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

Friday, July 31, 2020

I was there...Baker Street!

The one in London, 221B to be exact. I've loved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work for ages, and back in the early 90s I saw how there is a bank at the location. And actually there wasn't a "Baker Street" in London until after Sherlock Holmes. And if you wrote to Sherlock Holmes, you got a letter. So I had to get one:
In 2006, I visited my friend Bill in London, and took the ride to Baker Street. Right off the subway, here is what greets you:
Well today my friend Clause Z put up this video, and it brought back some memories. Gerry Rafferty and his classic Baker Street. Enjoy.

Have a great weekend!

The issue of naval power projection...

A great column from Lawfire, from a retired Navy captain.

I'm a retired Army officer, and while I will cheer with all my comrades in green on the first Saturday in December, I know we're the poor boys of the services, the Navy gets the most. In the post war years, America's projected power primarily with carrier strike forces (CSF). Last month, we put three CSFs into the Pacific in reaction to Chinese provocations. For ages, when a crisis has arisen, one president after another asked one question, "Where are the carriers?"

Now there is a legitimate question of the future of the carrier. A century ago, many admirals were hesitant to see the end of the battle ship as the center of naval power. Now, with the development of hypersonic missiles and other weapons, has the carrier entered its twilight as the center of force projection? Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis was adamantly opposed to the purchase of two more Ford class carriers. He only agreed to the fielding in exchange for the early retirement of the Harry Truman.

Personally I have no question the carrier is coming into its sunset. A possible replacement is unmanned aircraft launched from submarines, or UAVs launched from smaller ships.

Captain Mazzafro has an interesting look at the culture of the Navy, and how it needs correction. As much as platforms and projection, people are even more critical. I recall an introduction to an article I read around 1980, "It takes ten to twenty years to build an effective navy. Two to three years of neglect can put one into decline." And after the abuse of the Obama years, we need work on the Navy (and the other forces).
How to “dewater” the Navy’s listing cultural ship

(BTW, “dewater” is a naval term used to describe part of the process sailors use to right a ship that is listing .)

by Joe Mazzafro

The strain the Navy is operating under

The troubles of the Navy have been well documented in outlets such as Naval Proceedings, Military/Navy Times, Defense One, Real Clear Defense, etc. along with various defense-focused think tank analysis...

...Consider the mismatch in terms of the requirements placed on the Navy for force presence in the Persian Gulf, South China Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean and the number of ships it has for meeting them.

There is also little appreciation on main street America of the time it takes to train officers and sailors to operate their technically complicated ships and weapon systems in the harsh environment of the open seas.

Ms. (Kate Bachelder) Odell presciently observes that the U.S. Navy (USN) is “trying to do too much with too little public support” while its chain of command is fraying from the top. She might have added that the Navy has not enjoyed strong public advocacy since John Lehman was Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration 40 years ago.

This essay appearing in the Wall Street Journal by someone without deep Navy expertise is a good effort at reaching a broader audience not just about what is going on in the Navy but why.

Deterring the Chinese Navy?

Those who think more deeply about the implications of what Ms. Odell says will realize that the U.S. Navy is America’s frontline force for deterring Chinese military adventurism against US national interests in Asia.


Thoughtful analysts will also understand that the naval forces of the Pacific Fleet are not much of a deterrent against a growing modernized Chinese Navy (PLAN) that can operate within the First Island Chain under the protective cover of land based Chinese “ship killer” ballistic missiles and cruise missiles fired from land based bomber aircraft.

Odell’s message is a simple one: the US Navy is struggling at time when our nation needs it most as it confronts a threatening China, a rearming Russia, an unpredictable North Korea, and a dangerous Iran.

You don’t have to be Navy legend Arleigh Burke to understand the Navy needs a new strategy/operating concept so that current US naval forces can face the PLAN with a better probability of success.

Ultimately in a combat environment increasing characterized ubiquitous surveillance, longer range hypersonic missile, 100 knot torpedoes, and spaced based weapons the US Navy will need to move away from naval formations centered on nuclear powered aircraft carriers, which the USN perfected during the industrial age of the Cold War as the most effective means of sea control and conventional force power projection ever seen.

But the Cold War and the Industrial Age are over.

So the Navy needs to change, but as Ms Odell implies that is hard for any large tradition-celebrating organization to do under the best of circumstance, but when the hull is listing it is even more difficult. Therefore, the first order of business is to “dewater” the USN’s listing cultural ship to get it back on an even keel.

Need to define how a 300-ship fleet can be effectively used

To “dewater” the Navy its current leadership would say it needs more resources to grow fleet size to reduce the strain on the force. I would argue a better approach for immediately relieving the strain on the Navy would be for the Navy to lobby for reducing its requirement load by explaining in detail what it can do effectively with a 300 ship fleet and baulk at doing more than that...

...Joe Mazzafro served 27 years on active duty in Naval Intelligence retiring as a Captain. He then served for ten year as the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s Scientific and Technical Liaison Officer to the Intelligence Community before joining the private sector advising EMC, Oracle, CSC, and CSRA on how to shape their products and solutions to meet national security needs.

I'll leave the rest out, but I think it can be focused. The Navy (and the leadership of the armed forces altogether) must be reminded of why they exist. Four words. From Douglas MacArthur, his address to the 1962 class of the United States Military Academy:
And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars.
A quote (I wish I could give the author credit) that characterized the Obama years well, "Diplomacy without force is like playing pool with rope." The current administration is dealing with a large bureaucracy flooded with staff from the previous presidency. Their ideas are not the use of our military for force projection or winning our wars, but for social experimentation. I have yet to speak with one graduate of Army Ranger School or the Special Forces Qualification Course who believes women have graduated "legitimately," i.e. without lowering standards. Openly recruiting confused young men and women, paying for sex change surgery, and allowing them to be non-deployable for two years. Spending hundreds of millions to retrofit summaries so women can sail on them. Enough.

I have no issue with women in most positions. Flying, sailing, etc. But they have no business in infantry, armor, or tube artillery. There is no position for them in the submarine service, as once a submarine submerges, it has one primary function: To stay submerged! What happens when a female sailor comes up to the captain, two months into the cruise, "Sir, I'm six weeks pregnant..."

Still, and excellent look at the issue for the Navy Captain Mazzafro.

Officer Down


Detective James Traver Kirk
Stanton Police Department, Kentucky
End of Watch Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Age 40
Tour 18 years
Badge 191
Cause Heart attack
Incident Date Monday, February 10, 2020

Detective James Kirk suffered a fatal heart attack following a struggle with an armed subject.

He had responded to back up other officers dealing with the non-compliant subject. After running to the officers a struggle ensued before the man was taken into custody.

