Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Vacation Day 7

Woke up a little before 6 and went to Sunrise Point to see the sunrise…oh well, so close yet so far. The clouds came in early. At least got a few good pictures from the edge.

Spoke with the police department on Thursday and they agreed to let me park the Harley in their station garage. It will probably be raining, or at least the roads will be wet when we leave Saturday morning and I am just getting used to it. Well, got up on Friday and the storms that we due for the later afternoon came in a bit early. To play it safe we parked the bike a few hours earlier than planned. We will spend a lot of time today getting ready for the ride home on Saturday. We both need some clean cloths!

Sunrise Point

The view down from the edge of Sunrise Point!

The front of the cabin.


Got the bike to the police station early in the morning. It was less scary going down this morning. But the rain was just starting to drizzle and I wanted to get the thing down before the rain really stated.

Found a great place near Arkansas Tech University named Whatta Burger. No, it’s not part of the national chain, a local place with some great burgers. Some pictures to follow.

AR Tech

A Minidome!

Gotta love a street named "O"!
Beth and I got our souvenirs and other stuffed shipped and they are en route home! Hope to get out of here Saturday morning but the weather may not cooperate.
More pictures to follow. Gotta go pick up the KFC.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vacation Day 6

Started a little late...we planned to wake up before 6 and watch the sunrise that went over like a soup sandwich.

Took a tour around middle Arkansas and it's been great...went to Mount Magazine State Park and got some awesome pictures. It's the highest point between teh Applicians and the Rockies.

Scene from the first senic overwatch.

Beth at the scene overwatch

Big Bear at the Vistior Center

Cougar at Visitor Center

A view from the rear of the Visitor Center

Next was visting Atlus AR visiting the Post winery...tasting and lunch at Kilts Pup...awesome local beer.


Beth and I having lunch

Man I would have loved to have a bottle of that!

The City Hall of Atlus TX...gotta love a city hall that used to be a bank!
More to come....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A ship for Jack Murtha

I can’t agree with naming a ship for Murtha.

All men make mistakes and Murtha made a big one with those marines. However, for forgiveness you must be man enough to say “I was wrong” which is something that escapes him. Even as the charges against these guys collapsed Murtha, a retired USMCR Colonel couldn’t say “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that…”

I have no doubt it will be approved. One more disgrace from the administration of B Hussein Obama.

Vacation Day 5

After we got up, Beth went to the back door and look who visited us. Gave her a couple of bread sticks.

See how close she got to us....Damned, where is the 30.06 when you need it! :<)

The Arkansas River

Nothing says nature like a nuclear power plant!

The camp office from the rim trail.

Vacation Day 4

Spent most of the day on the highway....beautiful all the way until the end...

Well, made it up even after a bad day learning about using a motorcycle on mountain turns….yes, I fell over. Three times. Beth and I are fine, the bike has a few new scratches but nothing major. A couple of the camp rangers helped us and he gave this flat lander some good words on taking a motor cycle up a mountain. We made it to the cabin and it is nice…but the view from the back was great. Especially the sundown. We didn’t feel like going anywhere (no, I will not due that clime on the bike at night) and ordered a pizza. We lucked out. The guy taking the order was a little confused…thought we were at another camp they do deliver to. Well, the driver called me said he would make the delivery. Gave him a good tip! A few drinks and then we were done.

At the Ark border...

The Arkansas River

The back of our cabin..

Sunset...it was even better than this picture lets on!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vacation Day 3

Woke up in Austin, had lunch and then rode from Austin to Dallas. Getting up to the camp in Arkansas tomorrow....

Beth and her sister Jen after lunch. After that, over 200 miles on the Road King...the butt did hurt after that!

Dinner with our friends Dawn and Ronnie....it was great seeing them since I think the 20 year high school reunion...please don't tell me I'm that old! Waaaaaaa!

Iranian Proxies: An Intricate and Active Web

Iran in Iraq...a good look from STRATFOR

Iranian Proxies: An Intricate and Active Web
Created Feb 3 2010 - 15:13

By Scott Stewart

For the past few years, STRATFOR has been carefully following the imbroglio over the Iranian nuclear weapons program [2] and efforts by the United States and others to scuttle the program. This situation has led to threats by both sides, with the United States and Israel discussing plans to destroy Iranian weapons sites with airstrikes and the Iranians holding well-publicized missile launches and military exercises in the Persian Gulf.

Much attention has been paid to the Iranian deterrents to an attack on its nuclear program, such as the ballistic missile threat and the potential to block the Strait of Hormuz [3], but these are not the only deterrents Iran possesses. Indeed, over the past several years, Iran has consistently reminded the world about the network of proxy groups that the country can call upon to cause trouble for any country that would attack its nuclear weapons program.

Over the past several weeks, interesting new threads of information about Iranian proxies have come to light, and when the individual strands are tied together they make for a very interesting story.

Iran’s Proxies

From almost the very beginning of the Islamic republic, Iran’s clerical regime has sought to export its Islamic revolution to other parts of the Muslim world. This was done not only for ideological purposes — to continue the revolution — but also for practical reasons, as a way to combat regional adversaries by means of proxy warfare. Among the first groups targeted for this expansion were the Shiite populations in Iraq, the Persian Gulf and, of course, Lebanon. The withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from Lebanon in 1982 left behind a cadre of trained Shiite militants who were quickly recruited by agents of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These early Lebanese recruits included hardened PLO fighters from the slums of South Beirut such as Imad Mughniyah [4]. These fighters formed the backbone of Iran’s militant proxy force in Lebanon, Hezbollah [5], which, in the ensuing decades, would evolve from a shadowy terrorist group into a powerful political entity with a significant military capability.

One of the most impressive things about these early proxy efforts in Lebanon is that the IRGC and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security were both very young institutions at the time, and they were heavily pressured by the 1980 invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which was backed by the Gulf states and the United States. The Iranians also had to compete with the Amal movement, which was backed by Libya and Syria and which dominated the Lebanese Shiite landscape at the time. Projecting power into Lebanon under such conditions was quite an amazing feat, one that many more mature intelligence organizations have not been able to match.

Though these institutions were young, the Iranians were not without experience in intelligence tradecraft. The years of operating against the Shah’s intelligence service, a brutal and efficient organization known as the SAVAK, taught the Iranian revolutionaries many hard-learned lessons about operational security and clandestine operations, and they incorporated many of these lessons into their handling of proxy operations. For example, it was very difficult for the U.S. government to prove that the Iranians, through their proxies, were behind the bombings of the U.S. Embassy (twice) and Marine barracks in Beirut or the kidnapping of Westerners in Lebanon. The use of different names in public statements such as the Islamic Jihad Organization, Revolutionary Justice Organization and the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, when combined with very good Iranian operational security, served to further muddy the already murky waters of Lebanon’s militant landscape. Iran has also done a fairly good job at hiding its hand in places like Kuwait and Bahrain.

