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 1 
 on: Today at 08:49:57 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Most of us here have tended to a strong US foreign policy, but at the polls in 2016 this may prove a very losing proposition.   For several years now I have been underlining here that rudderless nature of US foreign policy.   This article addresses this theme:

The Big 2016 Foreign Policy Debates
Rand Paul will fight the GOP hawks, and Joe Biden could run to the left of Hillary Clinton.
By William A. Galston
July 22, 2014 7:19 p.m. ET

These are tough times for internationalists, liberal and conservative alike. George W. Bush's overreach in Iraq undermined public support for the use of American power overseas, and Barack Obama has done nothing to rebuild it. Large majorities of Americans believe that our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan was a mistake. A July 21 Politico survey of likely voters in battleground states found that only 39% think that we have a responsibility to do something about the mess we left behind in Mesopotamia.

The survey also found that by a margin of 3 to 1, Americans reject the sweeping vision Mr. Bush enunciated in his second inaugural address and would instead confine the use of American military power to direct threats to our national security. In the same poll, completed before the downing of the Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.17% passenger plane, only 17% thought we should get more involved in the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.

The desire for some nation-building here at home is palpable and understandable. Nevertheless, the forthcoming presidential campaign is likely to feature an unusually spirited debate—within as well as between the parties—about America's role in the world.

The outline of this debate among Republicans is easy to foresee. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has articulated a coherent message of government restraint abroad as well as at home and has proved adept at making a libertarian-leaning agenda more broadly acceptable to conservatives. The young adults who flocked to his father's rallies seem especially receptive to his critique of military intervention and NSA surveillance. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose political instincts seem to have improved since 2012, has publicly challenged Mr. Paul for his alleged isolationism, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has positioned himself as his generation's torchbearer for a muscular internationalism based on American leadership.
Enlarge Image

Sen. Rand Paul Associated Press

Most Republican contenders are likely to side with their party's national-defense orthodoxy of recent decades. Still, Mr. Paul's self-confidence and political skills could carry him far in a divided field and might even gain him the nomination. That would be an earthquake within the Republican Party and present a tough choice for staunch hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Mr. McCain has publicly said as much.

Although it may not occur, the Democrats are poised for a similar debate. The only significant difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 was her vote for the Iraq war, which probably cost her the presidential nomination. Little has changed. During her tenure as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was among the administration's toughest voices during internal debates. She supported the use of American air power in Libya, and the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. (Both Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates opposed it.)

Strong legal support from Mrs. Clinton's State Department for President Obama's expansive use of drones surprised many observers. She was an advocate for the 2009 surge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and favored maintaining a residual American force in Iraq after the end of our combat missions. While not opposed to nuclear negotiations with Iran, she has expressed mistrust about Iranian intentions and has opposed a policy of "containing" a nuclear-armed Tehran if diplomacy fails. As president, it seems reasonable to conclude, Mrs. Clinton would make decisions about using American power based on prudential considerations, not instinctive aversion.

For the record: Even though I opposed the Iraq war from the start, I believe that Hillary Clinton's judgment on defense and foreign policy issues has been right far more often than it was wrong and that she would serve our country well as commander in chief.

But rank-and-file Democrats are no less dovish today than they were in 2008. Although attention has focused recently on the clash between "populist" and "Wall Street" Democrats, the potential for an intraparty debate on foreign policy seems just as real. While Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has consistently denied her intention to run if Mrs. Clinton enters the race, Vice President Biden has made no such pledge. Estes Kefauver, the 1956 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, once remarked that the only known cure for persistent presidential ambition was "embalming fluid."

Mr. Biden is well-positioned to wage a left-leaning campaign on foreign policy as well as economic issues. Although he voted for the Iraq-war authorization in 2002, he argued vehemently against the Bush administration's surge in 2007, proposing instead the quasi-partition of Iraq into autonomous Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite zones. As vice president, he argued just as hard against Gen. David Petraeus's proposal (backed by then-Secretary of State Clinton) for a massive military surge and nation-building policy in Afghanistan. And he has taken U.S. military action against Iran off the table, declaring that "war with Iran is not just a bad option. It would be a disaster."

These issues matter, not just for the U.S., but for the world. During the Cold War, American retreat usually meant Soviet advance. Now it most often means anarchy. The question is whether the American people can be persuaded that they should care.

 2 
 on: Today at 08:30:44 AM 
Started by Russ - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Can Putin survive?
Russia's strongman is far from finished, but events in Ukraine have weakened his position.
George Friedman | 23 July 2014
comment 6 | print |

There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the context of recent events.

