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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's going on in the World Today 100831

[Holding the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch]

King Arthur: How does it... um... how does it work?

Sir Lancelot: I know not, my liege.

King Arthur: Consult the Book of Armaments.

Brother Maynard: Armaments, chapter two, verses nine through twenty-one.

Cleric: [reading] And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats and large chu...

Brother Maynard: Skip a bit, Brother...

Cleric: And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.

Brother Maynard: Amen.

All: Amen.

King Arthur: Right. One... two... five.

Galahad: Three, sir.
King Arthur: Three.




U.K., France: Aircraft Carrier Pact Considered  August 31, 2010

Britain and France could share aircraft carrier capability through a cooperation pact designed to maintain military power while cutting costs, according to The Times newspaper, KUNA reported on Aug. 31. British and French flagships would work together with special protocols to defend the interests of both countries. Britain’s Ministry of Defense described the report as “speculation” ahead of the Strategic Defense and Security Review expected in September. Many cooperation ideas were considered when British Defense Secretary Liam Fox met with his French counterpart on Aug. 27, a source said.




Iran: Remote Sensing Satellite Launch Planned August 31, 2010

Iran will launch its first remote sensing “Rasad” satellite into space by March 2011, Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Reza Taghipour said on Aug. 31, ISNA reported. The satellite will be launched with the “Safir-e-Omid” (the Ambassador of Hope) satellite carrier and will be stationed 250-400 kilometers (150-250 miles) above the earth, he said. The satellite’s missions include aerology, natural resources management and directional control of rivers and seas, he said.


Dispatch: U.S. Drawdown From Iraq Leaves Void STRATFOR



Agenda: With George Friedman STRATFOR


Above the Tearline: MI6 Death

c:  http://www.stratfor.com/

I didn't know Capt Picard needed work

Again, stupid criminals....fortunately the cop is recovering and the idiots unknowingly talked...I have no doubt the ACLU will sue....and check out the name on the police captain

Three arrests made in shooting of Oklahoma City police officer  

Three arrests made in shooting of Oklahoma City police officer Alex Mercado, 16, Hector Escalante, 18, and Vilma Escalante, 52, were arrested on complaints of shooting with intent to kill in an attack on officer Katie Lawson, 27. Lawson suffered gunshot wounds to her face, body and legs about 10:45 p.m. Sunday following a traffic stop ...
...While alone in an interrogation room, where they apparently did not realize they were being watched by a surveillance camera and bilingual police detective, Alex Mercado and Hector Escalante chatted about the incident in Spanish and English. Escalante said he was going to confess to police, but Alex Mercado told him not to and told him he'd hidden the gun where police couldn't find it.

Escalante then asked Alex Mercado if he had washed his hands before police swabbed them at the scene to look for gunpowder and other residue, the affidavit states. Alex Mercado said he hadn't and began spitting on his hands and wiping them on the interview room wall.

...Lawson is a four-year veteran officer, police Capt. Patrick Stewart said. The officer was heard on a scanner saying, "I have been shot," and requesting an ambulance.

"Fortunately, she is in good condition right now," Stewart said. Lawson was taken to OU Medical Center, which listed her in good condition late today

.If only all shootings were this easy.

Officer Down

Sergeant Anthony Wallace

Hoonah Police Department Alaska
End of Watch: Saturday, August 28, 2010
Age: 32
Tour of Duty: 4 years

Officer Matthew Tokuoka

End of Watch: Sunday, August 29, 2010
Age: 39
Tour of Duty: 1 year

Sergeant Anthony Wallace and Officer Matthew Tokuoka were ambushed and killed by a lone gunman.

Officer Tokuoka, who was off-duty, was in his car with his family when he stopped to talk to Sergeant Wallace who was standing outside his vehicle. Sergeant Wallace's mother was visiting him in Alaska and was accompanying him on a ride along at the time.

A man who the two officers had arrested on several occasions in the past walked up to the officers and opened fire. Sergeant Wallace was shot first and Officer Tokuoka went to render aid and was then shot.

Officer Tokuoka died early Sunday at a clinic in Hoonah and Sergeant Wallace died during surgery in Juneau.

The suspect fled to his house and barricaded himself inside while SWAT teams from the Alaska State Troopers and the Juneau Police Department responded to the scene. The suspect surrendered to officers after remaining barricaded for two days.

Sergeant Anthony Wallace, who was legally deaf, had served for the Hoonah Police Department for four years. He had previously served as a non-sworn public safety officer with the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. He is survived by his mother.

Officer Tokuoka was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had worked for the Hoonah Police Department for 18 months. He is survived by his wife, son, and daughter.

Rest in Peace Gentlement…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.

Cops don't mind stupid people....they are job security

No comment needed:
Meth suspect accused of going to court with meth

A guard found a bag of meth in the man's pocket during a pat-down at the jail

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — A Washington state man who went to court to face a methamphetamine charge is in more trouble after authorities say he showed up with a bag of meth in his pants.

The 33-year-old Bremerton man had to be booked and released from the Kitsap County Jail before Tuesday's court appearance in Port Orchard. That's standard procedure.

The Kitsap Sun reports that a guard found a bag of meth in the man's pocket during a pat-down at the jail. Now he's facing a new felony drug possession charge.

Officer Down

Chief of Police Paul Jeffrey Fricke

Hawk Point Police Department Missouri

End of Watch: Friday, August 27, 2010
Cause of Death: Automobile accident

Chief Paul Fricke was killed in an automobile accident on Highway 47, near Highway U, at approximately 10:30 am.

It is believed that Chief Fricke's patrol car went off the right side of the roadway, and that he over-corrected, causing his patrol car to cross the highway and strike a utility pole on the left side of the road.

Chief Fricke served as Hawk Point's part-time police chief and also served as a full time deputy with the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

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.

Army deserter goes nuts in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — A man in full combat gear — including body armor and hundreds of rounds of ammunition — opened fire on a Salt Lake patrol officer Friday afternoon near the Grand America Hotel — the third Utah officer to be shot in just two days.

At approximately 3:37, police got a 911 call saying a man with a gun was pacing along State Street ...The man, identified by Snyder as 28-year-old Brandon S. Barrett, was in full military combat uniform, including body armor, a helmet and combat boots. Barrett was also carrying numerous rounds of ammunition and a "long gun," though police are unsure whether it was an assault rifle or a shotgun.

By 3:41, police officers were at the scene. Barrett "engaged immediately" in shooting at the officers and shot one in the leg, Snyder said.

Police are unsure exactly how many shots Barrett and police officers fired, but in the end, Snyder said, she believes the officer who was hit was able to return fire and kill Barrett....

...In a photograph... the fallen shooter appears to have 11 clips strapped to his body. His uniform featured a patch with the letters "ISAF," possibly the International Security Assistance Force, which is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan....

OK...I guess he was a few fries short of a happy meal.  Fortunately he wasn't to get that man rounds off....

Geopolitical Weekly: Rethinking American Options on Iran

By George Friedman

Public discussion of potential attacks on Iran’s nuclear development sites is surging again. This has happened before. On several occasions, leaks about potential airstrikes have created an atmosphere of impending war. These leaks normally coincided with diplomatic initiatives and were designed to intimidate the Iranians and facilitate a settlement favorable to the United States and Israel. These initiatives have failed in the past. It is therefore reasonable to associate the current avalanche of reports with the imposition of sanctions and view it as an attempt to increase the pressure on Iran and either force a policy shift or take advantage of divisions within the regime.

