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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I think the Edsel is getting a break

The Edsel was a line of car manufactured by Ford 58-60 that never caught on with the market and ended up costing the Ford Motor Company 350 million. In today’s money, that’s 2.45 billion. And in Americana the term “Edsel” has become synonymous with failure. But I think that title will be taken over by two words: Chevy Volt.

From the official propaganda arm of the left, The NY Times has a great column on what we, the is the taxpayers, will be putting into this disaster before one goes to the showroom:

Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.

What makes me think about this taking the title of failure from the Edsel. At least the Edsel sold some units. 84000 in three years. Less than half the breakeven point for Ford but at least it made the sales without taxpayer support.

A basic question any half ass businessman will ask that no politician will ask, especially B Hussein Obama: Is there a market for this? The answer is no. But that won’t stop a man-child like B Hussein Obama from spending other people’s money. And when the thing falls flat on its face, Obama will just say “I’ll appoint anther Czar to oversee more Volts.”

The electric car has been a dream for the left for over a century. From the Daily Beast,

The electric-car industry has a century-long history of failure tailgating failure. And yet we are being told that this time things are different, that the technologies are better, the batteries are better, and that consumers are ready to adopt electrics like never before. Perhaps that’s true. But consider this declaration: The electric car “has long been recognized as the ideal solution” because it “is cleaner and quieter” and “much more economical.”

That story was published by The New York Times on November 12, 1911.

Or given that the new Chevy Volt costs as much as a new Mercedes-Benz C350, consider this assessment by a believing reporter: “Prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are within reach of the average family.”

That line appeared in The Washington Post on Halloween 1915.

And since the Volt is being built by GM, this news item says that the giant carmaker has found “a breakthrough in batteries” that “now makes electric cars commercially practical.” The new zinc-nickel oxide batteries will provide the “100-mile range that General Motors executives believe is necessary to successfully sell electric vehicles to the public.”

That story was published in The Washington Post on September 26, 1979.

Now fast-forward to July 2008, when Thomas Friedman of The New York Times declared that Shai Agassi—the founder of an electric-car company called Better Place—was “the Jewish Henry Ford.” Friedman went on to claim that Agassi was launching “an energy revolution” that would end the world’s “oil addiction.” Never mind that when Friedman wrote his story Agassi’s fleet of electric cars consisted of exactly one prototype.

But again, leftist don’t get the fact no one wants it. I doubt there will be enough sales on this electric lawnmower to break the Edsel’s record of 84000 units sold.
Add it up. Almost 75 billion in taxpayer money for nothing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Officer Down

Sheriff Garry Welford George County Sheriff's Office Mississippi
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Age: 63
Tour of Duty: 37 years
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
Date of Incident: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Weapon Used: Automobile

Sheriff Garry Welford was struck and killed by the driver of a vehicle being pursued by deputies.

At approximately 2:45 pm deputies from the George County Sheriff's Office were pursuing a pick-up truck that had failed to stop for them. The driver of the vehicle was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for sentencing on a narcotics charge.

Sheriff Welford was laying spike strips down on Bexley Road South during to aid the pursuit when he was stuck by the suspect's vehicle. He was airlifted to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he died from his injuries.

The driver and a passenger in the vehicle were taken into custody the next day and charged in connection with the death of Sheriff Welford.

Sheriff Welford was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served as the sheriff of George County for seven years. Prior to being elected he had served for 30 years with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, and seven grandchildren.

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.

North Korea's Great Leader is not happy to be a loser

Lombardi is the man who said “Winning is the everything, it’s the only thing” but I think even Vince would say this is a little much! :)

North Korean football team shamed in six-hour public inquiry over World Cup performance.

North Korea's football team has been shamed in a six-hour public inquisition and the team's coach has been accused of "betraying" the reclusive leader's heir apparent following their failure at the World Cup, according to reports.

The team's coach, Kim Jong-hun, was reportedly forced to become a builder and has been expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea.

The entire squad was forced onto a stage at the People's Palace of Culture and subjected to criticism from Pak Myong-chol, the sports minister, as 400 government officials, students and journalists watched.

The players were subjected to a "grand debate" on July 2 because they failed in their "ideological struggle" to succeed in South Africa, Radio Free Asia and South Korean media reported.

The team's coach, Kim Jong-hun, was reportedly forced to become a builder and has been expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea.

The coach was punished for "betraying" Kim Jong-un - one of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il's sons and heir apparent.

The country, in its first World Cup since 1966, lost all three group games – including a 7-0 defeat to Portugal.

The broadcast of live games had been banned to avoid national embarrassment, but after the spirited 2-1 defeat to Brazil, state television made the Portugal game its first live sports broadcast ever.

Following ideological criticism, the players were then allegedly forced to blame the coach for their defeats.

Only two players avoided the inquisition - Japanese-born Jong Tae-se and An Yong-hak, who flew straight to Japan after the tournament.

Hey, it could be worse.
However, media in South Korea said the players got off lightly by North Korean standards.

"In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps," a South Korean intelligence source told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff David Lambert
Warren County Sheriff's Department Mississippi
End of Watch: Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Age: 38
Tour of Duty: 15 years
Badge Number: WC-46
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: Thursday, June 24, 2010

Deputy David Lambert succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident one month earlier.

He was responding to backup another deputy who called for assistance when he swerved to avoid a vehicle at the intersection of U.S. Highway 61 and Oak Ridge Road. His patrol car overturned, causing him to suffer severe injuries. He was flown to a nearby hospital where he underwent several surgeries before succumbing to his injuries.

Deputy Lambert had served with the Warren County Sheriff's Department for seven months and had served in law enforcement for a total of 15 years. He had previously served with the University of Mississippi Medical Center Police Department, River Oaks Medical Center Security Division, and Ross Barnett Reservoir Patrol.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Geopolitical Intelligence Report 100727

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War
July 27, 2010

By George Friedman

On Sunday, The New York Times and two other newspapers published summaries and excerpts of tens of thousands of documents leaked to a website known as WikiLeaks. The documents comprise a vast array of material concerning the war in Afghanistan. They range from tactical reports from small unit operations to broader strategic analyses of politico-military relations between the United States and Pakistan. It appears to be an extraordinary collection.

Tactical intelligence on firefights is intermingled with reports on confrontations between senior U.S. and Pakistani officials in which lists of Pakistani operatives in Afghanistan are handed over to the Pakistanis. Reports on the use of surface-to-air missiles by militants in Afghanistan are intermingled with reports on the activities of former Pakistani intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, who reportedly
continues to liaise with the Afghan Taliban in an informal capacity.

The WikiLeaks

At first glance, it is difficult to imagine a single database in which such a diverse range of intelligence was stored, or the existence of a single individual cleared to see such diverse intelligence stored across multiple databases and able to collect, collate and transmit the intelligence without detection. Intriguingly, all of what has been released so far has been not-so-sensitive material rated secret or below. The Times reports that Gul’s name appears all over the documents, yet very few documents have been released in the current batch, and it is very hard to imagine intelligence on Gul and his organization, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, being classified as only secret. So, this was either low-grade material hyped by the media, or there is material reviewed by the selected newspapers but not yet made public. Still, what was released and what the Times discussed is consistent with what most thought was happening in Afghanistan.
The obvious comparison is to the Pentagon Papers, commissioned by the Defense Department to gather lessons from the Vietnam War and leaked by Daniel Ellsberg to the Times during the Nixon administration. Many people worked on the Pentagon Papers, each of whom was focused on part of it and few of whom would have had access to all of it.

Ellsberg did not give the Times the supporting documentation; he gave it the finished product. By contrast, in the WikiLeaks case, someone managed to access a lot of information that would seem to have been contained in many different places. If this was an unauthorized leak, then it had to have involved a massive failure in security. Certainly, the culprit should be known by now and his arrest should have been announced. And certainly, the gathering of such diverse material in one place accessible to one or even a few people who could move it without detection is odd.
Like the Pentagon Papers, the WikiLeaks (as I will call them) elicited a great deal of feigned surprise, not real surprise. Apart from the charge that the Johnson administration contrived the Gulf of Tonkin incident, much of what the Pentagon Papers contained was generally known. Most striking about the Pentagon Papers was not how much surprising material they contained, but how little. Certainly, they contradicted the official line on the war, but there were few, including supporters of the war, who were buying the official line anyway.

In the case of the WikiLeaks, what is revealed also is not far from what most people believed, although they provide enormous detail. Nor is it that far from what government and military officials are saying about the war. No one is saying the war is going well, though some say that given time it might go better.

