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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If B Hussein Obama was a Republican

Again, we're just waiting for Jay Leno or Andrea Mitchell to get to asking questions...I won't hold my breath.
John Hawkins  

6 Things The Mainstream Media Would Say About Obama If He Were A Republican

... two separate sets of rules shape how politicians behave, how they're perceived, and the issues that they spend most of their time talking about. In Barack Obama's case, the media would be focusing on an entirely different set of issues if he were a Republican.

1) This guy is way too stupid to be President of the United States! Poor Dan Quayle was forever branded as stupid for misspelling the word potato. It's not often noted, however, that the card that he was given by the school had misspelled the word. Then there's Obama, the man who stammers without a teleprompter, the guy who won't release his college records. How does Quayle's gaffe compare to Obama thinking there are 57 states? Duhr! How about Obama walking into a window at the White House? Duhr, duhr! What about signing a guest book 2008 in 2011? Duhr, duhr, duhr! Obama's stupidity would be a staple of late night talk show jokes if he were a Republican.

2) Obama's an amateurish cowboy who's wrecking our image around the world! Obama has made Jimmy Carter look like a foreign policy mastermind since he got into the White House. Sure, he gets credit for getting Osama Bin Laden. When the military walked up to Obama and said, "We know where Bin Laden is. Can we go get him?" he made the "gutsy call" to say "yes."

COMMENT:  He made the "gutsy call" after sitting on it for sixteen hours.  Yea, that was real gutsy.

3) Obama's going to bankrupt the country by giving our money to his corporate cronies! Remember when the media talked about the size of the deficit all the time? Remember when we heard about Halliburton and Blackwater on a daily basis? Oh, yes, that was when we had a Republican President. Now we've got the most wasteful spender in the history of our country in the White House, we're in danger of going bankrupt, and tens of billions in tax dollars have been transferred to corporations that have given money to the Democratic Party...

4) He's the job-killing, gas-price-raising, economy-wrecking President! Can you imagine the stories we'd see every day if a Republican were President? We'd have daily stories on the people left homeless by the “Obamaconomy,” human interest stories about single mothers who can't feed their kids anymore, and we'd hear from experts every day about how Obama is killing jobs, raising costs at the pump, and destroying the economy with his policies. Remember how the press used to slip a reference to George Bush speaking in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner into every story about Iraq?...

5) Obama's not an authentic black man. Black conservatives have their "blackness" challenged all the time, often by privileged white liberals who don't know any black people other than the ones who clean their mansions. If Barack Obama were a Republican, he'd be called an Oreo, a half-white house slave, and a white man pretending to be black. On the upside for the Clintons, Democrats would still be calling Bill Clinton the first (and only) black President.

6) He's an arrogant jerk who cares about no one but himself! Vacation, golf, shooting hoops -- the fun never stops for Barack Obama. It would be great if the rest of us could take that much time off, but our jobs keep us too busy. It's also fantastic that Obama finally went to Joplin, Missouri. If you're wondering why it took so long, well, they didn't have a golf course cleared until now...
Any other points that are not being discussed by CNN?

Geopolitical Weekly: Israel's Borders and National Security, May 31, 2011

By George Friedman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said May 30 that Israel could not prevent the United Nations from recognizing a Palestinian state, in the sense of adopting a resolution on the subject. Two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama, in a speech, called on Israel to return to some variation of its pre-1967 borders. The practical significance of these and other diplomatic evolutions in relation to Israel is questionable. Historically, U.N. declarations have had variable meanings, depending on the willingness of great powers to enforce them. Obama’s speech on Israel, and his subsequent statements, created enough ambiguity to make exactly what he was saying unclear. Nevertheless, it is clear that the diplomatic atmosphere on Israel is shifting.

There are many questions concerning this shift, ranging from the competing moral and historical claims of the Israelis and Palestinians to the internal politics of each side to whether the Palestinians would be satisfied with a return to the pre-1967 borders. All of these must be addressed, but this analysis is confined to a single issue: whether a return to the 1967 borders would increase the danger to Israel’s national security. Later analyses will focus on Palestinian national security issues and those of others.

Early Borders

It is important to begin by understanding that the pre-1967 borders are actually the borders established by the armistice agreements of 1949. The 1948 U.N. resolution creating the state of Israel created a much smaller Israel. The Arab rejection of what was called “partition” resulted in a war that created the borders that placed the West Bank (named after the west bank of the Jordan River) in Jordanian hands, along with substantial parts of Jerusalem, and placed Gaza in the hands of the Egyptians.

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The 1949 borders substantially improved Israel’s position by widening the corridors between the areas granted to Israel under the partition, giving it control of part of Jerusalem and, perhaps most important, control over the Negev. The latter provided Israel with room for maneuver in the event of an Egyptian attack — and Egypt was always Israel’s main adversary. At the same time, the 1949 borders did not eliminate a major strategic threat. The Israel-Jordan border placed Jordanian forces on three sides of Israeli Jerusalem, and threatened the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem corridor. Much of the Israeli heartland, the Tel Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem triangle, was within Jordanian artillery range, and a Jordanian attack toward the Mediterranean would have to be stopped cold at the border, since there was no room to retreat, regroup and counterattack.

For Israel, the main danger did not come from Jordan attacking by itself. Jordanian forces were limited, and tensions with Egypt and Syria created a de facto alliance between Israel and Jordan. In addition, the Jordanian Hashemite regime lived in deep tension with the Palestinians, since the former were British transplants from the Arabian Peninsula, and the Palestinians saw them as well as the Israelis as interlopers. Thus the danger on the map was mitigated both by politics and by the limited force the Jordanians could bring to bear.

Nevertheless, politics shift, and the 1949 borders posed a strategic problem for Israel. If Egypt, Jordan and Syria were to launch a simultaneous attack (possibly joined by other forces along the Jordan River line) all along Israel’s frontiers, the ability of Israel to defeat the attackers was questionable. The attacks would have to be coordinated — as the 1948 attacks were not — but simultaneous pressure along all frontiers would leave the Israelis with insufficient forces to hold and therefore no framework for a counterattack. From 1948 to 1967, this was Israel’s existential challenge, mitigated by the disharmony among the Arabs and the fact that any attack would be detected in the deployment phase.

Israel’s strategy in this situation had to be the pre-emptive strike. Unable to absorb a coordinated blow, the Israelis had to strike first to disorganize their enemies and to engage them sequentially and in detail. The 1967 war represented Israeli strategy in its first generation. First, it could not allow the enemy to commence hostilities. Whatever the political cost of being labeled the aggressor, Israel had to strike first. Second, it could not be assumed that the political intentions of each neighbor at any one time would determine their behavior. In the event Israel was collapsing, for example, Jordan’s calculations of its own interests would shift, and it would move from being a covert ally to Israel to a nation both repositioning itself in the Arab world and taking advantage of geographical opportunities. Third, the center of gravity of the Arab threat was always Egypt, the neighbor able to field the largest army. Any pre-emptive war would have to begin with Egypt and then move to other neighbors. Fourth, in order to control the sequence and outcome of the war, Israel would have to maintain superior organization and technology at all levels. Finally, and most important, the Israelis would have to move for rapid war termination. They could not afford a war of attrition against forces of superior size. An extended war could drain Israeli combat capability at an astonishing rate. Therefore the pre-emptive strike had to be decisive.

The 1949 borders actually gave Israel a strategic advantage. The Arabs were fighting on external lines. This means their forces could not easily shift between Egypt and Syria, for example, making it difficult to exploit emergent weaknesses along the fronts. The Israelis, on the other hand, fought from interior lines, and in relatively compact terrain. They could carry out a centrifugal offense, beginning with Egypt, shifting to Jordan and finishing with Syria, moving forces from one front to another in a matter of days. Put differently, the Arabs were inherently uncoordinated, unable to support each other. The pre-1967 borders allowed the Israelis to be superbly coordinated, choosing the timing and intensity of combat to suit their capabilities. Israel lacked strategic depth, but it made up for it with compact space and interior lines. If it could choose the time, place and tempo of engagements, it could defeat numerically superior forces. The Arabs could not do this.

Israel needed two things in order to exploit this advantage. The first was outstanding intelligence to detect signs of coordination and the massing of forces. Detecting the former sign was a matter of political intelligence, the latter a matter of tactical military intelligence. But the political intelligence would have to manifest itself in military deployments, and given the geography of the 1949 borders, massing forces secretly was impossible. If enemy forces could mass undetected it would be a disaster for Israel. Thus the center of gravity of Israeli war-making was its intelligence capabilities.

The second essential requirement was an alliance with a great power. Israel’s strategy was based on superior technology and organization — air power, armor and so on. The true weakness of Israel’s strategic power since the country’s creation had been that its national security requirements outstripped its industrial and financial base. It could not domestically develop and produce all of the weapons it needed to fight a war. Israel depended first on the Soviets, then until 1967 on France. It was not until after the 1967 war that the United States provided any significant aid to Israel. However, under the strategy of the pre-1967 borders, continual access to weapons — and in a crisis, rapid access to more weapons — was essential, so Israel had to have a powerful ally. Not having one, coupled with an intelligence failure, would be disastrous.

