Thursday, December 18, 2014

Castro Won!

 
 
The American Left has loathed the embargo and overlooked all of Castro’s repressive actions since the 1960s. They have blamed the U.S.–Cuba deadlock entirely on the United States and have sought the end of the embargo whenever a Democrat was in the White House. Under 37, 39, and 42 they did not get their way; that had to await 44.

When the Soviet Union fell, the Castro regime was in dire straits. It survived through sheer repression — until it was sustained by Venezuelan oil money sent by Hugo Chávez. Today Chávez is dead, oil is under $60 a barrel, and Venezuela is reeling. Who will bail Castro out this time? Now we have the answer: 44.

Put aside the prisoner exchange, which one can be for or against and still decry the rest of 44’s moves today. It’s clear that 44 told the Cubans they had to let Alan Gross out before he could make the rest of his changes — and told them he would undertake those changes immediately. So the Castros not only get diplomatic recognition and a big financial lift — more trade, more tourism, more remittances to Cubans from family members in the U.S., and from which the regime can take a big cut — but they get it all for nothing. That is, the prisoner trade (whether smart or dumb) was a bargained-for exchange. They got three, we got two. All the rest in the 44's policy changes is simply a gift to the regime. The Castros made no promises at all to reduce oppression, allow freedom of speech or assembly, or make any political reforms or foreign-policy adjustments.

The White House conducted these negotiations itself, with no meddling from the State Department. The centralization of all activity in the White House continues, and in this case the American negotiator was Ben Rhodes. Rhodes is a speechwriter with a graduate degree (M.F.A.) in creative writing, so one might wonder if he struck the hardest bargain possible. But of course those would not have been his instructions anyway: The president didn’t want a hard bargain. He wanted to destroy 50 years of American policy toward the Castro regime.

The White House does claim, now, that all this will benefit the people of Cuba. How? Well, other Latin governments opposed our Cuba policy but will now join us in pressing Cuba for human-rights improvements. This is obviously sheer nonsense. Does even Rhodes believe Rousseff in Brazil or Bachelet in Chile (much less the Bolivian or Venezuelan or Ecuadorian leftist strongmen) will now suddenly turn tough on Fidel and Raul? The White House also says economic progress in Cuba will lead to political progress. Really? Has it in other Communist countries such as China or Vietnam?

Why did the president act, if there will be no change in Cuban foreign or domestic policies?


There is no good reason other than ideology. Jeane Kirkpatrick once called this the “blame America first” view. You see, we backed the dictator Batista in Cuba, we were mean to the young idealist Castro and drove him into the arms of the Russians, we imposed a stupid embargo, and now we must make it up to the Cubans and the world by correcting our decades of errors. Given our own sins, it would be wrong to make any demands of Fidel and Raul — relating to human rights in Cuba or Cuban activities throughout the hemisphere. If there is a better explanation of 44’s moves, no one has yet produced it.
 
 
 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pakistan Taliban War


Nishan E Hader!

The biggest human tragedy Pakistan may have ever seen” may be kicking a new phase in the Pakistan Taliban War.

The massacre follows a relative lull in violence in Pakistan since the attack on the country’s biggest airport on June 9, in which 36 people were killed, including ten gunmen. The Pakistani government responded by launching a military offensive against Taliban strongholds in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan which borders Afghanistan.

The massacre follows a relative lull in violence in Pakistan since the attack on the country’s biggest airport on June 9, in which 36 people were killed, including ten gunmen. The Pakistani government responded by launching a military offensive against Taliban strongholds in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan which borders Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said they had attacked the army-run school “because the government is targeting our families and females.”, although the Taliban has attacked hundreds of Pakistani schools in the past.

Not totally sure if the attack suggests the Pakistani army has been successful in its offensive and the Taliban attacked the school as a desperate act of weakness or if the army has failed in its objectives and the attack can be seen as the Taliban re-asserting itself.

Pic - "North Waziristan operation appears to be the toughest operation so far because it is the strongest bastion of all kind of militants ranging from Taliban to Al-Qaeda and from Uzbek militants to Chechens"






Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Battle Of The Bulge

On or about this date in 1944, Americans woke to read in alla papers that a war that was almost won looked like it might just get lost.   

Beleaf it or don't - few Americans are aware of the Battle of the Bulge in the last millennium. Nineteen thousand American soldiers were killed with more than 70,000 casualties. It was the largest combat action in the history of the American military.

Dec. 16. 1944. Out of the fog and snow with complete surprise and bitter cold, 3 Wehrmacht armies along with multi dreaded Waffen Ss contingents crashed through American lines on a 50-mile front. 2K pieces of heavy German artillery bombarded the Ardennes. 250K Deutsch soldaten and 1,000 panzers and associated guns attacked, defended by green American troops with zero combat experience.

Shells shrieked overhead, mortars and machine guns fired, search lights stabbed through the morning light. V1 buzz bombs dropped to the ground. It was a complete surprise, and the defending Americans were completely unprepp'd.

And it lives evermore with those This We'll Defend cats
After a day of hard fighting, the Germans broke through the American front, surrounding most of an infantry division, seizing key crossroads, and advancing their spearheads toward the Meuse River, creating the projection that gave the battle its name.

Stories spread of the massacre of soldiers and civilians at Malmedy and Stavelot, of fallschrimjager paratroopers dropping behind the lines, and of English-speaking German soldiers, disguised as Americans, capturing critical bridges, cutting communications lines, and spreading rumors. For those who had lived through 1940, the picture was all too familiar. Belgian townspeople put away their Allied flags and brought out their swastikas. 

Police in Paris enforced an all-night curfew. British veterans waited nervously to see how the Americans would react to a full-scale German offensive, and British generals quietly acted to safeguard the Meuse crossings. Even American civilians who had thought final victory was near were sobered by the Nazi onslaught.

But this was not 1940. The supreme Allied commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower rushed reinforcements to hold the shoulders of the German penetration. Within days, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. had turned his Third U.S. Army to the north and was counterattacking against the German flank. But the story of the battle of the Bulge is above all the story of American soldiers. 

Often isolated and unaware of the overall picture, they did their part to slow the Nazi advance, whether by delaying armored spearheads with obstinate defenses of vital crossroads, moving or burning critical gasoline stocks to keep them from the fuel-hungry German tanks, or coming up with questions on arcane Americana to stump possible Nazi infiltrators.

At the critical road junctions of St. Vith and Bastogne, American tankers and paratroopers fought off repeated attacks, and when the acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne was summoned by his German adversary to surrender, he simply responded, "Nuts!"

Within days, Patton's Third Army had relieved Bastogne, and to the north, the 2d U.S. Armored Division stopped enemy tanks short of the Meuse on Christmas Day. Through January, American troops, often wading through deep snow drifts, attacked the sides of the shrinking bulge until they had restored the front and set the stage for the final drive to victory.

Never again would NSDAP Time Deutschland be able to launch an offensive in the West on such a scale. An admiring British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill stated, "This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory." Indeed, in terms of participation and losses, the battle of the Bulge is arguably the greatest battle in American military history.

Pic - "If you don't know what 'Nuts' means, in plain English it is the same as 'Go to Hell'. And I'll tell you something else, if you continue to attack we will kill every goddam German that tries to break into this city."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Age Of Asia's Marines


Naval infantry have existed for thousands of years, and specialized marine units date to the 16th century Spanish Empire. Yet it’s Asia that spurred the creation of modern marines...
Across the Pacific Rim, regional powers are creating new marine infantry units.

Fast, highly-trained and designed for military missions originating from the sea, marines are invaluable for the kinds of conflicts Asian and Pacific nations might fight in the future.

Since 2009, India, Australia and Japan have all announced the creation of seagoing infantry forces.

These units are tiny in comparison to the U.S. Marine Corps. But Asia’s regional powers are not just creating mini-marine forces of their own, they’re buying the landing ships and transport aircraft to carry troops to danger zones and—if necessary—into battle.

It’s an expensive insurance policy for a region where Pacific Ocean shipping lanes serve as economic lifelines. Losing control of these sea lanes will have dire consequences for billions of people.

But as these three countries are discovering—there’s a lot to learn when it comes to amphibious warfare.

China, Japan, India and Australia - get a good look see at their Marine capabilities, designs and desires.

Pic - "The revival of regional interest in amphibious warfare has been somewhat lost in the noise over China’s blue water ambitions and anti-access, area-denial strategy."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

WoW!!


The Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

Council Winners

Thursday, December 11, 2014

In Praise Of Enhanced Interrogations


As time lapsed from the horror of 911 and the scramble Great Satan lept into to protect everyone anyway she could continues to span - may help to reinforce the concept that Enhanced Interrogation works.

Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Alum, later instructor and field interrogator under the pseudonym Jason Beale...

As a student, I learned that I could resist, and occasionally manipulate, a talented interrogator during my numerous “soft-sell” interrogations—the rapport-building, we-know-all, pride-and-ego up/down, do-the-right-thing approaches. I had my story relatively straight, and I simply stuck to it, regardless of how ridiculous or implausible the interrogator made it sound. He wasn’t doing anything to me—there was no consequence to my lies, no matter how transparent.