The view of the Taliban as a capable fighting force is, of course, widespread. If they weren’t a capable fighting force, then the United States would not be having so much trouble defeating them. The WikiLeaks seem to contain two strategically significant claims, however. The first is that the Taliban is a more sophisticated fighting force than has been generally believed. An example is the claim that Taliban fighters have used man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) against U.S. aircraft. This claim matters in a number of ways. First, it indicates that the Taliban are using technologies similar to those used against the Soviets. Second, it raises the question of where the Taliban are getting them — they certainly don’t manufacture MANPADS themselves.

If they have obtained advanced technologies, this would have significance on the battlefield. For example, if reasonably modern MANPADS were to be deployed in numbers, the use of American airpower would either need to be further constrained or higher attrition rates accepted. Thus far, only first- and second-generation MANPADS without Infrared Counter-Countermeasures (which are more dangerous) appear to have been encountered, and not with decisive or prohibitive effectiveness. But in any event, this doesn’t change the fundamental character of the war.
Supply Lines and Sanctuaries

What it does raise is the question of supply lines and sanctuaries. The most important charge contained in the leaks is about Pakistan. The WikiLeaks contain documents that charge that the Pakistanis are providing both supplies and sanctuary to Taliban fighters while objecting to American forces entering Pakistan to clean out the sanctuaries and are unwilling or unable to carry out that operation by themselves (as they have continued to do in North Waziristan).

Just as important, the documents charge that the ISI has continued to maintain liaison and support for the Taliban in spite of claims by the Pakistani government that pro-Taliban officers had been cleaned out of the ISI years ago. The document charges that Gul, the director-general of the ISI from 1987 to 1989, still operates in Pakistan, informally serving the ISI and helping give the ISI plausible deniability.

Though startling, the charge that Islamabad is protecting and sustaining forces fighting and killing Americans is not a new one. When the United States halted operations in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Soviets in 1989, U.S. policy was to turn over operations in Afghanistan to Pakistan. U.S. strategy was to use Islamist militants to fight the Soviets and to use Pakistani liaisons through the ISI to supply and coordinate with them. When the Soviets and Americans left Afghanistan, the ISI struggled to install a government composed of its allies until the Taliban took over Kabul in 1996. The ISI’s relationship with the Taliban — which in many ways are the heirs to the anti-Soviet mujahideen — is widely known. In my book, “America’s Secret War,” I discussed both this issue and the role of Gul. These documents claim that this relationship remains intact. Apart from Pakistani denials, U.S. officials and military officers frequently made this charge off the record, and on the record occasionally. The leaks on this score are interesting, but they will shock only those who didn’t pay attention or who want to be shocked.

Let’s step back and consider the conflict dispassionately. The United States forced the Taliban from power. It never defeated the Taliban nor did it make a serious effort to do so, as that would require massive resources the United States doesn’t have. Afghanistan is a secondary issue for the United States, especially since al Qaeda has established bases in a number of other countries, particularly Pakistan, making the occupation of Afghanistan irrelevant to fighting al Qaeda.

For Pakistan, however, Afghanistan is an area of fundamental strategic interest. The region’s main ethnic group, the Pashtun, stretch across the Afghan-Pakistani border. Moreover, were a hostile force present in Afghanistan, as one was during the Soviet occupation, Pakistan would face threats in the west as well as the challenge posed by India in the east. For Pakistan, an Afghanistan under Pakistani influence or at least a benign Afghanistan is a matter of overriding strategic importance.

It is therefore irrational to expect the Pakistanis to halt collaboration with the force that they expect to be a major part of the government of Afghanistan when the United States leaves. The Pakistanis never expected the United States to maintain a presence in Afghanistan permanently. They understood that Afghanistan was a means toward an end, and not an end in itself. They understood this under George W. Bush. They understand it even more clearly under Barack Obama, who made withdrawal a policy goal.

Given that they don’t expect the Taliban to be defeated, and given that they are not interested in chaos in Afghanistan, it follows that they will maintain close relations with and support for the Taliban. Given that the United States is powerful and is Pakistan’s only lever against India, the Pakistanis will not make this their public policy, however. The United States has thus created a situation in which the only rational policy for Pakistan is two-tiered, consisting of overt opposition to the Taliban and covert support for the Taliban.

This is duplicitous only if you close your eyes to the Pakistani reality, which the Americans never did. There was ample evidence, as the WikiLeaks show, of covert ISI ties to the Taliban. The Americans knew they couldn’t break those ties. They settled for what support Pakistan could give them while constantly pressing them harder and harder until genuine fears in Washington emerged that Pakistan could destabilize altogether. Since a stable Pakistan is more important to the United States than a victory in Afghanistan — which it wasn’t going to get anyway — the United States released pressure and increased aid. If Pakistan collapsed, then India would be the sole regional power, not something the United States wants.

The WikiLeaks seem to show that like sausage-making, one should never look too closely at how wars are fought, particularly coalition warfare. Even the strongest alliances, such as that between the United States and the United Kingdom in World War II, are fraught with deceit and dissension. London was fighting to save its empire, an end Washington was hostile to; much intrigue ensued. The U.S.-Pakistani alliance is not nearly as trusting. The United States is fighting to deny al Qaeda a base in Afghanistan while Pakistan is fighting to secure its western frontier and its internal stability. These are very different ends that have very different levels of urgency.

The WikiLeaks portray a war in which the United States has a vastly insufficient force on the ground that is fighting a capable and dedicated enemy who isn’t going anywhere. The Taliban know that they win just by not being defeated, and they know that they won’t be defeated. The Americans are leaving, meaning the Taliban need only wait and prepare.

The Pakistanis also know that the Americans are leaving and that the Taliban or a coalition including the Taliban will be in charge of Afghanistan when the Americans leave. They will make certain that they maintain good relations with the Taliban. They will deny that they are doing this because they want no impediments to a good relationship with the United States before or after it leaves Afghanistan. They need a patron to secure their interests against India. Since the United States wants neither an India outside a balance of power nor China taking the role of Pakistan’s patron, it follows that the risk the United States will bear grudges is small. And given that, the Pakistanis can live with Washington knowing that one Pakistani hand is helping the Americans while another helps the Taliban. Power, interest and reality define the relations between nations, and different factions inside nations frequently have different agendas and work against each other.

The WikiLeaks, from what we have seen so far, detail power, interest and reality as we have known it. They do not reveal a new reality. Much will be made about the shocking truth that has been shown, which, as mentioned above, shocks only those who wish to be shocked. The Afghan war is about an insufficient American and allied force fighting a capable enemy on its home ground and a Pakistan positioning itself for the inevitable outcome. The WikiLeaks contain all the details.

We are left with the mystery of who compiled all of these documents and who had access to them with enough time and facilities to transmit them to the outside world in a blatant and sustained breach of protocol. The image we have is of an unidentified individual or small group working to get a “shocking truth” out to the public, only the truth is not shocking — it is what was known all along in excruciating detail. Who would want to detail a truth that is already known, with access to all this documentation and the ability to transmit it unimpeded? Whoever it proves to have been has just made the most powerful case yet for withdrawal from Afghanistan sooner rather than later.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

What's going on in the World Today 100728

U.S.: White House Made No Attempt To Stop WikiLeaks July 26, 2010

The White House said it was contacted by The New York Times, German magazine Der Spiegel and London newspaper The Guardian, which had early access to the secret government documents recently made available by WikiLeaks, AP reported July 26. The White House did not try to stop the news organizations from publishing reports on the leaks, but sent a message to WikiLeaks through The New York Times asking it to withhold information that could harm U.S. military personnel. WikiLeaks is delaying the release of about 15,000 documents in order to redact certain information. The spokesman said the leaks contain no new revelations and that a federal investigation into the leaks began during the week of July 18, before the documents were published.


France: Diplomatic Ties With Palestinians Upgraded July 26, 2010

France upgraded its diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Territories and will consider the Palestinian diplomatic representatives in France as a mission headed by an ambassador, chief of mission, AP reported July 26. The representatives for the Palestinian Authority were previously considered a delegation headed by a general delegate. Spain and Greece are considering similar upgrades, Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister Ibrahim Khreisheh said.

Venezuela: EU Freezes Bank's Assets July 27, 2010

The European Union ordered an obligatory freeze of assets belonging to Banco Internacional de Desarrollo de Venezuela in all EU member states for its alleged links to the Iranian nuclear program through the financial institution’s parent company, Export Development Bank of Iran, Globovision reported July 27. The Venezuelan bank has denied the allegations.