After 1967

The 1967 war allowed Israel to occupy the Sinai, all of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It placed Egyptian forces on the west bank of the Suez, far from Israel, and pushed the Jordanians out of artillery range of the Israeli heartland. It pushed Syria out of artillery range as well. This created the strategic depth Israel required, yet it set the stage for the most serious military crisis in Israeli history, beginning with a failure in its central capability — intelligence.

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The intelligence failure occurred in 1973, when Syria and Egypt managed to partially coordinate an assault on Israel without Israeli intelligence being able to interpret the intelligence it was receiving. Israel was saved above all by rapid rearmament by the United States, particularly in such staples of war as artillery shells. It was also aided by greater strategic depth. The Egyptian attack was stopped far from Israel proper in the western Sinai. The Syrians fought in the Golan Heights rather than in the Galilee.

Here is the heart of the pre-1967 border issue. Strategic depth meant that the Syrians and Egyptians spent their main offensive force outside of Israel proper. This bought Israel space and time. It allowed Israel to move back to its main sequential strategy. After halting the two attacks, the Israelis proceeded to defeat the Syrians in the Golan then the Egyptians in the Sinai. However, the ability to mount the two attacks — and particularly the Sinai attack — required massive American resupply of everything from aircraft to munitions. It is not clear that without this resupply the Israelis could have mounted the offensive in the Sinai, or avoided an extended war of attrition on unfavorable terms. Of course, the intelligence failure opened the door to Israel’s other vulnerability — its dependency on foreign powers for resupply. Indeed, perhaps Israel’s greatest miscalculation was the amount of artillery shells it would need to fight the war; the amount required vastly outstripped expectations. Such a seemingly minor thing created a massive dependency on the United States, allowing the United States to shape the conclusion of the war to its own ends so that Israel’s military victory ultimately evolved into a political retreat in the Sinai.

It is impossible to argue that Israel, fighting on its 1949 borders, was less successful than when it fought on its post-1967 borders. What happened was that in expanding the scope of the battlefield, opportunities for intelligence failures multiplied, the rate of consumption of supplies increased and dependence grew on foreign powers with different political interests. The war Israel fought from the 1949 borders was more efficiently waged than the one it fought from the post-1967 borders. The 1973 war allowed for a larger battlefield and greater room for error (errors always occur on the battlefield), but because of intelligence surprises and supply miscalculations it also linked Israel’s national survival to the willingness of a foreign government to quickly resupply its military.

The example of 1973 casts some doubt around the argument that the 1948 borders were excessively vulnerable. There are arguments on both sides of the issue, but it is not a clear-cut position. However, we need to consider Israel’s borders not only in terms of conventional war but also in terms of unconventional war — both uprisings and the use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons.

There are those who argue that there will be no more peer-to-peer conflicts. We doubt that intensely. However, there is certainly a great deal of asymmetric warfare in the world, and for Israel it comes in the form of intifadas, rocket attacks and guerrilla combat against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The post-1967 borders do not do much about these forms of warfare. Indeed, it can be argued that some of this conflict happens because of the post-1967 borders.

A shift to the 1949 borders would not increase the risk of an intifada but would make it moot. It would not eliminate conflict with Hezbollah. A shift to the 1949 line would eliminate some threats but not others. From the standpoint of asymmetric warfare, a shift in borders could increase the threat from Palestinian rockets to the Israeli heartland. If a Palestinian state were created, there would be the very real possibility of Palestinian rocket fire unless there was a significant shift in Hamas’ view of Israel or Fatah increased its power in the West Bank and was in a position to defeat Hamas and other rejectionist movements. This would be the heart of the Palestinian threat if there were a return to the borders established after the initial war.

The shape of Israel’s borders doesn’t really have an effect on the threat posed by CBRN weapons. While some chemical artillery rockets could be fired from closer borders, the geography leaves Israel inherently vulnerable to this threat, regardless of where the precise boundary is drawn, and they can already be fired from Lebanon or Gaza. The main threat discussed, a CBRN warhead fitted to an Iranian medium-range ballistic missile launched from a thousand miles away, has little to do with precisely where a line in the Levant is drawn.

When we look at conventional warfare, I would argue that the main issue Israel has is not its borders but its dependence on outside powers for its national security. Any country that creates a national security policy based on the willingness of another country to come to its assistance has a fundamental flaw that will, at some point, be mortal. The precise borders should be those that a) can be defended and b) do not create barriers to aid when that aid is most needed. In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon withheld resupply for some days, pressing Israel to the edge. U.S. interests were not those of Israel’s. This is the mortal danger to Israel — a national security requirement that outstrips its ability to underwrite it.

Israel’s borders will not protect it against Iranian missiles, and rockets from Gaza are painful but do not threaten Israel’s existence. In case the artillery rocket threat expands beyond this point, Israel must retain the ability to reoccupy and re-engage, but given the threat of asymmetric war, perpetual occupation would seem to place Israel at a perpetual disadvantage. Clearly, the rocket threat from Hamas represents the best argument for strategic depth.

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The best argument for returning to the pre-1967 borders is that Israel was more capable of fighting well on these borders. The war of independence, the 1956 war and the 1967 war all went far better than any of the wars that came after. Most important, if Israel is incapable of generating a national defense industry that can provide all the necessary munitions and equipment without having to depend on its allies, then it has no choice but to consider what its allies want. With the pre-1967 borders there is a greater chance of maintaining critical alliances. More to the point, the pre-1967 borders require a smaller industrial base because they do not require troops for occupation and they improve Israel’s ability to conduct conventional operations in a time of crisis.

There is a strong case to be made for not returning to the 1949 lines, but it is difficult to make that case from a military point of view. Strategic depth is merely one element of a rational strategy. Given that Israel’s military security depends on its relations with third parties, the shape of its borders and diplomatic reality are, as always, at the heart of Israeli military strategy.

In warfare, the greatest enemy of victory is wishful thinking. The assumption that Israel will always have an outside power prepared to rush munitions to the battlefield or help create costly defense systems like Iron Dome is simply wishful thinking. There is no reason to believe this will always be the case. Therefore, since this is the heart of Israeli strategy, the strategy rests on wishful thinking. The question of borders must be viewed in the context of synchronizing Israeli national security policy with Israeli national means.

There is an argument prevalent among Israelis and their supporters that the Arabs will never make a lasting peace with Israel. From this flows the assumption that the safest course is to continue to hold all territory. My argument assumes the worst case, which is not only that the Palestinians will not agree to a genuine peace but also that the United States cannot be counted on indefinitely. All military planning must begin with the worst case.

However, I draw a different conclusion from these facts than the Israelis do. If the worst-case scenario is the basis for planning, then Israel must reduce its risk and restructure its geography along the more favorable lines that existed between 1949 and 1967, when Israel was unambiguously victorious in its wars, rather than the borders and policies after 1967, when Israel has been less successful. The idea that the largest possible territory provides the greatest possible security is not supportable in military history. As Frederick the Great once said, he who defends everything defends nothing.

Israel's Borders and National Security is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Oh, so that's what the smell is.....

As I tell my rookies I'm training, "This is what we in the profession call a clue."
Woman Wheels Trash Can Containing Body Parts Through Ontario Neighborhood
Investigators are searching the home for more evidence.

ONTARIO (KTLA) -- A woman has been booked on murder charges after bringing a trash can containing the body parts of a deceased man to an area home and pushing it through the surrounding neighborhood Sunday, officials said.

51-year-old Carmen Montenegro was spotted toting a trash can down the street before bringing it to a home located on the 700 block of Holmes near H Street, where she told the residents that a body was inside the trash can and asked the residents, reportedly her relatives, to help her dispose of it.

Ontario police were alerted to the scene by a resident of the home and several witnesses who reported smelling a foul odor coming from the trash can at approximately 3pm Sunday, according to a report released by the San Bernardino Coroner's Department.

Great quote from the bottom of the story...Monty Python fans out there!

"Bring out your dead!....... bring out your dead!......"

Monday, May 30, 2011

Punks stole a teen's wheelchair...this is sick...

These are some sick idiots......

Scrappers Suspected Of Stealing Teen’s Wheelchair « CBS Chicago

GURNEE (CBS) — Police believe scrappers, people who cruise areas when it is garbage day and pick up metal, may have been the ones who stole a teen’s wheelchair.

Marlon Tapang’s specialized motorized wheelchair was taken just before the bus arrived to take him to Warren Township High School last Friday, which was garbage day in his Hasting Lane neighborhood.

His mother, Jarka, said the chair cost $7,681.

Jarka’s husband Paul was going about his usual routine that Friday morning. He placed the chair outside in the driveway and returned to the house to help his son use a walker to get to the driveway.

When Paul got back outside, the bus was already there and he assumed the bus driver had already taken the chair, which had a backpack with Marlon’s study notes for his final exams and his lunch bag, and put it on the bus.

“Then they got a telephone call from the school and they asked why they sent him to school without his wheelchair,” Gurnee Police Cmdr. Jay Patrick said Wednesday. “There have been no leads,” he said, adding he believes scrappers got it.

The motorized custom-made wheelchair affords Marlon, who has cerebral palsy, the most independence. His mother expects to be able to get another one through the insurance company, and she is asking people who want to donate money to her to instead donate money to the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association of Lake Forest, which helps disabled children play sports by providing special ....

...She recently heard from a friend who had their lawnmower grabbed by scrappers. The friend’s husband tried to chase them, but they were too fast.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What's going on in the World Today 110528



Former Watertown police officer among 18 charged in drug, extortion offenses. Federal law enforcement authorities May 24 unsealed an indictment that charges 18 people, including a former Watertown, Massachusetts police officer, with drug, extortion, and money laundering offenses, a U.S. attorney announced. According to the U.S. attorney, federal and local law enforcement agencies have “executed search warrants at seven locations in Watertown and Waltham, resulting in the seizure of more than $700,000 in U.S. currency, seven kilograms of gold bars, 80 pounds of marijuana, four weapons, and several vehicles.’’ The indictment, according to U.S. attorney’s office, alleges a former Watertown Police officer, conspired with another defendant to “impede, impair, and obstruct the lawful functions of the Department of Homeland Security.’’ The indictment alleges one of the defendants, used his personal connections with members of the Watertown Police Department, “to obtain information about law enforcement activity in order to impede and obstruct investigations into his drug trafficking activities in Watertown.’’ The former police officer was fired in November 2010 for unrelated misconduct issues, the police department said. He had a history of complaints during his 13-year career in Watertown, the police chief said. Source: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/watertown/2011/05/former_watertown_police_ office.htm


How Russia Could Respond to New U.S.-Polish Cooperation | STRATFOR

Dispatch: Europeans Discuss Ballistic Missile Defense | STRATFOR

Poland: U.S. Aviation Detachment Agreement To Be Announced May 27, 2011

The conclusion of the agreement to establish a U.S. aviation detachment in Poland will be announced May 28, senior White House national security official Liz Sherwood-Randall said while on board Air Force One on May 27, Reuters reported. The agreement will allow U.S. air forces to train Polish troops to utilize the F-16s and C-130s they purchased from the United States, Sherwood-Randall said. Trainers and aircraft will be sent to Poland so they can become more inter-operable with NATO, and it will be a small permanent presence on the ground and then a more substantial rotational presence, Sherwood-Randall added.


South Korea, U.S.: Bio-Terrorism Drill Discussed May 26, 2011

Military officers from South Korea and the United States discussed holding the first joint exercise to deal with bio-terrorism, Yonhap reported May 26.

Agenda: Challenges Facing China's Leadership | STRATFOR

Dispatch: Sea Lanes, Natural Resources at Stake in the South China Sea | STRATFOR


Russia and the U.S.: The Unexpected Common Ground | STRATFOR

Russia: S-400 Missile Systems To Be Stationed In Belarus May 24, 2011

Russia will station its S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in Belarus, state secretary of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, Pavel Borodin said, Russian Times reported May 24.



Iraq: Debaathification Committee Head Killed

Ali al-Lami, the head of the Justice and Accountability Commission (JAC) responsible for debaathification, was killed in east Baghdad on May 26, according to security officials, AFP reported. Al-Lami was shot by insurgents using silenced pistols while he was in his car, an interior ministry official said. The JAC banned several hundred parliamentary candidates from taking part in Iraq’s March 7, 2010, parliamentary election due to alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

Iraq: Report On Military Capabilities Near Completion May 25, 2011

A review of Iraq’s military capabilities is nearly complete and will be presented to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other senior political leaders, an unnamed U.S. congressional aide said May 25, Reuters reported. The aide said the purpose of the report was to remove politics from the debate about a continued U.S. troop presence in the country and narrow the issue to Iraq’s security capabilities. A second source in Baghdad called the report a “readiness assessment.”


Dispatch: Opening the Egypt-Gaza Border Crossing | STRATFOR

Dispatch: Netanyahu's Speech Before the U.S. Congress | STRATFOR



Yemen's Tribal Troubles | STRATFOR

Implications of Egypt Opening the Rafah Crossing | STRATFOR

Pragmatism Exacerbating Intra-Hamas Fault Lines | STRATFOR


Mexico: Drug Gunmen Force Down Police Helicopter May 25, 2011

 Mexican police said May 25 that one of their Russian-made MI-17 helicopters was forced to land after drug cartel gunmen opened fire on the craft, wounding two officers, AP reported. The police statement says the pilot decided to land about 3.5 miles from the scene of the attack in the state of Michoacan. The attack occurred early on May 24 near the city of Apatzingan, one of the main territories of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel.

Mexico: Cartel In Michoacan Has Undergone Rupture - Police May 28, 2011

The La Familia Michoacana cartel is not allied with Los Caballeros Templarios group, Mexico’s Federal Police (PF) learned after a raid that killed 11 and netted 36 arrests, Borderland Beat reported May 28. Detainees told PF there had been a rupture within La Familia involving leaders Enrique Plancarte Solis (La Chiva) and Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas (El Chango). Since the rupture, La Familia has been in a territorial dispute with Los Caballeros.

Mexico: 29 Killed In Nayarit Firefight May 26, 2011

Mexico’s National Defense Secretariat confirmed that 29 people were killed May 25 in a firefight between suspected drug-trafficking cartels in the municipality of Ruiz, Nayarit state, El Universal reported May 26.

Mexico: Residents Flee After Gunfights In Michoacan State May 25, 2011

More than 1,000 residents in Buenavista Tomatlan municipality, Michoacan state, fled to temporary shelters after firefights between unidentified gunmen began May 22, Milenio reported May 25. Approximately 200 people fled to the nearby municipalities of Aguililla and Apatzingan.


Above the Tearline: Inside a Protective Agent's Mind | STRATFOR

Except where noted courtesy www.stratfor.com

Officer Down

Police Officer Kevin Will
Houston Police Department
End of Watch: Sunday, May 29, 2011
Age: 38
Tour of Duty: 1 year, 8 months

Police Officer Kevin Will was struck and killed by a drunk driver as he investigated a hit-and-run accident involving a motorcyclist on the North Loop at approximately 3:15 am.

Officer Will was interviewing a witness to the motorcycle accident when the drunk driver drove around barriers and emergency vehicles that were blocking the closed freeway. Seeing the vehicle approach, Officer Will warned the witness to jump out of the way. The citizen was able to jump to safety moments before Officer Will was struck and killed.

The driver was taken into custody at the scene and faces charges in connection with Officer Will's death.

Officer Will had served with the Houston Police Department for almost two years. He is survived by his expectant wife and two 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.

Bibi tells BO where to go

Quote Of The Day, May 27, 2011

“I am writing today with a somewhat unusual request. First and foremost, I will be asking that you return America to its August 20th, 1959, borders so that Hawaii is no longer a state and you are no longer a citizen.”

Attributed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he didn’t really write that.

UPDATE: Cartoon in similar vein....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Officer Down

Sergeant Kenneth Gary Vann
Bexar County TexasSheriff's Office
End of Watch: Saturday, May 28, 2011
Age: 48
Tour of Duty: 24 years, 6 months

Sergeant Kenneth Vann was shot and killed in an ambush while stopped at a red light on Rigsby Avenue at 2:12 am.

He was responding to a non-emergency call and had stopped for a red light at the intersection of Rigsby Avenue and SE Loop 410. A car pulled up next to his patrol car on the passenger side and the occupant(s) immediately opened fire with no warning. Sergeant Vann was struck by multiple shots. His patrol car rolled through the intersection and was stopped by crash barriers. He succumbed to his wounds before arriving at a local hospital.

The other vehicle fled the scene and the suspect(s) remain at large.

Sergeant Vann had served with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office for over 24 years.

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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Geopolitical Weekly: Obama and the Arab Spring May 24, 011

By George Friedman

U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech last week on the Middle East. Presidents make many speeches. Some are meant to be taken casually, others are made to address an immediate crisis, and still others are intended to be a statement of broad American policy. As in any country, U.S. presidents follow rituals indicating which category their speeches fall into. Obama clearly intended his recent Middle East speech to fall into the last category, as reflecting a shift in strategy if not the declaration of a new doctrine.

While events in the region drove Obama’s speech, politics also played a strong part, as with any presidential speech. Devising and implementing policy are the president’s job. To do so, presidents must be able to lead — and leading requires having public support. After the 2010 election, I said that presidents who lose control of one house of Congress in midterm elections turn to foreign policy because it is a place in which they retain the power to act. The U.S. presidential campaign season has begun, and the United States is engaged in wars that are not going well. Within this framework, Obama thus sought to make both a strategic and a political speech.

Obama’s War Dilemma

The United States is engaged in a broad struggle against jihadists. Specifically, it is engaged in a war in Afghanistan and is in the terminal phase of the Iraq war.

The Afghan war is stalemated. Following the death of Osama bin Laden, Obama said the Taliban’s forward momentum has been stopped. He did not, however, say that the Taliban are being defeated. Given the state of affairs between the United States and Pakistan following bin Laden’s death, whether the United States can defeat the Taliban remains unclear. It might be able to, but the president must remain open to the possibility that the war will become an extended stalemate.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops are being withdrawn from Iraq, but that does not mean the conflict is over. Instead, the withdrawal has opened the door to Iranian power in Iraq. The Iraqis lack a capable military and security force. Their government is divided and feeble. Meanwhile, the Iranians have had years to infiltrate Iraq. Iranian domination of Iraq would open the door to Iranian power projection throughout the region. Therefore, the United States has proposed keeping U.S. forces in Iraq but has yet to receive Iraq’s approval. If that approval is given (which looks unlikely), Iraqi factions with clout in parliament have threatened to renew the anti-U.S. insurgency.

The United States must therefore consider its actions should the situation in Afghanistan remain indecisive or deteriorate and should Iraq evolve into an Iranian strategic victory. The simple answer — extending the mission in Iraq and increasing forces in Afghanistan — is not viable. The United States could not pacify Iraq with 170,000 troops facing determined opposition, while the 300,000 troops that Chief of Staff of the Army Eric Shinseki argued for in 2003 are not available. Meanwhile, it is difficult to imagine how many troops would be needed to guarantee a military victory in Afghanistan. Such surges are not politically viable, either. After nearly 10 years of indecisive war, the American public has little appetite for increasing troop commitments to either war and has no appetite for conscription.

Obama thus has limited military options on the ground in a situation where conditions in both war zones could deteriorate badly. And his political option — blaming former U.S. President George W. Bush — in due course would wear thin, as Nixon found in blaming Johnson.

The Coalition of the Willing Meets the Arab Spring

For his part, Bush followed a strategy of a coalition of the willing. He understood that the United States could not conduct a war in the region without regional allies, and he therefore recruited a coalition of countries that calculated that radical Islamism represented a profound threat to regime survival. This included Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, and Pakistan. These countries shared a desire to see al Qaeda defeated and a willingness to pool resources and intelligence with the United States to enable Washington to carry the main burden of the war.

This coalition appears to be fraying. Apart from the tensions between the United States and Pakistan, the unrest in the Middle East of the last few months apparently has undermined the legitimacy and survivability of many Arab regimes, including key partners in the so-called coalition of the willing. If these pro-American regimes collapse and are replaced by anti-American regimes, the American position in the region might also collapse.

Obama appears to have reached three conclusions about the Arab Spring:

It represented a genuine and liberal democratic rising that might replace regimes.
American opposition to these risings might result in the emergence of anti-American regimes in these countries.
The United States must embrace the general idea of the Arab risings but be selective in specific cases; thus, it should support the rising in Egypt, but not necessarily in Bahrain.
Though these distinctions may be difficult to justify in intellectual terms, geopolitics is not an abstract exercise. In the real world, supporting regime change in Libya costs the United States relatively little. Supporting an uprising in Egypt could have carried some cost, but not if the military was the midwife to change and is able to maintain control. (Egypt was more an exercise of regime preservation than true regime change.) Supporting regime change in Bahrain, however, would have proved quite costly. Doing so could have seen the United States lose a major naval base in the Persian Gulf and incited spillover Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province.

Moral consistency and geopolitics rarely work neatly together. Moral absolutism is not an option in the Middle East, something Obama recognized. Instead, Obama sought a new basis for tying together the fraying coalition of the willing.

Obama’s Challenge and the Illusory Arab Spring

Obama’s conundrum is that there is still much uncertainty as to whether that coalition would be stronger with current, albeit embattled, regimes or with new regimes that could arise from the so-called Arab Spring. He began to address the problem with an empirical assumption critical to his strategy that in my view is questionable, namely, that there is such a thing as an Arab Spring.

Let me repeat something I have said before: Not all demonstrations are revolutions. Not all revolutions are democratic revolutions. Not all democratic revolutions lead to constitutional democracy.

The Middle East has seen many demonstrations of late, but that does not make them revolutions. The 300,000 or so demonstrators concentrated mainly in Tahrir Square in Cairo represented a tiny fraction of Egyptian society. However committed and democratic those 300,000 were, the masses of Egyptians did not join them along the lines of what happened in Eastern Europe in 1989 and in Iran in 1979. For all the media attention paid to Egypt’s demonstrators, the most interesting thing in Egypt is not who demonstrated, but the vast majority who did not. Instead, a series of demonstrations gave the Egyptian army cover to carry out what was tantamount to a military coup. The president was removed, but his removal would be difficult to call a revolution.

And where revolutions could be said to have occurred, as in Libya, it is not clear they were democratic revolutions. The forces in eastern Libya remain opaque, and it cannot be assumed their desires represent the will of the majority of Libyans — or that the eastern rebels intend to create, or are capable of creating, a democratic society. They want to get rid of a tyrant, but that doesn’t mean they won’t just create another tyranny.

Then, there are revolutions that genuinely represent the will of the majority, as in Bahrain. Bahrain’s Shiite majority rose up against the Sunni royal family, clearly seeking a regime that truly represents the majority. But it is not at all clear that they want to create a constitutional democracy, or at least not one the United States would recognize as such. Obama said each country can take its own path, but he also made clear that the path could not diverge from basic principles of human rights — in other words, their paths can be different, but they cannot be too different. Assume for the moment that the Bahraini revolution resulted in a democratic Bahrain tightly aligned with Iran and hostile to the United States. Would the United States recognize Bahrain as a satisfactory democratic model?

The central problem from my point of view is that the Arab Spring has consisted of demonstrations of limited influence, in non-democratic revolutions and in revolutions whose supporters would create regimes quite alien from what Washington would see as democratic. There is no single vision to the Arab Spring, and the places where the risings have the most support are the places that will be least democratic, while the places where there is the most democratic focus have the weakest risings.

As important, even if we assume that democratic regimes would emerge, there is no reason to believe they would form a coalition with the United States. In this, Obama seems to side with the neoconservatives, his ideological enemies. Neoconservatives argued that democratic republics have common interests, so not only would they not fight each other, they would band together — hence their rhetoric about creating democracies in the Middle East. Obama seems to have bought into this idea that a truly democratic Egypt would be friendly to the United States and its interests. That may be so, but it is hardly self-evident — and this assumes democracy is a real option in Egypt, which is questionable.

Obama addressed this by saying we must take risks in the short run to be on the right side of history in the long run. The problem embedded in this strategy is that if the United States miscalculates about the long run of history, it might wind up with short-term risks and no long-term payoff. Even if by some extraordinary evolution the Middle East became a genuine democracy, it is the ultimate arrogance to assume that a Muslim country would choose to be allied with the United States. Maybe it would, but Obama and the neoconservatives can’t know that.

But to me, this is an intellectual abstraction. There is no Arab Spring, just some demonstrations accompanied by slaughter and extraordinarily vacuous observers. While the pressures are rising, the demonstrations and risings have so far largely failed, from Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak was replaced by a junta, to Bahrain, where Saudi Arabia by invitation led a contingent of forces to occupy the country, to Syria, where Bashar al Assad continues to slaughter his enemies just like his father did.

A Risky Strategy

Obviously, if Obama is going to call for sweeping change, he must address the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. Obama knows this is the graveyard of foreign policy: Presidents who go into this rarely come out well. But any influence he would have with the Arabs would be diminished if he didn’t try. Undoubtedly understanding the futility of the attempt, he went in, trying to reconcile an Israel that has no intention of returning to the geopolitically vulnerable borders of 1967 with a Hamas with no intention of publicly acknowledging Israel’s right to exist — with Fatah hanging in the middle. By the weekend, the president was doing what he knew he would do and was switching positions.

At no point did Obama address the question of Pakistan and Afghanistan or the key issue: Iran. There can be fantasies about uprisings in Iran, but 2009 was crushed, and no matter what political dissent there is among the elite, a broad-based uprising is unlikely. The question thus becomes how the United States plans to deal with Iran’s emerging power in the region as the United States withdraws from Iraq.

But Obama’s foray into Israeli-Palestinian affairs was not intended to be serious; rather, it was merely a cover for his broader policy to reconstitute a coalition of the willing. While we understand why he wants this broader policy to revive the coalition of the willing, it seems to involve huge risks that could see a diminished or disappeared coalition. He could help bring down pro-American regimes that are repressive and replace them with anti-American regimes that are equally or even more repressive.

If Obama is right that there is a democratic movement in the Muslim world large enough to seize power and create U.S.-friendly regimes, then he has made a wise choice. If he is wrong and the Arab Spring was simply unrest leading nowhere, then he risks the coalition he has by alienating regimes in places like Bahrain or Saudi Arabia without gaining either democracy or friends.

Obama and the Arab Spring is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Patti Reagan, err Davis really makes her Old Man proud....

It’s funny that objective journalist like Joy Behar (hey, she’s no worse than Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, Helen Thomas, George Stephanopoulos, etc) want insight to Ronald Reagan they go to such great sources as...Patti Davis.

Here is the former Patti Reagan on Ms Behar’s show from a few days ago.
Reagan's Daughter: Sarah Palin Is "Nothing Like My Father"

Ronald Reagan's rebellious daughter Patti Davis, known for posing in Playboy magazine, had some choice words for Sarah Palin in her Tuesday evening interview on Headline News' "Joy Behar Show."

After insulting her father as "Saint Ronnie Reagan," Behar asked Davis what she thinks about people who are compared to her father.

"Sarah Palin is nothing like my father. And actually none -- neither is Michele Bachmann, but particularly Sarah Palin is not," Patti Davis said. "My father didn't take a gun at every four-legged creature that came near him. I think that alone would elicit his disapproval of her, her slaughter of wolves and pretty much slaughter of anything with four legs and comes by her."

Well Patti, I don’t recall Ms Palin shooting every “four legged creature” she comes in touch with. She has dogs and she hasn’t shot ever moose in Alaska so that statement is off the reservation. But in case you didn’t know your dad was a governor, a Republican, pro-life, for limited government, for tax cuts, believed the money people eared was theirs, not Washington’s, went to an unknown school. I think the former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin shares those believes and experiences.

Also, my memory was of leftists like you Patti not really caring for RR while he was in office. You may remember Tip O’Neil called your Dad “an amiable dunce”. Tell me Pati, did that offend you or that idiot brother of yours little Ron? Now I have no doubt your old man let O’Neil’s comment wash off his back, like you being “pro-choice” or being part of the nuclear freeze movement. But I’ll bet you really hurt him by your accusations of your mother (you remember her, Nancy Reagan, the love of his life) being physical abusive and you calling your dad “distant and aloof.” Or the grandist insult I can think of, changing you name from Reagan to Davis. Gee, you really make you dad proud there Patti.

Also, as I only subscribe to Playboy for the articles, I should hopefully miss seeing you...

I wonder how this efficiency project worked out....

Good to know they trying to embrace technology for more efficiency.
Crips Streamline Membership Application Process Paperwork, Beatings To Be Reduced 50%

Becoming a Crip became even easier yesterday, as the Los Angeles-based gang announced a series of radical procedural improvements including more efficient initiation beatings and a new voucher system for better access to the gang's stable of hoes.

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better serve potential new members, the L.A.-based Crips street gang unveiled a revamped gang application procedure yesterday, one expected to reduce both initiation beatings and paperwork by 50 percent. The new process, which was principally designed by Crips president LaShawn Harris, is scheduled to take effect immediately.

“We are confident that the changes will make becoming a Crip easier and more enjoyable,” Harris said. “We simply felt that the old procedure, which involved filling out long, detailed application forms in triplicate; getting the forms stamped by a notary public; and having senior gang members urinate in one’s mouth, was discouraging to many young people interested in being a part of our organization.”

Among the major changes: New members will no longer be required to show ID before selecting a ho from the Crips’ stable of bitches.

“In the past, anyone with less than two years’ membership had to have an active ID card with an up-to-date sticker on the back if they wanted to get freaky with one of the hoes,” Crips treasurer Trezelle Ivey said. “Now, all they have to do is give their membership number and initial a sheet.”

Ivey added that when knocking boots, gang members now have the added option of using a special new voucher, which can be re-credited to one’s account if the bitch turns cold and refuses to give it up.

Another improvement the Crips have made is greater flexibility in scheduling initiation murders.

“Until now, we pretty much told new members that they would have to go out and kill a Blood at a time that was good for us,” Crips vice-president Dwayne Henderson said. “Well, very often that made things difficult for those who had a prior commitment, such as a job or internship. Now, new members can commit their mandatory killings at a time that’s good for them, not us.”

The Crips have also revamped their branding procedure.

“No longer will new members be forcibly held down by four senior Crips as a giant ‘C’ is burned into their back,” Henderson said. “We now offer frightened new members the option of having a fifth person help restrain them.”

To offset the cost of providing the fifth helper at brandings, however, the gang will no longer offer initiates a free blunt or 40-ounce of St. Ides to numb the pain.

So far, reaction to the changes have been largely positive.

“When my older brother joined the Crips in 1991, he had to wait in line for hours,” new member Keyshon Williams, 14, said. “But when I joined recently, there was practically no wait at all. I was initiated and beaten in less than 15 minutes. And I was actually doing drive-bys the very next day.”

LAPD officials are impressed by the changes.

“With so many young people today interested in gangbanging, it’s often difficult for popular gangs to process them fast enough,” Sgt. Jeff Herron said. “But the Crips are doing a tremendous job accommodating all these kids. And their processing center is now open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays, which helps a lot for those with nine-to-five jobs.”

According to Crip spokesperson Allan “T. Boz” Watkins, by 1998 the gang hopes to have all members’ records computerized.

“At the push of a button, we’ll know exactly who’s killed whom, and who has said what about whose mother.”

Despite the application procedure changes, the gang’s resignation procedure will remain the same.

According to Harris: “Those looking to quit will still have to complete resignation forms in duplicate, fill out the Crips exit survey, undergo an exit interview to let management know personally how they felt about their experience with us, and hand in all registered sawed-offs and glocks.”

Thank you to The Onion for this criminal intelligence update!

A great view on the upcoming election...

From Iowa Hawk Blog on Twitter.

President Obama's toughest re-election opponent: Math.

Security Weekly: The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence, May 26, 2011

Ironic....then Rep. Robert Torricelli went after unsavory characters on the CIA payroll....and he was hounded out of office for corruption.  Gotta love it. Like many an idiot on the Hill, he didn't understand you don't deal with alter boys in the Middle East.
By Fred Burton

Since May 2, when U.S. special operations forces crossed the Afghan-Pakistani border and killed Osama bin Laden, international media have covered the raid from virtually every angle. The United States and Pakistan have also squared off over the U.S. violation of Pakistan’s sovereign territory and  Pakistan’s possible complicity in hiding the al Qaeda leader. All this surface-level discussion, however, largely ignores almost 10 years of intelligence development in the hunt for bin Laden.

While the cross-border nighttime raid deep into Pakistan was a daring and daunting operation, the work to find the target — one person out of 180 million in a country full of insurgent groups and a population hostile to American activities on its soil — was a far greater challenge. For the other side, the challenge of hiding the world’s most wanted man from the world’s most funded intelligence apparatus created a clandestine shell game that probably involved current or former Pakistani intelligence officers as well as competing intelligence services. The details of this struggle will likely remain classified for decades.

Examining the hunt for bin Laden is also difficult, mainly because of the sensitivity of the mission and the possibility that some of the public information now available could be disinformation intended to disguise intelligence sources and methods. Successful operations can often compromise human sources and new intelligence technologies that have taken years to develop. Because of this, it is not uncommon for intelligence services to try to create a wilderness of mirrors to protect sources and methods. But using open-source reporting and human intelligence from STRATFOR’s own sources, we can assemble enough information to draw some conclusions about this complex intelligence effort and raise some key questions.

The Challenge

Following the 9/11 attacks, finding and killing bin Laden became the primary mission of the U.S. intelligence community, particularly the CIA. This mission was clearly laid out in a presidential “finding,” or directive, signed on Sept. 17, 2001, by then-U.S. President George W. Bush. By 2005 it became clear to STRATFOR that bin Laden was deep inside Pakistan. Although the Pakistani government was ostensibly a U.S. ally, it was known that there were elements within it sympathetic to al Qaeda and bin Laden. In order to find bin Laden, U.S. intelligence would have to work with — and against — Pakistani intelligence services.

Finding bin Laden in a hostile intelligence environment while friends and sympathizers were protecting him represented a monumental intelligence challenge for the United States. With bin Laden and his confederates extremely conscious of U.S technical intelligence abilities, the search quickly became a human-intelligence challenge. While STRATFOR believes bin Laden had become tactically irrelevant since 9/11, he remained symbolically important and a focal point for the U.S. intelligence effort. And while it appears that the United States has improved its intelligence capabilities and passed an important test, much remains undone. Today, the public information surrounding the case illuminates the capabilities that will be used to find other high-value targets as the U.S. effort continues.

The official story on the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound has been widely reported, leaked from current and former U.S. officials. It focuses on a man with the cover name Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, a Pakistani Pashtun born in Kuwait who became bin Laden’s most trusted courier. With fluency in Pashto and Arabic, according to media reports, al-Kuwaiti would be invaluable to al Qaeda, and in order to purchase bin Laden’s property and run errands he would also need to be fluent in Urdu. His position as bin Laden’s most trusted courier made him a key link in disrupting the organization. While this man supposedly led the United States to bin Laden, it took a decade of revamping U.S. intelligence capabilities and a great deal of hard work (and maybe even a lucky break) to actually find him.

The first step for U.S. intelligence services after Bush’s directive was focusing their efforts on bin Laden and the al Qaeda leadership. Intelligence collection against al Qaeda was under way before 9/11, but after the attacks it became the No. 1 priority. Due to a lack of human intelligence in the region and allies for an invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA revived connections with anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan and with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate in order to oust the Taliban government and accrue intelligence for use in disrupting al Qaeda. The connections were built in the 1980s as the CIA famously operated through the ISI to fund militant groups in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet military. Most of these links were lost when the Soviets withdrew from the Southwest Asian state and the CIA nominally declared victory. Pakistan, left with Afghanistan and these militant groups, developed a working relationship with the Taliban and others for its own interests. A coterie of ISI officers was embedded with different militant groups, and some of them became jihadist sympathizers.

U.S. intelligence budgets were severely cut in the 1990s in light of the “peace dividend” following the fall of the Soviet Union, as some U.S. leaders argued there was no one left to fight. Intelligence collection was a dirty, ambiguous and dangerous game that U.S. politicians were not prepared to stomach. John Deutch, the director of the CIA from 1995 to 1996, gutted the CIA’s sources on what was known as the “Torricelli Principle” (named after then-Rep. Robert Torricelli), which called for the removal of any unsavory characters from the payroll. This meant losing sources in the exact kind of organizations U.S. intelligence would want to infiltrate, including militants in Southwest Asia.

The CIA began to revive its contacts in the region after the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While the U.S. intelligence community was looking for bin Laden at this time, he was not a high priority, and U.S. human-intelligence capabilities in the region were limited. The United States has always had trouble with human intelligence — having people sitting at computers is less of a security risk than having daring undercover operatives running around in the field — and by the end of the 1990s it was relying on technological platforms for intelligence more than ever.

The United States was in this state on Sept. 12, 2001, when it began to ramp up its intelligence operations, and al Qaeda was aware of this. Bin Laden knew that if he could stay away from electronic communications, and generally out of sight, he would be much harder to track. After invading Afghanistan and working with the ISI in Pakistan, the United States had a large number of detainees who it hoped would have information to breach bin Laden’s operational security. From some mix of detainees caught in operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan (particularly with the help of the ISI), including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Farj al-Libi, came information leading to an important bin Laden courier known by various names, including Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. (His actual identity is still unconfirmed, though his real name may be Sheikh Abu Ahmed.)
The efficacy of enhanced interrogation and torture techniques is constantly debated — they may have helped clarify or obfuscate the courier’s identity (some reports say Mohammed tried to lead investigators away from him). What is clear is that U.S. intelligence lacked both a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of al Qaeda and, most important, human sources with access to that information. With the United States not knowing what al Qaeda was capable of, the fear of a follow-on attack to 9/11 loomed large.

Anonymous U.S. intelligence officials told Reuters the breakthrough came when a man named Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq in 2004 by Kurdish forces and turned over to the United States. Little is known about Ghul’s identity except that he is believed to have worked with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and to have given interrogators information about a man named “al-Kuwaiti” who was a courier between al-Zarqawi and al Qaeda operational commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ghul was then given over to the Pakistani security services; he is believed to have been released in 2007 and to now be fighting somewhere in the region.

While U.S. intelligence services got confirmation of al-Kuwaiti’s role from al-Libi, they could not find the courier. It is unknown if they gave any of this information to the Pakistanis or asked for their help. According to leaks from U.S. officials to AP, the Pakistanis provided the National Security Agency (NSA), the main U.S. communications interception agency, with information that allowed it to monitor a SIM card from a cellphone that had frequently called Saudi Arabia. In 2010, the NSA intercepted a call made by al-Kuwaiti and began tracking him in Pakistan. Another U.S. official told CNN that the operational security exercised by al-Kuwaiti and his brother made them difficult to trail, but “an elaborate surveillance effort” was organized to track them to the Abbottabad compound.

From then on, the NSA monitored all of the cellphones used by the couriers and their family members, though they were often turned off and had batteries removed when the phones’ users went to the Abbottabad compound or to other important meetings. The compound was monitored by satellites and RQ-170 Sentinels, stealth versions of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which were reportedly flown over the compound. According to The Wall Street Journal, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) even built a replica of the compound for CIA Director Leon Panetta and other officials. The NGA is the premier U.S. satellite observation agency, which could have watched the goings-on at the compound and even spotted bin Laden, though it would have been difficult to confirm his identity.

Some of these leaks could be disingenuous in order to lead the public and adversary intelligence agencies away from highly classified sources and methods. But they do reflect long-believed assessments of the U.S. intelligence community regarding its advanced capability in technology-based intelligence gathering as well as the challenges it faces in human-intelligence collection.

The Utility of Liaison Relationships

Historically, U.S. intelligence officers have been white males, though the CIA has more recently begun hiring more minorities, including those from various ethnic and linguistic groups important to its mission (or at least those who can pass the polygraph and full-field background investigation, a substantial barrier). Even when intelligence officers look the part in the countries in which they operate and have a native understanding of the cultures and languages, they need sources within the organizations they are trying to penetrate. It is these sources, recruited by intelligence officers and without official or secret status, who are the “agents” providing the information needed back at headquarters. The less an intelligence officer appears like a local the more difficult it is to meet with and develop these agents, which has led the United States to frequently depend on liaison services — local intelligence entities — to collect information.

Many intelligence services around the world were established with American support or funding for just this purpose. The most dependent liaison services essentially function as sources, acquiring information at the local CIA station’s request. They are often made up of long-serving officers in the local country’s military, police or intelligence services, with a nuanced understanding of local issues and the ability to maintain a network of sources. With independent intelligence services, such as Israel’s Mossad, there has been roughly an equal exchange of intelligence, where Israeli sources may recruit a human source valuable to the United States and the CIA may have satellite imagery or communications intercepts valuable to the Israelis.

Of course, this is not a simple game. It involves sophisticated players trying to collect intelligence while deceiving one another about their intentions and plans — and many times trying to muddy the water a little to hide the identity of their sources from the liaison service. Even the closest intelligence relationships, such as that between the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service, have been disrupted by moles like Kim Philby, a longtime Soviet plant who handled the liaison work between the two agencies.

Since most U.S. intelligence officers serve on rotations of only one to three years — out of concern they will “go native” or to allow them to return to the comfort of home — it becomes even more challenging to develop long-term human-intelligence sources. While intelligence officers will pass their sources off to their replacements, the liaison service becomes even more valuable in being able to sustain source relationships, which can take years to build. Liaison relationships, then, become a way to efficiently use and extend U.S. intelligence resources, which, unlike such services in most countries, have global requirements. The United States may be the world’s superpower, but it is impossible for it to maintain sources everywhere.

Liaison and Unilateral Operations in the Hunt for Bin Laden

In recent years, U.S. intelligence has worked with Pakistan’s ISI most notably in raids throughout Pakistan against senior al Qaeda operatives like Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Farj al-Libi. We can also presume that much of the information used by the United States for UAV strikes comes through sources in Pakistani intelligence as well as those on the Afghan side of the border. Another example of such cooperation, also to find bin Laden, is the CIA’s work with the Jordanian General Intelligence Department, an effort that went awry in the Khost suicide attack. Such is the risk with liaison relationships — to what extent can one intelligence officer trust another’s sources and motives? Nevertheless, these liaison networks were the best the United States had available, and huge amounts of resources were put into developing intelligence through them in looking for major jihadists, including bin Laden.

The United States is particularly concerned about Pakistan’s intelligence services and the possibility that some of their officers could be compromised by, or at least sympathetic to, jihadists. Given the relationships with jihadists maintained by former ISI officers such as Khalid Khawaja and Sultan Amir Tarar (known as Colonel Imam), who were both held hostage and killed by Pakistani militants, and most famously former ISI Director Hamid Gul, there is cause for concern. These three are the most famous former ISI officers with links to jihadists, but because they were (or are) long retired from the ISI and their notoriety makes them easy to track to jihadists, they have little influence on either group. But the reality is that there are current ISI and military officers sympathizing or working with important jihadist groups. Indeed, it was liaison work by the CIA and Saudi Arabia that helped develop strong connections with Arab and Afghan militants, some of whom would go on to become members of al Qaeda and the Taliban. The ISI was responsible for distributing U.S.- and Saudi-supplied weapons to various Afghan militant groups to fight the Russians in the 1980s, and it controlled contact with these groups. If some of those contacts remain, jihadists could be using members of the ISI rather than the other way around.

Due to concerns like these, according to official statements and leaked information, U.S. intelligence officers never told their Pakistani liaison counterparts about the forthcoming bin Laden raid. It appears the CIA developed a unilateral capability to operate within Pakistan, demonstrated by the Raymond Davis shooting in January as well as the bin Laden raid. Davis was a contractor providing security for U.S. intelligence officers in Pakistan when he killed two reportedly armed men in Lahore, and his case brought the CIA-ISI conflict out in the open. Requests by Pakistani officials to remove more than 300 similar individuals from the country show that there are a large number of U.S. intelligence operatives in Pakistan. Other aspects of this unilateral U.S. effort were the tracking of bin Laden, further confirmation of his identity and the safe house the CIA maintained in Abbottabad for months to monitor the compound.

The CIA and the ISI

Even with the liaison relationships in Pakistan, which involved meetings between the CIA station chief in Islamabad and senior members of the ISI, the CIA ran unilateral operations on the ground. Liaison services cannot be used to recruit sources within the host government; this must be done unilaterally. This is where direct competition between intelligence services comes into play. In Pakistan, this competition may involve different organizations such as Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau or Federal Investigation Agency, both of which have counterintelligence functions, or separate departments within the ISI, where one department is assigned to liaison while others handle counterintelligence or work with militant groups. Counterintelligence officers may want to disrupt intelligence operations that involve collecting information on the host-country military, or they may simply want to monitor the foreign intelligence service’s efforts to recruit jihadists. They can also feed disinformation to the operatives. This competition is known to all players and is not out of the ordinary.

But the U.S. intelligence community is wondering if this ordinary competition was taken to another level — if the ISI, or elements of it, were actually protecting bin Laden. The people helping bin Laden and other al Qaeda operatives and contacts in Abbottabad were the same people the CIA was competing against. Were they simply jihadists or a more resourceful and capable state intelligence agency? If the ISI as an institution knew about bin Laden’s location, it would mean it outwitted the CIA for nearly a decade in hiding his whereabouts. It would also mean that no ISI officers who knew his location were turned by U.S. intelligence, that no communications were intercepted and that no leaks reached the media.

On the other hand, if someone within the ISI was protecting bin Laden and keeping it from the rest of the organization, it would mean the ISI was beaten internally and the CIA eventually caught up by developing its own sources and was able to find bin Laden on its own. As we point out above, the official story on the bin Laden intelligence effort may be disinformation to protect sources and methods. Still, this seems to be a more plausible scenario. American and Pakistani sources have told STRATFOR that there are likely jihadist sympathizers within the ISI who helped bin Laden or his supporters. Given that Pakistan is fighting its own war with al Qaeda-allied groups like Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the country’s leadership in Islamabad has no interest in protecting them. Furthermore, finding an individual anywhere, especially in a foreign country with multiple insurgencies under way, is an extremely difficult intelligence challenge.

Assuming the official story is mostly true, the bin Laden raid demonstrates that U.S. intelligence has come full circle since the end of the Cold War. It was able to successfully collect and analyze intelligence of all types and develop and deploy on-the-ground capabilities it had been lacking to find an individual who was hiding and probably protected. It was able to quickly work with special operations forces under CIA command to carry out an elaborate operation to capture or kill him, a capability honed by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the development of its own capture-and-kill capabilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CIA is responsible for missions in Pakistan, where, like the JSOC, it has demonstrated an efficient and devastating capability to task UAV strikes and conduct cross-border raids. The bin Laden raid was the public proof of concept that the United States could collect intelligence and reach far into hostile territory to capture or kill its targets.

It is unclear exactly how the U.S. intelligence community has been able to develop these capabilities, beyond the huge post-9/11 influx of money and personnel (simply throwing resources at a problem is never a complete solution). The United States faced Sept. 11, 2001, without strategic warning of the attacks inspired by bin Laden, and then it faced a tactical threat it was unprepared to fight. Whatever the new and improved human-intelligence capabilities may be, they are no doubt some function of the experience gained by operatives in a concerted, global campaign against jihadists. Human intelligence is probably still the biggest U.S. weakness, but given the evidence of unilateral operations in Pakistan, it is not the weakness it used to be.

The Intelligence Battle Between the U.S. and Pakistan

The  competition and cooperation among various intelligence agencies did not end with the death of Osama bin Laden. Publicity surrounding the operation has led to calls in Pakistan to eject any and all American interests in the country. In the past few years, Pakistan has made it difficult for many Americans to get visas, especially those with official status that may be cover for intelligence operations. Raymond Davis was one of these people. Involved in protecting intelligence officers who were conducting human-intelligence missions, he would have been tasked not only with protecting them from physical threats from jihadists but also with helping ensure they were not under the surveillance of a hostile intelligence agency.

Pakistan has only ratcheted up these barriers since the bin Laden raid. The Interior Ministry announced May 19 that it would ban travel by foreign diplomats to cities other than those where they are stationed without permission from Pakistani authorities. The News, a Pakistani daily, reported May 20 that Interior Minister Rehman Malik chaired a meeting with provincial authorities on regulating travel by foreigners, approving their entry into the country and monitoring unregistered mobile phones. While some of these efforts are intended to deal with jihadists disguised within large groups of Afghan nationals, they also place barriers on foreign intelligence officers in the country. While non-official cover is becoming more common for CIA officers overseas, many are still traveling on various diplomatic documents and thus would require these approvals. The presence of intelligence officers on the ground for the bin Laden raid shows there are workarounds for such barriers that will be used when the mission is important enough. In fact, according to STRATFOR sources, the CIA has for years been operating in Pakistan under what are known as “Moscow rules” — the strictest tradecraft for operating behind enemy lines — with clandestine units developing human sources and searching for al Qaeda and other militant leaders.

And this dynamic will only continue. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told The Wall Street Journal on May 6 that another operation like the bin Laden raid would have “terrible consequences,” while U.S. President Barack Obama told BBC on May 22 that he would authorize similar strikes in the future if they were called for. Pakistan, as any sovereign country would, is trying to protect its territory, while the United States will continue to search for high-value targets who are hiding there. The bin Laden operation only brought this clandestine competition to the public eye.

Bin Laden is dead, but many other individuals on the U.S. high-value target list remain at large. With the bold execution and ultimate success of the Abbottabad raid now public, the overarching American operational concept for hunting high-value targets has been demonstrated and the immense resources that were focused on bin Laden are now freed up. While the United States still faces intelligence challenges, those most wanted by the Americans can no longer take comfort in the fact that bin Laden is eluding his hunters or that the Americans are expending any more of their effort looking for him.

The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Which was more unbelievable....Rapture or Hope and Change

Great cartoon from ConservateByte.

Good news from the land down under.

It seems our friends Down Under are starting to revolt again. The notionally conservative Prime Minister turned her back on the people who put her in office and is now pushing a Cap and Tax scheme...which is upsetting a lot a folks. The entire article is worth a good read but I really love this part...
The largest polluters — the coal and steel industries that have driven Australia’s remarkable economic run of the past several years — would most likely bear the brunt of the burden but receive considerable subsidies to remain competitive

I recall the wisdom of Ronald Reagan:
The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

RIP RR...damned we miss you!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Officer Down

Police Officer Trevor Phillips
Tuscaloosa Alabama Police Department
EOW: Saturday, May 21, 2011
Age: 42
Tour of Duty: 10 years

Police Officer Trevor Phillips was killed in a motorcycle accident while escorting a funeral procession on 35th Street at approximately 2:20 pm.

As he drove towards the front of the procession a vehicle attempted to exit the procession by making a U-turn. The vehicle pulled into the path of Officer Phillips, causing a collision in which he was thrown from the motorcycle.

Officer Phillips had served with the Tuscaloosa Police Department for over 10 years.
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.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Finally a proper place to display a cop's hat!

Back in 2000 I was introduced by a mutual friend to Bill, a then officer (now Sergeant) on the London Metropolitan Police Department. We met at a pool hall and hit it right off. Spent hours shooting pool, talking shop and drinking beer. He drank Budweiser, I drank Guinness. Go figure.

I got to take Bill to the pistol range and he fired weapons for the first time in over a decade. And did pretty good for a man who hadn't handled a pistol since he was in the Royal Marines. A few days later he got to ride alone with an officer at my station and had the greatest time.

Since then we've kept in touch my mail, email and phone. And back in March 2006 I got to visit Bill and his wife at their house in London and it was great having a guide for that place. I even got my picture taken in front of Number 10 Downing Street after Bill made a few phone calls.

Now as I was preparing to go back to Kuwait Bill gave me a treasured gift. His original police hat and night stick. Plus a set of sergeant's stripes. I've keep them in my living room but I never had a proper place to display them. Until now.

A few weeks ago I was at an Ace Hardware store that sold mementos as well as hardware. I was walking through and found a tripod used to display commemorative plates. I thought this might work...and with a few suggestions from the ladies at Ace, it did.

Thanks again Bill for a great present and your friendship throughout the years. Be assured your gift is now properly displayed in the house.

Until we meet again, God Save the Queen!   :<)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Playboy and Helen Thomas...does not compute!

Seeing I only subscribe for the articles I'm amazed I missed the interview with Helen Thomas in the April issue of Playboy. Then in my own defense there are certain women I would never think of when I hear Playboy mentioned, such as Nancy Pelosi, Mrs. Bill Clinton and of course, Helen Thomas.

All joking aside the last time we heard from her she was getting fired (Allah Be Praised) for speaking what she really thinks, i.e. she is an open Anti-Semite.

But she can be objective right?

The article is about ten pages long and it is worth your time. I've put highlights below with my commentary.
Playboy Interview with Reporter Helen Thomas, April 2011 Playboy Magazine

PLAYBOY: So is this how you pictured retirement?

THOMAS: I’m not retired! I was fired. In fact, I’ll die with my boots on. I’m still writing and I’ll continue to write and ask hard questions. I will never bow out of journalism.

And you earned it Helen. And your only journalism is yellow madam. Remember you waked up every morning wondering who you are going to hate this morning...
PLAYBOY: What was life like in the immediate aftermath as millions started viewing the video on YouTube?

...THOMAS: I also heard from Jimmy Carter. He called a few weeks later.

PLAYBOY: He did? What did he say?

THOMAS: Basically he was sympathetic. He talked about the Israelis in the Middle East, the violations. It was very nice of him to call, but I don’t want to get him into trouble...

...PLAYBOY: It was your follow-up comment, when you said the Jews should go back to Poland, Germany and America, that really infuriated people.

THOMAS: Well, that immediately evoked the concentration camps. What I meant was they should stay where they are because they’re not being persecuted—not since World War II, not since 1945. If they were, we sure would hear about it. ..

...PLAYBOY: Do you acknowledge that some Palestinian behavior over the years, including hijacking and the use of suicide bombers, has been wrong and has added to the problem?

THOMAS: In an ideal world passive resistance and world disarmament would be great. Unfortunately we don’t live in that world. Of course I don’t condone any violence against anyone. But who wouldn’t fight for their country?...

...PLAYBOY: What’s your reaction to the changes sweeping through the Arab world as throngs of demonstrators take to the streets across the region?

THOMAS: I love the new revolutionary spirit in the Middle East and North Africa. The power of the people is removing ruthless dictators in Tunisia and Egypt—and that’s only the beginning...?..

What country is that Helen? Palestine was formed by the Brits after WWI...and revolutionary spirit? Did you enjoy the revolutionary spirit when the Iranian overthrew the tyrant Shaw of Iran? Granted he wasn't an angle but he was a damned sight better than what they have now.
...PLAYBOY: In the wake of your anti-Israel comments, a blogger from The Atlantic argued there’s really no distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. He wrote, “Thomas was fired for saying that the Jews of Israel should move to Europe, where their relatives had been slaughtered in the most devastating act of genocide in history. She believes that once the Jews are evacuated from their ancestral homeland, the world’s only Jewish country should be replaced by what would be the world’s 23rd Arab country. She believes that Palestinians deserve a country of their own but that the Jews are undeserving of a nation-state in their homeland, which has had a continuous Jewish presence for 3,000 years.…”

THOMAS: [Interrupts] Did a Jew write this? [Editor’s note: The writer is Jeffrey Goldberg.]

PLAYBOY: “…and has been the location of two previous Jewish states. This sounds like a very anti-Jewish position to me, not merely an anti-Zionist position.”

THOMAS: This is a rotten piece. I mean it’s absolutely biased and totally—who are these people? Why do they think they’re so deserving? The slaughter of Jews stopped with World War II. I had two brothers and many relatives who fought in that war against Hitler. We believed in it. Every American family was in that fight. But they were liberated since then. And yet they carry on the victimization. American people do not know that the Israeli lobbyists have intimidated them into believing every Jew is a persecuted victim forever—while they are victimizing Palestinians.

PLAYBOY: Let’s get to something else you said more recently. In a speech in Detroit last December, you told an Arab group, “We are owned by the propagandists against the Arabs. There’s no question about that. Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question, in my opinion. They put their money where their mouth is. We’re being pushed into a wrong direction in every way.” Do you stand by that statement?

THOMAS: Yes, I do. I know it was horrendous, but I know it’s true. Tell me it’s not true and I’ll be happy to be contradicted. I’m just saying they’re using their power, and they have power in every direction.

PLAYBOY: That stereotype of Jewish control has been around for more than a century. Do you actually think there’s a secret Jewish conspiracy at work in this country?

THOMAS: Not a secret. It’s very open. What do you mean secret?

PLAYBOY: Well, for instance, explain the connection between Hollywood and what’s happening with the Palestinians.

THOMAS: Power over the White House, power over Congress.

PLAYBOY: By way of contributions?

THOMAS: Everybody is in the pocket of the Israeli lobbies, which are funded by wealthy supporters, including those from Hollywood. Same thing with the financial markets. There’s total control.

PLAYBOY: Who are you thinking about specifically? Who are the Jews with the most influence?

THOMAS: I’m not going to name names. What, am I going to name the Ponzi guy on Wall Street [Bernard Madoff] or the others? No.

PLAYBOY: Then how do you make the claim that Jews are running the country?

THOMAS: I want you to look at the Congress that just came in. Do you think Schumer and Lehtinen—whatever her name is—in Florida are going to be pro-Arab? No. But they’re going to be very influential. Eric Cantor, the majority leader of the Republicans, do you think he’s going to be for the Arabs? Hell no! I’m telling you, you cannot get 330 votes in Congress for anything that’s pro-Arab. Nothing. If you’re not in, you’re eased out, just as Senator William Fulbright was in the 1960s [after claiming that millions of tax-deductible dollars from American philanthropies were being sent to Israel and then funneled back to the U.S. for distribution to organizations with pro-Israel positions]. Congressman Paul Findley from a little old rural district in Illinois made the mistake of shaking hands with Yasir Arafat years ago. It ended up costing him his reelection. He later wrote a book called They Dare to Speak Out about how impossible it is to have a position in this country that takes on Israel. Maybe there is a handful that can, but in general you cannot speak against any Zionist movement in this country.

But you don't have a problem with Jews, right Helen.
PLAYBOY: Don’t take this the wrong way, but the question many people have is, Has Helen Thomas lost her mind? You’re 90, after all. Do you still have all your faculties?

THOMAS: I resent that question! I thoroughly resent it. Why are you interviewing me if I’m crazy? It wouldn’t be worth it to you, would it?

PLAYBOY: It’s not an unreasonable question.

THOMAS: I resent it. You should apologize.

PLAYBOY: But it’s the question everyone wants answered—and you’re the one who always tells journalists to ask the hard questions.

THOMAS: They want to know if I’m crazy? You have to be crazy to criticize Israel? You have to be crazy to criticize tyranny? I learned before Hitler that you have to stand up for something. You have to stand up. We always have to take a stand against human tyranny wherever it occurs....
OK Helen, if you like asking tough questions don't mind if they are asked of you...something about being in a glass house.
PLAYBOY: Who’s your most trusted news source, by the way?

THOMAS: Nobody, really. I like the liberal press. I like E.J. Dionne Jr. in The Washington Post. I like Sam Donaldson. I believe he’s an honest man. I loved Walter Cronkite. I certainly loved Ed Murrow...
I thought these people (Dionne excluded) claimed to be objective? I thought the liberal press was a myth of the right in this country? Are you finally saying what you really feel after all these years...or have you really lost it? And if you have lost it, how long has it been gone?
...PLAYBOY: What about Bill Maher?

THOMAS: I like Bill Maher. Remember when he said the 9/11 bombers were not cowards? He lost his job temporarily, but he was right: Anybody who flies an airplane into a building isn’t a coward. That was too logical for people, though. You can’t be that honest. [laughs] It’s like the Japanese kamikazes in World War II.

No Helen, they unlike the vermin who flew those planes on 911, the Kamikazes few into US Navy ships. They were legitimate targets of the Japanese Navy. The men on those ships knew they were targets of Japanese ships, planes, subs, bombs, etc. The men, women and children who died on 911 were only going about their lives. If you can't get that through your head what other minor fact have you missed in your stellar journalist career?
...PLAYBOY: Do you think it’s the public’s right to know what’s happening in the president’s private life?

THOMAS: Absolutely. We need to know everything a president’s up to. He’s on our time, on our payroll. He’s a public servant.

Cool. Now can you take a look at a public servant like B Hussein Obama and ask "Mr President, you claim to be an honor student at Harvard...why don't you show the grades?"

Overall an interesting read and definitely worth fifteen minutes of your time. The limits of space on a blog post keep me from posting the whole interview but you get the taste of what she really is. A rabid liberal journalist who is a blatant Anti-Semite. Then again, no real news there.