While Iran has invested a lot of effort to build up Shiite proxy groups such as Hezbollah and assorted other groups in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, the Iranians do not exclusively work with Shiite proxies. As we discussed last week, the Iranians also have a pragmatic streak [6] and will work with Marxist groups like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Sunni groups like Hamas in Gaza and various militant groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan (they sought to undermine the Taliban while that group was in power in Afghanistan but are currently aiding some Taliban groups in an effort to thwart the U.S. effort there). In an extremely complex game, the Iranians are also working with various Sunni and Kurdish groups in Iraq, in addition to their Shiite proxies, as they seek to shape their once-feared neighbor into something they can more-easily influence and control.

More than Foot Stomping

For several years now, every time there is talk of a possible attack on Iran there is a corresponding threat by Iran [7] to use its proxy groups in response to such an attack. Iran has also been busy pushing intelligence reports to anybody who will listen (including STRATFOR) that it will activate its militant proxy groups if attacked and, to back that up, will periodically send operatives or proxies out to conduct not-so-subtle surveillance of potential targets [8]. Hezbollah and Hamas have both stated publicly that they will attack Israel if Israel launches an attack against Iran’s nuclear program, and such threats are far more than mere rhetorical devices. Iran has taken many concrete steps to prepare and arm its various proxy groups:

•On Dec. 11, 2009, authorities seized an Ilyushin-76 cargo plane in Bangkok that contained 35 tons of North Korean-produced military weapons that were destined for Iran (though Iran, naturally, denies the report). The weapons, which included man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) [9], were either equivalent to, or less advanced than, weapons Iran produces on its own. This fact raised the real possibility that the Iranians had purchased the North Korean weapons in order to distribute them to proxies and hide Iran’s hand if those arms were recovered after an attack.
•In November 2009, Israeli naval commandos seized a ship off the coast of Cyprus that was loaded with hundreds of tons of weapons that were apparently being sent from Iran to Hezbollah. The seizure, which was the largest in Israel’s history, included artillery shells, rockets, grenades and small-arms ammunition.
•In August 2009, authorities in the United Arab Emirates seized a ship carrying 10 containers of North Korean weapons disguised as oil equipment. The seized cache included weapons that Iran produces itself, like rockets and rocket-propelled grenade rounds, again raising the probability that the arms were intended for Iran’s militant proxies.
•In April 2009, Egyptian authorities announced that they had arrested a large network of Hezbollah operatives [10] who were planning attacks against Israeli targets inside Egypt. It is likely, however, that the network was involved in arms smuggling and the charges of planning attacks may have been leveled against the smugglers to up the ante and provide a warning message to anyone considering smuggling in the future.
•In January 2009, a convoy of suspected arms smugglers in northern Sudan [11] near the Egyptian border was attacked by an apparent Israeli air strike. The arms were reportedly destined for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and were tied to an Iranian network that, according to STRATFOR sources in the region, had been purchasing arms in Sudan and shipping them across the Sinai to Gaza.
As illustrated by most of the above incidents (and several others we did not include for the sake of brevity), Israeli intelligence has been actively attempting to interdict the flow of weapons to Iran and Iranian proxy groups. Such Israeli efforts may explain the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, whose body was discovered Jan. 20 in his room at a five-star hotel in Dubai. Al-Mabhouh, a senior commander of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, lived in exile in Damascus and was reportedly the Hamas official responsible for coordinating the transfer of weapons from Iran to Hamas forces in Gaza. A STRATFOR source advised us that, at the time of his death, al-Mabhouh was on his way to Tehran to meet with his IRGC handlers. The operation to kill al-Mabhouh also bears many similarities to past Israeli assassination operations. His status as an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades commander involved in many past attacks against Israel would certainly make him an attractive target for the Israelis.

Of course, like anything involving the Iranians, there remains quite a bit of murkiness involving the totality of their meddling in the region. Hezbollah sources have told STRATFOR that they have troops actively engaged in combat in Yemen, with the al-Houthi rebels in the northern province of Saada along the Saudi border, and have lost several fighters there. Hezbollah also has claimed that its personnel have shot down several Yemeni aircraft using Iranian-manufactured Misagh-1 MANPADS.

The governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia have very good reason to fear Iran’s plans to expand its influence in the Gulf region, and the Yemenis in particular have been very vocal about blaming Iran for stirring up the al-Houthi rebels. Because of this, if there truly were Hezbollah fighters being killed in Saada and signs of Iranian ordnance (like MANPADS) being used by Hezbollah fighters or al-Houthi rebels, we believe the government of Yemen would have been documenting the evidence and providing the documentation to the world (especially in light of Yemen’s long and unsuccessful attempt to gain U.S. assistance for its struggle against the al-Houthi insurgency). That said, while Hezbollah MANPADS teams are not likely to be running around Saada, there is evidence that the Iranians have been involved in smuggling weapons to the al-Houthi via Yemen’s rugged Red Sea coast. Indeed, such arms smuggling has resulted in a Saudi naval blockade of the Yemeni coast [12]. Reports of al-Houthi militants being trained by the IRGC in Lebanon and Iran are also plausible.

Iran has long flirted with jihadist groups. This support has sporadically stretched from the early days of al Qaeda’s stay in Sudan, where Hezbollah bomb makers instructed al Qaeda militants in how to make large vehicle bombs, to more recent times, when the IRGC has provided arms to Iraqi Sunni militants and Taliban factions in Afghanistan. Iran has also provided weapons to the now-defunct Supreme Islamic Courts Council in Somalia and one of its offshoots, al Shabaab.

Over the past several months we have also heard from a variety of sources in different parts of the Middle East that the Iranians are assisting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) [13]. Some reports indicate that a jihadist training camp that had previously been operating in Syria to train and send international fighters to Iraq had been relocated to Iran, and that with Iranian assistance, the jihadists were funneling international militants from Iran to Yemen to fight with AQAP. Other reports say the Iranians are providing arms to the group. While some analysts downplay such reports, the fact that we have received similar information from a wide variety of sources in different countries and with varying ideological backgrounds suggests there is indeed something to these reports.

One last thing to consider while pondering Iran’s militant proxies is that, while Iranian missiles will be launched (and mines laid) only in the case of open hostilities, Iranian militant proxies have been busily at work across the region for many years now. With a web of connections that reaches all the way from Lebanon to Somalia to Afghanistan, Iran can cast a wide net over the Middle East. If the United States has truly begun to assume a defensive posture in the Gulf [14], it will have to guard not only against Iranian missile strikes but also against Iran’s sophisticated use of proxy militant groups.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vacation Day 2

After a late start we went up to the Capital building to play tourist for a while...

Jim's bike on the left and mine on the right of the picture...we both have Road Kings, but I love what Jim put on above his front fender...

We took a shot in front of the Texas Capital....beautiful building.

One of the statues outside of the capital:

The rotunda ceiling in the Capital:

Spent and hour or so at Lake Travis and found this...a Duck! It drives on the road and drives into the lake!

We stopped at a bar for a few drinks and I had to get a picture of this!

Well, we're both tired so I'll sign off here...heading to Dallas tomorrow. Will update when I can

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vacation Day 1

Well it was fun to begin with….my air conditioner broke. Wait for the repair guys to arrive…thankfully my neph will handle that on Sunday.

Now the trip was cool…great ride to Austin and the weather was beautiful. Met up with friends from San Antonio and we had a great lunch at Casino El Camio, we checked in at the hotel and took some of the afternoon off. Afterwards we returned to the area near Sixth Street and spent a few hours at Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar and it was great.