Iran: Bushehr Plant On Schedule - Russia July 27, 2010

Construction on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant is on schedule, Russian nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko said, EU Business reported July 27, citing RIA Novosti. The first stage of the physical launch, which involves placing nuclear fuel in the reactor, will be done by the end of August, he said.

Russia: Latest Iran Sanctions Are Unacceptable July 27, 2010

The latest unilateral U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran indicate a disregard for the joint work in the Iran Six and the U.N. Security Council’s principles, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on July 27, RIA Novosti reported. Russia considers the practice of using unilateral or collective sanctions on Iran unacceptable, because they are not consistent with the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions, Andrei Nesterenko said. The latest sanctions demonstrate a disregard for the deliberative, coordinated points of the U.N. Security Council resolution, he added.


Dispatch: Growing Pressure on Tehran | STRATFOR
Iran, Turkey: Security Agreement Signed July 28, 2010

Iran: Gasoline Imports Lower Than Usual July 26, 2010

Only three cargo shipments of gasoline have reached Iran in July — much fewer than usual — Reuters reported July 26, citing shipping documents obtained by the news agency. A Dubai-based trader said Iran needs 11-13 shipments a month, but, according to a different trader, ship owners are worried about sending shipments to Iran, which has caused it to seek gasoline imports from alternative companies and countries. The gasoline shipments that have arrived in Iran were supplied by Turkish company Tupras and Unipec, the trading arm of China’s Sinopec, according to the shipping document. Another gasoline shipment from Venezuela is expected to arrive in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, two Persian Gulf-based traders said.

Iran and Turkey signed a security agreement in Tehran on July 28, IRNA reported. The Iranian Interior Ministry’s security deputy, Ali Abdollahi, and Turkish Acting Deputy Interior Minister Osman Gunes signed the pact. Abdollahi said international militancy, cooperation on security and the smuggling of illegal drugs were addressed in the document.

Iran: Air Exercise To Launch - Official July 26, 2010

Iran’s air force will launch a weeklong air exercise beginning July 31, Air Force Deputy Commander of Operations Mohammad Alavi announced, Fars News Agency reported July 26. Alavi said 43 fighter-bomber aircraft, including the F-5, F-4, F-7 and Sukhoi-24, will be utilized in the exercise. He said all Iranian air bases will participate, including Mehrabad, Tabriz, Hamedan, Dezful, Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, Shiraz and Esfahan.

Iraq: SoL-INA Alliance Likely To Collapse SoL Spokesman July 28, 2010

A State of Law (SoL) coalition spokesman said the alliance between SoL and the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) is likely to collapse due to the crisis over the prime ministers post, Al-Sharqiyah TV reported July 28. Parliament member Izzat al-Shahbandar said that Iran would like to maintain this alliance at any cost and could accept Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister, but would never accept al-Iraqiya List leader Iyad Allawi as prime minister. INA sources reported that the party is united against Al-Maliki irrespective of Irans position.

Iraq: Parliament Session Scrapped July 27, 2010

Iraq’s parliament postponed indefinitely what would have been only its second session since a March election, AFP reported July 27. The session is postponed until further notice because the political entities failed to reach any agreement, said Fouad Massum, who as the oldest parliament member holds the post of caretaker speaker. The heads of the parliamentary blocs met and agreed to give more time to political entities to reach agreement regarding the selection of a speaker and two deputies, he said, adding that representatives insisted on calling the current government a caretaker administration.

Israel: National Security Adviser To Visit Washington July 28, 2010

Israeli National Security Adviser Uzi Arad is traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with his U.S. counterpart, Gen. James L. Jones, Ynet reported July 28. They are set to discuss the Iranian nuclear program and direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Arad will then join Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is already in Washington meeting with senior U.S. officials.

Iran: Egypt To Issue Visas To Parliamentary Delegation July 28, 2010

Egypt will issue visas to members of an Iranian parliamentary delegation slated to visit Gaza, Iran’s IRNA reported July 28, citing comments from Ahmadi Bighash, member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission. Bighash told IRNA that the decision to issue the visas was announced several hours ago by the Egyptian interest section in Tehran. He said the visas will be issued within two weeks.

Afghanistan: U.S. Special Forces Raid Taliban Hideouts July 28, 2010

U.S. special forces began a series of night raids July 24 in Afghanistans Arghandab Valley against suspected Taliban hideouts in the village of Khosrow Sofla, Reuters reported July 28. The special forces also set up local defense forces in Arghandab to train villagers to protect themselves and their villages.


Mexico: 4 Journalists Kidnapped In Durango July 28, 2010

Two reporters and two cameramen were abducted July 28 after reporting on a prison scandal in Durango state involving a local drug cartel, Reuters reported. Milenio newspaper and TV network said the journalists were working for them and are now being held by organized crime.

Colombia: Venezuela Reopens Border To Coal Trucks July 28, 2010

Venezuela is once again allowing Colombian coal trucks to cross the countries’ shared border on their way to export terminals, Argus reported July 28. The reopening of the border comes after allegations that Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels have been launching operations from inside Venezuela. Traffic at the border is moving slowly, according to Asocarbon Director Oscar Ortega. Colombian trucks carry coal across the Venezuelan border to export terminals at Lake Maracaibo.

Colombia: Gas Supplies Continue To Venezuela July 27, 2010

Colombia will continue gas supplies to Venezuela despite simmering tensions between the two countries, according to Mining and Energy Minister Hernan Martinez, Xinhua reported July 27. A final decision has not been made, he stated, adding that President Alvaro Uribe instructed his government to analyze possible outcomes of the issue. Martinez admitted that cutting the gas supply could affect the Venezuelan people, because gas is used to generate electricity. He was not sure how long it will take the government to make its decision. Uribe has less than two weeks left in office.

Above the Tearline: A Mexican Firefight Explained | STRATFOR


U.S.: North Korea Violated Armistice - General July 27, 2010

U.S. Army Gen. Walter Sharp said July 27 that the sinking of South Korea’s ChonAn warship by North Korea violated the 1953 cease-fire agreement, Yonhap reported. Sharp, who commands U.S. Forces Korea and the United Nations Command, said the results of a multinational investigation into the incident are clear. Sharp urged North Korea to act in accordance with the armistice and cease all provocative acts. China and other countries must help deter North Korea from future provocations, Sharp added.

No kidding :<)

Japan: Panel Proposes Defense Policy Shift July 27, 2010

While updating Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines, a government panel compiled a draft report that would shift Self-Defense Forces deployment to focus on the Nansei Islands area that includes the Okinawa Islands, sources said July 27, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
The report stressed coping with multiple contingencies and responding proactively to limited, small-scale invasions on the Korean Peninsula and in the Taiwan Strait. It proposed joint development and production of weapons with the United States and allies sharing similar values. The report reiterated the important role of the Japan-U.S. alliance and encouraged joint use of U.S. bases in Japan.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2011 Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle

We cops got a new toy and all I can say is Allah Be Praised! The more the merrier.

When Chevy stopped producing the real Impala in the 90s Ford had no competition and what a shock their prices went up. I don’t blame Ford for obeying the Laws of Supply and Demand (they are more rigid than the Law of Gravity) but the fact was there wasn’t much of a choice out there if you wanted a full size RWD sedan. That need was answered by the Dodge Charge and this will make it even better.

2011 Chevrolet Caprice Models Available In October and January - News - POLICE Magazine

...The rear-wheel-drive Caprice PPV joins the front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Impala and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV, giving the company a full line of vehicles for law enforcement.

"When we began designing our latest police vehicle, we went directly to our customers and found that they were looking for a rear-wheel, large sedan with a V-8 engine," according to Brian Small, general manager of GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. "By announcing the available specs and ordering information now, we're following through with our promise to provide them with the advanced technologies that best serve their needs for comfort, performance and safety."

The all-new Caprice PPV includes these features:

•Comfort: Segment-leading interior volume (112 cubic feet / 3,172 liters) provides a spacious interior, providing officers with more comfort for long hours on patrol. In addition, it has specially designed front seats sculptured to allow for gun belts. The seats are made with high wear material and have a seat back security panel. There's also an eight-way power driver's seat with reclining back and lumbar control, featuring quick-adjust manual fore and aft movement for additional comfort.

Ugh, hate to say it but us cops can be kinda wide and heavy...no, it's not donuts, it it straight. We're modern cops, we do Starbucks.

•Performance: Responsive rear-wheel-drive and a powerful 6.0L V-8 engine, with 355 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. torque, including the fuel-saving Active Fuel Management technology and E85 capability. It delivers expected best-in-class top speed and zero-to-60 acceleration in less than six seconds. A V-6 engine also will be available beginning in the 2012 model year. In addition, the 6-speed transmission has sport shift calibrations for performance driving. A 2.92 axle ratio with limited slip is standard.

