Dog Brothers Public Forum

HOME | PUBLIC FORUM | MEMBERS FORUM | INSTRUCTORS FORUM | TRIBE FORUM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 30, 2016, 05:51:30 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
94967 Posts in 2312 Topics by 1081 Members
Latest Member: Martel
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 471 472 [473] 474 475 ... 736
23601  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Flyer on: June 03, 2010, 11:56:46 AM


http://dogbrothers.com/range37.html
23602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Converting back to dollar on: June 03, 2010, 11:40:57 AM
Iran: Converting Back to the Dollar
June 2, 2010 | 1952 GMT
PRINT Text Resize:   
ShareThis


ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images
Iranian Finance Minister Seyed Shamseddin HosseiniThe Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced a plan to convert 45 billion euros from its foreign exchange reserves into dollars and gold, Iran’s state-owned news channel Press TV reported June 2. Meanwhile, the Iranian daily Jaam-e Jam quoted unnamed sources as saying the new monetary policy would be carried out in three phases — the first of which had already begun.

From 2006 through much of 2009 a declining dollar motivated Tehran’s move toward the euro as its preferred currency for its foreign exchange reserves, a policy that dovetailed nicely with its anti-American foreign policy posture. Iran calculated that the dollar would remain in a state of decline while the United States dealt with the fallout from the financial crisis and global risk appetite returned. Even though they were paying transaction fees for converting dollars into euros, the increasing strength of the euro and the political benefits of reducing dollar-denominated holdings more than outweighed these costs.





(click here to enlarge image)
However, while the euro rose from the “conclusion” of the financial crisis, the unfolding European debt crisis is now pressuring the currency again. As a result, in the last six months the euro has lost about 20 percent of its value relative to the dollar. This is problematic for the Iranians, as they now have significant losses on the euro portion of their foreign exchange reserve holdings — last year Iran had claimed that its reserves amounted to about $100 billion (more than half of which it claimed was in euros), not far from other sources reporting $97 billion.

These losses are particularly painful for Iran, as its economy is already suffering from three decades of U.S.-led international sanctions that have led to the atrophy of its energy sector — Iran’s main revenue source. Further complicating this situation are the probability of additional sanctions, an aggressive Iranian foreign policy agenda, existing divisions within the ruling elite and the threat of domestic social unrest over poor economic conditions.

These circumstances would explain why Iran is deciding to alter its currency policy and revert to a largely dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserve. While such a move is indicative of a widening gap between Iran’s rhetoric and its actual behavior when it comes to doing business, narrowing that gap is a luxury Tehran neither can afford nor is too concerned with, given the pragmatic radicalism of the regime.
23603  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A cynical question on: June 03, 2010, 10:23:02 AM
June 03, 2010
Is there a political reason behind the Obama Administration's foot-dragging on the Gulf Oil Clean-Up?
Bill Weckesser

Is the Obama administrations slowness to deal with the gulf oil disaster simply another example of government bungling or is there more to it?  There appears to be one common thread that connects all of the administration's actions, or inaction, as well as both liberal and conservative criticisms -- namely, the administration's slow response.  But, more pointedly the administration has been foot-dragging clean up efforts.  The Wall Street Journal reports that criticizing the clean-up has become Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's daily routine.     
Nearly every day, the Republican policy wonk pulls on his brown cowboy boots and traipses across a newly oiled shore, or takes a boat through fouled waters. Along the way, he often lambastes BP's and the federal government's efforts as "too little, too late" for communities scrambling to protect their fragile wetlands from encroaching crude—comments that have drawn sharp criticism from the White House and some Democratic lawmakers.

Louisiana has jurisdiction over its coastline, but none in the federal waters of the Gulf.

Mr. Jindal accuses the federal government of poorly coordinating cleanup efforts between its agencies and BP, leading to delays in cleaning oiled beaches and marshes, laying protective boom and delivering resources to critical areas.


One can understand the difficulties in plugging a well that's about a mile underwater; it's certainly a daunting task.   But cleaning oil spills is routine work.  There are many methods and there've been lots of suggestions.  Industry expert John Hofmeister argues that supertankers have been successfully used before.  The idea is all over the internet; for instance Esquire has a blog about it

There's a potential solution to the Gulf oil spill that neither BP, nor the federal government, nor anyone — save a couple intuitive engineers — seems willing to try. As The Politics Blog reported on Tuesday in an interview with former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, the untapped solution involves using empty supertankers to suck the spill off the surface, treat and discharge the contaminated water, and either salvage or destroy the slick.

Hofmeister had been briefed on the strategy by a Houston-based environmental disaster expert named Nick Pozzi, who has used the same solution on several large spills during almost two decades of experience in the Middle East — who says that it could be deployed easily and should be, immediately, to protect the Gulf Coast. That it hasn't even been considered yet is, Pozzi thinks, owing to cost considerations, or because there's no clear chain of authority by which to get valuable ideas in the right hands. But with BP's latest four-pronged plan remaining unproven, and estimates of company liability already reaching the tens of billions of dollars (and counting), supertankers start to look like a bargain.


The real question now is, "Why has the administration blocked clean-up efforts, of all things?  There's no argument that it may take until August for new wells to stem the leak, but why isn't everything possible being done to clean the water and prevent as much oil from coming to shore as possible?  Is it merely government bungling or is there a political agenda at work here?  This is, after all, the administration that vowed to "never waste a good crisis."

Did the administration early on make a conscious effort to stone-wall the clean up efforts in an attempt to use scenes of dirty birds and blobs of oil to sway public opinion in favor of its green, cap-and-trade agenda that's looked all but dead in congress?  Could much of the environmental and economic destruction been averted by an aggressive clean-up and containment effort?  Who in the administration is to blame? And why? 

One can only hope that American's will begin asking these tough questions about what appears to be a willful slowness on behalf of Bama Petroleum to vigorously attack the clean-up and preservation efforts.
23604  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / History returns to Europe on: June 03, 2010, 10:15:49 AM
History Returns to Europe
 
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2526744/posts

VIENNA -- Walk the beautiful streets in Munich, Strasbourg and Vienna, and you can see why Europeans thought in the last decades that they had reached the end of history. There is not a soldier to be seen. Sidewalk cafes are jammed midweek with two-hour lunch-goers. Fashion, vacations and sex dominate the ads and billboards.

Bikers, electric commuter trains and tiny fuel-efficient cars zoom by in a green contrast to our gas-guzzling Tahoes and Yukons.

So naturally, there is a general sense of satisfied accomplishment among European social democrats. They believe that finally a quiet sameness across their continent has replaced two millennia of constant European warring and revolution. Now, everybody seems to get an apartment, small car, state job, good pension and peace -- and in exchange, all voice comfortable center-left consensus politics.

But beneath the genteel European Union veneer, few remembered that human nature remains constant and gives not even nice Europeans a pass from its harsh laws.

So suddenly the Greek financial meltdown, and the staggering debts that must be repaid, have alternately enraged and terrified northern European creditors. Even the most vocal Europhiles are quietly rethinking the entire premise of a European Union that offers lavish benefits but no sound method of paying for them.

After all, it is one thing to redistribute income by taking from richer Germans and Austrians to give to poorer Germans and Austrians. But it is something else for all Germans and Austrians to extend their socialist charity to siesta-taking Greeks, Italians and Spaniards. For all the lofty rhetoric of the collective European Union, age-old culture, language and nationalism still trump the ideal of continental unity.

But bickering over a trillion dollars in bad southern European debt is not the EU's only problem. Why, for example, do Europe's cradle-to-grave entitlements so often end up encouraging declining populations, atheism and lower worker productivity that is readily apparent to the casual visitor?

Perhaps if everybody ends up about the same, regardless of effort or achievement, then life must be enjoyed mostly in the here and now. Why sacrifice for children, or put something aside for heirs, or worry over a judgment in the afterlife? The more the European Union talks about its global caring, the less likely its own citizens are to have children.

It is also strange that the more Europeans flock to their ancient majestic cathedrals, splendid museums and grandiose villas and castles to satisfy an innate human desire to enjoy artistic, architectural and religious achievement, the more it is likely that they would never again build a now politically incorrect cathedral at Rouen, a Schönbrunn Palace or a castle on the Rhine.

Much is made of European multiculturalism, a willingness to allow Muslims from the Middle East, Pakistan and Turkey to live separate lives without assimilating fully into European society.

But such "tolerance" reflects in part a fear of radical Islam and terrorism. For all the European talk of progressive attitudes about free speech, feminism and gay rights, such principles fade quickly when radical Muslims demand Sharia law, demonize homosexuals or threaten European cartoonists and novelists. It is almost as if the more Europe takes pride in its own multiculturalism, the larger its ethnic ghettoes expand -- and the more its native populations grow bitter against the foreign-born.

Europe is a vocal member of the United Nations and other transnational organizations. But this utopian internationalism depends on the protection guaranteed by the United States and its huge military. Otherwise, there would either be costly European militaries -- or the occasional threat of attack. Europeans forgot that just because they are not looking for war, it doesn't mean that war might not look for them.

In short, as a reaction to the self-destruction of Europe in World War II and the twin monsters of fascism and communism, Europeans thought they could change human nature itself through the creation of an all-caring, all-wise European Union uber-citizen. Instead of dealing with human sins, European wise men of the last half-century would simply declare them passé.

But human-driven history is now roaring back with a fury in Europe -- from Mediterranean insolvency, to the threat of radical Islam, to demographic decline, to new international dangers on the horizon.

Only one question remains: At a time when Europe is discovering that its democratic socialism does not work, why in the world is the United States doing its best to copy it?
23605  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Atlantic article on MY on: June 03, 2010, 08:03:13 AM
second post

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/06/michael-yons-war/57483/
23606  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Brennan on: June 03, 2010, 07:38:35 AM
No doubt with this man at DHS, the nation is safe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VQbAhqHoAo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNZjTuevDfU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqTaUQtRf_U&feature=related
23607  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 03, 2010, 07:19:57 AM
I am second to very few in my contempt and low opinion of our current President, but my current impression is that this is on the level of President Clinton's fellonious fellatio with Monica Lewinsky.
23608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michael Yon disembedded!!! on: June 03, 2010, 07:17:37 AM
Military Mysteriously Cuts Short Top War Correspondent's Time in Afghanistan
by Chris Carter

The military has cut short a war correspondent's embed, and there may be evidence that the decision may have been part of a smear campaign against the writer.

Michael Yon, a former Green Beret, has been covering Iraq and Afghanistan for six years. He has also covered conflicts in Thailand, the Philippines, and Nepal. Following a string of events covered by Yon that cast a negative light on two top NATO commanders, the military decided to terminate Yon's embed prematurely, citing reasons that didn't add up.

ISAF's reason for disembedding Yon was “embed overcrowding.” Yet in an email to Admiral Gregory J. Smith, an ISAF public affairs officer, Yon wrote, “I rarely see journalists. Those journalists I see have been doing drive-by reporting.”

Yon states that he has forwarded to his attorney “compelling evidence” of a smear campaign perpetrated by members of Gen. McChrystal's staff. He says that the general's staff have released official statements that are “defamatory and libelous.”


“A writer must be able to spot libel just as a soldier must be able to spot IEDs,” writes Yon. “It's part of the job. If you can't spot it, you will get hurt.”

In March, Yon began investigating a possible weapons mishap by Canadian Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard, the top Canadian general in Afghanistan and also Commander of Task Force Kandahar. Reports say that Menard nearly shot Canada's Chief of the Defense Staff, Gen. Walt Natynczyk while preparing to board a helicopter at Kandahar Airfield. According to Yon, Menard didn't acknowledge the incident until ISAF learned that Yon was looking into the matter. Menard was found guilty of negligent discharge and fined $3500 on Tuesday.

Menard has operational control over three battalions of U.S. Army soldiers. And as Yon points out in his website that “while Canada increasingly shies from combat, American units under Canadian command will spill blood under Canadian military leadership that answers to Ottawa.”

The Canadian general's defense counsel stated Menard “accepted full responsibility.” But in a separate incident just days before the shooting, Menard took absolutely no responsibility for a fatal incident on a strategic bridge near Kandahar when a suicide bomber killed a U.S. soldier.

On the morning of March 1, a suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. convoy as they crossed the Tarnak River Bridge leading to Kandahar. The bridge is a chokepoint on a crucial route between Kandahar Airfield and the town of Kandahar, and on out to Helmand Province. The bridge was damaged in the attack, which killed U.S. Army Specialist Ian Gelig, several Afghan civilians, and wounded several other soldiers. Numerous missions were canceled as the river could not be crossed.