My first instinct is to dismiss the war talk as simply another round of psychological warfare against Iran, this time originating with Israel. Most of the reports indicate that Israel is on the verge of attacking Iran. From a psychological-warfare standpoint, this sets up the good-cop/bad-cop routine. The Israelis play the mad dog barely restrained by the more sober Americans, who urge the Iranians through intermediaries to make concessions and head off a war. As I said, we have been here before several times, and this hasn’t worked.

The worst sin of intelligence is complacency, the belief that simply because something has happened (or has not happened) several times before it is not going to happen this time. But each episode must be considered carefully in its own light and preconceptions from previous episodes must be banished. Indeed, the previous episodes might well have been intended to lull the Iranians into complacency themselves. Paradoxically, the very existence of another round of war talk could be intended to convince the Iranians that war is distant while covert war preparations take place. An attack may be in the offing, but the public displays neither confirm nor deny that possibility.

The Evolving Iranian Assessment

STRATFOR has gone through three phases in its evaluation of the possibility of war. The first, which was in place until July 2009, held that while Iran was working toward a nuclear weapon, its progress could not be judged by its accumulation of enriched uranium. While that would give you an underground explosion, the creation of a weapon required sophisticated technologies for ruggedizing and miniaturizing the device, along with a very reliable delivery system. In our view, Iran might be nearing a testable device but it was far from a deliverable weapon. Therefore, we dismissed war talk and argued that there was no meaningful pressure for an attack on Iran.

We modified this view somewhat in July 2009, after the Iranian elections and the demonstrations. While we dismissed the significance of the demonstrations, we noted close collaboration developing between Russia and Iran. That meant there could be no effective sanctions against Iran, so stalling for time in order for sanctions to work had no value. Therefore, the possibility of a strike increased.

But then Russian support stalled as well, and we turned back to our analysis, adding to it an evaluation of potential Iranian responses to any air attack. We noted three potential counters: activating Shiite militant groups (most notably Hezbollah), creating chaos in Iraq and blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which 45 percent of global oil exports travel. Of the three Iranian counters, the last was the real “nuclear option.” Interfering with the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf would raise oil prices stunningly and would certainly abort the tepid global economic recovery. Iran would have the option of plunging the world into a global recession or worse.

There has been debate over whether Iran would choose to do the latter or whether the U.S. Navy could rapidly clear mines. It is hard to imagine how an Iranian government could survive air attacks without countering them in some way. It is also a painful lesson of history that the confidence of any military force cannot be a guide to its performance. At the very least, there is a possibility that the Iranians could block the Strait of Hormuz, and that means the possibility of devastating global economic consequences. That is a massive risk for the United States to take, against an unknown probability of successful Iranian action. In our mind, it was not a risk that the United States could take, especially when added to the other Iranian counters. Therefore, we did not think the United States would strike.

Certainly, we did not believe that the Israelis would strike Iran alone. First, the Israelis are much less likely to succeed than the Americans would be, given the size of their force and their distance from Iran (not to mention the fact that they would have to traverse either Turkish, Iraqi or Saudi airspace). More important, Israel lacks the ability to mitigate any consequences. Any Israeli attack would have to be coordinated with the United States so that the United States could alert and deploy its counter-mine, anti-submarine and missile-suppression assets. For Israel to act without giving the United States time to mitigate the Hormuz option would put Israel in the position of triggering a global economic crisis. The political consequences of that would not be manageable by Israel. Therefore, we found an Israeli strike against Iran without U.S. involvement difficult to imagine.

The Current Evaluation

Our current view is that the accumulation of enough enriched uranium to build a weapon does not mean that the Iranians are anywhere close to having a weapon. Moreover, the risks inherent in an airstrike on its nuclear facilities outstrip the benefits (and even that assumes that the entire nuclear industry is destroyed in one fell swoop — an unsure outcome at best). It also assumes the absence of other necessary technologies. Assumptions of U.S. prowess against mines might be faulty, and so, too, could my assumption about weapon development. The calculus becomes murky, and one would expect all governments involved to be waffling.

There is, of course, a massive additional issue. Apart from the direct actions that Iran might make, there is the fact that the destruction of its nuclear capability would not solve the underlying strategic challenge that Iran poses. It has the largest military force in the Persian Gulf, absent the United States. The United States is in the process of withdrawing from Iraq, which would further diminish the ability of the United States to contain Iran. Therefore, a surgical strike on Iran’s nuclear capability combined with the continuing withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq would create a profound strategic crisis in the Persian Gulf.

The country most concerned about Iran is not Israel, but Saudi Arabia. The Saudis recall the result of the last strategic imbalance in the region, when Iraq, following its armistice with Iran, proceeded to invade Kuwait, opening the possibility that its next intention was to seize the northeastern oil fields of Saudi Arabia. In that case, the United States intervened. Given that the United States is now withdrawing from Iraq, intervention following withdrawal would be politically difficult unless the threat to the United States was clear. More important, the Iranians might not give the Saudis the present Saddam Hussein gave them by seizing Kuwait and then halting. They might continue. They certainly have the military capacity to try.

In a real sense, the Iranians would not have to execute such a military operation in order to gain the benefits. The simple imbalance of forces would compel the Saudis and others in the Persian Gulf to seek a political accommodation with the Iranians. Strategic domination of the Persian Gulf does not necessarily require military occupation — as the Americans have abundantly demonstrated over the past 40 years. It merely requires the ability to carry out those operations.

The Saudis, therefore, have been far quieter — and far more urgent — than the Israelis in asking the United States to do something about the Iranians. The Saudis certainly do not want the United States to leave Iraq. They want the Americans there as a blocking force protecting Saudi Arabia but not positioned on Saudi soil. They obviously are not happy about Iran’s nuclear efforts, but the Saudis see the conventional and nuclear threat as a single entity. The collapse of the Iran-Iraq balance of power has left the Arabian Peninsula in a precarious position.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did an interesting thing a few weeks ago. He visited Lebanon personally and in the company of the president of Syria. The Syrian and Saudi regimes are not normally friendly, given different ideologies, Syria’s close relationship with Iran and their divergent interests in Lebanon. But there they were together, meeting with the Lebanese government and giving not very subtle warnings to Hezbollah. Saudi influence and money and the threat of Iran jeopardizing the Saudi regime by excessive adventurism seems to have created an anti-Hezbollah dynamic in Lebanon. Hezbollah is suddenly finding many of its supposed allies cooperating with some of its certain enemies. The threat of a Hezbollah response to an airstrike on Iran seems to be mitigated somewhat.

Eliminating Iranian Leverage In Hormuz

I said that there were three counters. One was Hezbollah, which is the least potent of the three from the American perspective. The other two are Iraq and Hormuz. If the Iraqis were able to form a government that boxed in pro-Iranian factions in a manner similar to how Hezbollah is being tentatively contained, then the second Iranian counter would be weakened. That would “just” leave the major issue — Hormuz.

The problem with Hormuz is that the United States cannot tolerate any risk there. The only way to control that risk is to destroy Iranian naval capability before airstrikes on nuclear targets take place. Since many of the Iranian mine layers would be small boats, this would mean an extensive air campaign and special operations forces raids against Iranian ports designed to destroy anything that could lay mines, along with any and all potential mine-storage facilities, anti-ship missile emplacements, submarines and aircraft. Put simply, any piece of infrastructure within a few miles of any port would need to be eliminated. The risk to Hormuz cannot be eliminated after the attack on nuclear sites. It must be eliminated before an attack on the nuclear sites. And the damage must be overwhelming.