Again, we need a powerful engine and it should be rear wheel drive. During normal driving FWD is not a major issue but it you get into a pursuit the car can become a bit nose heavy. You take a turn at the wrong angle you may loose control.
•Safety: Full-width prisoner partition enabled by front seat only head curtain with side impact airbags. Rear seat head curtain side impact airbags are available. StabiliTrak, GM's electronic stability control technology, provides a "police performance" mode for enhanced stability during high-speed driving.
•Exterior: Vehicle has an overall length of 204.2 inches (5,186.1 mm), an overall width of 74.75 inches (1,898.7 mm) and an overall height of 58.66 inches (1,489.95 mm). Efficient packaging allows spacious interior, without showing it on the exterior. Standard 18-inch steel wheels with bolt on center caps and wheel covers.

•Interior: Designed for five-passenger seating, the upper-center section of the dashboard can be used for equipment mounting without concern of air bag deployment interference. A certified speedometer (160-mph certified analog) includes trip odometer, warning lights and multifunction display with Engine Oil Life monitor. A Driver Information Center with a "Trap Speed" feature captures speed when tracking/pacing other vehicles.

•Additional Options: Available auxiliary battery to power police equipment and full-size spare tire under a flat load surface. Vinyl rear seat and floor covering also available.

Cool stuff. Again, gotta see how it works out. Every new vehicle has a few bugs that have to be worked out and cops will ride the baby hard. But competition will force people to improve and I'm glad Chevy is back in the game.

More details at the Chevy website.

Great News from Arizona

Remember how all those idiots were saying they would bring Arizona to its knees for actually enforcing US immigration law. Well, looks like it might have backfired on the NARAL, La Raza, etc.

Arizona Hotels Thriving Despite Boycotts Over Immigration Law

Arizona's tourism industry has a target on its back, but the widespread boycotts over the state's immigration law might not be hitting the mark.

Arizona's tourism industry has a target on its back, but the widespread boycotts over the state's immigration law might not be hitting the mark.

Recent data compiled by a market research group show hotel bookings across the state -- as well as in tourism hot spots Phoenix and Scottsdale -- have been on the rise the past two months.

The numbers could dispel warnings from local officials that Arizona stands to lose a fortune and dampen the chances that cities and organizations will be able to compel the state to reverse its immigration law by choking its economy with a sanctions-style business boycott.

"Fundamentally, the boycotts have been unsuccessful," said Barry Broome, president of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

The data from hotel industry research firm STR showed that for the state of Arizona, hotel occupancy was up 5.7 percent in May and up 8.3 percent in June compared with the same time a year ago.

In Phoenix, occupancy was up 10.6 percent in June; in Scottsdale, it was up 10.7 percent for the same period. Revenue also was up, with Arizona hotels raking in $148 million last month -- up more than 11 percent from a year ago.

Broome said the state also has been able to attract new businesses to locate in Arizona despite bad publicity. He said his group plans to announce 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs thanks to investment from California, where Arizona boycotts are in place in several major cities, over the next few months.

"Business continues," said Garrick Taylor, spokesman with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Art of the Ann Arbor City Budget [Mackinac Center]

Just one question...two actually. One, are the leaders of this city Republican or Democrat? Rhetorical question, I know. And why isn't that mentioned in this article. Again, a rhetorical question.

The debate in Ann Arbor, where firefighters are being laid off due to a multimillion dollar budget deficit, is over an $850,000 piece of art.

That's how much the city has agreed to pay German artist Herbert Dreiseitl for a three-piece water sculpture that would go in front of the new police and courts building right by the City Hall.

The city has the money to do it because in 2007, it agreed to set aside for public art 1 percent of money that went into capital improvement projects that were $100,000 or larger. Most capital projects involve streets, sewers and water.

Ann Arbor City Council member Stephen Kunselman, a Democrat, opposed the art deal.

"I think it is incredibly insensitive," Kunselman said. "It is insensitive to the staff and their morale. It is insensitive to the community. There are people out there struggling financially, and here we are spending a large amount of money on a piece of art."

Kunselman said the city is also eliminating the solid waste coordinator from the budget, which oversees trash pickup, and hiring an art coordinator.

City Administrator Roger Fraser wrote in an e-mail that the solid waste coordinator position was eliminated as a cost-cutting measure because the solid waste millage had decreased. Fraser wrote that the art coordinator position would be paid for by the public art fund.

Fraser noted that the public art dollars did not come from the city's general fund, which is used to pay salaries and benefits, and that less than $6,000 of the art money came from the general fund.

The art projects also must have a "thematic connection" to the source of funding, Fraser wrote. The $850,000 art project is water-themed, because the money came from storm water funds.

But some critics say that a city creative enough to fund art from storm water projects should be able to find money to cover essential city services.

"That's the classic argument," said Glenn Thompson, an Ann Arbor resident and longtime critic of city spending. "But the city has become very, very good at shuffling money in and out of the general fund when they want. These people are very good at putting it in and out of the general fund when they wish."

Michael LaFaive, the director of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative said nonessential services are being funded throughout the state.

"Administrators cry poverty while lavishing money on the beautiful people," LaFaive said. "The threat to dismiss firefighters often comes while officials protect golf courses, wave pools and art. No city can cry poverty while it defends recreation and aesthetics such as art."

LaFaive said administrators get creative with budgets to fund pet projects.

"It doesn't mean officials can't find ways to redirect the money," LaFaive said. "It appears on the surface that they are redefining what a capital improvement is, by designing a sculpture instead of true municipal infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges."

Engaging Suspects With Long Guns - Weapons - POLICE Magazine

People at my station sometimes ask why I have a shotgun (870 12 gauge) and a rifle (Ruger Mini 14). My answer is always better to have and not need than need and not have. Also, I am simply a better rifle shot than pistol shot (like most people) and nothing will intimidate a crook like the sound of a shotgun being racked.

Good basic article on why cops need more than a 40 Cal Glock by their side. Remember when those two nutcases with body armor went on a shooting spree in North Hollywood California…it wasn’t a pistol that took them done but a rifle.
Engaging Suspects With Long Guns
Long guns give you accuracy beyond 50 yards, which you may not be able to achieve with a pistol.
by Brian Ostro

Those who came before us said, "A handgun is a great weapon used on your way to getting a rifle." Similar statements are made by experts today. Substitute shotgun for rifle and vice versa.

These statements may seem unusual to a cadet or first-year officer. Why would the so-called experts malign handguns? They are manufactured in man-stopping calibers and carried by virtually every peace officer.

Handguns may be smaller, portable, lighter, concealable and convenient, but they aren't always the best tool for the job. This has been proven again and again on the battlefields of the world and in police engagements throughout history.

Law enforcement has always sought parity in firepower with the assailant.

Engagements with Depression-era Chicago gangsters carrying Tommy guns, the FBI Miami Shootout, the North Hollywood Bank of America shootout, and Columbine prove that despite irrational and politically correct resistence to so-called "black rifles" and "assault weapons," every peace officer should be equiped with a rifle and a shotgun in the cruiser.

Officers must be ready for the eventuality of encountering an active shooter beyond handgun range. Experts usually define handgun range as less than 50 yards, and it is important to note that most officers lack handgun proficiency outside of a 25-yard radius. Rifles and shotguns remedy this situation effectively.

Shotguns are designed to be effective inside a 50-yard range. The massive kinetic energy delivered by multiple projectiles from a shotshell on a single target can be devastating. The drawback is that for most loads, the shot pattern from a single cartridge begins to spread out significantly outside of 50 yards, resulting in fewer projectiles landing on target.

Most police shotguns can carry six to eight cartridges in their magazine tube and can be augmented with a side saddle, which carries extra cartridges and attaches to the weapon's receiver or stock. Even with this enhancement, the maximum load is about a dozen cartridges. Reloads can be time consuming in an active-shooter situation, proving that a patrol rifle chambered in .223 or .308 is essential.

These rifles give you accuracy beyond 50 yards with multiple and quick follow-up shots. Most assailants realize this and choose platforms such as the AK-47/SKS or AR-15. The notorious engagements mentioned above all had assailants who utilized these platforms with devastating loss of life to the public and law enforcement.

Today's reality is no less troubling as border states such Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas face similar threats from drug gangs and Mexican cartels. Agencies must move away from politics and allow law enforcement to do its job in protecting the public and ensuring its own preparedness and safety.

Command staff are concerned about what peace officers project visually to the public. They're afraid the public will view their agency as a paramilitary force. This is a false notion, because many citizens have stated in interview they are more concerned about their own safety and that of law enforcement, rather than the aesthetics of the tools used by police. An officer must be equipped as well as, if not better than, the assailant.

