Saturday, February 27, 2010

The DEW Line

'Kilroy was here' - caswell messenger

"In World War II (WWII) at one of the large shipbuilding establishments on the West coast there was a rivet inspector by the name of 'Kilroy'. For quality control purposes it was necessary that all riveting be inspected. In some shipboard areas it was necessary that this inspection be done before other construction took place, which would make it impossible to do a proper inspection job.

To avoid confusion and delays as to whether an inspection had been completed, when he had inspected and approved riveting in an area he would stripe paint the message 'Kilroy was here' in the area of rivets he had inspected and approved. Many of these 'Kilroy' messages remained in place and traveled around the world on the many ships coming out of this shipyard.

Many sailors picked up Kilroy's message from their ships and carried it ashore all over the world, where GI's got the message and repeated it, thus 'Kilroy, near the end of the war, had thousands of 'helpers' including GI's ashore who had never even seen, or knew what a rivet was, repeating his message all over the world!!

In the period between the August 15, 1945 Japanese surrender and the signing of the surrender treaty on September 2nd there were about a dozen aircraft carriers off of the coast of Japan with bombing assignments held in abeyance in the event it became necessary to continue the war. These carriers of course had to keep a fighter cover over the fleet for its protection... When the message announcing 'General MacArthur was on the way from Manila and where he would land was received a young navy fighter pilot from one of the carriers took a bucket of paint and a large paint brush and landed on the air strip where General MacArthur was to land and painted across the runway where it had to be seen 'KILROY WAS HERE'. So Kilroy made it to Japan before General MacArthur arrived there!!

Sincerely,

Frank B. Turberville, Jr."

BAE Systems Introduces the Caiman Multi-Theater Vehicle (MTV)

BAE Systems Introduces the Caiman Multi-Theater Vehicle (MTV)

Psyops and the Battle for Marjah

Psyops and the Battle for Marjah: "As the campaign to take over the village of Marjah enters its second day, the fog of battle has somewhat dissipated, bringing to light one of the untold truths over what the real battle is all about. Coalition forces conducting the operation are trying their utmost, to emphasize the role of the Afghan National Army as an equal member of the engaged military force, and lead element representing the interests and authority of the central government in Kabul. But the battle is not fought over the land, but on the hearts and minds of the local Pashtun tribe people, torn between their fear and loyalty to the residing Taliban, and the hope, while suspicion of the foreign-backed puppet regime in Kabul, promising the residents economic development and better living conditions."....

Is 'man who broke the Bank of England' George Soros at centre of hedge funds betting against crisis-hit euro? | Mail Online

Is 'man who broke the Bank of England' George Soros at centre of hedge funds betting against crisis-hit euro? | Mail Online: "A secretive group of Wall Street hedge fund bosses are said to be behind a plot to cash in on the decline of the euro.

Representatives of George Soros's investment business were among an all-star line up of Wall Street investors at an 'ideas dinner' at a private townhouse in Manhattan, according to reports.

A spokesman for Soros Fund Management said the legendary investor did not attend the dinner on February 8, but did not deny that his firm was represented.

At the dinner, the speculators are said to have argued that the euro is likely to plunge in value to parity with the dollar.

The single currency has been under enormous pressure because of Greece's debt crisis, plus financial worries in Portugal, Italy, Spain and Ireland.

But, it has also struggled because hedge funds have been placing huge bets on the currency's decline, which could make the speculators hundreds of millions of pounds.

The euro traded at $1.51 in December, but has since fallen to $1.34. Details of the secretive dinner emerged days after Mr Soros, chairman of Soros

Fund Management, warned in a newspaper article that the euro could 'fall apart' even if the European Union can agree a deal to shore up support for stricken Greece."...

Pakistan: Detained Taliban leaders 'linked to ISI' - Adnkronos Security

Pakistan: Detained Taliban leaders 'linked to ISI' - Adnkronos Security: "Islamabad, 23 Feb. (AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad - Key Taliban leaders arrested by Pakistan recently were all in contact with the country's military spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. Strategic experts believe the decision to arrest them was made by Pakistan's army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani who was looking to win favour with Washington, and create pressure on Islamabad to avoid retirement in November and extend his term.

Among those arrested include the Taliban's supreme commander in Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar; the former governor of the Afghan province of Nangarhar, Moulvi Abdul Kabeer; Mullah Abdul Salam, the shadow governor of Kunduz; and Mir Muhammad, also a shadow governor in northern Afghanistan.