There are two benefits to this strategy. First, the nuclear facilities aren’t going anywhere. It is the facilities that are producing the enriched uranium and other parts of the weapon that must be destroyed more than any uranium that has already been enriched. And the vast bulk of those facilities will remain where they are even if there is an attack on Iran’s maritime capabilities. Key personnel would undoubtedly escape, but considering that within minutes of the first American strike anywhere in Iran a mass evacuation of key scientists would be under way anyway, there is little appreciable difference between a first strike against nuclear sites and a first strike against maritime targets. (U.S. air assets are good, but even the United States cannot strike 100-plus targets simultaneously.)

Second, the counter-nuclear strategy wouldn’t deal with the more fundamental problem of Iran’s conventional military power. This opening gambit would necessarily attack Iran’s command-and-control, air-defense and offensive air capabilities as well as maritime capabilities. This would sequence with an attack on the nuclear capabilities and could be extended into a prolonged air campaign targeting Iran’s ground forces.

The United States is very good at gaining command of the air and attacking conventional military capabilities (see Yugoslavia in 1999). Its strategic air capability is massive and, unlike most of the U.S. military, underutilized. The United States also has substantial air forces deployed around Iran, along with special operations forces teams trained in penetration, evasion and targeting, and satellite surveillance. Far from the less-than-rewarding task of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, going after Iran would be the kind of war the United States excels at fighting. No conventional land invasion, no boots-on-the-ground occupation, just a very thorough bombing campaign. If regime change happens as a consequence, great, but that is not the primary goal. Defanging the Iranian state is.

It is also the only type of operation that could destroy the nuclear capabilities (and then some) while preventing an Iranian response. It would devastate Iran’s conventional military forces, eliminating the near-term threat to the Arabian Peninsula. Such an attack, properly executed, would be the worst-case scenario for Iran and, in my view, the only way an extended air campaign against nuclear facilities could be safely executed.

Just as Iran’s domination of the Persian Gulf rests on its ability to conduct military operations, not on its actually conducting the operations, the reverse is also true. It is the capacity and apparent will to conduct broadened military operations against Iran that can shape Iranian calculations and decision-making. So long as the only threat is to Iran’s nuclear facilities, its conventional forces remain intact and its counter options remain viable, Iran will not shift its strategy. Once its counter options are shut down and its conventional forces are put at risk, Iran must draw up another calculus.

In this scenario, Israel is a marginal player. The United States is the only significant actor, and it might not strike Iran simply over the nuclear issue. That’s not a major U.S. problem. But the continuing withdrawal from Iraq and Iran’s conventional forces are very much an American problem. Destroying Iran’s nuclear capability is merely an added benefit.

Given the Saudi intervention in Lebanese politics, this scenario now requires a radical change in Iraq, one in which a government would be quickly formed and Iranian influence quickly curtailed. Interestingly, we have heard recent comments by administration officials asserting that Iranian influence has, in fact, been dramatically reduced. At present, such a reduction is not obvious to us, but the first step of shifting perceptions tends to be propaganda. If such a reduction became real, then the two lesser Iranian counter moves would be blocked and the U.S. offensive option would become more viable.

Internal Tension in Tehran

At this point, we would expect to see the Iranians recalculating their position, with some of the clerical leadership using the shifting sands of Lebanon against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Indeed, there have been many indications of internal stress, not between the mythical democratic masses and the elite, but within the elite itself. This past weekend the Iranian speaker of the house attacked Ahmadinejad’s handling of special emissaries. For what purpose we don’t yet know, but the internal tension is growing.

The Iranians are not concerned about the sanctions. The destruction of their nuclear capacity would, from their point of view, be a pity. But the destruction of large amounts of their conventional forces would threaten not only their goals in the wider Islamic world but also their stability at home. That would be unacceptable and would require a shift in their general strategy.

From the Iranian point of view — and from ours — Washington’s intentions are opaque. But when we consider the Obama administration’s stated need to withdraw from Iraq, Saudi pressure on the United States not to withdraw while Iran remains a threat, Saudi moves against Hezbollah to split Syria from Iran and Israeli pressure on the United States to deal with nuclear weapons, the pieces for a new American strategy are emerging from the mist. Certainly the Iranians appear to be nervous. And the threat of a new strategy might just be enough to move the Iranians off dead center. If they don’t, logic would dictate the consideration of a broader treatment of the military problem posed by Iran.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

Monday, August 30, 2010

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Brian Harris
Kane County Sheriff's Office Utah
End of Watch: Thursday, August 26, 2010
Age: 41
Tour of Duty: 19 years
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Deputy Brian Harris was shot and killed while tracking a burglary suspect in the desert near Fredonia, Arizona.

Deputy Harris had begun a foot pursuit of the man in Kane County, but the man fled across the border into Arizona. As Deputy Harris and another officer tracked the man's movements, he was fatally struck by rifle fire. The man had setup an ambush under a tree and fired the fatal shot from 40 to 150 feet away.

A large manhunt was initiated in which the suspect exchanged fire with other officers multiple times. The suspect, who was familiar with the desert area, was believed to have stored supplies in various locations. The suspect was arrested four days later after attempting to break into a home to steal supplies. The homeowner called 911 and responding officers took the suspect into custody without incident.

Deputy Harris had served with the Harris County Sheriff's Office for 19 years and he was a Gulf War veteran who served with the United States Army.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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.

Another America Classic....Bettle Bailey

I remember while I was overseas in Korea (two decades ago....no...I can't be that old) and in Kuwait five years ago, one thing I always saw each morning was Beetle Bailey.  I don't read comics much while I'm in the US but I always read Beetle when I was overseas.  Mort, thank you for many good laughs over by years in and out of uniform

Beetle Bailey nears retirement age but stays put

STAMFORD, Conn. — Beetle Bailey is slouching toward retirement age, but the lazy Army private won't be getting rest anytime soon from his tour of duty on newspaper comics pages.

The indolent wise guy, whose popularity soared when he enlisted during the Korean War, turns 60 on Saturday.

Mort Walker, who conjured up Beetle and has been putting him on paper every day for all those decades, says he'll continue with his creation until he's no longer able.

"I don't know how I'd be retired," said Walker, 86. "I wake up every day with another idea."...

...Charles Schulz, who created and worked on the enormously popular Peanuts strip for nearly 50 years before his death in 2000, came close to Walker's longevity. But "no one has worked on the same strip for 60 years with that kind of consistency," Burford said.

King Features has been celebrating Beetle's anniversary by running Sunday cartoons by Walker of Beetle re-enacting military events in history, such as celebrating the end of World War II or crossing the Delaware with George Washington.

..."Beetle is the embodiment of everybody's resistance to authority, all the rules and regulations which you've got to follow," Walker said. "He deals with it in his own way. And in a way, it's sort of what I did when I was in the Army. I just often times did what I wanted to do."

Beetle Bailey, originally called Spider, made his comic-strip debut as a smart aleck college student on Sept. 4, 1950, in 12 newspapers, according to King Features. It considered dropping the strip at the end of Walker's one-year contract, but when Beetle stumbled into an Army recruiting post in 1951 during the Korean War, the number of newspapers that picked up Beetle climbed....
Some people have to get a life

,,,Not everyone. Some women have been angry about the caricature of a dumb blond secretary, the curvaceous Miss Buxley, Walker said.

"The women's right groups got so riled up against me they had a national agenda of attacking me," Walker said.
Next thing the SPCA and PETA will complain Garfield portrays felines as arrogant or lazy...

Again, thank you Mort and to many more years of service.

Obama's Steep Learning Curve

Well we all know the NY Pravda, err NY Slimes, oh..NY Puke.....or whatever you call the bird crap collector from New York. Well this propaganda for B Hussein Obama was curious...