The following day Detective Kirk had gone to the Powell County Courthouse to obtain a search warrant on an unrelated case. As he was leaving the courthouse he suddenly collapsed outside of the building. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Detective Kirk had served in law enforcement in Powell County for 18 years. He is survived by his wife, four daughters, grandson, mother, and sister.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Thursday, July 30, 2020

K9 Down


K9 Bonnie
University of Nevada Reno Police Department, Nevada
End of Watch Thursday, July 16, 2020
Breed Labrador Retriever
Gender Female
Age 7
Tour 5 years
Cause Struck by vehicle

K9 Bonnie was struck and killed by a vehicle in the area of Sutro Street and Wedekind Road while she and her handler assisted the Reno Police Department during a shooting investigation.

Bonnie and her handler had responded to the area to assist with conducting a track. She was rushed to a local veterinary hospital after being struck but succumbed to her injuries.

K9 Bonnie had served with the University of Nevada Reno Police Department for five years.
Rest in Peace Bonnie…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!



In Memory of all Police Dogs

They handled themselves with beauty & grace
And who could ever forget that beautiful face
Whether at work; or at home; whatever the test
They always worked hard; and did their best

They were real champions; at work or at play
But their lives were cut short; suddenly one day
While working on the job with their partner one day
They put themselves out on a limb; out into harms way

They gave the ultimate sacrifice; any dog can give
They gave up their life; so someone could live
The best of their breed; as his partner and anyone would say
Many hearts are now broken; that he had to prove it this way

Now as the trees are blowing in the gentle breeze
The sun is shining; thru the leaves on the trees
The meadows are green; and the grass grows tall
Off in the distance they can see a waterfall

As they look over the falls; down through the creek
The water flows gently; as a rabbit sneaks a peek
Far up above; in the deep blue sky
They see the birds soar high; as they fly by

They see animals playing; at the bridge by a waterfall
Chasing each other; and just having a ball
They play all day; from morning to night
There's no more rain; just warm sunlight

Off in the distance; they hear trumpets blow
Then all the animals look up; and notice a bright glow
The harps would play and the angels would sing
As they know they've come home; they've earned their wings

We remember that they died; in the line of duty
And are now with the Lord; sharing in heaven's beauty
Off to the meadows now; where they can play and roam free
With an occasional rest stop; under a tall oak tree

No more bad guys to chase; or bullets to take
Just a run through the meadow; down to the lake
A quick splash in the water; then back to the shore
Then it's off to the forest; to go play some more

These special dogs are back home; up in heaven above
They're cradled in God's arm's; and covered with His love
We'll light a candle for all of them; in the dark of night
In loving memory of all; these very special knights

By John Quealy

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Really, she is interested in you because of your receding hairline and ballooning waistline...

A point I made countless times during my active intel years, you can be targeted, and you do have a price. I've gotten into arguments with people who think they can't be bought, and yes, you can. Now the price may not be money, it may be, "I've got your daughter..." Yes, you have a price.

I found this while looking at a website called Clearance Jobs. It's a site that links you to businesses where the jobs require a government security clearance, and you may have one from your time in the reserves or guard. And that is a decent amount of money for a civilian contractor doesn't have to pay if they hire you, so it may make the difference.

Pretty decent look at the clues. They ain't that difficult for people to see.
How to Spot a Honey Trap

David Brown

That extremely attractive woman you just met, the one who just cannot get enough of you—the one who hangs on your every word and loves—loves!—to hear about the fascinating things you do at your job? There is no way she’s an agent with foreign intelligence.

Sure, she’s a little out of your league. I mean, just look at you. You’re a balding, middle-aged man who sweats and has the sort of rolling belly otherwise seen on tire mascots and slug gangsters on planet Tattooine. She picked you up at a sports bar—you, a middle manager at a defense contractor. You forgot to remove your access badge before arriving for drinks, but who hasn’t made that mistake at least once..?

...She just couldn’t get enough of that, this foxy number with the tight dress that came right up to here. Oh that magical height that reveals so much and so little. You’re eyeing her and eyeing that plate of chili and cheese just sitting there, no fries left, and ordinarily you’d just finish it off with a spoon but with this goddess showing interest in you, is that uncouth? You finish your beer...

Yes, these are what we call clues in the business.
...Why it’s even in the Bible, this spy trick, which is known as a “honey trap.” In the Book of Judges, the Philistine leadership approaches a woman named Delilah and tells her that there’s a guy named Samson in town with godlike strength. He can slay lions with his bare hands. He can lay waste to entire battalions if he so chooses. Delilah, the Philistines say, “Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

The first honeytrap...!

...What else did that mandatory security briefing explain? Something about rodents. Rats? Mice? Mice—MICE! The motives for espionage: money, ideology, compromise and ego. Agents are recruited by foreign intelligence for a big payday, or because they believe in the political system of the foreign government, or because they’re being blackmailed or manipulated, or because dammit they’re important and nobody appreciates it and they’ll show the world how important they really are!

Honey traps fall under the C in MICE, it was explained. Either you unwittingly begin an affair with a foreign spy and you reveal secrets through pillow talk, or you sleep with a foreign spy and an envelope of photographs, just you and she in flagrante delicto, and a note included explaining that if you don’t deliver the goods, these goods will be delivered to your spouse and maybe posted on Facebook for good measure. Who wouldn’t reveal a few numbers or diagrams to spare your spouse the pain of such photographs? A few pages of notes to protect 50% of your belongings. It’s not like the country is at stake. It’s a little secret, an insignificant piece of a colossal puzzle.

What else did the briefing say? It was so boring, the briefing. Why are you even thinking about this, with this woman who is clearly interested in you, and with her dress—it’s wrapped so tightly around her, and is at least an inch higher and lower than it was a moment ago. Something about small favors. If honey traps are in it for the long haul, they start actual relationships with their marks. Long term relationships built on sex and secrets. They probe gingerly at first—asking for something small. Some tiny secret that can help her somehow. For work or whatever. And then it builds and builds until you’re hers, Samson in Delilah’s clutches, and if you figure out what’s going on, the tender caresses end and the blackmail threats begin.

Anyway, you’re not a target! Sure, you’re only middle management and they keep passing you over for promotion, the bastards, but so what? And yes, you’ve put on a few pounds, but a nice belly gives a man a big of respectability. Your wife has lost interest but that’s her loss! Why would a spy—a “sparrow,” as the Soviets called their seductresses—waste time on you? You don’t fit the profile. Actual honey traps target “those who lack confidence, feel insecure, harbour grievances and need affection...”

Yes, people will target the middle aged person who thinks they are nothing, or not appreciated, but you have access to sensitive or classified information. The KGB used to use a simple plan, how much money would get you to betray your country? Twice your annual income. And the Russians haven't gone anywhere, the Chinese are going full blast, and the Iranians want to know. So yes, when your approached by a el-fino young enough to be your daughter, and something tell you, "She can't be interested in me...." She's not, get out quick.

Officer Down


Police Officer Kenneth Reid Lester
Richmond Police Department, Indiana
End of Watch Monday, February 10, 2020
ge 62
Tour 16 years
Badge 149
Cause Automobile crash
Incident Date Friday, February 17, 1995

Police Officer Kenneth Lester succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile crash on February 17th, 1995, while responding to an alarm call.