Ukraine is, of course, the place to start. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West and as a route for delivering energy to Europe, which is the foundation of the Russian economy. On Jan. 1, Ukraine's president was Viktor Yanukovich, generally regarded as favorably inclined to Russia. Given the complexity of Ukrainian society and politics, it would be unreasonable to say Ukraine under him was merely a Russian puppet. But it is fair to say that under Yanukovich and his supporters, fundamental Russian interests in Ukraine were secure.

This was extremely important to Putin. Part of the reason Putin had replaced Boris Yeltsin in 2000 was Yeltsin's performance during the Kosovo war. Russia was allied with the Serbs and had not wanted NATO to launch a war against Serbia. Russian wishes were disregarded. The Russian views simply didn't matter to the West. Still, when the air war failed to force Belgrade's capitulation, the Russians negotiated a settlement that allowed U.S. and other NATO troops to enter and administer Kosovo. As part of that settlement, Russian troops were promised a significant part in peacekeeping in Kosovo. But the Russians were never allowed to take up that role, and Yeltsin proved unable to respond to the insult.

Putin also replaced Yeltsin because of the disastrous state of the Russian economy. Though Russia had always been poor, there was a pervasive sense that it been a force to be reckoned with in international affairs. Under Yeltsin, however, Russia had become even poorer and was now held in contempt in international affairs. Putin had to deal with both issues. He took a long time before moving to recreate Russian power, though he said early on that the fall of the Soviet Union had been the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. This did not mean he wanted to resurrect the Soviet Union in its failed form, but rather that he wanted Russian power to be taken seriously again, and he wanted to protect and enhance Russian national interests.

The breaking point came in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution of 2004. Yanukovich was elected president that year under dubious circumstances, but demonstrators forced him to submit to a second election. He lost, and a pro-Western government took office. At that time, Putin accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of having organized the demonstrations. Fairly publicly, this was the point when Putin became convinced that the West intended to destroy the Russian Federation, sending it the way of the Soviet Union. For him, Ukraine's importance to Russia was self-evident. He therefore believed that the CIA organized the demonstration to put Russia in a dangerous position, and that the only reason for this was the overarching desire to cripple or destroy Russia. Following the Kosovo affair, Putin publicly moved from suspicion to hostility to the West.

The Russians worked from 2004 to 2010 to undo the Orange Revolution. They worked to rebuild the Russian military, focus their intelligence apparatus and use whatever economic influence they had to reshape their relationship with Ukraine. If they couldn't control Ukraine, they did not want it to be controlled by the United States and Europe. This was, of course, not their only international interest, but it was the pivotal one.

Russia's invasion of Georgia had more to do with Ukraine than it had to do with the Caucasus. At the time, the United States was still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Washington had no formal obligation to Georgia, there were close ties and implicit guarantees. The invasion of Georgia was designed to do two things. The first was to show the region that the Russian military, which had been in shambles in 2000, was able to act decisively in 2008. The second was to demonstrate to the region, and particularly to Kiev, that American guarantees, explicit or implicit, had no value. In 2010, Yanukovich was elected president of Ukraine, reversing the Orange Revolution and limiting Western influence in the country.

Recognizing the rift that was developing with Russia and the general trend against the United States in the region, the Obama administration tried to recreate older models of relationships when Hillary Clinton presented Putin with a "restart" button in 2009. But Washington wanted to restore the relationship in place during what Putin regarded as the "bad old days." He naturally had no interest in such a restart. Instead, he saw the United States as having adopted a defensive posture, and he intended to exploit his advantage.

One place he did so was in Europe, using EU dependence on Russian energy to grow closer to the Continent, particularly Germany. But his high point came during the Syrian affair, when the Obama administration threatened airstrikes after Damascus used chemical weapons only to back off from its threat. The Russians aggressively opposed Obama's move, proposing a process of negotiations instead. The Russians emerged from the crisis appearing decisive and capable, the United States indecisive and feckless. Russian power accordingly appeared on the rise, and in spite of a weakening economy, this boosted Putin's standing.

The Tide Turns Against Putin

Events in Ukraine this year, by contrast, have proved devastating to Putin. In January, Russia dominated Ukraine. By February, Yanukovich had fled the country and a pro-Western government had taken power. The general uprising against Kiev that Putin had been expecting in eastern Ukraine after Yanukovich's ouster never happened. Meanwhile, the Kiev government, with Western advisers, implanted itself more firmly. By July, the Russians controlled only small parts of Ukraine. These included Crimea, where the Russians had always held overwhelming military force by virtue of treaty, and a triangle of territory from Donetsk to Luhansk to Severodonetsk, where a small number of insurgents apparently supported by Russian special operations forces controlled a dozen or so towns.