Unfortunately, budget cuts and the economy have affected the finances of both the agency and the individual officer. Many agencies don't provide a sufficient allowance to officers for the purchase of a long gun, and many still prohibit it for the above mentioned reasons of potential political and legal blowback. Fortunatly, there are affordable options for both the rifle and the shotgun.

When selecting an affordable shotgun, the basic formula that I use is one that addresses the reputation of the gunmaker, the test of time as far as reliability is concerned, and the availability of aftermarket accessories and options for flexible customization if the officer wishes to go that route.

Different officers have different needs. Smaller agencies may opt for the basic platform, while larger and urban agencies may require custom features such as rail mounts for lights and optics, side saddles and heat shields for protecting barrels from overheating after sustained engagements.

The two most widely used shotgun platforms in law enforcement today are the Mossberg 500 Series and the Remington 870. Basic platforms are $300 to $400 and allow for flexible customization and abundant aftermarket parts availability. These two models have stood the test of time and have taken abuse in the deserts of Iraq as well generations of law enforcement use.

They're simple pump-actions that are reliable, affordable, and easy to dissasemble, clean, load, unload and customize. I'm a huge believer in keeping things simple. I own both models, and they've had thousands of loads through them without a hiccup. An active-shooter engagement is no time to test equipment that has not stood the test of time.

These criteria are also important when selecting a patrol rifle. I believe the AR-15 platform offers the best choice. It is inherently more accurate than the AK-47 platforms and offers easy domestic access to aftermarket parts. Its dominance in accuracy has been proven by competition shooters time and time again. I also look for manufacturers that offer foldable and/or collapsable stocks, extra magazines, as well as Picatinny rail mounts for lights and optics.

AR-15 platforms manufactured by Colt can be costly, but simpler platforms by manufacturers such as Bushmaster and DPMS can be had for as little as $900 to $1,200. These will usually come with two 30-round magazines for .223, and 10 to 20 each for the larger .308 cousin, giving the officer almost complete parity in firepower and capacity against most assailants. Patrol rifles from the above mentioned gunmakers are also available in pistol calibers such as 9 mm and .40 S&W.

While this availability allows crossover use and training with the same caliber ammo as the duty pistol, it does in the end defeat the purpose of a dedicated rifle platform chambered in a heavier and faster bullet such as the .223 and .308. Stay away from pistol-chambered patrol rifles as they may be ballistically insufficient to penetrate dense metal, concrete, armor and cover encountered during an engagement.

Officers in municipalities on the borders and inner cities of states such as Texas and Arizona are encountering drug gangs with armor for their bodies and vehicles. I would prefer to have a patrol rifle chambered in .223 or .308, rather than 9 mm or .40-caliber when encountering a well organized, well armed, and motivated drug gang.

Security Weekly-Fanning the Flames of Jihad

Fanning the Flames of Jihad

By Scott Stewart

On July 11, 2010, al-Malahim Media, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published the first edition of its new English-language online magazine “Inspire.” The group had tried to release the magazine in late June, but for some reason — whether a technical glitch, virus (as rumored on some of the jihadist message boards) or cyberattack — most of the initial file released was unreadable.

The magazine was produced by someone who has a moderate amount of technological savvy, who speaks English well and who uses a lot of American idioms and phraseology. We did not note any hint of British or South Asian influence in the writing. A government source has suggested to us (and we have seen the claim repeated in the media) that Inspire was produced by a U.S citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia named Samir Khan. Khan is a well-known cyber-jihadist — indeed, The New York Times did an excellent story on Khan in October 2007. Given Khan’s background, history of publishing English-language jihadist material and the fact that he reportedly left the United States for Yemen in 2009 and has not returned, it does seem plausible that he is the driving force behind Inspire.

The magazine contains previously published material from Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Musab al-Suri and Anwar al-Awlaki. While it also contains new material, this material, especially from al-Awlaki and AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi (aka Abu Bashir), is consistent with their previously published statements. One of the messages by al-Awlaki featured in Inspire, “A Message to the American People,” was previously released to CNN and reissued by al-Malahim on the Internet July 19, almost as if to validate Inspire. Even though the way in which some of the material in Inspire is presented is quite elementary, and could lead some to believe the magazine might be a spoof, we have found no analytical reason to doubt its authenticity.

Presentation aside, the material is quite consistent with what we have seen released by al-Malahim Media in its Arabic-language materials over many months. When closely examined, the inaugural issue of Inspire provides a good gauge of AQAP’s thought and suggests the general direction of the broader jihadist movement.


In a letter from the editor appearing at the beginning of the magazine, the purpose of Inspire is clearly laid out: “This magazine is geared towards making the Muslim a mujahid.” The editor also clearly states that Inspire is an effort by al-Malahim Media to reach out to, radicalize and train the millions of English-speaking Muslims in the West, Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Inspire does not represent any sort of major breakthrough in jihadist communication. English-language jihadist material has been available on the Internet since the early 1990s on sites such as Azzam.com, and jihadists have released other magazines directly targeting English-speaking audiences. What is remarkable about Inspire is that it was released by al-Malahim and AQAP. Within the jihadist movement, AQAP has assumed the vanguard position on the physical battlefield over the past year with links to several attacks or attempted attacks in the West. AQAP has also been frequently mentioned in Western media over the past several months, and it appears that al-Malahim is trying to exploit that notoriety in order to get the attention of English-speaking Muslims.

Regarding AQAP’s links to recent attacks, Inspire follows the trend of AQAP publications and leaders in recent months in praising Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan and failed Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and lifting them up as examples for all jihadists to follow. “We call on every Muslim who feels any jealousy for their religious beliefs to expel the polytheists from the Arabian Peninsula, by killing all of the crusaders working in embassies or otherwise, and to declare war against the crusaders in the land of the Prophet Muhammad — peace be upon him — on the ground, sea and air. And we call on every soldier working in the crusader armies and puppet governments to repent to Allah and follow the example of the heroic mujahid brother Nidal Hassan [sic]; to stand up and kill all the crusaders by all means available to him.…”

In the article discussing Abdulmutallab, the author again brags about the manufacturing of the improvised explosive device used in the Christmas Day attack even though that device, like the one used in the assassination attempt against Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, failed to achieve the objective. “The mujahidin brothers in the manufacturing department managed with the grace of Allah to make an advanced bomb. The bomb had been tested and proven effective as it has passed through the detector ports. The martyrdom bomber managed with the grace of Allah to reach his target, but due to a technical glitch, the bomb did not explode completely; and we will continue on our path until we get what we want….” This statement would seem to indicate that if AQAP is able to recruit a willing suicide bomber who is able to travel to the West, they will again attempt to attack an airliner using a similar device.

Airliners remain vulnerable to such attacks. STRATFOR has previously noted when discussing AQAP and its innovative IED designs, there are many ways to smuggle IED components on board an aircraft if a person has a little imagination and access to explosives. As we wrote in September 2009, three months before the Christmas Day bomber’s attempted attack, efforts to improve technical methods to locate IED components must not be abandoned, but the existing vulnerabilities in airport screening systems demonstrate that an emphasis needs to be placed not only on finding the bomb but also on finding the bomber.

Throughout the magazine, articles criticize the U.S. operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen; Saudi operations against jihadists; the burqa ban in Europe and even global warming — Inspire carried a reproduction of a statement purportedly authored by Osama bin Laden earlier this year titled “The Way to Save the Earth” that criticizes U.S. policy regarding climate change and calls for economic jihad against the United States.

The magazine also contained a portion of a previously-released message titled “From Kabul to Mogadishu” by al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri that encouraged the people of Yemen to join al Qaeda in its global struggle. It only quoted a part of the original message that pertained to Yemen and omitted portions that pertained to other locations.

AQAP Revealed

In addition to the recycled content from al Qaeda’s core leadership, Inspire also contains quite a bit of new and interesting content from AQAP’s military and theological leaders. An interview with AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi provided al-Wahayshi the opportunity to reinforce several points he has been making for months now regarding his call for jihadists to conduct simple attacks using readily available weapons. “My advice to my Muslim brothers in the West is to acquire weapons and learn methods of war. They are living in a place where they can cause great harm to the enemy and where they can support the Messenger of Allah.” Al-Wahayshi continued “…a man with his knife, a man with his gun, a man with his rifle, a man with his bomb, by learning how to design explosive devices, by burning down forests and buildings, or by running over them with your cars and trucks. The means of harming them are many so seek assistance from Allah and do not be weak and you will find a way.”

This call was echoed by Adam Gadahn in March 2010 when the American-born spokesman for al Qaeda prime advised jihadists to strike targets that were close to them with simple assaults and urged his audience to not “wait for tomorrow to do what can be done today, and don’t wait for others to do what you can do yourself.”

These calls are part of a move toward a leaderless resistance model of jihadism that has accompanied the devolution of the jihadist threat from one based on al Qaeda the group to a broader threat based primarily on al Qaeda franchises and the wider jihadist movement. (STRATFOR is currently putting the finishing touches on a book that details our coverage of this devolutionary process since 2004.) With this shift, more attacks such as the Times Square bombing attempt, the Fort Hood shooting and the June 1, 2009, Little Rock shootings can be anticipated.

In an effort to provide training in terrorist tradecraft to such grassroots and lone-wolf jihadists, Inspire contains a section called “Open Source Jihad,” which is the term that AQAP uses to refer to leaderless resistance. This section is intended to serve as “a resource manual for those who loathe tyrants.” The material is intended to allow “Muslims to train at home instead of risking a dangerous travel abroad,” and one part exclaims, “Look no further, the open source jihad is now at hand’s reach.” The section also contains a lengthy step-by-step guide to constructing simple pipe bombs with electronic timers, bearing the rhymed title “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” The images of New York City contained in this section serve as a reminder of the importance New York holds in jihadist thought as a target. Such rudimentary improvised explosive devices are unlikely to cause mass casualties, but like the pipe bombs employed by Eric Rudolph, they could prove deadly on a small scale if they are employed effectively.

When considering this concept of leaderless resistance and of using publications like Inspire to train aspiring jihadists, it is important to remember that this type of instruction has only a limited effectiveness and that there are many elements of terrorist tradecraft that cannot be learned by merely reading about them. In other words, while the jihadist threat may be broadening in one way, it is also becoming less severe, because it is increasingly emanating from actors who do not possess the skill of professional terrorist operatives and who lack the ability to conduct complex and spectacular attacks.

Cartoon Controversy

One of the other features in Inspire is an article by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Yemeni cleric who has been linked to Nidal Hasan, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Faisal Shahzad and two of the 9/11 hijackers. In his article, titled “May Our Souls be Sacrificed for You,” al-Awlaki focuses on the controversy that arose over the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that first appeared in 2005. Although the cartoons were published nearly five years ago, the jihadists have not allowed the issue to die down. To date, the jihadist response to the cartoons has resulted in riots, arsons, deaths, the 2008 bombing of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad and an attack in January 2010 in which a man armed with an axe and knife broke into the home of Jyllands-Posten newspaper cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in Denmark and allegedly tried to kill him. The Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad e-Islami (HUJI) also dispatched American operative David Headley to Denmark on two occasions to plan attacks against Jyllands-Posten and Westergaard in what HUJI called “Operation Mickey Mouse.”

In his Inspire article, al-Awlaki states, “If you have the right to slander the Messenger of Allah, we have the right to defend him. If it is part of your freedom of speech to defame Muhammad it is part of our religion to fight you.” Al-Awlaki continues: “This effort, the effort of defending the Messenger of Allah, should not be limited to a particular group of Muslims such as the mujahidin but should be the effort of the ummah, the entire ummah.” He also referred to a 2008 lecture he gave regarding the cartoon issue titled “The Dust Will Never Settle Down” and notes that, “Today, two years later, the dust still hasn’t settled down. In fact the dust cloud is only getting bigger.” He adds that “Assassinations, bombings, and acts of arson are all legitimate forms of revenge against a system that relishes the sacrilege of Islam in the name of freedom.”

Inspire also features a “hit list” that includes the names of people like Westergaard who were involved in the cartoon controversy as well as other targets such as Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who produced the controversial film Fitna in 2008; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the screenplay for the movie Submission (filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, the director of Submission, was murdered by a jihadist in November 2004); and Salman Rushdie, author of the book The Satanic Verses. Most of these individuals have appeared on previous jihadist hit lists. A new notable addition was American cartoonist Molly Norris, who was added due to her idea to have a day where “everybody draws Mohammed.” Norris made her suggestion in response to threats against the irreverent animated television program South Park by Muslims over a brief scene in an episode that lampooned the Prophet. Comedy Central censored the South Park episode featuring Mohammed because of the threats, provoking Norris’s suggestion.

Al-Awlaki and AQAP appear to believe they can use the anger over the Mohammed cartoons to help them inspire Muslims to conduct attacks. In this edition of Inspire, they are clearly attempting to fan the flames to ensure that the dust will not settle down. They are also seeking to train these radicalized individuals to kill people, although, as we note above, that is a difficult task to do remotely over the Internet.

One other thing the magazine seeks to accomplish is to help make the jihadist training experience better for English speakers who seek to travel to jihadist training camps abroad. There have been anecdotal reports of Westerners who have traveled to get training and who have not had positive experiences during the process — and of at least one Somali-American who was executed after expressing his desire to leave an al Shabaab training camp and return home. In light of this problem, AQAP includes an article in Inspire titled “What to Expect in Jihad” and designed to reduce the “confusion, shock and depression” that can be experienced by trainees at such camps. The article also provides a list of things to bring to the training camp, including a friend to help ease the loneliness, and recommends that aspiring jihadists learn the local language.

The time and effort that AQAP put into this first issue of Inspire, and the support the magazine apparently receives from important AQAP figures such as al-Wahayshi and al-Awlaki, are strong indicators of the group’s intent to support leaderless resistance as a way to attack the West, something AQAP has had some difficulty doing itself.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

What's going on in the World Today 100726


Dispatch: China Factors in U.S.-South Korean Relations | STRATFOR


Iran, Russia: Ahmadinejad's Message Gets Personal | STRATFOR

Russia: Suspects In Power Plant Attack Killed July 25, 2010

Two individuals suspected of involvement in the July 21 attack at the Baksanskaya power plant in Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia, were killed by Russian security forces July 25 in Dugulubgey, Baksanskiy district, Interfax reported. According to a statement by the Kabardino-Balkaria Interior Ministry, an operation was conducted at 4 p.m. Moscow time against the two members of an “underground bandit group.” The individuals, identified as R. Orshogdugov and R. Seyunov, were on a list of Russia’s most-wanted fugitives, according to the statement.

Dispatch: Reassessing Russia | STRATFOR

Iran: To Conduct Nuclear Fusion Research July 24, 2010

Iran seeks to conduct nuclear fusion research in an effort to break into the alternative energy, Press TV reported July 24, citing Ali-Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). Salehi said some 50 scientists have been employed to work on the project. The study phase of the project has been initiated at the AEOI headquarters in Tehran.

Iran: Zahedan Attackers Arrested July 24, 2010

A number of individuals who aided and abetted those who carried out attacks in the Zahedan Grand Mosque have been arrested, Press TV reported July 24, citing Ali Abdollahi, the Iranian Interior Minister’s Security Deputy. Abdollahi said the attackers were linked to the Rigi cell and that U.S. support for the attackers is evident, as the communication systems used in the attack are only used by the world’s most advanced intelligence services. He also said connections between the militants and NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan is clear.

Turkey, Iran, Brazil: Discuss Nuclear Swap Agreement July 24, 2010

The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil are scheduled to meet in Istanbul on July 25 to discuss the nuclear swap deal they signed in May, Reuters reported July 24. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will meet and hold a joint news conference with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim before they hold a three-way meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. The fuel swap deal agrees to ship 3.5 percent enriched uranium from Iran to Turkey in return for 20 percent fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran.

Iran: IRGC Dismisses Likelihood Of U.S. Attack July 24, 2010

Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, has dismissed the likelihood of a U.S. attack against Iran, Press TV reported July 24. IRNA quoted Jafari as saying the United States “will not dare attack Iran” as it is aware of Iran’s determination and military capabilities. He warned Iranian youths against enemies’ soft war plots and called for further preparedness to confront soft threats against Iran and the Islamic Revolution.

Iran: To Halt Trade With Countries That Impose Restrictions July 24, 2010

Iran warned July 24 that it would stop trading with countries that impose restrictions on its assets abroad in light of tightening international sanctions over its disputed nuclear activities, Reuters reported. Hamid Borhani, deputy head of the Central Bank of Iran, said his country would stop trading with countries that create limitations for Iran’s assets.

Iran: To Pursue War Reparations From Iraq July 24, 2010

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said July 24 that Iran would pursue war reparations from Iraq, Mehr news agency reported. He said that while certain paragraphs of UN Resolution 598 have been implemented, the paragraph on getting war reparations from Iraq has not. Larijani also stated that the attacks that took place in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province have their roots in security affairs and are not related to political or cultural issues.