“Undoubtedly, they were Pakistan’s strategic assets and their arrest might have dire consequences for Pakistan,' a senior strategic expert told AKI.

Apart from Baradar, these Taliban leaders were considered to be assets for the Pakistan military, with whom they had direct links.

Kabeer was known to be in contact with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) until his arrest at the weekend.

Moulvi Abdul Kabeer did not visit North Waziristan because Al-Qaeda suspected him as ISI man. Although he was part of Taliban’s command council, senior level Taliban commanders always remained skeptical about his allegiances.

Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban’s shadowy governor of Kunduz had an identical background.

When ISI started mobilising forces against Rabbani’s government in Kabul back in 1994, Mullah Abdul Salam represented the Taliban militias in the ISI’s headquarters in Islamabad and since then he has constantly been an ISI asset.

Although Mullah Baradar was not directly in contact with ISI officials, his movements were followed by ISI and Pakistani security agencies turned a blind eye to his movements when every winter he stayed in the southern port city of Karachi.

'In my personal opinion some very narrow vested interests became the reason for those arrests. Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Kiani is scheduled to retire on November 27, 2010.

'He cannot make a decision to extend his own service. It has to be done by the Pakistani government on the consent of Washington and therefore General Kiyani agreed to make their friends the scapegoats,” he said."


[bth: we'll see if Baradar or the others is actually extradited. I think the odds of that are low if this article is correct.]

Explosive device at Metro-North station - NYPOST.com

Explosive device at Metro-North station - NYPOST.com: "A legless man being pushed in a wheelchair by two people managed to plant a crude explosive device at the 125th Street Metro-North train station yesterday afternoon, causing trains to be rerouted for two hours.

A canvas bag left near the waiting area contained a 'pyrotechnic' with shotgun shells taped to it. The disabled man, Perry Roosevelt, 57, was arrested, along with one of the men with him."

In Afghanistan, U.S. plans major push into Kandahar

In Afghanistan, U.S. plans major push into Kandahar: "Even as Marines in Afghanistan continued to fight for control of the Taliban stronghold of Marja, senior Obama administration officials said Friday that the United States has begun initial planning for a bigger, more complex offensive in Kandahar later this year.

The assault on Marja, the largest U.S.-NATO military operation since 2001, is a 'prelude to larger, more comprehensive operations,' senior Obama officials said Friday. Administration officials declined to say when the Kandahar offensive will begin, but military officials have said that it probably will kick off in late spring or early summer after additional U.S. forces have moved into the area.

'Bringing comprehensive population security to Kandahar City is really the centerpiece of operations this year, and, therefore, Marja is the prelude. It's sort of a preparatory action,' said one senior official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

U.S. officials telegraphed the Marja offensive for many weeks before it began, and they appear to be laying the same kind of groundwork before moving into Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city and the original base of Taliban leader Mohammad Omar. The drives into Marja and Kandahar come as part of the administration's decision to deploy 30,000 additional troops in the country, a final push to secure major population centers almost nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Any military operation to drive the Taliban from Kandahar will probably play out very differently than the battle taking place in Marja, which is a tenth the size. About 11,000 U.S. and Afghan troops pushed into Marja and within the first 13 days of the operation raised the Afghan flag over the district's government center. Afghan officials also quickly selected a new district governor to oversee reconstruction efforts.

In Kandahar, U.S. forces are unlikely to move into the city in large numbers and instead will probably attempt to drive Taliban fighters from towns and villages surrounding the main city, military officials said. Local politics in Kandahar, where the Taliban movement first secured its foothold in Afghanistan, are also far more tangled than in Marja."....

[bth: Marja is increasingly looking like a PR stunt to built American civilian support for the surge than a task of military value. This would explain Gen. Nicholson's telegraph of our moves to the press and the enemy months in advance and the huge over hyping of the strugglle in Marja and its intensity. It was a PR stunt. What to make of Kandahar at this point? Real or PR? I can't really imagine us winning hearts and minds in that town.]

House Abandons Privacy Protections, Approves PATRIOT Act -- News from Antiwar.com

House Abandons Privacy Protections, Approves PATRIOT Act -- News from Antiwar.com: "The House of Representatives narrowly averted allowing the US Patriot Act to expire, abandoning all the proposed privacy provisions to the bill and approving it exactly as worded by the Senate in a vote earlier this week. Parts of Patriot Act would have expired Sunday, but passed through the Senate without debate."