He was responding to the call with his lights activated but no siren. As he approached the intersection of South 8th Street and South H Street a tractor-trailer that was driving in the left lane moved to the right lane. As Officer Lester overtook the tractor-trailer, it suddenly attempted to make a left turn in front of him. His patrol car became stuck underneath the trailer, causing him to suffer debilitating head and internal injuries.

Officer Lester required around-the-clock care for the next 25 years. He passed away from complications of the original injuries on February 10th, 2020.

Officer Lester had served with the Richmond Police Department for 16 years at the time of his crash. He is survived by his wife, two children, and two sisters.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Monday, July 27, 2020

Officer Down


Trooper Joseph Jon Bullock
Florida Highway Patrol, Florida
End of Watch Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Age 42
Tour 19 years
Badge 595

Trooper Joseph Bullock was shot and killed at approximately 10:15 while assisting a disabled vehicle on I-95 just north of the interstate rest area in Martin County.

He stopped to assist the motorist whose vehicle had become stuck on a swale. He had positioned his patrol car behind the vehicle and completed paperwork for approximately one hour while the motorist waited for a tow truck to remove the vehicle. During this time Trooper Bullock had several normal interactions with the motorist.

Once the tow truck driver arrived the man became upset with the cost of having the vehicle towed. He calmly walked back to Trooper Bullock’s vehicle and, without warning, drew a handgun and fatally shot him in the head.

The man then attempted to shoot the tow truck driver, but his gun jammed, allowing the tow truck driver to run to safety. The tow truck driver was able to get the attention of an off-duty Riviera Beach detective who was driving into work.

The detective fatally shot the subject after the man confronted him and pointed the gun at him.

Trooper Bullock was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Florida Highway Patrol for 19 years. He is survived by his parents and two sisters.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

What's Going On In The World Today 200727

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL OR SUBSCRIPTION:


USA

Exclusive: Secret Trump order gives CIA more powers to launch cyberattacks

The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities, according to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

The secret authorization, known as a presidential finding, gives the spy agency more freedom in both the kinds of operations it conducts and who it targets, undoing many restrictions that had been in place under prior administrations. The finding allows the CIA to more easily authorize its own covert cyber operations, rather than requiring the agency to get approval from the White House.

Unlike previous presidential findings that have focused on a specific foreign policy objective or outcome — such as preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power — this directive, driven by the National Security Council and crafted by the CIA, focuses more broadly on a capability: covert action in cyberspace.

The “very aggressive” finding “gave the agency very specific authorities to really take the fight offensively to a handful of adversarial countries,” said a former U.S. government official. These countries include Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — which are mentioned directly in the document — but the finding potentially applies to others as well, according to another former official. “The White House wanted a vehicle to strike back,” said the second former official. “And this was the way to do it.”

The CIA’s new powers are not about hacking to collect intelligence. Instead, they open the way for the agency to launch offensive cyber operations with the aim of producing disruption — like cutting off electricity or compromising an intelligence operation by dumping documents online — as well as destruction, similar to the U.S.-Israeli 2009 Stuxnet attack, which destroyed centrifuges that Iran used to enrich uranium gas for its nuclear program...

U.S. Naval Update Map: July 23, 2020

The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance over the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier and includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.

AFRICA

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Is Filling Its Reservoir. What's Next?

The filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam's reservoir was not initiated by Ethiopian government action, but rather the alignment of the project's construction timeline and weather patterns. But while this will mitigate the near-term impact on the flow of the Nile Basin river system into Egypt, tensions between Addis Ababa and Cairo will likely again increase when water availability decreases after the rainy season. The concept of Addis Ababa restricting the Nile River flow to fill the dam's reservoir has become controversial due to Egyptian opposition and failure to reach a negotiated arrangement. But according to Ethiopia's water minister, recent heavy rains caused its water levels to grow rapidly without the government taking direct action...

Egypt Readies to Intervene in Libya as Hifter Struggles

In response to movements from the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Egypt will likely launch a military intervention in eastern Libya, using tribal ties to gain public support for or the deployment to secure Egypt's western borders. While Egypt will seek to avoid engaging in direct combat with rival Turkish forces in the region, its presence on the ground will raise the risk of a wider confrontation that draws Cairo deeper into Libya's increasingly insoluble civil war.

Egypt would prefer to continue backing international negotiations to end the nearby Libyan conflict, though Khalifa Hifter and his Libyan National Army (LNA)'s demands — which both Cairo and the United Arab Emirates support — are making successful negotiations unlikely. Eastern Libyan officials have demanded that Libya's financial system and distribution of oil revenue become more transparent, and that the revenue be shared directly with Libya's three regions (Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania).

- Egypt has supported these proposed oil and financial reforms, as they would serve two purposes: increasing transparency to limit the funding of Islamist militias in western Libya, and making the eastern Libyan economy and financial system more sustainable amid the country's deadlocked conflict.

- The Tripoli-based GNA, however, will not accept such an arrangement, as it would strengthen eastern Libya's control over oil revenue and allow Hifter's LNA to continue to use its control of the country's oil industry as political leverage, thus leaving negotiations in a stalemate...


ASIA

The Nature of China's Military Push Along the Indian Border

After many years of infrastructure development and gradual encroachment, China is accelerating efforts to secure its military presence and access to water rights along the Indian border near Ladakh. But while it appears Beijing has largely achieved this objective for now, the harsh Himalayan winter could again escalate its standoff with India by challenging China's ability to maintain a presence throughout the disputed territory.

Since early May, over 10,000 Chinese troops have flooded into the disputed area on the Indian border, as Beijing seeks to secure its border claims and access to Himalayan water resources. Over the past year, Beijing likely construed a perception that India was attempting to reinforce its border claims in Ladakh by constructing roads and bridges near the Line of Actual Control. As is the case with many other Chinese territorial claims, such as those in Arunachal Pradesh or the South China Sea, China is also seeking to establish greater strategic depth around its borders. In Ladakh specifically, this means expanding control from the open plains of Xinjiang into the much more defensible Tibetan Plateau. The further China extends its reach into this mountainous area, the tougher the military challenge of threatening its western border becomes for Beijing's opponents. Controlling the source and course of rivers that run from Ladakh also provides a great deal of environmental security for China, as the Himilayan mountains in the region are an important source of water to the areas below them on either side...


India, US Hold Joint Maritime Drill Amid China Tensions

Indian Navy warships have held a joint exercise with the United States Navy in the Indian Ocean, according to the two countries. The maritime drill signals growing strategic cooperation between New Delhi and Washington at a time of heightened tensions with China. The exercises began Monday near India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are located away from the Indian mainland, near one of the world’s busiest shipping routes close to the Malacca Strait...

In the South China Sea, Washington Tries to Balance Support and Entanglement

Rodger Baker Senior VP of Strategic Analysis, Stratfor

HIGHLIGHTS

-Washington continues to walk a delicate balance between supporting its allies and partners in the region and avoiding entanglement in regional territorial conflicts.

-So long as U.S. policy remains largely reactive to China, rather than proactive in defining and shaping the region toward a particular goal, its behavior will remain difficult for partners and allies to anticipate.