For Obama, Steep Learning Curve as Chief in War

...He is the first president in four decades with a shooting war already raging the day he took office — two, in fact, plus subsidiaries — and his education as a commander in chief with no experience in uniform has been a steep learning curve. He has learned how to salute. He has surfed the Internet at night to look into the toll on troops. He has faced young soldiers maimed after carrying out his orders. And he is trying to manage a tense relationship with the military.
OK...it's a major accomplishment that he's learned to salute.  And he used ALGORE's invention to find "the toll on troops"...as if he cannot get that reported to him as the POTUS....at least by TOTUS.

OK...they author just contracted himself...then again we are talking NY Pravda....
Along the way, he has confronted some of the biggest choices a president can make, often deferring to military advisers yet trying to shape the decisions with his own judgments — too much at times for the Pentagon, too little in the view of his liberal base.

In other words takes credit for the decisions of his predessor who ordered the surge.
His evolution from antiwar candidate to leader of the world’s most powerful military will reach a milestone on Tuesday when he delivers an Oval Office address to formally end the combat mission in Iraq while defending his troop buildup in Afghanistan.

The writer says this garbage about "his mission of transforming America" so simply...that is scary when you think of who's doing it.
A year and a half into his presidency, Mr. Obama appears to be a reluctant warrior. Even as he draws down troops in Iraq, he has been abundantly willing to use force to advance national interests, tripling forces in Afghanistan, authorizing secret operations in Yemen and Somalia, and escalating drone strikes in Pakistan. But advisers said he did not see himself as a war president in the way his predecessor did. His speech on Tuesday is notable because he talks in public about the wars only sporadically, determined not to let them define his presidency.

Where George W. Bush saw the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as his central mission and opportunities to transform critical regions, Mr. Obama sees them as “problems that need managing,” as one adviser put it, while he pursues his mission of transforming America. The result, according to interviews with three dozen administration officials, military leaders and national security experts, is an uneasy balance between a president wary of endless commitment and a military worried he is not fully invested in the cause.
“He’s got a very full plate of very big issues, and I think he does not want to create the impression that he’s so preoccupied with these two wars that he’s not addressing the domestic issues that are uppermost in people’s minds,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview. Mr. Obama, though, has devoted enormous time and thought to finding the right approaches, Mr. Gates added. “From the first, he’s been decisive and he’s been willing to make big decisions,” he said.

Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat who sometimes advises Mr. Obama, said the president was grappling with harsh reality. “He came into office with a very sound strategic vision,” Mr. Reed said, “and what has happened in the intervening months is, as with every president, he is beginning to understand how difficult it is to translate a strategic vision into operational reality.”
No Jack, he came in clueless and he hasn't gotten any more clues. He seems to think he can talk other people in the world into liking us by talking his country down.  Hey BO, hate to tell you, there are bad guys out there...and we're the good guys, all in all.

A former adviser to the president, who like others insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the situation candidly, said that Mr. Obama’s relationship with the military was “troubled” and that he “doesn’t have a handle on it.” The relationship will be further tested by year’s end when Mr. Obama evaluates his Afghanistan strategy in advance of his July deadline to begin pulling out. As one administration official put it, “His commander in chief role is about to get tested again, and in a very dramatic way.”
In other words he will throw men and treasure into something then pull them out, no matter the result.  Why put them in?  Again, he's clueless.  It's either you do it or you don't.  If you're not willing to do it, don't waste other men's lives like their toys.  Then again Barry, you won't pay for it so their lives so you don't care. 
...Running for president of a country at war, he had plenty to learn, even basics like military ceremonies and titles. His campaign recruited retired generals to advise him. But it still took time to adjust when he became president. The first time he walked into a room of generals, an aide recalled, he was surprised when they stood. “Come on, guys, you don’t have to do that,” he said, according to the aide.
Yes BO, you are the president now....they probably don't like it either but unlike you, they are professionals.  How the hell did we elect this idiot.B Hussein Obama took how many months to approve a surge in Afganistan...then his commander's were begging for the manpower....bue he's been decisive and willing to make big decisions.....ok.  Maybe I need some mroe coffee.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Is it really a "Controversial Arizona law"

It's not that APs bias but why is the law controversial when it's supported by 2/3 of the American people...and why is it not controversial that the Holder Justice Department is suing Arizona or that Mrs. Bill Clinton, head bureaucrat of the State Department didn't tell the UN to pound sand instead of filling out this report.
PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer demanded Friday that a reference to the state's controversial immigration law be removed from a State Department report to the United Nations' human rights commissioner.
The U.S. included its legal challenge to the law on a list of ways the federal government is protecting human rights.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brewer says it is "downright offensive" that a state law would be included in the report, which was drafted as part of a UN review of human rights in all member nations every four years.
"The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a state of the United States to 'review' by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional," Brewer wrote.
...In its report, the State Department does not specifically allege that Arizona's law would lead to racial profiling.

"A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world," the report says. "The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined."
Hopefully the 9th Circus Court will grant a stay after they hear it.....the day before the November elections.  And hopefully that is free publicity for people who want to enforce our borders and the sunlight against the people favoring amnesty.

For Meatloaf it's all about the show....

For the second time in two weeks I've gone to great concert at the Houston House of Blues. Meatloaf, with an opening act of Pearl, a heavy metal bank headed by his stepdaughter Pearl Aday.

Meatloaf is a consummate entertainers. Two weeks ago I saw Pat Benatar and for her it's pure music. Meatloaf has the music and interacts with the crowd much more. He was in the middle of the ending of "You took the words out of my mouth" when he stopped and looked up at the balcony (FYI, balcony has seats, floor is standing only) and screamed.

You on the balcony, I'm sixty three years old...if I can stand in front of all of you for over two house your Mother F#$%ing asses can get up now!..."
That was one of the sobering and funny things of the concert. Looking around I would say about one fifth of the crowd was 30 or less. Most of the group had many a gray hair and middle age spread. I was watching 60 somethings shaking it down like they did in their earlier life...and I have no doubt they are paying for it today. My ears are still ringing from the amps...but man, it was worth it.

There are several acts I want to see and I'm glad to see they are on the small venue circuit. You can actually see the members of the band, there is great interaction between them and the crowd. And I can afford the tickets now but not the food and drink....hell, I need to refinance the house for a beer...12 bucks for 20 ounces....will you at least kiss me first!

Nothing beats a great music and great entertainment.....hope Rush is as good next month!

Pearl opening up

Bless My Soul from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I simply need a better camera...this cell phone crap just don't cut it.  As I recall this was Two Out of Three Ain't Bad.  He gave us a story about how he met a couple who said they had this as their first song at their wedding reception...and I thought I was warped!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What's going on in the World Today 100828


Agenda: With George Friedman STRATFOR


Pakistan: The TTP's Threats to Flood Relief Organizations STRATFOR

Turkey: An Emerging AKP-Gulenist Split? STRATFOR


Tajikistan: The Aftermath of a Prison Break STRATFOR


Iran: 3 Tons Of LEU Stockpiled - Former IAEA Official August 26, 2010

Iran has stockpiled three tons of low-enriched uranium (LEU), enough for one or two nuclear weapons, former top U.N. nuclear official for Iran Olli Heinonen told Le Monde newspaper, Reuters reported Aug. 26. The U.S. calculation that Iran would need a year to convert its low-enriched uranium to higher-grade material is “not a bad estimate,” he stated. Heinonen was deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and head of its nuclear safeguards department until early August when he stepped down for personal reasons.