El Camiso El Camio Restaurant and Bar

Well, off to bed…my ass is tired.

Going to a dog race tomorrow morning…TTYL

Friday, April 23, 2010

Next few days

Heading on vacation on Saturday and my internet will be in and out...will post some pictures as I can.

Wouldn't you know it...I decided to go on vacation on the weekend of the NFL Draft :(

Iraq and Balance

From my friends at STRATFOR, a good look at the US challenge in Iraq:

Baghdad Politics and the U.S.-Iranian Balance
April 20, 2010

By George Friedman

The status of Iraq has always framed the strategic challenge of Iran. Until 2003, regional stability — such as it was — was based on the Iran-Iraq balance of power. The United States invaded Iraq on the assumption that it could quickly defeat and dismantle the Iraqi government and armed forces and replace them with a cohesive and effective pro-American government and armed forces, thereby restoring the balance of power. When that expectation proved faulty, the United States was forced into two missions. The first was stabilizing Iraq. The second was providing the force for countering Iran.

The United States and Iran both wanted to destroy Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, and they collaborated to some extent during the invasion. But from there, their goals diverged. The Iranians hoped to establish a Shiite regime in Baghdad that would be under Tehran’s influence. The United States wanted to establish a regime that would block the Iranians.

The U.S. Challenge in Iraq

In retrospect, U.S. strategy in Iraq was incoherent at base. On one hand, the American debaathification program drove the Sunni community into opposition and insurgency. Convinced that they faced catastrophe from the Americans on the one side and the pro-Iranian government forming in Baghdad on the other, the Iraqi Sunni Baathists united in resistance with foreign jihadists. At the same time the Americans were signaling hostility toward the Sunnis, they also moved to prevent the formation of a pro-Iranian government. This created a war between three factions (the Americans, the Shia and the Sunnis) that plunged Iraq into chaos, shattered the balance of power with Iran and made the United States the only counterweight to the Iranians.

All of this turned what was intended to be a short-term operation into an extended war from which the United States could not extract itself. The United States could not leave because it had created a situation in which the Iranian military was the most powerful force in the Persian Gulf region. Absent the United States, the Iranians would dominate Iraq. They would not actually have to invade (Iran’s military has a limited ability to project force far from its borders in any case) to extract massive political and economic concessions from both Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula.

An unchecked Iran, quite apart from its not-yet-extant nuclear capability, represents a profound strategic threat to the balance of power in the Persian Gulf. Assuming the nuclear issue was settled tomorrow either diplomatically or through attacks, the strategic problem would remain unchanged, as the central problem is conventional, not nuclear.

The United States is set to complete the withdrawal of its combat forces from Iraq this summer, leaving behind a residual force of about 50,000 support personnel. This drawdown is according to a plan former U.S. President George W. Bush laid down in 2008, and that U.S. President Barack Obama has sped up only by a few months. Therefore, this is not a political issue but one on which there has been consensus. The reason for the withdrawal is that U.S. forces are needed in Afghanistan. Even more important, the United States has no strategic reserve for its ground forces. It has fought a two-theater, multidivisional war for seven years. The Army is stretched to the limit, and should another crisis develop elsewhere in the world, the United States would lack the land power to respond decisively.

Avoiding this potential situation requires drawing down U.S. forces from Iraq. But simply abandoning the Persian Gulf to Iranian military and political power also represents a dangerous situation for the Americans. Therefore, the United States must balance two unacceptable realities.

The only hope the United States has of attaining this balance would be to achieve some semblance of its expectations of 2003. This would mean creating a cohesive Iraqi government with sufficient military and security capabilities to enforce its will internally and to deter an attack by an Iranian force. At the very least, the Iraqis would have to be able to hold off an Iranian attack long enough to allow the United States to rush forces back into Iraq and to suppress insurgent elements from all Iraqi communities, both Sunni and Shiite. If Iraq could do the former, the Iranians likely would refrain from an attack. Iranian rhetoric may be extreme, but the Iranians are risk-averse in their actions. If Iraq could do the latter, then they eliminate Iran’s preferred mode of operations, which is covert subversion through proxies.
The issue therefore boils down to how the United States answers this question: Can the Iraqis form a coherent government in Baghdad capable of making decisions and a force capable of achieving the goals laid out above? Both the government and the force have to exist; if either one is lacking, the other is meaningless. But alongside this question are others. Does Iraq have any strategic consensus whatsoever? If so, does it parallel American strategic interests? Assuming the Iraqis create a government and build a significant force, will they act as the Americans want them to?
State vs. Faction

The United States is a country that believes in training. It has devoted enormous efforts to building an Iraqi military and police force able to control Iraq. The Americans have tried to imbue Iraq’s security forces with “professionalism,” which in the U.S. context means a force fully capable of carrying out its mission and prepared to do so if its civilian masters issue the orders. As professionals, they are the technicians of warfare and policing.

But perhaps the fundamental question of any military force, one that comes before training, is loyalty. In some militaries, the primary loyalty is to oneself. In such militaries, one joins to make a living, steal what one can and simply survive. In other militaries, the primary loyalty is not to the state, but some faction of the country, be it religious, ethnic or geographical. No one is going to give his life defending a state to which he is indifferent or even hostile, no matter how carefully trained in handling his weapon or how well-lectured he is on the question of professional responsibility. Neither of these conditions allows for a successful military in the end. A man in it for himself is not going to go into harm’s way if he can help it. A man in the military to protect his clan is not going to die to protect those to whom he has no loyalty.
The U.S. Army has trained tens of thousands of Iraqis. And Americans are great trainers. But the problem isn’t training, it is loyalty. Professionalism doesn’t imbue anyone with self-sacrifice to something alien to him.

And this is the challenge the United States faces in the Iraqi government, which like most governments, consists of many factions with diverging interests. In viable states, however, fundamental values shared by the overwhelming majority lie beneath the competing interests, be they a myth of country or of the moral principles of a constitution. It is simply not apparent that Iraqi factions have a core understanding of what Iraq should be, however, nor is it clear whether they owe their primary loyalty to the state or to some faction of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein held the state together by a complex of benefits and terror. He became the center of Iraq, and in a sense became Iraq. Once he was destroyed, Iraq’s factions went to war with each other and with the United States, pursuing goals inimical to a united Iraq. Therefore Iraq’s reconstituted military and security forces, however intermixed or homogenized they may be, still owe their individual loyalties to their factions, which will call on them to serve their people, a subset of Iraq.

The United States plans to withdraw its combat forces by the summer. Leaving aside how well-protected the remaining 50,000 noncombat troops will be, the question persists on who will hold the country together. The Iranians certainly are not eager to see the Iraqi situation resolved in favor of a government that can block Iran’s ambitions. The Iranians have longstanding relations with any number of Iraqi Shiite groups, and even with some Kurdish and Sunni groups. Iran would have every reason to do what it can to destabilize Iraq above and beyond any indigenous destabilization of Iraq in order to help shape a government it can dominate. In our view, Tehran has to tools to do this effectively.

