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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Again, why do Jews vote for Democrats

I've often asked that question because the Democrats have often pushed Israel to trade land for peace...in other words give away the state one bit of a time instead of all at once like famous Anti-Semite Helen Thomas.  It was Nixon who stopped the Soviets from entering the 73 Yom Kippur War by raisin g the DEFCON  to 3/

Now another example of this.  Here is John F Kerry the haughty, French looking Massachusetts Democrat who by the way served in Vietnam, thinks Israel should cede more land for peace.  Something good came from Wikileaks. 
John F Kerry, who lost the competition for Secretary of State to Mrs Bill Clinton is showing how clueless he is in Middle Eastern affairs.  I'm shocked, shocked he hasn't been named Arab Israeli Czar by B Hussein Obama.  But again this shows how the Democratic Party is the worst enemy Israeli has.
WikiLeaked: John Kerry calls for Israel to cede Golan Heights and East Jerusalem - By Josh Rogin The Cable

On a February trip to the Middle East, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told Qatari leaders that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria, that a Palestinian capital should be established in East Jerusalem as part of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and that he was "shocked" by what he saw on a visit to Gaza....

...As for the peace process, Kerry defended the Obama administration's drive to use indirect proximity talks (which were only being discussed at that time) as a stepping stone to direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He said the two sides should first agree on the amount of land to be swapped and then work on borders, followed by settlements.

Kerry also said that final agreement would have to include a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
"Any negotiation has its limits, added Senator Kerry, and we know for the Palestinians that control of Al-Aqsa mosque and the establishment of some kind of capital for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem are not negotiable," the cable stated, summarizing the meeting with the emir. "For the Israelis, the Senator continued, Israel's character as a Jewish state is not open for negotiation. The non-militarization of an eventual Palestinian state and its borders can nonetheless be resolved through negotiation."

STRATFOR Dispatch: WikiLeaks and Iran's Nuclear Program

Dispatch: WikiLeaks and Iran's Nuclear Program
Analyst Reva Bhalla puts the information from the leaked U.S. State Department cables on Iran in context.

Iran was a major theme in the WikiLeaks documents released over the weekend with a number of Arab leaders urging the United States to take more decisive action against the Iranian nuclear program. The WikiLeaks documents also revealed, however, the severe complications surrounding such a military strike against Iran.

Courtesy:  http://www.stratfor.com/

Breaking News from North Korea

France Surrended to North Korea today...details to follow.

No more needs to be said.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I am serious...and don't call me Shirley.

The classic line from Airplane is still as funny today as it was when I first saw the movie in high school...damned I will miss that man.

LOS ANGELES — Leslie Nielsen had the somber demeanor and stone-serious face that were just right for dramatic roles. They proved even better for comedy.

I first saw Leslie Nielson like many in dramatic rolls (he was the captain in The Poseidon Adventure, the lead in Forbidden Planet) but he will always be something to think of and laugh.

The classic part of Airplane was they took several great dramatic actors (Nielson, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack) and put them in a ridiculous plot with a classic slap stick comedy script. And the rest is history...

Rest in Peace Leslie Nielson...another great one passes...we were all definitely better for you being around to entertain us!

Here are some of his more famous scenes thanks to Youtube

...Nielsen, the dramatic lead in "Forbidden Planet" and "The Poseidon Adventure" and the bumbling detective in "The Naked Gun" comedies, died on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.

The Canada native died from complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home, surrounded by his wife, Barbaree, and friends, his agent John S. Kelly said in a statement.

"We are saddened by the passing of beloved actor Leslie Nielsen, probably best remembered as Lt. Frank Drebin in 'The Naked Gun' series of pictures, but who enjoyed a more than 60-year career in motion pictures and television," said Kelly.

Officer Down

Police Officer Michael Flisk
Chicago Police Department
End of Watch: Friday, November 26, 2010
Age: 46
Tour of Duty: 19 years, 10 months
Badge Number: 6962

Officer Michael Flisk was shot and killed while processing the scene of a vehicle burglary inside an alley garage at 1:30 pm in the 8100 block of South Burnham Avenue.

Officer Flisk was shot in the head and died an hour later at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The burglary victim, a retired Chicago Housing Authority and former Robbins police officer who was a US Army veteran, was also shot and later died at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

The suspect responsible for the shootings remains at large.

Officer Flisk had served with the Chicago Police Department for nearly 20 years and was assigned to the Evidence Technician Team – South Unit. He is survived by his wife, daughter and three sons. Three siblings are also members of the Chicago Police Department.
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.

NYPD's newest toy...the Electric Stand-Up Vehicles

I recently commented on a new electric motorcycle patrol vehicle and how they can be useful in certain circumstances...well, NYPD seems to think the same way.

NYPD to Deploy Electric Stand-Up Vehicles - News - POLICE Magazine

The New York Police Department will be utilizing six T3 Series Electric Stand-up Vehicles from T3 Motion, Inc., part of a multi-unit purchase order shipped recently. The contract allows up to 90 units to be purchased over three fiscal years, reports Government Fleet.

The NYPD multi-unit order will enable the department to lower operating costs and increase patrol capabilities, especially in subways and crowded areas throughout their jurisdictions.

According to the manufacturer, the units provide low-cost operation of less than 10 cents daily and run on two interchangeable and rechargeable batteries. The vehicles have a zero-degree turning radius, can run on speeds up to 20 mph, and provide a 9-inch raised platform for a superior vantage point, according to the company.

OK, this will be good use in high density areas like NY or San Francisco, but call be a sceptic with the claim of 10 cents a day operation.  Still, this may be something that can work out for the NYPD.

Officer Down

Police Officer Patrick Sirois

United States Department of Defense - Fort Hood Police Department
End of Watch: Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Age: 50
Tour of Duty: 9 years
Badge Number: 822

Officer Patrick Sirois was struck and killed by a vehicle on U.S. 69 in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, while assisting at the scene of another accident.

Officer Sirois was traveling to Wagoner, Oklahoma, with his fiance for the Thanksgiving holiday when he witnessed the accident. He stopped his vehicle, put on a reflective vest, displayed his badge and firearm, and began to assist one of the drivers. As he spoke to the man on the shoulder he saw another car that about to collide with the vehicle. He pushed the driver out of harm's way just as the vehicle was struck, pinning him
between it and the guardrail.

He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The driver who struck him was cited for a traffic violation.

Officer Sirois served as a civilian police officer with the Fort Hood Police Department and as a reserve officer with the Nolanville, Texas, Police Department. He had been recognized as Nolanville's Officer of the Year in 2009. He is survived by his fiancee.
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.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What's going on in the World Today 101127

U.S.: Wikileaks To Release Secret Documents November 27, 2010

Wikileaks will likely release 2.8 million documents Nov. 28 classified as “secret,” not ‘top secret,” according to German newspaper Der Spiegel citing Wlcentral.org, the website that tracks Wikileaks documents and news, the International Business Times reported Nov. 27. The website posting said released documents will include 251,287 cables and 8,000 diplomatic directives?. One cable is from 1966 but most are dated 2004?-2010, with 9,005 documents from the first two months of 2010. Der Spiegel, The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde and El Pais accessed the files in advance.


enda: With Rodger Baker STRATFOR The fast-growing economies of Asia, particularly China and India, are moving rapidly to secure their energy supplies for the future, STRATFOR’s VP of Strategic Intelligence Rodger Baker says.

North Korea: South Vows Revenge November 27, 2010

South Korean marine commander Lt. Gen. Yoo Nak Joon called for a “thousand-fold” revenge following a North Korean attack that killed two servicemen and two civilians, Reuters reported Nov. 27. Seoul called for preparation against “unexpected action” from Pyongyang and cooperation with the Korea-U.S. joint force. North Korea provided an unusual expression of regret for the civilian deaths but stated that South Korea should be blamed for using a human shield.


Syria and Iran Come to a Temporary Understanding over Hezbollah STRATFOR

Dispatch: China's Inflation Fears STRATFOR

Iran: Bushehr Plant Begins Operations November 27, 2010

Bushehr, Iran’s first Russian-built atomic power plant, began operations ahead of a new round of Western talks over Iran’s controversial nuclear effort, AFP reported Nov. 27. The reactor cover was sealed and the fuel rods are in the reactor’s core, according to atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi who was quoted by Fars news agency. Salehi did not specify when Bushehr became operational but stated that Iranian authorities hope Bushehr-produced electricity will be connected to the national grid “in a month or two.”


Iraq: New Government Expected Soon November 27, 2010

Iraq’s political impasse will end with a new government expected by mid-December, Prime Minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki said Nov. 27, AFP reported. Agreement over ministerial portfolios is now possible, he
stated during a Baghdad news conference.



Saudi Arabia's Succession Labyrinth


Venezuela: Russia Lends $4 Billion For Arms November 27, 2010

During a visit by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Russia offered a $4
billion credit to purchase weapons and defense equipment, Reuters
reported Nov. 27. Venezuela is defending the fatherland against the
“threat of empire and its allies,” Chavez stated during a ceremony
celebrating 90 years of Venezuela’s air force. He did not provide
details on the types of defense equipment available for purchase.
Intelligence Guidance: Week of Nov.
21, 2010 STRATFOR

Above the Tearline: U.S. Embassy Security STRATFOR

Except where noted courtesy www.stratfor.com

Security Weekly-Pakistan and the Naxalite Movement in India

By Ben West

Indian Maoist militants, known as Naxalites, have been meeting with members of the outlawed Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), according to the director-general of police for India’s Chhattisgarh state. Based on information from a police source, state police chief Vishwa Ranjan said Nov. 11 that two LeT operatives attended a Naxalite meeting in April or May. While their presence at the meeting still needs to be corroborated, the chief said, it appears very likely that the Naxalites held the meeting to adopt a new policy and plans for increasing “armed resistance” in order to seize political power in India.

Indian authorities are using the alleged meeting between LeT operatives and Naxalites as evidence that Pakistan is trying to forge relationships with the Naxalites, which India has long suspected. India blamed the LeT for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2001 parliament attack. For the Indian public, LeT also has become synonymous with Pakistani intelligence operations. The group that Indian officials refer to as “LeT,” however, is no longer an ally of Pakistan and has changed so much in recent years that we have started to refer to it and similar groups as “neo-LeT”.

Before this latest accusation, Indian officials implicated at least six other militant groups in Naxalite activities (with varying degrees of Pakistani support). Linking the estimated 10,000-strong Naxalites to militant groups backed by Pakistan, India’s main geopolitical rival and primary source of external security threats, creates a “nightmare” scenario for India. Indeed, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has labeled the Naxalites “the biggest internal security challenge” to India. Taken at face value, reports of such an alliance lead to visions of well-trained, well-disciplined Naxal militants expanding their near-daily attacks on low-level rural targets in eastern India (known as the “Red Corridor”) to political and high-tech targets in Calcutta, Hyderabad or even New Delhi. But such visions are alarmist and do not reflect the true nature of the very limited Pakistani-Naxalite relationship.

STRATFOR has watched Indian officials link Pakistan to the Naxalites before, but we have yet to see significant changes on the ground that would give any credence to the scenario outlined above. Many Indian officials are equally insistent that no connections exist between Naxalites and Pakistan. Although the Naxalites have provided rhetorical support for Kashmiri (and other anti-Indian groups’) opposition to New Delhi over the past year, there has been little action to back up the rhetoric. The Indians have long feared that outside powers would manipulate grassroots groups in India and further destabilize an already regionalized country. When the Naxalite movement began in the 1960s, New Delhi feared Beijing was trying to get a foothold in India, and for the past 50 years India has demonized Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) for allegedly supporting militant operations in India.

To better understand the allegation that Pakistan is supporting the Naxalites, we have decided to investigate the sources of Naxalite weapons and training to get an idea of how much outside help the Naxalites rely on in the first place, since this is one way to measure the level of outside assistance. The study below focuses on what types of arms Naxalites have access to, how they got them and who they got them from. While we did find evidence of some Pakistani involvement in supplying the weapons through third parties, the Naxalites appear to remain a very self-reliant group that has not established a strong partnership with Pakistan when it comes to weapons and training.


Local Indian media sources report that Naxalite forces have an arsenal of approximately 20,000 weapons — an average of two weapons per soldier. The Naxalites have obtained this arsenal from four different sources:

1. From Indian security forces, either by Naxalite raids on their outposts in Naxalite-controlled areas or bribing or coercing members of the security forces to sell or give them firearms and ammunition, along with ballistic vests and tactical gear, including night-vision optics. This is the source of most Naxalite weapons, which include Indian-made assault rifles, light machine guns and carbines that fire 5.62mm NATO ammunition; variants of the AK-47 that fire 7.62mm rounds; and locally made shotguns of various gauges. Israeli-made sniper rifles have also been found in Naxalite caches on a few occasions, likely the Galil 7.62mm rifles that India acquired from Israel in efforts to target Naxalite leaders in the first place.

2. Theft from businesses operating in the Naxalite-controlled areas, including fertilizer distributors and mining companies that maintain stocks of explosives, blasting caps and detonators.

3. Local arms factories run directly by Naxalites or other criminal groups. These operations demonstrate a wide range of craftsmanship, from assembling makeshift weapons from discarded parts to more advanced forging processes. These factories also produce homemade mortar rounds and components for improvised explosive devices.

4. Procuring foreign weapons, ammunition and explosives from external militant and criminal groups operating within and outside of India. Details on the types of weapons procured this way are available from seizures of weapons shipments into India that have included rifles in the .315- to .30-06-caliber range. Such shipments are traded for smuggling services or purchased with funds from banditry, extortion or revolutionary taxes. Purchasing weapons from the outside is very expensive. According to a 2009 India Daily News article, Naxalite expenditure reports seized by police showed that, over a six-month period, one zone command spent more than three-quarters of the unit’s budget on weapons ($70,214), with the rest ($20,604) spent on supplies. Such evidence suggests that Naxalite weapon procurements from the outside have their limitations; obtaining them locally is far cheaper and can be done by virtually any Naxalite fighter.

The Naxalite arsenal is vast and diverse, consisting of weapons manufactured in China, Russia, the United States, Pakistan and India. Photographs of Naxalite units in training or on patrols show fighters wielding a variety of rifles in different calibers and conditions, indicating a lack of weapons uniformity across Naxalite units. While this does suggest a certain level of resourcefulness among the Naxalites, it also means that parts and ammunition are not interchangeable, which is an important tactical limitation. If one rifle breaks, its parts cannot be easily replaced. If one militant runs out of ammunition, he cannot turn to his neighbor for more rounds. Standardized weapons are a key advantage for organized militias (the Taliban, for example, virtually all use a variant of the AK-47), an advantage the Naxalites appear to be lacking. The lack of weapons uniformity among Naxalite groups indicates that they do not have a benefactor that has bestowed on them a reliable, standardized arsenal and have had to build up their own from scratch.

Outside Suppliers

There are numerous reports in open-source media in India and elsewhere that link Naxalites to a number of militant and criminal groups throughout South Asia. These groups interact with Maoists from Nepal, secessionists in India’s restive northeast, ISI-backed Islamists from Bangladesh, criminals from Myanmar and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka. Weapons flow among these groups in a region that has historically been a rich environment for secessionist movements.

(click here to enlarge image)

The British originally encouraged strong regional identities throughout the Indian subcontinent to prevent the various ethnic groups from uniting in opposition to British colonial rule. The Pakistanis continued that strategy in order to maintain leverage over India, supporting anti-Indian groups primarily in the contested Kashmir region and later in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), which they used as bases for extending their activities into India. India also supported anti-Pakistani groups in Bangladesh in an attempt to offset this Pakistani pressure. The Naxalites have benefited from this arrangement, directly from foreign powers like Pakistan and, for the most part, through indirect relationships with other regional secessionist movements that also oppose New Delhi.

STRATFOR sources in India claim that Pakistani intelligence has established business relationships with Naxalites to sell arms and ammunition and lately has tried to use Naxal bases for anti-Indian activities. There is evidence that the ISI is providing weapons and ammunition to the Naxalites in exchange for money or services, mostly through third parties like the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) or the ostensible Bangladeshi militant leader Shailen Sarkar (both are described in more detail below). Naxalite leaders in India deny cooperating with Pakistan but have very publicly pledged their support for separatist movements in India. STRATFOR sources in the Indian army say they are investigating but still lack the evidence to prove a direct link between the Naxalites and the ISI, since the Pakistanis continue to play a peripheral role.

The groups below are reported to have had contact with the Naxalites and to have provided various levels of support. Some of these groups have established links to the ISI, which makes them possible conduits of contact and support between Pakistan and the Naxalites.

• ULFA, one of the largest, most violent secessionist movements in India’s northeast, is accused of working with ISI Islamist assets along the Indian-Bangladeshi border, where it controls smuggling routes through the Siliguri corridor. The Indian government accuses the Naxalites of working with ULFA to smuggle drugs and counterfeit money through Siliguri on behalf of the ISI in exchange for weapons and explosives.

• The People’s Liberation Army of Manipur (PLAM) is a secessionist group in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. According to Indian security officials, the respective political wings of the PLAM and the Naxalites signed a document in October 2010 pledging to “overthrow the … Indian reactionary and oppressive regime.” However, there are no documented instances of PLAM providing material support to the Naxalites. Indian intelligence agencies report that a militant from Manipur who was arrested in 2007 revealed that the PLAM leadership was in frequent contact with the LeT leadership in 2006 as directed by the ISI.

• The National Social Council of Nagaland-Issac Muviah branch (NSCN-IM) is a secessionist movement in the northeast Indian state of Nagaland. Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said in June that the leader of NSCN-IM helped members of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-M) smuggle weapons through Myanmar and Bangladesh. Indian officials in the state of Tripura accused the NSCN-IM of working jointly with the ISI in assisting militant cadres.

• The People’s War Group (PWG) was a militant faction of the Communist Party of India-Marxist/Leninist until 2004, when it left and helped form the CPI-M, which is the political arm of the Naxalite movement. In 2004, the PWG received bomb-making materials and training from groups like ULFA and NSCN-IM in Bangladesh in exchange for smuggling drugs into India, an effort organized by the ISI between 2000 and 2004, when the PWG was not under the Naxalite umbrella.

• LTTE is an ethnic secessionist movement in northern Sri Lanka that was defeated by Sri Lanka’s military in 2009 after 26 years of fighting. According to a surrendering Naxalite commander, LTTE militants taught Naxalites how to handle mines and grenades at a camp in Bastar, Chhattisgarh state. LTTE fighters have fled Sri Lanka since their 2009 defeat, and Indian authorities suspect that Tamil fighters are providing training for Naxalites in exchange for safe haven.

• Nepalese Maoists comprise the militant wing of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal. They have exchanged training and weapons with Indian Naxalites, and there are also reports of Nepalese Maoists receiving medical care at Naxalite camps in India.

• Shailen Sarkar is a member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh. The Indian Home Ministry accuses Sarkar’s group of training Naxalites at ISI-funded camps in Bangladesh. The ministry also claims that Sarkar has met with Naxal leaders in India.

Evidence of direct links between the ISI and the Naxalites is hard to come by. The connections above show only links between Naxalites and Pakistan via third parties, which makes it hard to measure the influence that Pakistan has over Naxalite militants. Pakistan likely wants to keep its activities in India covert so as not to exacerbate an already tense diplomatic situation. Murky, circuitous relationships are most likely preferred in this kind of environment.

Indeed, Pakistan does not necessarily need much more than murky, circuitous relationships in order to keep pressure on New Delhi. The Naxalites are a low-maintenance, self-sustaining movement that will continue to undermine Indian rule in the country’s east — Pakistan does not need to expend more resources to sustain this, and the Naxalites are likely wary of undermining their own local legitimacy by accepting too much assistance from an outside government. While something like a standardized arsenal compliments of the ISI would benefit the Naxalites operationally, such a move would be a high-risk, low-reward effort for Islamabad, which seeks to operate very subtly in India for the time being while tensions over the 2008 Mumbai attacks continue to cool off.

The lack of evidence of an institutional relationship between Naxalites and Pakistan does not mean that personal relationships between ISI assets and Naxalite cadres could not develop through the limited interaction now taking place. A combination of more aggressive people from both sides could certainly lead to a more concerted attacks in India, reminiscent of the 2008 serial bombings in cities throughout India.

Such attacks, however, would likely be more of a one-off exception. For the time being, reports of Pakistani-Naxalite cooperation will continue to surface, though this cooperation will probably involve third-party groups that give both Pakistan and the Naxalites plausible deniability. Until we see indications from either the Naxalites or Pakistan that they are willing to establish more robust connections and become more aggressive toward India, a coordinated militant campaign remains unlikely.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What's going on in the World Today 101125A


U.S. Naval Update Map: Nov. 23, 2010 STRATFOR

U.S.-Russian Relations in Pre-Summit Flux


Central Europe Reacts to NATO's
Strategic Concept STRATFOR

Deciphering North Korea's Provocations

U.S. Carrier Strike Group Embarks for
the Yellow Sea STRATFOR

Dispatch: Importance of the Koreas' Northern

Kuwait, Iraq: New Border Agreement Reached November 24, 2010

Iraq and Kuwait have agreed to create a 500 meter (1,640 foot) neutral
zone on either side of their shared border and move Iraqi farmers
living there to new homes, a Kuwaiti official said Nov. 24, AFP
reported. The zone will be devoid of any activity except that of the
border police, the official said. According to the deal, which was
signed at a meeting of the Iraq-Kuwait commission headed by the
countries’ foreign ministry undersecretaries, Kuwait agreed to build up
to 50 homes inside Iraq for the farmers who would be displaced, the
official said.


Russia Reportedly Sends Iran Radar
Equipment STRATFOR




Afghanistan: Protests In Kabul Ahead Of Election Results November 24,

Afghan electoral candidates and their followers took to the streets of
Kabul to protest the polling process, Reuters reported Nov. 24. Many of
protesters are candidates who failed to win a seat, like Noor ul Haq
Olomi, a lawmaker from the southern Kandahar province, who claimed the
election was illegal with widespread fraud. Afghanistan’s Independent
Election Commission said it will announce the winners of the 249 seats
in the lower house of parliament on Nov. 24.

Afghanistan: The Intelligence War STRATFOR

A Week in the War: Afghanistan, Nov. 17-23,


Saudi King's Son to Head Elite Military Force

Mexico: Alleged Successor To Drug Trafficker Arrested November 24, 2010
Mexican police have arrested Carlos Montemayor Gonzalez, also known as
“El Charro,” the man believed to be the successor to imprisoned
suspected drug trafficker Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal, El
Universal reported Nov. 24. Montemayor Gonzalez was arrested Nov. 23 in
the Santa Fe district of Mexico City along with two other individuals.

Brazil: Tanks Deployed Against Drug Gangs November 25, 2010

The military has deployed six tanks to the Vila Cruzeiro area of
northern Rio de Janeiro in support of a police crackdown on drug gangs,
AFP reported Nov. 25, citing witnesses. The gangs had taken refuge
there after being forced out of 13 other slums. At least 23 people have
been killed in the crackdown, and police have deployed armored
vehicles, helicopters and heavily armed troops.


Except where noted courtesy www.stratfor.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I wonder if Roger Goodell knows about this ....

Many of you readers know I'm a Saints fan and since the mid 80s. the fan's slogan has been "Who Dat" as in "Who Dat Say They Gonna Beat Dem Saints!"  It was fun last year during the playoffs when the NFL tried to sue many shirt makers and bumper sticker printers in New Orleans saying they copyrighted "Who Dat"...kinda like copyrighting "To be or not to be..."  Didn't work out.

From my neice Hope a newer version of the ad...kinda screwed up but somewhat humerous.

North Korea Update 101123

Is North Korea Moving Another 'Red Line'? November 23, 2010 1755 GMT

Getty Images
Smoke rising from South Korea’s Yeonpyeongdo Island near the border with North Korea on Nov. 23


North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near their disputed border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident raises several questions, not the least of which is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the real “red line” for conventional weapons engagements, just as it has managed to move the limit of “acceptable” behavior regarding its nuclear program.


Special Topic Page

• Conflict on the Korean Peninsula

North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), their disputed western border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident damaged as many as 100 homes and thus far has killed two South Korean soldiers with several others, including some civilians, wounded. The South Korean government convened an emergency Cabinet meeting soon after the incident and called for the prevention of escalation. It later warned of “stern retaliation” if North Korea launches additional attacks. Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch additional strikes, and accused South Korea and the United States of planning to invade North Korea, in reference to the joint Hoguk military exercises currently under way in different locations across South Korea.

The incident is the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang near the NLL this year following the sinking of the South Korean warship ChonAn in March. Over the past several years, the NLL has been a major hotspot. While most border incidents have been low-level skirmishes, such as the November 2009 naval episode, a steady escalation of hostilities culminated in the sinking of the ChonAn. The Nov. 23 attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeongdo represents another escalation; similar shellings in the past were for show and often merely involved shooting into the sea, but this attack targeted a military base. It also comes amid an atmosphere of higher tensions surrounding the revelation of active North Korean uranium enrichment facilities, South Korea’s disavowal of its Sunshine Policy of warming ties with the North and an ongoing power succession in Pyongyang.

