Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adolph Hitler on the Big Lie

As Adolph Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:
...All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true in itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying...
bth: always good to take a refresher course on what evil looks like.

New reporter? Call him Al, for algorithm - Yahoo! News Canada

New reporter? Call him Al, for algorithm - Yahoo! News Canada
The new reporter on the US media scene takes no coffee breaks, churns out articles at lightning speed, and has no pension plan.

That's because the reporter is not a person, but a computer algorithm, honed to translate raw data such as corporate earnings reports and previews or sports statistics into readable prose.

Algorithms are producing a growing number of articles for newspapers and websites, such as this one produced by Narrative Science:

"Wall Street is high on Wells Fargo, expecting it to report earnings that are up 15.7 percent from a year ago when it reports its second quarter earnings on Friday, July 13, 2012," said the article on Forbes.com.

While computers cannot parse the subtleties of each story, they can take vast amounts of raw data and turn it into what passes for news, analysts say.

"This can work for anything that is basic and formulaic," says Ken Doctor, an analyst with the media research firm Outsell.

And with media companies under intense financial pressure, the move to automate some news production "does speak directly to the rebuilding of the cost economics of journalism," said Doctor....

bth: so by feeding 'facts' into the internet, computer generated stories will result that embed these data points, true or not, into  articles which will be fed into wire services.  The ability to promote the big lie just got bigger.

Brian Basham: Beware corporate psychopaths – they are still occupying positions of power - Business Comment - Business - The Independent

Brian Basham: Beware corporate psychopaths – they are still occupying positions of power - Business Comment - Business - The Independent

 
Outlook Over the years I've met my fair share of monsters – rogue individuals, for the most part. But as regulation in the UK and the US has loosened its restraints, the monsters have proliferated.

In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics entitled "The Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis", Clive R Boddy identifies these people as psychopaths.
"They are," he says, "simply the 1 per cent of people who have no conscience or empathy." And he argues: "Psychopaths, rising to key senior positions within modern financial corporations, where they are able to influence the moral climate of the whole organisation and yield considerable power, have largely caused the [banking] crisis'.
And Mr Boddy is not alone. In Jon Ronson's widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test, Professor Robert Hare told the author: "I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies."...

...I've realised that some psychopaths "forge careers in corporations. The group is called Corporate Psychopaths". They are polished and plausible, but that doesn't make them any less dangerous.
In attempting to understand the complexities of what went wrong in the years leading to 2008, I've developed a rule: "In an unregulated world, the least-principled people rise to the top." And there are none who are less principled than corporate psychopaths.

Brian Basham is a veteran City PR man, entrepreneur and journalist

bth: in light of the LIBOR scandal, which is only the tip of the iceberg, I thought it worth referencing again as a partial explanation as to why this happens again and again.  The article is worth reading in full.

IEDs increasingly a U.S. threat - Stephanie Gaskell - POLITICO.com

IEDs increasingly a U.S. threat - Stephanie Gaskell - POLITICO.com

... 
In prepared testimony beforehand, Barbero called the threat “one of the enduring operational and domestic security challenges for the foreseeable future.”

“The United States witnessed firsthand just how deadly ammonium nitrate can be in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that claimed the lives of 168 American citizens,” he said.

And since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the threat of homemade bombs being used against targets in the United States has only become more serious.

Since 2007, IED incidents outside of Iraq and Afghanistan have increased to more than 500 IED events per month, with Colombia having the greatest number of IED events followed by Pakistan, India, the United States and Syria, which recently moved into the top five,” Barbero testified. “Since January 2011, there have been more than 10,000 global IED events occurring in 112 countries, executed by more than 40 regional and transnational threat networks.”

Using IEDs to try to attack targets in the U.S. is something many law enforcement officials know all too well.

“The threat is indeed real. IED attacks been attempted multiple times in New York City already,” Deputy
Police Commissioner Paul Browne told POLITICO.

He pointed to the case of Jose Pimentel, a Muslim convert and al Qaeda operative who followed instructions from the al Qaeda magazine “Inspire” to build IEDs that he planned to detonate in New York City and against U.S. troops returning home to New York from Iraq and Afghanistan. “The would-be Times Square car bomber [in 2010] also relied on a large IED, which, thankfully, failed to detonate,” Browne said.

In his testimony before Congress, Barbero pointed out that it’s not difficult to make these crude, but deadly, weapons.

“Today’s IEDs are relatively simple, low-tech devices, which routinely use command wire, pressure plates, or radio-controlled triggers,” he said. “Many readily available components such as cell phones, agricultural fertilizers and simple electronic transmitters and receivers have legitimate commercial uses, but are easily and increasingly adapted for illicit purposes in manufacturing IEDs.”

And that’s what makes it hard to prevent these kinds of attacks, since “the dual-use nature of IED components poses unique challenges in our ability to regulate and limit terrorist access to IED precursors and trigger components,” he said....

Bomb kills head of women's affairs in Afghan east | Reuters

Bomb kills head of women's affairs in Afghan east | Reuters


(Reuters) - A regional head of women's affairs was targeted and killed by a car bomb in Afghanistan's east on Friday, officials said, the latest act of brazen violence against women in the country.
Hanifa Safi was killed when driving through the capital of Laghman province, Mehtar Lam, when a bomb attached to her car exploded, said the provincial governor's spokesman Sarhadi Zwak.
"It killed her and left her husband, who was with her in the car, in a coma," Zwak told Reuters, adding that the attack about 150 km (93 miles) east of Kabul also wounded 10 civilians.
Zwak declined to say whether or not he believed the Taliban were behind the attack, instead saying "enemies of Afghanistan" planted the bomb.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Safi is the second provincial head of women's affairs to be assassinated since the posts were created around 10 years ago in each of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, reporting to the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kabul.
She joins Safia Ama Jan, who headed the department in southern Kandahar province, and was gunned down in 2006 by members of the Taliban....

Police demolish Ahmadi worship place minarets in Kharian – The Express Tribune

Police demolish Ahmadi worship place minarets in Kharian – The Express Tribune


LAHORE: Six minarets of an Ahmadi place of worship, Baitul Hamd, were demolished by the Kharian city police Tuesday night.
The demolition took place on the application of Saqib Shakeel Ghazi, Syed Iftikhar Kazmi and others from the Barelvi religious organisation called Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Islam. It had been filed to the Kharian police station.
The application asked the police to take action under the Section 298 B and C of the 1984 ordinance, which declares it illegal for Ahmadis to act or look like Muslims, to practice or propagate their faith and to call their worship place a “mosque”.  There were no court orders for the demolition.
Police personnel, under the supervision of DSP Sultan Meeran, assisted by SHO Kharian Sadar Police Station Raja Zahid went to the worship place located near Kabari Bazar, Pul Nullah in Kharian....

Militants flee Pakistan after cross-border attack | Fox News

Militants flee Pakistan after cross-border attack | Fox News


Dozens of militants from Afghanistan who attacked a Pakistani village and took scores of hostages have fled back across the border, leaving the captives behind after a deadly battle with the army, officials said Friday.
The fighters who staged the cross-border attack on Thursday around 2 p.m. local time came from Afghanistan's Kunar province and appeared to be targeting members of an anti-Taliban militia in Kitkot village near Pakistan's Bajur tribal area, in the northwest.
Pakistan has railed against Afghan and NATO forces for not doing enough to stop the rising number of cross-border attacks, which it says have killed dozens of members of its security forces. However, there has been little sympathy from the U.S. and Afghan governments, which have long complained Pakistan allows sanctuary to militants fighting in Afghanistan.
The militants in Thursday's attack fled Kitkot under the cover of darkness late that night, said Framosh Khan, a government official in the surrounding area. Locals reported seeing them carrying the bodies of 15 dead fighters, he said. Two anti-Taliban militiamen were also killed in the fighting....

-bth: I wonder what would happen if Afghanistan and Pakistan allowed each other and its allies to hot pursuit rights across the border.  Clearly if one pattern stands out above all else, it is that terrorists thrive along national borders and probably only there for long periods of time.

Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah 6:8 New International Version (NIV) 8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? ” 
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Indonesia - Cleric Jailed for Blasphemy - NYTimes.com

Indonesia - Cleric Jailed for Blasphemy - NYTimes.com

 A court sentenced a Shiite cleric to two years in jail for blasphemy on Thursday in a case that human rights activists called a setback for religious freedom. The three-judge panel found the cleric, Tajul Muluk, guilty of insulting Islam with his teachings. The panel said Mr. Muluk had deviated from mainstream Islam by urging Muslims to pray three times a day rather than five and saying that the Koran was no longer authentic. The presiding judge, Purnomo Amin, said Mr. Muluk had dispensed Shiite teachings declared heretical by a Indonesian religious council. The council and most Indonesian Muslims are Sunni. Mr. Muluk denied the charges.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tiny 2-Foot Missile Could Be 'Months' Away From Drone War | Danger Room | Wired.com

Tiny 2-Foot Missile Could Be 'Months' Away From Drone War | Danger Room | Wired.com


...That would open new worlds of possibility for the U.S. drone arsenal. There are a lot more small drones than there are Preds and Reapers. The small-fry robots are used as flying spies, since they’re too lightweight to arm — until now. The Small Tactical Munition is supposed to arm the Shadow, a drone that’s only 12 feet long. The U.S. fleet of killer drones would significantly increase. Alternatively, the existing, large killer drone fleet could carry far more weapons than they currently do.

There are two ways to look at that development. The straightforward way is to consider it a kind of deadly Moore’s Law. That’s certainly commensurate with the miniaturization of killer drones, like the kamikaze mash-up of missile and robot called the Switchblade.
A less intuitive interpretation, not mutually exclusive with the other one, is that a smaller drone war might not be a deadlier one. A smaller munition, with a smaller warhead, kills fewer people than a larger munition. That’s certainly how Raytheon sees it: “This is relevant to the strict rules of engagement,” said J.R. Smith from its missile shop.
That’s probably cold comfort if the armed robot fleet expands from hundreds to thousands before a single new ‘bot is purchased. But not all drones are equal: The Shadow has a loiter time of about four hours aloft before it runs out of gas; a Predator can hover for the better part of a day. But having an armed Shadow to launch would be a big asset to a commando team in, say, East Africa. Smaller also means cheaper, and easier to deploy.

-bth: this means more drones in the air over Afghanistan have a weapons payload, which means shorter response times in some cases and it may in fact reduce the cost of air cover.  If in the case of naval aircraft over Afghanistan, that only launch a munition 5% of the time, and that requires an aircraft carrier in the area, the indirect cost of such an operation must be enormous.  On the other hand, smaller drones can be lauched quickly and regionally.  It is a bureaucratic quirk now that drones aren't armed with machine guns.  It really makes sense to do it that way and to use GPS guided mortar rounds dropped from the drones.  Why take out a neighborhood with a hellfire when we have the ability to accurately hit individuals?

Russian ship with helicopters for Syrian regime sets sail again - Telegraph

Russian ship with helicopters for Syrian regime sets sail again - Telegraph


The Alaed's previous attempt to convey the Mi-25 gunships to the regime of of President Bashar al-Assad under a CuraƧao flag caused anger in London and Washington. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the aircraft would be used to kill innocent civilians.
The ship's new destination is unclear but maritime data show it was travelling south off Norway on Thursday and is due in Baltiysk on the Baltic coast of Kaliningrad, Russia's exclave between Poland and Lithuania, on July 17.
A spokesman for Femco, the Russian company which owns the cargo vessel, said on Friday that it would arrive in St Petersburg two days later and may then head to the Russian Far East.
Moscow has insisted it will deliver the Mi-25 helicopters in the teeth of western disapproval and it appears likely the ship's real or eventual target is Syria....

-bth: my understanding is that there are only two Russian docking facilities in Syria.  One of them had a Turkish plane shot down near it.

Delta Jet Evacuated At JFK: Plane Turned Around Mid-Flight After Suspicious Wires Found‎

Delta Jet Evacuated At JFK: Plane Turned Around Mid-Flight After Suspicious Wires Found‎


NEW YORK — New York officials have found suspicious wires in a bathroom onboard a flight that was returned to Kennedy International airport, but no explosive device was found. Officials are questioning a male and female passenger about them.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne says Delta Flight 126 bound for Madrid was returned to the gate and evacuated Thursday after a report of a suspicious device aboard. The flight took off at 8 p.m. and it landed around 10 p.m.
Authorities say wires were found in the lavatory that apparently did not belong to the plane.
It was initially thought the passengers were evacuated before the plane took off.
It's not clear how many people were on board. A call to Delta was not immediately returned.