Iran: 25 Kilograms Of 20 Percent Enriched Uranium Produced  August 27, 2010

Iran has made 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium for its Tehran medical reactor, Iranian representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Akbar Salehi said Aug. 27, DPA reported. Iran is attempting to finish its fuel producing site by September 2011 so that it may convert the uranium into fuel rods, Salehi said. Iran could produce 5 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent each month, he added.
China: To Invest $1 Billion In Iranian Petrochemical Projects August 28, 2010

The National Iranian Petrochemical Company and a Chinese consortium are completing talks on an agreement under which China would funnel some $1 billion into petrochemical projects in Iran, Mehr News Agency reported Aug. 28. The construction of the petrochemical facilities requires a total of $43 billion in investment funds; contracts have already been signed to implement 28 of those projects.

China: To Sign Contract To Complete Iran Railway August 28, 2010

China will sign a deal for the completion of Iran’s western railway from Arak to Khosravi, Mehr News Agency reported Aug. 28, citing Iran’s minister of transportation, Hamid Behbahani. He said the deal is worth roughly $1.5-2 million and will be completed in two-and-a-half years.

Iraq: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Police Station Attacks August 28, 2010

The armed group Islamic State of Iraq on Aug. 28 claimed responsibility for attacks on eight police stations in Baghdad and other provinces, Aswat al-Iraq reported. In an online statement, the group said it was responsible for attacks on two police stations in Baghdad, and one police station in each of the provinces of Salah al-Din, Basra, Wassit, Karbala, Kirkuk and Anbar. The group also claimed responsibility for targeting civil servants, provincial officials, Iraqi army forces, and U.S. patrols.


Israel: Compromise On Building Freeze In Works  August 26, 2010

Sources close to ministers in the inner Israeli Cabinet said that a compromise was in the works on the future of the building freeze in Judea and Samaria, Army Radio reported Aug. 26. Sources said that building would commence in the settlement blocs when the freeze expired, but would continue in “isolated settlements.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reached an understanding with U.S. President Barack Obama on the matter during their recent meeting, according to Army Radio.

Lebanon: France To Sell HOT Missiles August 27, 2010

Israel and the United States are attempting to prevent a French-Lebanese arms deal involving 100 HOT anti-tank missiles, Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Aug. 27. French Defense Minister Herve Moran sent a letter to his Lebanese counterpart, Elias Murr, offering to sell the missiles to Lebanon to be armed on the Gazelle helicopters. The missile delivery is delayed due to “confusion” in the Lebanese defense establishment, a French source stated. 
Egypt: Gaza-Bound Missiles, Ammunition Seized

August 28, 2010

Egyptian police on Aug. 28 raided several arms depots in Sinai, believed to hold weapons meant for smuggling into Gaza, Haaretz reported. They uncovered secret caches of 190 fully assembled anti-aircraft missiles and rockets as well as explosives and ammunition. Several additional secret depots were raided in the city of Rafah, some 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the border with Gaza, where ten anti-tank mines were seized. Fifty kilograms (110 pounds) of hashish were also taken, and several suspected drug dealers detained.




Mexico: 2 Grenade Attacks In Monterrey  August 26, 2010

Five policemen from a special patrol group tasked with countering roadblocks by organized crime members were injured Aug. 26 in a grenade attack by unidentified assailants in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, El Universal reported. A police station in Monterrey was also damaged in a separate grenade attack.

Mexico: 20 Injured In Grenade Attack On Bar August 26, 2010

Unidentified attackers injured approximately 20 people in a grenade attack on a bar in the Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco state, Informador reported Aug. 26. Four men were seen leaving the building prior to the explosion, El Universal reported.

Mexico: Roadblocks Set Up In Nuevo Leon August 26, 2010

Suspected members of a drug trafficking cartel set up several roadblocks in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, after armed men entered a juvenile holding facility in Escobedo, Milenio reported Aug. 26. Roadblocks were reported on the highway to Miguel Aleman, in San Nicolas and on the Lopez Mateo Avenue. At least one roadblock has been cleared by police.

Venezuela: 2,200 Aluminum Workers Strike August 26, 2010

Approximately 2,200 employees of Venezuelan state-run aluminum firm Venalum went on strike in Bolivar state, Globovision reported Aug. 26. Union representatives said the protests were due to the lack of employee control in the firm and unfulfilled contract benefits and warned that the strike will spread to government-run businesses Carbonorca, Bauxilum and Alcasa on Aug. 30.

Venezuela: 7,000 Aluminum Workers Striking August 26, 2010

Approximately 4,800 full-time workers from Venezuelan state-run aluminum firm Venalum in Bolivar state are protesting in addition to 2,200 contract workers, El Universal reported Aug. 26. A union representative said that the Venalum facilities are operating at 30 percent capacity due to the strike. The workers demanded the fulfillment of their collective contract, which has reportedly not been renewed in four years.

Mexico: Calderon To Target Drug Cash August 26, 2010

Mexican President Felipe Calderon signed the “National Strategy to Prevent Money Laundering and Combat Terrorism Financing” proposal on Aug. 26, and he plans to send it to Congress, Informador reported. The proposal would ban cash purchases of real estate and make it easier for officials to seize property from drug cartels and their front companies, Reuters reported. Calderon also promised that Mexico’s Finance Ministry would work harder to use current laws to fight money laundering.
Mexico: Investigators Into 72 Migrants' Deaths Missing  August 27, 2010

Two Mexican officials tasked with investigating the deaths of 72 migrants at a ranch in Tamaulipas state have been reported missing, the Tamaulipas state Attorney General’s Office said Aug. 27, Reforma reported. A search is under way for Roberto Suarez, an agent with the Tamaulipas state Investigative Agency, and Carlos Francisco Verdugo Lopez, a delegate of the Police and Transit Authority of the San Fernando municipality.

Dispatch: Massacre in Mexico and Human Trafficking STRATFOR


Mexico: Revelations From 72 Migrants' Deaths | STRATFOR

Opps...maybe you should use those things by your nose...there're called eyes

As a patrol officer one my daily duties is to handle traffic matters.  Over the last few years I've had "idiots"....err excuse me, citizens driving using a GPS or map on their cell phone to get to their location....and when I stop them for driving the wrong way on a one way street I get get "...well I was just following the GPS..."

Hopefully this guys is ok...and maybe he can learn something about "using your eyes..."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Schwarzenegger is good on this....now if he can get his head out of his ass on "climate change"

Good review by Gov Arnold on the real problem with the deficit in CA. But just like with the federal programs (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) few are willing tackle it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Public Pensions and Our Fiscal Future - WSJ.com

Recently some critics have accused me of
bullying state employees. Headlines in California papers this month have been
screaming "Gov assails state workers" and "Schwarzenegger threatens state

I'm doing no such thing. State employees are hard-working and
valuable contributors to our society. But here's the plain truth: California
simply cannot solve its budgetary problems without addressing
government-employee compensation and benefits.

. ..As former Speaker of the State Assembly and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown pointed out earlier this year in the San Francisco Chronicle, roughly 80 cents of every government dollar in California goes to employee compensation and benefits. Those costs have been rising fast. Spending on California's state employees over the past decade rose at nearly three times the rate our revenues grew, crowding out programs of great importance to our citizens. Neglected priorities include higher education,
environmental protection, parks and recreation, and more.

Much bigger increases in employee costs are on the horizon. Thanks to huge unfunded pension and retirement health-care promises granted by past governments, and also to
deceptive pension-fund accounting that understated liabilities and overstated  future investment returns, California is now saddled with $550 billion of retirement debt.