-Now that the State Department has issued a new position statement, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation states will be watching closely to see just how far the words translate into action...


Australia Is Having a Strategic Revolution, and It’s All About China

The Australian government has announced a major shift to its regional policy. Will the United States notice in time?

At the beginning of July, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared that “our region is in the midst of the most consequential strategic realignment since the Second World War.” He wrote that in the introduction to his government’s “Defence Strategic Update” and “Force Structure Plan,” which many are hailing as a fundamental shift in Australia’s strategic approach.

Australian defense planning might seem remote, but the shift could alter the basic security dynamic in the Indo-Pacific region—and correspondingly, the U.S. approach to competition in this region. The questions now is whether Washington will notice the significant change in its most trusted Pacific ally’s posture, whether it will choose to cooperate with Canberra’s efforts to pull off its new strategy, and whether it will treat this as a useful model for other allies and partners.

The 2020 Defence Strategic Update is a revision of Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper. The quick revision signifies that Australian leaders believe their security environment has rapidly deteriorated. Although the documents seldom call out Beijing specifically, the cause of the erosion is hardly a mystery. The strategic update notes: “Military modernisation in the Indo-Pacific has accelerated faster than envisaged.” Asian defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product has actually decreased over the last five years. Only in China has there been a serious increase in overall defense spending.

It is not only China’s military capabilities, which it has been building for decades, that have caused anxiety. Rather, it is their increasingly aggressive use that has caused a growing sense of alarm. In just the last few months, Beijing has asserted control over Hong Kong, intruded into Taiwan’s airspace, trained guns on the Philippine Navy, harassed Malaysian vessels, sunk a Vietnamese fishing ship, rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel, reignited a deadly border conflict with India, and conducted cyberattacks and economic coercion against Australia...

...Reinvesting in deterrence capabilities demands that the United States follow Australia’s lead by investing in new types of forces. For years, America and its allies have worried that China’s growing arsenal of long-range missiles threatens forward bases and surface ships. Yet, the United States has been too slow to embrace effective counters, particularly dispersed air and sea denial systems, which would complicate China’s ability to threaten U.S. and allied assets. Canberra has signaled its intent to neutralize Beijing’s emerging power projection systems by using its own area denial capabilities to “hold adversary forces and infrastructure at risk further from Australia.” That is why Australian plans call for “submarines, advanced long-range strike weapons, remotely piloted combat aircraft, sea-mining and offensive cyber capabilities.” Taken together, these acquisitions have the potential to constrict Beijing’s ability to project power by turning China’s strategy of anti-access and area denial on its head.

The U.S. military—particularly the Marine Corps—is pursuing similar capabilities. Australia’s strategic update should serve as additional impetus to prioritize these efforts and resource them appropriately. Moreover, the allies should work together to develop these systems and concepts of operations. After all, if Beijing wants to change the territorial status quo in East Asia, it must cross large bodies of water. Reliable air and sea denial capabilities could neutralize China’s power projection forces, but maximizing their effectiveness will require close allied coordination....

Did China Block Vietnam Offshore Oil Contract?

The sudden cancellation of an offshore drilling project commissioned by Vietnam is raising fears that the Chinese government pressured it to stop, part of Beijing’s ongoing maritime sovereignty spat with Hanoi. London-based drilling contractor Noble Corp. said July 9 its Noble Clyde Boudreaux semi-submersible had cancelled a previously announced project with Vietnam. News reports placed the drilling site off Vietnam’s east coast in a zone watched by Chinese survey vessels. It’s unclear whether officials from Beijing forced the cancelation, but they have pressured other Vietnamese seabed oil drilling contracts in the past. The two countries contest nearby tracts of the broader South China Sea...

Rising in the East: A Regional Overview of the Islamic State’s Operations in Southeast Asia

In 2016, the Islamic State acknowledged a series of pledges from Southeast Asian militant groups by declaring Isnilon Hapilon of the Abu Sayyaf Group to be the regional emir and encouraging local supporters to travel to the Philippines to wage jihad. Since 2016, a wave of Islamic State-linked attacks, including attempted and successful suicide attacks across the region, as well as the Marawi siege in 2017 by Islamic State-linked groups, has raised significant regional security concerns. Critical questions about the growing influence of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, the interconnectedness of Islamic State affiliates, and the risks associated with returning fighters from Iraq and Syria remain unanswered. In the first of a four-part series on the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, this report sheds light on the overarching characteristics of Islamic State-linked operations across Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines between 2014 and 2019, highlighting how the Islamic State’s arrival has affected regional militancy. Drawing on open-source materials, the report maps the characteristics and regional dispersion of Islamic State-linked activity in the region, providing regional and country-level context for the nature of the threat. Additionally, the report identifies six regional militant groups as the Islamic State’s operational affiliates, defined as groups that have claimed attacks concurrently with the Islamic State...

There Is No Arctic Axis

Russia and China’s partnership in the north is primarily driven by business, not politics.

As observers speak of a new Cold War between the United States and China, policymakers seem to misunderstand Sino-Russian relations in the Arctic as an alliance. This stems in part from the lack of a quantified framework to understand the ongoing shifts in the international system: the return of nationalism, fractures in the rules-based liberal order, and the rise of nontraditional security threats such as climate change. The misreading of the relationship in the Arctic also stems from a lack of subject-matter expertise among policymakers on what drives Sino-Russian ties—a shortfall that will shape future understanding of the Arctic region.

After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Western sanctions dried up existing capital and technology pools for Russian energy projects in the Arctic. The sanctions targeted Western companies cooperating with Russian energy firms and investing in Russian Arctic projects, paving the way for Chinese state firms to engage. The Kremlin’s need for foreign capital places Beijing in a position of power in the Arctic, but Russia is wary of Chinese investment. Moscow is attuned to both the potential and pitfalls of doing business with Beijing: Overreliance on China to fulfill Russia’s economic security agenda in the Arctic could increase Beijing’s regional footprint...

EUROPE

Russia trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine data, say UK, U.S. and Canada

William James

LONDON/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday.

A co-ordinated statement from Britain, the United States and Canada attributed the attacks to group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, which they said was almost certainly operating as part of Russian intelligence services.

“We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” said NCSC Director of Operations Paul Chichester.

Cybersecurity researchers said an APT29 hacking tool was used against clients located in United States, Japan, China and Africa over the last year.

Russian news agency RIA cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the Kremlin rejected London’s allegations, which he said were not backed by proper evidence...

German states appeal to U.S. Congress not to withdraw troops

BERLIN (Reuters) - The premiers of four German states have appealed to members of the U.S. Congress to block plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Germany, according to letters seen by Reuters on Sunday.

President Donald Trump said last month he would cut the number of U.S. troops in Germany by 9,500 to 25,000, faulting the fellow NATO member for failing to meet the North Atlantic alliance’s defence spending target and accusing it of taking advantage of America on trade.

The prime ministers of the four southern states, all home to U.S. bases, addressed the letters to 13 members of Congress including senators Mitt Romney and Jim Inhofe...