The American leadership is certainly aware of this. It may hope or even believe that a stable Iraqi government will emerge, and it will certainly not say anything publicly that would decrease confidence in the process. But at the same time, the American leadership must privately know that the probability of a cohesive Iraqi government commanding a capable and loyal security force is far from a slam dunk.

In Search of a Plan B

Therefore, logic tells us that the United States must have a Plan B. This could be a plan to halt withdrawals. The problem with that plan is that there is no assurance that in three months or a year the core divisions of Iraq could be solved. The United States could be left without forces for a strategic reserve without any guarantee that time would solve the problem. A strategy of delay calls for some clear idea of what delay would bring.

Or the United States could complete the withdrawal on the assumption that the Iranians would not dare attack Iraq directly while the residual U.S. force remained. The problem with this strategy is that it is built on an assumption. This assumption is not unreasonable, but it is still an assumption, not a certainty. Moreover, Iran could covertly destabilize Iraq, putting U.S. forces without sufficient combat capability in harm’s way from Iranian-supplied forces. Finally, Iran’s major audience consists of the oil powers of the Arabian Peninsula. Tehran wants to show the Gulf Arabs that the United States will withdraw from Iraq regardless of potential consequences to them, reducing their confidence in the United States and forcing them to contemplate an accommodation with Iran.

Halting the withdrawal therefore poses substantial challenges, and completing the withdrawal poses even more. This is particularly the case if the United States completes the withdrawal without reaching some accommodation with Iran. But negotiating with the Iranians from a position of weakness is not an attractive option. The Iranians’ price would be higher than the United States wants to pay. Therefore, the United States would have to make some show of power to the Iranians that will convince the Iranians that they are at risk. Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities could fit the bill, but it has two drawbacks. First, the attacks might fail. Second, even if they succeeded, they would not have addressed the conventional problem.

Washington’s way forward depends upon what the American government believes the probabilities are at this point for a viable Iraqi government and security force able to suppress insurgencies, including those fomented by Iran. If the Americans believe a viable Iraqi government is a possibility, they should roll the dice and withdraw. But it is not clear from our point of view what Washington is seeing. If it believes the probability is low, the United States not only will have to halt the withdrawal, it will have to reverse it to convince the Iranians that the Americans are hypercommitted to Iraq. This might cause Tehran to recalculate, opening the door for discussion.
It is now April, meaning we are four months from the deadline for the completion of the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq. In the balance is not only Iraq, but also the Iranian situation. What happens next all comes down to whether the mass of parties in Baghdad share a common foundation on which to build a nation — and whether the police and military would be loyal enough to this government to die for it. If not, then the entire edifice of U.S. policy in the region — going back to the surge — is not merely at risk, but untenable. If it is untenable, then the United States must craft a new strategy in the region, redefining relationships radically — beginning with Iran.

As with many things in life, it is not a matter of what the United States might want, or what it might think to be fair. Power is like money — you either have it or you don’t. And if you don’t, you can’t afford to indulge your appetites. If things in Baghdad work themselves out, all of this is moot. If things don’t work out, the Obama administration will be forced to make its first truly difficult foreign policy decisions.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

Some good news from Ohio

A couple of weeks ago I referred to an aricle on Darryl Durr who said he was alergic to the anesthesia used in the execution. Well, good news...he was denied this crap and the state of Ohio has put him down like the animal he is.

Now ABC news was concerned about the process:

A prison official who was present told ABC News that as the process began Durr clenched his fists and grimaced while holding his head up for about 10 seconds, before putting his head down. The official, who declined to be identified, said it wasn't clear whether Durr was in pain or reacting to the moment.

Gee, I wonder if they worried about the process about the death of Angel Vincent.

...On April 30, 1988, three boys noticed a foul odor coming from two orange traffic barrels while playing in Brookside Park. The barrels and been placed open end to open end, and were underneath a railroad tie. Upon separating the barrels, the boys discovered a severely decomposed female body that had been wrapped in a dirty old blanket. A portion of a leg was visible through a large hole in the blanket...

Well pal, you may have convinced a few judges over the years you don't deserve justice, but a couple of days ago you met your final judge and you can't fool Him.

Rest in peace Angel Vincent.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Sometimes cops are our own worst publicity!

I New Version of a Revised Tale

Still funny after all these years

This one is a little different...... Two Different Versions.... Two Different Morals


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green...'

ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome." Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.

Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house,crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010.

A Great Article on Field Training

I recieved this from Police One and it is a great article on how being a FTO is not just something for getting a few more dollars in the paycheck....

Walking the Walk with Lt. John Bennett

"Teach them properly, Major"

Improper training can create an inflated sense of confidence — in effect, one’s confidence exceeding one’s competence

In one scene of the 1989 Civil War movie “Glory,” Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), inspects the level of readiness of his troops and is witness to trainees undergoing marksmanship training. Col. Shaw watches as one soldier in particular, being cheered on by his fellow trainees, demonstrates his proficiency with the rifle while taking slow and well-aimed shots.

Col. Shaw approaches the soldier, comments on his marksmanship ability and urges him to demonstrate once more. As the soldier begins readying his muzzle-loader for his next shot, Col. Shaw begins inducing stress upon the new soldier through forceful commands to load faster and faster and firing a revolver behind the man while he continues to reload and shoot.

The soldier is visibly shaking as he now struggles to perform under stress what he once was able to do smoothly while at ease. After this demonstration, Col. Shaw approaches the Major conducting the training and tells him:

“Teach them properly, Major.”

In this movie scene, we see vividly demonstrated how improper training can create an inflated sense of confidence based on faulty teaching methodology. In turn, this can result in one’s confidence exceeding one’s competence.

In a law enforcement context, the field-training officer assumes the role of the Major; and it is the job of that field-training officer to ‘Teach them properly.’

The field-training officer is arguably the most important cog in the machine that is the first-level training arm of the department. With various field-training philosophies aside, an FTO program is only as good as its trainers, their levels of dedication and belief in their mission.

Newly hired police recruits are first exposed to the law enforcement way of doing things during their time in basic academy classes. However, by the very nature of the mission undertaken by the police academy, the course work these recruits are exposed to during this time is a broad generalization of what they must know with regards to performing their jobs effectively and correctly. It is when the recruit completes basic academy-level training and enters the FTO program that they are really exposed to the culture of their particular department and the ‘nuances’ of the types of policing their particular community requires... basically, ‘our way of doing things.’

As a new recruit myself, I vividly remember a grizzly (and large) veteran patrol lieutenant explaining to me that I would first go through the police academy and once I returned, they’d show me how things were ‘really’ done. As arrogant or trite as that may sound, it is the reality of the recruit training process.

A new recruit comes to an agency as a very moldable individual. His or her attitude and outlook — toward their coworkers, the department as a whole, and of the community which they will serve — is greatly influenced by their experiences with their field training officers. Additionally, if these recruits are not taught properly, they exit the field-training program with flawed technical competence and a false sense of confidence that can and will continue to perpetuate itself long into their career.

A perfect example lies with the standardized field sobriety tests established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many officers seem to have forgotten (if they ever learned it) that these tests are called ‘standardized’ for a reason. These tests were designed and validated by the courts on a national level. This means that they must be performed in the exact same manner and in the exact same sequence from California to New York and all areas in between for them to be valid in court, every time.