I then learned the difference between “soft-sell” and “hard-sell” by way of a large interrogator who applied enhanced techniques promptly upon the uttering of my first lie. I learned that it was infinitely more difficult for me to remember my lies and keep my story straight under pressure. I learned that it became difficult to repeat a lie if I received immediate and uncomfortable consequences for each iteration. It made me have to make snap decisions under intense pressure in real time—and fumble and stumble through rapid-fire follow-up questions designed to poke massive holes in my story.

I learned that I needed to practically live my lie if I were to be questioned under duress, as the unrehearsed details are the wild-cards that bite you in the ass. I learned that I would rather sit across from the most talented interrogator on earth doing a soft-sell than any interrogator on earth doing a hard-sell—the information I had would be safer because the only consequences to my lies come in the form of words. I could handle words. Anyone could.

Ask any SERE Level C graduate which method was more effective on him or her—their answer should tell you something about the effectiveness of enhanced techniques, whether you agree with them or not. In my case, I learned that enhanced techniques made me want to tell the truth to make it stop—not to compound my situation with more lies.

Pic - "It saved American lives too"

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Senate CIA Report


Revenge of the Lame Duck Senate!

Or perhaps a certain Senator is still tore up over the CIA going through Senate files?

Anywrought, Senate's Select Committee on Intell unleashed a report (of sorts) that paints a scary picture of Great Satan detaining, making uncomfortable and tormenting hapless enemy and suspect enemies that fell into her clutches after 911.

Yeah, what a dang shame.

Aside from embassies and military cats on station world wide ramping up security in prep for something something backlash - the obverse could also be true:

Instead of easily excited elements betwixt Indus and Suez ready to launch revenge attacks - perhaps instead such chicanery visited on cats lucky enough to get caught instead of a drone vaporizing them, may deter would be Hajis enroute for j!had.

Senate Minority members with the Intell Committee unleashed a counter report that points out serious flaws with a certain political partys heck bent attempt to impair ops future and au courrant.

CIA cats give up some pretty good counters too

Astonishingly, the SSCI Majority staff interviewed no CIA officers responsible for establishing, implementing, or evaluating the program’s effectiveness. Let us repeat, no one at the CIA was interviewed.

Worse, the Committee selectively used documents to try to substantiate a point of view where ample and contrary evidence existed. Over 5 years and at a cost of $40 million, the staff "cherry picked" through 6 million pages of documents to produce an answer they knew the Majority wanted. In the intelligence profession, that is called politicization.

The SSCI Majority would have the American people believe that the program was initiated by a rogue CIA that consistently lied to the President, the National Security Council, the Attorney General, and the Congress. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing.


We, as former senior officers of the Central Intelligence Agency, created this website to present documents that conclusively demonstrate that the program was: authorized by the President, overseen by the National Security Council, and deemed legal by the Attorney General of the United States on multiple occasions. None of those officials were interviewed either. None. CIA relied on their policy and legal judgments. We deceived no one. You will not find this truth in the Majority Report.

Absent from the report is any discussion of the context the United States faced after 9/11. This was a time we had solid evidence that al Qaida was planning a second wave of attacks against the U.S.; we had certain knowledge that bin Laden had met with Pakistani nuclear scientists and wanted nuclear weapons; we had reports that nuclear weapons were being smuggled into New York City; and we had hard evidence that al Qaida was trying to manufacture anthrax. It felt like a "ticking time bomb" every single day.

In this atmosphere, time was of the essence. We had a deep responsibility to do everything within the law to stop another attack. We clearly understood that, even with legal and policy approvals, our decisions would be questioned years later. But we also understood that we would be morally culpable for the deaths of fellow citizens if we failed to gain information that could stop the next attacks.

The report defies credulity by saying that the interrogation program did not produce any intelligence value. In fact, the program led to the capture of senior al Qaida leaders, including helping to find Usama bin Ladin, and resulted in operations that led to the disruption of terrorist plots that saved thousands of American and allied lives.

Finally, Congress was in the loop. The so-called "Gang of Eight” of top Congressional leaders were briefed in detail on the program. The briefings were detailed and drew reactions that ranged from approval to no objection to encouragement to be even more aggressive. Again, none of this context appears in the Majority's report.

Our views are shared by the current CIA and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Republican Minority, both of which have released rebuttals to the Majority's report. Both critiques are clear-eyed, fact-based assessments which challenge the Majority's contention in a nonpartisan way. We urge all Americans to read them carefully before reaching any judgments.

Pic - "Defined by selective accounts and distorted by a partisan agenda, this Senate Intelligence Committee report is intelligence birtherism."