technological trends outlined above will not operate in tidy isolation. As happened to European empires after World War II, such negative forces will undoubtedly prove synergistic.  They will combine in thoroughly unexpected ways, create crises for which Americans are remarkably unprepared, and threaten to spin the economy into a sudden downward spiral, consigning this country to a generation or more of economic misery.

As U.S. power recedes, the past offers a spectrum of possibilities for a future world order.  At one end of this spectrum, the rise of a new global superpower, however unlikely, cannot be ruled out. Yet both China and Russia evince self-referential cultures, recondite non-roman scripts, regional defense strategies, and underdeveloped legal systems, denying them key instruments for global dominion. At the moment then, no single superpower seems to be on the horizon likely to succeed the U.S.

In a dark, dystopian version of our global future, a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral forces like NATO, and an international financial elite could conceivably forge a single, possibly unstable, supra-national nexus that would make it no longer meaningful to speak of national empires at all.  While denationalized corporations and multinational elites would assumedly rule such a world from secure urban enclaves, the multitudes would be relegated to urban and rural wastelands.

In Planet of Slums, Mike Davis offers at least a partial vision of such a world from the bottom up.  He argues that the billion people already packed into fetid favela-style slums worldwide (rising to two billion by 2030) will make “the 'feral, failed cities' of the Third World… the distinctive battlespace of the twenty-first century.” As darkness settles over some future super-favela, “the empire can deploy Orwellian technologies of repression” as “hornet-like helicopter gun-ships stalk enigmatic enemies in the narrow streets of the slum districts… Every morning the slums reply with suicide bombers and eloquent explosions.”

At a midpoint on the spectrum of possible futures, a new global oligopoly might emerge between 2020 and 2040, with rising powers China, Russia, India, and Brazil collaborating with receding powers like Britain, Germany, Japan, and the United States to enforce an ad hoc global dominion, akin to the loose alliance of European empires that ruled half of humanity circa 1900.

Another possibility: the rise of regional hegemons in a return to something reminiscent of the international system that operated before modern empires took shape. In this neo-Westphalian world order, with its endless vistas of micro-violence and unchecked exploitation, each hegemon would dominate its immediate region -- Brasilia in South America, Washington in North America, Pretoria in southern Africa, and so on. Space, cyberspace, and the maritime deeps, removed from the control of the former planetary “policeman,” the United States, might even become a new global commons, controlled through an expanded U.N. Security Council or some ad hoc body.

All of these scenarios extrapolate existing trends into the future on the assumption that Americans, blinded by the arrogance of decades of historically unparalleled power, cannot or will not take steps to manage the unchecked erosion of their global position.

If America's decline is in fact on a 22-year trajectory from 2003 to 2025, then we have already frittered away most of the first decade of that decline with wars that distracted us from long-term problems and, like water tossed onto desert sands, wasted trillions of desperately needed dollars.

If only 15 years remain, the odds of frittering them all away still remain high.  Congress and the president are now in gridlock; the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might maximize our country's role and prosperity in a changing world.

Europe's empires are gone and America's imperium is going.  It seems increasingly doubtful that the United States will have anything like Britain's success in shaping a succeeding world order that protects its interests, preserves its prosperity, and bears the imprint of its best values.

Alfred W. McCoy is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Copyright 2010 Alfred W. McCoy
23499  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Decline, Fall, and Resurrection of America on: December 06, 2010, 12:42:03 PM
All:

I post this not because I agree with the inevitability of American decline, but because IMHO this is a serious piece deserving serious conversation.

Marc
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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
Four Scenarios for the End of the American Century by 2025
By Alfred W. McCoy

A soft landing for America 40 years from now?  Don’t bet on it.  The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines.  If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America's downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.

But have no doubt: when Washington's global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.

Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.

Significantly, in 2008, the U.S. National Intelligence Council admitted for the first time that America's global power was indeed on a declining trajectory. In one of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited “the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West to East" and "without precedent in modern history,” as the primary factor in the decline of the “United States' relative strength -- even in the military realm.” Like many in Washington, however, the Council’s analysts anticipated a very long, very soft landing for American global preeminence, and harbored the hope that somehow the U.S. would long “retain unique military capabilities… to project military power globally” for decades to come.

No such luck.  Under current projections, the United States will find itself in second place behind China (already the world's second largest economy) in economic output around 2026, and behind India by 2050. Similarly, Chinese innovation is on a trajectory toward world leadership in applied science and military technology sometime between 2020 and 2030, just as America's current supply of brilliant scientists and engineers retires, without adequate replacement by an ill-educated younger generation.

By 2020, according to current plans, the Pentagon will throw a military Hail Mary pass for a dying empire.  It will launch a lethal triple canopy of advanced aerospace robotics that represents Washington's last best hope of retaining global power despite its waning economic influence. By that year, however, China's global network of communications satellites, backed by the world's most powerful supercomputers, will also be fully operational, providing Beijing with an independent platform for the weaponization of space and a powerful communications system for missile- or cyber-strikes into every quadrant of the globe.

Wrapped in imperial hubris, like Whitehall or Quai d'Orsay before it, the White House still seems to imagine that American decline will be gradual, gentle, and partial. In his State of the Union address last January, President Obama offered the reassurance that “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.” A few days later, Vice President Biden ridiculed the very idea that “we are destined to fulfill [historian Paul] Kennedy's prophecy that we are going to be a great nation that has failed because we lost control of our economy and overextended.” Similarly, writing in the November issue of the establishment journal Foreign Affairs, neo-liberal foreign policy guru Joseph Nye waved away talk of China's economic and military rise, dismissing “misleading metaphors of organic decline” and denying that any deterioration in U.S. global power was underway.

Ordinary Americans, watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic view than their cosseted leaders. An opinion poll in August 2010 found that 65% of Americans believed the country was now “in a state of decline.”  Already, Australia and Turkey, traditional U.S. military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for joint air and naval maneuvers with China. Already, America's closest economic partners are backing away from Washington's opposition to China's rigged currency rates. As the president flew back from his Asian tour last month, a gloomy New York Times headline summed the moment up this way: “Obama's Economic View Is Rejected on World Stage, China, Britain and Germany Challenge U.S., Trade Talks With Seoul Fail, Too.”

Viewed historically, the question is not whether the United States will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be. In place of Washington's wishful thinking, let’s use the National Intelligence Council's own futuristic methodology to suggest four realistic scenarios for how, whether with a bang or a whimper, U.S. global power could reach its end in the 2020s (along with four accompanying assessments of just where we are today).  The future scenarios include: economic decline, oil shock, military misadventure, and World War III.  While these are hardly the only possibilities when it comes to American decline or even collapse, they offer a window into an onrushing future.

Economic Decline: Present Situation

Today, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar's privileged status as the global reserve currency.

By 2008, the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise exports, with just 11% of them compared to 12% for China and 16% for the European Union.  There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself.

Similarly, American leadership in technological innovation is on the wane. In 2008, the U.S. was still number two behind Japan in worldwide patent applications with 232,000, but China was closing fast at 195,000, thanks to a blistering 400% increase since 2000.  A harbinger of further decline: in 2009 the U.S. hit rock bottom in ranking among the 40 nations surveyed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to “change” in “global innovation-based competitiveness” during the previous decade.  Adding substance to these statistics, in October China's Defense Ministry unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, so powerful, said one U.S. expert, that it “blows away the existing No. 1 machine” in America.

Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010.  The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened.  By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.

Such negative trends are encouraging increasingly sharp criticism of the dollar's role as the world’s reserve currency. “Other countries are no longer willing to buy into the idea that the U.S. knows best on economic policy,”observed Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. In mid-2009, with the world's central banks holding an astronomical $4 trillion in U.S. Treasury notes, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev insisted that it was time to end “the artificially maintained unipolar system” based on “one formerly strong reserve currency.”

Simultaneously, China's central bank governor suggested that the future might lie with a global reserve currency “disconnected from individual nations” (that is, the U.S. dollar). Take these as signposts of a world to come, and of a possible attempt, as economist Michael Hudson has argued, “to hasten the bankruptcy of the U.S. financial-military world order.”

Economic Decline: Scenario 2020

After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world's reserve currency.  Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget.  Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter.  By now, however, it is far too late.

Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace.  Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.

Oil Shock: Present Situation

One casualty of America's waning economic power has been its lock on global oil supplies. Speeding by America's gas-guzzling economy in the passing lane, China became the world's number one energy consumer this summer, a position the U.S. had held for over a century.  Energy specialist Michael Klare has argued that this change means China will “set the pace in shaping our global future.”

By 2025, Iran and Russia will control almost half of the world's natural gas supply, which will potentially give them enormous leverage over energy-starved Europe. Add petroleum reserves to the mix and, as the National Intelligence Council has warned, in just 15 years two countries, Russia and Iran, could “emerge as energy kingpins.”

Despite remarkable ingenuity, the major oil powers are now draining the big basins of petroleum reserves that are amenable to easy, cheap extraction. The real lesson of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was not BP's sloppy safety standards, but the simple fact everyone saw on “spillcam”: one of the corporate energy giants had little choice but to search for what Klare calls “tough oil” miles beneath the surface of the ocean to keep its profits up.

Compounding the problem, the Chinese and Indians have suddenly become far heavier energy consumers. Even if fossil fuel supplies were to remain constant (which they won’t), demand, and so costs, are almost certain to rise -- and sharply at that.  Other developed nations are meeting this threat aggressively by plunging into experimental programs to develop alternative energy sources.  The United States has taken a different path, doing far too little to develop alternative sources while, in the last three decades, doubling its dependence on foreign oil imports.  Between 1973 and 2007, oil imports have risen from 36% of energy consumed in the U.S. to 66%.

Oil Shock: Scenario 2025

The United States remains so dependent upon foreign oil that a few adverse developments in the global energy market in 2025 spark an oil shock.  By comparison, it makes the 1973 oil shock (when prices quadrupled in just months) look like the proverbial molehill.  Angered at the dollar's plummeting value, OPEC oil ministers, meeting in Riyadh, demand future energy payments in a “basket” of Yen, Yuan, and Euros.  That only hikes the cost of U.S. oil imports further.  At the same moment, while signing a new series of long-term delivery contracts with China, the Saudis stabilize their own foreign exchange reserves by switching to the Yuan.  Meanwhile, China pours countless billions into building a massive trans-Asia pipeline and funding Iran's exploitation of the world largest natural gas field at South Pars in the Persian Gulf.

Concerned that the U.S. Navy might no longer be able to protect the oil tankers traveling from the Persian Gulf to fuel East Asia, a coalition of Tehran, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi form an unexpected new Gulf alliance and affirm that China's new fleet of swift aircraft carriers will henceforth patrol the Persian Gulf from a base on the Gulf of Oman.  Under heavy economic pressure, London agrees to cancel the U.S. lease on its Indian Ocean island base of Diego Garcia, while Canberra, pressured by the Chinese, informs Washington that the Seventh Fleet is no longer welcome to use Fremantle as a homeport, effectively evicting the U.S. Navy from the Indian Ocean.

With just a few strokes of the pen and some terse announcements, the “Carter Doctrine,” by which U.S. military power was to eternally protect the Persian Gulf, is laid to rest in 2025.  All the elements that long assured the United States limitless supplies of low-cost oil from that region -- logistics, exchange rates, and naval power -- evaporate. At this point, the U.S. can still cover only an insignificant 12% of its energy needs from its nascent alternative energy industry, and remains dependent on imported oil for half of its energy consumption.

The oil shock that follows hits the country like a hurricane, sending prices to startling heights, making travel a staggeringly expensive proposition, putting real wages (which had long been declining) into freefall, and rendering non-competitive whatever American exports remained. With thermostats dropping, gas prices climbing through the roof, and dollars flowing overseas in return for costly oil, the American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal pressures mounting, U.S. military forces finally begin a staged withdrawal from their overseas bases.

Within a few years, the U.S. is functionally bankrupt and the clock is ticking toward midnight on the American Century.

23500  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Assange on: December 06, 2010, 12:14:55 PM
Whatever else WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has accomplished, he's ended the era of innocent optimism about the Web. As wiki innovator Larry Sanger put it in a message to WikiLeaks, "Speaking as Wikipedia's co-founder, I consider you enemies of the U.S.—not just the government, but the people."

The irony is that WikiLeaks' use of technology to post confidential U.S. government documents will certainly result in a less free flow of information. The outrage is that this is Mr. Assange's express intention.


This batch includes 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, the kind of confidential assessments diplomats have written since the era of wax seals. These include Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah urging the U.S. to end Iran's nuclear ambitions—to "cut the head off the snake." This alignment with the Israeli-U.S. position is not for public consumption in the Arab world, which is why leaks will curtail honest discussions.

Leaks will also restrict information flows within the U.S. A major cause of the 9/11 intelligence failures was that agencies were barred from sharing information. Since then, intelligence data have been shared more widely. The Obama administration now plans to tighten information flows, which could limit leaks but would be a step back to the pre-9/11 period.

Mr. Assange is misunderstood in the media and among digirati as an advocate of transparency. Instead, this battening down of the information hatches by the U.S. is precisely his goal. The reason he launched WikiLeaks is not that he's a whistleblower—there's no wrongdoing inherent in diplomatic cables—but because he hopes to hobble the U.S., which according to his underreported philosophy can best be done if officials lose access to a free flow of information.

In 2006, Mr. Assange wrote a pair of essays, "State and Terrorist Conspiracies" and "Conspiracy as Governance." He sees the U.S. as an authoritarian conspiracy. "To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed," he writes. "Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate," he writes, and "pass it around the conspirators and then act on the result."

His central plan is that leaks will restrict the flow of information among officials—"conspirators" in his view—making government less effective. Or, as Mr. Assange puts it, "We can marginalize a conspiracy's ability to act by decreasing total conspiratorial power until it is no longer able to understand, and hence respond effectively to its environment. . . . An authoritarian conspiracy that cannot think efficiently cannot act to preserve itself."

Berkeley blogger Aaron Bady last week posted a useful translation of these essays. He explains Mr. Assange's view this way: "While an organization structured by direct and open lines of communication will be much more vulnerable to outside penetration, the more opaque it becomes to itself (as a defense against the outside gaze), the less able it will be to 'think' as a system, to communicate with itself." Mr. Assange's idea is that with enough leaks, "the security state will then try to shrink its computational network in response, thereby making itself dumber and slower and smaller."

Or as Mr. Assange told Time magazine last week, "It is not our goal to achieve a more transparent society; it's our goal to achieve a more just society." If leaks cause U.S. officials to "lock down internally and to balkanize," they will "cease to be as efficient as they were."
This worldview has precedent. Ted Kaczynski, another math-obsessed anarchist, sent bombs through the mail for almost 20 years, killing three people and injuring 23. He offered to stop in 1995 if media outlets published his Unabomber Manifesto. The 35,000-word essay, "Industrial Society and Its Future," objected to the "industrial-technological system" that causes people "to behave in ways that are increasingly remote from the natural pattern of human behavior." He's serving a life sentence for murder.

Mr. Assange doesn't mail bombs, but his actions have life-threatening consequences. Consider the case of a 75-year-old dentist in Los Angeles, Hossein Vahedi. According to one of the confidential cables released by WikiLeaks, Dr. Vahedi, a U.S. citizen, returned to Iran in 2008 to visit his parents' graves. Authorities confiscated his passport because his sons worked as concert promoters for Persian pop singers in the U.S. who had criticized the theocracy.

The cable reported that Dr. Vahedi decided to escape by horseback over the mountains of western Iran and into Turkey. He trained by hiking the hills above Tehran. He took extra heart medication. But when he fell off his horse, he was injured and nearly froze. When he made it to Turkey, the U.S. Embassy intervened to stop him being sent back to Iran.
"This is very bad for my family," Dr. Vahedi told the New York Daily News on being told about the leak of the cable naming him and describing his exploits. Tehran has a new excuse to target his relatives in Iran. "How could this be printed?"

Excellent question. It's hard being collateral damage in the world of WikiLeaks.
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