-bth: really bad reporting on a serious incident

Thursday, July 12, 2012

NightWatch 20120711 - KGS on Taliban strategy

NightWatch 20120711 - KGS

 Afghanistan:  Comment: A news interview published this week quoted a senior Taliban official as saying the Taliban knows it cannot win a war against NATO. Some press outlets made much of this admission, but the Taliban strategy has never been to win a war against NATO. It has been to wear NATO down, outwait it and  takeover after NATO withdraws. The official was only stating an obvious truth that got taken out of context by the interviewer.

Northern Mexico newspaper says it won’t cover violence after 2nd grenade attack in 2 months - The Washington Post

Northern Mexico newspaper says it won’t cover violence after 2nd grenade attack in 2 months - The Washington Post

 MEXICO CITY — The El Manana newspaper in the northern Mexico border city of Nuevo Laredo announced that it will stop covering violent criminal disputes after suffering a second grenade attack against its offices in two months.
Other northern Mexican newspapers have quietly adopted similar policies of not covering drug cartel violence to protect their staffs against threats and violent attacks including kidnappings and murders carried out by gangs that either don’t want their activities to appear in print, or are angered by coverage of their rivals....

-bth: we are worried about Afghanistan but if you read this article in full you realize that the drug cartels have shut down multiple papers in Mexico for printing anything with regard to cartel violence.

CIA thwarts al Qaeda plot for anniversary of bin Laden's death - The Hill's DEFCON Hill

CIA thwarts al Qaeda plot for anniversary of bin Laden's death - The Hill's DEFCON Hill


The CIA broke up an attempt by al Qaeda to blow up a commercial airliner destined for the United States, according to the National Security Council.
CIA agents uncovered the plot, in which an al Qaeda suicide bomber planned to detonate explosives concealed in his underwear once the airliner crossed over into American airspace. The attack was intended to coincide with the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.

President Obama was first informed of the impending attack in April by White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan, Deputy National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement Monday. Since then, the president “has received regular updates and briefings as needed from his national security team” on the ongoing investigation, she said.
“The president was assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public [and] he directed the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps necessary to guard against this type of attack,” Hayden added....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Russia sends warships to Syria - Telegraph

Russia sends warships to Syria - Telegraph


Two destroyers and three amphibious landing vessels carrying marines set sail from Russian bases in the Arctic and the Black Sea, according to Russian military sources.
Russia's defence ministry insisted that the mission was part of a previously scheduled exercise in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea and at least one of the vessels in the flotilla has patrolled waters off Syria earlier this year.
But Western diplomats say the purpose of the mission is to show tangible support for Mr Assad, to warn the West against military intervention in Syria and to prepare for the possible evacuation of Russian nationals from the country.
Russia renewed naval patrols in the Mediterranean in 2007 – after a 15-year hiatus – with a wider aim of expressing the country's military resurgence.
It was unclear whether the ships were carrying weapons supplies or large numbers of marines....

-bth: I guess the question is whether these ships are sent to unload or load?  Are they to deliver supplies, especially military supplies, or are they there to support the departure of dependents?  Or both?  A satellite or a Turkish reconnaissance plane could tell, but the Syrians can shoot down one and not the other.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Egypt's New President Vows to Win Release of World Trade Center Plotter - Yahoo! News

Egypt's New President Vows to Win Release of World Trade Center Plotter - Yahoo! News


Egypt's president-elect has vowed to win the release of an Egyptian cleric jailed by the U.S. for planning the first attack on New York's World Trade Center.

Omar Abdel-Rahman, "the blind sheikh," is serving a life sentence in a federal prison for his role in the 1993 bombing that killed six people in lower Manhattan. The attack on the World Trade Center launched by al Qaeda eight years later on Sept. 11, 2001, killed nearly 3,000 people.

""I see banners for Omar Abdel Rahman's family, and for prisoners arrested according to martial rulings and detainees from the beginning of the revolution," said Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsi to a buoyant crowd of Islamist supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday. "It is my duty to make every effort, and I will beginning tomorrow, to secure their release, among them Omar Abdel Rahman."

Rahman, 74, a veteran of Egypt's Islamist movement, was jailed in Egypt for allegedly helping to inspire the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. He entered the U.S. in 1990. One of his followers was convicted of gun possession, though acquitted of murder, after the assassination of Jewish leader Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990....

-bth: why would the new President of Egypt expend what little political capital he has in the USA on a terrorist involved in the first WTC bombing?  Either he has no fucking clue what American's would think of this should any US President ever agree, or he is pandering to a domestic audience estranged from the world in the 21st century.