NORTH/SOUTH AMERICA

Murders in Mexico, especially of women, grew during pandemic

The number of homicides in Mexico has grown during the new coronavirus pandemic, including a 9.2% spike in killings of women, according to government figures released Monday. The data for the first half of 2020 showed homicides increased 1.9% to 17,982, as compared to 17,653 in the same period of 2019. Activists have long worried that the increased confinement of families to their homes would increase killings of women, and they indeed grew from 448 in the first half of 2019 to 489 in the same period of 2020...

Mexico probe: marines abducted 27 at border, 12 found dead

Mexican marines allegedly abducted 27 people in the northern border city of Nuevo Laredo in early 2018, 12 of whom were later found dead, according to an investigation by Mexico’s governmental human rights commission. The rights commission said Tuesday that marines had violated the victims' "right to life,” but did not say outright they had killed them...

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban says ready for talks next month if prisoner swap complete

The prisoner-exchange, part of a US-Taliban deal, has proved a major sticking point ahead of peace talks.

The Taliban is prepared to hold peace talks with the Afghan government next month straight after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the armed group has said, provided a continuing prisoner swap has been completed.

The conditional offer marks the first occasion a talks timeline has been floated since warring parties blew past a March 10 deadline to begin negotiations.

The development on Thursday comes amid soaring violence that has threatened to derail US-backed efforts to bring Kabul and the Taliban to the negotiating table and seek an end to Afghanistan's nearly 19-year war...

Number of American troops in Afghanistan drops to 8,600 as Taliban make big changes ahead of expected talks

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban have put the son of the movement’s feared founder in charge of their military wing and added several powerful figures to their negotiating team, Taliban officials said. The shake-up, one of the most significant in years, comes ahead of expected talks with Kabul aimed at ending decades of war in Afghanistan.

As head of a newly united military wing, 30-year-old Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob brings his father’s fiercely uncompromising reputation to the battlefield.

Equally significant is the addition of four members of the insurgent group’s leadership council to the 20-member negotiating team, Taliban officials told The Associated Press.

American soldiers patrol on the M4 highway in the town of Tal Tamr in the northeastern Syrian Hasakeh province on the border with Turkey on Jan. 24, 2020. (Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images)
The shuffle, overseen by Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhunzada, is meant to tighten his control over the movement’s military and political arms, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the inner workings of the Taliban.

Analysts say the shake-up could be good news for negotiations with the Afghan political leadership, and a sign of how seriously the Taliban are taking this second — and perhaps most critical — step in a deal Washington signed with the insurgents in February...

CHINA

Was China’s Houston Consulate Trying to Steal the Coronavirus Vaccine?
China’s efforts to use the Houston consulate to steal science and technology secrets were “particularly aggressive and particularly successful,” Trump administration indicates.

China may have been using its now-closed consulate in Houston as a base of operations for industrial espionage as it seeks to be the first to hit the market with a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, Trump administration officials indicated on Friday.

The Houston facility is near the largest medical complex in the world and a bevy of research universities and critical infrastructure projects. Officials said the consulate has been used at least 50 times in the past 10 years to help recruit members of the Thousand Talents Program, China’s effort to target top Chinese and foreign experts from around the world in cutting-edge fields to bring their skills back to Beijing.

In recent years, China has made a concerted effort to leap ahead in scientific research and technology by targeting Chinese nationals and foreign experts. Chinese Consulate officials in Houston had been directly involved in communications with researchers and guided them on what information to collect, the officials said...

China's Economy Is Growing Again, Sort Of

Further scrutiny of China's 3.2 percent GDP growth in the second quarter of 2020 still shows uneven, slow healing from the COVID-19 crisis that leaves the Chinese economy vulnerable to setbacks and shocks, even as the headline number suggests a slight recovery from the country's deep dip earlier this year. Risks in the second half of the year include a renewed virus outbreak, residual Chinese consumer caution and weak business investment in manufacturing plants and equipment, shaky global demand for Chinese exports, heightening tensions with the United States, and severe flooding currently in much of the country...

IRAN

In Somalia, Iran Is Replicating Russia’s Afghan Strategy

Iranian forces are supporting al-Shabab and allegedly offering bounties. The U.S. government must stop Tehran before it further destabilizes the Horn of Africa.

Muhammad Fraser-RahimJuly 17, 2020, 10:12 AM

Iran has established covert ties with the Somalia-based al-Shabab terrorist group well known for its attacks in the Horn of Africa. Following Russia’s playbook in Afghanistan and the surrounding regions, Tehran is allegedly using al-Shabab to attack the U.S. military and other foreign forces in Somalia and in the region, according to senior Somali government and security officials familiar with intelligence and briefed on the matter.

Using financial inducements as their means for recruitment, Iran has a proxy network in Somalia and uses facilitators to provide support to violent extremist organizations to counter the influence of the United States and Persian Gulf states, including using Somalia to funnel weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen and to transit weapons to other countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Mozambique, and Central African Republic...

Iran suspends execution of three men linked to protests, lawyer says

(Reuters) - The Iranian judiciary has suspended the executions of three men linked to anti-government protests in November, one of their attorneys, Babak Paknia, said on Sunday.

Rights activists had said the death sentences were aimed at intimidating future protesters.

With hardship mounting because of U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, Iran’s clerical rulers have been trying to prevent a revival of anti-government protests that took place in November last year, when hundreds are believed to have been killed in the worst street violence since the 1979 revolution.

Last Thursday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators in the southwestern city of Behbahan, witnesses said, who were protesting against the economic problems but also the death sentences against the three men.

The Farsi hashtag “Don’t execute” was tweeted millions of times last week...

Rouhani says 25 million Iranians may have been infected with coronavirus

DUBAI (Reuters) - President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that some 25 million Iranians may have been infected with coronavirus, as Iran reimposed restrictions in the capital and elsewhere.

The figure, from a report Rouhani cited in a televised speech, was far higher than Saturday’s official figure for infections of 271,606, and corresponds to more than 30% of Iran’s 80 million population.

Rouhani’s office said the number of infections was based on an “estimated scenario” from a health ministry research report.

Iran has been the Middle East country hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with infections and deaths rising sharply since restrictions were eased, beginning in mid-April.FMisc

“Our estimate is that so far 25 million Iranians have been infected with this virus and about 14,000 have lost their lives,” Rouhani said...

... Seven ships burning in Iran’s Bushehr port stoke suspicions of sabotage by America, Israel

We have been so busy watching the dumpster fires here at home, including a pandemic wreaking havoc in the U.S., that we almost missed these mysterious fires on seven ships going on in Iran’s port. These recent blazes are just the latest in a line of suspicious fires popping up in the Middle Eastern nation over the past few weeks, causing some to suspect sabotage. ... Some Iranian officials have said privately that they suspect that at least some of the fires and explosions were part of an American and Israeli military campaign against Iran, but no official has publicly said whether any of the incidents are linked or blamed any country or group for them. “Some analysts speculate that various enemies of the Iranian government — not just the United States and Israel, but possibly domestic groups as well — may be seizing the opportunity to stoke chaos...

IRAQ

Turkey shifts fight against Kurdish militants deeper into Iraq

ANKARA/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Turkey is taking its decades-old conflict with Kurdish militants deep into northern Iraq, establishing military bases and deploying armed military drones against the fighters in their mountain strongholds.

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reacts ahead of a meeting with EU Council President Charles Michel pose in Brussels, Belgium March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
The cross-border campaign has attracted less attention than Turkey’s incursions into neighbouring Syria - partly because Turkish troops have long been in Iraq - but it is part of a strategy to push the fight beyond its borders after years of bloodshed at home.

Turkey has been battling an insurgency in its mainly Kurdish southeast by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants that has killed 40,000 people since the 1980s and which has largely been directed from within Iraq...

ISRAEL

Two more cyber-attacks hit Israel's water system

First attack hit in April when hackers tried to modify water chlorine levels, officials said.

Two more cyber-attacks have hit Israel's water management facilities, officials from the Water Authority said last week.

Officials said the attacks took place last month, in June, and didn't cause any damage to the attacked organizations.

The first attack hit agricultural water pumps in upper Galilee, while the second one hit water pumps in the central province of Mateh Yehuda, local media reported last week.

"These were specific, small drainage installations in the agriculture sector that were immediately and independently repaired by the locals, causing no harm or any real-world effects," the Water Authority said in a statement...

KOREAN PENINSULA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

RUSSIA

Russia, U.S.: White House Removes CAATSA Exemptions for Nord Stream 2, TurkStream Pipelines

Jul 16, 2020 | 20:38 GMT

What Happened: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the withdrawal of exemptions that precluded Russian gas pipelines from being subjected to sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), TASS reported July 16.

Why It Matters: The removal of the exemptions could potentially expose investors and service providers engaged in both the TurkStream pipeline between Russia and Turkey, as well as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, to CAATSA sanctions. The White House, however, is unlikely to take retaliatory action against the major European energy companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, in particular, for fear of triggering a major diplomatic conflict with its European allies. The sanctions are instead more likely to be used as a deterrent against the continued construction of these Russian pipelines.

Background: The United States has sought to disrupt Nord Stream 2 through various sanctions, though construction on the natural gas pipeline continues to near completion.

Russia’s Shadowy Mercenaries Offer Humanitarian Aid to Clean Image

The Wagner Group, busy sowing chaos from Syria to Libya, is trying to score PR points. But the United States is increasingly pushing back.

The so-called Wagner Group, a quasi-private Russian military security contractor, has long been deft at finding opportunity amid chaos. Since the group first appeared on the battlefields of eastern Ukraine in 2014, it has become the Swiss Army knife of Russia’s overseas interference efforts and has been linked to activities including election meddling, gold mining, and front-line combat.

Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Wagner affiliates have found a new way to burnish their tarnished reputations: delivering coronavirus-related aid. Much as other violent groups have done before them, including Hezbollah, providing humanitarian aid to fragile states offers the opportunity for a quick publicity stunt in a bid to normalize their presence...

Deal reached for east Ukraine ceasefire from July 27

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainian, Russian and OSCE negotiators reached an agreement on Wednesday for a full ceasefire between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine from Monday, Ukraine’s president’s office said.

A simmering conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014. Major combat ended with a ceasefire agreed in the Belarus capital Minsk in 2015, but sporadic clashes still regularly kill civilians, Ukrainian soldiers and separatists...

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

US-Backed Forces Renew Campaign Against IS Remnants in Eastern Syria

U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched the second phase of a military campaign to destroy remnants of the Islamic State terror group in eastern Syria. The SDF said its “Deterrence of Terrorism” campaign, which was launched Friday, targets IS militants in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour. SDF units, backed by the U.S.-led international coalition against IS, have already captured several IS militants, including a senior leader, and seized large quantities of weapons and ammunitions belonging to IS cells, the group’s media office said Sunday...

Syria reports suspected Israeli air raids on capital

The Syrian military said the country's air defenses responded on Monday to Israeli air raids in south Damascus that wounded seven soldiers and caused material damage, and residents said loud explosions rocked the capital. It was not clear what the targets were. The air raids, which came just before 10 p.m. (1900 GMT), continued for more than 15 minutes. Residents reported hearing at least four explosions in the capital. A military official quoted in Syrian state media said the attack was carried out by Israeli jets that took off from the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war. The unnamed official said air defenses responded and downed most of the missiles. He said the attack wounded seven soldiers and caused material damage...

CYBER ISSUES

Exclusive: Secret Trump order gives CIA more powers to launch cyberattacks

The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities, according to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

The secret authorization, known as a presidential finding, gives the spy agency more freedom in both the kinds of operations it conducts and who it targets, undoing many restrictions that had been in place under prior administrations. The finding allows the CIA to more easily authorize its own covert cyber operations, rather than requiring the agency to get approval from the White House.

Unlike previous presidential findings that have focused on a specific foreign policy objective or outcome — such as preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power — this directive, driven by the National Security Council and crafted by the CIA, focuses more broadly on a capability: covert action in cyberspace.

The “very aggressive” finding “gave the agency very specific authorities to really take the fight offensively to a handful of adversarial countries,” said a former U.S. government official. These countries include Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — which are mentioned directly in the document — but the finding potentially applies to others as well, according to another former official. “The White House wanted a vehicle to strike back,” said the second former official. “And this was the way to do it.”
The CIA’s new powers are not about hacking to collect intelligence. Instead, they open the way for the agency to launch offensive cyber operations with the aim of producing disruption — like cutting off electricity or compromising an intelligence operation by dumping documents online — as well as destruction, similar to the U.S.-Israeli 2009 Stuxnet attack, which destroyed centrifuges that Iran used to enrich uranium gas for its nuclear program...

INTEL GENERAL

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

TERRORISM

Al Mawla: new ISIS leader has a reputation for brutality

With monikers as divergent as the "Professor" and the "Destroyer", ISIS's new head has a reputation for brutality, but otherwise remains largely an enigma. Amir Mohammed Said Abd Al Rahman Al Mawla replaced Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi after his death in a raid by US special forces last October.... The State Department immediately placed him on its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, sparking a quest to learn more about a most-wanted man who now has a $10 million bounty on his head. One thing everyone seems to agree on is Al Mawla's brutal nature. He is probably best known for playing "a major role in the campaign of liquidation of the Yazidi minority (of Iraq) through massacres, expulsion and sexual slavery," according to Jean- Pierre Filiu, an extremism analyst at the Sciences Po university in Paris...

Tajik man faces IS-related terrorism charges in Germany

Authorities have charged a Tajik man with membership in a terrorist organization on allegations he led a group plotting attacks in Germany in coordination with Islamic State leaders in Syria and Afghanistan, prosecutors said Tuesday. Ravsan B., whose last name wasn’t released in line with German privacy laws, also faces charges of weapons violations, preparing an act of violence, and other counts. The 30-year-old, who has been in custody since March 2019, is accused of forming a cell of the Islamic State in Germany with other Tajik nationals no later than January 2019 to carry out attacks and raise money for the extremist organization...

MISC

How Will Aircraft Fuel Tanks Accommodate The Switch To Hydrogen Power?

How does anyone expect to get around the problem of fuel storage space in aircraft with the switch to hydrogen power?

Aviation Week Senior Propulsion Editor Guy Norris responds:

Hydrogen propulsion holds significant potential to reduce climate impact in flight by as much as 75% when used in engines for direct combustion and as much as 90% when used in fuel cells to power electrically driven hybrid engines or distributed propulsion systems. Although liquid hydrogen (LH2) has three times the gravimetric energy density of jet fuel, it has a low volumetric density (approximately 2.4 kWh/liter compared with 10.4 kWh/liter for kerosene). This creates a huge challenge for aircraft designers because hydrogen fuel will require about four times the volume of jet fuel to carry the same onboard energy.

Even assuming lightweight tanks can be developed, the volumetric density issue means hydrogen propulsion will—at least for the near to mid-term—be best suited to smaller regional, short- and medium-range aircraft. Although hydrogen fuel is technically feasible for use in longer-range aircraft, the size of the fuel tanks would result in much longer or larger fuselages and greater energy demand, resulting in costs as much as 50% higher per passenger. For the longer term, however, it is possible that new volumetrically efficient airframe designs, such as blended wing body (BWB) configurations, would enable hydrogen to be considered for future long-range applications...

Italian police intercept coffee beans stuffed with cocaine

Police in Italy have intercepted a package containing hundreds of coffee beans that were hiding illegal drugs inside them.

Around 500 beans had been cut open, stuffed with cocaine, and carefully taped closed again with dark brown tape.

While the method of transportation appears to have been carefully thought out, the name on the package may have given the smugglers away.

Police said suspicions were initially raised when they saw the name "Santino D'Antonio" on the packets — a mafia boss in the American action film John Wick...




Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Presidential Daily Brief.

Being a retired intelligence officer, one thing that was drilled into my skull as a lieutenant in the late 80s, Intelligence is for the Commander! As the intelligence officer for a commander, you must insure he gets the information he needs. The goes from the battalion command level (normally the lowest unit that has a staff intelligence officer) to the Commander in Chief.

A few years back I read an excellent book, The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama. It was an interesting look at how intelligence started to be provided to the president in the post war level. If you want a good look at the pre-war level, I can suggest Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage. A Medal of Honor winner from World War I, a National Guard officer, and lawyer from New York City, he began using his contacts in Europe (his law office had business in multiple nations) and sending FDR updates on the situation on the continent.

Recently I discovered an excellent blog, Lawfare. And wouldn't you know, he has an interview on his podcast with the author of The President's Book of Secrets, Mr. David Priess. You get an explanation on how the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) started, was refined during the JFK administration, and has evolved over the years to fit the user, the president.

One point Mr. Priess makes is then President Obama decided to put on a mandatory forty year declassification on PDBs, and in 2015, there was a conference at the University of Texas on the newly released Kennedy and Johnson reports. and the Nixon/Ford PDBs have been released through the Nixon Library. No word yet on the Carter or Reagan files, but I'm going to keep an eye open!

For intel geeks, enjoy

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Hydrogen for jets...

I am strong atheist to the false faith of global cooling...wait, it's global warming...dammit, missed the memo, climate change, got it, till the next memo. Any cult has absolute faith as a prerequisite. See the Jim Jones People's Temple, the Branch Davidians in Waco, and anyone who worships the ALGORE. Notice if you bring up any question of the accuracy of data models (they can tell us our average global temperature may be .5 degree higher in 50 years, but they cannot tell us the temperature for next Thursday), you are not called a thinking person, or having intellectual curiosity. You are a denier. Don't worry that the people who push this crap do not live life they believe it (The Obama's just purchasing a mansion in Martha's Vineyard, which will be under water in a few years).

A point I've made, countless times, to idiots who say be must become carbon neutral, is carbon is not a pollutant, the delusions of 5 SCOTUS judges notwithstanding. And the fact oil is not only for gasoline, but for over 6000 other items we cannot live without. I've often asked, where will you get jet fuel, aka Kerosene, from? I remember a young man (looked like he was in his 20s) screaming on the Facebook page, "We have to do something!!!!" Such great intellect from the people who will pay my Social Security.

But I did find this article and it was an interesting question of how to use hydrogen to power jets. I'll give it this, it's not based on religion, but more science based.


How Will Aircraft Fuel Tanks Accommodate The Switch To Hydrogen Power?
The idea of hydrogen fuel is not new, as witnessed by Soviet-era flight tests of the Tupolev Tu-155—a specially modified hydrogen- and natural gas-fueled Tu-154 variant pictured here in Aviation Week (May 16, 1988, p. 62)—but new technologies could potentially make it practical by the 2030s.Credit: AW&ST Archive
How does anyone expect to get around the problem of fuel storage space in aircraft with the switch to hydrogen power?

Aviation Week Senior Propulsion Editor Guy Norris responds:

Hydrogen propulsion holds significant potential to reduce climate impact in flight by as much as 75% when used in engines for direct combustion and as much as 90% when used in fuel cells to power electrically driven hybrid engines or distributed propulsion systems. Although liquid hydrogen (LH2) has three times the gravimetric energy density of jet fuel, it has a low volumetric density (approximately 2.4 kWh/liter compared with 10.4 kWh/liter for kerosene). This creates a huge challenge for aircraft designers because hydrogen fuel will require about four times the volume of jet fuel to carry the same onboard energy.

Even assuming lightweight tanks can be developed, the volumetric density issue means hydrogen propulsion will—at least for the near to mid-term—be best suited to smaller regional, short- and medium-range aircraft.Although hydrogen fuel is technically feasible for use in longer-range aircraft, the size of the fuel tanks would result in much longer or larger fuselages and greater energy demand, resulting in costs as much as 50% higher per passenger. For the longer term, however, it is possible that new volumetrically efficient airframe designs, such as blended wing body (BWB) configurations, would enable hydrogen to be considered for future long-range applications.

According to a recently published independent review of hydrogen-powered aviation prepared by McKinsey & Co. for the European Union’s Clean Sky 2 research initiative, developers are considering multiple options to enable fast-tracking service entry of hydrogen-powered aircraft so they could have a material impact on the climate before 2050. The initial evolutionary option is to develop versions of current tube-and-wing designs in which engines and fuel systems are adapted to run on LH2.

For an Airbus A320/Boeing 737-size aircraft flying on typical ranges up to 1,100 nm (2,000 km), for example, the issue of fuel volume would be handled by stretching the fuselage to accommodate LH2 tanks behind the passenger cabin. Power would be provided by a hybrid system that combines hydrogen-burning turbine engines sized for takeoff and climb with an 11-megawatt fuel cell to generate the bulk of power for cruise...

Again, they can see out three decades, but not next week. Got it. I don't question Mr. Norris' expertise or opinion, but the need for this. As I've also said, thousands of times, if you can make a business model work, fantastic. Purduce this form of energy, sell it on the open market, make a fortune by providing a needed service. I think it's called capitalism. I'm not a fan of crony capitalism. Sorry for putting reality into your business model, but the sun doesn't always shine (solar), the wind doesn't always blow (windmills), and battery technology is not close to being what's needed for long term storage of electricity. But I wish these people well. As many forms of energy possible, the better.

Friday, July 24, 2020

I Lived to Tell about Fort Riley...

I went to Army ROTC Advanced Camp in the summer of 1986. Good God, 34 years ago! I'm not that old!

As I often said, "I spent a year in Kansas in the summer of 86..." Trust me, you spend a summer at Fort Riley, you will understand. But for six weeks, people I've never known (and with one exception, never knew again), were everything to each other. People I lived with, melded with, counted on, struggled with, achieved and failed with. And then we were gone.

As down as I got there (anyone who went through Advanced Camp did to one degree or another), we had one goal. To get out! And some of the prior service guys said, "Thiac, it's easy. You arrive here, you're already a two digit midget, 40 and a wakeup. You can stand on your head for that." And they were right. Wake up, physical training, eat, the day's tasks, sleep, repeat.

One part of my daily cycle was listening to a small radio I picked up at the PX. And right before 10:00 pm lights out (9:45 pm as I recall), the station would play Live to Tell. It was the sign, one more day done, one day closer to home.

I'm no particular fan of Madonna. I've said multiple times, she is a beautiful woman, but I find nothing attractive about her. But she hit it out the park with this great song. And she managed to help me though six very stressful weeks. Ladies and gentlemen, IMHO, Madonna's finest song, a great ballad, Live to Tell.

Have a great weekend!

Officer Down


Police Officer Nick O'Rear
Kimberly Police Department, Alabama
End of Watch Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Age 33
Tour 2 years
Badge 974
Incident Date Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Police Officer Nick O'Rear was shot and killed during a vehicle pursuit on I-65 near Old U.S. Highway 31 at about 10:00 pm.

An officer with the Warrior Police Department had initiated the pursuit when he attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Officer O'Rear responded to assist in the pursuit when the man opened fire, striking him. Officer O'Rear's vehicle then crashed nearby. He was transported to UAB Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds at 1:15 am.

The driver fled into Jefferson County where he was taken into custody and subsequently charged with capital murder.

Officer O'Rear had served with the Kimberly Police Department for one year and had previously served with the Ashville Police Department. He is survived by his two children with a third child on the way.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Richard Edward Whitten
Liberty County Sheriff's Office, Texas
End of Watch Monday, February 3, 2020
Age 52
Tour 4 years
Incident Date Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Richard Whitten succumbed to complications of a gunshot wound sustained on May 29th, 2019, while responding to a shots fired call in Cleveland.

He was en route to a training class and had just driven past the scene of the double-murder when the shooting was dispatched over the radio. As he responded back to the scene and encountered the suspect fleeing in a vehicle. Deputy Whitten and a member of the Cleveland Independent School District Police Department pursued the subject onto CR 2243, where the man immediately pulled into the parking lot of a veterinary office.

As Deputy Whitten challenged the subject the man produced a handgun and opened fire, striking him in the neck and paralyzing him. The other officer returned fire as the subject fled. The man later committed suicide after being located by other officers.

Deputy Whitten was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital, in Houston, in critical condition. On February 3rd, 2020, he suffered a complication while undergoing physical therapy and passed away.

Deputy Whitten had served with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office for four years.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Iranian opposition...and US interaction.

One of my frequent criticism's of the Obama regime was their embrace of the mullahs in Tehran. Obama had no issue with trying to destroy stability in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Israel, but the one nation he embraced was Iran. In exchange for one-hundred fifty billion in cash, we got...nothing.

Trump, for his many shortcomings, has put major pressure on Iran, the most dangerous nation in the Middle East, and one of the most dangerous in the world. The propaganda of Foreign Police not withstanding, the more pressure we up on the mullahs, the better. A majority of the nation had no memory of the shah, but they know the rest of the world thought the Internet or satalitte TV. It was primed for an insurgency in 2009, but Obama, for some reason, didn't stick his nose and ears into it, like he would do to allied or non-hostile nations in his term.

Is Restart the center of ridding Iran of the mullahs? Don't know. But at least we are not in direct opposition to the forces in Iran opposed to the mullahs.
QAnon Goes to Iran

Restart, a fringe Iranian dissident group, shows how conspiracy spreads—and what that means for U.S. politics.

Ariane TabatabaiJuly 15, 2020, 12:07 PM

QAnon entered the mainstream U.S. political lingo in 2017, when its followers propagated the conspiracy theory that the “deep state” was plotting against U.S. President Donald Trump. Since then, ideas put forth by QAnon have gained traction, thanks in part to U.S. President Donald Trump giving a platform to its followers on a number of occasions, including by retweeting messages from accounts linked to the group. Most recently, a number of individuals with apparent ties to QAnon have become Republican candidates for Congress.

Although QAnon’s raison d’ĂȘtre is largely rooted in domestic politics—and it has capitalized mainly on anxieties prevalent in U.S. society—the conspiracy theory has recently developed an unlikely group of adherents: an Iranian dissident group that calls itself Restart. Despite remaining a minor political force for now, Restart is a fascinating example of a broader trend: conspiracist thinking going global.

The Restarters are a fringe association in a larger web of Iranian opposition and conspiracy groups that wish to overthrow Iran’s current power brokers. Among them are the followers of Reza Pahlavi, who is the son of the deposed shah, and the Mujahideen–e–Khalq (MEK), a crypto-Shiite cultlike dissident group, to name a few. Such groups have enjoyed strong tailwinds in recent years. As BBC Monitoring reported in 2019, Iranian opposition factions have been able to increase their social-media reach and following since Trump took office—likely because of the perception that the Trump administration’s Iran policy favors them...

Good. As many as you can to opposed the current Iranian regime.
These state and nonstate actors have very little in common; they differ in their ideologies and the traction they have received both within and outside Iran. However, they are aligned in at least one important respect: They are all vying for influence not in their native Iran, but in the United States, where they try to shift U.S. policy to their liking...

...Like QAnon, which doesn’t “possess a physical location, but … has an infrastructure, a literature, a growing body of adherents, and a great deal of merchandising,” as writer Adrienne LaFrance recently wrote in the Atlantic, Restart exists in the Internet more than the real world. But unlike QAnon, which has more of a presence in mainstream U.S. politics (with some candidates for office even espousing their ideas), Restart remains small. Its leader has certainly encouraged violent dissent, but more than leading to an actual rise in protests, Restart’s activities illustrate how fringe movements and media outlets can push narratives and amplify messages that can come to dominate more mainstream political discussions in the United States and around the globe....

Thank God, the Iranian opposition has make more effort to coordinate and act against the Iranian government. And this time the opposition will not be opposed by the US administration. Hopefully it will collapse from inside.