Iran: Nuclear Negotiator To Meet With EU Foreign Affairs Chief July 25, 2010

Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili will meet with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton in the near future, Iran’s state-run Mehr news agency reported July 25, citing Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Davutoglu said the meeting would likely take place in Istanbul, but did not specify a date.

Iraq: Second Parliamentary Session Set For July 27 July 25, 2010

The Iraqi parliament will meet July 27 to hold its second session since the March 7 parliamentary elections, according to Parliament Speaker Fouad Massoum, Al-Iraqiya television reported July 25.

Iraq: Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility For Attacks July 24, 2010

Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for two attacks on July 18 against its former Sunni Muslim allies, Reuters reported July 24. In the first attack, a suicide bomber struck members of the government-backed “Sahwa” militia in the southwestern outskirts of Baghdad. In the second attack, a suicide bomber killed four and wounded six during a meeting of local Sunni militia leaders in western Iraq near the Syrian border. Al Qaeda said the attacks were part of an action against “leaders of apostasy.”

Israel: Lebanese Aid Flotilla 'Unnecessary Provocation July 23, 2010

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said July 23 that the Lebanese aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip is an unnecessary provocation, Haaretz reported. Barak said the Lebanese government is responsible for keeping the flotilla from departing, but should it depart, the Israeli navy will accompany it to the Ashdod port. If the flotilla refuses to go to Ashdod, the Israelis said they will have no choice but to apprehend it.

Israel: Two Qassam Rockets Fired From Gaza Strip July 24, 2010

Palestinians fired two Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel on July 24, Voice of Israel Network B reported. The rockets exploded in open fields belonging to the Hof Ashqelon Regional Council. The explosions caused no injuries or damage.

Palestinian Territories: Police Investigate Possible New Rocket July 24, 2010

The rocket fired into Israel in the early morning hours of July 24 was not a Qassam, but could be a more advanced type of projectile smuggled into the Gaza Strip, Haaretz reported, citing police officials. The rocket the officials were referring to failed to explode after being launched by Gaza militants into the western Negev. The rocket, which has been transferred to a police laboratory, may be a new, more precise standard issue projectile as opposed to the local, home-made Qassams.

Palestinian Territories: No Direct Talks Without Framework - Abbas July 25, 2010

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he will not enter direct peace talks with Israel despite worldwide pressure until a clear framework for the talks is established, AP reported July 25. Abbas told Voice of Palestine radio that he had received phone calls in recent days from the leaders of Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy urging him to open direct talks. Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he would request the Arab world recommend continuing indirect talks until Sept. 8, when they are scheduled to end. Erekat said Palestinians will decide on their course of action at that point.

Mexico: Police Investigate Possible New Drug Gang July 26, 2010

Mexican police are investigating the authenticity of a possible new drug gang calling itself the New Cartel of Sierra after six bodies were found in a car in Chilpancingo, Guerrero state with a note from the group claiming credit for the killings, AP reported July 26.


Iran: China Rejects Currency Switch July 23, 2010

China has rejected an Iranian proposal to switch to the yuan to settle oil transactions, Argus Media reported July 23. Chinese traders said the move would be impractical because the yuan is not freely traded and will likely continue to appreciate in the near future. China’s affirmative vote on UN sanctions against Iran also raises political considerations for such a deal, another trader said.

Agenda: With George Friedman | STRATFOR

LA Guard Annual Training

Driving to New Orleans yesterday I saw a convoy of the LA National Guard. HUMMERs towing bass boats. The boats are each marked with “Military Department”.

I have no doubt they are part of the oil spill operation. However, it’s funny as hell to watch.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hypocrisy update

An update on my recent post on Senator John Kerry, the haughty French looking Massachusetts Democrat who by the way served in Vietnam.
Kerry On Yacht-Taxes Issue: 'Nothing More To Say'

Senator John Kerry found himself answering questions Monday about his new $7 million yacht and the controversy about where he's docking it.

"There's nothing more to say about it," he told reporters at an event at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station Monday.

The "Isabel" is docked in Rhode Island rather than at Kerry's summer home on Nantucket or in Boston Harbor. That means he avoids paying nearly $500,000 in taxes to Massachusetts and he doesn't have to pay a $70,000-a-year excise tax...

..."Let's get this very straight, I've said consistently we will pay our taxes, we have always paid our taxes. It's not an issue period," he said.

Last week, when the Boston Herald broke the story, Kerry's office released a statement saying, "The boat was designed by and purchased from a company in Rhode Island, and it's based in Newport at the Newport Shipyard for long term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes, not tax reasons."

"It's being worked on," Kerry said on Monday. "It's under warranty down there. It's being worked on and it will come to Massachusetts and I look forward to that."

Kerry's aide told WBZ Monday night that the senator will pay whatever taxes he owes on the Isabelle. She says the Department of Revenue will determine how much he owes.


When asked "Did you berth the boat in Massachusetts?" he replied, "That depends on who owns it."

Then, he said to his driver, "Can I get out of here please?"

Kerry spokesperson David Wade said the vessel was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine and purchased in the Ocean State. It was built in New Zealand by Friendship Yachts.


The Nantucket Boat Basin confirmed to WBZ on Monday that the Isabel has been docked at the marina "numerous" times this summer.

A spokesperson with the Department of Revenue who did not want to comment specifically on Kerry's case said ownership by an out-of-state corporation wouldn't matter. And, the law states if you bring the purchased property into the state within six months of buying it, you would be subject to the sales tax.

Coast Guard registration records show the vessel is owned by Great Point LLC, a limited liability corporation based in Pittsburgh, Heinz's longtime home.

Great video

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This can't be Darth Vader

This is a case of stolen idenity...this is beneigh the man!

Man wearing Darth Vader mask and cape robs Long Island bank with gun, shoves customer to floor
Police are investigating the robbery of a Chase bank branch in Setauket by a man wearing a Darth Vader mask and a cape.
The mask-clad man entered the bank, displayed a gun and demanded cash. Related NewsArticlesOutlaw biker shot dead in new wave of violenceA lot of robbers use force. This one used the Force.

A bandit decked out in a Darth Vader costume strolled into a Long Island bank on Thursday - and walked out with a wad of cash.

The villain looked ready for Halloween, wearing the "Star Wars" scoundrel's signature mask and sweeping black cape.

He lost some authenticity points for a pair of camouflage pants.

The getup struck one customer as so funny that he started joshing with the Darth Robber after he strode into the Chase bank in Setauket.

"The customer thought it might have been a joke, and not a serious attempt at a robbery," said Suffolk County police Detective Sgt. William Lamb.

But Darth wasn't kidding - and he wasn't going to be stopped by a non-Jedi Knight.

He won a "shoving match" against the incredulous customer before using his piece to order him to the floor, Lamb said.

And his weapon was no joke. He was carrying a pistol instead of a lightsaber.

Cops released a surveillance camera image yesterday showing Darth at the teller counter, loading bills into a bag, while the customer cowers on the floor.

The fake Darth made a quick-footed getaway, and the bank was still checking its drawers late yesterday to figure out how large his take was, Lamb said.

It was the second recent off-the-wall bank robbery. On Wednesday, NYPD cops arrested a man dubbed the "Bouquet Bandit," saying he brought flowers and potted plants into banks he robbed.

Darth has much more class than that!

Great quote from Police One on this
Wholly s#_t! spaceballs comes to Long Island NY. Dark helmet. Who the hell would have thunk!. Now to bad superman didn't show up to kick his ass.What did he say to the teller,"Luke I am the robber".

Britain Plans to Decentralize National Health Care - NYTimes.com

You know this is bad when Great Britain is going down the decentralization road and B Hussein Obama and his fellow socialists are trying to seize the entire American medical association. I wonder if that idiot Berwick is going to be saying England "you chose well"?

Britain Plans to Decentralize National Health Care -NYTimes.com
Britain Plans to Decentralize Health Care
...Even as the new coalition government said it would make enormous cuts in the public sector, it initially promised to leave health care alone. But in one of its most surprising moves so far, it has done the opposite, proposing what would be the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948.

Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.

The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished.

In a document, or white paper, outlining the plan, the government admitted that the changes would “cause significant disruption and loss of jobs.” But it said: “The current architecture of the health system has developed piecemeal, involves duplication and is unwieldy. Liberating the N.H.S., and putting power in the hands of patients and clinicians, means we will be able to effect a radical simplification, and remove layers of management.”