The cost of servicing that debt has grown at a rate of more than 15% annually over the last decade. This year, retirement benefits—more than $6 billion—will exceed what the state is spending on higher education. Next year, retirement costs will rise another 15%. In fact, they are destined to grow so much faster than state revenues that they threaten to suck up the money for every other program in the state budget. (See the nearby chart.)

I've held a stricter line on government employment and salary increases than any
governor in the modern era (overall year-to-year spending has increased just
1.4% on my watch). Nevertheless, employee costs will keep marching upwards
because of pension promises, and they will never stop doing so until we get

At the same time that government-employee costs have been climbing, the private-sector workers whose taxes pay for them have been hurting. Since 2007, one million private jobs have been lost in California. Median incomes of workers in the state's private sector have stagnated for more than a decade. To make matters worse, the retirement accounts of those workers in California have declined. The average 401(k) is down nationally nearly 20% since 2007. Meanwhile, the defined benefit retirement plans of government
employees—for which private-sector workers are on the hook—have risen in value.

...But what will they do next year when those compensation costs grow 15% more? And the year after that when they've risen again? And 10 years from now, when retirement costs have reached nearly $30 billion per year? That's where government-employee retirement costs are headed even with the pension reforms I'm demanding. Imagine where they're headed without reform.

My view is different. We must not raise taxes or borrow money to cover up
fundamental problems.

Much needs to be done. The Assembly needs toreverse the massive and retroactive increase in pension formulas it enacted 11years ago. It also needs to prohibit "spiking"—giving someone a big raise inhis last year of work so his pension is boosted. Government employees must be required to increase their contributions to pensions. Public pension funds must make truthful financial disclosures to the public as to the size of their
liabilities, and they must use reasonable projected rates of returns on their
investments. The legislature could pass those reforms in five minutes, the same
amount of time it took them to pass that massive pension boost 11 years ago that
adds additional costs every single day they refuse to act.

And after they've finished passing those reforms, they could take another five minutes to
pass legislation terminating the annuity give-away they passed in 2003 and
ending the immoral practice of pension fund board members accepting gifts or
even campaign contributions from lobbyists, salesmen, unions and other special

Politicians love big pensions. It's a way to buy off the unions and the politicians doesnt' have to pay for it. It's paid for by future generations. The problem is the promises made in the 60s and 70s on the state level are coming due...and the buck can't be passed anymore.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Phasers on stun in the LA jail!

The LA Sheriff is testing a energy beam weapon to subdue unruly prisoners. If it works out it will be fielded to other jails. This is something useful and intelligent....naturally the ACLU is screaming bloody murder on it... 

Thanks to Darren at RotLC for the article

LA authorities plan to use heat-beam ray in jail - Yahoo! News

LOS ANGELES – A device designed to control unruly inmates by blasting them with a beam of intense energy that causes a burning sensation is drawing heat from civil rights groups who fear it could cause serious injury and is "tantamount to torture."

The mechanism, known as an "Assault Intervention Device," is a stripped-down version of a military gadget that sends highly focused beams of energy at people and makes them feel as though they are burning. The Los Angeles County sheriff's department plans to install the device by Labor Day, making it the first time in the world the technology has been deployed in such a capacity.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California criticized Sheriff Lee Baca's decision in a letter sent Thursday, saying that the technology amounts to a ray gun at a county jail. The 4-feet-tall weapon, which looks like a cross between a robot and a satellite radar, will be mounted on the ceiling and can swivel....

...The ACLU said the weapon was "tantamount to torture," noting that early military versions resulted in five airmen suffering lasting burns....

The sheriff unveiled the device last week and said it would be installed in the dorm of a jail in north Los Angeles County. It is far less powerful than the military version and has various safeguards in place, including a three-second limit to each beam of heat.

The natural response when blasted — to leap out the way — would be helpful in bringing difficult inmates under control and quelling riots, the sheriff said....

..."The neat thing with this device is you experience pain but you are not injured by it," Osborne said. "It doesn't injure your skin, the beam doesn't have the power to do that."

He said the device would be a more humane way of dealing with jail disturbances. Unlike hitting inmates with batons or deploying tear gas, a shot from the beam has no aftereffects, he said.
Again, it's will cause pain without a lasting effect (e.g. broken bones) that a baton can cause.  And guys, we're talking prison here...

Townhall - Ann Coulter - MSNBC Swears to Allah that Obama's Not a Muslim - Full Article

I love Ann Coulter...and she shows the hypocrisy of the leftist again...

Townhall - Ann Coulter - MSNBC Swears to Allah that Obama's Not a Muslim - Full Article

Ann Coulter MSNBC Swears to Allah that Obama's Not a Muslim

MSNBC's Monday programming was dedicated to denouncing Sen. Mitch McConnell's response to a question about whether Obama is a Muslim.

McConnell said: "We all have to rely on the word of (Barack Obama) -- something about as reliable as a credit default swap."

No, I'm sorry, that's what The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan said about whether Trig Palin was really Sarah Palin's child.
Gee, Andrew Sullivan is a birther...who would have thunk it

McConnell responded by demanding that Obama be fired -- or at least have his security clearance suspended.

No, no -- wrong again: That was Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Chuck Schumer, respectively, not taking Karl Rove at his word when he said he had not released Valerie Plame's name to the press. (It turned out Rove was telling the truth; it was Richard Armitage, and it wasn't a crime.)

What McConnell actually said in response to the Muslim question was: "The president says he's a Christian. I take him at his word. I don't think that's in dispute."

Over at MSNBC, that's Republican code for: "He's a Muslim!"

North Korean TV's Ed Schultz hysterically babbled: "McConnell gave cover. That's what he did. He gave cover to all those low information voters out there who still believe this garbage about President Obama being a Muslim. ... The Republican leadership just loves to feed the fire."

Chris Matthews was so impressed with Schultz's nonsensical argument that he spent the entire hour on NKTV's "Hardball" making the same one: McConnell had expressed insufficient fervor when he said he believed Obama was a Christian! (Perhaps if McConnell had added something about a thrill running up his leg ...)

The statement "I take him at his word," Matthews said, was a "pitch-perfect dog whistle to the haters." He continued: "Yes, sure, whatever he says. Right. This is not about belief. It's an accusation that President Obama is not one of us. The right wing's attempt to de-Americanize the president."....

No, the GM Bailout Hasn’t Succeeded - Article - National Review Online

I've written on how our nation's auto industry is really in bad shape in large part due to the federal government's interference in it.

From National Review Online a great article with a few more details.

No, the GM Bailout Hasn’t Succeeded - Article - National Review Online

Stephen Spruiell

No, the GM Bailout Hasn’t Succeeded: Look at the books

....As part of its government-financed bankruptcy, it[GM] has indeed done an admirable job of cutting costs, and this is the primary reason the company is back in the black. Can it stay that way in an environment of falling sales and declining market share? Then there are GM’s pension obligations. In the Financial Times, Tony Jackson recently pointed out that the company is forecasting returns on its pension investments of around 8.5 percent a year. That’s pretty optimistic in the current environment of wildly fluctuating stocks and low interest rates on fixed-income securities. Jackson thinks a more realistic calculation would leave GM’s pension with an annual shortfall of around $7 billion, which might dampen investors’ appetite when the company’s IPO rolls around.

The success of that IPO is crucial to determining whether the bailout of GM can be said to have succeeded (which is a separate question from whether the government was right to bail out the company at all). Much of the taxpayers’ “investment” in GM is held in the form of preferred stock. According to the government’s own estimates, GM’s market capitalization would have to reach $67 billion for taxpayers to break even. At its peak, in 2000, GM’s market cap was $57 billion. One GAO report concluded that “Treasury’s own analysis suggests that the circumstances necessary for the companies to reach market capitalizations high enough for Treasury to fully recover its equity investments are unlikely.”