If no Ukrainian uprising occurred, Putin's strategy was to allow the government in Kiev to unravel of its own accord and to split the United States from Europe by exploiting Russia's strong trade and energy ties with the Continent. And this is where the crash of the Malaysia Airlines jet is crucial. If it turns out -- as appears to be the case -- that Russia supplied air defense systems to the separatists and sent crews to man them (since operating those systems requires extensive training), Russia could be held responsible for shooting down the plane. And this means Moscow's ability to divide the Europeans from the Americans would decline. Putin then moves from being an effective, sophisticated ruler who ruthlessly uses power to being a dangerous incompetent supporting a hopeless insurrection with wholly inappropriate weapons. And the West, no matter how opposed some countries might be to a split with Putin, must come to grips with how effective and rational he really is.

Meanwhile, Putin must consider the fate of his predecessors. Nikita Khrushchev returned from vacation in October 1964 to find himself replaced by his protege, Leonid Brezhnev, and facing charges of, among other things, "harebrained scheming." Khrushchev had recently been humiliated in the Cuban missile crisis. This plus his failure to move the economy forward after about a decade in power saw his closest colleagues "retire" him. A massive setback in foreign affairs and economic failures had resulted in an apparently unassailable figure being deposed.

Russia's economic situation is nowhere near as catastrophic as it was under Khrushchev or Yeltsin, but it has deteriorated substantially recently, and perhaps more important, has failed to meet expectations. After recovering from the 2008 crisis, Russia has seen several years of declining gross domestic product growth rates, and its central bank is forecasting zero growth this year. Given current pressures, we would guess the Russian economy will slide into recession sometime in 2014. The debt levels of regional governments have doubled in the past four years, and several regions are close to bankruptcy. Moreover, some metals and mining firms are facing bankruptcy. The Ukrainian crisis has made things worse. Capital flight from Russia in the first six months stood at $76 billion, compared to $63 billion for all of 2013. Foreign direct investment fell 50 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. And all this happened in spite of oil prices remaining higher than $100 per barrel.

Putin's popularity at home soared after the successful Sochi Winter Olympics and after the Western media made him look like the aggressor in Crimea. He has, after all, built his reputation on being tough and aggressive. But as the reality of the situation in Ukraine becomes more obvious, the great victory will be seen as covering a retreat coming at a time of serious economic problems. For many leaders, the events in Ukraine would not represent such an immense challenge. But Putin has built his image on a tough foreign policy, and the economy meant his ratings were not very high before Ukraine.

Imagining Russia After Putin

In the sort of regime that Putin has helped craft, the democratic process may not be the key to understanding what will happen next. Putin has restored Soviet elements to the structure of the government, even using the term "Politburo" for his inner Cabinets. These are all men of his choosing, of course, and so one might assume they would be loyal to him. But in the Soviet-style Politburo, close colleagues were frequently the most feared.

The Politburo model is designed for a leader to build coalitions among factions. Putin has been very good at doing that, but then he has been very successful at all the things he has done until now. His ability to hold things together declines as trust in his abilities declines and various factions concerned about the consequences of remaining closely tied to a failing leader start to maneuver. Like Khrushchev, who was failing in economic and foreign policy, Putin could have his colleagues remove him.

It is difficult to know how a succession crisis would play out, given that the constitutional process of succession exists alongside the informal government Putin has created. From a democratic standpoint, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin are as popular as Putin is, and I suspect they both will become more popular in time. In a Soviet-style struggle, Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov and Security Council Chief Nicolai Patryushev would be possible contenders. But there are others. Who, after all, expected the emergence of Mikhail Gorbachev?

Ultimately, politicians who miscalculate and mismanage tend not to survive. Putin miscalculated in Ukraine, failing to anticipate the fall of an ally, failing to respond effectively and then stumbling badly in trying to recoup. His management of the economy has not been exemplary of late either, to say the least. He has colleagues who believe they could do a better job, and now there are important people in Europe who would be glad to see him go. He must reverse this tide rapidly, or he may be replaced.

Putin is far from finished. But he has governed for 14 years counting the time Dmitri Medvedev was officially in charge, and that is a long time. He may well regain his footing, but as things stand at the moment, I would expect quiet thoughts to be stirring in his colleagues' minds. Putin himself must be re-examining his options daily. Retreating in the face of the West and accepting the status quo in Ukraine would be difficult, given that the Kosovo issue that helped propel him to power and given what he has said about Ukraine over the years. But the current situation cannot sustain itself. The wild card in this situation is that if Putin finds himself in serious political trouble, he might become more rather than less aggressive. Whether Putin is in real trouble is not something I can be certain of, but too many things have gone wrong for him lately for me not to consider the possibility. And as in any political crisis, more and more extreme options are contemplated if the situation deteriorates.

Those who think that Putin is both the most repressive and aggressive Russian leader imaginable should bear in mind that this is far from the case. Lenin, for example, was fearsome. But Stalin was much worse. There may similarly come a time when the world looks at the Putin era as a time of liberality. For if the struggle by Putin to survive, and by his challengers to displace him, becomes more intense, the willingness of all to become more brutal might well increase.

George Friedman is the founder and CEO of Stratfor, the global intelligence website. This article has been republished with permission of Stratfor.

 3 
 on: Today at 08:29:02 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
Israel needs to hammer them until every tunnel is destroyed and Hamas is crushed.

 4 
 on: Today at 08:21:59 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
GAZA CITY — When war between Israel and Hamas broke out two weeks ago, the Palestinian militant group was so hamstrung, politically, economically and diplomatically, that its leaders appeared to feel they had nothing to lose.

Hamas took what some here call “option zero,” gambling that it could shift the balance with its trump cards: its arms and militants.

Now, this conflict has demonstrated that while Hamas governed over 1.7 million people mired in poverty, its leaders were pouring resources into its military and expanding its ability to fight Israel. If it can turn that improved military prowess into concessions, like opening the border with Egypt, that may boost its standing among the people of Gaza — although at an extraordinarily high cost in deaths and destruction.

“There were low expectations in terms of its performance against the recent round of Israeli incursions. It’s been exceeding all expectations,” said Abdullah Al-Arian, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar who is currently in Washington. “And it’s likely to come out in a far better position than in the last three years, and maybe the last decade.”

Hamas had been struggling. The turmoil in the region meant it lost one of its main sponsors, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whom it broke with over his brutal fight against a Sunni Muslim-led insurgency, and weakened its alliance with Iran. It lost support in Egypt when the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted and replaced with a military-backed government hostile to Hamas.

Unemployment in Gaza is around 50 percent, having risen steeply since Israel pulled out its troops and settlers in 2005 and severely tightened border restrictions.

Hamas appeared powerless to end the near-blockade of its border by Israel and more recently Egypt. It could not even pay its 40,000 government workers their salaries.

The group was so handicapped that it agreed to enter into a pact with its rival party, Fatah, to form a new government. But that seemed only to make matters worse, sowing division within its own ranks, with some in the military wing angry at the concession, while providing none of the economic relief Hamas had hoped for.
Photo
A woman, center, was comforted after the missile attack in Yahud. Credit Dan Balilty/Associated Press

When Hamas sent a barrage of rockets into Israel, simmering hostilities, and back and forth strikes, erupted into war.

At first, when Hamas rockets were being intercepted mainly by Israel’s Iron Dome system as Israel hit Gaza with devastating force, the group strove to persuade its supporters that it was having enough impact on Israel to wrest concessions: Its radio stations blared fictional reports about Israeli casualties.

But as it wore on, the conflict revealed that Hamas’s secret tunnel network leading into Israel was far more extensive, and sophisticated, than previously known. It also was able to inflict some pain on Israel, allowing Hamas to declare success even as it drew a devastating and crushing response. Its fighters were able to infiltrate Israel multiple times during an intensive Israeli ground invasion. Its militants have killed at least 27 Israeli soldiers and claim to have captured an Israeli soldier who was reported missing in battle, a potentially key bargaining chip.
Continue reading the main story

And on Tuesday its rockets struck a blow to Israel — psychological and economic — by forcing a halt in international flights. Hamas once again looks strong in the eyes of its supporters, and has shown an increasingly hostile region that it remains a force to be reckoned with.
Continue reading the main story Video
Play Video|1:59
Behind the Escalations in Gaza
Behind the Escalations in Gaza

A look at why Israel and Hamas have repeatedly chosen to intensify the violence at every stage of the continuing conflict.
Video Credit By Mona El-Naggar on Publish Date July 17, 2014. Image CreditRonen Zvulun/Reuters

Hamas, Mr. Arian said, has demonstrated that “as a movement, it is simply not going anywhere.”

But Hamas’s gains could be short-lived if it does not deliver Gazans a better life. Israel says its severe restrictions on what can be brought into Gaza, such as construction materials, are needed because Hamas poses a serious security threat, and the discovery of the tunnels has served only to validate that concern.

So far, at least 620 Palestinians have died, around 75 percent of them civilians, according to the United Nations, including more than 100 children. Gazans did not get a vote when Hamas chose to escalate conflict, nor did they when Hamas selected areas near their homes, schools and mosques to fire rockets from the densely populated strip. At the family house of four boys killed last week by an Israeli strike while playing on a beach, some wailing women cursed Hamas along with Israel.
Continue reading the main story
Related in Opinion

    Op-Ed Contributor: Gaza Under Israel’s OnslaughtJULY 22, 2014
    Room for Debate: Self-Defense or Atrocities in Gaza?JULY 22, 2014

“It comes at an exceptionally high price,” said Khaled Elgindy, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former adviser to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. “When the bombs stop and the dust settles, people might have different calculations about cost-benefit.”
Photo
A home that was destroyed by a Hamas missile near Ben Gurion International Airport in Yahud, near Tel Aviv. Credit Gideon Markowicz/European Pressphoto Agency

It is also unclear whether, when the fighting ends, Hamas will have the same kind of foreign support it has had in the past to rebuild its arsenal or its infrastructure; Egypt, under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has destroyed hundreds of the tunnels that were used to bring in arms, money and supplies, and has kept the proper border crossing mostly closed. There are also some diplomatic efforts underway seeking to force Hamas to surrender its weapons in exchange for a cease-fire, a demand it is not likely to accept.

Omar Shaban, an economist and political independent, sat in his walled garden in the southern Gaza town of Deir al-Balah as shells crackled nearby and said he fervently hoped, but also doubted, that both Hamas and Israel’s government would reach for a substantive deal.

“This war will end tomorrow or after tomorrow, we will have another cease-fire, we will have another siege and Hamas will continue to run the scene,” he said.

“Gaza is a big problem for everybody, for Hamas, for Fatah, for Israel,” he added, ticking off the list: shortages of water, housing and medicine, a population explosion, growing extremism.

 5 
 on: Today at 08:16:33 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog


Exclusive: Cuomo’s Office Hobbled New York State Ethics Inquiries

A high-powered commission created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to root out corruption in New York politics was hobbled almost from the outset by demands from the governor’s office, which sought to shield his allies from scrutiny, according to an examination by The New York Times.

A three-month review of the panel’s short life and sudden death found that the governor’s office deeply compromised the commission’s work, objecting whenever its investigators focused on groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.

Ultimately, Mr. Cuomo abruptly disbanded the commission halfway through what he had indicated would be an 18-month life. And now, as the Democratic governor seeks a second term in November, federal prosecutors are investigating the roles of Mr. Cuomo and his aides in the panel’s shutdown and are pursuing its unfinished business.

READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/nyregion/governor-andrew-cuomo-and-the-short-life-of-the-moreland-commission.html?emc=edit_na_20140723


 6 
 on: Today at 08:03:29 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Spartan Dog
I have many Zapata stories, (the coyote pack at the Bay of Whales-- again in Baja California wilderness-- the fight with the Rotttweiler with a fight collar unleashed by a neighborhood punk, humping the steroid bodybuilder, and many others) ...

Perhaps its time for another story ?  Its been a while since the fiirst one was posted smiley

 7 
 on: July 22, 2014, 11:00:20 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog


They use them in N.C. too.    http://www.news10.net/story/news/investigations/2014/06/23/is-sacramento-county-sheriff-dept-using-stingray-to-track-collect-data/11296461/

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department may be keeping judges, prosecutors and the public in the dark about the use of a controversial electronic surveillance tool known as the StingRay, according to new information obtained by News10.

Despite evidence showing the sheriff's department is utilizing the device, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office and Sacramento Superior Court judges said they have no knowledge of StingRays or similar tools being used in Sacramento.

This revelation is concerning to privacy advocates and defense attorneys. They say the intrusive nature of the device, which tracks people in their homes and collects data from third parties, requires a search warrant. The fact that judges and prosecutors haven't heard of this use could indicate that warrants to use a StingRay aren't being obtained.
stingray-1920

StingRay, IMSI catcher(Photo: News10/KXTV)

The district attorney's office said they would expect to see a search warrant for any device capable of real-time location tracking.

"We request a search warrant in all of those cases," Sacramento County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said. He said while warrants for a wiretap or GPS tracking devices are fairly common, he has never seen a Stingray warrant.

The sheriff's department won't acknowledge they own the surveillance tool or talk about how it works. They also won't discuss who is targeted with it or what oversight mechanisms are in place to govern its use.

A News10 investigation in March showed the spying device is being used by at least nine local law enforcement agencies in California, from San Diego to Sacramento.

A StingRay is a brand of IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catcher, a device that mimics a cell tower and attracts all wireless phone signals within a certain radius into connecting with it. Authorities can use it to track the location of phones in real time, as well as the unique ID and phone numbers of all connected phones and the numbers dialed by a connected phone. That includes the phone numbers of outgoing calls and text messages.

StingRays also can be configured to capture the content of calls and texts connected to the device, although Harris Corporation, the maker of Stingray and similar products, said devices used by law enforcement don't have that capability.

Linda Lye, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California, spent several years battling federal and local authorities for StingRay records. Lye reviewed documents and other evidence obtained by News10 and believes the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is almost certainly using a StingRay, and likely with little to no oversight.

"There's no California law governing how StingRays are to be used," Lye said. "It means law enforcement is using them under rules that they have unilaterally written."

Over the past six months the sheriff's department has denied multiple requests from News10 to discuss the technology. News10 submitted a records request to the sheriff's department in October 2013 asking for contracts, agreements, invoices, purchase orders or maintenance contracts signed with Harris Corporation.

The sheriff's department responded by providing a purchase order for a "High Powered Filtered 25W PA Kit (CONUS)" costing $11,500, but said they had no other responsive records or documentation specifically related to a StingRay device.

Procurement documents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement describe the "High Powered Filtered 25W PA Kit (CONUS)" as a signal amplifier for a StingRay device.

In early February, News10 obtained StingRay records from the San Jose Police Department. San Jose was interested in purchasing a StingRay from the Harris Corporation and discussed the device with other law enforcement agencies already using it - including the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

"The Harris Corporation is a government contractor and the sole supplier of this technology and type of product line," stated a San Jose Police Department grant application requesting Department of Homeland Security funds to purchase a StingRay. "The Harris Corporation is bound by Title 18 USC 2512 and is protected under non-disclosure agreement and federal law. Research of the product consisted of testing by San Jose Police and technology and equipment feedback from the U.S. Marshals Service, [Redacted], the Oakland Police Department, the Sacramento Sheriff's Department, the San Diego Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department."

"While I am not familiar with what San Jose has said, my understanding is that the acquisition or use of this technology comes with a strict non-disclosure requirement," Sacramento County Undersheriff James Lewis said in a written statement. "Therefore, it would be inappropriate for us to comment about any agency that may be using the technology."

Privacy advocates such as the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that a non-disclosure agreement between the sheriff's department and a private corporation is not a valid reason to withhold public records.

"Government agencies cannot enter into private contracts in order to evade their statutory obligations," Lye said.

The sheriff's department later refused to release additional records requested by News10, citing several federal regulations, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Homeland Security Act, International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Arms Export Control Act.

Lye reviewed the department's justification to withhold public records and said she believes their justification is invalid. The arms trafficking exemptions, she said, don't apply to StingRays.

"In order to be protected under that, there would have to have been a determination that they're on the U.S. munitions list, and they're not," Lye said.

 8 
 on: July 22, 2014, 10:56:41 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ByJb7QQ9U

 9 
 on: July 22, 2014, 09:43:45 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
One of my good gym buddies is Tony Fryklund.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Fryklund

He was intrigued by some things he saw me doing with shot puts (this has been really good in my rehab of my separated shoulder) so I gave him a few ideas and turned him loose to experiment. He became quite enthused and came up with a whole bunch of things more oriented to MMA clinch whereas my routine is more oriented to "Kali Tudo"

He suggested I come by his MMA wrestling class the next day with the shot puts and we worked on some interesting things. I was very impressed with how the training method instantly improved the power and fluidity of one's clinch movement.

So I lent him my 8s (and have been working with my 6s and 4s instead) and he has been working things out for a couple of weeks.

The plan is to shoot the first of a series of training clips next week and have it available for download not too long after that.

 10 
 on: July 22, 2014, 09:42:58 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Good times with good people!

Very pleased with the training progression.  I will be using it again.

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