Over the years, North Korea has slowly moved the “red line” regarding its missile program and nuclear development. It was always said that North Korea would never test a nuclear weapon because it would cross a line that the United States had set. Yet North Korea did test a nuclear weapon in October 2006, and then another in May 2009, without facing any dire consequences. This indicates that the red line for the nuclear program was either moved, or was rhetorical. The main question after the Nov. 23 attack is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the red line for conventional attacks. If North Korea is attempting to raise the threshold for a response to such action, it could be playing a very dangerous game.

However, the threat North Korea’s nuclear program poses is more theoretical than the threat posed by conventional weapons engagements. Just as it seems that a North Korean nuclear test would not result in military action, the ChonAn sinking and the Nov. 23 attack seem to show that an “unprovoked” North Korean attack also will not lead to military retaliation. If this pattern holds, it means North Korea could decide to move from sea-based to land-based clashes, shell border positions across the Demilitarized Zone or take any number of other actions that certainly are not theoretical.

The questions STRATFOR is focusing on after the Nov. 23 attack are as follows:

• Is North Korea attempting to test or push back against limits on conventional attacks? If so, are these attacks meant to test South Korea and its allies ahead of an all-out military action, or is the North seeking a political response as it has with its nuclear program? If the former, we must reassess North Korea’s behavior and ascertain whether the North Koreans are preparing to try a military action against South Korea — perhaps trying to seize one or more of the five South Korean islands along the NLL. If the latter, then at what point will they actually cross a red line that will trigger a response?

• Is South Korea content to constantly redefine “acceptable” North Korean actions? Does South Korea see something in the North that we do not? The South Koreans have good awareness of what is going on in North Korea, and vice versa. The two sides are having a conversation about something and using limited conventional force to get a point across. We should focus on what the underlying issue is.

• What is it that South Korea is afraid of in the North? North Korea gives an American a guided tour of a uranium enrichment facility, then fires across the NLL a couple of days after the news breaks. The South does not respond. It seems that South Korea is afraid of either real power or real weakness in the North, but we do not know which.

Courtesy www.stratfor.com

Officer Down

Weld County Colorado Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Age: 43
Tour of Duty: 5 years
Badge Number: W679

Deputy Sam Brownlee was shot and killed while attempting to capture a suspect following a high-speed chase.

A deputy from neighboring Morgan County and a Wiggins police officer attempted to stop the suspect after identifying the suspect's vehicle in relation to an earlier domestic violence case. The suspect refused to yield and led officers from multiple agencies on a high-speed chase across Morgan and Weld counties.

The pursuit at times exceeded 100 miles per hour before stop sticks were deployed, successfully disabling the vehicle in a residential area of Evans. Deputy Brownlee pursued the suspect on foot before both were fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire.

Deputy Brownlee had served with the Weld County Sheriff's Office for five years. He is survived by his wife.
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.

What's going on in the World Today 101123



U.S.: NATO Agrees To Missile Defense System November 19, 2010

NATO agreed to a new, expanded missile defense system for Europe that would protect member countries and the United States, U.S. President Barack Obama stated at the NATO summit in Portugal on Nov. 19, AP reported. Obama also said NATO leaders back him on the stalled START treaty with Russia and agreed to strengthen alliances and increase European security. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance’s 28 member states agreed on a new strategic concept during the summit.

U.S.: Stuxnet Computer Virus A 'Game-Changer' - Official November 17, 2010

The acting director of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called the Stuxnet computer virus a “game-changer” during testimony before a U.S. Senate committee, AFP reported Nov. 17. Sean McGurk told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs that Stuxnet significantly altered “the landscape of targeted cyberattacks.” McGurk expressed concern that Stuxnet’s underlying code could be reconfigured to target a wider array of control systems in critical infrastructure sectors, such as “electricity, drinking water and manufacturing.” He refused to speculate on the worm’s origins or intended target.


Dispatch: The Irish Bailout and Germany's Opportunity STRATFOR

Ukraine: Ready To Participate In NATO Missile Shield - Official

November 23, 2010

Ukraine is ready to participate in the NATO missile defense shield, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Rayisa Bohatyryova said Nov. 23 in Warsaw, UNIAN reported. According to Bohatyryova, Ukraine is willing to help create the shield and contribute to its observation capabilities. If NATO is interested in such a proposal, Ukraine is ready to begin its implementation, Bohatyryova said, adding that her country supports Russian involvement in the shield.

Poland: U.S. Aircraft To Be Stationed In Poland November 22, 2010

Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich confirmed that in 2013 Poland will begin to host U.S. F-16 fighter aircraft and Hercules transport aircraft as part of an increasing U.S. military presence in the country, Thenews.pl reported Nov. 22.


U.S.: 2 North Korean Entities Sanctioned November 18, 2010

The United States on Nov. 18 sanctioned two North Korean entities, freezing any of their assets within U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting Americans from engaging them in financial or commercial transactions, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced. Korea Daesong Bank helps facilitate Pyongyang’s illicit financing projects, and Korea Daesong General Trading Corporation helps facilitate foreign transactions on behalf of Office 39, a secretive government branch, the statement said.

Pakistan: Air Force Buy Chinese Missiles November 18, 2010

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) confirmed its purchase of Chinese avionics and the middle-range, advanced active radar SD-10 missiles which will become the standard Beyond Visual Range weapon of the JF-17 Thunder fighter fleet of 250 aircraft according to Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, adding pre-purchase evaluations on other Chinese air defense systems are underway, Global Times reported Nov. 18. The PAF have no plans to install Western devices or weapons on the aircraft for the time being, Suleman stated.

U.S.: South Korea Not Seeking Nuclear Weapons November 22, 2010

Redeploying tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea would harm the greater goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, parliamentary Defense Committee chairman Won Yoo Chul said Nov. 23, Reuters reported. Comments were taken out of context, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae Young stated, adding South Korea and the United States were discussing available options to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat. Won said there were no discussions about bringing back tactical nuclear arms.

U.S., South Korea: Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Deployed For Joint Naval ExerciseNovember 24, 2010

U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington will join South Korean naval forces in the Yellow Sea to conduct a joint naval exercise on Nov. 28-Dec. 1, Yonhap reported Nov. 24. According to a statement from U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), the four-day exercise was planned before North Korea’s shelling of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeongdo on Nov. 23. Both USFK and the South Korean Defense Ministry said the drill demonstrates the defensive strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance and its commitment to regional stability through deterrence. According to USFK, China has been informed of the exercise and U.S. forces plan to mobilize more battleships including the USS Cowpens, USS Shiloh, USS Stethem and USS Fitzgerald.

U.S. and Japanese Plans to Curb an Emerging China STRATFOR


Russia: Intervention Reserves May Be Used If Grain Price Rises - Official November 23, 2010

The Russian government will begin selling grain from the state intervention reserve if domestic grain prices rise to 7,000-8,000 rubles ($224-256) per ton, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov Nov. 23, Xinhua reported. The current price for grain is 6,000 rubles per ton, so there is no reason to use the intervention reserves, Zubkov said, adding that the situation in the grain market is stable.


Iran: Nuclear Fuel To Be Produced In 2011 November 23, 2010

Iranian Atomic Energy Organization’s chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the actual process of producing nuclear fuel for Tehran’s research reactor would begin in Sept. 2011, adding that producing 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel in Iran is a firm response to the West, IRNA reported Nov. 23.

Iran: Missile System Upgraded November 18, 2010

Iran’s S-200 air defense system was upgraded to the same capability as the Russian-made S-300, according to Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hassan Mansourian, adding the upgraded system has been tested successfully using the experience of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the army and the Defense Ministry, Press TV reported Nov. 18. The details of Iran’s long-range missile defense system will be revealed soon, Mansourian stated

Russia Reportedly Sends Iran Radar Equipment STRATFOR




Israel: Gaza Militants Launch Rockets November 19, 2010

Israeli warplanes bombed the shoreline south of Gaza city early Nov. 18 local police said, Maan News reported. A policeman said he saw a missile from the north explode overhead. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Israel has not confirmed any action in Gaza. Earlier, Gaza militants also fired at least two Qassam rockets that landed in the Hamas-controlled area and a Grad long-range rocket into western Negev, north of the Israeli town of Ofakim.


Australia: Only Niche Forces To Afghanistan November 22, 2010

Australia will not increase troop levels in Afghanistan but it is open to providing specialized or niche assistance to NATO or the International Security Assistance Force, Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said speaking at a joint press conference with Singapore Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean, Australian Associated Press reported Nov. 22. Smith said Singapore Defense Force instructors will join 20 Australian trainers at the Afghan National Army school of artillery in 2011. Smith added that Australia has been asked to provide additional police instructors as well as personnel for the Afghan advanced military training school. Smith said he has not received any informal request from the United States for significant additional troop commitments.

U.S.: Tanks To Be Deployed To Afghanistan November 19, 2010

The U.S. will send a company of heavily armored M1 Abrams tanks to Afghanistan for the first time, defense officials said, The Washington Post reported Nov. 18. The tanks will be fielded by the Marines in the country’s southwest and will allow ground forces to target insurgents at greater distance with more lethality than it is possible from other U.S. military vehicles. The initial deployment of 16 tanks will be in the northern Helmand province, but the overall number and area of operations could expand, a U.S. officer said, adding “the tanks bring awe, shock and firepower.”




U.S., Brazil: Talks On Fighter Jet Deal Under Way - Source November 22, 2010

U.S. firm Boeing proposed a partnership on 10 projects with Brazil’s Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA in order to strengthen its bid to manufacture 36 fighter jets for the Brazilian air force, Boeing’s vice president for Europe, Israel and America said, Valor Economico reported Nov. 22. According to a STRATFOR defense military source in Brazil, Boeing is upset that Brazil only allowed French Dassault to lower its price, and Boeing has pressured Brasilia for an explanation in addition to offering new deals. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim met Nov. 21 on the sidelines of the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, and the source said they will meet again Nov. 22 at the conference in Bolivia to discuss the fighter jet deal. Jobim said at an air force base in Natal that the fighter jet purchase will be announced by Dec. 19, the source said, adding that Dassault is still expected to win the contract.

Mexico: Former Colima State Governor Killed November 21, 2010

The former governor of Mexico’s Colima state, Jesus Silverio Cavazos, was shot at his home on the morning of Nov. 21, and later died from his wounds after being taken to a hospital, Reuters reported, citing Mexican media and the Colima state prosecutors’ office. Cavazos’ wife was also injured in the attack, according to reports. Cavazos left office in November 2009.

Mexico: Colima State Governor's Murder Unrelated To Drug Trafficking - Official November 22, 2010

Arturo Diaz Rivera, the attorney general for Mexico’s Colima state, said the murder of former state Gov. Silverio Cavazos was not linked to drug trafficking cartels, Milenio reported Nov. 22. However, the Mexican army and navy have taken over security duties in Colima, with patrols being carried out near the funeral parlor where Cavazos’s body is located, in the central part of the city, in surrounding neighborhoods and near the airport.

Mexico: LFM In Decline - Prisoner November 17, 2010

A suspected member of Mexican drug trafficking cartel La Familia Michoacana (LFM), Sergio Moreno Godinez, said that the cartel is suffering from a lack of personnel and that cartel head Servando Gomez is “worn out physically and emotionally,” El Universal reported Nov. 17. Moreno Godinez, who was arrested Nov. 16, confirmed that the group posted banners offering a truce with the Mexican government and the possible disbanding of the group.

Colombia, Mexico: FARC, EZLN May Be In Honduras November 23, 2010

Militants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Mexico’s Zapatista National Liberation Army may be operating in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras, according to National Police Director Jose Luiz Munoz Licona, La Prensa reported Nov. 23. No foreign militants were yet located, but security forces searched for weapons in the local offices of the National Agrarian Institute, the official stated.


Above the Tearline: The Threat Behind Airport Security STRATFOR

Except where noted courtesy www.stratfor.com

Geopolitical Journey, Part 5: Turkey November 23, 2010

Editor’s note: This is the fifth installment in a series of special reports that Dr. Friedman will write over the next few weeks as he travels to Turkey, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine and Poland. In this series, he will share his observations of the geopolitical imperatives in each country and conclude with reflections on his journey as a whole and options for the United States.

By George Friedman

We arrived in Istanbul during the festival of Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael on God’s command and praises the God who stayed his hand. It is a jarring holiday for me; I was taught that it was Isaac who God saved. The distinction between Ishmael and Isaac is the difference between Hagar and Sarah, between Abraham and the Jews and Abraham and the Muslims. It ties Muslims, Jews and Christians together. It also tears them apart.

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Muslims celebrate Eid with the sacrifice of animals (sheep and cattle). Istanbul is a modern commercial city, stunningly large. On this day, as we drove in from the airport, there were vacant lots with cattle lined up for those wishing to carry out the ritual. There were many cattle and people. The ritual sacrifice is widely practiced, even among the less religious. I was told that Turkey had to import cattle for the first time, bringing them in from Uruguay. Consider the juxtaposition of ancient ritual sacrifice so widely practiced that it requires global trade to sustain it.

The tension between and within nations and religions is too ancient for us to remember its beginnings. It is also something that never grows old. For Turkey, it is about a very old nation at what I think is the beginning of a new chapter. It is therefore inevitably about the struggles within Turkey and with Turkey’s search for a way to find both its identity and its place in the world.

Turkey’s Test

Turkey will emerge as one of the great regional powers of the next generation, or so I think. It is clear that this process is already under way when you look at Turkey’s rapid economic growth even in the face of the global financial crisis, and when you look at its growing regional influence. As you’d expect, this process is exacerbating internal political tensions as well as straining old alliances and opening the door to new ones. It is creating anxiety inside and outside of Turkey about what Turkey is becoming and whether it is a good thing or not. Whether it is a good thing can be debated, I suppose, but the debate doesn’t much matter. The transformation from an underdeveloped country emerging from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire to a major power is happening before our eyes.

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At the heart of the domestic debate and foreign discussion of Turkey’s evolution is Islam. Turkey’s domestic evolution has resulted in the creation of a government that differs from most previous Turkish governments by seeing itself as speaking for Islamic traditions as well as the contemporary Turkish state. The foreign discussion is about the degree to which Turkey has shifted away from its traditional alliances with the United States, Europe and Israel. These two discussions are linked.

At a time when the United States is at war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and in confrontation with Iran, any shift in the position of a Muslim country rings alarm bells. But this goes beyond the United States. Since World War II, many Turks have immigrated to Europe, where they have failed to assimilate partly by choice and partly because the European systems have not facilitated assimilation. This failure of assimilation has created massive unease about Turkish and other Muslims in Europe, particularly in the post-9/11 world of periodic terror warnings. Whether reasonable or not, this is shaping Western perceptions of Turkey and Turkish views of the West. It is one of the dynamics in the Turkish-Western relationship.

Turkey’s emergence as a significant power obviously involves redefining its internal and regional relations to Islam. This alarms domestic secularists as well as inhabitants of countries who feel threatened by Turks — or Muslims — living among them and who are frightened by the specter of terrorism. Whenever a new power emerges, it destabilizes the international system to some extent and causes anxiety. Turkey’s emergence in the current context makes that anxiety all the more intense. A newly powerful and self-confident Turkey perceived to be increasingly Islamic will create tensions, and it has.

The Secular and the Religious

Turkey’s evolution is framed by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I and the creation of modern Turkey under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk’s task was to retain the core of the Ottoman Empire as an independent state. That core was Asia Minor and the European side of the Bosporus. For Ataturk, the first step was contraction, abandoning any attempt to hold the Ottoman regions that surrounded Turkey. The second step was to break the hold of Ottoman culture on Turkey itself. The last decades of the Ottoman Empire were painful to Turks, who saw themselves decline because of the unwillingness of the Ottoman regime to modernize at a pace that kept up with the rest of Europe. The slaughter of World War I did more than destroy the Ottoman Empire. It shook its confidence in itself and its traditions.

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For Ataturk, Turkish national survival depended on modernization, which he equated with the creation of a secular society as the foundation of a modern nation-state in which Islam would become a matter of private practice, not the center of the state or, most important, something whose symbols could have a decisive presence in the public sphere. This would include banning articles of clothing associated with Islamic piety from public display. Ataturk did not try to suppress Muslim life in the private sphere, but Islam is a political religion that seeks to regulate both private and public life.

Ataturk sought to guarantee the survival of the secular state through the military. For Ataturk, the military represented the most modern element of Turkish society and could serve two functions. It could drive Turkish modernization and protect the regime against those who would try to resurrect the Ottoman state and its Islamic character. Ataturk wanted to do something else — to move away from the multinational nature of the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk compressed Turkey to its core and shed authority and responsibility beyond its borders. Following Ataturk’s death, for example, Turkey managed to avoid involvement in World War II.

Ataturk came to power in a region being swept by European culture, which was what was considered modern. This Europeanist ideology moved through the Islamic world, creating governments that were, like Turkey’s, secular in outlook but ruling over Muslim populations that had varying degrees of piety. In the 1970s, a counter-revolution started in the region that argued for reintegrating Islam into the governance of Muslim countries. The most extreme part of this wave culminated in al Qaeda. But the secularist/Europeanist vision created by Ataturk has been in deep collision with the Islamist regimes that can be found in places like Iran.

It was inevitable that this process would affect Turkey. In 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. This was a defining moment because the AKP was not simply a secular Europeanist party. Its exact views are hotly debated, with many inside and outside of Turkey claiming that its formal moderation hides a hidden radical-Islamist agenda.

We took a walk in a neighborhood in Istanbul called Carsamba. I was told that this was the most religious community in Istanbul. One secularist referred to it as “Saudi Arabia.” It is a poor but vibrant community, filled with schools and shops. Children play on the streets, and men cluster in twos and threes, talking and arguing. Women wear burqas and headscarves. There is a large school in the neighborhood where young men go to study the Koran and other religious subjects.

A private Koran school in the Carsamba neighborhood of Istanbul (Photo by STRATFOR)

The neighborhood actually reminded me of Williamsburg, in the Brooklyn of my youth. Williamsburg was filled with Chasidic Jews, Yeshivas, children on the streets and men talking outside their shops. The sensibility of community and awareness that I was an outsider revived vivid memories. At this point, I am supposed to write that it shows how much these communities have in common. But the fact is that the commonalities of life in poor, urban, religious neighborhoods don’t begin to overcome the profound differences — and importance — of the religions they adhere to.

That said, Carsamba drove home to me the problem the AKP, or any party that planned to govern Turkey, would have to deal with. There are large parts of Istanbul that are European in sensibility and values, and these are significant areas. But there is also Carsamba and the villages of Anatolia, and they have a self-confidence and assertiveness that can’t be ignored today.

There is deep concern among some secularists that the AKP intends to impose Shariah. This is particularly intense among the professional classes. I had dinner with a physician with deep roots in Turkey who told me that he was going to immigrate to Europe if the AKP kept going the way it was going. Whether he would do it when the time came I can’t tell, but he was passionate about it after a couple of glasses of wine. This view is extreme even among secularists, many of whom understand the AKP to have no such intentions. Sometimes it appeared to me that the fear was deliberately overdone, in hopes of influencing a foreigner, me, concerning the Turkish government.

But my thoughts go back to Carsamba. The secularists could ignore these people for a long time, but that time has passed. There is no way to rule Turkey without integrating these scholars and shopkeepers into Turkish society. Given the forces sweeping the Muslim world, it is impossible. They represent an increasingly important trend in the Islamic world and the option is not suppressing them (that’s gone) but accommodating them or facing protracted conflict, a kind of conflict that in the rest of the Islamic world is not confined to rhetoric. Carsamba is an extreme case in Istanbul, but it poses the issue most starkly.

This is something the main opposition secularist party, the People’s Republican Party (CHP), can’t do. It has not devised a platform that can reach out to Carsamba and the other religious neighborhoods within the framework of secularism. This is the AKP’s strength. It can reach out to them while retaining the core of its Europeanism and modernism. The Turkish economy is surging. It had an annualized growth rate of 12 percent in the first quarter of 2010. That helps keep everyone happy. But the AKP also emphasizes that it wants to join the European Union. Now, given how healthy the Turkish economy is, wanting to join the European Union is odd. And the fact is that the European Union is not going to let Turkey in anyway. But the AKP’s continued insistence that it wants to join the European Union is a signal to the secularists: The AKP is not abandoning the Europeanist/modernist project.

The AKP sends many such signals, but it is profoundly distrusted by the secularists, who fear that the AKP’s apparent moderation is simply a cover for its long-term intentions — to impose a radical-Islamist agenda on Turkey. I don’t know the intentions of the AKP leadership, but I do know some realities about Turkey, the first being that, while Carsamba can’t be ignored, the secularists hold tremendous political power in their own right and have the general support of the military. Whatever the intentions imputed to the AKP, it does not have the power to impose a radical-Islamist agenda on Turkey unless the secularists weaken dramatically, which they are not going to do.

The CHP cannot re-impose the rigorous secularism that existed prior to 2002. The AKP cannot impose a radical-Islamist regime, assuming it would want to. The result of either attempt would be a paralyzing political crisis that would tear the country apart, without giving either side political victory. The best guard against hidden agendas is the inability to impose them.

Moreover, on the fringes of the Islamist community are radical Islamists like al Qaeda. It is a strategic necessity to separate the traditionally religious from the radical Islamists. The more excluded the traditionalists are, the more they will be attracted to the radicals. Prior to the 1970s this was not a problem. In those days, radical Islamists were not the problem; radical socialists were. The strategies that were used prior to 2002 would play directly into the hands of the radicals. There are, of course, those who would say that all Islamists are radical. I don’t think that’s true empirically. Of the billion or so Muslims, radicals are few. But you can radicalize the rest with aggressive social policies. And that would create a catastrophe for Turkey and the region.

The problem for Turkey is how to bridge the gap between the secularists and the religious. That is the most effective way to shut out the radicals. The CHP seems to me to have not devised any program to reach out to the religious. There are some indications of attempted change that came with the change in leadership a few months ago, but overall the CHP maintains a hostile suspicion toward sharing power with the religious.

The AKP, on the other hand, has some sort of reconciliation as its core agenda. The problem is that the AKP is serving up a weak brew, insufficient to satisfy the truly religious, insufficient to satisfy the truly secular. But it does hold a majority. In Turkey, as I have said, it is all about the AKP’s alleged hidden intentions. My best guess is that, whatever its private thoughts and political realities are, the AKP is composed of Turks who derive their traditions from 600 years of Ottoman rule. That makes Turkish internal politics, well, Byzantine. Never forget that at crucial points the Ottomans, as Muslim as they were, allied with the Catholics against the Orthodox Christians in order to dominate the Balkans. They made many other alliances of convenience and maintained a multinational and multireligious empire built on a pyramid of compromises. The AKP is not the party of the Wahhabi, and if it tried to become that, it would fall. The AKP, like most political parties, prefers to hold office.

Turkey and the World

The question of the hidden agenda of the AKP touches its foreign policy, too. In the United States, nerves are raw over Afghanistan and terror threats. In Europe, Muslim immigration, much of it from Turkey, and more terror threats make for more raw nerves. The existence of an Islamist-rooted government in Ankara has created the sense that Turkey has “gone over,” that it has joined the radical-Islamist camp.

This is why the flotilla incident with Israel turned out as it did. The Turks had permitted a fleet to sail for Gaza, which was blockaded by Israel. Israeli commandos boarded the ships and on one of them got into a fight in which nine people were killed. The Turks became enraged and expected the rest of the world, including the United States and Europe, to join them in condemning Israel’s actions. I think the Turkish government was surprised when the general response was not directed against Israel but at Turkey. The Turks failed to understand the American and European perception that Turkey had gone over to the radical Islamists. This perception caused the Americans and Europeans to read the flotilla incident in a completely unexpected way, from the Turkish government’s point of view, one that saw the decision to allow the flotilla to sail as part of a radical-Islamist agenda. Rather than seeing the Turks as victims, they saw the Turks as deliberately creating the incident for ideological reasons.

At the moment, it all turns on the perceptions of the AKP, both in Turkey and the world. And these perceptions lead to very different interpretations of what Turkey is doing.

In this sense, the ballistic missile defense (BMD) issue was extremely important. Had the Turks refused to allow BMD to be placed in Turkey, it would have been, I think, a breakpoint in relations with the United States in particular. BMD is a defense against Iranian missiles. Turkey does not want a U.S. strike on Iran. It should therefore have been enthusiastic about BMD, since Turkey could argue that with BMD, no strike is needed. Opposing a strike and opposing BMD would have been interpreted as Turkey simply wanting to obstruct anything that would upset Iran, no matter how benign. The argument of those who view Turkey as pro-Iranian would be confirmed. The decision by the Turkish government to go forward with BMD was critical. Rejecting BMD would have cemented the view of Turkey as being radical Islamist. But the point is that the Turks postured on the issue and then went along. It was the AKP trying to maintain its balance.

The reality is that Turkey is now a regional power trying to find its balance. It is in a region where Muslim governments are mixed with secular states, predominantly Christian nations and a Jewish state. When you take the 360-degree view that the AKP likes to talk about, it is an extraordinary and contradictory mixture of states. Turkey is a country that maintains relations with Iran, Israel and Egypt, a dizzying portfolio.

It is not a surprise that the Turks are not doing well at this. After an interregnum of nearly a century, Turkey is new to being a regional power, and everyone in the region is trying to draw Turkey into something for their own benefit. Syria wants Turkish mediation with Israel and in Lebanon. Azerbaijan wants Turkish support against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. Israel and Saudi Arabia want Turkish support against Iran. Iran wants Turkey’s support against the United States. Kosovo wants its support against Serbia. It is a rogue’s gallery of supplicants, all wanting something from Turkey and all condemning Turkey when they don’t get it. Not least of these is the United States, which wants Turkey to play the role it used to play, as a subordinate American ally.

Turkey’s strategy is to be friends with everyone, its “zero conflict with neighbors” policy, as the Turks call it. It is an explicit policy not to have enemies. The problem is that it is impossible to be friends with all of these countries. Their interests are incompatible, and in the end, the only likely outcome is that all will find Turkey hostile and it will face distrust throughout the region. Turkey was genuinely surprised when the United States, busy finally getting sanctions into place against Iran, did not welcome Turkey’s and Brazil’s initiative with Iran. But unlike Brazil, Turkey lives in a tough neighborhood and being friendly with everyone is not an option.

This policy derives, I think, from a fear of appearing, like the Ottoman Empire, so distrusted by secularists. The Ottoman Empire was both warlike and cunning. It was the heir to the Byzantine tradition and it was worthy of it. Ataturk simplified Turkish foreign policy radically, drawing it inward. Turkey’s new power makes that impossible, but it is important, at least at this point in history, for Turkey not to appear too ambitious or too clever internationally. The term neo-Ottoman keeps coming up, but is not greeted happily by many people. Trying to be friendly with everyone is not going to work, but for the Turks, it is a better strategy now than being prematurely Byzantine. Contrary to others, I see Turkish foreign policy as simple and straightforward: What they say and what they intend to do are the same. The problem with that foreign policy is that it won’t work in the long run. I suspect the Turkish government knows that, but it is buying time for political reasons.

It is buying time for administrative reasons as well. The United States entered World War II without an intelligence service, with a diplomatic corps vastly insufficient for its postwar needs and without a competent strategic-planning system. Turkey is ahead of the United States of 1940, but it does not have the administrative structure or the trained and experienced personnel to handle the complexities it is encountering. The Turkish foreign minister wakes up in the morning to Washington’s latest demand, German pronouncements on Turkish EU membership, Israeli deals with the Greeks, Iranian probes, Russian views on energy and so on. It is a large set of issues for a nation that until recently had a relatively small foreign-policy footprint.

Turkey and Russia

Please recall my reasons for this journey and what brought me to Turkey. I am trying to understand the consequences of the re-emergence of Russia, the extent to which this will pose a geopolitical challenge and how the international system will respond. I have already discussed the Intermarium, the countries from the Baltic to the Black seas that have a common interest in limiting Russian power and the geopolitical position to do so if they act as a group.

One of the questions is what the southern anchor of this line will be. The most powerful anchor would be Turkey. Turkey is not normally considered part of the Intermarium, although during the Cold War it was the southeastern anchor of NATO’s line of containment. The purpose of this trip is to get some sense of how the Turks think about Russia and where Russia fits into their strategic thinking. It is also about how the Turks now think of themselves as they undergo a profound shift that will affect the region.

Turkey, like many countries, is dependent on Russian energy. Turkey also has a long history with Russia and needs to keep Russia happy. But it also wants to be friends with everyone and it needs to find new sources of energy. This means that Turkey has to look south, into Iraq and farther, and east, toward Azerbaijan. When it looks south, it will find itself at odds with Iran and perhaps Saudi Arabia. When it looks east, it will find itself at odds with Armenia and Russia.

There are no moves that Turkey can make that will not alienate some great power, and it cannot decline to make these moves. It cannot simply depend on Russia for its energy any more than Poland can. Because of energy policy, it finds itself in the same position as the Intermarium, save for the fact that Turkey is and will be much more powerful than any of these countries, and because the region it lives in is extraordinarily more complex and difficult.

Nevertheless, while the Russians aren’t an immediate threat, they are an existential threat to Turkey. With a rapidly growing economy, Turkey needs energy badly and it cannot be hostage to the Russians or anyone else. As it diversifies its energy sources it will alienate a number of countries, including Russia. It will not want to do this, but it is the way the world works. Therefore, is this the southern anchor of the Intermarium? I think so. Not yet and not forever, but I suspect that in 10 years or so, the sheer pressure that Russian energy policy will place on Turkey will create enough tensions to force Turkey into the anchor position.

If Moldova is the proof of the limits of geopolitical analysis, Turkey is its confirmation. There is endless talk in Turkey of intentions, hidden meanings and conspiracies, some woven decades ago. It is not these things that matter. Islam has replaced modernism as the dynamic force of the region, and Turkey will have to accommodate itself to that. But modernism and secularism are woven into Turkish society. Those two strands cannot be ignored. Turkey is the regional power, and it will have to make decisions about friends and enemies. Those decisions will be made based on issues like energy availability, economic opportunities and defensive positions. Intentions are not trivial, but in the case of Turkey neither are they decisive. It is too old a country to change and too new a power to escape the forces around it. For all its complexity, I think Turkey is predictable. It will go through massive internal instability and foreign tests it is not ready for, but in the end, it will emerge as it once was: a great regional power.

As a subjective matter, I like Turkey and Turks. I suspect I will like them less as they become a great power. They are at the charming point where the United States was after World War I. Over time, global and great powers lose their charm under the pressure of a demanding and dissatisfied world. They become hard and curt. The Turks are neither today. But they are facing the kind of difficulties that only come with success, and those can be the hardest to deal with.

Internally, the AKP is trying to thread the needle between two Turkish realities. No one can choose one or the other and govern Turkey. That day has passed. How to reconcile the two is the question. For the moment, the most difficult question is how to get the secularists to accept that, in today’s Turkey, they are a large minority. I suspect the desire to regain power will motivate them to try to reach out to the religious, but for now, they have left the field to the AKP.

In terms of foreign policy, they are clearly repositioning Turkey to be part of the Islamic world, but the Islamic world is deeply divided by many crosscurrents and many types of regimes. The distance between Morocco and Pakistan is not simply space. Repositioning with the Islamic world is more a question of who will be your enemy than who will be your friend. The same goes for the rest of the world.

In leaving Turkey, I am struck by how many balls it has to keep in the air. The tensions between the secularists and the religious must not be minimized. The tensions within the religious camp are daunting. The tensions between urban and rural are significant. The tensions between Turkey and its allies and neighbors are substantial, even if the AKP is not eager to emphasize this. It would seem impossible to imagine Turkey moving past these problems to great power status. But here geopolitics tells me that it has to be this way. All nations have deep divisions. But Turkey is a clear nation and a strong state. It has geography and it has an economy. And it is in a region where these characteristics are in short supply. That gives Turkey relative power as well as absolute strength.

The next 10 years will not be comfortable for Turkey. It will have problems to solve and battles to fight, figuratively and literally. But I think the answer to the question I came for is this: Turkey does not want to confront Russia. Nor does it want to be dependent on Russia. These two desires can’t be reconciled without tension with Russia. And if there is tension, there will be shared interests with the Intermarium, quite against the intentions of the Turks. In history, intentions, particularly good ones, are rarely decisive.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Security Weekly- .Aviation Security Threats and Realities November 23, 2010

By Scott Stewart

Over the past few weeks, aviation security — specifically, enhanced passenger-screening procedures — has become a big issue in the media. The discussion of the topic has become even more fervent as we enter Thanksgiving weekend, which is historically one of the busiest travel periods of the year. As this discussion has progressed, we have been asked repeatedly by readers and members of the press for our opinion on the matter.

We have answered such requests from readers, and we have done a number of media interviews, but we’ve resisted writing a fresh analysis on aviation security because, as an organization, our objective is to lead the media rather than follow the media regarding a particular topic. We want our readers to be aware of things before they become pressing public issues, and when it comes to aviation-security threats and the issues involved with passenger screening, we believe we have accomplished this. Many of the things now being discussed in the media are things we’ve written about for years.

When we were discussing this topic internally and debating whether to write about it, we decided that since we have added so many new readers over the past few years, it might be of interest to our expanding readership to put together an analysis that reviews the material we’ve published and that helps to place the current discussion into the proper context. We hope our longtime readers will excuse the repetition.

We believe that this review will help establish that there is a legitimate threat to aviation, that there are significant challenges in trying to secure aircraft from every conceivable threat, and that the response of aviation security authorities to threats has often been slow and reactive rather than thoughtful and proactive.


Commercial aviation has been threatened by terrorism for decades now. From the first hijackings and bombings in the late 1960s to last month’s attempt against the UPS and FedEx cargo aircraft, the threat has remained constant. As we have discussed for many years, jihadists have long had a fixation with attacking aircraft. When security measures were put in place to protect against Bojinka-style attacks in the 1990s — attacks that involved modular explosive devices smuggled onto planes and left aboard — the jihadists adapted and conducted 9/11-style attacks. When security measures were put in place to counter 9/11-style attacks, the jihadists quickly responded by going to onboard suicide attacks with explosive devices concealed in shoes. When that tactic was discovered and shoes began to be screened, they switched to devices containing camouflaged liquid explosives. When that plot failed and security measures were altered to restrict the quantity of liquids that people could take aboard aircraft, we saw the jihadists alter the paradigm once more and attempt the underwear-bomb attack last Christmas.

In a special edition of Inspire magazine released last weekend, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) noted that, due to the increased passenger screening implemented after the Christmas Day 2009 attempt, the group’s operational planners decided to employ explosive devices sent via air cargo (we have written specifically about the vulnerability of air cargo to terrorist attacks).

Finally, it is also important to understand that the threat does not emanate just from jihadists like al Qaeda and its regional franchises. Over the past several decades, aircraft have been attacked by a number of different actors, including North Korean intelligence officers, Sikh, Palestinian and Hezbollah militants and mentally disturbed individuals like the Unabomber, among others.


While understanding that the threat is very real, it is also critical to recognize that there is no such thing as absolute, foolproof security. This applies to ground-based facilities as well as aircraft. If security procedures and checks have not been able to keep contraband out of high-security prisons, it is unreasonable to expect them to be able to keep unauthorized items off aircraft, where (thankfully) security checks of crew and passengers are far less invasive than they are for prisoners. As long as people, luggage and cargo are allowed aboard aircraft, and as long as people on the ground crew and the flight crew have access to aircraft, aircraft will remain vulnerable to a number of internal and external threats.

This reality is accented by the sheer number of passengers that must be screened and number of aircraft that must be secured. According to figures supplied by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in 2006, the last year for which numbers are available, the agency screened 708,400,522 passengers on domestic flights and international flights coming into the United States. This averages out to over 1.9 million passengers per day.

Another reality is that, as mentioned above, jihadists and other people who seek to attack aircraft have proven to be quite resourceful and adaptive. They carefully study security measures, identify vulnerabilities and then seek to exploit them. Indeed, last September, when we analyzed the innovative designs of the explosive devices employed by AQAP, we called attention to the threat they posed to aviation more than three months before the Christmas 2009 bombing attempt. As we look at the issue again, it is not hard to see, as we pointed out then, how their innovative efforts to camouflage explosives in everyday items and hide them inside suicide operatives’ bodies will continue and how these efforts will be intended to exploit vulnerabilities in current screening systems.

As we wrote in September 2009, getting a completed explosive device or its components by security and onto an aircraft is a significant challenge, but it is possible for a resourceful bombmaker to devise ways to overcome that challenge. The latest issue of Inspire magazine demonstrated how AQAP has done some very detailed research to identify screening vulnerabilities. As the group noted in the magazine: “The British government said that if a toner weighs more than 500 grams it won’t be allowed on board a plane. Who is the genius who came up with this suggestion? Do you think that we have nothing to send but printers?”

AQAP also noted in the magazine that it is working to identify innocuous substances like toner ink that, when X-rayed, will appear similar to explosive compounds like PETN, since such innocuous substances will be ignored by screeners. With many countries now banning cargo from Yemen, it will be harder to send those other items in cargo from Sanaa, but the group has shown itself to be flexible, with the underwear-bomb operative beginning his trip to Detroit out of Nigeria rather than Yemen. In the special edition of Inspire, AQAP also specifically threatened to work with allies to launch future attacks from other locations.

Drug couriers have been transporting narcotics hidden inside their bodies aboard aircraft for decades, and prisoners frequently hide drugs, weapons and even cell phones inside body cavities. It is therefore only a matter of time before this same tactic is used to smuggle plastic explosives or even an entire non-metallic explosive device onto an aircraft — something that would allow an attacker to bypass metal detectors and backscatter X-ray inspection and pass through external pat-downs.

Look for the Bomber, Not Just the Bomb

This ability to camouflage explosives in a variety of different ways, or hide them inside the bodies of suicide operatives, means that the most significant weakness of any suicide-attack plan is the operative assigned to conduct the attack. Even in a plot to attack 10 or 12 aircraft, a group would need to manufacture only about 12 pounds of high explosives — about what is required for a single, small suicide device and far less than is required for a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Because of this, the operatives are more of a limiting factor than the explosives themselves; it is far more difficult to find and train 10 or 12 suicide bombers than it is to produce 10 or 12 devices.

A successful attack requires operatives who are not only dedicated enough to initiate a suicide device without getting cold feet; they must also possess the nerve to calmly proceed through airport security checkpoints without alerting officers that they are up to something sinister. This set of tradecraft skills is referred to as demeanor, and while remaining calm under pressure and behaving normally may sound simple in theory, practicing good demeanor under the extreme pressure of a suicide operation is very difficult. Demeanor has proved to be the Achilles’ heel of several terror plots, and it is not something that militant groups have spent a great deal of time teaching their operatives. Because of this, it is frequently easier to spot demeanor mistakes than it is to find well-hidden explosives. Such demeanor mistakes can also be accentuated, or even induced, by contact with security personnel in the form of interviews, or even by unexpected changes in security protocols that alter the security environment a potential attacker is anticipating and has planned for.

There has been much discussion of profiling, but the difficulty of creating a reliable and accurate physical profile of a jihadist, and the adaptability and ingenuity of the jihadist planners, means that any attempt at profiling based only on race, ethnicity or religion is doomed to fail. In fact, profiling can prove counterproductive to good security by blinding people to real threats. They will dismiss potential malefactors who do not fit the specific profile they have been provided.

In an environment where the potential threat is hard to identify, it is doubly important to profile individuals based on their behavior rather than their ethnicity or nationality — what we refer to as focusing on the “how” instead of the “who.” Instead of relying on physical profiles, which allow attack planners to select operatives who do not match the profiles being selected for more intensive screening, security personnel should be encouraged to exercise their intelligence, intuition and common sense. A Caucasian U.S. citizen who shows up at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi or Dhaka claiming to have lost his passport may be far more dangerous than some random Pakistani or Yemeni citizen, even though the American does not appear to fit the profile for requiring extra security checks.

However, when we begin to consider traits such as intelligence, intuition and common sense, one of the other realities that must be faced with aviation security is that, quite simply, it is not an area where the airlines or governments have allocated the funding required to hire the best personnel. Airport screeners make far less than FBI special agents or CIA case officers and receive just a fraction of the training. Before 9/11, most airports in the United States relied on contract security guards to conduct screening duties. After 9/11, many of these same officers went from working for companies like Wackenhut to being TSA employees. There was no real effort made to increase the quality of screening personnel by offering much higher salaries to recruit a higher caliber of candidate.

There is frequent mention of the need to make U.S. airport security more like that employed in Israel. Aside from the constitutional and cultural factors that would prevent American airport screeners from ever treating Muslim travelers the way they are treated by El Al, another huge difference is simply the amount of money spent on salaries and training for screeners and other security personnel. El Al is also aided by the fact that it has a very small fleet of aircraft that fly only a small number of passengers to a handful of destinations.

Additionally, airport screening duty is simply not glamorous work. Officers are required to work long shifts conducting monotonous checks and are in near constant contact with a traveling public that can at times become quite surly when screeners follow policies established by bureaucrats at much higher pay grades. Granted, there are TSA officers who abuse their authority and do not exhibit good interpersonal skills, but anyone who travels regularly has also witnessed fellow travelers acting like idiots.

While it is impossible to keep all contraband off aircraft, efforts to improve technical methods and procedures to locate weapons and IED components must continue. However, these efforts must not only be reacting to past attacks and attempts but should also be looking forward to thwart future attacks that involve a shift in the terrorist paradigm. At the same time, the often-overlooked human elements of airport security, including situational awareness, observation and intuition, need to be emphasized now more than ever. It is those soft skills that hold the real key to looking for the bomber and not just the bomb.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR