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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Security Weekly: A Serial Bomber in Phoenix, May 31, 2012

By Scott Stewart

A small improvised explosive device (IED) detonated at a Salvation Army distribution center in Phoenix, Ariz., on the afternoon of May 24. Two Salvation Army employees discovered the explosive device, which was concealed inside a yellow, hand-held 6-volt flashlight, as they were sorting through a box of donated items. The IED exploded when one of the employees picked up the flashlight and attempted to turn it on. The blast was not very powerful, and the two employees suffered only minor injuries.

This was the third incident in the Greater Phoenix area in recent weeks involving an IED concealed in a flashlight. Two explosive devices very similar to the May 24 IED exploded May 13 and May 14 in Glendale, Ariz., a city in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Both devices were abandoned in public places. In the May 13 incident, a woman discovered a yellow, hand-held 6-volt flashlight next to a tree outside a Glendale business. When the woman picked up the flashlight and attempted to turn it on, it exploded, causing minor scratches and bruises to her face and hands. It also inflicted minor wounds to a woman beside her. The next day, a man found an identical flashlight in a ditch where he was working in another part of Glendale. He was lightly injured when the flashlight exploded as he attempted to turn it on.

So far, the explosive devices have failed to cause significant injury or death, but they do seem to indicate that there is a serial bombmaker operating in the Phoenix area. While it is not yet clear what the bombmaker's motives are, past cases of serial bombers suggest that the publicity he has received and the fear he has invoked will likely influence him to continue manufacturing explosive devices until he is captured. (Based on earlier cases involving serial bombers, it is also safe to assume that the culprit in the Phoenix area is a man.) The bombmaker's method of concealing his explosive devices may also change after gaining publicity for this wave of attacks. Finally, there is a chance that the destructive effect of the bombmaker's devices will increase as he becomes more proficient at building IEDs.

Serial Bombers

Serial bombmakers vary greatly in skill, motivation and affiliation. Most bombmakers involved with militant groups are, in effect, serial bombers, especially when they are exceptional bombmakers such as those we discussed in the May 17 Security Weekly. These include individuals such as Abu Ibrahim of the Black September Organization, Yahya Ayyash of Hamas or al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri. Such individuals typically create hundreds, if not thousands, of innovative explosive devices for their groups' terrorist operations over a span of many years.

However, not all serial bombmakers are associated with a militant group. There is a long history of individuals who have operated as serial bombers. From 1940 to 1956, George Metesky, who was known in the media as "The Mad Bomber," deployed 33 IEDs, 22 of which detonated, and injured 15 people. Metesky was angry after being denied disability pay following an injury he sustained while working for Consolidated Edison, Inc. After planting two explosive devices in 1940, Metesky observed a self-imposed moratorium on bombing attacks during World War II. He deployed the bulk of his devices -- pipe bombs -- from 1951 to 1956. He attacked not only Consolidated Edison, but also theaters, the New York subway system, the New York Public Library, Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Station and other targets. Metesky was arrested after Consolidated Edison personnel managers identified him based on details he provided in threatening letters.

One of the most famous serial bombers in recent years was Theodore Kaczynski, also known as the "Unabomber." UNABomb was an FBI case name that stood for "University and Airline Bomber" -- Kaczynski's first targets. From May 1978 until April 1995, Kaczynski deployed 16 IEDs that killed a total of three people and injured 23 more. Like the Metesky case, it was Kaczynski's writings that allowed him to be identified, though it was Kaczynski's brother who identified him for authorities. As demonstrated in his manifesto, titled Industrial Society and Its Future (1995), Kaczynski was motivated by a fear of technology. He called for a revolution against modern society's "industrial-technological system."

Eric Rudolph first came onto the scene in July 1996 when a bomb he planted in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park detonated during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Rudolph also conducted IED attacks against abortion clinics in Atlanta in 1997 and in Birmingham, Ala., in 1998 and against a gay bar in Atlanta in 1997. Rudolph's IED attacks killed two and wounded more than 100. Rudolph was motivated by his extreme anti-abortion and anti-homosexual convictions.

Not all serial bombers have intended to kill their targets. From 1994 to 2006, an unidentified bombmaker known by the media as the "Italian Unabomber" planted dozens of small IEDs in various locations in Italy. While many of the IEDs were pipe bombs, the Italian bombmaker also concealed IEDs in cans of tomato paste, cigarette lighters, church votive candles and in items intended to target children, such as bottles of soap bubbles, colored markers and Kinder Eggs. The size of many of these devices suggests that the bombmaker hoped to maim and terrorize his victims but not kill them. A suspect was arrested in the Italian case but was later acquitted, and the case has never been officially solved. Since many serial bombmakers, such as Metesky and Kaczynski, go through periods when they suspend bombmaking activity, it is possible that the Italian bombmaker is still at large and will attack again.

The Learning Curve

Of these historical examples, Rudolph stands out because from the beginning of his campaign he used relatively powerful devices that were constructed with a main charge of commercial dynamite and that contained nails as added shrapnel. From the outset, Rudolph appeared to have been bent on killing. This is different from the case of the Italian Unabomber. Rudolph's explosive devices also functioned as designed, and his first device proved deadly, an accomplishment aided by the fact that he was constructing them from stolen commercial explosive components rather than dealing with homemade bomb components and explosive mixtures.

However, all serial bombmakers must overcome a learning curve. A bombmaker's first explosive devices typically malfunction or only partially detonate until he perfects his craft. For example, the two devices Metesky deployed in 1940 failed to explode, but when he resumed his bombing campaign in 1951, his first device functioned as intended. Still, of the 33 devices Metesky planted, one-third of them did not function as designed. Likewise, Kaczynski's initial explosive devices caused only light injuries. It was not until the 1980s that his bombs began to cause significant injuries to their victims, and he did not kill his first victim until 1985. By the mid-1990s, Kaczynski had become very deadly. His last two bombing attacks, in December 1994 and April 1995, both proved fatal.

A malfunction is not uncommon when a self-taught bombmaker constructs an IED using a new design and does not have the time or the place to test it. Essentially testing the explosive device when he deploys it, the bombmaker applies lessons from one operation to the next to improve his devices. This progression of bombmaking competence has also been displayed in many cases involving militant groups. Based on these cases, we believe it is highly likely that if the Phoenix bombmaker is not identified and arrested, he will continue along the learning curve and eventually construct more powerful -- and thus more deadly -- IEDs.

At this point it is unclear what is motivating the serial bombmaker in Phoenix. Young men sometimes construct small IEDs for their own amusement -- and not necessarily for use in an attack -- but in such cases they usually want to watch their devices detonate, oftentimes even recording the detonations to post them online. They will sometimes use such devices in pranks, such as to blow up mailboxes, but again, they usually like to observe the results.

Abandoning IEDs in booby-trapped items for people to find and activate suggests a different motive. Reports suggest that there were ceramic shards and BBs added to the Phoenix devices. This indicates that the devices were intended to harm people rather than just scare them. There are reports that a pair of dice was found at the scene of one of the Glendale explosions, which has led some to speculate that the dice were left by the bomber as a calling card. Similarly, the box containing the booby-trapped flashlight in the Salvation Army attack also held books that were predominately concerned with murders and serial killers; this may also prove to be some sort of calling card.

A Bombmaker's Signature

Forensic science has come a long way since the days of Metesky. Urged along by international terrorism cases and cases like the Unabomber investigation, bomb investigators, chemists and forensic technicians are far more advanced in their craft than they were a few years ago.

In a bombing, the evidence is not completely vaporized as many people believe. Certainly, the explosive charge may be mostly or completely detonated, but it will still leave behind traces of chemical residue that allow the explosive to be identified. In addition, portions of the main charge often times will not be detonated, especially with homemade explosive mixtures. Although they are frequently shattered and scattered, significant portions of the device's firing chain often can be recovered in a careful bomb crime scene investigation. It is not unusual to find batteries, wires, switches or pieces of clock or circuit board during a post-blast investigation. Sometimes pieces of the aluminum body of a blasting cap can be found.

In the case of the Phoenix bombings, the fact that the flashlights did not explode with much force will likely assist the police in their post-blast investigation, since device components were probably not thrown very far or even that badly damaged. It is also possible that an identifiable fingerprint or trace DNA evidence can be recovered from the explosive device. If used in the construction of the device, electrical tape is often an excellent place to recover such evidence.

Like other craftsmen, bombmakers tend to do things a certain way and to repeat it from project to project. They also favor certain components and tend to string these components together in much the same way. They will often connect the wires together in the same manner, use the same type of solder, connectors or tape, and in many cases they will even use the same tools to cut wires or other items, leaving tool marks that can be compared microscopically. All these unique factors combine to form what is referred to as a bombmaker's "signature." In many cases this signature is as unique and personalized as an actual written signature.

According to reports, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) laboratory is working on the Phoenix case. The ATF lab has many decades of working post-blast investigations and, along with the FBI, has been heavily involved in maintaining something called the U.S. Bomb Data Center, which is a repository of data pertaining to bombing investigations that can be cross-referenced to uncover ties to past cases. The ATF lab, like the FBI lab's explosives section, also maintains an extensive database of bomb components and other signature items.

However, unless there is a bomb signature item, fingerprint or trace DNA evidence that can be readily connected to a suspect, or unless authorities are able to trace one of the components (such as the flashlight) back to the place of purchase, it is likely that the bombmaker will attack again -- serial bombers usually do. The next time, the devices may be disguised in a different manner and may be more powerful.
A Serial Bomber in Phoenix COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bounty Hunters

Officer Down

Police Officer Jeremy Bitner
Englewood Colorado Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, May 28, 2012
Age: 39
Tour: 8 years, 6 months

Police Officer Jeremy Bitner was struck and killed by a drunk driver while making a traffic stop at the intersection of South Broadway Street and East Belleview Avenue at approximately 12:05 am.

During the initial stop he had the driver exit the vehicles. As the two stood in the roadway next to the car a drunk driver sideswiped Officer Bitner's patrol car and then struck him and the other driver, throwing them both approximately 50 feet. A witness to the collision called 911 and followed the drunk driver as he fled the scene in his vehicle. Officers from the Littleton Police Department arrested him several minutes after the crash due to the witness' actions.

Officer Bitner and the citizen who were struck were both transported to Swedish Medical Center in critical condition. Officer Bitner succumbed to his injuries approximately 11 hours later.

Officer Bitner was a U.S. Army veteran. He had served with the Englewood Police Department for eight years and had previously served with the Elbert County Sheriff's Office for six months. He is survived by his 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.

Geopolitical Weekly: The Egyptian Election and the Arab Spring, May 29, 2012

By George Friedman

The Egyptian presidential election was held last week. No candidate received 50 percent of the vote, so a runoff will be held between the two leading candidates, Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq. Morsi represented the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and received 25.3 percent of the vote, while Shafiq, a former Egyptian air force commander and the last prime minister to serve in Hosni Mubarak's administration, received 24.9 percent. There were, of course, charges of irregularities, but in general the results made sense. The Islamist faction had done extremely well in the parliamentary election, and fear of an Islamist president caused the substantial Coptic community, among others, to support the candidate of the old regime, which had provided them at least some security.

Morsi and Shafiq effectively tied in the first round, and either can win the next round. Morsi's strength is that he has the support of both the Islamist elements and those who fear a Shafiq presidency and possible return to the old regime. Shafiq's strength is that he speaks for those who fear an Islamist regime. The question is who will win the non-Islamist secularists' support. They oppose both factions, but they are now going to have to live with a president from one of them. If their secularism is stronger than their hatred of the former regime, they will go with Shafiq. If not, they will go with Morsi. And, of course, it is unclear whether the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military committee that has ruled Egypt since the fall of Mubarak, will cede any real power to either candidate, especially since the constitution hasn't even been drafted.

This is not how the West, nor many Egyptians, thought the Arab Spring would turn out in Egypt. Their mistake was overestimating the significance of the democratic secularists, how representative the anti-Mubarak demonstrators were of Egypt as a whole, and the degree to which those demonstrators were committed to Western-style democracy rather than a democracy that represented Islamist values. 

What was most underestimated was the extent to which the military regime had support, even if Mubarak did not. Shafiq, the former prime minister in that regime, could very well win. The regime may not have generated passionate support or even been respected in many ways, but it served the interests of any number of people. Egypt is a cosmopolitan country, and one that has many people who still take seriously the idea of an Arab, rather than Islamist, state. They fear the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamism and have little confidence in the ability of other parties, such as the socialists, who came in third, to protect them. For some, such as the Copts, the Islamists are an existential threat. The military regime, whatever its defects, is a known bulwark against the Muslim Brotherhood. The old order is attractive to many because it is known; what the Muslim Brotherhood will become is not known and is frightening to those committed to secularism. They would rather live under the old regime.

What was misunderstood was that while there was in fact a democratic movement in Egypt, the liberal democrats who wanted a Western-style regime were not the ones exciting popular sentiment. What was exciting it was the vision of a popularly elected Islamist coalition moving to create a regime that institutionalized Islamic religious values.

Westerners looked at Egypt and saw what they wanted and expected to see. They looked at Egyptians and saw themselves. They saw a military regime operating solely on brute force without any public support. They saw a mass movement calling for the overthrow of the regime and assumed that the bulk of the movement was driven by the spirit of Western liberalism. The result is that we have a showdown not between the liberal democratic mass and a crumbling military regime but between a representative of the still-powerful regime (Shafiq) and the Muslim Brotherhood.

If we understand how the Egyptian revolution was misunderstood, we can begin to make sense of the misunderstanding about Syria. There seemed to be a crumbling, hated regime in Syria as well. And there seemed to be a democratic uprising that represented much of the population and that wanted to replace the al Assad regime with one that respected human rights and democratic values in the Western sense. The regime was expected to crumble any day under the assaults of its opponents. As in Egypt, the regime has not collapsed and the story is much more complex.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad operates a brutal dictatorship that he inherited from his father, a regime that has been in power since 1970. The regime is probably unpopular with most Syrians. But it also has substantial support. This support doesn't simply come from the al Assads' Alawite sect but extends to other minorities and many middle-class Sunnis as well. They have done well under the regime and, while unhappy with many things, they are not eager to face a new regime, again likely dominated by Islamists whose intentions toward them are unclear. They may not be enthusiastic supporters of the regime, but they are supporters. 

The opposition also has supporters -- likely a majority of the Syrian people -- but it is divided, as is the Egyptian opposition, between competing ideologies and personalities. This is why for the past year Western expectations for Syria have failed to materialize. The regime, as unpopular as it may be, has support, and that support has helped block a seriously divided opposition.

One of the problems of Western observers is that they tend to take their bearings from the Eastern European revolutions of 1989. These regimes were genuinely unpopular. That unpopularity originated in the fact that the regimes were imposed from the outside -- from the Soviet Union after World War II -- and the governments were seen as tools of a foreign government. At the same time, many of the Eastern European nations had liberal democratic traditions and, like the rest of Europe, were profoundly secular (with some exceptions in Poland). There was a consensus that the state was illegitimate and that the desired alternative was a European-style democracy. Indeed, the desire to become part of a democratic Europe captured the national imagination.

The Arab Spring was different, but Westerners did not always understand the difference. The regimes did not come into being as foreign impositions. Nasserism, the ideology of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who both founded the modern Egyptian state and set the stage for an attempt at an Arab revolution, was not imposed from the outside. Indeed, it was an anti-Western movement, opposed to both European imperialism and what was seen as American aggression. When Hafez al Assad staged his coup in Syria in 1970, or Moammar Gadhafi staged his in Libya in 1969, these were nationalistic movements designed to assert both their national identity and their anti-Western sentiment.

These were also unashamedly militaristic regimes. Nasser, inspired by the example of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, saw his revolution as secular and representing mass sentiment, but not simply as democratic in the Western sense. He saw the military as the most modern and most nationally representative institution. He also saw the military as the protector of secularism. 

The military coups that swept the Arab world from the 1950s to the early 1970s were seen as nationalist, secularist and anti-imperialist. Their opponents were labeled as representing Western interests and corrupt and outmoded regimes with close religious ties. They were not liberal regimes, in the sense of being champions of free speech and political parties, but they did claim to represent the interests of their people, and to a great extent, particularly at the beginning, they earned that claim. 