Question. What is the primary function of any bureaucracy? To insure its own survival. Nothing else comes close. Its stated purpose is not even an afterthought. The unions will fight this more than the troops fought the Battle of Britain.
The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, also promised to put more power in the hands of patients. Currently, how and where patients are treated, and by whom, is largely determined by decisions made by 150 entities known as primary care trusts — all of which would be abolished under the plan, with some of those choices going to patients. It would also abolish many current government-set targets, like limits on how long patients have to wait for treatment.

Now here is my favorite....
...Many critics say that the plans are far too ambitious, particularly in the short period of time allotted, and they doubt that general practitioners are the right people to decide how the health care budget should be spent. Currently, the 150 primary care trusts make most of those decisions. Under the proposals, general practitioners would band together in regional consortia to buy services from hospitals and other providers.

OK, let me get this straight. A bureaucrat who has no idea about the practice of medicine or who the hell the patient is or their condition is better able to make decisions on use of medical resources (i.e. money) than a doctor. Classis bureaucrat speak. They don’t like the thought of losing their worthless jobs or power. Doctors, engineers, project managers make decisions on money every day. They don’t need an unaccountable group of overseers to approve aspirin or second guess every decision.
...David Furness, head of strategic development at the Social Market Foundation, a study group, said that under the plan, every general practitioner in London would, in effect, be responsible for a $3.4 million budget.

“It’s like getting your waiter to manage a restaurant,” Mr. Furness said. “The government is saying that G.P.’s know what the patient wants, just the way a waiter knows what you want to eat. But a waiter isn’t necessarily any good at ordering stock, managing the premises, talking to the chef — why would they be? They’re waiters.”...

3.4 million is the amount of money handled by many small businesses, including a doctor’s office. How many restaurants, dry cleaners, mechanic’s shops, gas stations handle that much every year. And to hear this worthless bureaucrat say “we’re indispensable” because you’re too stupid to run things is really insulting….and typical. Look at the man-child in the White House.
But advocacy groups for general practitioners welcomed the proposals. BTY Mr Furness, many a successful restaurant is run by a former inspired waiter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tales of liberal hypocrisy and journalistic ineptitude

Good to know some things in life don’t change. A chief requirement for leftists is hypocrisy. A couple of examples.

First, here is Senator John Kerry, the haughty French looking Massachusetts Democrat who by the way served in Vietnam. He never made his own money; he did it in the more acceptable way in higher society. He married it. And he is not afraid of taxing your income. Hell there is no amount of money he will not tax as long as it’s not his. For instance:

Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.

Isabel - Kerry’s luxe, 76-foot New Zealand-built Friendship sloop with an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage - was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine.

But instead of berthing the vessel in Nantucket, where the senator summers with the missus, Teresa Heinz, Isabel’s hailing port is listed as “Newport” on her stern.

Could the reason be that the Ocean State repealed its Boat Sales and Use Tax back in 1993, making the tiny state to the south a haven - like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Nassau - for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners?

Cash-strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25 percent sales tax and an annual excise tax on yachts. Sources say Isabel sold for something in the neighborhood of $7 million, meaning Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.

It can't be the money can it? No of course not. Just listen to his people.

The senior senator’s chief of staff David Wade denied the old salt was berthing his boat out of state to avoid ponying up to the commonwealth.

“The boat was designed by and purchased from a company in Rhode Island, and it’s based in Newport at the Newport Shipyard for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes, not tax reasons,” Wade told the Track.


However, according to Bliss, if Kerry berths the Isabel in Massachusetts waters within six months of purchasing the boat, there’s a “presumption of use” and the Heinz-Kerrys would have to walk the plank and pony up to the Bay State. After six months, should the boat change its berth to, say, Nantucket, then it’s up to the state to go after them for the taxes, Bliss added.
I don't think Massachusetts has to worry about that.

Not to be outdone, here is billionaire leftist Democrat Jeff Greene, senate canidate from Florida.

On a Tuesday morning five years ago, Summerwind, a three-story, 145-foot luxury yacht, maneuvered above the celebrated barrier reef that lines the coast of Belize.
There it dropped anchor -- and plunged into controversy over severe damage to a coral reef system officially recognized by the United Nations as one of the world's most magnificent and irreplaceable treasures.

``The guys from the area told me they were beside the boat before it dropped anchor, and they were yelling and waving their hands, shouting, `No! No, don't drop here,' '' recounted Melanie McField, a marine scientist with the Smithsonian Institution who surveyed the reef soon after the incident. ``It was bad. There was a lot of damage.''

The owner of that yacht? Billionaire Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene.

The real-estate mogul from Palm Beach was not aboard the boat at the time. And, oddly, Greene today says the incident never happened, despite extensive publicity about it at the time (including statements from his representatives), eyewitness accounts, scientific surveys of the damage and an extensive case file at the country's Department of Environment.

``Jeff Greene doesn't take a penny of special interest money, so career politicians are attacking him with ridiculous stories about something that didn't even happen five years ago on a boat he wasn't even on,'' said campaign spokesman Luis Vizcaino.


Asked how he could say it never happened when Greene's own employees at the time acknowledged a problem on the reef with Summerwind, Vizcaino declined to comment further: ``That's our position. That's our quote.''

Greene bought Summerwind in 2003, registering it in the Marshall Islands, a well-known tax haven.

He wouldn't be trying to dodge taxes...a leftist billionaire Democratic politician...naa, of course not.

...In Belize, the chief environmental officer of the Department of Environment, Martin Alegria, thumbed through a two-volume file on the Summerwind case in response to questions from The St. Petersburg Times.

The case remains officially open, Alegria said in a phone interview, and if Greene or the Summerwind's then-captain returns to Belize they face fines of up to $1.87 million, given the amount of reef damage caused.

Belize became much tougher on those who harm or pollute the 175-mile reef after the Summerwind incident occurred, Alegria said, but at the time local authorities failed to seize passports or press charges before Summerwind left.


Billy Leslie, president of the San Pedro Tourist Guide Council in Belize, said he saw the damage soon after the incident and closely followed the investigation. Summerwind's anchor caused a swath of destruction on the living reef 50 feet by 200 feet, he said.

``It was a very big deal at the time, but the police made mistakes in that they didn't apprehend anyone soon enough,'' he said. Summerwind representatives ``were very clear they were willing to pay to get this resolved, but by the time the order finally came to apprehend someone, they had taken off and never paid a penny.'' ...The boat left Belize as it was scheduled to, he said, ``and my office received no notification from the Belize authorities of any claim against the vessel or its environmental insurance policy.''


Alegria, Belize's chief environmental enforcement officer, said he may take a closer look at the case now that it has been brought to his attention, but in 2005 the matter effectively ended when Greene's yacht left.

``It's still an open case, but it was a lost cause after they left Belize,'' said Alegria, noting that Belize authorities have been much more successful punishing people responsible for major reef destruction in recent years.

Mr Alegria, I wouldn't hold my breath for him paying for his damage or for the NY Times to refer to this in any coverage, much less investigate this.

Now an example of how a journalist should work

Rep. Charlie Rangel Berates Luke Russert and MSNBC for Questions About Alleged Ethics Violations
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: What are you talking about? You're just trying to make copy? What job? The one I got?

RUSSERT: Yeah. I mean, these are really serious violations.

CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: I mean, how do you think I got my job? I was elected. How do you think I lose it?

RUSSERT: Well, there's two ways. You could lose it if your colleagues voted you out of here because of ethics violations or if your constituents do not find you upstanding.

CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: What station are you with? Well, you're young; I guess you do need to make a name for yourself.

RUSSERT: (chuckles)

CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: But basically you know it's a dumb question, and I'm not answering.

RUSSERT: How is it a dumb question?

CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: The allegations that were made by some people!

RUSSERT: Sir? Sir? You did not file taxes on properties in the Dominican Republic, allegedly.

CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: It doesn't... It doesn't sound like... It doesn't...

RUSSERT: If that comes to be true, is that not a problem?

CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: It doesn't really sound like NBC --


CONGRESSMAN RANGEL -- asking these dumb questions. It just shows what has really happened to a channel that did have some respect.

I recall a great quote from news reporter E. K. Hornbeck in the classic Inherit the Wind, "Mr. Brady, it is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

I wonder if a modern journalist could reread this book and get a clue. Again, I won't hold my breath.


I was closing out my computer and the Wikipedia page for John Kerry, the haughty French looking Massachusetts Democrat who by the way served in Vietnam was still open. I noticed a position he has held and I wondered is this a really screwed up joke:

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
In office January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2009

OK...this man hasn't had a real job his entire life but he is the chairman of a committee for small business...

Then again, we're talking DC and reality is not needed.