The vote, incredibly enough titled the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act,” passed 315-97. The bill was so named because Senate Democrats inserted the Patriot Act’s extension into a Medicare reform bill.

Three sections of the Patriot Act were to “sunset” this year, including the roving wiretap provision, the library records seizure provision, and the “lone wolf” provision, which permitted surveillance against possible terrorists even if there was no evidence tying them to any terror organization.

The Obama Administration had expressed concern about the addition of civil rights protections to the bill, but said they would consider them so long as they didn’t weaken the president’s powers. In the end such consideration will be unneccesary, because the neither the House nor the Senate saw fit to include any protections at all.



[bth: the congress appears to have no desire to protect personal freedoms]

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jim Bunning Repeatedly Blocks Unemployment Benefits Extension, Tells Dem 'Tough Shit'

Jim Bunning Repeatedly Blocks Unemployment Benefits Extension, Tells Dem 'Tough Shit': "Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: 'Tough shit.'"...

[bth: sorry SOB]

US military spied on Planned Parenthood, civilian phone calls | Raw Story

US military spied on Planned Parenthood, civilian phone calls | Raw Story: "United States military intelligence spied on Planned Parenthood and other domestic groups as part of US security preparations for the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, according to a recently declassified military document obtained by a civil liberties group Thursday.

The document (PDF - page 98), drafted by a Pentagon Deputy Inspector General whose name is redacted, was included in more than 800 pages released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation as part of a Freedom of Information Act Request. They include reports from the Pentagon's Intelligence Oversight Board that were submitted to the Defense Secretary from 2001 to 2007.

Referring to an incident where military intelligence personnel distributed information about FBI spying on the 2002 Olympics, the inspector general's office tersely remarked that an 'intelligence oversight violation occurred.'"...

[bth: as usual no one will be held to account for this "oversight" of violating the constitutional rights of Americans.]

YouTube - Leann Rimes - Please Remember

YouTube - Leann Rimes - Please Remember

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens’ rights « - Blogs from CNN.com

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens’ rights « - Blogs from CNN.com: "Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government's become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken - though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed."...

[bth: I'd say this poll is spot on]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Europe Should Run NATO Without the United States - By Andrew J. Bacevich | Foreign Policy

Why Europe Should Run NATO Without the United States - By Andrew J. Bacevich | Foreign Policy:... "If NATO has a future, it will find that future back where the alliance began: in Europe. NATO's founding mission of guaranteeing the security of European democracies has lost none of its relevance. Although the Soviet threat has vanished, Russia remains. And Russia, even if no longer a military superpower, does not exactly qualify as a status quo country. The Kremlin nurses grudges and complaints, not least of them stemming from NATO's own steady expansion eastward.

So let NATO attend to this new (or residual) Russian problem. Present-day Europeans -- even Europeans with a pronounced aversion to war -- are fully capable of mounting the defenses necessary to deflect a much reduced Eastern threat. So why not have the citizens of France and Germany guarantee the territorial integrity of Poland and Lithuania, instead of fruitlessly demanding that Europeans take on responsibilities on the other side of the world that they can't and won't?

Like Nixon setting out for Beijing, like Sadat flying to Jerusalem, like Reagan deciding that Gorbachev was cut from a different cloth, the United States should dare to do the unthinkable: allow NATO to devolve into a European organization, directed by Europeans to serve European needs, upholding the safety and well-being of a Europe that is whole and free -- and more than able to manage its own affairs.

As with Nixon and Sadat and Reagan, once the deed is done everyone will ask: Why didn't we think of that sooner?"

[bth: An article from Andrew worth reading in full.]

Nightwatch on Pakistani public education and hatred of America

"Pakistan: Special note. The second part of yesterday’s PBS show Frontline concerned the condition of the public school system in Pakistan. It has collapsed in nearly every respect.


The video report noted that nearly half of the 65 million school age kids in Pakistan do not attend public schools. It did not follow-up that datum to report that a large percentage of the children not in public school learn to read and write in religious schools associated with mosque. The madrasah teaches boys and girls to read, write and recite the Quran, among other basics. In many regions and cities of Pakistan, attendance at the madrasah is the only path to semi-literacy for the children of the poor.


The collapse of the public school system has been the subject of editorials and studies for decades. The video report was not newsworthy on that account. It was significant that the overcrowded, open air school that was the subject of the video is in Lahore, one of the largest cities of Pakistan. The visual setting looked like a remote tribal village, not part of a large urban center.


Of great interest were the reporter’s brief interviews with a pre-teen Pakistani girl who attended the open air school in Lahore. The girl believed in education and said she wanted to be a teacher. Concerning the US, she said her teacher told her to hate America.


The vast majority of Pakistanis outside the political elite hate the US. The polling data of the past decade is consistent and unambiguous. A question that has been dodged invariably is who formulates the anti-US attitudes, irrespective of the tens of millions in aid sent to Pakistan. This video showed the face of the man who taught the young Pakistani girl to hate the US. It was her class teacher.


This is a profound discovery because it means that anti-US attitudes are being instilled at very young ages and reinforced through the duration of primary school education. In short, Pakistani kids grow up learning to hate Americans because that is what they are taught in public school. In the madrasahs, they are taught not only to hate Americans but how to fight American soldi4ers … and to die by suicide-murder bombings.


No agency in Pakistan or elsewhere views primary school teachers as agents of subversion. The Pakistani government is unwilling or unable to restrain the anti-American political bias of teachers in its failed school system. There is no tradition of protecting children from adult prejudices.


The Frontline video was stark, but, on balance, it understated the education problems in Pakistan by not addressing the insidious, seditious and subversive ideas nearly half the children of Pakistan receive in the madrasahs."...

Sic Semper Tyrannis : "On Mortars, Artillery, and Indirect Fire" by Tyler

Sic Semper Tyrannis : "On Mortars, Artillery, and Indirect Fire" by Tyler:

...."Our total lack of use resulted in the trained mortar soldiers running a detainee center, then being sent to the line infantry platoons, and finally ending up being part of the company commanders Tactical Action Command with the forward observers assigned to the company.



This action is writ large in the bigger Army, with artillery units unable to qualify with their guns. In the new COIN Army, artillery units have been retrained as military police and civil affairs troops, as their accurate and dependable firepower is considered unnecessary in the hearts and minds style battle.



The blast radius of the smallest mortar, the 60mm mortar, is roughly 30 yards. The range is 2490 meters. With current technology, FO’s are able to get 10 digit grids, which are accurate of up to one meter.

I use these stats to give the audience a basis before I describe why the current roles of engagement are foolish and almost treasonous.

The total fear of using indirect fire seems to come from the high command’s nightmare of massive civilian casualties in the current Afghanistan operation. This speaks of a complete lack of trust in the enlisted soldiers and non commissioned officers responsible for indirect fire and their training. There is no excuse not to call in mortars on troops in the open, with no civilians around, even if they are firing in an urban area. However, when you’re sitting in Kabul designing a rules of engagement to be incredibly media friendly, this is the sort of thinking that works.



When you’re a grunt pinned down by automatic fire, unable to pop your head up because of the volume of firepower coming your way, and need help, it is criminal to be unable to call in quick and accurate indirect firepower.



I hope this essay helps the civilian public understand the application and use of indirect fire in our current conflicts."

[bth: worth reading in full]

Lobbying run amok: Eight health care lobbyists for every member of Congress | Raw Story

Lobbying run amok: Eight health care lobbyists for every member of Congress | Raw Story:... "For every member of Congress, there were eight lobbyists working to influence health care reform last year, according to research by The Center for Public Integrity.

That's about 4,525 total lobbyists from 1,750 companies that include 207 hospitals, 105 insurance companies and 85 manufacturing companies.

The biggest group by far were the trade and advocacy organizations, which accounted for a whopping 745 companies lobbying for their own vision of health care in the US."...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blackwater Took Hundreds Of US Weapons From Military, Afghan Police Using 'South Park' Alias

Blackwater Took Hundreds Of US Weapons From Military, Afghan Police Using 'South Park' Alias: "WASHINGTON - A Senate investigation accuses the Army of turning a blind eye when a Blackwater subsidiary hired violent drug users to help train the Afghan army and declared 'sidearms for everyone' even though employees weren't authorized to carry weapons.

The inquiry by the Senate Armed Services Committee found that contractors for Paravant, the Blackwater subsidiary under investigation, also took hundreds of weapons intended for the Afghan National Police. On at least one occasion, someone signing for a weapons shipment used the name 'Eric Cartman.' The Washington Independent reports:"...

[bth: read the rest of the article. Unfucking believable.]

Monday, February 22, 2010

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - CNN Poll: Majority think government is broken « - Blogs from CNN.com

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - CNN Poll: Majority think government is broken « - Blogs from CNN.com: "Washington (CNN) - Americans overwhelmingly think that the government in this country is broken, according to a new national poll. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Sunday morning, also indicates that the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed.