Amid misleading claims that GM has paid back all of its bailout money, it is important to keep in mind just how much government support the automakers received: Out of $50.7 billion in loans to GM, only $7 billion, or 13.8 percent, has been repaid. (If you believed GM’s claim that it paid back its loans to the government in full, with interest and ahead of schedule, can you loan me some money?) Chrysler got $10.7 billion, of which it has repaid $2 billion. And let’s not forget about GMAC (now Ally Bank), GM’s financing arm, which received $16.2 billion and has yet to repay any of it. GM rid itself of GMAC’s problems by spinning it off shortly before declaring bankruptcy, but the money loaned to GMAC should count toward GM’s bailout: If it hadn’t been necessary to keep financing available to GM customers, GMAC probably would have been allowed to fail.

The bottom line is that GM and Chrysler still owe the government a great deal of money, and it is far from clear that they will be able to repay it all. As long as the prospect of large losses for taxpayers loom in the distance, it is impossible to say that the jobs saved didn’t come at the expense of other jobs. Even if all the money is paid back, it is hard to predict what consequences will follow from such an unprecedented bailout. The automakers have had a good couple of quarters; if the Democrats are lucky, they’ll have a couple more. But we are a long way from being able to say that the bailout “worked,” much less that we wouldn’t have been better off letting GM and Chrysler reorganize in bankruptcy without our help.

Yes, it would have been better to simply let the companies go through Chapter 11 reorganization and the could get a lot of the needless crap in the UAW contracts cut out, e.g. layed off workers are getting 90% of their salary to sit on their ass.  The takeover of GM and Chrysler were intended to save the UAW and it's pension plans.  But there is no way these industries can survive unless there is a new business model with pension reformed and sorry, you get laid off you can collect unemployment.

Any Dad who has a girl can relate to Darth Vader in this....

I've commended on Darth Vader's expansion into advertising and his unparalleled leadership techniques

But now we have seen the family man....what father of his beautiful girl can't relate to this:

Enough said!

Security Weekly : A Botched Hostage Rescue in the Philippines

A Botched Hostage Rescue in the Philippines

August 26, 2010

By Scott Stewart

On Aug. 23, Rolando Mendoza, a former senior police inspector with the Manila police department, boarded a tourist bus in downtown Manila and took control of the vehicle, holding the 25 occupants (tourists from Hong Kong and their Philippine guides) hostage. Mendoza, who was dressed in his police inspector’s uniform, was armed with an M16-type rifle and at least one handgun.

According to the police, Mendoza had been discharged from the department after being charged with extortion. Mendoza claimed the charges were fabricated and had fought a protracted administrative and legal battle in his effort to be reinstated. Apparently, Mendoza’s frustration over this process led to his plan to take the hostages. The fact that Mendoza entertained hope of regaining his police job by breaking the law and taking hostages speaks volumes about his mental state at the time of the incident.

After several hours of negotiation failed to convince Mendoza to surrender, communications broke down, Mendoza began to shoot hostages and police launched a clumsy and prolonged tactical operation to storm the bus. The operation lasted for more than an hour and left Mendoza and eight of the tourists dead at the end of a very public and protracted case of violence stemming from a workplace grievance.

Hostage-rescue operations are some of the most difficult and demanding tactical operations for police and military. To be successful, they require a great deal of training and planning and must be carefully executed. Because of this, hostage-rescue teams are among the most elite police and military units in the world. Since these teams are always training and learning, they pay close attention to operations like the one in Manila and study these operations carefully. They seek to adopt and incorporate tactics and techniques that work and learn from any mistakes that were made so they can avoid repeating them. Even in highly successful operations, there are always areas that can be improved upon and lessons that can be learned.

Indeed, in the Manila case, the events that unfolded provided a litany of lessons for hostage-rescue teams. The case will almost certainly be used in law enforcement and military classrooms across the globe for years as a textbook example of what not to do.

Breakdown of the Incident

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Aug. 23, Mendoza commandeered the bus and its occupants (his police inspector’s uniform was likely helpful in gaining him access to the vehicle). Within minutes, he released two female hostages. Soon thereafter he released four hostages (a woman and three children). Mendoza used a cell phone to call the Manila police, inform them of the situation and make his demands: that the charges against him be dropped by the police ombudsman’s office and that he be reinstated to the police force. These early hostage releases would generally be seen as a positive sign by the authorities, showing that Mendoza had some compassion for the women and children and that even if he was reducing the number of hostages for pragmatic, tactical reasons (to allow him better control over the group), he was at least reducing the number by releasing people and not killing them.

The police maintained communications with Mendoza, who stayed aboard the bus and kept the motor running. This not only kept the vehicle cool, but allowed Mendoza to watch events unfold around the bus on the onboard television set. He had his hostages close the curtains on the bus to make it more difficult for the authorities to determine where he was in the bus.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Mendoza requested more gasoline for the bus and some food. He released another hostage, an elderly man, in return for the gas and food. Two other hostages, both Philippine photographers, were released as a 3 p.m. deadline for action set by Mendoza came and went (one of the photographers was released before, one after). There were also reports that Mendoza had initially set a 12:30 p.m. deadline for action. The fact that these deadlines passed without violence would be an encouraging sign to the authorities that the incident could be resolved without bloodshed. Food was again taken out to the bus just before 5 p.m. During the afternoon, Mendoza could have been engaged by snipers on at least two occasions, but since negotiations were proceeding well and Mendoza did not appear to be close to shooting, the decision was made to try and wait him out and not attempt to kill him. If the snipers failed to incapacitate Mendoza, it could have risked the lives of the hostages.

During the ordeal, Mendoza continued to watch events unfold on the television inside the bus and reportedly even talked to journalists via cell phone. Mendoza also ordered the bus driver to park the vehicle sideways in the center of the road in an apparent attempt to make it more difficult to approach without detection.

Things took a marked turn for the worse around 6:20 p.m., when negotiators, accompanied by Mendoza’s brother Gregorio (who is also a police officer and who had earlier helped convince Mendoza to extend his deadline), approached the bus with a letter from the office of the ombudsman offering to reopen his case. Mendoza rejected the letter, saying he wanted his case dismissed, not reviewed. At this point, there are conflicting reports of what happened. The police negotiators told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Mendoza’s brother told Mendoza that the letter from the ombudsman’s office was garbage and that he should not surrender. Other press reports indicate that the brother pleaded with Mendoza to take him hostage and release the tourists and that his pleading was seen as counterproductive to the negotiations.

Whatever the story, Mendoza’s brother was then arrested and his arrest was carried live on television and seen by Mendoza in the bus. Shortly after his brother’s arrest, Mendoza fired two warning shots and demanded in a radio interview that all the Manila Police Department SWAT officers be removed from the scene. Shortly after 7 p.m., Mendoza repeated his threats and refused to speak to his family members. Growing increasingly agitated, Mendoza shot two of the hostages when his demand for the SWAT officers to retreat was not met. He released the Philippine bus driver, who reportedly told police that all the hostages were dead. (We are unsure why the driver said this when only two of the passengers had been killed, but the police would have been able to tell from the volume of fire that Mendoza had not truly killed all the hostages.)

At about 7:30 p.m., the tires of the bus were shot out and a police tactical team approached the vehicle and began to smash its windows with a sledgehammer. The police attempted to slowly enter the back of the bus by crawling through one of the shattered windows from the top of a police truck but were forced back out of the window by gunfire.

At about 8:40 p.m., police deployed tear gas into the back of the bus through the missing windows. Gunfire erupted and Mendoza was finally killed in a hail of bullets. Six additional hostages also perished during the exchange of gunfire. It is unclear at this point if they were intentionally shot by Mendoza or if they were caught in the crossfire.

Hostage Situations

By the time of the rescue attempt, the saga of Mendoza’s firing from the police force had been going on for some time, and it is important to recognize that he did not make a spontaneous decision to seize the tourist bus. Even if the bus was targeted shortly before the attack, Mendoza’s path toward violent action would have included several significant warning signs. As in almost any case of violence that stems from issues in the workplace, once the chain of events are examined more closely, reports will emerge that warning signs were either missed or ignored. Had those warning signs been noted and acted upon, this situation might have been avoided.

Since the event was not pre-empted, once it happened and developed into a hostage situation, the primary objective of the authorities was to resolve the incident without violence. Skillful hostage negotiators do this by allowing the hostage-taker to vent. They also work hard to defuse any tension that has the attacker on edge and to gently wear the attacker down to the point of surrender. One of the essential principles in this effort is to isolate the hostage-taker so that he or she cannot receive outside communication, motivation, encouragement or other forms of support. Hostage negotiators seek to control the flow of all information into or out of the crime scene. That did not occur in this case. Mendoza was able to talk to outsiders on his cell phone and even gave media interviews. He was also able to use the television in the bus to watch live media coverage of the incident, including video of the deployment of police officers. This gave him a considerable advantage and far more information than what he could have observed with his eyes from inside the curtained bus.

As shown in the November 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, it has become more difficult to isolate assailants from outside communications in the cell phone era, but there are ways that such communications can be disabled. It is not known why the Manila police did not attempt to jam the outside communication signals going to and from the bus, but that is certainly something that will come up in the after-action review, as will their handling of the media and onlookers (one of whom was wounded) during the incident.

As negotiations are proceeding in a hostage situation, the authorities must always be busily preparing to launch an assault in case negotiations fail. When the assailant is agitated or mentally disturbed, the situation on the ground can sometimes change quite rapidly, and the rescue team needs to be prepared to act on a moment’s notice. Usually the team will come in with an initial assault plan and then alter and refine their plan as more intelligence becomes available, and as they become more familiar with the site and the situation.

If the hostages are being held in a building, the rescue team will get the blueprints of the building and collect as much information as possible in an effort to plan their assault on the location where the hostages are being held. In this case, the hostages were being held on a stationary bus, which made it far easier to collect that type of intelligence — a bus is a bus. The authorities also had access to released hostages who, had they been debriefed, could have described to authorities the situation inside the bus.

In a protracted hostage situation, the authorities will frequently employ technical measures to gather additional intelligence on the activities of the hostage-taker. This may involve the use of overt or clandestine video equipment, parabolic microphones or microphones surreptitiously placed in or near the site. Even thermal imaging sets and technical equipment to intercept cell phone communication or radio transmissions are sometimes used.

All the information gleaned from such efforts will not only go to the negotiators, to help them understand the hostage-taker’s frame of mind, but will also be used to help the rescue team fine-tune their assault plan.

Meanwhile, as the assault plan is being tweaked, negotiations continue and the hostage negotiators work to wear down the hostage-taker. It appears that the negotiators in the Mendoza case were doing a fairly good job of keeping the situation calm until the situation flared up involving Mendoza’s brother and the letter from the ombudsman’s office. Authorities clearly erred by not sending him a letter saying they had dropped the case against him. (They did not need the extortion charges now that they could arrest him and charge him with kidnapping and a host of other crimes.) It is hard to understand why the police department quibbled over words and refused to give him the piece of paper he expressly demanded. The police then aggravated the situation greatly with the public arrest of Mendoza’s brother. Those two events caused the situation to deteriorate rapidly and resulted in Mendoza’s decision to begin shooting. Once he shot the first two hostages, the negotiations were clearly over and it was time to implement a tactical solution to the problem.

The Use of Force

In a hostage situation, the use of force is a last resort. If force is required, however, the rescue team needs to hit hard, hit fast and hit accurately. There is little time for hesitation or error: Lives hang in the balance. This is where things began to get very ugly in the Mendoza case. Not only was there a delay between the murder of the first hostages and the launching of the first assault attempt, the assault was not hard, fast or accurate. To succeed, an assault should be dynamic, assume control of the scene by overwhelming force and use surprise and confusion to catch the hostage-taker off guard and quickly incapacitate him. The rescue team needs to dominate the place where the entry is being made and then quickly and accurately shoot the assailant. When the police began to smash the windows of the bus with sledgehammers and then continued to beat on the windows for more than a minute, Mendoza had ample time to kill his hostages had he wished to do so. The only thing that saved the hostages who did survive was Mendoza’s apparent reluctance to kill them.

It appears that the intent of the police was to smash the rear window to provide an opening and then to continue smashing windows as they moved forward in an effort to draw Mendoza’s attention to the front of the bus while the assault team entered from the rear. When the police did attempt to enter the bus using the roof of the police vehicle, however, it was a slow, clumsy attempt that was quickly repelled by Mendoza once he opened fire on the team. They did not enter the bus quickly, and their tepid approach caused them to lose the element of tactical surprise, denied them the opportunity to employ overwhelming force and allowed Mendoza time to think and react and begin firing. There was no hope of the assault team’s dominating the breaching point (or the rest of the bus) when they entered in such a half-hearted manner. Then, instead of following through with the assault by storming the front door while Mendoza was firing at the police in the rear of the bus, the police withdrew and went back to the drawing board. Again, had Mendoza wanted to kill all his remaining hostages, the withdrawal of the assault team gave him ample time to do so.

More than an hour after the first assault, the police again approached the bus and deployed tear gas grenades through the broken windows at the back of the bus. This flushed Mendoza toward the front of the bus and, after a brief exchange of gunfire, he was killed. There were some reports that he was killed by a police sniper, but we have seen no evidence to corroborate those reports, and it appears that he was shot from a relatively short range. Eight of the hostages survived the ordeal.

Granted, a bus does offer some challenges for a takedown operation, but is also a very common form of transportation throughout the world, and there have been numerous hostage situations involving buses in many different countries. Because of this, professional rescue teams frequently practice bus takedowns in much the same way they practice building takedowns or aircraft takedowns.

It was very apparent that the Manila SWAT unit lacked the experience, equipment and training to conduct effective hostage-rescue operations, and we have seen this problem in other local police departments in the developing world. We have not been able to learn why the police did not seek the help of a national-level hostage-rescue unit for the tactical aspect of this situation rather than leaving it to the Manila SWAT team to resolve. Given the prolonged duration of the situation and the location in the nation’s capital, higher-level assets should have had time to deploy to the scene.

Unlike many cases of workplace violence, this one did not involve a disgruntled employee charging into his former office with guns blazing. Instead, Mendoza embarked on a course of action that would, as it turned out, cause a great deal of public humiliation for his former employer. Indeed, the head of the Manila police district tendered his resignation Aug. 24. Four leaders of the Manila SWAT team were also placed on administrative leave.

In the past, some botched rescue attempts have spurred inquiries that have resulted in countries creating or dramatically improving their hostage-rescue capabilities. For example, the failed rescue attempt in Munich in 1972 led to the creation of Germany’s GSG-9, one of the most competent hostage-rescue teams in the world. It will be interesting to see if the Mendoza case spurs similar developments in the Philippines, a country facing a number of security threats.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR