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

Monday, February 28, 2011

I left my load in San Francisco

I have no tolerance for eco-nutcases and this article just give me joy.

Low-flow toilets cause a stink in SF

San Francisco's big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.

Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

Glad I'm not a Giants fan.
The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite - better known as bleach - to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city's treated water before it's dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year...
OK, lots of more chemicals in my water...and this is to save what?
...As for whether the supposedly environmentally friendly, low-flow toilets are worth the trouble? Well, according to Jue, they have helped trim San Francisco's annual water consumption by about 20 million gallons.

I looked up the population of the City by the Bay...as of last year it's around 815000. So at the cost of over 100 million dollars, a screwed up sewage system and the Giants playing their home games with a rotten egg smell, we've saved around 24.5 gallons of water a year per resident...that's around two gallons a month or .67 gallons a day.

Where do we get these genius public servants...

Officer Down

Park Ranger Julie Weir
National Park Service
End of Watch: Thursday, February 24, 2011
Age: 39
Tour of Duty: 11 years

Park Ranger Julie Weir was killed in an automobile accident on I-80 near Kearney, Nebraska.

Ranger Weir was on official travel status while relocating from her permanent position at Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a field training assignment at Yosemite National Park in California.

Her vehicle went out of control during a heavy snow storm, crossed into oncoming traffic, and collided with a tractor trailer.

Ranger Weir had served as a seasonal law enforcement park ranger with the National Park Service for 11 years and had just graduated from FLETC as a full-time law enforcement ranger.

Rest in Peace Sis…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.

The Washington Post shows again why it's worthless

The Washington Post is capital twin to that other leftist propaganda rag called the New York Times. Sometimes it actually does good work...this is not one of those times.

Notice the headline which is only what a lot read.

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says

The first two paragraphs:

A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday.

The report, by Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.

But this is printed with a straight face if you will...
Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year...

But at least the do have this:
Republicans have dismissed both reports, calling them the product of the same flawed economic thinking that produced President Obama's $814 billion stimulus package -- a bill that Democrats argued would keep unemployment below 8 percent. In fact, the unemployment rate has hovered at or above 9 percent for nearly two years.

On Monday, Republican aides were particularly critical of Zandi, a registered Democrat who advised Republican John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign but became one of the most influential advocates for government economic stimulus a year later.

OK a partisan leftist with no credibility on economics (yea, advising us to waste almost a trillion dollars for nothing puts you in that group) put out a worthless report and the capital's newspaper puts it out like it was from the burning bush. And these papers wonder why they are dying.

CPL Frank Buckles, last WW I US Veteran passes

The last Civil War Veteran passed in 1959. The last Spanish-American War Veteran passed sometime in my lifetime...now the last World War I vet passes. Time marches on.

Washington (CNN) -- Frank Buckles, the last U.S. World War I veteran, has died, a spokesman for his family said Sunday. He was 110.

Buckles "died peacefully in his home of natural causes" early Sunday morning, the family said in a statement sent to CNN late Sunday by spokesman David DeJonge.

Buckles marked his 110th birthday on February 1, but his family had earlier told CNN he had slowed considerably since last fall, according his daughter Susannah Buckles Flanagan, who lives at the family home near Charles Town, West Virginia.

Buckles, who served as a U.S. Army ambulance driver in Europe during what became known as the "Great War," rose to the rank of corporal before the war ended. He came to prominence in recent years, in part because of the work of DeJonge, a Michigan portrait photographer who had undertaken a project to document the last surviving veterans of that war.

As the years continued, all but Buckles had passed away, leaving him the "last man standing" among U.S. troops who were called "The Doughboys."...

If you haven't done so yet go to the National World War Museum in New Orleans LA. The displays are awesome but the fact is it's manned by vets...you get to hear the story from the men who lived it...as CPL Buckles shows us this can't last forever.

Rest in Peace CPL Frank Buckles...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

More reasons the NY Times is not fit to put on the bottom of the bird cage

During my time as an intelligence officer I would routinely read the propaganda of my country's enemies. Pravda, Izvestia, The People's Daily and of course, The NY Times. Now during my Sunday morning routine of looking through the paper and online stuff I got this from the iditorial page of The Times. Even for them this is a brazen piece of hypocrisy for the paper of record.
Joe Flom - NYTimes.com
...Mr. Flom, who died last week at the age of 87, believed fiercely that merit, not your family name or your pedigree, mattered most. That was not the world he entered when he finished Harvard Law School in 1948. He was rejected by Manhattan firms where he hoped to work because he was Jewish or, as he put it, “not an obvious fit.” He finally was hired as the first associate at a tiny firm founded that year by three men passed over for partnership at white-shoe firms.
OK...NY Times, is there a Kennedy you never endorsed, campaigned for, wrote puff piece stories about, declined to write stories showing their short comings or questioning their qualifications for high office. Did you think maybe you should ask "Is Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg who had no real accomplishments of her own qualified for the Senate?" Or maybe inquired "Is Mrs Bill Clinton, who has no ties to this state, fit to represent New York as it's junior senator...or maybe it is just we're pushing her because her ideology that fits ours" Perhaps they should look inward...the current publisher is Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, son of the late Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger. "Pinch" inherited the paper from "Punch"...and the paper is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hey Pinch, how's the meritocracy working out for you?
...The transformation of corporate lawyering exposed it for what it had pretended not to be: a business...

Kinda like the newspaper business? Oh that's right, you don't worry about money do you?
“We’ve got to show the bastards that you don’t have to be born into it,” Mr. Flom exhorted colleagues. That’s what he did.

Thank God the mainstream media actually has competition now. The rag of Manhatten must be happy to have it...brings our the best in all of us.

I've never heard of Mr. Flom before this morning over my coffee and I can only wish the best for his family at this time and that he rest in peace. However to see the NY Times push this piece covering merit over "who you know" is beyond the pale, even for the paper of record.

What's going on in the World 110225

The quote of the movie..an awesome movie we're showing the girls on Sunday night...good family entertainment...how many years will it be before they go swimming again :<) Hope you have a great weekend. HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL:
U.S. Naval Update
Map: Feb. 23, 2011 | STRATFOR

United States: Saudi Arrested In Texas On Weapon Of Mass Destruction Charge February 24, 2011

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested Feb. 23 by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, the Department of Justice said in a press release Feb. 24. The charge is in connection with Aldawsari’s alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment needed to make an improvised explosive device and his research of potential U.S. targets. Aldawsari was legally admitted into the United States in 2008 on a student visa. He is enrolled at South Plains College near Lubbock. Aldawsari has allegedly described his desire for jihad and martyrdom in a personal journal and blog postings.

U.S.: Boeing Awarded Air Force Tanker Contract February 24, 2011

The U.S. Air Force awarded a $35 billion contract for aerial fueling tankers to Boeing, aides to lawmakers and industry executives said, The New York Times reported Feb. 24. Boeing was chosen over the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V. (EADS).

Poland, Israel: DMs Sign Defense Cooperation Declaration February 24, 2011

Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich and his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, on Feb. 24 signed a declaration in Jerusalem on the development of defense cooperation, PAP reported. The countries will set up working groups in defense and air defense and cooperate in military information technology, F-16 fighter aircraft training and servicing, and special operations forces. They agreed to hold joint drills with F-16 jets and eight joint projects between their respective special operations forces.

Kyrgyzstan: Bread Prices Increase 8-10 Percent February 24, 2011

The price of bread in Kyrgyzstan has increased by 8-10 percent in a single day, RFE/RL reported Feb. 24. Chairman of the Kyrgyz Bakers’ Union Akbar Atakeev told a session of Kyrgyzstan’s Anti-monopoly Committee on Feb. 22 that the country’s bakers raised bread prices to make up for a rise in the price of flour.