However, too often I observe officers not adhering to this strict protocol when administering these exercises in the field. If the FTO himself is not competent in performing this task, then how can they effectively pass that task along to their trainee? If the trainee is taught improperly and allowed to complete the field-training program, they continue performing their jobs improperly as patrol officers in the field — and even as future FTOs — and it erodes professionalism and effectiveness. It should be easy to see how this issue can ‘water-down’ the overall professionalism and effectiveness of an entire department if field-training programs continually turn out improperly trained recruits.

An FTO’s development should be an ongoing endeavor in that they should not limit their experience to those times in which they are assigned a trainee. Due to the nature of their task, an FTO must develop and maintain a broad knowledge base and be able to pass this information along to their charge in an effective manner. This can be a very daunting task. Often, the more areas in which an individual works to excel results in their being mediocre in many and above average in none.

However, it is not impossible. One way to accomplish this is to empower the FTO as a trainer department-wide; not limiting their mission to times they are engaged in the field-training process. FTO’s can be utilized on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis to develop and provide in-service training blocks of instruction to the department as a whole.

One of the most effective ways to become more knowledgeable in a given subject is to research then disseminate it through a period of instruction (lecture, training bulletins, etc). I’ve done this several times throughout my career on topics ranging from neighborhood watch-type groups to asset seizure and forfeiture, and many in between. None of these topics were among my ‘specialties’ but through this technique, I was able to add valuable knowledge to my repertoire and improve overall as a result.

The position of field-training officer is one of great responsibility and should not be taken lightly. Whereas the police academy may forge the recruit into the basic shape of a police officer, it is the FTO who hones their edge. If an FTO is to be effective, they must realize they are teachers and accept that role; and they must believe in their mission. We often look to our pool of FTO’s and their performance in that capacity as future leaders in our department. An FTO is very much like a sergeant in that they are in a leadership position and must lead; and must do so by good example. This affords the FTO an excellent opportunity to test and develop their leadership and instructional skills at a one-on-one level with a trainee before moving on to a position with a larger span of control, such as that of a sergeant.

About the author: John Bennett is a lieutenant with the Charleston (IL) Police Department and is in his nineteenth year with that agency. John’s career has been spent at the patrol-level and includes an eight year stint as the department’s first canine handler; during which time he handled a dual-trained Malinois, Rex. John is a black belt martial artist and in addition to his patrol and supervisory duties at the police department, is the chief firearms and defensive tactics instructor for his agency. John currently supervises a training staff of five instructors. An instructor himself, John holds numerous instructor certifications and specializes in use of force, defensive tactics and tactical firearms instruction. John has trained officers both in and outside his agency for more than 16 years; nationally and abroad. John can be reached by emailing rexdog8394@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pictures for the spring

A few pictures for the change of seasons....

A few weeks ago some of my Army reserve buddies gave me a present for retirement. A wide photo of the last play of Superbowl 44, where the Saints killed the clock. It was beautiful but I wasn't too sure where to put it...and it just came to me.

Last summer I bought a 55 inch HD just in time for the Saint's best season ever...and it fits perfectly:

The next is this...many years ago I planted white roses next to my mail box and every spring I get the first bloom...but this is weird. One had a sex change from white to red.

Finally this....years ago I bought the Thermos on the right...it's so old it was actually built in the USA and it was served me well over the years. Now yesterday I was shoping at an Academy sporting goods and found the Thermos flask...and I had to have it. Of course it is manufactured in China, but it's too good of a matching pair.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A few good ones from Leno, Letterman et all

Too good not to pass on

The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree . . . and think 25 to life would be appropriate. Leno

America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask. Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it. Conan O'Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser. Leno

Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners. Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America! Fallon

Q: What's the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers. Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers" program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road. Letterman

EPA Contest Seeks Videos Promoting Government Regulations

Just when you think your tax dollars can't be wasted in any more useless ways, the EPA and Obama come through.

CNSNews.com) – President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging the public to create video advertisements that explain why federal regulations are "important to everyone."

The contest, which ends May 17, will award $2,500 to the makers of the video that best explains why federal regulations are good and how ordinary citizens can become more involved in making regulations. The videos must be posted on YouTube and can be no more than 60-90 seconds in length.

In the current contest, each video must include the slogan “Let your voice be heard,” …The winning video will then be used by the entire federal government to promote the regulatory process and enhance the public’s participation in it.

As explained in the EPA press release announcing the contest, the purpose of the videos will be to remind the public that federal regulation touches “almost every aspect” of their lives and to promote how important those regulations are.

Don’t remind me…but this is the best part of it.

The videos must also remind viewers that regulations are the law and that they actually outnumber laws passed by Congress on the order of 10-1.

“Regulations have the power of law. Breaking them can result in fines and even jail time. Regulations outnumber Congressional statutes. For every statute passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, federal agencies create about 10 regulations, each of which have the force of law.”

The videos must also explain to viewers how regulations affect the everyday lives of Americans, showing just what the government does that has a “direct impact” on the lives of “every American citizen.”

Regulations have a direct impact on your life and the life of every American citizen,” the information packet says.

“The price of the coffee you drink in the morning is affected by regulations written by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The television shows you watch are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. The quality of the air you breathe is affected by regulations written by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

And they direct impact on your life and you have little ability to control the bureaucracy. I think the Founding Fathers would be up in arms.

Joe Klein shows why Time is worthless and he’s an idiot

Joe Klein is a typical leftist columnist from the pages of the dying Time magazine, but even for him this is bad

On NBC's April 18 "The Chris Matthews Show," Time columnist Joe Klein all but accused former GOP vice-presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, along with Fox News host Glenn Beck of sedition.

"I did a little bit of research just before this show - it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious."…
New York magazine's John Heilemann agreed with Klein added Rush Limbaugh to that list.

"And Joe's right and I'll name another person, I'll name Rush Limbaugh who uses this phrase constantly and talks about the Obama administration as a regime," Heilemann said. "That phrase which has connotations of tyranny. And what's so interesting about it to me, to get to Norah's point - what is the focus, what is the cause of this? You think back to 1994, there was Ruby Ridge. There was Waco. There were triggering incidents. There's been nothing like that. The only thing that's changed in the last 15 months is the election of Barack Obama. And as far as I can see, in terms of the policies that Obama has implemented, there's nothing."

Hey Joe, maybe you should remember this quote:

"I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration."
Mrs Bill Clinton, 2003

Joe have you heard of people named Billy Maher…Al Sharpton…Jesse Jackson…Charles Rangle? Your outrage and concern seems somewhat one sided.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Jersey's Governor

I am recalling what a caller said to Limbaugh after this man won election: “Rush, for the first time in my adult life I am proud to be from New Jersey!”

Love him or hate him, Christie is taking on the real issues for his state:

"I said all during the campaign last year that I was going to govern as if I was a one-termer," explains New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on a visit this week to the Journal's editorial board. "And everybody felt that it was just stuff you say during a campaign to sound good. I think after the first 12 weeks, given the stuff I've done, they figure: 'He's just crazy enough to do it.'"

Call it crazy, or just call it sensible: Mr. Christie is on a mission to make New Jersey competitive once again in the contest to attract people and capital. During last fall's campaign, while his opponent obliquely criticized Mr. Christie's size, some Republicans worried that their candidate was squishy—that he wasn't serious about cutting spending and reining in taxes. Turns out they were wrong.

Listen to Mr. Christie's take on the state of his state: "We are, I think, the failed experiment in America—the best example of a failed experiment in America—on taxes and bigger government. Over the last eight years, New Jersey increased taxes and fees 115 times." New Jersey's residents now suffer under the nation's highest tax burden. Yet the tax hikes haven't come close to matching increases in spending. Mr. Christie recently introduced a $29.3 billion state budget to eliminate a projected $11 billion deficit for fiscal year 2011….

Mr. Christie has already signed into law a bipartisan plan that begins to reform the state's generous benefit system for government workers. Facing unfunded liabilities of $90 billion in pension and medical plans, Mr. Christie worked with lawmakers to change retirement benefits for new workers and to require all new state employees to pay 1.5% of their medical insurance costs. Until now they were paying nothing.

He wants to go further. "We need to move forward to try to make some changes in the pension system for current employees," he says. "There's all kinds of problems in doing that, some legal. . . . You can't take away vested benefits, but the argument of whether increases going forward are actually vested or not is an interesting legal issue that we're going to attempt to challenge. . . ." He adds that the current retirement age for state employees, 62, "needs to be moved up further."

Again, this is a leader taking on issues that matter...something I don't see from the Obama administration. I wonder if Time propaganda, err magazine will have a cover story about "Who Needs Washington" over Christie.

News from da earth

- Canadian Prime Minister Lawrence Cannon has canceled a diplomatic visit to Russia because of the volcanic dust cloud that has closed airspace across much of Europe, RIA Novosti reported April 17.

- U.S. President Barack Obama on April 17 canceled his trip to Poland for the state funeral of President Lech Kaczynski because of the travel risk posed by the huge volcanic ash cloud spreading over Europe, Reuters reported.

- The U.N. Security Council canceled a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a consequence of the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano that has been causing air travel problems across Europe, a U.N. spokesman said April 16, Reuters reported.

I only have two questions:

1. If this volcano has put more pollution in the atmosphere in a few days than all cars, etc in history, what danger is my truck?

2. How long before ALGORE blames this on “Global Warming”?

A tale of two DWIs

In the course of 15 hours I had two drunk drivers at work…tales of being young and stupid.

At 0300hrs on Saturday April 17th I was heading to the station to get off duty (working some OT) when I had a vehicle driving towards me on a one way street…needless to say this came to my interest. Long story short the 20 year old college student behind the wheel had drank “one beer” at the beginning of the investigation…then “two beers” sometime later. She did say she was the designated driver of her group and I agree, of the five people in that car she was the least screwed up. Brought her in to the intox station where she sang for everyone…the male prisoners being processed, the intox staff and the other officers working their cases…she really has a beautiful voice. It was a change to the usual “you f$%^ing stupid fat pigs…..” I generally get from my prisoners.

We got her on video saying she only had one beer while she acted like she just came from a bachelorette party…I really didn’t have the heart to tell her because she is too young to drink any alcohol in the blood is statutory DWI.

At 1800hrs on Saturday April 17th I was going to meet some co-workers for lunch when I got dispatched to a major accident. I get there and the striking vehicle driver (aka Unit 1) is screaming into his cell phone like a 4 year old and stumbling. It’s bad when the medic who looked him over says “He is on alcoholic or something….” After a few field sobriety tests I knew the obvious and cuffed him. After a few minutes reality hit him and he started to kick the rear window of my vehicle (that’s why we got bars on them now). After leg restrains, aka “hog ties” and getting him to the intox station, where he threatened the intox staff, all the cops there and the jail staff. I tried to read him his rights (as required by policy) on camera but he kept screaming “I want my f^&*ing lawyer ….you f^&*ing wetback….” When we told him he was being recorded he looked at the camera and screamed “I want my f^&*ing lawyer you f^&*ing camera…”. After we got charges on him, the jail sergeant had him put in the padded cell…man this guy is going to have a hangover!

As I was finishing the report on Mr. Congeniality at approx 2200hrs Saturday April 17th, the evidence tech that processed my princess during my OT shift early that morning was coming on her Saturday night shift and just looked at me “What are you doing here?” I told her of my new guy, grabbed the video of him in the intox room and had a great time watching him. We don’t have any blood evidence but put that video in front of a jury and they will say in one minute “Looks like a drunk, sounds like a drunk, acts like a drunk…..that’s a drunk!”

Gotta love this place.

Friday, April 16, 2010

One of my favorite commentators is Charles Krauthammer and again he hits it out the ballpark.

Not Much of a Summit
With the two greatest threats off the table, the nuclear summit was bound to fizzle.

There was something oddly disproportionate about the just-concluded nuclear summit to which President Obama summoned 46 world leaders, the largest such gathering on American soil since 1945. That meeting was about the founding of the United Nations, which 65 years ago seemed an event of world-historical importance.

But this one? What was this great convocation about? To prevent the spread of nuclear material into the hands of terrorists. A worthy goal, no doubt. Unfortunately, the two greatest such threats were not even on the agenda.

The first is Iran, which is frantically enriching uranium to make a bomb, and which our own State Department identifies as the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world.

Nor on the agenda was Pakistan’s plutonium production, which is adding to the world’s stockpile of fissile material every day.

Pakistan is a relatively friendly power, but it is the most unstable of all the nuclear states. It is fighting a Taliban insurgency and is home to al-Qaeda. Suicide bombs go off regularly in its major cities. Moreover, its own secret service, the ISI, is of dubious loyalty, some of its elements being sympathetic to the Taliban and thus, by extension, to al-Qaeda.

So what was the major breakthrough announced by Obama at the end of the two-day conference? That Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, and Canada will be getting rid of various amounts of enriched uranium.

What a relief. I don’t know about you, but I lie awake nights worrying about Canadian uranium. I know these people. I grew up there. You have no idea what they’re capable of doing. If Sidney Crosby hadn’t scored that goal to win the Olympic gold medal, there’s no telling what might have ensued.

Indeed, the Washington summit was part of a larger misdirection play — Obama’s “nuclear spring.” Last week, a START treaty, redolent of precisely the kind of Cold War obsolescence Obama routinely decries. The number of warheads in Russia’s aging and decaying nuclear stockpile is an irrelevancy now that the existential U.S.-Soviet struggle is over. One major achievement of the treaty, from the point of view of Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, is that it could freeze deployment of U.S. missile defenses — thus constraining the single greatest anti-nuclear breakthrough of our time.....

This followed a softening of the U.S. nuclear-deterrent posture (sparing nonproliferation-compliant states from U.S. nuclear retaliation if they launch a biochemical attack against us) — a change so bizarre and literally unbelievable that even Hillary Clinton couldn’t get straight what retaliatory threat remains on the table.

All this during a week when top U.S. military officials told Congress that Iran is about a year away from acquiring the fissile material to make a nuclear bomb. Then, only a very few years until weaponization.

A timely reminder: Syria has just been discovered transferring lethal Scud missiles to Hezbollah, the Middle East’s most powerful non-state terrorist force. This is the same Syria that was secretly building a North Korean–designed nuclear reactor until the Israeli air force destroyed the facility three years ago.

But not to worry. Canadian uranium is secured. A nonbinding summit communiqué has been issued. And a “Work Plan” has been agreed to.

Oh, yes, and there will be another summit in two years. The dream lives on.

Don't worry Charles...we'll put in sanctions that bite!
This is kinda interesting...a female white reporter asking a black man why he is at a TEA Party Rally:

“There aren't a lot of African-American men at these events,” NBC News reporter Kelly O'Donnell, a white woman, told Darryl Postell, a black man at a Tea Party rally held Thursday in Washington, DC, pressing him, in an exchange she chose to include in her NBC Nightly News story, to address her prejudiced assumptions: “Have you ever felt uncomfortable?” Postell rejected her loaded premise that race must divide Americans: “No, no, these are my people, Americans.”

NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: In this country, April 15, it's Tax Day, or tax extension day for some. For others, this was Tea Party day. All across this country, Americans gathered in parks and plazas and in Washington, D.C., to show their government they're fed up with the way things are going. Our own Kelly O'Donnell is with us from the National Mall tonight. Kelly, good evening.

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good evening, Brian. For the Tea Party movement, this is something of a political holiday, using Tax Day to make their case. They don't like where the country is headed. They don't like the size of government, and more than one was willing to tell me they don't like the media. But they all do want to be heard. Going right to the source, Tea Partiers rallied in Washington, the very place their movement wants to change.

O'DONNELL, TO MAN: There aren't a lot of African-American men at these events.


O'DONNELL: Have you ever felt uncomfortable?

POSTELL: No, no, these are my people, Americans.

I wonder..where is Jessee Jackass et all demanding NBC fire this white woman for racist underpinnings of her questions....and I mean, can't a man make his own decisions..

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Officer Down

Deputy Jacob Rayos was killed in an automobile accident on the I-20 service road at approximately 3:30 am 4/11/10. He was attempting to locate a suspect when his patrol car left the roadway on a curve and rolled over several times, ejecting him.

Rest in Peace Bro…We’ll Continue The Watch

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

I can't agree with this man...

Anyone who knows me knows I'm no fan of our current president but I belive he is a natural born American citizen. Not because of his words but because if there was any chance of it not being true Mrs Clinton would have used one hundred detectives to prove it and eliminate Obama from the election in the Democratic nomination procedure.

Now, I cannot agree with this man...

Army officer won’t accept Obama as chief
Source: MSNBC

Posted on 04.13.10 by R. Lee Wrights
“The Army may be forced [sic] to court-martial a lieutenant colonel who refused to deploy to Afghanistan because he considers orders from President Barack Obama to be illegal, military officials told NBC News on Tuesday. Army doctor Lt. Col. Terry Lakin believes Obama does not meet the constitutional requirements to be president and commander-in-chief because Lakin believes the president was not born in the United States. A video with statements from Lakin on the subject was released by the right-wing American Patriot Foundation.” (04/13/10)

He is publically challenging the Command-n-Chief in uniform...and that cannot be tolerated.

In the good words of Gene Hackman from Crimson Tide, "We're here to protect democracy, we're not to practice it."

The Caucasus Emirate

The Caucasus Emirate
April 15, 2010

By Scott Stewart and Ben West
On April 9, a woman armed with a pistol and with explosives strapped to her body approached a group of police officers in the northern Caucasus village of Ekazhevo, in the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia. The police officers were preparing to launch an operation to kill or capture militants in the area. The woman shot and wounded one of the officers, at which point other officers drew their weapons and shot the woman. As she fell to the ground, the suicide vest she was wearing detonated. The woman was killed and the man she wounded, the head of the of the Russian Interior Ministry’s local office, was rushed to the hospital where he died from his wounds.
Such incidents are regular occurrences in Russia’s southernmost republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia. These five republics are home to fundamentalist separatist insurgencies that carry out regular attacks against security forces and government officials through the use of suicide bombers, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), armed assaults and targeted assassinations. However, we have noted a change in the operational tempo of militants in the region. So far in 2010, militants have carried out 23 attacks in the Caucasus, killing at least 34 people — a notable increase over the eight attacks that killed 17 people in the region during the same period last year. These militants have also returned to attacking the far enemy in Moscow and not just the near enemy in the Caucasus.

History of Activity
Over the past year, in addition to the weekly attacks we expect to see in the region (such as the one described above), a group calling itself the Caucasus Emirate has claimed five significant attacks against larger targets and, notably, ventured outside of the northern Caucasus region. The first of these attacks was a suicide VBIED bombing that seriously wounded Ingushetia’s president, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, and killed several members of his protective detail in June 2009 as Yekurov was traveling along a predictable route in a motorcade from his residence to his office. Then in August of that year, CE militants claimed responsibility for an explosion at the Siberian Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric dam that flooded the engine room, disabled turbines, wrecked equipment and killed 74 people (the structure of the dam was not affected). In November 2009, the group claimed responsibility for assassinating an Orthodox priest in Moscow and for detonating a bomb that targeted a high-speed train called the Nevsky Express that runs between Moscow and St. Petersburg and killing 30 people. Its most recent attack outside of the Caucasus occurred on March 29, 2010, when two female suicide bombers detonated IEDs in Moscow’s underground rail system during morning rush hour, killing 40 people.
The group’s claim of responsibility for the hydroelectric dam was, by all accounts, a phony one. At the time, STRATFOR was not convinced at all that the high level of damage we saw in images of the site could be brought about by a very large IED, much less a single anti-tank mine, which is what the Caucasus Emirate claimed it used in the attack. STRATFOR sources in Russia later confirmed that the explosion was caused by age, neglect and failing systems and not a militant attack, confirming our original assessment. While the Caucasus Emirate had emerged on our radar as early as summer 2009, we were dubious of its capabilities given this apparent false claim. However, while the claim of responsibility for the dam attack was bogus, STRATFOR sources in Russia tell us that the group was indeed responsible for the other attacks described above.
So, although we were initially skeptical about the Caucasus Emirate, the fact that the group has claimed several attacks that our Russian sources tell us it indeed carried out indicates that it is time to seriously examine the group and its leadership.
Russian security forces, with the assistance of pro-Moscow regional leaders such as Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and Ingush President Yunus-bek Yevkurov, are constantly putting pressure on militant networks in the region. Raids on militant hideouts occur weekly, and after major attacks (such as the assassination attempt against Yevkurov or the Moscow metro bombings), security forces typically respond with fierce raids on militant positions that result in the arrests or deaths of militant leaders, among others. Chechen militant leaders such as Shamil Basayev (who claimed responsibility for the attack that killed pro-Russian Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov and the Beslan school siege, both in 2004) was killed by Russian forces in 2006. Before Basayev, Ibn Al-Khattab (who was widely suspected of being responsible for the 1999 apartment bombings in Russia) was killed by the Russian Federal Security Service in a 2002. The deaths of Basayev, Khattab and many others like them have fractured the militant movement in the Caucasus, but may also have prompted its remnants to join up under the Caucasus Emirate umbrella.
It is impressive that in the face of heavy Russian pressure, the Caucasus Emirate not only has continued operations but also has increased its operational tempo, all the while capitalizing on the attacks with public announcements claiming responsibility and criticizing the Russian counterterrorism response. Between March 29 and April 9, the group coordinated three different attacks involving five suicide operatives (three of which were female) in Moscow, Dagestan and Ingushetia. This is a substantial feat indicating that the Caucasus Emirate can manage several different teams of attackers and influence when they strike their targets.
Doku Umarov: A Charismatic (and Resilient) Leader
The Caucasus Emirate was created and is led by Doku Umarov, a seasoned veteran of both the first and second Chechen wars in which he was in charge of his own battalion. By 2006, Umarov had become the self-proclaimed president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, an unrecognized secessionist government of Chechnya. He has been declared dead at least six times by fellow militants as well as Chechen and Russian authorities, most recently in June 2009. Yet he continues to appear in videos claiming attacks against Russian targets, including a video dated March 29, 2010, in which he claimed responsibility for the Moscow metro attacks.
In October 2007, Umarov expanded his following by declaring the formation of the Caucasus Emirate as the successor to the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and appointing himself emir, or leader. In his statement marking the formation of the Caucasus Emirate, Umarov rejected the laws and borders of the Russian state and called for the Caucasus region to recognize the new emirate as the rightful power and adopt Shariah. The new emirate expanded far beyond his original mandate of Chechnya into Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia and other predominantly Muslim areas farther to the north. He called for the creation of an Islamic power that would not acknowledge the current boundaries of nation-states. Umarov also clearly indicated that the formation of this emirate could not be done peacefully. He called for the “Islamic” entity to be created by forcefully driving out Russian troops. The policy of physically removing one political entity in order to establish an Islamic emirate makes the Caucasus Emirate a jihadist group.
Later, in April 2009, Umarov released another statement in which he justified attacks against Russian civilians (civilians in the Caucasus were largely deemed off-limits by virtually all organized militant groups) and called for more attacks in Russian territory outside of the Caucasus. We saw this policy start to take shape with the November 2009 assassination of Daniil Sysoev, the Orthodox priest murdered at his home in Moscow for allegedly “defaming Islam,” and continue with the train bombing later that month and the Moscow metro bombing in March 2010.
Umarov has made it clear that he is the leader of the Caucasus Emirate and, given the effectiveness of its attacks on Russian soil outside of the Caucasus, Russian authorities are rightfully concerned about the group. Clearly, however, there is more there than just Umarov.
A Confederacy of Militant Groups
The Caucasus Emirate appears to be an umbrella group for many regional militant groups spawned during the second Chechen war (1999-2009). Myriad groups formed under militant commanders, waged attacks (sometimes coordinated with others, sometimes not) against Russian troops and saw their leaders die and get replaced time and again. Some groups disappeared altogether, some opted for political reconciliation and gave up their militant tactics and some produced leaders like the Kadyrovs who formed the current Chechen government. All in all, the larger and more organized Islamist groups seen in the first and second Chechen wars are now broken and weak, their remnants possibly consolidated within Umarov’s Caucasus Emirate.
For example, the militant group Riyadus Salihin, founded by Basayev, seems to have been folded into the Caucasus Emirate. Umarov himself issued a statement confirming the union in April 2009. When Basayev was killed in 2006, he was serving as vice president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria under Umarov. Significantly, Riyadus Salihin brought Basayev together with Pavel Kosolapov, an ethnic Russian soldier who switched sides during the second Chechen war and converted to Islam. Kosolapov is suspected of being an expert bombmaker and is thought to have made the explosive device used in the November 2009 Moscow-St. Petersburg train attack (which was similar to an August 2007 attack in the same location that used the same amount and type of explosive material) as well as devices employed in the March 2010 Moscow metro attack.
The advantage of having an operative such as Kosolapov working for the Caucasus Emirate cannot be understated. Not only does he apparently have excellent bombmaking tradecraft, but he also served in the Russian military, which means he has deep insight into how the forces working against the Caucasus Emirate operate. The fact that Kosolapov is an ethnic Russian also means that the Caucasus Emirate has an operator who is able to more aptly navigate centers such as Moscow or St. Petersburg, unlike some of his Caucasian colleagues. While Kosolapov is being sought by virtually every law enforcement agency in Russia, altering his appearance may help him evade the dragnet.
In addition to inheriting Kosolapov and Riyadus Salihin, the Caucasus Emirate also appears to have acquired the Dagestani militant group, Shariat Jamaat, one of the oldest Islamist militant groups fighting in Dagestan. In 2007, a spokesman for the group told a Radio Free Europe interviewer that its fighters had pledged allegiance to Doku Umarov and the Caucasus Emirate. Violent attacks have continued apace, with the last attack in Dagestan conducted as recently as March 31, a complex operation that used a follow-on suicide attacker to ensure the death of authorities responding to an initial blast. In all, nine police officers were killed in the attack, including a senior police commander, which occurred just two days after the Moscow metro attacks. The March 31 attack was only the second instance of a suicide VBIED being used in Dagestan, the first occurring in January 2010. This tactic of using a secondary IED to attack first responders is fairly common in many parts of the world, but it is not normally seen in Dagestan. The timing of the attack so close to the Moscow metro bombing and the emergence of VBIEDs in Dagestan opens the possibility that the proliferation of this tactic may be linked to the expansion of the Caucasus Emirate.
In the Crosshairs
The Caucasus Emirate appears to have managed to centralize (or at least take credit for) the efforts of previously disparate militant groups throughout the Caucasus. Russia announced that it would start withdrawing troops from Chechnya in April 2009, but some 20,000 Russian troops remain in the region, and the start of withdrawal has likely led to a resurgence in local militant activity. Ultimately, Moscow will have to live with the threat, but it will work hard to ensure that militant groups stay as fragmented and weak as possible. While the Caucasus Emirate seems to demonstrate a relatively high level of organization, as well as an ability to strike at Russia’s heartland, STRATFOR sources say Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was outraged by the Moscow attacks. This suggests that people will be held accountable for the lapse in security in Moscow and that retribution will be sought in the Caucasus.
Umarov’s founding statement for the Caucasus Emirate, in which he called for the region to recognize the emirate as the rightful regional power and adopt Shariah, marked a shift from the motives of many previous militant leaders and groups, which were more nationalistic than jihadist. This trend of regional militants becoming more jihadist in their outlook increases the likelihood that they will forge substantial links with transnational jihadists such as al Qaeda — indeed, our Russian sources report that there are connections between the group and high-profile jihadists like Ilyas Kashmiri.
However, this alignment with transnational jihadists comes with a price. It could serve to distance the Caucasus Emirate from the general population, which practices a more moderate form of Islam (Sufi). This could help Moscow isolate and neutralize members of the Caucasus Emirate. Indeed, key individuals in the group such as Umarov and Kosolapov are operating in a very hostile environment and can name many of their predecessors who met their ends fighting the Russians. Both of these men have survived so far, but having prodded Moscow so provocatively, they are likely living on borrowed time.

This report is republished with permission of