Since the realignment of Egypt with the United States and the fall of the Soviet Union, with which many of these states were allied, the sense that these regimes were nationalist declined. But it never evaporated. Certainly they were never seen as regimes imposed by foreign armies, as was the case in Eastern Europe. And their credentials as secularists remained credible. What they were not were liberal democracies, but they weren't founded as such. From the Western point of view, that delegitimized everything else.

What the Westerners forgot was that these regimes arose as expressions of nationalism against Western imperialism. The more that Westerners intervened against them, as in Iraq, the more support at least the principle of the regime would evince. But most important, Westerners did not always recognize that the demand for democratic elections would emerge as a battleground between secular and religious tendencies, and not as the crucible from which Western-style liberal democracies would emerge. Nor did Westerners appreciate the degree to which these regimes defended religious minorities from hostile majorities precisely because they weren't democratic. The Copts in Egypt cling to the old regime as their protector. The Alawites see the Syrian conflict as a struggle for their own survival. 

The outcome of the Egyptian election, which now pits a former general and prime minister of the Mubarak regime against the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, demonstrates this dilemma perfectly. This is the regime that Nasser founded. It is the protector of secularism and minority rights against those who it is feared will impose religious law. The regime may have grown corrupt under Mubarak, but it still represents a powerful tendency among the Egyptians.

The Muslim Brotherhood may win, in which case it will be important to see what the Egyptian military council does. But the idea that there is overwhelming support in Egypt for Western-style democracy is simply not true. The issues Egyptians and those in other Arab countries battle over derive from their own history, and in that history, the military and the state it created played a heroic role in asserting nationalism and secularism. The non-military secular parties don't have the same tradition to draw on.

As in many Arab countries that underwent Nasserite transformations, the army remains both a guarantor against Islamists and of the rights of some religious minorities. The minorities are the enemy of the resurgent religious factions. Those factions may win, but regardless of who prevails, the outcome will not be what many celebrants of the Arab Spring expected. We are down to the military and the Islamists. The issue is no longer what they are against. This year's question is what they are for. This is not Prague or Budapest and it doesn't want to be.

The Egyptian Election and the Arab Spring COPYRIGHT: bSTRATFOR.COM

Honestly Officer, I was just making a delivery!

Hey, gotta give these guys some marks for ingenuity!

13 Undocumented Workers, please sign here!

Border Patrol agents arrested a 21-year old man who was attempting to smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S. using a vehicle that resembled a UPS van on May 18 in El Centro, Calif.

The vehicle was not a typical UPS parcel truck, but to the casual observer, it looked as if it could have been a vehicle used by UPS. Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle and discovered the 13 passengers hiding in the back of the vehicle and determined that they were Mexican nationals.

Automotive Fleet spoke with Susan Rosenberg, manager, public relations, at UPS about the measures the company has in place to prevent the use of either company vehicles or company logos and livery for either illegal activity or other activities not approved by UPS.

"Number one, it goes without saying that UPS does not transport people," Susan Rosenberg, UPS' manager of public relations told Automotive Fleet. "We have a very prescriptive asset disposal program for our vehicles. We get 20 to 25 years of useful life out of our vehicles, and we are very careful that all of our livery is removed, and they are destroyed when we retire them from service. There is not an aftermarket for our fleet."...

...UPS uses telematics so the company knows where its vehicles are at all times. Each UPS vehicle is equipped with telematics technology that has GPS capability and diagnostics to enhance routing, equipment maintenance, safety training, and information shared with our drivers.

UPS's Rosenberg said this was an isolated incident at the border and that the company hasn't seen "cloned" vehicles such as this before.

Monday, May 28, 2012

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

As we go through the routine of BBQs, appliance sales and other events. please remember the true meaning of this day. To remember those who died defending us.

Happy Memorial Day.

To those who we honor on this holiday, Rest In Peace

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 27, 2012

Rolling Thunder at 25 Part II

Last month I posted on the upcoming Rolling Thunder and today while checking out a few web sites I found this. A letter that started it all.

Thank you Mr Manzo. A man who made a difference.

Officer Down

Trooper Amanda Anna
New York State Police
End of Watch: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Age: 31
Tour: 6 years
Incident Date: 5/25/2012

Trooper Amanda Anna was killed in a single vehicle crash along Route 37 in Hastings, New York.

At approximately 11:25 pm, her Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicle went out of control on a curve and overturned several times after striking a guardrail. Trooper Anna was transported to a nearby hospital where she succumbed to her injuries at about 5:25 am the following morning.

Trooper Anna had served with the New York State Police for six years. She is survived by her 4-year-old son, mother, and fiance.
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. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

A solar powered plane...I don't think so!

In debates with alternative energy nut cases I continually ask one simple question. How do I get twenty tons of cargo 1000 miles on green energy. I have yet to get an answer to that simple question and I don't think I have one now.

Solar powered plane flies over Mediterranean

Solar Impulse, a solar powered plane dreamed up by Bertrand Piccard, takes off for its "last rehearsal" before a round-the-world attempt in 2014.

The Solar Impulse took off on the world's first cross-Mediterranean flight from an airfield in western Switzerland and is scheduled to make a stop-over in Spain after a 20-hour flight, before finally flying to the Moroccan capital Rabat on Monday.

I Googled the distance, it's 1020 miles. I can drive that faster.
...The Solar Impulse project began in 2003 with a 10-year budget of 90 million euros (£72m) and has involved engineers from Swiss lift maker Schindler and research aid from Belgian chemicals group Solvay.

The plane, which requires 12,000 solar cells, embarked on its first flight in April 2010 and completed a 26-hour flight three months later, setting a record flying time for a solar powered aircraft.

In 2011, the plane and its crew completed the world's first international flights with a solar-powered airplane as they landed at Brussels and Paris airports.

With an average flying speed of 70 kmph (44 mph), Solar Impulse is not an immediate threat to commercial jets, which can easily cruise at more than 10 times that speed.

Project leaders also acknowledged it had been a major challenge to fit a slow-flying plane into the commercial air traffic system.

The last line brings out a critical point the enviro nuts keep missing. They never ask "Is there a demand for this thing?" A classic example is the Chevy Volt where you need to pay people money to buy it.

At a cruise of 44 MPH I'm surprised it generates enough lift to stay afloat. Not to mention I really doubt it can handle to passengers and cargo of a 737, much less a 787.

Another massive waste of resources down a green hole. Over 112 million dollars to not do something a used Cessna can do better.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A clear example of why Conservatives, not Rockerfeller's need to run the party.

We all know the Republican Party has it's schools of thought on how to handle the issues of the day, some more libertarian, some more regressive (i. e. liberal). Here is a great example of this.

NY Republicans propose ‘clearly unconstitutional’ ban on anonymous online comments

Nearly half of the Republicans serving in the New York State Assembly have proposed legislation that would ban anonymous online comments.

If enacted, the legislation would require websites — including social networks and online newspapers — to remove all anonymous comments that are brought to the attention of administrators.

An anonymous comment could remain if the author “agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate.”

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told The Daily Caller that the bill is “clearly unconstitutional.”

“The Supreme Court has held for 50 years that anonymous speech is protected,” explained Volokh, pointing to the 1960 case Talley v. California. “This kind of breach of anonymity on demand is just not constitutional.”

“I would love to hear from these legislators… Presumably at least one of them should be able to speak to the constitutional objections to the statute,” Volokh added.

The sponsor of the state Senate’s version, Republican Thomas O’Mara, told TheDC that he had not initially considered that the legislation might ban First Amendment-protected speech.

“Today is the first day that these issues have been raised,” O’Mara said. “I haven’t gotten any comments from any of my colleagues in the Senate who said that this wasn’t a good idea.”

“I certainly didn’t introduce the legislation with the thought that it was violative of the First Amendment. We’re certainly looking forward to any and all input.”...
Not abusive of the First Amendment? Man did your parents raise you this way or were you just born this stupid. You must be a Harvard Law graduate you are so clueless.

This comment at the end says it all.

...As Wired magazine notes, the legislation would have banned the anonymously written Federalist Papers from online distribution.

Hey guys in Albany, your state is dying. You are loosing your productive citizens to places like Florida and Texas while importing people who will not contribute to your society. The mayor of your largest city is a complete idiot and the opposition party is trying to outdo him with this.

Get a clue, balance your budget and fix your state Mr. O'Mara. Then maybe people won't say nasty stuff about you.

An exception man calls it a night....

I'll just let you read this......
Vietnam War MOH recipient Roberts retires from the Army - News - Stripes

Col. Gordon R. Roberts, who received the Medal of Honor as a sergeant during the Vietnam War, retired from the Army on Friday at Fort Bragg.

Roberts was the most senior soldier on active duty wearing the nation's highest military honor, said Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Dowd, commander of Fort Bragg's 1st Theater Sustainment Command. Not a one-time hero, Roberts also has two Silver Stars, the third-highest award for valor....

...Roberts looks boyish in a photograph of the ceremony at which President Nixon placed the blue Medal of Honor ribbon around his neck. At 61, Roberts wears glasses, and gray hair contrasts with his black beret.

In his remarks, Roberts did not talk about assaulting and destroying three enemy bunkers pinning down his 101st Airborne Division infantry company. He did not mention being under fire from North Vietnamese soldiers and pulling wounded comrades off the battlefield.

He did talk about the joy he received from soldiering and being around soldiers more than 44 years and his love of his family.

"I served with so many great soldiers over the years, and not always in war," he said.

Roberts, a Medical Service Corps officer, was deputy chief of staff in Kuwait last year as the 1st Theater Sustainment Command oversaw the removal of U.S. vehicles and equipment from Iraq before the Dec. 31 deadline. The two-star command is in charge of logistics for the Middle East, and its soldiers split their time between Fort Bragg and Kuwait...

...Roberts said he is looking forward to seeing his daughter Kerri's softball games at Appalachian State University and spending time with his wife, Alissa.

"I plan to spend eternity with her," he said. "Everything else is a distraction."

No real comment is needed. I'll just say enjoy your retirement COL Roberts, you've earned it!

Security Weekly: Terrorism and the Not-So-Exceptional Individual, May 24, 2012

By Scott Stewart

In last week's Security Weekly, we used a thwarted underwear bomb plot, as well as the U.S. government's easing the rules of engagement for unmanned aerial vehicle strikes in Yemen, as an opportunity to examine the role of exceptional individuals in militant groups that conduct terrorist attacks. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP's) innovative bombmaker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is one such individual.

Reported by AP on May 7, the news of the thwarted underwear plot overshadowed another event in Yemen that occurred May 6: a U.S. airstrike in Shabwa province that killed Fahd al-Quso, a Yemeni militant wanted for his involvement in the attack against the USS Cole in October 2000. Al-Quso appeared in a video released by AQAP's al-Malahim Media in May 2010, during which he threatened attacks against the continental United States, its embassy in Yemen and warships in the waters surrounding Yemen.

The media and the U.S. government frequently mention al-Quso's involvement in the USS Cole bombing, but they rarely discuss his precise duty the day of the attack. Al-Quso had been tasked to record the attack from ashore so that the video could be used later in al Qaeda propaganda. Unfortunately for the group, al-Quso was derelict in his duty; he slept through his alarm, and the attack went unrecorded.

Oversleeping a terrorist attack was not al-Quso's only operational gaffe. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, al-Quso had been dispatched in January 2001 to transport money to al Qaeda facilitator Walid bin Attash in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The money reportedly funded the travel and initial living expenses of 9/11 operatives Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khaled al-Midhar. However, al-Quso failed to get a Malaysian visa. He was stuck in Bangkok, and bin Attash, al-Hazmi and al-Midhar had to meet him in Bangkok to retrieve the funds.   

If al-Asiri gives cause to discuss the role of the exceptional individual in terrorism operations, al-Quso provides us the opportunity to discuss the not-so exceptional individual -- and how these maladroit actors nonetheless pose a threat.

Tradecraft Errors

The history of al Qaeda's war against the United States is replete with examples of jihadist operations that were foiled due to tradecraft failures. In September 1992, Ahmed Ajaj attempted to enter the United States with a poorly altered Swedish passport while carrying a suitcase full of bombmaking instructions and other training manuals and videos. Both lapses in judgment are characteristic of a novice. An alert customs inspector stopped Ajaj, who later was detained and charged with passport fraud.

Ajaj was traveling from Osama bin Laden's Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan with Abdel Basit, also known as Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack. An immigration inspector likewise stopped Basit, but he requested political asylum. Because he was not carrying a suitcase full of bombmaking manuals or using an altered passport, Basit later was released pending a hearing on his asylum claim. (Had he remained in custody, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing would not have been conducted.)

In another instance of tradecraft error, the would-be millennium bomber, Ahmed Ressam, fell victim to "burn syndrome" while attempting to enter the United States from Canada in December 1999. Ressam panicked when approached by a U.S. customs inspector, who was performing a routine check of the ferry on which he was traveling. The inspector was unaware that Ressam was an Islamist militant or that he was in operational mode. In fact, when Ressam lost his composure, she assumed he was smuggling drugs rather than explosives.

The 9/11 Commission Report also detailed a number of errors committed by the supposed al Qaeda elite prior to hijacking the four aircraft on 9/11. Mohammed Atta was cited for driving with an invalid license and failed to appear at the subsequent court hearing, causing a bench warrant to be issued for his arrest. Moreover, known al Qaeda associates al-Hamzi and al-Midhar entered the United States under their own names. (A flight instructor even characterized al-Hamzi and al-Midhar as "Dumb and Dumber," saying they were "clueless" as would-be pilots.) Any of these errors could have brought down the entire 9/11 operation.

More recently, we have seen cases where individuals such as Faisal Shahzad and Najibullah Zazi have shown the intent, but not the ability, to conduct attacks. While Shahzad was able to assemble a large vehicle-borne improvised explosive device without detection, the design of the device's firing chain was seriously flawed -- clearly the work of a novice. U.S. government surveillance of Zazi's activities determined that he was an inexperienced bombmaker and that he could not create the proper chemical mixture to manufacture effective triacetone triperoxide (TATP). This is common problem for novice bombmakers. We have seen several planned attacks, such as the London bomb attempt on July 21, 2005, fizzle out due to bad batches of TATP.

In another example, U.S. Army Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was arrested and charged with planning an attack on Ft. Hood in July 2011. Abdo was brought to the attention of the authorities after purchasing smokeless powder to be used in an improvised explosive device. His furtive demeanor caused a store clerk to report him to the police.

As Stratfor has noted, there has been a shift in the jihadist threat. Once stemming from the al Qaeda core, the jihadist threat now emanates primarily from grassroots jihadists. While grassroots jihadists pose a more diffuse threat because they are more difficult than hierarchical groups for national intelligence and law enforcement agencies to detect, they also pose a less severe threat because they generally lack the terrorist tradecraft required to conduct a large-scale attack. Since they lack such tradecraft, they tend to seek assistance to conduct their plots. This assistance usually involves the acquisition of explosives or firearms, as seen in the February 2010 case involving Amine el Khalifi. In this case, an FBI informant posing as a jihadist leader provided the suspect with an inert suicide vest and a submachine gun before the suspect's arrest for plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol building.

The dynamic of would-be attackers reaching out for help has been seen repeatedly in the United States. In June 2011, two jihadists were arrested in Seattle and charged with plotting to attack a U.S. Military Entrance Processing Station in an industrial area south of downtown Seattle. The men attempted to obtain M16 rifles and hand grenades from an FBI informant. Notably, this trend also has been seen outside the jihadist world. On April 30, five self-identified anarchists were arrested in connection with a plot to destroy a bridge outside Cleveland, Ohio. They had purchased remotely detonated improvised explosive devices from an FBI informant.

The Cleveland group had previously discussed constructing improvised explosive mixtures using recipes they had found on the Internet. But the possibility of buying authentic C4 explosives was attractive to them because, according to the FBI criminal complaint filed in the case, the group believed the real explosives would be more powerful and destructive than homemade explosives.

Would-be attackers, such as Shahzad and the anarchists of the Cleveland group, typically do not have a realistic assessment of their capabilities and therefore tend to attempt attacks that are beyond their capabilities. In attempting a spectacular attack, they frequently achieve little or nothing. As we have previously noted, it is a rare individual who possesses the requisite combination of will, discipline, adaptability and technical skill to make the leap from theory to practice and become a successful militant in a lone-wolf or small-cell environment.

The Danger of 'Kramer Jihadists'

Through retrospective trial testimony or FBI arrest affidavits, the exploits of Abdo, el Khalifi or the Cleveland anarchists can appear almost comical. In fact, such cases often leave people wondering if ridiculous would-be attackers could be involved in terrorist activity to begin with. However, militant groups -- indeed, most organizations -- are composed of exceptional individuals and not-so-exceptional individuals. Just as the business world needs chief executive officers, engineers and assembly line workers, the militant world needs operational planners, bombmakers, foot soldiers and suicide bombers. Placed in the proper roles, these individuals can combine their efforts to produce effective results.

It is easy to dismiss novice militants as inept, but we should keep in mind that if some of these individuals found an actual terrorist facilitator rather than a federal informant, they probably would have killed many people in an attack. Richard Reid, often referred to as the "Kramer of al Qaeda" after the bumbling character from the television series Seinfeld, came very close to taking down a jumbo jet full of people over the Atlantic Ocean because he had been equipped and dispatched by those more capable than himself. Working under the leadership of exceptional individuals, even al-Hamzi and al-Midhar -- "Dumb and Dumber" -- helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing provides a valuable lesson on dealing with Kramer jihadists. Before the attack, a government informant infiltrated the core group of perpetrators. After the informant proved to be too difficult to handle, coverage of the group was dropped because its members were considered inept. In truth, many of them were; one suspect, Mohammed Salameh, tried to retrieve the deposit he put down on the rental truck used to transport the bomb. But this only highlights the importance of the exceptional individual -- in this case, Abdel Basit. He was sent to New York to lead what proved to be a successfully executed bomb plot.

History demonstrates clearly that even groups of bumbling aspiring attackers can be organized successfully if they are empowered by someone who provides them with means and oversight. Accordingly, authorities cannot afford to ignore bumblers, no matter how inept they may appear.

Terrorism and the Not-So-Exceptional Individual COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I think Worf and Picard would agree.....

From a library I'm studing in

Geopolitical Weekly: Australia's Strategy, May 22, 2012

By George Friedman

Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, ranked in the top 10 in gross domestic product per capita. It is one of the most isolated major countries in the world; it occupies an entire united continent, is difficult to invade and rarely is threatened. Normally, we would not expect a relatively well-off and isolated country to have been involved in many wars. This has not been the case for Australia and, more interesting, it has persistently not been the case, even under a variety of governments. Ideology does not explain the phenomenon in this instance.

Since 1900, Australia has engaged in several wars and other military or security interventions (including the Boer War, World War I, World War II and the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq) lasting about 40 years total. Put another way, Australia has been at war for more than one-third of the time since the Commonwealth of Australia was established in 1901. In only one of these wars, World War II, was its national security directly threatened, and even then a great deal of its fighting was done in places such as Greece and North Africa rather than in direct defense of Australia. This leaves us to wonder why a country as wealthy and seemingly secure as Australia would have participated in so many conflicts.

Importance of Sea-Lanes

To understand Australia, we must begin by noting that its isolation does not necessarily make it secure. Exports, particularly of primary commodities, have been essential to Australia. From wool exported to Britain in 1901 to iron ore exported to China today, Australia has had to export commodities to finance the import of industrial products and services in excess of what its population could produce for itself. Without this trade, Australia could not have sustained its economic development and reached the extraordinarily high standard of living that it has.

This leads to Australia's strategic problem. In order to sustain its economy it must trade, and given its location, its trade must go by sea. Australia is not in a position, by itself, to guarantee the security of its sea-lanes, due to its population size and geographic location. Australia therefore encounters two obstacles. First, it must remain competitive in world markets for its exports. Second, it must guarantee that its goods will reach those markets. If its sea-lanes are cut or disrupted, the foundations of Australia's economy are at risk.

Think of Australia as a creature whose primary circulatory system is outside of its body. Such a creature would be extraordinarily vulnerable and would have to develop unique defense mechanisms. This challenge has guided Australian strategy. 

First, Australia must be aligned with -- or at least not hostile to -- the leading global maritime power. In the first part of Australia's history, this was Britain. More recently, it has been the United States. Australia's dependence on maritime trade means that it can never simply oppose countries that control or guarantee the sea-lanes upon which it depends; Australia cannot afford to give the global maritime power any reason to interfere with its access to sea-lanes.

Second, and more difficult, Australia needs to induce the major maritime powers to protect Australia's interests more actively. For example, assume that the particular route Australia depends on to deliver goods to a customer has choke points far outside Australia's ability to influence. Assume further that the major power has no direct interest in that choke point. Australia must be able to convince the major power of the need to keep that route open. Merely having amiable relations will not achieve that. Australia must make the major power dependent upon it so that Australia has something to offer or withdraw in order to shape the major power's behavior.

Creating Dependency

Global maritime powers are continually involved in conflict -- frequently regional and at times global. Global interests increase the probability of friction, and global power spawns fear. There is always a country somewhere that has an interest in reshaping the regional balance of power, whether to protect itself or to exact concessions from the global power.

Another characteristic of global powers is that they always seek allies. This is partly for political reasons, in order to create frameworks for managing their interests peacefully. This is also for military reasons. Given the propensity for major powers to engage in war, they are always in need of additional forces, bases and resources. A nation that is in a position to contribute to the global power's wars is in a position to secure concessions and guarantees. For a country such as Australia that is dependent on sea-lanes for its survival, the ability to have commitments from a major power to protect its interests is vital.

Deployment in the Boer War was partly based on Australian ideology as a British colony, but in fact Australia had little direct interest in the outcome of the war. It also was based on Australia's recognition that it needed Britain's support as a customer and a guarantor of its security. The same can be said for the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia might have had some ideological interest in these wars, but its direct national security was only marginally at stake in them. However, Australian participation in these wars helped to make the United States dependent on Australia to an extent, which in turn induced the United States to guarantee Australian interests.

There were also wars that could have concluded with a transformation of the global system. World War I and World War II were attempts by some powers to overthrow the existing global order and replace it with a different one. Australia emerged from the old political order, and it viewed the prospect of a new order as both unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Australia's participation in those wars was still in part about making other powers dependent upon it, but it also had to do with the preservation of an international system that served Australia. (In World War II there was also an element of self-defense: Australia needed to protect itself from Japan and certainly from a Japanese-controlled Pacific Ocean and potentially the Indian Ocean.)

Alternative Strategy

Australia frequently has been tempted by the idea of drawing away from the global power and moving closer to its customers. This especially has been the case since the United States replaced Britain as the global maritime power. In the post-World War II period, as Asian economic activity increased, Asian demand increased for Australian raw materials, from food to industrial minerals. First Japan and then China became major customers of Australia.

The Australian alternative (aside from isolation, which would be economically unsustainable) was to break or limit its ties to the United States and increasingly base its national security on Japan or, later, on China. The theory was that China, for example, was the rising power and was essential to Australian interests because of its imports, imports that it might secure from other countries. The price of the relationship with the United States -- involvement in American conflicts -- was high. Therefore, this alternative strategy would have limited Australia's exposure to U.S. demands while cementing its relationship with its primary customer, China.

This strategy makes sense on the surface, but there are two reasons that Australia, though it has toyed with the strategy, has not pursued it. The first is the example of Japan. Japan appeared to be a permanent, dynamic economic power. But during the 1990s, Japan shifted its behavior, and its appetite for Australian goods stagnated. Economic relationships depend on the ability of the customer to buy, and that depends on the business cycle, political stability and so on. A strategy that would have created a unique relationship between Australia and Japan would have quickly become unsatisfactory. If, as we believe, China is in the midst of an economic slowdown, entering into a strategic relationship with China would also be a mistake, or at the very least, a gamble.

The second reason Australia has not changed its strategy is that, no matter what relationship it has with China or Japan, the sea-lanes are under the control of the United States. In the event of friction with China, the United States, rather than guaranteeing the sea-lanes for Australia, might choose to block them. In the end, Australia can sell to many countries, but it must always use maritime routes. Thus, it has consistently chosen its relationship with Britain or the United States rather than commit to any single customer or region.

Australia is in a high-risk situation, even though superficially it appears secure. Its options are to align with the United States and accept the military burdens that entails, or to commit to Asia in general and China in particular. Until that time when an Asian power can guarantee the sea-lanes against the United States -- a time that is far in the future -- taking the latter route would involve pyramiding risks. Add to this that the relationship would depend on the uncertain future of Asian economies -- and all economic futures are now uncertain -- and Australia has chosen a lower-risk approach.

This approach has three components. The first is deepening economic relations with the United States to balance its economic dependencies in Asia. The second is participating in American wars in order to extract guarantees from the United States on sea-lanes. The final component is creating regional forces able to handle events in Australia's near abroad, from the Solomon Islands through the Indonesian archipelago. But even here, Australian forces would depend on U.S. cooperation to manage threats.

The Australian strategy therefore involves alignment with the leading maritime power, first Britain and then the United States, and participation in their wars. We began by asking why a country as wealthy and secure as Australia would be involved in so many wars. The answer is that its wealth is not as secure as it seems. 

Australia's Strategy COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Monday, May 21, 2012

Officer Down

Police Officer Justin Maples
Cleveland Tennessee Police Department
End of Watch: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Age: 35
Tour: 7 years

Police Officer Justin Maples was killed in a single vehicle crash on South Lee Highway at approximately 9:30 pm.

His patrol car left the roadway and struck a telephone pole, causing severe damage. He was transported to SkyRidge Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries 50 minutes later.

Officer Maples had served with the Cleveland Police Department for seven years. He is survived by his wife and three sons.
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.

The real Kennedy curse.

In the last few months the propaganda machine has spun up a tale of Republicans in general and conservatives in particular being misogynist, against women, etc. Now we all know hypocrisy and the left go hand in hand. In this matter the women who are abused by liberals (e.g Paula Jones, Juanita Broderick) are simple trash, not to be taken seriously or in "the big picture" the liberal has done more good than bad.

Last week Mary Richardson Kennedy hanged herself. I am sorry for the loss to her children but I have a bit of a problem feeling sympathetic to the rest of the family. Now taking a break from studying I found this on Hotair.com and it shows the real Kennedy curse.
Kennedy family is riddled with entitled, underachieving drunks, drug addicts and cheaters, who have treated women terribly

Along with their waning power, wealth, privilege and prestige, here’s another element of the Camelot mystique that needs to be extinguished: the myth of “The Kennedy Curse.” It’s almost a reflexive national reaction when we hear of yet another Kennedy dying too young, so of course it was invoked again last week, when news broke that Mary Richardson Kennedy, the estranged 52-year-old wife of Robert Kennedy Jr., had hung herself in her barn on Wednesday. A curse, however, implies supernatural intervention by vengeful gods jealous of mortal youth, beauty, brilliance.

...It’s a top-down mentality that began in the 1920s, with patriarch Joe. Leaving aside his other character flaws — running with gangsters, espousing racist and anti- Semitic beliefs, buying his son’s presidential election — Joe was such a callous philanderer that he often brought his mistress, actress Gloria Swanson, home to dinner with his wife, Rose.

Joe, to be sure, set the bar high, and his sons, as we now know, engaged in lifelong attempts to clear it. They performed admirably. Bobby Kennedy ran around on wife Ethel with, among others, Marilyn Monroe (when his brother Jack was done with her) and, after Jack’s death, his widowed sister-in-law, Jackie.

Until recently, JFK’s relentless womanizing was contextualized as a glamorous flaw, one he shared with many other men who have held the office, born of the swinging, shaken-martini ’60s. We now know that JFK was a remorseless predator, a sitting president who got a teenage intern drunk, took her virginity on his wife’s bed, then later suggested she perform oral sex on an aide while he watched. As that intern, Mimi Alford, wrote in her memoir “Once Upon a Secret,” the president would often have her travel with him, stashing her in the cargo hold with the luggage.

And Ted. Where to begin? There are the well-documented stories of truly sleazy behavior, but it’s quite the legacy when partying with your nephew leads to his trial for rape—and that’s just a footnote. Ted was the worst of the three, pitching off a bridge at Chappaquiddick in 1969, leaving a young campaign aide named Mary Jo Kopechne to die at the bottom of a lake while he slept off the booze, then strategized spin control.

Of course, he got away with it. While his long-suffering wife, Joan, slid into alcoholism and depression — after being conscripted to call the Kopechne family and offer the Kennedys’ sincere condolences — Ted continued partying while burnishing his legacy as the Senate’s liberal lion. He finally explained why he never spoke about Chappaquiddick in his memoir, “True Compass,” written while on his deathbed.
“[W]hatever attacks and misrepresentations I have suffered as a result of Chappaquiddick, I know that they have been nothing compared to the grief endured with dignity by Mary Jo’s father, Joe, who died on Christmas Eve 2003, and her mother, Gwen, who died in 2007. I know that my public discussion of that terrible night would only have caused them more pain. I also have a personal distaste for self-justification.”
...And lest we forget the third-generation Kennedys: the late Michael Kennedy (affair with the teenage babysitter); Ethel’s nephew Michael Skakel (convicted of the 1975 murder of teenage neighbor Martha Moxley); William Kennedy Smith (tried for rape in 1991); Joe Kennedy II (getting an annulment without telling his wife);Doug Kennedy (kicking and shoving his maternity nurse)...
I recently posted on 101 Soldierly Thoughts and this one kinda relates.
97. The “leadership genes” in famous American military families usually become weaker as the generations roll by.
It works here too guys. Joe Sr, Jack, Bobby were looked upon with reverence. Teddy no such much. And the latest generation are pretty much worthless and I use that term specifically. Joe Kennedy was a true public servant (he brought us booze during Prohibition), Joe Jr was a honorable veteran, Jack did serve the country well in World War II (even if his Presidency was overrated and had to be bought by the old man). Teddy was a true leach hypocrite and the only reason he wasn't sent to prison was because his name is Kennedy. But at least he could get elected over and over (granted it was MA). Now we have the latest generation (e.g. Patrick Kennedy) who get busted for DWI, no one killed and that's the end of his career.

Perhaps we have finally gotten away from the Camelot myth, the belief the name Kennedy entitles you to a seat at power. This country would be better off for it.

Like I recently said about Little Dick Lugar, D(on't) G(o) A(way) M(ad) J(ust) G(o) A(way). Trust me Kennedy family, we don't need your public service anymore!

Officer Down

Probation/Parole Officer Jeffrey McCoy
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
End of Watch: Friday, May 18, 2012
Age: 32
Tour: 7 years

Probation / Parole Officer Jeffrey McCoy was shot and killed while performing a pre-release supervision check at a home on Maple Drive in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

A male subject who lived at the home, but who was not the focus of Officer McCoy's visit, answered the door and immediately pushed Officer McCoy off of the front porch. The man then attacked him and was able to gain control of his service weapon during the ensuing struggle. The subject shot Officer McCoy at least once before fleeing back into his home.

The man fired at officers from the Midwest City Police Department as they arrived at the scene. He was taken into custody moments later after he exited the home again.

Officer McCoy had served with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for seven years. He is survived by his 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.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

You think the left can't get any dumber....

The stupidity of the left knows no bounds in all areas of life, but especially the military. May have something to do with the fact the left despises the military but they love to use it for social experiments. And here is another one.
Why We Need a Greener Military

Congress banning the U.S. military from using biofuels is just plain dumb.

A Navy experimental program to use biofuels has been shot down by the House Armed Services Committee

Killing a $12 million military program may seem like a paltry matter. The sum amounts to a mere 0.002 percent of the total defense budget. But the elimination of one such program this week by the House Armed Services Committee reveals—more brazenly than many larger tamperings—just how shortsighted, hypocritical, and beholden to special interests the custodians of national security can be.

The program in question is a two-day experiment by the Navy to power an aircraft carrier’s entire battle group—its jet planes and escort ships—not with petroleum but with biofuels. (The biggest ship in the group, the carrier itself, is excluded, since it is, and would remain, nuclear-powered.)

The rationale for barring the Navy from buying the 450,000 gallons of biofuels necessary for the experiment is economic: These fuels are too expensive—about four times more costly than conventional fuels.

To hammer home the point, the committee’s Republican leaders passed an amendment barring the entire Defense Department from using any alternative fuels, for any purpose, if they’re more expensive than oil. But then, in a shameless disclosure of who’s paying the tiller, they tacked on a provision exempting coal and natural gas from this prohibition. As Noah Shachtman put it in Wired’s Danger Room blog, they “didn’t put limits on all alternative fuels—just the ones with environmental benefits.”
Strange. I though natural gas has no CO2 emissions and wouldn't that be an environmental benefit? But let's not have logic and truth get in the way of a good story. We continue.

But this is not a tale of green woe about the environment, or not just that; it’s a story about hard-headed national security and energy policy.

The Defense Department has stepped up alternative-energy projects in the past few years, and not for the sake of trendiness. The Army and Marines have been setting up solar panels in Afghanistan, because the convoys of trucks bringing in oil—mainly to fuel the military’s own operations—cost a tremendous amount to maintain and secure, not just in money but in lives. (In 2007, insurgent attacks on fuel convoys were responsible for one-third of U.S. casualties—a bit of data that prompted the alt-fuels program.)

Yes, there has been some use of solar energy to power US bases in Afghanistan. But the fuel these authors are talking about is for vehicles for the most part. And sorry guys, solar will not power a Hummer.

But again, let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Even now, in its early phases, solar is a more mature technology than biofuels. In part that’s because there’s almost no market for biofuels—mainly because, as the House committee complained, they’re too expensive. But some of modern history’s most revolutionary devices started out as too expensive; and they would have stayed that way—they might never have got off the ground—had the federal government not created the market. And since, in American politics, the military and space programs have been the federal government’s only sources of manufacturing, it’s the Pentagon and NASA that have created those markets....

...Alternative fuels are currently in the same trap. In the long run, they are likely to save money, reduce our dependence on foreign producers (many of them with less-than-stable regimes), and do less damage to the environment. But in the short run, they are too expensive—and, in some cases, their net benefits are too uncertain—for private citizens, or very many companies, to take the plunge.

This is where government comes in—where it has always come in.

Biofuels are riskier than solar. Their price may never plunge below the cost of oil (unless, of course, the price of oil skyrockets), and some variants produce their own carbon footprints. But they’re worth a modest experiment; they’re worth a boost in demand, which could spur more firms to take a leap into the market...
Typical leftist propaganda on how the government must fund an alternative fuel for our benefit. I love how they say if the price of oil skyrockets. As if it hasn't already because of intentional government policy. Thankfully there has been some wisdom shown by the Congress. Now if this can be shown at DoD and DOE.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Romney on January 20, 2013

Personally I would add on Day 1 a federal hiring freeze (except for military recruitment) but I like this.

Again I"m not a Romney man but I'll vote against Obama.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Security Weekly: Terrorism and the Exceptional Individual, May 17, 2012

By Scott Stewart

There has been a lot of chatter in intelligence and academic circles about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri and his value to AQAP. The disclosure last week of a thwarted AQAP plot to attack U.S. airliners using an improved version of an "underwear bomb" used in the December 2009 attempted attack aboard a commercial airplane and the disclosure of the U.S. government's easing of the rules of engagement for unmanned aerial vehicle strikes in Yemen played into these discussions. People are debating how al-Asiri's death would affect the organization. A similar debate undoubtedly will erupt if AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi is captured or killed.   

AQAP has claimed that al-Asiri trained others in bombmaking, and the claim makes sense. Furthermore, other AQAP members have received training in constructing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) while training and fighting in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. This means that al-Asiri is not the only person within the group who can construct an IED. However, he has demonstrated creativity and imagination. His devices consistently have been able to circumvent existing security measures, even if they have not always functioned as intended. We believe this ingenuity and imagination make al-Asiri not merely a bombmaker, but an exceptional bombmaker.

Likewise, al-Wahayshi is one of hundreds -- if not thousands -- of men currently associated with AQAP. He has several deputies and numerous tactical field commanders in various parts of Yemen. Jihadists have had a presence in Yemen for decades, and after the collapse of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, numerous Saudi migrants fleeing the Saudi government augmented this presence. However, al-Wahayshi played a singular role in pulling these disparate jihadist elements together to form a unified and cohesive militant organization that has been involved not only in several transnational terrorist attacks but also in fighting an insurgency that has succeeded in capturing and controlling large areas of territory. He is an exceptional leader.

Individuals like al-Asiri and al-Wahayshi play critical roles in militant groups. History has shown that the loss of exceptional individuals such as these makes a big difference in efforts to defeat such organizations.

Exceptional Individuals

One of Stratfor's core geopolitical tenets is that at the strategic level, geography is critical to shaping the limits of what is possible -- and impossible -- for states and nations to achieve in the long run. Quite simply, historically, the strategic political and economic dynamics created by geography are far more significant than the individual leader or personality, no matter how brilliant. For example, in the U.S. Civil War, Robert E. Lee was a shrewd general with a staff of exceptional military officers. However, geographic and economic reality meant that the North was bound to win the civil war despite the astuteness and abilities of Lee and his staff.

But as the size of an organization and the period of time under consideration shrink, geopolitics is little more than a rough guide. At the tactical level, intelligence takes over from geopolitics, and individuals' abilities become far more important in influencing smaller events and trends within the greater geopolitical flow. This is the level where exceptional military commanders can win battles through courage and brilliance, where exceptional businessmen can revolutionize the way business is done through innovative new products or ways of selling those products and where the exceptional individuals can execute terrorist tradecraft in a way that allows them to kill scores or even hundreds of victims.

Leadership is important in any type of organization, but it is especially important in entrepreneurial organizations, which are fraught with risk and require unique vision, innovation and initiative. For example, hundreds of men founded automobile companies in the early 1900s, but Henry Ford was an exceptional individual because of his vision to make automobiles a widely available mass-produced commodity rather than just a toy for the rich. In computer technology, Steve Jobs was exceptional for his ability to design devices with an aesthetic form that appealed to consumers, and Michael Dell was exceptional for his vision of bypassing traditional sales channels and selling computers directly to customers.   

These same leadership characteristics of vision, daring, innovation and initiative are evident in the exceptional individuals who have excelled in the development and application of terrorist tradecraft. Some examples of exceptional individuals in the terrorism realm are Ali Hassan Salameh, the operations chief of Black September, who not only revolutionized the form that terrorist organizations take by instituting the use of independent, clandestine cells, but also was a visionary in designing theatrical attacks intended for international media consumption. Some have called Palestinian militant leader Abu Ibrahim the "grandfather of all bombmakers" for his innovative IED designs during his time with Black September, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and his own group, the 15 May Organization. Ibrahim was known for creating sophisticated devices that used plastic explosives and a type of electronic timer called an "e-cell" that could be set for an extended delay. Another terrorism innovator was Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyeh, who helped pioneer the use of large suicide truck bombs to attack hardened targets, such as military barracks and embassies. 

In the jihadist realm, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being tried by a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was such an individual. Not only did Mohammed mastermind the 9/11 attacks for al Qaeda in which large hijacked aircraft were transformed into guided missiles, but he also was the operational planner behind the coordinated attacks against two U.S. embassies in August 1998 and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Mohammed's other innovations included the idea to use modular IEDs concealed in baby dolls to attack 10 aircraft in a coordinated attack (Operation Bojinka) and the shoe bomb plot. Mohammed's video beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl in February 2002 started a grisly trend that was followed not only by jihadists in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia but also by combatants in Mexico's drug war. 


One of the places where exceptional individuals have been most evident in the terrorist realm is in leadership roles. Although on the surface it might seem like a simple task to find a leader for a militant group, in practice, effective militant leaders are hard to come by. This is because militant leadership requires a rather broad skill set. In addition to personal attributes such as ruthlessness, aggressiveness and fearlessness, militant leaders also must be charismatic, intuitive, clever and inspiring. This last attribute is especially important in an organization that seeks to recruit operatives to conduct suicide attacks. Additionally, an effective militant leader must be able to recruit and train operatives, enforce operational security, raise funds, plan operations and methodically execute the plan while avoiding the security forces that are constantly hunting down the militants.

The trajectory of al Qaeda's franchise in Saudi Arabia is a striking illustration of the importance of leadership to a militant organization. Under the leadership of Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, the Saudi al Qaeda franchise was extremely active in 2003 and 2004. It carried out a number of high-profile attacks inside Saudi Arabia and put everyone there, from the Saudi monarchy to multinational oil companies, in a general state of panic. With bombings, ambushes and beheadings, it seemed as if Saudi Arabia was on its way to becoming the next Iraq. However, after the June 2004 death of al-Muqrin, the organization began floundering. The succession of leaders appointed to replace al-Muqrin lacked his operational savvy, and each one proved ineffective at best. (Saudi security forces quickly killed several of them.) Following the unsuccessful February 2006 attack against the oil facility at Abqaiq, the group atrophied further, succeeding in carrying out only one more attack -- an amateurish small-arms assault in February 2007 against a group of French tourists.

The disorganized remaining jihadists in Saudi Arabia ultimately grew frustrated at their inability to operate on their own. Many of them traveled to places such as Iraq or Pakistan to train and fight. In January 2009, many of the militants who remained in the Arabian Peninsula joined with al Qaeda's franchise in Yemen to form a new group -- AQAP -- under the leadership of al-Wahayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen who served under Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan before being arrested in Iran. An extradition deal between the Yemeni and Iranian governments returned al-Wahayshi to Yemen in 2003. He subsequently escaped from a high-security prison outside Sanaa in 2006.

Al Qaeda in Yemen's operational capability improved under al-Wahayshi's leadership, and its operational tempo increased (although those operations were not terribly effective). Considering this momentum, it is not surprising that the frustrated members of the all-but-defunct Saudi franchise agreed to swear loyalty to al-Wahayshi and join his new umbrella group, AQAP. The first widely recognized product of this merger was the attempted assassination of Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef on Aug. 28, 2009, using a device designed by al-Asiri and carried by his brother, Abdullah al-Asiri.

As with the Saudi group, the fortunes of other al Qaeda regional franchises have risen or fallen based on the ability of the franchise's leadership. In Indonesia, for example, following the arrests and killings of several top jihadist commanders, the capabilities of the regional jihadist franchise there were deeply degraded. Al Qaeda announced with great fanfare in August 2006 that a splinter of the Egyptian jihadist group Gamaah al-Islamiyah had become al Qaeda's franchise in Egypt, and in November 2007 al Qaeda announced that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group had become a regional franchise. But neither of these franchises ever really began operations. While a great degree of the groups' ineffectiveness could have resulted from the oppressive natures of the Egyptian and Libyan governments -- and those governments' aggressive efforts to control the new al Qaeda franchises -- Stratfor believes the groups' failures also stem in large part from their lack of effective, dynamic leadership.  

Arms Race

Leadership is not the only factor that influences a militant group's ability to carry out terrorist attacks. Groups planning to conduct bombing attacks also require a proficient bombmaker, and an innovative bombmaker like Abu Ibrahim or Hamas' Yahya Ayyash can greatly expand a group's operational reach and effectiveness. This is especially true for groups hoping to conduct attacks in the United States and Europe.

As outlined in last week's Security Weekly, those planning terrorist attacks against aircraft have been in a continual arms race with airline security measures. Every time security is changed to adapt to a particular threat, whether it be 9/11-style hijackings, shoe bombs, liquid bombs or underwear bombs, the terrorist planner must come up with a new attack plan to defeat the enhanced security measures. This is where innovation and imagination become critical. A master bombmaker might be able to show a pupil how to build a simple IED or maybe even something like a shoe bomb. The pupil may even become quite proficient at assembling such devices. But unless the pupil is innovative and imaginative, he will not be able to invent and perfect the next technology needed to stay ahead of security countermeasures.

There is a big difference between a technician and an inventor, and perhaps the best way to illustrate this principle is by drawing a parallel to the music world. A student can learn to play the saxophone, and perhaps even to mimic a jazz recording note for note. But it is quite another thing for that student to develop the ability to improvise a masterful solo like saxophonist John Coltrane could. In music, individuals like Coltrane are rare, and in terrorism, so are exceptional bombmakers -- masters of destruction who can create imaginative and original IEDs capable of defeating security measures.

Following the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, AQAP's English-language preacher, we noted that we did not believe his death would have much operational impact on the group due to his role as the group's English-language ideologue. That argument was based upon the fact that al-Wahayshi, al-Asiri and AQAP operational leader Qasim al-Raymi, who were much more responsible for the group's operations, were still alive. However, if the group were to lose an exceptional individual -- such as its dynamic and effective leader, al-Wahayshi, or its imaginative and creative bombmaker, al-Asiri -- the loss would make a significant difference unless the group could find someone equally capable to replace that individual.

Terrorism and the Exceptional Individual COPYRIGHT STRATOR.COM

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

You thought nothing with Obama would shock you.....

Anyone who has watched the man-child knows B Hussein Obama is a classic example of a narcissist. But even knowing this you would have to say this latest example of self-aggrandizement is beyond the pale. From Commentary Magazine (via Hotair.com)
Many of President Obama’s fervent devotees are young enough not to have much memory of the political world before the arrival of The One. Coincidentally, Obama himself feels the same way—and the White House’s official website reflects that.

The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography onwww.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford).

•On Feb. 22, 1924 Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people. President Coolidge later helped create the Federal Radio Commission, which has now evolved to become the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.

•President Herbert Hoover signed the bill founding the Department of Veterans Affairs July 21, 1930. President Obama is committed to making sure that the VA, the second-largest cabinet department, serves the needs of all veterans and provides a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life, and has directed his Administration to modernize the way health care is delivered and benefits are administered for our nation’s veterans. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

•On August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Today the Obama Administration continues to protect seniors and ensure Social Security will be there for future generations.

•In a 1946 letter to the National Urban League, President Truman wrote that the government has “an obligation to see that the civil rights of every citizen are fully and equally protected.” He ended racial segregation in civil service and the armed forces in 1948. Today the Obama Administration continues to strive toward upholding the civil rights of its citizens,repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, allowing people of all sexual orientations to serve openly in our armed forces.

•President Dwight Eisenhower established the President’s Council on Youth Fitness on July 16, 1956 (now known as The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports) after learning from a study that American youth were less fit than European youth. Today the Council is still going strong—with Olympians and professional athletes on board—working in conjunction with the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiativeto help promote healthier lifestyles.

•President John F. Kennedy famously suggested the American people: “Ask what you can do for your country.” In 1961, the Peace Corps was created, facilitating service among citizens working toward peace in developing countries. In 2011, President Obama celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps with a Presidential Proclamation.

•President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare signed into law in 1965—providing millions of elderly healthcare stability. President Obama’s historic health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, strengthens Medicare, offers eligible seniors a range of preventive services with no cost-sharing, and provides discounts on drugs when in the coverage gap known as the “donut hole.”

•In 1973, Richard Nixon created The President’s Export Council, which was expanded and reconstituted under President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Today the PEC continues to work towards reaching President Obama’s goal of doubling the nation’s exports by 2014’s end.

•In 1977, President Jimmy Carter created the Department of Energy; today the DOE works with the Obama Administration to drive towards innovation in energy and reducing reliance on foreign oil with an “all of the above” approach.

•President Reagan designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday; today the Obama Administration honors this tradition, with the First and Second Families participating in service projects on this day.

I just looked something else up and wanted to see if this fits with B Hussein Obama.
Mayo Clinic staff

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and in other areas of their life, such as work or school.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around psychotherapy.

To all the Obama voters out there who inflicted this country and the world with no nothing fool with delusions of himself and his ability who is in the process of destroying this country, thanks. Please, if you were so insecure and guilt ridden as to vote for this moron in 2008 to prove you are not a racist, please vote for Romney (who I really don't want but I got no choice) or for God's sake, stay home. This nation can't stand another term of B Hussein Obama or your foolish voting.