Japan, U.S.: Missile Defense Drills Planned - North Korean News February 26, 2011

Japan and the United States will hold drills for detecting, tracking and intercepting ballistic missiles at the Yokosuka base in Japan from Feb. 28 to March 3, state-run North Korean news agency KCNA reported Feb. 26. Similar drills took place in December 2010, but this will mark the first time the two navies have conducted a separate training, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.


Russia: Defense Purchases Announced February 24, 2011

The Russian defense ministry plans to commission a Bulava missile by the end of 2011, while the army intends to acquire approximately 100 S-400 and S-500 missile systems, First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said, Interfax reported Feb. 24. Popovkin said the army will also acquire eight submarines with Bulava missiles by 2020 and ten Russian brigades will be armed with Iskander-M tactical missile systems. The armed forces will also buy more than 600 planes and more than 1,000 helicopters before 2020, Popovkin said.

Georgia: Youths Protest Against Soviet Occupation February 24, 2011

Georgian nongovernmental organization Prometheus staged a rally Feb. 24 against the Russian occupation of Georgia in 1921 and the massacre of Chechen and Ingush people by the Soviet Union on Feb. 23, 1944, Rustavi 2 reported. Protesting youths marched from Tbilisi to Gori and gathered at the monument of former Georgian Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. The protesters also lit torches representing solidarity in the Caucasus.

Russia: More Troops To Be Sent To Kabarda-Balkaria February 25, 2011

The Russian Interior Ministry will send additional soldiers to the southern republic of Kabarda-Balkaria after several rebel groups attacked the capital, Nalchik, RIA Novosti reported Feb. 25. No sources for the information were provided.

Iran: Search For Uranium Expanded - IAEA February 24, 2011

A new intelligence report prepared by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran is expanding its covert search for uranium, AP reported Feb. 24. The report also said Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met secretly with senior Zimbabwean mining officials to resume negotiations on the procurement of uranium. An official from another IAEA member state independently confirmed the report.

Iran: 2nd Uranium Enrichment Plant Operational By Summer - IAEA February 25, 2011

Iran plans to being operating a second uranium enrichment plant by the summer of 2011 in an underground location near Quom, DPA reported Feb. 25, citing a restricted document it obtained that was issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The document said no centrifuges have been installed at the second location yet, and Iran is still generating enriched uranium at the existing plant in Natanz. The report did not mention the Stuxnet virus, but an official was cited as saying several hundred centrifuges at Natanz were replaced, but it did not significantly affect production rates.

Iraq: Largest Oil Refinery Closed After Attack February 26, 2011

Unknown gunmen assaulted Iraq’s largest oil refinery Feb. 26, killing two workers before bombing the refinery units, a police source said, Xinhua reported. The resulting fire shut down the refinery, located approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Baghdad in Salah ad Din province, the source said. The refinery is operated by the North Refineries Co., which is affiliated with the Iraqi Oil Ministry, and has a refining capacity of 300,000 barrels per day.

Israel: Iranian Ships In Suez Is "Scheme" February 24, 2011

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the recent movement of Iranian warships through the Suez Canal was “part of a wider scheme,” adding Israel would have acted against them if the ships were bringing rockets, weapons or explosives to militant groups like Hamas or Hezbollah, Israel National News reported Feb. 24, citing CNN. Barak said the ships are carrying naval cadets as well as weapons to visit a Syrian port, adding the mission is a projection of power, self-confidence and assertiveness in the region. He said the region is turbulent, but he doesn’t see a reason to be worried.


Saudi Arabia and the Context of Regional Unrest | STRATFOR

Special Report: Libya's Tribal Dynamics | STRATFOR

The Status of the Libyan Military | STRATFOR

The Significance of Libya's Gulf of Sidra Energy Assets | STRATFOR

Cairo and Riyadh Working to Stem Regional Unrest | STRATFOR

Agenda: With George Friedman on the Middle East | STRATFOR Bahrain: Protests Continue, Opposition Leader Detained In Lebanon February 24, 2011

Protests at Manama’s Pearl Square are continuing Feb. 24 with what appears to be governmental consent, BBC News reported. Meanwhile, Bahraini opposition leader Hassan Mushaimei said Lebanese authorities briefly detained him and took away his passport upon arriving at the airport in Beirut. According to Mushaimei, the authorities said Bahrain had issued a warrant for his arrest.

Saudi Arabia: Compensatory Oil To Europe Offered February 24, 2011

Saudi authorities have contacted European oil companies to ascertain the quantities and qualities of crude they will need in order to compensate for the loss of Libyan oil supplies, Argus reported Feb. 24. Saudi Arabia would make up the difference in two ways. First, it would send extra shipments would through its East-West pipeline for loading at the Red Sea port of Yanbu, where where the shipments would then transit the SUMED pipeline to the Mediterranean. Second, a “special arrangement” with West African countries will allow cargoes originally destined for the Asia-Pacific region to be diverted to the Mediterranean; Saudi Arabia will then substitute those shipments from the Gulf and from its new storage facility in Japan. Saudi state-owned Aramco said no European country has requested extra oil yet.

Libya: Gadhafi's Cousin Defects To Egypt lFebruary 24, 2011

A cousin and adviser to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, has defected to Egypt to protest the Libyan government’s crackdown on protesters, AP reported Feb. 24, citing a statement issued by Gadhaf al-Dam from Cairo. Gadhaf al-Dam was the commander of Tobruk military region and former top commander of Cyrenaica region, and until Feb. 24 was Libya’s special representative to Egypt. He had left for Egypt several days ago and did not make the announcement until Feb. 24.

Syria: Uranium Conversion Facility Discovered February 24, 2011

A uranium conversion facility intended to process uranium yellowcake into uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) was discovered by satellite imagery near the town of Marj as Sultan, The Institute for Science and International Security reported Feb, 24, citing the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The operational status of the facility, which was functionally related to the destroyed covert reactor construction project at al Kibar, is unknown.

Syria: Iran Ready To Build Port Facilities - Navy Chief February 26, 2011

Iran’s navy is ready to help Syria construct and develop its port facilities and to cooperate in technical fields, the commander of the Iranian navy, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, said Feb. 26, Fars News Agency reported. Speaking to the crews of two Iranian naval vessels in the Syrian port city of Latakia, Sayyari said his country’s navy was prepared to help build jetties, wharfs and other infrastructure as well as to assist Syria with ship repairs and maintenance and anti-piracy operations. Sayyari also invited his Syrian counterpart, Gen. Taleb al-Barri, to visit Iran

A Week in the War: Afghanistan, Feb. 16-22, 2011 | STRATFORMIDDLE EAST

Afghanistan: U.S. Forces Begin Withdrawal From Pech Valley February 24, 2011

U.S. forces began withdrawing from Pech Valley in Kunar province, Afghanistan, on Feb. 15 in a move that is predicted to last two months, while Afghan units remain in the valley, The New York Times reported Feb 25. There are some areas that are not ready for the build up of security that leads to development and better governance, Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell said, adding, he has to use forces where they can do the most good. The people in Pech Valley aren’t anti-U.S., they just want to be left alone and our presence is destabilizing the area, an American military official said. The Pech people promised many times that if U.S. forces withdrew from the area, they would not fight the remaining Afghan units, former commander of the Afghan Border Police Gen. Mohammed Zaman Mamozai said.

U.S.: Massive Sweeps Following Agent's Death February 24, 2011

Federal, state and local authorities conducted a sweep of suspected Mexican drug cartels in the United States on Feb. 24 following the killing of a U.S. agent in Mexico, AP reported. The move is intended to send a message to the cartels that the murder of a U.S. agent will not be tolerated, according Drug Enforcement Administration official Chris Pike. The raids will likely continue and will target suspected criminals with ties to Mexican drug cartels. Agents have so far seized more than $4.5 million in cash, 10.4 kilograms (23 pounds) of methamphetamine, 107 kilograms of cocaine, 2.27 kilograms of heroin, 136 kilograms of marijuana and nearly 20 guns, and have arrested more than 100 people in150 different locations. Pike said many of those arrested were already suspects in other investigations.

Mexico: La Linea Leader Killed February 24, 2011

Mexican authorities confirmed the death of Luis Humberto “El Condor” Peralta Hernandez, a leader of La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Juarez cartel, La Jornada reported Feb. 24. Peralta was killed Feb. 22 during a confrontation with Mexican Federal Police in the city of Chihuahua MISC NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

Except where noted courtesy www.stratfor.com

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Officer Down

Police Officer Fred Thornton
Charlotte-Mecklenburg North Carolina Police Department
End of Watch: Friday, February 25, 2011
Age: 50
Tour of Duty: 28 years

Officer Fred Thornton was killed when a flash-bang device detonated as he handled SWAT equipment.

He had just returned home following a SWAT call out to serve a warrant and was attempting to render his equipment safe when the flash-bang discharged, causing massive injuries. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Officer Thornton had served with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for 28 years. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Rest in Peace Bro…We’ll Continue The Watch

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh.

Friday, February 25, 2011

OK, you think you can cut this off the budget.

For anyone who thinks the funds of government agencies (i.e. our tax dollars), in this case a city and a state funded college are not wasted I give you this.

San Francisco circumcision ban headed for November ballot

San Francisco voters appear likely to be voting on banning male circumcision in November.

Most bans in San Francisco are enacted by the Board of Supervisors, but come November, it sounds like voters will have the opportunity to jump on the ban wagon by deciding whether to ban male circumcision.

San Francisco resident Lloyd Schofield said Thursday he is “on track” to have enough signatures to place his proposed measure on the November ballot that would make it illegal to “circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicle or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18.”...
OK, I understand the idiot may get enough signatures to put this on the ballot and there may be nothing the city can do about it. But you gotta love where he gets the idea.

…Schofield said he became the proponent of the local ballot measure after being asked to champion a local bill during a July symposium on circumcision held at the UC Berkeley. Schofield said he was approached by those affiliated with a group pushing for a federal bill to “end male genital mutilation in the U.S.,” according to its website, mgmbill.org.
He said he thought about it for two weeks and then decided to do it. “I always knew this was something wrong to do to a child,” he said...

Now the simple fact is this is a matter to be decided on by the boy’s parents. One wonders where the choice and my body crowd are on this. Assuming this passes there will be law suits on the freedom of religion (the Jewish Brit milah ceremony would be outlawed under this act) and other issues. But more to the point it seems that this man is really deranged. If you want to outlaw a simple procedure that has been practiced for centuries for religious and hygiene reasons you really need to get a life.

…Schofield said he is out there himself — not being paid — collecting the signatures outside grocery stores and in neighborhoods like SoMa, the Castro, the Haight and Noe Valley.

“We say: ‘Would you like to help protect the children from forced circumcision? This is a human-rights issue,’” Schofield said…

Also why is UC Berkley holding a conference on this? How about it teach things like History, Literature, English (opps, we are talking California, my bad)?

Something I pray never sees the light of day…but we are talking about a region of the most wacked out state in the union. I will keep an eye on this.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

TSA does it again

OK, you know there is now limit to how stupid and worthless the TSA is...here is the latest example.

TSA Harasses 9-yo Boy and Other Train Passengers After Their Trip

Here's what a traveler recorded on February 13, after his train trip to Savannah:

The only bad thing on our trip was [the] TSA at the Savannah train station. There were about 14 agents pulling people inside the building and coralling everyone in a roped area after you got off the train. This made no sense! Poor family in front of us! 9-year old getting patted down and wanded. They groped our people too and were very unprofessional. I am all about security, but when have you ever been harassed and felt up getting off a plane? Shouldn't they be doing that getting on? And they wonder why so many people are mad at them.

They probably do but it’s a case of “Hey, I’m just doing what I was told…" TSA are civil service and that basically insures they will not be fired. Thanks to the administration of B Hussein Obama they are now going to be unionized. And they will let "Middle Eastern looking males ages 20-40" pass coming…and going. Talk about a classic example of no matter how bad a situation is Washington can make it worse. God January 2013 cannot come soon enough.

Security Weekly Jihadist Opportunities in Libya February 24, 2011

By Scott Stewart

As George Friedman noted in his geopolitical weekly “Revolution and the Muslim World,” one aspect of the recent wave of revolutions we have been carefully monitoring is the involvement of militant Islamists, and their reaction to these events.

Militant Islamists, and specifically the subset of militant Islamists we refer to as jihadists, have long sought to overthrow regimes in the Muslim world. With the sole exception of Afghanistan, they have failed, and even the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan was really more a matter of establishing a polity amid a power vacuum than the true overthrow of a coherent regime. The brief rule of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council in Somalia also occurred amid a similarly chaotic environment and a vacuum of authority.

However, even though jihadists have not been successful in overthrowing governments, they are still viewed as a threat by regimes in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In response to this threat, these regimes have dealt quite harshly with the jihadists, and strong crackdowns combined with other programs have served to keep the jihadists largely in check.

As we watch the situation unfold in Libya, there are concerns that unlike Tunisia and Egypt, the uprising in Libya might result not only in a change of ruler but also in a change of regime and perhaps even a collapse of the state. In Egypt and Tunisia, strong military regimes were able to ensure stability after the departure of a long-reigning president. By contrast, in Libya, longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi has deliberately kept his military and security forces fractured and weak and thereby dependent on him. Consequently, there may not be an institution to step in and replace Gadhafi should he fall. This means energy-rich Libya could spiral into chaos, the ideal environment for jihadists to flourish, as demonstrated by Somalia and Afghanistan.

Because of this, it seems an appropriate time to once again examine the dynamic of jihadism in Libya.

A Long History
Libyans have long participated in militant operations in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. After leaving Afghanistan in the early 1990s, a sizable group of Libyan jihadists returned home and launched a militant campaign aimed at toppling Gadhafi, whom they considered an infidel. The group began calling itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 1995, and carried out a low-level insurgency that included assassination attempts against Gadhafi and attacks against military and police patrols.

(click here to enlarge image)
Gadhafi responded with an iron fist, essentially imposing martial law in the Islamist militant strongholds of Darnah and Benghazi and the towns of Ras al-Helal and al-Qubbah in the Jabal al-Akhdar region. After a series of military crackdowns, Gadhafi gained the upper hand in dealing with his Islamist militant opponents, and the insurgency tapered off by the end of the 1990s. Many LIFG members fled the country in the face of the government crackdown and a number of them ended up finding refuge with groups like al Qaeda in places such as Afghanistan.

While the continued participation of Libyan men in fighting on far-flung battlefields was not expressly encouraged by the Libyan government, it was tacitly permitted. The Gadhafi regime, like other countries in the region, saw exporting jihadists as a way to rid itself of potential problems. Every jihadist who died overseas was one less the government had to worry about. This policy did not take into account the concept of “tactical Darwinism,” which means that while the United States and its coalition partners will kill many fighters, those who survive are apt to be strong and cunning. The weak and incompetent have been weeded out, leaving a core of hardened, competent militants. These survivors have learned tactics for survival in the face of superior firepower and have learned to manufacture and effectively employ new types of highly effective improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In a Nov. 3, 2007, audio message, al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri reported that the LIFG had formally joined the al Qaeda network. This statement came as no real surprise, given that members of the group have long been close to al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Moreover, the core al Qaeda group has long had a large number of Libyan cadre in its senior ranks, including men such as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Anas al-Libi, Abu Faraj al-Libi (who reportedly is being held by U.S. forces at Guantanamo Bay) and Abu Laith al-Libi, who was killed in a January 2008 unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Pakistan.

The scope of Libyan participation in jihadist efforts in Iraq became readily apparent with the September 2007 seizure of a large batch of personnel files from an al Qaeda safe house in the Iraqi city of Sinjar. The Sinjar files were only a small cross-section of all the fighters traveling to Iraq to fight with the jihadists, but they did provide a very interesting snapshot. Of the 595 personnel files recovered, 112 of them were of Libyans. This number is smaller than the 244 Saudi citizens represented in the cache, but when one considers the overall size of the population of the two countries, the Libyan contingent represented a far larger percentage on a per capita basis. The Sinjar files suggested that a proportionally higher percentage of Libyans was engaged in the fighting in Iraq than their brethren from other countries in the region.

Another interesting difference was noted in the job-description section of the Sinjar files. Of those Libyan men who listed their intended occupation in Iraq, 85 percent of them listed it as suicide bomber and only 13 percent listed fighter. By way of comparison, only 50 percent of the Saudis listed their occupation as suicide bomber. This indicates that the Libyans tended to be more radical than their Saudi counterparts. Moroccans appeared to be the most radical, with more than 91 percent of them apparently desiring to become suicide bombers.

The Libyan government’s security apparatus carefully monitored those Libyans who passed through the crucible of fighting on the battlefield in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and then returned to Libya. Tripoli took a carrot-and-stick approach to the group similar to that implemented by the Saudi regime. As a result, the LIFG and other jihadists were unable to pose a serious threat to the Gadhafi regime, and have remained very quiet in recent years. In fact, they were for the most part demobilized and rehabilitated.

Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, oversaw the program to rehabilitate LIFG militants, which his personal charity managed. The regime’s continued concern over the LIFG was clearly demonstrated early on in the unrest when it announced that it would continue the scheduled release from custody of LIFG fighters.

The Sinjar reports also reflected that more than 60 percent of the Libyan fighters had listed their home city as Darnah and almost 24 percent had come from Benghazi. These two cities are in Libya’s east and happen to be places where some of the most intense anti-Gadhafi protests have occurred in recent days. Arms depots have been looted in both cities, and we have seen reports that at least some of those doing the looting appeared to have been organized Islamists.

A U.S. State Department cable drafted in Tripoli in June 2008 made available by WikiLeaks talked about this strain of radicalism in Libya’s east. The cable, titled “Die Hard in Derna,” was written several months after the release of the report on the Sinjar files. Derna is an alternative transliteration of Darnah, and “Die Hard” was a reference to the Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard movie series, who always proved hard for the villains to kill. The author of the cable, the U.S. Embassy’s political and economic officer, noted that many of the Libyan fighters who returned from fighting in transnational jihad battlefields liked to settle in places like Darnah due to the relative weakness of the security apparatus there. The author of the cable also noted his belief that the presence of these older fighters was having an influence on the younger men of the region who were becoming radicalized, and the result was that Darnah had become “a wellspring of foreign fighters in Iraq.” He also noted that some 60-70 percent of the young men in the region were unemployed or underemployed.

Finally, the author opined that many of these men were viewing the fight in Iraq as a way to attack the United States, which they saw as supporting the Libyan regime in recent years. This is a concept jihadists refer to as attacking the far enemy and seems to indicate an acceptance of the transnational version of jihadist ideology — as does the travel of men to Iraq to fight and the apparent willingness of Libyans to serve as suicide bombers.

Trouble on the Horizon?
This deep streak of radicalism in eastern Libya brings us back to the beginning. While it seems unlikely at this point that the jihadists could somehow gain control of Libya, if Gadhafi falls and there is a period of chaos in Libya, these militants may find themselves with far more operating space inside the country than they have experienced in decades. If the regime does not fall and there is civil war between the eastern and western parts of the country, they could likewise find a great deal of operational space amid the chaos. Even if Gadhafi, or an entity that replaces him, is able to restore order, due to the opportunity the jihadists have had to loot military arms depots, they have suddenly found themselves more heavily armed than they have ever been inside their home country. And these heavily armed jihadists could pose a substantial threat of the kind that Libya has avoided in recent years.

Given this window of opportunity, the LIFG could decide to become operational again, especially if the regime they have made their deal with unexpectedly disappears. However, even should the LIFG decide to remain out of the jihad business as an organization, there is a distinct possibility that it could splinter and that the more radical individuals could cluster together to create a new group or groups that would seek to take advantage of this suddenly more permissive operational environment. Of course, there are also jihadists in Libya unaffiliated with LIFG and not bound by the organization’s agreements with the regime.

The looting of the arms depots in Libya is also reminiscent of the looting witnessed in Iraq following the dissolution of the Iraqi army in the face of the U.S. invasion in 2003. That ordnance not only was used in thousands of armed assaults and indirect fire attacks with rockets and mortars, but many of the mortar and artillery rounds were used to fashion powerful IEDs. This concept of making and employing IEDs from military ordnance will not be foreign to the Libyans who have returned from Iraq (or Afghanistan, for that matter).

This bodes ill for foreign interests in Libya, where they have not had the same security concerns in recent years that they have had in Algeria or Yemen. If the Libyans truly buy into the concept of targeting the far enemy that supports the state, it would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to begin to attack multinational oil companies, foreign diplomatic facilities and even foreign companies and hotels.

While Seif al-Islam, who certainly has political motives to hype such a threat, has mentioned this possibility, so have the governments of Egypt and Italy. Should Libya become chaotic and the jihadists become able to establish an operational base amid the chaos, Egypt and Italy will have to be concerned about not only refugee problems but also the potential spillover of jihadists. Certainly, at the very least the weapons looted in Libya could easily be sold or given to jihadists in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, turning militancy in Libya into a larger regional problem. In a worst-case scenario, if Libya experiences a vacuum of power, it could become the next Iraq or Pakistan, a gathering place for jihadists from around the region and the world. The country did serve as such a base for a wide array of Marxist and rejectionist terrorists and militants in the 1970s and 1980s.

It will be very important to keep a focus on Libya in the coming days and weeks — not just to see what happens to the regime but also to look for indicators of the jihadists testing their wings.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

What's going on in the World Today 110223


USAPakistan: ISI Cuts Off Contact With CIA February 23, 2011

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency’s relationship with the CIA has been put into question after the shooting death of two Pakistanis by Raymond Davis, a contracted agent of the United States, AP reported Feb. 23, citing an obtained unreleased ISI statement. An unnamed ISI official told AP that the ISI had no idea who Davis was when he was arrested and that the ISI fears that there are hundreds of CIA-contracted agents operating in Pakistan without the knowledge of either the Pakistani government or the ISI. The ISI knows and works with senior CIA officials in Pakistan, the official said, adding that it is upsetting that the CIA would secretly send other agents to Pakistan. The official said that the ISI is currently not talking to the CIA at any level, even the most senior level, and that in order to regain support and assistance from the ISI, the CIA must start showing more respect.


Dispatch: Middle East Unrest and China's Resource Interests
India: Thousands Protest High Food Prices February 23, 2011

At least 50,000 Indian trade unionists marched through the streets of New Delhi toward the parliament building to protest high food prices, Reuters reported Feb. 23.

Russia: NATO Missile Defense Shield Group To Form February 22, 2011

Russia will form an interdepartmental working group to cooperate with NATO in developing a missile defense shield by Mar. 18, or earlier if circumstances permit, Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitri Rogozin said, Interfax reported Feb. 22. Speaking from Moscow, Rogozin said the group will be responsible for coordinating negotiations with NATO on the counter-missile dossier, adding Russia will remove all obstacles if NATO and Moscow cease military plans against each other. Rogozin said American missile defense systems create risks to the new START treaty, adding Russia will transit NATO cargo to Afghanistan only by air.

Russia: S-300 Shipment To Algeria To Proceed February 22, 2011

Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport vowed to fulfill an order to deliver a second battalion of S-300 strategic air defense batteries to Algeria, Interfax reported Feb. 22, citing the company’s director for special missions. Algeria’s deputy defense minister visited the firm to discuss the contract, the director said. Saudi Arabia may sign large weapons deals with Rosoboronexport despite regional unrest, he added.

Iran: Russia To Sign Isotope Delivery Agreement February 23, 2011

Russia is ready to sign an agreement to deliver radioactive isotopes for medical purposes to Iran, RT News Line reported Feb. 22. According to a Rosatom spokesman, no exact delivery date was set, but during a Feb. 22 visit to Iran, Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom’s chief Sergei Kiriyenko discussed Iran’s request for molybdenum-99 and iodine-131 isotopes.


Israel: Iran Could Detonate Nuclear Device In 2011 - DM February 23, 2011

Iran could detonate a nuclear device within a year as it overcomes problems in its nuclear program, but they are still “several years” away from delivering a nuclear weapon on a medium-range missile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, AFP reported Feb. 24. Iran is moving slower than expected and has encountered obstacles along the way, including the possibility of cyber-warfare, Barak said, adding, “they keep moving forward” and are accumulating more mid-level enriched uranium, “that should be disturbing to us.”

Israel: Troops Fire On Militants Following Bomb Attack February 23, 2011 Israeli tank fire wounded 11 people, including at least six militants, in the Gaza Strip Feb. 23 following an attack on an Israeli patrol, the military and Palestinian officials said, AP reported. The Israeli military said its tanks fired on militants after the militants detonated a bomb targeting the Israeli patrol near the border. Militants then fired mortars at the soldiers. Gaza health officials say two of the wounded militants were in serious condition. Islamic Jihad and Hamas militants said they fired mortars at the troops.


Dispatch: Gadhafi's Uphill Battle

Egypt: Thousands Protest After Priest Found Dead February 23, 2011

Thousands of Coptic Christians protested in the city of Assiut for the second day on Feb. 23 after a priest was found stabbed to death in his home, Daily News Egypt reported. Over 3,000 protesters marched on Feb. 22.

Egypt: MB Calls For Protests Against New Cabinet February 23, 2011

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is planning a rally on Feb. 25 in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to demand a new government, Al Bawaba reported Feb. 23, citing Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The MB was banned during former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule and is demanding a government that does not include anyone who served under Mubarak. Senior MB leader Essam el-Erian said the defense, justice, interior and foreign ministers have not changed and that indicates Egypt’s policy will remain “in the hands of Mubarak and his followers.”

Libya: Former Minister Urges Army To Join People February 22, 2011

Former Libyan Interior Minister Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, who defected from Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, has urged the Libyan army to join the people and respond to their demands, echoing similar statements made by Egyptian military leaders prior to the resignations of President Hosni Mubarak, Al Jazeera reported Feb. 22 Saudi Arabia: King Spends On Housing, Education, Social Welfare February 23, 2011

Saudi King Abdullah increased spending on housing by 40 billion riyals ($10.7 billion) as well as boosting the social security budget by 1 billion riyals and earmarking funds for education, Bloomberg reported Feb. 23, citing Saudi state-run television. Amid popular uprisings in the Arab world, Abdullah also ordered the creation of 1,200 jobs in supervision programs and made permanent a 15 percent cost-of-living allowance for government employees.

Bahrain: 308 Political Prisoners Freed February 23, 2011

Bahrain released 308 political prisoners on Feb. 23, DPA reported, citing a government statement. Many of the prisoners claimed to have been tortured.

Yemen: Students Killed At Rally February 22, 2011

Two students were killed during a rally of more than 1,000 anti-government protesters in Sanaa, Yemen, Al Jazeera reported Feb. 22. According to witnesses, 20 other protesters were injured when supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh fired shots and threw rocks at the rallying protesters. About 1,000 students spent the night camped in a large tent in Al-Huriya (Liberty) Square, near Sanaa University.

Mexico: U.S. Intelligence Agencies Not Coordinating - President February 22, 2011

Mexican President Felipe Calderon denied that a lack of coordination was undermining the fight against drug cartels, instead blaming the rivalry between U.S. intelligence agencies, according to El Universal, Reuters reported Feb. 22. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, CIA, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement constantly attempt to outdo one another while refusing to take responsibility, Calderon said. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual has demonstrated “ignorance” about events in the country and distorted reality, Calderon added.

Venezuela: Russian Delivery Of S-300 Missile Systems Delayed February 22, 2011

Russian delivery of S-300 missile defense systems to Venezuela was delayed but will go ahead as the contract exists but has not yet been implemented, according to Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport’s Special Programs Director Nikolai Dimidyuk, RIA Novosti reported Feb. 22. Dimidyuk said Venezuela rescheduled the delivery date several times but a timeframe has now been reached.

Above the Tearline: Attack Recognition and Evasive Action | STRATFOR

Except where noted courtesy www.stratfor.com

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Some good news from Mexico

From a STRATFOR report this afternoon
Mexico: Suspect Arrested In U.S. Agent's Murder February 23, 2011

Mexican soldiers have arrested one person suspected of participating in the murder of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata in San Luis Potosi state on Feb. 15, El Universal reported Feb. 23

Knowing Mexico they will probably not extradite him unless we take the death penalty off the table but this is still good news.

Democrat civility

Good to hear the Democrats are worried about civility.
Democrat urges unions to 'get a little bloody when necessary'

Sometimes it's necessary to get out on the streets and "get a little bloody," a Massachusetts Democrat said Tuesday in reference to labor battles in Wisconsin.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) fired up a group of union members in Boston with a speech urging them to work down in the trenches to fend off limits to workers' rights like those proposed in Wisconsin.

"I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going," Capuano said, according to the Dorchester Reporter. "Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."...

..."We take security seriously, whether it's for me, the lieutenant governor and all 132 members of the state legislature, Democrats or Republicans alike, because there's a lot of passion down here," Walker said Tuesday on MSNBC about his safety in Wisconsin. "And particularly when we see people coming in being bussed in from other states, that's what worries us."

" made his remarks before a crowd of union members in Boston, along with other members of the state's congressional delegation. Massachusetts has an influential union population that could loom large over the 2012 Senate race. Capuano is considering getting in that race to challenge Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) next fall. 

“This is going to be a struggle at least for the next two years. Let’s be serious about this. They’re not going to back down and we’re not going to back down. This is a struggle for the hearts and minds of America,” Capuano told union members.

I wonder if the idiot on MSNBC asked "Congressman Capuano shouldn't you be trying to tone things down....what you are saying may be an invitation to violence....aren't we all Americans after all?"

I wonder if B Hussein Obama will be calling him and telling him "Mike maybe you need to remember we're all Americans and we should be be respectful of each other in spite of our differences."

Yea right.

Problems with education in RI....and in America

One problem is stated but not well explained and another problem is not really stated.

Providence plans to pink slip all teachers
01:00 AM EST on Wednesday, February 23, 2011
By Linda Borg Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE — The school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every one of its 1,926 teachers, an unprecedented move that has union leaders up in arms.

In a letter sent to all teachers Tuesday, Supt. Tom Brady wrote that the Providence School Board on Thursday will vote on a resolution to dismiss every teacher, effective the last day of school.

In an e-mail sent to all teachers and School Department staff, Brady said, “We are forced to take this precautionary action by the March 1 deadline given the dire budget outline for the 2011-2012 school year in which we are projecting a near $40 million deficit for the district,” Brady wrote. “Since the full extent of the potential cuts to the school budget have yet to be determined, issuing a dismissal letter to all teachers was necessary to give the mayor, the School Board and the district maximum flexibility to consider every cost savings option, including reductions in staff.” State law requires that teachers be notified about potential changes to their employment status by March 1.

Now the fact Rhode Island has budget problems should come as no surprise. Many a state has that issue. But here is an issue that raises an eyebrow.

“This is beyond insane,” Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith said Tuesday night. “Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7 , 1941.” That was the day the Japanese government bombed Pearl Harbor.

I don't know what is more screwed up. The fact he compared being laid off with one of the greatest attacks we've ever suffered.  Or the fact the writer felt it necessary to write down what was the significance of December 7th 1941.  I would think someone with a basic knowledge of American history would not need to be reminded of the event of that date.  Like the readers of this paper....or a graduate of these public schools.

Mr Smith maybe you should ask if the people of RI are getting their money's worth in education spending.  If you are doing your job right a reporter in the future will not have to explain the significance of September 11 2001. It looks like Ms Borg has already made her judgement.

Officer Down

Police Officer David S. Crawford
St. Petersburg Florida Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, February 21, 2011
Age: 46
Tour of Duty: 25 years

Police Officer David Crawford was shot and killed after responding to a report of a suspicious person.

At approximately 10:30 pm Officer Crawford and another officer responded to a report of a suspicious person on the 700 block of 3rd Avenue after a citizen observed a male walking through his backyard with a broken brick in his hand. Officer Crawford canvassed the area and found the subject near the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue S and 8th Street S. He parked his patrol car and approached the male. At some point during the encounter there was an exchange of gunfire and Officer Crawford was shot and wounded. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center where he died from his wounds.

The suspect fled and remains at large.

Officer Crawford had served with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 25 years. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Geopolitical Diary Revolution and the Muslim World February 22, 2011

The Muslim world, from North Africa to Iran, has experienced a wave of instability in the last few weeks. No regimes have been overthrown yet, although as of this writing, Libya was teetering on the brink.

There have been moments in history where revolution spread in a region or around the world as if it were a wildfire. These moments do not come often. Those that come to mind include 1848, where a rising in France engulfed Europe. There was also 1968, where the demonstrations of what we might call the New Left swept the world: Mexico City, Paris, New York and hundreds of other towns saw anti-war revolutions staged by Marxists and other radicals. Prague saw the Soviets smash a New Leftist government. Even China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution could, by a stretch, be included. In 1989, a wave of unrest, triggered by East Germans wanting to get to the West, generated an uprising in Eastern Europe that overthrew Soviet rule.

Each had a basic theme. The 1848 uprisings attempted to establish liberal democracies in nations that had been submerged in the reaction to Napoleon. 1968 was about radical reform in capitalist society. 1989 was about the overthrow of communism. They were all more complex than that, varying from country to country. But in the end, the reasons behind them could reasonably be condensed into a sentence or two.

Some of these revolutions had great impact. 1989 changed the global balance of power. 1848 ended in failure at the time — France reverted to a monarchy within four years — but set the stage for later political changes. 1968 produced little that was lasting. The key is that in each country where they took place, there were significant differences in the details — but they shared core principles at a time when other countries were open to those principles, at least to some extent.

The Current Rising in Context
In looking at the current rising, the geographic area is clear: The Muslim countries of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula have been the prime focus of these risings, and in particular North Africa where Egypt, Tunisia and now Libya have had profound crises. Of course, many other Muslim countries also had revolutionary events that have not, at least until now, escalated into events that threaten regimes or even ruling personalities. There have been hints of such events elsewhere. There were small demonstrations in China, and of course Wisconsin is in turmoil over budget cuts. But these don’t really connect to what is happening in the Middle East. The first was small and the second is not taking inspiration from Cairo. So what we have is a rising in the Arab world that has not spread beyond there for the time being.

The key principle that appears to be driving the risings is a feeling that the regimes, or a group of individuals within the regimes, has deprived the public of political and, more important, economic rights — in short, that they enriched themselves beyond what good taste permitted. This has expressed itself in different ways. In Bahrain, for example, the rising was of the primarily Shiite population against a predominantly Sunni royal family. In Egypt, it was against the person of Hosni Mubarak. In Libya, it is against the regime and person of Moammar Gadhafi and his family, and is driven by tribal hostility.

Why has it come together now? One reason is that there was a tremendous amount of regime change in the region from the 1950s through the early 1970s, as the Muslim countries created regimes to replace foreign imperial powers and were buffeted by the Cold War. Since the early 1970s, the region has, with the exception of Iran in 1979, been fairly stable in the sense that the regimes — and even the personalities who rose up in the unstable phase — stabilized their countries and imposed regimes that could not easily be moved. Gadhafi, for example, overthrew the Libyan monarchy in 1969 and has governed continually for 42 years since then.

Any regime dominated by a small group of people over time will see that group use their position to enrich themselves. There are few who can resist for 40 years. It is important to recognize that Gadhafi, for example, was once a genuine, pro-Soviet revolutionary. But over time, revolutionary zeal declines and avarice emerges along with the arrogance of extended power. And in the areas of the region where there had not been regime changes since after World War I, this principle stays true as well, although interestingly, over time, the regimes seem to learn to spread the wealth a bit.

Thus, what emerged throughout the region were regimes and individuals who were classic kleptocrats. More than anything, if we want to define this wave of unrest, particularly in North Africa, it is a rising against regimes — and particularly individuals — who have been in place for extraordinarily long periods of time. And we can add to this that they are people who were planning to maintain family power and money by installing sons as their political heirs. The same process, with variations, is under way in the Arabian Peninsula. This is a rising against the revolutionaries of previous generations.

The revolutions have been coming for a long time. The rising in Tunisia, particularly when it proved successful, caused it to spread. As in 1848, 1968 and 1989, similar social and cultural conditions generate similar events and are triggered by the example of one country and then spread more broadly. That has happened in 2011 and is continuing.

A Uniquely Sensitive Region
It is, however, happening in a region that is uniquely sensitive at the moment. The U.S.-jihadist war means that, as with previous revolutionary waves, there are broader potential geopolitical implications. 1989 meant the end of the Soviet empire, for example. In this case, the question of greatest importance is not why these revolutions are taking place, but who will take advantage of them. We do not see these revolutions as a vast conspiracy by radical Islamists to take control of the region. A conspiracy that vast is easily detected, and the security forces of the individual countries would have destroyed the conspiracies quickly. No one organized the previous waves, although there have been conspiracy theories about them as well. They arose from certain conditions, following the example of one incident. But particular groups certainly tried, with greater and lesser success, to take advantage of them.

In this case, whatever the cause of the risings, there is no question that radical Islamists will attempt to take advantage and control of them. Why wouldn’t they? It is a rational and logical course for them. Whether they will be able to do so is a more complex and important question, but that they would want to and are trying to do so is obvious. They are a broad, transnational and disparate group brought up in conspiratorial methods. This is their opportunity to create a broad international coalition. Thus, as with traditional communists and the New Left in the 1960s, they did not create the rising but they would be fools not to try to take advantage of it. I would add that there is little question but that the United States and other Western countries are trying to influence the direction of the uprisings. For both sides, this is a difficult game to play, but it is particularly difficult for the United States as outsiders to play this game compared to native Islamists who know their country.

But while there is no question that Islamists would like to take control of the revolution, that does not mean that they will, nor does it mean that these revolutions will be successful. Recall that 1848 and 1968 were failures and those who tried to take advantage of them had no vehicle to ride. Also recall that taking control of a revolution is no easy thing. But as we saw in Russia in 1917, it is not necessarily the more popular group that wins, but the best organized. And you frequently don’t find out who is best organized until afterwards.