The Stryker Brigade that Yon was embedded with was tasked with keeping the roads open. And the British Royal Air Force is responsible for much of the ground around Kandahar Airfield, including the land around the bridge. And the Afghanistan National Police, mentored by U.S. military police were guarding the bridge. However when Yon investigated the matter, he was informed by multiple officers that Menard was ultimately responsible for the bridge at the time of the attack as it belongs to Task Force Kandahar.

“Menard ultimately had responsibility for the bridge,” Yon stated in an interview. When Yon investigated the matter, he was informed by multiple officers that the bridge at the time of the attack belonged to Task Force Kandahar. Menard tried to pin the blame on his supervisor, British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter. Yet during a meeting with ISAF officials, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Ben Hodges took full responsibility, although Yon did not believe him.

When asked why the U.S. military would possibly cover for Menard, Yon replied, “I think the cover was in the interest of Coalition warfare. An American putting it to a Canadian would have had political ramifications.”

Yon has stood alone in his criticism of Menard and received heavy fire for doing so. He called Menard incompetent and said he needed to be fired. He also stands alone saying the same about McChrystal. Yon recently wrote, “This is clear as day: General Stanley McChrystal will lose this war.”

“The reason stated for my disembed was 'overcrowding.' Clearly this is untrue,” Yon said. “The war is going poorly and it is widely known that I will call the ball where it lands. We are losing the war and it seems likely that McChrystal and staff don't want me in combat reporting their failures.”

So with the upcoming operation in Kandahar – which would be commanded by Menard – it seems entirely possible that ISAF wanted Yon out of the theater. His criticism of not only Menard but of ISAF commander Gen Stanley McChrystal could well be the reason behind the ending of his embed.

While the military may view Yon's dispatches as controversial, the American people deserve the truth. And as Kay Day from the US Report says, “No one reporting on the Global War on Terror has done a more effective or honest job than Michael Yon.”

Past statements by Yon were initially viewed as controversial – such as being the first journalist to say the “Surge” was working, or that Iraq was experiencing a “civil war.” However, these events would soon become conventional wisdom. Could his assessments of Gens. Menard and McChrystal soon become conventional wisdom as well?

Perhaps a comment from a reader at the United States Naval Institute sums it up best:

Frankly, I trust Yon more than I trust McChrystal at this point.

The man who took part in the cover-up of [Army Ranger and former professional football player Pat] Tillman’s death has lost quite a bit of credibility. In fact, McChrystal admitted as much – years later – before the Senate.

Yon, meanwhile, was right about Iraq. He was right about Afghanistan. He was right about Petraeus. He was right about Menard.

And I suspect he’s right about McChrystal.
23609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Israel, Turkey, and the US on: June 03, 2010, 06:48:41 AM
Turkey and Israel Fight for U.S. Support
TUESDAY WAS ALL ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL FALLOUT from Israel’s move to raid the Turkish-led aid ship trying to circumvent the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which left 9 people dead (mostly Turkish nationals) and scores of others injured. In a speech before Turkey’s parliament, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Israel not to test Turkey’s patience, adding that the state did not want his country as an enemy. Elsewhere, the head of Israeli intelligence said in a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel’s strategic worth in the eyes of the United States was increasingly on the decline.

After deciding to forcibly bring an end to the Turkish flotilla saga, Israel finds itself in a major bind. They have much of the international community condemning them for the action, and there are growing calls that Israel end the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. At the same time, additional flotillas are being organized, which will only exacerbate matters, especially since Israel has said —international condemnation notwithstanding — it will not end the blockade.

“After deciding to forcibly bring an end to the Turkish flotilla saga, Israel finds itself in a major bind.”
From Israel’s point of view, ending the blockade directly undermines the state’s national security. A Gaza with free access to the outside world does not simply mean relatively improved economic conditions for its inhabitants. It also translates into Hamas and its Islamist militant allies gaining a freer hand to try to acquire weapons, which would be used against Israel.

From Turkey’s point of view, it is no longer content being Israel’s only Muslim ally. Indeed, Turkey has moved beyond being a pro-Western state to one on the path of becoming a great independent power. And its path to regional player status involves assuming an aggressive stance toward Israel, which can help it gain the leadership of the Arab Middle East and the wider Islamic world.

Ankara’s encouragement of the flotilla is very much in keeping with this objective. While the Turks have been successful at creating an international uproar against Israel, they have yet to demonstrate that they can force the Israeli hand. Not having a whole lot of options, Turkey is looking to align itself with the United States against Israel — something Washington has hesitated to do thus far.

While the United States will not even consider the Turkish proposition, it is not exactly endorsing Israel’s position. Even so, there is a strong possibility that the United States could prefer Turkey to Israel in the future since it needs Turkey’s help in extricating itself from the complexities of the region. Which brings us back to the warning from Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who said Israel “is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.” Currently, the United States needs Turkey more than it needs Israel.

While STRATFOR has been pointing out the emerging divergence in U.S. and Israeli interests for quite some time now, this is the first time Israel has acknowledged that its great power patron has a diminishing need for it. Though historically Israel has never faced a challenge from any of its neighboring states, the threat has come from powers outside its immediate region, which is where the great power patron has come in handy. That its traditional ally, the United States, has a need to align with Turkey, a rising regional power and potential adversary to Israel, would explain the statements of the Israeli intelligence chief, which underscore the massive national security debate currently under way in the country.
23610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 03, 2010, 06:47:49 AM
Good find.
23611  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Let us remember on: June 03, 2010, 06:41:05 AM
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/05/has_the_sec_charged_the_right.html
23612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Al Shabaab on: June 03, 2010, 06:15:51 AM
By Scott Stewart

On the afternoon of Sunday, May 30, an Aeromexico flight from Paris to Mexico City was forced to land in Montreal after authorities discovered that a man who was on the U.S. no-fly list was aboard. The aircraft was denied permission to enter U.S. airspace, and the aircraft was diverted to Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. The man, a Somali named Abdirahman Ali Gaall, was removed from the plane and arrested by Canadian authorities on an outstanding U.S. warrant. After a search of all the remaining passengers and their baggage, the flight was allowed to continue to its original destination.

Gaall reportedly has U.S. resident-alien status and is apparently married to an American or Canadian woman. Media reports also suggest that he is connected with the Somali jihadist group al Shabaab. Gaall was reportedly deported from Canada to the United States on June 1, and we are unsure of the precise charges brought against him by the U.S. government, but more information should be forthcoming once he has his detention hearing. From the facts at hand, however, it appears likely that he has been charged for his connection with al Shabaab, perhaps with a crime such as material support to a designated terrorist organization.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a lookout to authorities in Texas, warning that another Somali purportedly linked to al Shabaab was believed to be in Mexico and was allegedly planning to attempt to cross the border into the United States. This lookout appears to be linked to a U.S. indictment in March charging another Somali man with running a large-scale smuggling ring bringing Somalis into the United States through Latin America.

Taken together, these incidents highlight the increased attention the U.S. government has given to al Shabaab and the concern that the Somali militant group could be planning to conduct attacks in the United States. Although many details pertaining to the Gaall case remain unknown at this time, these incidents involving Somalis, Mexico and possible militant connections — and the obvious U.S. concern — provide an opportunity to discuss the dynamics of Somali immigration as it relates to the U.S. border with Mexico, as well as the possibility that al Shabaab has decided to target the United States.

The Somali Diaspora
In any discussion of al Shabaab, it is very important to understand what is happening in Somalia — and more important, what is not happening there. Chaos has long reigned in the African country, chaos that became a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the early 1990s due to civil war. Somalia never fully recovered from that war, and has lacked a coherent government for decades now. While Somalia does have a government in name, known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), it controls little apart from a few neighborhoods and outposts in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. In this vacuum of authority, warlords and pirates have thrived, along with a variety of militant Islamist groups, such as the jihadist group al Shabaab.

The decades of fighting and strife have also resulted in the displacement of millions of Somalis. Many of these people have moved into camps set up by humanitarian organizations inside the country to help the huge number of internally displaced people, but large numbers of Somalis have also sought refuge in neighboring countries. In fact, the situation in Somalia is so bad that many Somalis have even sought refuge in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world. Tens of thousands of Somalis have also been resettled abroad in places like the United States, Canada and Europe.

Unlike an earthquake, tsunami or other natural disaster, the man-made disaster in Somalia has continued for decades. As Somali refugees have been settled in places like the United States, they, like many other immigrants, frequently seek to have their relatives join them. Frequently, they are able to do this through legal means, but quite often, when the wait for legal immigration is deemed too long or an application is denied for some reason — such as the applicant’s having served in a militia — illegal means are sought to bring friends and relatives into the country. This is by no means a pattern exclusive to Somali immigrants; it is also seen by other immigrant groups from Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. For example, Christians from Iraq, Egypt and Sudan are frequently smuggled into the United States through Latin America.

In years past, a significant portion of this illegal traffic passed through Canada, but in the post-9/11 world, Canada has tightened its immigration laws, making it more difficult to use Canada as an entry point into the United States. This has driven even more immigrant traffic to Latin America, which has long been a popular route for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Indeed, we have seen an expansion of Somali alien-smuggling rings in Latin America in recent years, and according to documents filed in court, some of these groups have been associated with militant groups in Somalia. In an indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on March 3, 2010, a Somali named Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane was charged with operating a large-scale alien-smuggling ring out of Brazil responsible for smuggling several hundred Somalis and other East Africans into the United States. The indictment alleges that the persons Dhakane’s organization smuggled included several people associated with al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI), a militant group linked to al Qaeda that was folded into the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) after the latter group’s formation. After Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia and toppled the SICC in late 2006, many of the more hardcore SICC militants then joined with the SICC youth wing, al Shabaab, to continue their armed struggle. The more nationalist-minded SICC members formed their own militant organization, called Hizbul Islam, which at various times either cooperates or competes with al Shabaab. The U.S. government officially designated AIAI a terrorist group in September 2001. The March indictment also alleged that Dhakane was associated with al-Barakat, a Somalia-based company that is involved in the transfer of money to Somalia. The U.S. government claims that al-Barakat is involved in funding terrorist groups and has designated the company a terrorist entity. Diaspora Somalis transfer a great deal of legitimate money to family members back in Somalia through organizations such as al-Barakat because there is no official banking system in the country, and militant groups like al Shabaab use this flow of money as camouflage for their own financial transactions.

Many other alien smugglers besides Dhakane are involved in moving Somalis through Latin America. Most of these smugglers are motivated by profit, but some like Dhakane who have ties to militant groups might not be opposed to moving people involved with militant groups — especially if they also happen to make more money in the process. Other smugglers might unknowingly move militants. Moreover, a number of front businesses, charities and mosques in the region more closely tied to militant groups of various stripes are used to raise funds, recruit and facilitate the travel of operatives through the region. Some of these entities have very close ties to people and organizations inside the United States, and those ties are often used to facilitate the transfer of funds and the travel of people.

Determining Intentions
Clearly, there are many Somalis traveling into the United States without documentation. According to the U.S. government, some of these Somalis have ties to jihadist groups such as AIAI and al Shabaab, like Dhakane and Gaall, respectively. Given the number of warlords and militias active in Somalia and the endemic lack of employment inside the country, it is not at all uncommon for young men there to seek employment as members of a militia. For many Somalis who are driven by the need merely to survive, ideology is a mere luxury. This means that unlike the hardcore jihadists encountered in Saudi Arabia or even Pakistan, many of the men fighting in the various Somali militias do not necessarily ascribe to a particular ideology other than survival (though there are certainly many highly radicalized individuals, too).

The critical question, then, is one of intent. Are these Somalis with militant ties traveling to the United States in pursuit of a better life (one hardly need be an Islamist bent on attacking the West to want to escape from Somalia), or are they seeking to travel to the United States to carry out terrorist attacks?

The situation becomes even more complex in the case of someone like Gaall, who came to the United States, reportedly married an American woman, received resident-alien status, but then chose to leave the comfort and security of the United States to return to Somalia. Clearly, he was not a true asylum seeker who feared for his life in Somalia, or he would not have returned to the African country. While some people become homesick and return home, or are drawn back to Somalia for some altruistic purpose, such as working with a non-governmental organization to deliver food aid to starving countrymen— or to work with the Somali government or a foreign government with interests in Somalia — some Somalis travel back to support and fight with al Shabaab. Since most of the previously mentioned activities are not illegal in the United States, the criminal charges Gaall faces likely stem from contact with al Shabaab.