Eighty-six percent of people questioned in the poll say that our system of government is broken, with 14 percent saying no. Of that 86 percent, 81 percent say that the government can be fixed, with 5 percent saying it's beyond repair."...

[bth: 86% of citizens could agree on whether the sky was blue. this is a phenomenal number]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Slain medic's parents blast Army missteps in deadly ambush | McClatchy

Slain medic's parents blast Army missteps in deadly ambush | McClatchy: "RIVERBANK, Calif. — The 500-page report, two inches thick, rests on the table in Nikki Freitas' Riverbank home.

She can't bring herself to read it word for word, to anguish over every last detail of how her son, 22-year-old Navy Petty Officer James Layton, died in an ambush last September in Afghanistan's Ganjgal Valley.

Maybe some day perhaps, but not now. Too much painful information. The words in it cannot bring her son back to life, back home to Riverbank and back into a loving mother's embrace.

Besides, a general came to her home three weeks ago to confirm what she and Brent Layton — her ex-husband and James' father — already knew:

Their son, three Marines and an Army sergeant ultimately died because the upper command made a series of deadly decisions as exposed by McClatchy reporter Jonathan Landay, who was on the ground with James Layton and his unit when the ambush occurred.

And while Layton's family members were initially told by some military officials to disregard Landay's published accounts, Marine Brig. Gen. James Laster set the record straight.

'The general told us personally that Jonathan's reporting was right on the money,' Brent Layton said. 'They flat came out and said, 'We screwed up.' '"...

Petty Officer 3rd Class James R. Layton

[bth: this brave corpsman died doing his duty while the officers that were supposed to have his back were derelict in theirs. Letters of admonishment and reprimand just don't cut it.]

Probes overlook McChrystal's role in costly Afghan battles | McClatchy

Probes overlook McChrystal's role in costly Afghan battles | McClatchy: "WASHINGTON — Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, kept a remote U.S. base in the country manned last year at the local governor's request despite warnings from his field commanders that it should be closed because it was vulnerable and had no tactical or strategic value.

McChrystal's decision to maintain the outpost at Barg-e Matal prompted the top American commanders in eastern Afghanistan to delay plans to close a second remote U.S. outpost, Combat Outpost Keating, where insurgents killed eight U.S. troops in an assault Oct. 3, a McClatchy investigation has found.

Keeping Barg-e-Matal open also deprived a third isolated base of the officer who would have been its acting commander and left its command to lower-ranking officers whose 'ineffective actions' led 'directly' to the deaths of five American and eight Afghan soldiers in an ambush Sept. 8, according to a high-level military investigation.

In addition, an unidentified witness told the military investigators that the operations center that failed to provide effective artillery and air cover to the U.S. and Afghan force that was ambushed in the Ganjgal Valley was focused instead on Barg-e Matal.

However, the ambush inquiry and a similar high-level Army probe into the Oct. 3 deaths at COP Keating, the worst single American combat loss in 2009, don't mention that McChrystal's decision to keep Barg-e Matal open made the combat outpost and the Ganjgal operation more vulnerable.

Instead, the inquiries hit lower-ranking officers — including two field commanders who'd urged McChrystal for months to close Keating and Barg-e Matal — with administrative penalties."...

[bth: I read the Article 15-6s and it is clear that there was gross incompetence from the majors to the colonels in this affair. The dereliction of duty, the failure to provide either air or artillery support cost these soldiers and marines their lives. Admonishments and reprimands just don't cut it. The issues were much greater than that.]

Russia stands by S-300 delivery to Iran

Russia stands by S-300 delivery to Iran: "The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister says his country has every intention of delivering the advanced S-300 air defense missile systems to the Islamic Republic.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited Russia on Tuesday, has been assured that the sale of the S-300 anti-aircraft system to Iran “will be held off” by the Kremlin.

However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov commented on the report, saying that the deal is still in motion

“There is a contract to supply these systems to Iran, and we will fulfill it … Delays (with deliveries) are linked to technical problems with adjusting these systems,” Ryabkov said on Friday.

The Russian official warned against attempts in Israel and the US to politicize and, to some extent, demonize the nature of Russia's arms export to Iran.

“It is absolutely incorrect to put the emphasis on the issue of S-300 supplies... and to turn it into a major problem, to say nothing of linking it to the discussion on restoring trust in the purely peaceful character of Iran's nuclear program,” Ryabkov said."....


[bth: a timely technical delay.]