Democratic revolutions have two phases. The first is the establishment of democracy. The second is the election of governments. The example of Hitler is useful as a caution on what kind of governments a young democracy can produce, since he came to power through democratic and constitutional means — and then abolished democracy to cheering crowds. So there are three crosscurrents here. The first is the reaction against corrupt regimes. The second is the election itself. And the third? The United States needs to remember, as it applauds the rise of democracy, that the elected government may not be what one expected.

In any event, the real issue is whether these revolutions will succeed in replacing existing regimes. Let’s consider the process of revolution for the moment, beginning by distinguishing a demonstration from an uprising. A demonstration is merely the massing of people making speeches. This can unsettle the regime and set the stage for more serious events, but by itself, it is not significant. Unless the demonstrations are large enough to paralyze a city, they are symbolic events. There have been many demonstrations in the Muslim world that have led nowhere; consider Iran.

It is interesting here to note that the young frequently dominate revolutions like 1848, 1969 and 1989 at first. This is normal. Adults with families and maturity rarely go out on the streets to face guns and tanks. It takes young people to have the courage or lack of judgment to risk their lives in what might be a hopeless cause. However, to succeed, it is vital that at some point other classes of society join them. In Iran, one of the key moments of the 1979 revolution was when the shopkeepers joined young people in the street. A revolution only of the young, as we saw in 1968 for example, rarely succeeds. A revolution requires a broader base than that, and it must go beyond demonstrations. The moment it goes beyond the demonstration is when it confronts troops and police. If the demonstrators disperse, there is no revolution. If they confront the troops and police, and if they carry on even after they are fired on, then you are in a revolutionary phase. Thus, pictures of peaceful demonstrators are not nearly as significant as the media will have you believe, but pictures of demonstrators continuing to hold their ground after being fired on is very significant.

A Revolution’s Key Event
This leads to the key event in the revolution. The revolutionaries cannot defeat armed men. But if those armed men, in whole or part, come over to the revolutionary side, victory is possible. And this is the key event. In Bahrain, the troops fired on demonstrators and killed some. The demonstrators dispersed and then were allowed to demonstrate — with memories of the gunfire fresh. This was a revolution contained. In Egypt, the military and police opposed each other and the military sided with the demonstrators, for complex reasons obviously. Personnel change, if not regime change, was inevitable. In Libya, the military has split wide open.

When that happens, you have reached a branch in the road. If the split in the military is roughly equal and deep, this could lead to civil war. Indeed, one way for a revolution to succeed is to proceed to civil war, turning the demonstrators into an army, so to speak. That’s what Mao did in China. Far more common is for the military to split. If the split creates an overwhelming anti-regime force, this leads to the revolution’s success. Always, the point to look for is thus the police joining with the demonstrators. This happened widely in 1989 but hardly at all in 1968. It happened occasionally in 1848, but the balance was always on the side of the state. Hence, that revolution failed.

It is this act, the military and police coming over to the side of the demonstrators, that makes or breaks a revolution. Therefore, to return to the earlier theme, the most important question on the role of radical Islamists is not their presence in the crowd, but their penetration of the military and police. If there were a conspiracy, it would focus on joining the military, waiting for demonstrations and then striking.

Those who argue that these risings have nothing to do with radical Islam may be correct in the sense that the demonstrators in the streets may well be students enamored with democracy. But they miss the point that the students, by themselves, can’t win. They can only win if the regime wants them to, as in Egypt, or if other classes and at least some of the police or military — people armed with guns who know how to use them — join them. Therefore, looking at the students on TV tells you little. Watching the soldiers tells you much more.

The problem with revolutions is that the people who start them rarely finish them. The idealist democrats around Alexander Kerensky in Russia were not the ones who finished the revolution. The thuggish Bolsheviks did. In these Muslim countries, the focus on the young demonstrators misses the point just as it did in Tiananmen Square. It wasn’t the demonstrators that mattered, but the soldiers. If they carried out orders, there would be no revolution.

I don’t know the degree of Islamist penetration of the military in Libya, to pick one example of the unrest. I suspect that tribalism is far more important than theology. In Egypt, I suspect the regime has saved itself by buying time. Bahrain was more about Iranian influence on the Shiite population than Sunni jihadists at work. But just as the Iranians are trying to latch on to the process, so will the Sunni jihadists.

The Danger of Chaos
I suspect some regimes will fall, mostly reducing the country in question to chaos. The problem, as we are seeing in Tunisia, is that frequently there is no one on the revolutionaries’ side equipped to take power. The Bolsheviks had an organized party. In these revolutions, the parties are trying to organize themselves during the revolution, which is another way to say that the revolutionaries are in no position to govern. The danger is not radical Islam, but chaos, followed either by civil war, the military taking control simply to stabilize the situation or the emergence of a radical Islamic party to take control — simply because they are the only ones in the crowd with a plan and an organization. That’s how minorities take control of revolutions.

All of this is speculation. What we do know is that this is not the first wave of revolution in the world, and most waves fail, with their effects seen decades later in new regimes and political cultures. Only in the case of Eastern Europe do we see broad revolutionary success, but that was against an empire in collapse, so few lessons can be drawn from that for the Muslim world.

In the meantime, as you watch the region, remember not to watch the demonstrators. Watch the men with the guns. If they stand their ground for the state, the demonstrators have failed. If some come over, there is some chance of victory. And if victory comes, and democracy is declared, do not assume that what follows will in any way please the West — democracy and pro-Western political culture do not mean the same thing.

The situation remains fluid, and there are no broad certainties. It is a country-by-country matter now, with most regimes managing to stay in power to this point. There are three possibilities. One is that this is like 1848, a broad rising that will fail for lack of organization and coherence, but that will resonate for decades. The second is 1968, a revolution that overthrew no regime even temporarily and left some cultural remnants of minimal historical importance. The third is 1989, a revolution that overthrew the political order in an entire region, and created a new order in its place.

If I were to guess at this point, I would guess that we are facing 1848. The Muslim world will not experience massive regime change as in 1989, but neither will the effects be as ephemeral as 1968. Like 1848, this revolution will fail to transform the Muslim world or even just the Arab world. But it will plant seeds that will germinate in the coming decades. I think those seeds will be democratic, but not necessarily liberal. In other words, the democracies that eventually arise will produce regimes that will take their bearings from their own culture, which means Islam.

The West celebrates democracy. It should be careful what it hopes for: It might get it.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

What's going on in the World Today 110221


Turkey, Azerbaijan: Agreement To Produce Missiles Signed February 21, 2011

Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Industry Yavar Jamalov and Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul signed an agreement during the IDEX-2011 international defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to jointly produce self-propelled missiles, APA reported Feb. 21. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry and Turkish weapons manufacturer ROKETSAN will jointly produce 107 mm and 120 mm self-propelled missiles.


Turkey, Azerbaijan: Agreement To Produce Missiles Signed February 21, 2011

Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Industry Yavar Jamalov and Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul signed an agreement during the IDEX-2011 international defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to jointly produce self-propelled missiles, APA reported Feb. 21. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry and Turkish weapons manufacturer ROKETSAN will jointly produce 107 mm and 120 mm self-propelled missiles.

The Uncertainty Surrounding China's 'Jasmine' Protests | STRATFOR

Iran: Security Forces Disperse Protesters - Report February 20, 2011

Iranian anti-government protesters have gathered at various sites in Tehran, according to a number of reports on social network websites, Ynet reported Feb. 20. Security forces used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, though no injuries were reported.

Iraq: 1 Dead, 47 Wounded In Protests February 21, 2011

One person was killed and 47 wounded in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, when approximately 2,000 protesters demonstrated overnight on Feb. 21 and Kurdish security forces opened fire to disperse the crowds, AP reported, citing police and medical officials. Approximately 20 people were shot, including a 17-year-old who died of his wounds, while others were hit by flying stones.

Iraq: Militia Deployed To Sulaymaniyah February 20, 2011

Thousands of Peshmerga militia deployed in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, on Feb. 20, closing most businesses, a STRATFOR source in Iraq said. Earlier, approximately 50 armed men attacked and scorched the headquarters of NRT, the newly launched independent Kurdish TV station. A civil organization formed by youths called for demonstrations across the Kurdish region and a network of defense to protect freedoms and rights




Dispatch: Crisis in Libya | STRATFORLibya: 15,000 Egyptians Cross Border February 21, 2011

An estimated 15,000 Egyptians returned from Libya to Egypt by crossing the Salloum border Feb. 21, according to border officials, CNN reported. The Egyptian military established refugee camps near Salloum, setting up two mobile hospitals to assist Egyptians fleeing the protests in Libya, EgyNews? reported

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi Makes His Move | STRATFOR

Intelligence Guidance: The Situation in Libya | STRATFOR

Unrest in the Middle East: A Special Report | STRATFOR

Intelligence Guidance: Week of Feb. 20, 2011 | STRATFOR

Except where noted courtesy STRATFOR.COM

Monday, February 21, 2011

The feds say you have to have bats at school

For anyone who knows them New Orleans schools are a disaster (although since Katrina there has been some progress). But buerocratic nonsense like this makes you want to scream.

Bat removal at McDonogh 35 hampered by 'endangered species' designation

NEW ORLEANS – Attempts to rid McDonogh 35 High School of bats that have been flying around the third floor are being hampered due to the fact that officials have been told these bats are an endangered species and can’t be exterminated.

School system officials have been trying for weeks to rid the school of the bat problem that has upset parents and students to the point that they staged a rally outside of the school last week to protest.

The third floor of the building has been closed for classes while exterminators try to get rid of the bats. Putting out poison or sprays is not an option as the bats have to be captured and relocated and released, according to school officials...

...Exterminators plan to continue their attempts to capture the bats over the Mardi Gras holiday if need be.

“I cannot understand how these kids are safe and how it is sanitary for these kids to be here with these dropping and everything,” said Jeanine Bavis, a parent.

No Ms Bavis, your kids are not the issue...we got to make sure the bats are safe. I really wonder who can say with a straight face we don't have enough bats in the country. Oh yes, a Washington buerocrat.

Libya Update

Unrest and the Libyan Military
February 21, 2011 | 1735 GMT

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has ordered the Libyan air force to fire on military installations in Libya, according to what the BBC has characterized as a reliable source. Al Jazeera has suggested that air force fighters have opened fire on crowds of protesters.?
Though the latter would be particularly draconian, the more important question is whether these signs reflect a split within the regime and Gadhafi using military force to crush opposition to his regime emerging from the military or other security forces. Similar reports the Libyan navy firing on targets onshore also are emerging, as well as reports that Gadhafi has given execution orders to soldiers who have refused to fire on Libyan protesters.
The application of conventional weaponry is noteworthy and will warrant scrutiny — particularly in terms of the targets of the attacks and the rationale behind them. The use of these weapons is more appropriate for other armed entities rather than unarmed protesters. Libyan troops are good at instilling fear, but not good at stabilizing a situation, so the military may not be able to get in on the ground due to lost capability.
The situation remains opaque, but these latest developments combined with recent reports of defections of military units to the demonstrators’ side continue to draw STRATFOR’s attention to the possibility that the regime is fracturing.

Courtesy www.stratfor.com

More great news on Curly Fries Light

And it’s scary a Republican pushed this and he’s now head of a committee

I got the attached email from a friend Robert W discussing problem a friend of his had with a curly fries light, sometimes known as Compact Florescent Lights.

Below is a picture of a CFL light bulb from my bathroom. I turned it on the other day and then smelled smoke after a few minutes. Four-inch flames were spewing out of the side of the ballast like a blow torch!!! I immediately turned off the lights!!!I'm sure it would have caused a fire if I was not right there!!! Imagine if the kids had left the lights on as usual when they were not in the room!!!!!!!!!!!!

I took the bulb to the Fire Department to report the incident. The fireman wasn't at all surprised, and said that it was not an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, sometimes when the bulb burns out, there is a chance that the ballast can start a fire. He told me that the Fire Marshall had issued reports about the dangers of these bulbs.

Upon doing some Internet research, it seems that bulbs made by “Globe” in China seem to have the lion’s share of problems. Lots of fires have been blamed on misuse of CFL bulbs, like using them in recessed lighting, pot lights, dimmers or in track lighting. Mine was installed in a normal light socket.

I bought these at Wal-Mart. I will be removing all the Globe bulbs from my house. CFL bulbs ARE great energy-savers, but make sure you buy a name brand like Sylvania , Phillips or GE --and NOT the ones from China .. PASS THE WORD, PLEASE.

It reminded me of something I saw a few months ago…these are the actual instructions for disposing of a broken light bulb from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management.
What if I accidentally break a fluorescent lamp in my house?
The lamp contains a small amount of mercury, but you can clean this up yourself if you do the following:

Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum.

Keep people and pets away from the breakage area until the cleanup is complete.

Ventilate the area by opening windows, and leave the area for 15 minutes before returning to begin the cleanup. Mercury vapor levels will be lower by then.

For maximum protection and if you have them, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the sharp glass.

Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container, preferably a glass container with a metal screw top lid and seal like a canning jar.(1) A glass jar with a good seal works best to contain any mercury vapors inside.(2)

Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. You can use two stiff pieces of paper such as index cards or playing cards to scoop up pieces.

Pat the area with the sticky side of duct tape, packing tape or masking tape to pick up fine particles. Wipe the area with a wet wipe or damp
paper towel to pick up even finer particles.

Put all waste and materials into the glass container, including all material used in the cleanup that may have been contaminated with mercury. Label the container as “Universal Waste - broken lamp.”

Remove the container with the breakage and cleanup materials from your home. This is particularly important if you do not have a glass container.

Continue ventilating the room for several hours.

Wash your hands and face.

Take the glass container with the waste material to a facility that accepts “universal waste” for recycling. To determine where your municipality has made arrangements for recycling of this type of waste, call your municipal office or find your town in this list municipal collection sites.

When a break happens on carpeting, homeowners may consider removing throw rugs or the area of carpet where the breakage occurred as a precaution, particularly if the rug is in an area frequented by infants, small children or pregnant women.

Finally, if the carpet is not removed, open the window to the room during the next several times you vacuum the carpet to provide good ventilation.

The next time you replace a lamp, consider putting a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleaned up. If consumers remain concerned regarding safety, they may consider not utilizing fluorescent lamps in situations where they could easily be broken. Consumers may also consider avoiding CFL usage in bedrooms or carpeted areas frequented by infants, small children, or pregnant women. Finally, consider not storing too many used/spent lamps before recycling as that may increase your chances of breakage. Don’t forget to properly recycle your used fluorescent bulbs so they don’t break and put mercury into our environment.

(1). Other jars that can be made of glass and also work are pickle, peanut butter and applesauce jars. Not ideal but also a good choice for containing breakage is a heavy duty #2 plastic container with either a screw lid or push-on lid such as a joint compound bucket or certain kitty litter-type containers.

(2). If the only suitable jar available has food in it, you may need to empty it into another container before using it.

Thanks to the idiots in Washington DC, we have a hazmat site every time an overpriced less efficient light bulb that doesn’t last as promised breaks. Good to know we have such great public servants like this…