Having contact with al Shabaab does not necessarily mean that someone like Gaall would automatically return to the United States intending to conduct attacks there. It is possible that he considered Somalia a legitimate theater for jihad but did not consider civilians in the United States legitimate targets. There is a great deal of disagreement in jihadist circles regarding such issues, as witnessed by the infighting inside al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb over target selection. There are also militant groups, like Hamas and Hezbollah, who consider the United States as a place to recruit and raise funds rather than a battlefield for jihad. U.S. authorities certainly would err on the side of caution regarding such people, and would charge them with any applicable criminal charges, such as material support of a terrorist group, rather than run the risk of missing an impending attack.

If it is determined that Gaall intended to conduct an attack inside the United States, the next question becomes whether he sought to conduct an attack of his own volition or was sent by al Shabaab or some other entity.

As we have previously discussed, we consider the current jihadist world to be composed of three different layers. These layers are the core al Qaeda group; the regional al Qaeda franchises (like al Shabaab); and grassroots jihadists — either individuals or small cells — inspired by al Qaeda and the regional franchises but who may have little if any actual connection to them. It will be important to determine what Gaall’s relationship was with al Shabaab.

To this point, the leadership of al Shabaab has shown little interest in conducting attacks outside Somalia. While they have issued threats against Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia (which invaded Somalia and deposed the SICC), al Shabaab has yet to act on these threats (though AIAI did conduct a series of low-level bombing attacks in Ethiopia in 1996 and 1997 and al Shabaab has periodic border skirmishes with the Kenyan military). Somalis have also been involved with the al Qaeda core for many years, and al Shabaab has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden — the reason we consider them an al Qaeda regional franchise group.

That said, we have been watching al Shabaab closely this year to see if they follow in the footsteps of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and become a transnational terrorist group by launching attacks against the West rather than just a group with a national or regional focus. While some al Shabaab members, like American-born Omar Hammami — who sings jihadi rap songs about bringing America to its knees — have threatened the West, it remains unclear whether this is rhetoric or if the group truly intends to attack targets farther afield. So far, we have seen little indication that al Shabaab possesses such intent.

Due to this lack of demonstrated intent, our assessment at the present time is that al Shabaab has not yet made the leap to becoming transnational. That assessment could change in the near future, however, as details from the Gaall case come out during court proceedings — especially if it is shown that al Shabaab sent Gaall to the United States to conduct an attack.

23613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Madison, 1822 on: June 03, 2010, 06:04:57 AM
"A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." --James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, 1822
23614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 02, 2010, 07:41:40 PM
I remember her a being loud, bright, and domineering.  I remember my step-father throwing her out of the house for shouting too much and waking my brother.  cheesy
23615  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 7/31-8/1 Guro Crafty at Range 37 in Fayetteville, NC on: June 02, 2010, 10:21:50 AM
A clarification is in order.

The seminar will be held at "Range 37 Public Shooting Range and Gun Club" which is owned and operated by Frankie McCrae, who, until recently, was one of the instructors at the Range 37 of Fort Bragg.
23616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Seige Fatigue on: June 02, 2010, 07:44:46 AM
By RONEN BERGMAN
Tel Aviv

Monday's botched commando raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla has proven disastrous for Israel. World public opinion has united in condemning the Jewish state and the U.N. Security Council has already demanded an inquiry. Closer to home, the strategic alliance that Israel had painstakingly forged with Turkey is in tatters.

The horrific outcome—so far nine killed and dozens wounded—has caused irreparable damage to Israel's image. Even if the video evidence proves beyond doubt that the activists on board the ships were armed and that they were the first to attack, the battle for public opinion (which, after all, is what the flotilla exercise was really about) was lost the moment the first Israeli soldier set foot on the deck of the Mavi Marmara—the Turkish ferry that served as the flagship.

What makes the flotilla fiasco all the more astounding is that Israel has been preparing for this confrontation for months. It has had time to run various scenarios, and even to review strategies it has previously employed for similar events.

In 1988, 131 members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who had been deported from the Palestinian Territories following the outbreak of the first intifada intended to set sail to Gaza from Limassol, Cyprus. Their boat, called Al Awda or the Ship of the Return, was accompanied by 200 journalists.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
The Mavi Marmara, lead boat of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip, which was stormed by Israeli naval commandos.
.Publicly, Israel announced that it would use any force necessary to prevent the vessel from reaching Gaza. But behind the scenes the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general staff, including then Deputy Chief of Staff Ehud Barak, recognized that while seizing control of the ship or blowing it out of the water were not operationally complicated, the international repercussions of such plans would be grim if the Israelis were met with resistance and a battle ensued.

For this reason, the idea of a direct confrontation was abandoned, and the IDF decided to implement a covert operation instead. On Feb. 15, hours before it was due to set sail, the empty ship was blown up in Limassol harbor by a team of Mossad agents and frogmen from Flotilla 13 (the Israeli equivalent of Navy Seals). The team was led by Yoav Galant, then a young officer and today a major general in the IDF. The operation was a success. There were no casualties on either side and the PLO gave up on the idea of sailing to Gaza.

More recently, in August 2006 two ships carrying peace activists and food aid set out to Gaza, again from Cyprus. Under instructions from then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the vessels were boarded at sea without resistance. After a search uncovered no weapons, the ships were permitted to continue on toward the Strip. The Israeli naval forces went home, Hamas declared victory, and that was that.

Related
Pressure Rises on Israel Over Raid
Crisis Spurs Look at Turkish Group
U.S. Mutes Criticism of Israeli Raid
.But unlike 2006, the rhetoric from both sides—as well as the fact that the Insani Yardim Vakfi, a front group for the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood, organized the flotilla—made it clear that any attempt to take control of the vessels would almost certainly result in violent confrontation. This is what makes inexplicable the IDF's decision to have members of the Flotilla 13 commando unit board the Marmara. These men are not trained to deal with civilian protestors. And there were other options available to the IDF, such as disabling the ships at sea and towing them to an Israeli port.

While the instinct of many is no doubt to lay the blame at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's door, it should not be forgotten that the current minister of defense is Ehud Barak, a calmer head whose wealth of military experience includes, as mentioned above, firsthand familiarity with the arguments for and against employing potentially violent methods in similar situations.

What, then, are we to make of the decision-making that led to this tragedy?

Many observers, myself included, often resort to the concept of siege mentality when attempting to make sense of Jerusalem's approach to international relations. It is also true that the memory of the Holocaust still looms large in Israel, especially when existential threats—in which category I emphatically do not include a grab-bag collection of Turkish boats—emerge on Israel's horizon. But until recently, even with its siege mentality, the Israeli government always made an attempt—half-hearted, or ill-conceived, or badly executed, but an attempt nonetheless—to act in a way that would minimize possible harm to the state's international image.

What we witnessed in the early hours of Monday morning was symptomatic of a new degree of fatigue in Israeli governing circles. The fact that both the political and the military authorities could sign off on such an irresponsible operation suggests that the leadership of the country has given up what it has concluded is ultimately a Sisyphean attempt to accommodate world opinion. Isolation is no longer a threat to be fought, their thinking seems to go, because Israel is terminally isolated. What remains is to concentrate exclusively on what is best for Israel's survival, shedding any regard for the opinion of others.

"It makes no difference what we do, or how careful we are, or how we tackle the matter of the flotilla," I was told by a very senior military source two days before the operation. "Whatever we do, they'll all be against us, they'll condemn us at the U.N., and we'll be scolded. We might as well at least preserve our national dignity and maintain the blockade of Gaza." In other words, the war over world opinion is over—and Israel has lost.

Everything that has happened in the past year—the Goldstone Report condemning Israel's war in Gaza, the international furor after the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai, even the statement singling out Israel at the recent Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference—is taken as an indication that any attempt to do the "right thing" is pointless and perhaps counterproductive. One might as well simply give up.

This feeling is shared by a large section of the Israeli population—not merely the right wing of Israeli society. While many are condemning the IDF's operation on Monday, it is probably fair to say that the majority of the country instinctively understands why these events were permitted to occur.

Israel's fatigue and deep sense of ostracism is, to say the least, unhealthy. It would be unhealthy for any country at the best of times. But it is particularly troubling when the country in question is at perpetual war, and when it is repeatedly threatened with annihilation by the leader of a country who is actively pursuing nuclear weapons. And, of course, it is profoundly disturbing when the fatigued and isolated country itself has the means to strike pre-emptively and punishingly at its enemies, including in ways from which, realistically, there may be no return.

Mr. Bergman, a senior military and political analyst for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, is the author of "The Secret War With Iran" (Free Press, 2008).
23617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: June 02, 2010, 07:40:43 AM
"The best service that can be rendered to a Country, next to that of giving it liberty, is in diffusing the mental improvement equally essential to the preservation, and the enjoyment of the blessing." --James Madison, letter to Littleton Dennis Teackle, 1826

"It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country." --Noah Webster, On Education of Youth in America, 1790

"Our own Country's Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions - The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth." --George Washington, General Orders, 1776

"It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives." --John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756
23618  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / With apologies to Art Linkletter , , , on: June 01, 2010, 03:02:30 PM
Kids say the darnedest things!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100531/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_peru_girl_immigration
23619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A Miranda decision (Sotomayor in dissent) on: June 01, 2010, 02:59:42 PM


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100601/ap_on_go_su_co/us_supreme_court_miranda_rights
23620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Laws of Gravity and Supply & Demand apply to Canada too on: June 01, 2010, 02:48:11 PM
Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model - Yahoo! News

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100531/hl_nm/us_health
23621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 01, 2010, 10:26:19 AM
Turkish (blood)bath

By RALPH PETERS

Last Updated: 12:43 AM, June 1, 2010

Posted: 12:21 AM, June 1, 2010

Yesterday's "aid convoy" incident off the coast of Gaza wasn't about bringing humanitarian supplies to the terrorist-ruled territory. It wasn't even about Israel.  It was about Turkey's determination to position itself as the leading Muslim state in the Middle East.

Three ships of that six-ship pro-terror convoy flew Turkish flags and were crowded with Turkish citizens. The Ankara government -- led by Islamists these days -- sponsored the "aid" operation in a move to position itself as the new champion of the Palestinians.  And Turkish decision-makers knew Israel would have to react -- and were waiting to exploit the inevitable clash. The provocation was as cynical as it was carefully orchestrated.  The lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, just happened to have an al-Jazeera TV crew on board to film Israel's response. Ironically, the early videos would've been counterproductive, had world leaders and journalists not been programmed to blame everything on Israel.

Those videos showed Israeli commandos rappelling onto the ship with both hands on the rope (making it rather hard to use a weapon), yet activists claimed the Israelis opened fire as they descended.  Purely by coincidence, dozens of "peace activists" waited with sharpened iron bars, clubs, slingshots -- and rifles. Of course, the nine dead in the melee were all Israel's victims.

The first wave of Israeli commandos reportedly were armed only with paintball rounds for crowd control. Inspect those videos of maddened peaceniks assaulting the soldiers as they landed on deck. You don't see any Israelis pointing rifles -- they're fending off blows.

But the claims of pro-terrorist "peace advocates" are given instant credence.

The US government's initial response was restrained, but Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understandably canceled his meeting with President Obama, scheduled for today. Bibi's got an emergency on his hands back home, as well-organized protests sweep the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Europeans and UN bonzes rage at Israel with unseemly relish, but ignore the luxury lifestyles of Gaza's insider elite and the fact that no Palestinian's going hungry. The Israelis had even offered to transfer the aid aboard those ships to the Palestinians -- as long as they could inspect it.  But neither the activists nor the Turkish government wanted a negotiated outcome. This was a stunt from the start.

Now, as we wait to see if Hamas and Hezbollah up the ante, the world ignores Turkey's decisive role in this fiasco.

The US and the European Union cling to the fiction that Turkey's a "westernized Muslim democracy." But Turkey's moving to the east as fast as the Islamist leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) can drag it there.  Turkish leaders visit the West and sing, "Democracy, democracy, democracy!" We coo and clap. Then they go east and cry, "Islam, Islam, Islam!" And we insist they don't mean it.

Then there's Turkey's unfortunate NATO membership. Since the rise of its Islamists, Turkey has been a Trojan horse, not an ally. What happens now if Ankara provokes a military confrontation? How would we respond, given NATO's mutual-defense agreements?

The madcap agenda of Turkey's current rulers is to create a 21st-century version of the Ottoman Empire. Turks even mutter about the caliphate -- headed for centuries by the Turkish sultan. This is explosive stuff. And the Turks are playing with matches.

But we've obstinately ignored every warning sign. First, our "ally" stabbed us in the back on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, denying our troops their planned routes into Iraq. Then the Turkish media intensified its anti-American fantasies.  Headscarves became de rigeur for the wives of top officials in Ankara as the Turks made mischief in Iraq. Emulating the history-obliterating Saudis, the Turks began work on the vast Ilisu Dam -- which will permanently submerge pre-Islamic and Kurdish archaeological sites of incalculable value. (The Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban were of comparatively minor interest to researchers.)

Then, just last month, the Turks moved to provide the Iranian regime with cover for its nuclear program. And we still didn't get it.

The most dramatic transformation in the Middle East since the fall of the shah is playing out before us. And we can't see behind the mask of the "plight of the Palestinians" (a key Obama administration concern).

In yesterday's confrontation, Israel behaved clumsily. The peace activists behaved savagely. The Turks behaved cynically. The world reacted predictably.

And Washington scratched its head.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Endless War."
23622  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Now here's a surprising development on: June 01, 2010, 12:44:07 AM
Now here's a surprising development.  Who could have imagined that men and women together in a war zone would copulate?

===================

ia Verma and Richard Blackwell

Kabul and Toronto — From Monday's Globe and Mail
Published on Sunday, May. 30, 2010 10:35PM EDT
 
Last updated on Monday, May. 31, 2010 11:21AM EDT
 

.The reputation and morale of Canada’s military, still reeling from allegations that a base commander committed multiple murders, has suffered another blow with the dismissal of its top soldier in Afghanistan for breaking the rules on personal relationships in the field.

Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard was removed from command following allegations he had an intimate relationship with a member of his staff. The subordinate involved has been sent home, according to a military spokesman.

Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance, Gen. Ménard’s predecessor, will be returning to Kandahar this week to assume command less than a year after he left, arriving as coalition troops are poised to launch a major operation in Kandahar in June that is cast as the defining moment of the war.

While Canadian military commanders in Afghanistan sought to down play the controversy as a personal ordeal, military observers and former officers said Gen. Ménard’s dismissal could be damaging to the morale of the troops on the ground, and possibly taint Canadians’ image of the armed forces.

It will certainly “take away some of the glitter” that was associated with Canadian soldiers’ performance in Afghanistan, said Michel Drapeau, a professor of military law and a former armed forces colonel.


“ I’m encouraged by the fact that Ménard was removed from his post, since it suggests that the Forces are taking the rules, and the rights and interests of female soldiers, seriously. ”
— Michael Byers, professor of political science at the University of British Columbia


It is particularly unfortunate that it comes so soon after Colonel Russell Williams, the former base commander at CFB Trenton, was charged with multiple murders and sexual assaults, he said. While the allegations against Gen. Ménard are in no way similar, they will add to the public’s concern about the quality of leadership in the armed forces and raise worries within the Forces as well, he said. “People in the military [will say] ‘Here we go again,’”

However, the greatest impact, Mr. Drapeau said, will be on the morale of troops in Afghanistan who served under Gen. Ménard. “It’s devastating,” he said. “They [put] all of their trust and respect in him, and they were prepared to follow him into battle ... Their sense of confidence in leadership will take a hit.”

Military historian Jack Granatstein said it is important to note that the allegations against Gen. Ménard are “infinitely less serious” than those against Col. Williams. If proven, they will primarily demonstrate “stupidity on the part of a commanding officer who’s job it is to set an example.”

Gen. Ménard commanded 2,800 Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan, as well as a contingent of American troops serving under Canadian command.

The allegations against him caused military command to “lose confidence” in his “capacity to command,” the military said in a brief statement. Military rules strictly forbid any kind of intimacy on deployments, including relationships of an emotional, romantic or sexual nature.

Gen. Ménard, is 42 and married with two children. Major Daryl Morrell, senior public affairs officer with Joint Task Force Afghanistan, said it was “too early to speculate on the charges” Gen. Ménard could face, because they won’t be known until the military completes its investigation.



AP
Brigadier-General Daniel Menard, commander of Canada's task force Afghanistan, speaks to reporters in Kandahar on Jan. 30, 2010.
.
Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard, commander of Canadian forces overseas, made a brief visit to Afghanistan several weeks ago, before Gen. Ménard went on a three-week leave, from which he has just returned. However, reporters at Kandahar Air Field were told the allegations were only revealed to Gen. Lessard on Saturday. Lt.-Gen. Lessard acted immediately to replace Gen. Ménard.

Colonel Simon Hetherington, previously Brig.-Gen. Ménard's second-in-command, is now acting commander until Gen. Vance arrives. He sought to down play any consequences the allegations could have on the military’s reputation.

“The allegations against Brig-Gen. Ménard are that – they’re allegations,” Col. Hetherington said. “It’s a personal thing, so I don’t see that as any sort of mark against the institution at all,” he added.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay declined to comment on the case while it was under investigation by the military.

Michael Byers, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, said that while it is clearly discouraging for troops to see a senior officer accused of breaking the rules, it also tells the public that those rules are being applied at all levels.

“I’m encouraged by the fact that Ménard was removed from his post, since it suggests that the Forces are taking the rules, and the rights and interests of female soldiers, seriously,” Prof. Byers said.

Retired major-general Lewis Mackenzie said the fact that Gen. Ménard was the commander in Afghanistan raises the situation above a minor issue, because he would be the one to make final decisions in other cases of inappropriate behaviour. “He’s the last level of authority in the theatre in disciplinary matters.”

Douglas Bland, the chair of defence management studies at the Queen’s University School of Policy Studies, said the military has moved quickly to deal with leadership issues since the Somalia inquiry, when problems in command were linked to the fatal beating of a teenager by two Canadian soldiers during a humanitarian mission in Somalia. “That is a sign of their sensitivity and seriousness about maintaining good order and discipline across the forces,” he said.

But Prof. Bland said the rules prohibiting personal relationships are essential, especially in combat zones, “where the integrity of the unit is supreme,” and must be followed, particularly, by the highest-ranking soldiers.

This is not the first time controversy has dogged Gen. Ménard.

Last week he was fined $3,500 for accidentally firing his rifle at Kandahar Air Field in March. He had failed to switch is C8 carbine rifle to the “safe” position before departing in a helicopter with his boss, General Walter Natynczyk.

Nobody was injured, but the incident qualifies as an offence under the National Defence Act, with a maximum penalty of dismissal from the military. At a military hearing into the incident, Gen. Ménard’s defence lawyer argued for leniency, noting the commander reported the mishap to investigators and discussed the incident openly with his soldiers.

Brig.-Gen Ménard joined the Canadian forces in 1984 and was posted to the Royal 22nd Regiment where initially served as a platoon commander.

He rose quickly through the ranks, serving in Great Britain, Berlin, Germany and Bosnia. He assumed command of Task Force Kandahar in November.


23623  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Turkey on: June 01, 2010, 12:28:07 AM


Stratfor has been very clear that it sees Turkey as returning to its natural role as a major player in the region.  With the US being led , , , as it is, it is no surprise that Turkey is going with the strong horses in the region.  With President Obama tuirning on Israel as he has, it is entirely predictable that Turkey is changing course as it apparently is.

The decision to send the flotilla to Gaza is a major piece of news with important big picture implications:
===========

   
Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion
May 31, 2010




By George Friedman

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario
In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza
The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel
It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

 
23624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 31, 2010, 03:32:15 PM
Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion
May 31, 2010




By George Friedman

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario
In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza
The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel
It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.
23625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The case for Fiorina on: May 31, 2010, 01:44:26 PM
 ALLYSIA FINLEY
Costa Mesa, Calif.

"I've always voted against taxes. This is important, ladies and gentlemen, because our country is on a precipice. Do you want people to follow through on their promises?" state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore bellows to a rapt crowd this week at the Ayres Hotel in Costa Mesa. More than three hundred people have come to this GOP Senate debate to see the three candidates duke it out in the final push toward the June 8 primary. And Mr. DeVore clearly doesn't plan on playing third fiddle to opponents Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina.

The rabble-rousing radio talk-show hosts moderating the debate encourage the candidates to "fight it out" as if it were a WWF wrestling match. So when Mr. DeVore goes after former Hewlett Packard CEO Fiorina for supporting a ballot initiative a decade ago that he says "would gut Prop 13," which limits property tax increases, she fires back: "I'm sure it's very frustrating for Chuck DeVore to have so many conservatives endorsing me. Maybe it makes Chuck DeVore, who's sort of dog-paddling at 14% in the polls . . . feel better to belittle other people's conservative credentials."

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
GOP Senate candidates Tom Campbell (left), Chuck DeVore, and Carly Fiorina.
.Her aggressive defense draws boos and hisses. Mr. DeVore's supporters outnumber his opponents' supporters by about three to one. These are the tea partiers we keep reading about. Many of the people I talk to say this election is the first time they've been involved in politics; they're concerned about their grandchildren's futures. "I'm worried we're turning into Greece with all of our entitlements," says an older DeVore supporter sitting next to me.

After the state's disastrous experiment with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, fiscal conservatism resonates. Mr. Schwarzenegger was swept into power seven years ago on the promise of fiscal responsibility, even though he had no track record to recommend him. Under his predecessor, Democrat Gray Davis, the state budget deficit reached a mammoth $38 billion. Yet during Mr. Schwarzenegger's first four years in office, state spending ballooned to $103 billion from $78 billion. Last year, the state faced a $42 billion deficit.

Though better known and better funded than Mr. DeVore, Ms. Fiorina and Mr. Campbell are struggling to pull ahead in the primary race to take on Sen. Barbara Boxer in the fall. And even though recent polls show Mr. DeVore trailing by double digits, his support has nearly doubled in the last two months to 16% from 8%.

Mr. DeVore's campaign is predicated on convincing conservatives that they can't trust Ms. Fiorina's credentials. At the debate, his volunteers passed out leaflets claiming she supported the stimulus, the Wall Street bailout, cap and trade, ObamaCare and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Though all gross misrepresentations of her positions, they generate anxiety among a distrustful electorate. When I ask people why they can't support Ms. Fiorina, they point to this leaflet.

What these tea partiers don't seem to realize is that by supporting Mr. DeVore, they are splitting the conservative vote and will likely hand a win to the moderate Mr. Campbell. If Mr. DeVore's attacks on Ms. Fiorina are as successful in riling up conservative voters as they are at this debate, come November Republicans will have a choice between Ms. Boxer, who has held the seat for three terms, and a "Barbara Boxer-lite," as Ms. Fiorina called Mr. Campbell in the debate.

Mr. Campbell has locked up the moderate vote because he's pro-choice on abortion and pro-gay marriage. "If we're serious about replacing Boxer, we need to nominate someone who is fiscally conservative and socially moderate," Mr. Campbell says, trying to sell his positions to the socially conservative crowd.

Mr. Campbell is a known quantity, having served 10 years in Congress and worked as Mr. Schwarzenegger's finance director. He was the architect of California's 2005 budget, credited for the state's current financial problems. He has also proposed covering the state's budget gap with a 32 cent per gallon gas tax, and he supported the governor's decision last year to sign a $12.5 billion tax hike.

Ms. Fiorina has used Mr. Campbell's spotty fiscal record to portray him as a "FCINO," or fiscal conservative in name only. Her "demon sheep" YouTube video depicting Mr. Campbell as a wolf in sheep's clothing struck a nerve among Republicans who once supported him because they thought he had the best chance of taking down Ms. Boxer. Now they're not so sure.

But they're not sure about Ms. Fiorina either, though she holds strong conservative positions on just about every issue. During the debate, she silences the pro-DeVore crowd when she speaks fluently about Sarbanes-Oxley (a 2002 federal law that set new accounting standards for publicly traded firms) and the Wall Street bailout in ways her primary opponents—and certainly Ms. Boxer—cannot. She's also run a Fortune 500 company. In short, she could be "the one" California conservatives have been waiting for to finally trample Ms. Boxer. But—and it's this that worries people—she has no legislative voting track record.

Although their movement is sweeping out political insiders across the country, tea partiers in the Golden State are loathe to take a chance on someone who doesn't have political experience. Yet by voting for Mr. DeVore because of his conservative record, they may guarantee Mr. Campbell a spot on the GOP ticket.

Ms. Finley is an assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com.
23626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 31, 2010, 12:28:58 PM
GM:

Let us be precise now.  From the information posted in this blog, all we can say is that some idiot(s) in DHS have initiated this.   

That said, this bears watching, please keep us informed.
23627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 31, 2010, 12:00:36 PM
There is a thread dedicated to Turkey on this forum which has some Stratfor articles discussing what it perceives as changes in Turkey's geopolitics.

Rachel, GM:  Good finds and one's that I will put to good use.
23628  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: May 31, 2010, 11:47:01 AM
I lived throught the LBJ-McCarthy era.  My mom was an organizer within the local Dem party for McCarthy and long with future Congresswoman Bella Abzug  shocked co-chaired many meetings held at our house.  In this context as a 15 or 16 year old I met:

Allard Lowenstein (McCarthy's campaign manager);Ted Sorenson; Betty Fridan; David Halberstam; then Congressman Ed Koch; and many others.

Unlike LBJ and the liberals, BO and the Progressives (nee "liberals") are one and that same.  His failure will be their failure.  In '68 the struggle within the Dem party was between the mainstream Dems and the liberals.  The struggle was won in '72 by the lilberals with the ascencion of McGovern and the rules changes his people instituted that have lasting effect to this days.  The Democratic Party is now run by Soros's money and the Progressives.  To turn on BO would be suicidal.
23629  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 7/31-8/1 Guro Crafty at Range 37 in Fayetteville (Fort Bragg) NC on: May 31, 2010, 10:08:08 AM
I confess to being greatly excited about this one.
23630  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Survivalism; Armageddon; Zombies on: May 31, 2010, 10:05:18 AM
BTW folks, Shadowdancer is from Argentina so he brings perspective when he says that.

IMHO the Perons of Argentina (a form of fascism in my terminology) and their successors have brought down a country that had a first world standard of living , , , and the Progressives (liberal fascism in my terminolgy) of America, e.g. President Obama, are following similar policies which are having similar effects on what was once the greatest economy in the world.

Prepare to have your assumptions shattered.
23631  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife on: May 31, 2010, 09:59:53 AM
FWIW:

When it comes to folders of the size typically carried here in the US, for many years I preferred a hammer grip for the knife and therefore chose knives with handles that favored this grip.  Part of the reason that I preferred hammer grip was that I got (and probably still do get) better results with it in what in DBMA we call "Sport Knife Dueling".  Because I suspect the SKD mindset informs the thinking of many people in martial arts for Real World application more than they realize (which was certainly the case for me) I'd like to share a bit of my own evolution here.

I begin by making clear that, despite the playfulness of the name, I do not make fun of SKD.  SKD was a staple of my training some 25 years ago with Paul Vunak who used it for the development for certain important attributes such as footwork, timing, reflexes, etc.   Furthermore, in the Dog Brothers we have always used SKD as a way to open our "DB Gatherings of the Pack" for additional purpose of kicking the day off, getting fighters warmed up for the stickfights, letting fighters assess each other a bit before stickfighting, etc. (The Euros do not do SKD at their DB Gatherings.)

In short SKD dueling can be lots of fun for young males into ritual hierarchical ritual combat AND it can serve quite well in many situations which force one to pull a knife.  And these knife skills can be very directly applicable to the real world should one need to use a knife to keep threat at bay-- though do note that brandishing a knife at an unarmed person can present interesting legal questions.  I'm not saying these questions can't be answered with the right fact pattern e.g. a middle aged desk jockey being menaced by a guy whose face is covered with MS-13 tattoos intuitively seems to me like a relatively easy sell wink but often the line between legal and illegal brandishing can be quite blurred.

But I digress , , , Returning to the discussion,

That said it does present interesting challenges for those interested in using this training method for real world application because IMHO what we do in the adrenal state of ritual combat will tend to appear in real world combat as well.  (This is precisely the reason I develop our "Kali Tudo" tm-- so we can adrenalize our empty handed fighting with Kali Silat with the result that our unarmed and armed fighting are the same idiom of movement.) 

But what if the worst case scenarios of the real world feature behaviors other than those assumed by "proper" SKD?

In the real world two people facing off with real knives drawn is really rare.  As the actors here in Los Angeles would say "What is the motive here in this scene?"  What would motivate someone to stay and have a knife fight?  And how likely is it that the other person would be equally motivated?  In prison I suppose leaving might not really be an option, but most of us are not in prison-- and in prison it is usually an ambush, often by superior numbers, anyway.

If we answer the question by assuming two men both in a killing rage e.g. in prison or on the battlefied, then we are likely to see, in the immortal words of someone with whom I once had an interesting conversation, the behavior pattern of "Pump him until he is dead, then bind your wounds" (Hereinafter "Pump and bind" or PAB).  The problem though for SKD is if we bring PAB to it then we are not developing the attributes intended by the training nor or we acting rationally like the semi-normal people that we are for KD is not something rational people do in our time and place in our culture.

Thus in SKD we are left with the inherently blurry lines concerning the definition of realistic behavior for it.   Most people will leave in the presence of a knife, but if we assume staying e.g. a desperate robber, then we can say most people would leave after getting slashed or stabbed.  On the other hand, of the kind of people who in this world are genuinely willing and motivated to engage against a knife, then most of them will not leave after getting wounded, for their mindset is Pump and Bind-- they expect to be cut and stabbed and to survive the process of killing you , , , or they don't care if they die as long as they kill you.

Good luck and my rules of engagement (avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things and what your think of me is none of my business) have combined to my having absolutely no personal experience in this whatsover.  Success!  That said my readings, conversations with those not so lucky, and various youtube clips have persuaded me that many people do not realize that they have been slashed or stabbed until after the fight is over. This can include even mortal wounds.

Thus we can have someone of evil intent unstopped and undeterred by what SKD might consider "good scores".   In SKD I might be busily defanging the snake by slashing at the arm of my opponent but if some cranked out gangbanger in colder weather wearing heavier clothing is coming to get me, well then those slashes that I thought would stop him and keep him outside my bubble might not work.

Thus it is that I have come to the thinking that when using a small knife (e.g. one that is not going to lop off hands) that the power and impact of the strike matter and for me ice pick does a better job than hammer grip.

Thus for Kali Tudo, I look principally to double stick and double ice pick knife.
23632  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: May 31, 2010, 07:27:03 AM
UFC prices, the unevenness of fight cards, and my budget are such that I don't pay for watching all by myself.  Fortunately I have a neighbor who always watches and with 3-4 friends to share the cost, the price comes down for each of us quite a bit.  Unfortunately my neighbor's 50th birthday party was on Saturday and he went to Vegas to watch the fight.



Bottom line: I didn't see the fights on Saturday night.  Would someone be so kind as to give me the run down?  I am interested to hear descriptions of Rashad vs. Rampage, not because of the soap opera of it (as good fun as that has been) but for a description of Evans striking game.  I have a reason for asking, but will leave it out for now so as to not lead any responses.
23633  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Where's the medals? on: May 30, 2010, 07:58:31 AM
ON NOV. 15, 2004, several Marines in dress uniforms came to Rosa Peralta’s San Diego home to tell her that her 25-year-old son, Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, had been killed in Falluja by an improvised explosive device. Rosa Peralta was widowed three years earlier when her husband, a mechanic, was crushed to death in a freak accident while working on a garbage truck; now her son’s death seemed every bit as senseless.

Multimedia
 A few days later, while watching the nightly news, Peralta heard a different account of her son’s death. According to the televised report, Rafael Peralta emerged as the hero of the Second Battle of Falluja after deliberately sacrificing his life to save fellow Marines. He was with a unit clearing houses of weapons and insurgents when a group of insurgents attacked from the back room of a home the Marines had entered. A firefight ensued, and Peralta took a bullet in the head — a friendly-fire ricochet. Then an insurgent threw a grenade. Despite his injury, Peralta pulled the grenade under his body before it detonated. By absorbing the force of the blast, he saved the lives of an estimated six of his fellow Marines.
When I visited Rosa Peralta in December, she choked briefly with emotion as she remembered hearing, for the first time, her son called a hero. Shortly after the news story appeared, the Marine Corps informed her that what she heard was true and that the Marines were initially mistaken about the circumstances of her son’s death. Around this time she was also told unofficially, by Marines who knew her son, that he had been nominated for America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, and that he was considered certain to receive it.

“I didn’t know anything about medals,” Peralta told me. But she said that the idea that her son would be remembered as a national hero slowly became a source of comfort to her. The Peralta family, which includes Rafael’s three siblings, moved to San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico, when Rafael was a teenager, and he joined the Marines the first moment he could legally do so, on the same morning he got his green card. Though the Peralta parents spoke little English and felt like foreigners in Southern California, Rafael “really loved this country” and loved being a Marine, Peralta told me. As the months after his death wore on, she began to look forward to the day when she would receive the Medal of Honor on his behalf.

But that day never came. Almost four years later, on Sept. 17, 2008, Peralta was summoned to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, where Lieut. Gen. Richard F. Natonski informed her of the Pentagon’s decision: Rafael Peralta would not be awarded the Medal of Honor after all. Instead he would receive the Navy Cross, the second-highest American military decoration that can be awarded to a Marine. Natonski was not able to offer an explanation at the meeting, but George Sabga, a former Marine who has known Rosa Peralta since her son was killed (and now works, pro bono, as the Peraltas’ lawyer), soon uncovered the story: after Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates reviewed the findings on the circumstances of Rafael Peralta’s death compiled by a review board made up partly of civilian medical specialists, he decided that it could not be determined with sufficient confidence that Peralta deliberately pulled the grenade under his body.

Rosa Peralta was stunned. Her family had received thousands of letters expressing admiration for her son’s already-famous heroism. When Marine officials asked her how she would like to have his Navy Cross presented, she declined it. “I said no,” she told me. “I can’t take that medal now.” In the year and a half since, Peralta has continued to refuse to accept the Navy Cross on Rafael’s behalf, a decision that has placed her in the thick of a growing controversy over how — and how often — Medals of Honor are being awarded.

THE AMERICAN MILITARY has dozens of medals that can be awarded for performance or participation in various endeavors, but only a small handful, known as “valor awards,” are given for acts of courage. The highest and most revered of these is the Medal of Honor. (It is sometimes mistakenly called the Congressional Medal of Honor, presumably because, unlike other military decorations, the Medal of Honor is awarded in the name of Congress.) According to military regulations, the Medal of Honor is awarded to a soldier who performed a deed of “personal bravery” that was “beyond the call of duty” and “involved risk of life.” The heroic actions of Medal of Honor winners are frequently cited by military instructors, and their names are even on occasion chanted in cadences during boot-camp training runs. By custom, all service members, regardless of relative rank, salute a Medal of Honor recipient.

=============

Despite its symbolic importance and educational role in military culture, the Medal of Honor has been awarded only six times for service in Iraq or Afghanistan. By contrast, 464 Medals of Honor were awarded for service during World War II, 133 during the Korean War and 246 during the Vietnam War. “From World War I through Vietnam,” The Army Times claimed in April 2009, “the rate of Medal of Honor recipients per 100,000 service members stayed between 2.3 (Korea) and 2.9 (World War II). But since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, only five Medals of Honor have been awarded, a rate of 0.1 per 100,000 — one in a million.”

Multimedia
 
Since that article was published, President Obama, on Sept. 17, presented the sixth post-9/11 Medal of Honor to the family of Army Sgt. First Class Jared C. Monti for his heroic efforts, under intense enemy fire, to rescue a wounded fellow soldier in Afghanistan in 2006. Monti died in the attempt. In fact, all six medals since 9/11 have been awarded posthumously. For service during World War II and the Vietnam War, by comparison, roughly 60 percent of all Medals of Honor were awarded posthumously.

The steep decline in the awarding of Medals of Honor — along with the absence, post-9/11, of any Medal of Honor bestowed on a living serviceman — has spurred many military officers and veterans to speak out in protest. These servicemen complain that higher-ups at the Pentagon either downgrade valor-award nominations — as with Peralta’s Navy Cross — or reject them altogether. Petitions supporting a Medal of Honor for Peralta have circulated widely, and there have been calls to reconsider awarding the Medal of Honor to other servicemen, like Army Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, who received the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously for tackling a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2007, shielding several nearby soldiers from the blast. On the blog of the U.S. Army’s Combined Arms Center, based in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Major Niel Smith wrote: “I, like many commanders, have submitted soldiers for combat valor awards which have been knocked down at higher levels. I defer to their judgment, but I think we are overhesitant to reward bravery that doesn’t result in death.”

Last year, in response to the controversy, Congress required the Pentagon, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, to review its criteria for Medal of Honor awards. (The report is scheduled to be released on July 31.) A Defense Department spokeswoman, Eileen M. Lainez, assured me in an e-mail message that the criteria for awarding the Medal of Honor are “longstanding and have not changed.” Addressing the drastic drop in Medal of Honor awards, she cited changes in the nature of warfare, noting that the enemy forces of Vietnam and earlier wars typically engaged in “close conflict” with U.S. forces, whereas today’s “non-uniformed insurgents” rely on “remotely detonated improvised explosive devices (I.E.D.’s), suicide bombers and rocket, mortar and sniper attacks” — all tactics, her statement implied, that create fewer opportunities for U.S. soldiers to demonstrate the traditional valor of close-quarters combat.

In January, I sat down with Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, at Washington’s Fairfax hotel, to ask him about the Medal of Honor controversy. I raised the issue of Sergeant Peralta and asked why his nomination was downgraded. Petraeus declined to address Peralta’s case (internal deliberations over Medal of Honor recommendations are kept confidential, and Peralta was not under Petraeus’s command at the time he was nominated for the medal), but he did speak of a generalized anxiety among commanders, surrounding the Medal of Honor, about getting a recommendation wrong. “They’re something that everyone in the chain of command wants to ensure is done absolutely right,” he said.

Petraeus emphasized the thoroughness of today’s review process, noting that the packets of data that are circulated to review-board members about Medal of Honor nominees are often as thick as phone books. “They want to ensure that these medals are approved for those who have earned them, but they also want to make sure that they never, ever, in a sense, get it wrong,” he said, referring to the review boards. “There’s a band there, and the difference between the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross is sort of in the eye of the beholder on a given day. And that’s tough. But decisions do have to be made.”

IS THERE LESS heroism today, or fewer opportunities for it, than in earlier eras? Has the Pentagon, despite its insistence to the contrary, raised its standards for what counts as bravery? Has a rigorous review and investigation process made it all too easy to raise doubts about individual acts of bravery? In an age of the all-volunteer military, is the Pentagon taking sacrifice for granted and failing to recognize “today’s heroes,” as many servicemen and veterans are arguing?

Some analysts agree with the Pentagon that there is less heroism today — at least in its traditional forms — as a result of the nature of modern warfare. When I spoke with Michael E. O’Hanlon, a defense-policy specialist at the Brookings Institution, he argued that counterinsurgency efforts, which place greater emphasis on avoiding the use of force (to minimize civilian casualties), call for “a quieter daily kind of courage,” one that rarely requires “that moment of extreme valor” typically honored with a medal.

Many combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan dispute this explanation. Duncan D. Hunter, a Republican congressman from Southern California, served two tours as a Marine in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 and one tour in Afghanistan in 2007. He led the effort last year to include the language in the National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Pentagon to review its criteria for Medal of Honor awards. When I met with him recently in his Washington office, he insisted that moments of extreme valor are still occurring frequently — almost as frequently as they did in Vietnam or during World War II. “Warfare has changed,” he said. “But 90 percent of it hasn’t. You’ve still got to take ground, and you’ve got to hold it.” He raised the possibility that, in today’s all-volunteer military, expectations and standards have gone up: an action that would have been considered heroic in the mid-20th century is seen today almost as routine conduct — “just being a Marine.”

============

Page 3 of 3)



Other observers have suggested — and Petraeus’s comments to me could be seen to support the idea — that the military, after its recent experiences with Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman, is hesitant to publicize or otherwise herald tales of heroism, for fear of later embarrassment. Both Lynch, in 2003, and Tillman, in 2004, were initially celebrated as war heroes. But Lynch herself was highly critical of those who described her as a heroine, later testifying before Congress that she had been falsely portrayed as a “little-girl Rambo from the hills.” Tillman’s family also testified before Congress, suggesting that his story was deliberately manipulated by officials in order to gather support for the war effort. “They have to be very careful,” O’Hanlon told me. “The idea of first building up this great story and then having it proven factually inaccurate would be very damaging.”


For many criticsof the Pentagon’s handling of the Medal of Honor, Rafael Peralta’s case is a vivid example of the perils of an overly cautious, overly bureaucratic approval process. The standard for awarding the Medal of Honor has always been “incontestable proof of the performance of service,” but critics charge that in recent years the standard for “incontestable” must have been raised. “The eyewitness accounts, it seems, they mean much less than they used to,” Hunter told me. “Now there’s much more weight placed on forensic evidence.”
George Sabga obtained redacted copies of the Medal of Honor recommendation packages that were submitted for Rafael Peralta by the Marine Corps in 2005, which he shared with me. The contents of these packages suggest that, long before the case reached the Pentagon, a pathologist working on an earlier-level review of Peralta’s Medal of Honor case raised questions about his gunshot wound. The pathologist expressed the opinion that, given the particular location of the head wound that Peralta received at the start of the firefight, he would have been cognitively disabled and could not deliberately have brought the grenade in toward his body. A letter included with the pathologist’s report suggests that Peralta’s “scooping/grabbing” was more likely to have been a result of “involuntary muscle spasms” than of a conscious act of courage.

After the pathologist’s report, the packet was returned to Peralta’s division for reconsideration. General Natonski, then commanding general of the First Marine Division, was evidently unconvinced by the pathologist’s interpretation. He ordered a thorough review of the investigation, enlisting medical specialists of his own. In a letter addressed to the secretary of the Navy, dated Aug. 8, 2005, Natonski restated the case on Peralta’s behalf: “This package is being resubmitted based on re-interviews and sworn statements from eyewitnesses as well as new statements from three neurosurgeons with outstanding credentials who have given their medical opinion. These doctors opine that Sergeant Peralta could have scooped the grenade under his body despite his head wound. However, regardless of the medical opinions rendered after the fact there is sufficient eyewitness testimony and physical evidence (grenade fuse lodged in Sergeant Peralta’s flak jacket) to support this award recommendation.” But the pathologist’s original opinion, it appears, continued to sway those in the Pentagon reviewing the file.

MUCH OF THE anger expressed by officers and veterans groups about the decline in Medal of Honor awards reflects their perception that Pentagon officials are disrespectful, even dismissive, of eyewitness accounts by servicemen. The feeling is compounded by the fact that, in today’s military, younger servicemen sometimes have far more combat experience than their seniors now working in the Pentagon, who often progressed through the military hierarchy in a time of relative peace: after Vietnam but before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In a phone conversation with me, Robert Reynolds, one of the Marines who was with Peralta during the firefight in Falluja, expressed frustration that his testimony was not taken seriously. He, like Peralta, was shot during the firefight, and he said he clearly recalled Peralta smothering the grenade. “Knowing what Sergeant Peralta did for me,” he said, “it angers me to know that the Marines that day are basically called liars.”

Peralta is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. One recent afternoon, Rosa Peralta, along with Rafael’s 19-year-old brother, Ricardo (only weeks from beginning Marine Corps boot camp himself), and George Sabga, drove to the cemetery with me. As we stood around Peralta’s simple white marble headstone, Sabga recounted the moment when he and Rosa Peralta learned that Rafael would not receive the Medal of Honor. General Natonski had slid a copy of the Navy Cross citation across the table to Rosa. “Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety,” the citation read, “Sergeant Peralta reached out and pulled the grenade to his body, absorbing the brunt of the blast and shielding fellow Marines only feet away.”

The wording of the citation is strikingly similar to the description of the events as Peralta’s fellow Marines have related them, not as the pathologist interpreted them. “I asked the general, ‘How can you say that there were doubts and yet you give us a Navy Cross citation that says that Sergeant Peralta did the exact same thing that the Marines say he did?’ ” Sabga recounted. “I told him, ‘Every single Medal of Honor from now on is going to be tainted because of what’s been done to Peralta.’ The Marines are never going to give up. We’re never going to give up fighting for Peralta’s medal.”
23634  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 29, 2010, 11:45:43 PM
Grateful for a fun day with Southnark and Ryan out at the Burro Canyon Range today, with more to come tomorrow.
23635  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 29, 2010, 01:10:19 AM
Grateful for two interesting days of training in the Piper System.  Grateful to be training gun this weekend with Southnark.

TAC!
23636  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Door Work, Bouncing, Bodyguarding on: May 29, 2010, 01:09:27 AM
I was training with Lloyd de Jongis in Piper again this evening and he was relating some of his body guarding experiences.  His ability to imitate the misdirects of South African criminal behavior is quite remarkable.  To know just how good some people are at this seems a vital awareness.
23637  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: UN against drone strikes on: May 28, 2010, 11:41:24 AM
It's POTH, so caveat lector:
======================

U.N. Official to Ask U.S. to End C.I.A. Drone StrikesBy CHARLIE SAVAGE
Published: May 27, 2010

WASHINGTON — A senior United Nations official is expected to call on the United States next week to stop Central Intelligence Agency drone strikes against people suspected of belonging to Al Qaeda, complicating the Obama administration’s growing reliance on that tactic in Pakistan.

Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said Thursday that he would deliver a report on June 3 to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva declaring that the “life and death power” of drones should be entrusted to regular armed forces, not intelligence agencies. He contrasted how the military and the C.I.A. responded to allegations that strikes had killed civilians by mistake.

“With the Defense Department you’ve got maybe not perfect but quite abundant accountability as demonstrated by what happens when a bombing goes wrong in Afghanistan,” he said in an interview. “The whole process that follows is very open. Whereas if the C.I.A. is doing it, by definition they are not going to answer questions, not provide any information, and not do any follow-up that we know about.”

Mr. Alston’s views are not legally binding, and his report will not assert that the operation of combat drones by nonmilitary personnel is a war crime, he said. But the mounting international concern over drones comes as the Obama administration legal team has been quietly struggling over how to justify such counterterrorism efforts while obeying the laws of war.

In recent months, top lawyers for the State Department and the Defense Department have tried to square the idea that the C.I.A.’s drone program is lawful with the United States’ efforts to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees accused of killing American soldiers in combat, according to interviews and a review of military documents.

Under the laws of war, soldiers in traditional armies cannot be prosecuted and punished for killing enemy forces in battle. The United States has argued that because Qaeda fighters do not obey the requirements laid out in the Geneva Conventions — like wearing uniforms — they are not “privileged combatants” entitled to such battlefield immunity. But C.I.A. drone operators also wear no uniforms.

Paula Weiss, a C.I.A. spokeswoman, called into question the notion that the agency lacked accountability, noting that it was overseen by the White House and Congress. “While we don’t discuss or confirm specific activities, this agency’s operations take place in a framework of both law and government oversight,” Ms. Weiss said. “It would be wrong to suggest the C.I.A. is not accountable.”

Still, the Obama administration legal team confronted the issue as the Pentagon prepared to restart military commission trials at Guantánamo Bay. The commissions began with pretrial hearings in the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian detainee accused of killing an Army sergeant during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, when Mr. Khadr was 15.

The Pentagon delayed issuing a 281-page manual laying out commission rules until the eve of the hearing. The reason, officials say, is that government lawyers had been scrambling to rewrite a section about murder because it has implications for the C.I.A. drone program.

An earlier version of the manual, issued in 2007 by the Bush administration, defined the charge of “murder in violation of the laws of war” as a killing by someone who did not meet “the requirements for lawful combatancy” — like being part of a regular army or otherwise wearing a uniform. Similar language was incorporated into a draft of the new manual.

But as the Khadr hearing approached, Harold Koh, the State Department legal adviser, pointed out that such a definition could be construed as a concession by the United States that C.I.A. drone operators were war criminals. Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department general counsel, and his staff ultimately agreed with that concern. They redrafted the manual so that murder by an unprivileged combatant would instead be treated like espionage — an offense under domestic law not considered a war crime.

“An accused may be convicted,” the final manual states, if he “engaged in conduct traditionally triable by military commission (e.g., spying; murder committed while the accused did not meet the requirements of privileged belligerency) even if such conduct does not violate the international law of war.”

Under that reformulation, the C.I.A. drone operators — who reportedly fly the aircraft from agency headquarters in Langley, Va. — might theoretically be subject to prosecution in a Pakistani courtroom. But regardless, the United States can argue to allies that it is not violating the laws of war.

Mr. Alston, the United Nations official, said he agreed with the Obama legal team that “it is not per se illegal” under the laws of war for C.I.A. operatives to fire drone missiles “because anyone can stand up and start to act as a belligerent.” Still, he emphasized, they would not be entitled to battlefield immunity like soldiers.

Mary Ellen O’Connell, a Notre Dame University law professor who has criticized the use of drones away from combat zones, also agreed with the Obama administration’s legal theory in this case. She said it could provide a “small modicum” of protection for C.I.A. operatives, noting that Germany had a statute allowing it to prosecute violations of the Geneva Conventions, but it does not enforce domestic Pakistani laws against murder.

In March, Mr. Koh delivered a speech in which he argued that the drone program was lawful because of the armed conflict with Al Qaeda and the principle of self-defense. He did not address several other murky legal issues, like whether Pakistani officials had secretly consented to the strikes. Mr. Alston, who is a New York University law professor, said his report would analyze such questions in detail, which may increase pressure on the United States to discuss them.
23638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More bankrupctcy talk on: May 28, 2010, 03:43:30 AM
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/05/antioch-california-considers-bankruptcy.html
23639  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: May 28, 2010, 12:33:39 AM
Scott Grannis comments on the M3 decline of my previous post:



First, I suggest you read my post from last week on the issue of growth in the money supply:

http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/2010/05/m2-myth-money-is-not-in-scarce-supply.html


Bottom line: slow or negative growth in money today is "payback" for very rapid growth in money leading up to last year. There is no reason at all to think that there is a shortage of money in the U.S.

I would also note that M3 is no longer calculated by the Fed, but is cobbled together by various private sources. The Fed stopped publishing the M3 numbers long ago because they (correctly in my belief) concluded that M3 provided no useful information that was not contained in M1 and M2.

I have always followed M2, and I honestly do not see any cause for concern here.

I would also note that if there were a shortage of money, as the M3 alarmists are trying to argue, then how do they explain the ongoing rise in gold and commodity prices? or the abundant evidence of expanding global economic activity?
23640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: May 27, 2010, 12:17:26 PM
Nah, couldn't be.  Don't they know we're the richest, mightiest nation in the world?
===================

US money supply plunges at 1930s pace as Obama eyes fresh stimulus
The M3 money supply in the United States is contracting at an accelerating rate that now matches the average decline seen from 1929 to 1933, despite near zero interest rates and the biggest fiscal blitz in history.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Published: 9:40PM BST 26 May 2010

Comments 298 | Comment on this article

 
The M3 figures - which include broad range of bank accounts and are tracked by British and European monetarists for warning signals about the direction of the US economy a year or so in advance - began shrinking last summer. The pace has since quickened.

The stock of money fell from $14.2 trillion to $13.9 trillion in the three months to April, amounting to an annual rate of contraction of 9.6pc. The assets of insitutional money market funds fell at a 37pc rate, the sharpest drop ever.



"It’s frightening," said Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research. "The plunge in M3 has no precedent since the Great Depression. The dominant reason for this is that regulators across the world are pressing banks to raise capital asset ratios and to shrink their risk assets. This is why the US is not recovering properly," he said.

The US authorities have an entirely different explanation for the failure of stimulus measures to gain full traction. They are opting instead for yet further doses of Keynesian spending, despite warnings from the IMF that the gross public debt of the US will reach 97pc of GDP next year and 110pc by 2015.

Larry Summers, President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser, has asked Congress to "grit its teeth" and approve a fresh fiscal boost of $200bn to keep growth on track. "We are nearly 8m jobs short of normal employment. For millions of Americans the economic emergency grinds on," he said.

David Rosenberg from Gluskin Sheff said the White House appears to have reversed course just weeks after Mr Obama vowed to rein in a budget deficit of $1.5 trillion (9.4pc of GDP) this year and set up a commission to target cuts. "You truly cannot make this stuff up. The US governnment is freaked out about the prospect of a double-dip," he said.

The White House request is a tacit admission that the economy is already losing thrust and may stall later this year as stimulus from the original $800bn package starts to fade.

Recent data have been mixed. Durable goods orders jumped 2.9pc in April but house prices have been falling for several months and mortgage applications have dropped to a 13-year low. The ECRI leading index of US economic activity has been sliding continuously since its peak in October, suffering the steepest one-week drop ever recorded in mid-May.

Mr Summers acknowledged in a speech this week that the eurozone crisis had shone a spotlight on the dangers of spiralling public debt. He said deficit spending delays the day of reckoning and leaves the US at the mercy of foreign creditors. Ultimately, "failure begets failure" in fiscal policy as the logic of compound interest does its worst.

However, Mr Summers said it would be "pennywise and pound foolish" to skimp just as the kindling wood of recovery starts to catch fire. He said fiscal policy comes into its own at at time when the economy "faces a liquidity trap" and the Fed is constrained by zero interest rates.

Mr Congdon said the Obama policy risks repeating the strategic errors of Japan, which pushed debt to dangerously high levels with one fiscal boost after another during its Lost Decade, instead of resorting to full-blown "Friedmanite" monetary stimulus.

"Fiscal policy does not work. The US has just tried the biggest fiscal experiment in history and it has failed. What matters is the quantity of money and in extremis that can be increased easily by quantititave easing. If the Fed doesn’t act, a double-dip recession is a virtual certainty," he said.

Mr Congdon said the dominant voices in US policy-making - Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz, as well as Mr Summers and Fed chair Ben Bernanke - are all Keynesians of different stripes who "despise traditional monetary theory and have a religious aversion to any mention of the quantity of money". The great opus by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz - The Monetary History of the United States - has been left to gather dust.

Mr Bernanke no longer pays attention to the M3 data. The bank stopped publishing the data five years ago, deeming it too erratic to be of much use.

This may have been a serious error since double-digit growth of M3 during the US housing bubble gave clear warnings that the boom was out of control. The sudden slowdown in M3 in early to mid-2008 - just as the Fed talked of raising rates - gave a second warning that the economy was about to go into a nosedive.

Mr Bernanke built his academic reputation on the study of the credit mechanism. This model offers a radically different theory for how the financial system works. While so-called "creditism" has become the new orthodoxy in US central banking, it has not yet been tested over time and may yet prove to be a misadventure.

Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics said the decline in M3 is worrying and points to a growing risk of deflation. "Core inflation is already the lowest since 1966, so we don’t have much margin for error here. Deflation becomes a threat if it goes on long enough to become entrenched," he said.

However, Mr Ashworth warned against a mechanical interpretation of money supply figures. "You could argue that M3 has been going down because people have been taking their money out of accounts to buy stocks, property and other assets," he said.

Events may soon tell us whether this is benign or malign. It is certainly remarkable.

** While the Fed does not publish M3, it still publishes the underlying components. The indicator is reconstructed accurately for clients by Dr John Williams. See it here.
23641  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Criminal Justice system on: May 27, 2010, 11:37:40 AM
The idea is that ever-growing categories of criminal wrong doing will not be pursued by the DA due to lack of resources, case backlogs, etc.
23642  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: May 27, 2010, 11:11:40 AM
Alexander's Essay – May 27, 2010

In Memoriam: American Patriots
"With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live as slaves." --Declaration of the Cause and Necessity of Taking up Arms, July 6, 1775

Patriots RememberedMonday is Memorial Day, that exceptional day of each year all Patriots reserve to formally honor the service and sacrifice of generations of uniformed Patriots now departed -- Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who honored their sacred oaths "to support and defend" our Constitution and the liberty it enshrines.

In this era, however, our "progressive" academic institutions choose not to teach genuine history or civics. Consequently, many Americans have no sense of reverence or obligation for the liberty they enjoy. Indeed, many will "celebrate" Memorial Day as any other holiday, with barbecues, beer, and commercial sales at local malls. Simply put, they have sold out Memorial Day.

However, those of us who do understand the cost of liberty will advance this custom in honor of fallen Patriots, with both formal rites and simple prayers. For it is through the legacy of these Patriots that we are able to see most clearly our nation's noble history of eternal vigilance in support of liberty.

In 1776, an extraordinary group of men signed a document affirming our God-given right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Their commitment to the principles outlined therein are summed up in its final sentence: "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

Founding Patriot John Adams wrote: "I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States."

And the cost has been incalculable.

Generations of Patriots have since pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in defense of the Essential Liberty codified by our Founders in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

Our nation has, time and again, spent its treasure and spilt its sons' blood, not only for liberty at home, but also abroad.

However, Benjamin Franklin noted in 1777 that it should be so: "
  • ur cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own."

Since the opening salvos of the American Revolution, nearly 1.2 million American Patriots have died in defense of liberty. Additionally, 1.4 million have been wounded in combat, and tens of millions more have served honorably, surviving without physical wounds. These numbers, of course, offer no reckoning of the inestimable value of their service or the sacrifices borne by their families, but we do know that the value of the liberty they have extended to their posterity -- to us -- is priceless.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died," said Gen. George S. Patton. "Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

While I greatly appreciate Gen. Patton's sentiment, I must respectfully disagree with his premise. I both mourn their absence and thank God they lived.

Etched into the base of the Iwo Jima Memorial in our nation's capital are the words of Adm. Chester Nimitz, his timeless tribute to the Marines who fought so valiantly there during World War II: "Uncommon valor was a common virtue." Such valor has attended every conflict involving American Patriots.

Not to be confused with men of such virtue, last week, Barack Hussein Obama addressed the graduating class at the United States Military Academy. His minions brokered Obama's appearance before the latest Corps (pronounced "core", not "corpse") of Cadets in the Long Gray Line, in an effort to burnish his thin veneer as "Commander in Chief" of our Armed Forces.

Obama used the occasion to dress up his strategy of appeasement.

In other years, men of somewhat greater stature have addressed the USMA, perhaps the most memorable being General Douglas MacArthur, who delivered his address on "Duty, Honor and Country," without the assistance of teleprompters, or even notes.

His words immortalize the spirit of all American Patriots who have served our nation in uniform:

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.

And twenty years after, on the other side of the globe, against the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of the relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation of those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropic disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.

Honor. Duty. Country.

Thomas Jefferson offered this advice to all generations of Patriots: "Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."

Indeed.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to all those generations who have passed the torch of liberty to succeeding generations.

In Memoriam, we recall these words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

"Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours."

And these...

"[L]et us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died." --Ronald Reagan at Pointe du Hoc, 1984
23643  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coming soon to your town? on: May 27, 2010, 08:50:30 AM
   
From Failed Bombings to Armed Jihadist Assaults
May 27, 2010
By Scott Stewart

One of the things we like to do in our Global Security and Intelligence Report from time to time is examine the convergence of a number of separate and unrelated developments and then analyze that convergence and craft a forecast. In recent months we have seen such a convergence occur.

The most recent development is the interview with the American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that was released to jihadist Internet chat rooms May 23 by al-Malahim Media, the public relations arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In the interview, al-Awlaki encouraged strikes against American civilians. He also has been tied to Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was charged in the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the perpetrator of the failed Christmas Day 2009 airline bombing. And al-Awlaki reportedly helped inspire Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested in connection with the attempted Times Square attack in May.

The second link in our chain is the failed Christmas Day and Times Square bombings themselves. They are the latest in a long string of failed or foiled bombing attacks directed against the United States that date back to before the 9/11 attacks and include the thwarted 1997 suicide bomb plot against a subway in New York, the thwarted December 1999 Millennium Bomb plot and numerous post-9/11 attacks such as Richard Reid’s December 2001 shoe-bomb attempt, the August 2004 plot to bomb the New York subway system and the May 2009 plot to bomb two Jewish targets in the Bronx and shoot down a military aircraft. Indeed, jihadists have not conducted a successful bombing attack inside the United States since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Getting a trained bombmaker into the United States has proved to be increasingly difficult for jihadist groups, and training a novice to make bombs has also been problematic as seen in the Shahzad and Najibullah Zazi cases.

The final link we’d like to consider are the calls in the past few months for jihadists to conduct simple attacks with readily available items. This call was first made by AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi in October 2009 and then echoed by al Qaeda prime spokesman Adam Gadahn in March of 2010. In the Times Square case, Shahzad did use readily available items, but he lacked the ability to effectively fashion them into a viable explosive device.

When we look at all these links together, there is a very high probability that jihadists linked to, or inspired by, AQAP and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — and perhaps even al Shabaab — will attempt to conduct simple attacks with firearms in the near future.


Threats and Motives

In the May 23 al-Malahim interview (his first with AQAP), al-Awlaki not only said he was proud of the actions of Hasan and Abdulmutallab, whom he referred to as his students, but also encouraged other Muslims to follow the examples they set by their actions. When asked about the religious permissibility of an operation like Abdulmutallab’s, which could have killed innocent civilians, al-Awlaki told the interviewer that the term “civilian” was not really applicable to Islamic jurisprudence and that he preferred to use the terms combatants and non-combatants. He then continued by noting that “non-combatants are people who do not take part in the war” but that, in his opinion, “the American people in its entirety takes part in the war, because they elected this administration, and they finance this war.” In his final assessment, al-Awlaki said, “If the heroic mujahid brother Umar Farouk could have targeted hundreds of soldiers, that would have been wonderful. But we are talking about the realities of war,” meaning that in his final analysis, attacks against civilians were permissible under Islamic law. Indeed, he later noted, “Our unsettled account with America, in women and children alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in the plane are a drop in the ocean.”

While this line of logic is nearly identical to that historically put forth by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the very significant difference is that al-Awlaki is a widely acknowledged Islamic scholar. He speaks with a religious authority that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri simply do not possess.

On May 2, the TTP released a video statement by Hakeemullah Mehsud in which Mehsud claimed credit for the failed Times Square attack. In the recording, which reportedly was taped in early April, Mehsud said that the time was approaching “when our fedayeen [suicide operatives] will attack the American states in their major cities.” He also said, “Our fedayeen have penetrated the terrorist America. We will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America.”

While TTP leaders seem wont to brag and exaggerate (e.g., Baitullah Mehsud falsely claimed credit for the April 3, 2009, shooting at an immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y., which was actually committed by a mentally disturbed Vietnamese immigrant), there is ample reason to believe the claims made by the TTP regarding their contact with Shahzad. We can also deduce with some certainty that Mehsud and company have trained other men who have traveled (or returned) to the United States following that training. The same is likely true for AQAP, al Shabaab and other jihadist groups. In fact, the FBI is likely monitoring many such individuals inside the United States at this very moment — and in all likelihood is madly scrambling to find and investigate many others.


Fight Like You Train

There is an old military and law-enforcement training axiom that states, “You will fight like you train.” This concept has led to the development of training programs designed to help soldiers and agents not only learn skills but also practice and reinforce those skills until they become second nature. This way, when the student graduates and comes under incredible pressure in the real world — like during an armed ambush — their training will take over and they will react even before their mind can catch up to the rapidly unfolding situation. The behaviors needed to survive have been ingrained into them. This concept has been a problem for the jihadists when it comes to terrorist attacks.

It is important to understand that most of the thousands of men who attend training camps set up by al Qaeda and other jihadist groups are taught the basic military skills required to fight in an insurgency. This means they are provided basic physical training to help condition them, given some hand-to-hand combat training and then taught how to operate basic military hardware like assault rifles, hand grenades and, in some cases, crew-served weapons like machine guns and mortars. Only a very few students are then selected to attend the more advanced training that will teach them the skills required to become a trained terrorist operative.

In many ways, this process parallels the way that special operations forces operators are selected from the larger military population and then sent on for extensive training to transform them into elite warriors. Many people wash out during this type of intense training and only a few will make it all the way through to graduation. The problem for the jihadists is finding someone with the time and will to undergo the intensive training required to become a terrorist operative, the ability to complete the training and — critically — the ability to travel abroad to conduct terrorist attacks against the far enemy. Clearly the jihadist groups are able to train men to fight as insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they have shown the ability to train terrorist operatives who can operate in the fairly permissive environments of places like the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. They also have some excellent bombmakers and terrorist planners in Iraq and Pakistan.

What the jihadists seem to be having a problem doing is finding people who can master the terrorist tradecraft and who have the ability to travel into hostile areas to ply their craft. There seems to be a clear division between the men who can travel and the men who can master the advanced training. The physical and intelligence onslaught launched against al Qaeda and other jihadist groups following the 9/11 attacks has also created operational security concerns that complicate the ability to find and train effective terrorist operatives.

Of course, we’re not telling the jihadists anything they don’t already know. This phenomenon is exactly why you have major jihadist figures like al-Wahayshi and Gadahn telling the operatives who can travel to or are already in the West to stop trying to conduct attacks that are beyond their capabilities. Gadahn and al-Awlaki have heaped praise on Maj. Hasan as an example to follow — and this brings us back to armed assaults.

In the United States it is very easy to obtain firearms and it is legal to go to a range or private property to train with them. Armed assaults are also clearly within the skill set of jihadists who have made it only through basic insurgent training. As we’ve mentioned several times in the past, these grassroots individuals are far more likely to strike the United States and Europe than professional terrorist operatives dispatched from the al Qaeda core group. Such attacks will also allow these grassroots operatives to fight like they have been trained. When you combine all these elements with the fact that the United States is an open society with a lot of very vulnerable soft targets, it is not difficult to forecast that we will see more armed jihadist assaults in the United States in the near future.


Armed Assaults

Armed assaults employing small arms are not a new concept in terrorism by any means. They have proved to be a tried-and-true tactic since the beginning of the modern era of terrorism and have been employed in many famous attacks conducted by a variety of actors. A few examples are the Black September operation against the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics; the December 1975 seizure of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headquarters in Vienna, led by Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka “Carlos the Jackal”; the December 1985 simultaneous attacks against the airports in Rome and Vienna by the Abu Nidal Organization; and the September 2004 school seizure in Beslan, North Ossetia, by Chechen militants. More recently, the November 2008 armed assault in Mumbai demonstrated how deadly and spectacular such attacks can be.

In some instances — such as the December 1996 seizure of the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, Peru, by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement — the objective of the armed assault is to take and intentionally hold hostages for a long period of time. In other instances, such as the May 1972 assault on Lod Airport by members of the Japanese Red Army, the armed assault is planned as a suicide attack designed simply to kill as many people as possible before the assailants themselves are killed or incapacitated. Often attacks fall somewhere in the middle. For example, even though Mumbai became a protracted operation, its planning and execution indicated it was intended as an attack in which the attackers would inflict maximum damage and not be taken alive. It was only due to the good fortune of the attackers and the ineptitude of the Indian security forces that the operation lasted as long as it did.

We discussed above the long string of failed and foiled bombing attacks directed against the United States. During that same time, there have been several armed assaults that have killed people, such as the attack against the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport by Hesham Mohamed Hadayet in July 2002, the shooting attacks by John Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo in the Washington area in September and October 2002 and the June 2009 attack in which Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad allegedly shot and killed a U.S. soldier and wounded another outside a Little Rock, Ark., recruiting center. The most successful of these attacks was the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, which resulted in 13 deaths. These attacks not only resulted in deaths but also received extensive media coverage.

Armed assaults are effective and they can kill people. However, as we have noted before, due to the proficiency of U.S. police agencies and the training their officers have received in active shooter scenarios following school shootings and incidents of workplace violence, the impact of armed assaults will be mitigated in the United States, and Europe as well. In fact, it was an ordinary police officer responding to the scene and instituting an active shooter protocol who shot and wounded Maj. Hasan and brought an end to his attack in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood. The number of people in the American public who are armed can also serve as a mitigating factor, though many past attacks have been planned at locations where personal weapons are prohibited, like the Los Angeles International Airport, Fort Hood and Fort Dix.

Of course, a Mumbai-like situation involving multiple trained shooters who can operate like a fire team will cause problems for first responders, but the police communication system in the United States and the availability of trained SWAT teams will allow authorities to quickly vector in sufficient resources to handle the threat in most locations — especially where such large coordinated attacks are most likely to happen, such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles. Therefore, even a major assault in the United States is unlikely to drag out for days as did the incident in Mumbai.

None of this is to say that the threats posed by suicide bombers against mass transit and aircraft will abruptly end. The jihadists have proven repeatedly that they have a fixation on both of these target sets and they will undoubtedly continue their attempts to attack them. Large bombings and airline attacks also carry with them a sense of drama that a shooting does not — especially in a country that has become somewhat accustomed to shooting incidents conducted by non-terrorist actors for other reasons. However, we believe we’re seeing a significant shift in the mindset of jihadist ideologues and that this shift will translate into a growing trend toward armed assaults.

 
23644  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Executive Power during war time on: May 27, 2010, 08:30:28 AM
a treatise penned by former Justice Benjamin Curtis, who dissented from the majority in the Dred Scott case.  This work is a discussion of the executive power during war time.

http://books.google.com/books?id=2t0rAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=benjamin+curtis+executive+power&source=bl&ots=7_wFRRY76R&sig=tDglLviT7OUHMxW7lHS8TC2-9gU&hl=en&ei=5mj-S9bACJbuMsn2wDs&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
23645  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Criminal Justice system on: May 27, 2010, 08:29:42 AM
Interesting philosophical questions are presented when a wronged citizen cannot seek justice via the courts.
23646  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: May 27, 2010, 08:13:15 AM


"[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the  moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few." --John Adams, An Essay on Man's Lust for Power, 1763

"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty." --Fisher Ames, speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788


"No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free and good government." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Trustees for the Lottery of East Tennessee College, 1810


"To all of which is added a selection from the elementary schools of subjects of the most promising genius, whose parents are too poor to give them further education, to be carried at the public expense through the college and university. The object is to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country, for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind, which, in proportion to our population, shall be double or treble of what it is in most countries." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Jose Correa de Serra, 1817


"Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness." --George Washington, First Annual Message, 1790
23647  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: BP cut corners on: May 27, 2010, 08:00:37 AM


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704026204575266560930780190.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us
23648  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: May 27, 2010, 07:58:34 AM
IMHO there will be no serious challenge and BO will be the nominee.
23649  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: A potential Turkish-Israeli crisis on: May 27, 2010, 07:53:28 AM
A Potential Turkish-Israeli Crisis and Its International Implications
AMINOR DEVELOPMENT WITH FAR-REACHING implications occurred Tuesday. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow a flotilla belonging to Insani Yardim Vakfi (Humanitarian Aid Association), a Turkish, religious non-governmental organization (NGO), to fulfill its mission of providing supplies to Palestinians. Earlier, the organization, which possibly has ties to Turkey’s ruling Justice & Development Party (AKP), had rejected Israel’s offer to have the supplies delivered via Israeli territory.

Turkey is in the process of trying to stage a comeback as a great power — a pursuit that has tremendous implications for the alliance it has had with Israel for more than six decades. In fact, Turkey on the path of resurgence means it has to take a critical stance toward Israel, because Ankara needs to re-establish itself as the hegemon in the Middle East and the leader of the wider Islamic world. This would explain Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s scathing and loud criticism of Israel at Davos after the last Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, which led to a significant deterioration in Turkish-Israeli relations.

The Turks are apparently sensing an opportunity to try and push Israel into a difficult situation. At the same time, they are trying to take advantage of the Israeli offensive in Gaza. While the NGO may have ties to the ruling AKP, there is no evidence to suggest that the move to run the blockade is being organized by the government. The emerging scenario, however, makes for a potentially serious international scene with an outcome — whatever way — that could benefit Turkey.

If Israeli forces interdict the ship, Turkey can go on the diplomatic offensive against Israel and rally widespread condemnation against the nation. The rising tensions could get the United States involved. Given the United States’ dependence on Turkey, the Turks could force Washington to take sides, placing the United States in the difficult position of opposing Ankara. Alternatively, forcing the Israelis to allow the flotilla to complete its mission would be a major victory for the Turks. It would enhance Turkey’s international standing as a leader and a rising power.

“The Turks are apparently sensing an opportunity to try and push Israel into a difficult situation.”
While the emerging situation presents itself as a win-win situation for Turkey, it places Israel in an extremely difficult situation, regardless of how it deals with the flotilla. Should the Israelis decide to prevent the ship from making its delivery, they risk global criticism and further deterioration of relations with Turkey. They also risk further complicating matters with the United States at a time when U.S.-Israeli relations are going through a rough period, and when Washington needs Ankara to resolve multiple regional issues. On the other hand, if the Israelis decide to avoid the diplomatic fallout and allow the ship to sail to its destination, that is tantamount to going on the defensive vis-a-vis the nation’s security — something that Israel has never done.

At a time when Israel’s relations with the United States are already uneasy because of diverging regional interests between Iran and the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government does not want to have to engage in any further action that exacerbates its tensions with U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration. This desire notwithstanding, the Turkish ship, which has already set sail for the Gaza coast, is creating a situation where the Israelis don’t have the option of not doing anything. This scenario has taken on a life of its own — far beyond the original intent of the players involved.
23650  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: May 26, 2010, 10:50:02 AM
What is the UFC rule concerning stomps to the knee?

I clearly saw one buckle at fighter on TUF last week with nary a comment from anyone.
Pages: 1 ... 471 472 [473] 474 475 ... 736
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!