Thursday, January 27, 2011

Researcher: WikiLeaks Has Damaged American Power

Professor Inderjeet Parmar of the University of Manchester delivered a paper recently that concluded the WikiLeaks exposure of secret diplomatic cables has damaged American power.

Parmar's paper, apparently the first academic study on the effects of the publication of the cables, contradicts some in the Obama Administration who have tried to downplay the effects of the information breach and said the cables do no serious or long-lasting harm.

President Obama has been weakened both domestically and internationally, Parmar said. It is now up to the Obama Administration to respond if it is believed his analysis or conclusions are in error.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MI6 Denies Hamas Role

The British foreign intelligence agency MI6 has denied a new report from al-Jazeera that it "drew up plans to crush Hamas."

Some are questioning the legitimacy of the so-called "Palestine Papers" leaked to the Qatar-based news outlet.

MI6 called the allegations "ridiculous."

Supposing for a moment that MI6 did in fact assist in defeating Hamas, that would not be considered unusual. Hamas is recognized as a terrorist group by the UK, US, and the European Union.

It is the position of the United States to do everything it can to marginalize and defeat Hamas.

One would expect intelligence agencies around the world to join in and defeat all terrorist groups, such as those recognized by the EU, UK, and US.

Hamas is considered the major obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Any serious peace proposal in the Middle East must include the destruction of Hamas.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New York Times to Solicit Classified Documents

The New York Times is considering ways to solicit and make it easy for anyone with access to secret classified documents to submit them for possible publication.

The Times has a long history of publishing classified documents that have a deleterious effect on US national security, such as exposing the National Security Agency's "warrentless wiretapping" program a few years ago. The Times published the "Pentagon Papers" back in 1971 as well.

Envious of WikiLeaks' treasure-trove of secret diplomatic cables in its possession, the Times surely has been wondering why Julian Assange should be the recipient of such jewels instead of themselves, the leading liberal newspaper publisher in the United States.

Like Al Jazeera, the Times believes it should be a major player in the game of exposing national security secrets, especially considering its unparalleled history in this regard.

The Times may not crudely and baldly advertise for those who possess classified information to break the law, imperil national security, and possibly destroy their own lives and careers, but that is clearly the intent of this new initiative. Classified documents is where all the fun is, as well as the publicity and glory. Open source material, not so much.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Moscow Airport Bombing Could Happen in US Tomorrow

The terrorist suicide bombing at the Domododevo Airport near Moscow could happen tomorrow at any major US airport.

Anyone can walk into an airport and stand in the pre-security screening areas where hundreds of people congregate and set off an explosive.

While TSA security at airports has focused on groping children and women unlikely to commit any act of sabotage, the real problems remain unaddressed. It is only sheer luck and the lack of effort that the Moscow attack hasn't already happened in Washington DC, New York, Chicago, or any other major city.

Jesse Ventura has now sued DHS and TSA over their pat-downs.

A significant impediment remains the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, a politician more concerned with political battles than national security.

As experts love to point out, there is no such thing as perfect security. But there is no excuse for the current absurd situation, either. Not only are we a long way from perfect, but we are far from implementing necessary precautions that would mitigate the chances of the Moscow attack happening over here.

The talk of TSA's behavioral observation at airports as some sort of answer is as ridiculous as their invasive personal searches on unlikely suspects at the security checkpoints.

News articles all indicate increased security checks at the world's major airports as a result of this terrorist attack, but that is another indication of how wrong things are. Seriousness after the crisis, rather than before.

Left Wing Groups Rally for Bradley Manning

Amnesty International is the latest left-wing organization accusing US authorities of "inhumane treatment" of Bradley Manning, the Army Private sitting in a brig at Quantico for passing classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Supporters of Manning from the leftist website firedoglake tried to deliver a petition protesting the conditions under which Manning is held.

There is nothing wrong with the treatment Manning is receiving, but left-wing activists have turned him into a cause celebre and embraced him as one of their own, ignoring the damage he has caused, such as placing individuals in personal physical danger around the world.

Manning's lawyers approve of all the fuss on their client's behalf. Many left-wing media outlets have published news stories alleging mistreatment as well, including the Washington Post, and many lesser-known sites with a Socialist outlook.

A similar strategy has been used in portraying the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay as victims of inhumane treatment. Any prominent figure on the left can expect the same sort of help from the left-wing crowd if such a fate should befall him or her.

A roll call of leftist groups can be seen at work here, as it may not have been obvious that groups such as Amnesty International are not unbiased but have their own partisan political agenda.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

AP on WikiLeaks Consequences

The Associated Press published a story today on the effects of WikiLeaks so far, written by one Raphael G. Satter.

Satter attempts to provide some analysis but really has nothing new to say. The article starts off by reminding everyone yet again that only 1 percent of the 250,000 secret documents in the possession of WikiLeaks has been published. Clearly, Satter and the AP want to see more--soon.

Here is the level of Satter's analysis. What have we learned from the 2,600 cables published so far? "It's shown how leaders lie," Satter opines. And not only that, "It's lifted the veil on international relations."

Satter laments that even though a handful of newspapers have held all the secret documents "for weeks, if not months," there seems to be no rush to publish more, and wonders whether they have gone through all the documents yet. You get the message: what are you all waiting for? Publish everything!

But never fear, Satter says, because WikiLeaks is still sitting on a "a huge archive of leaked data from nearly every country in the world" and Julian Assange said more material could be online within weeks. You can almost see Satter drooling at the prospect.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vein Analysis Fingered Daniel Pearl Killer

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s confession that he beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was confirmed by a newly emergent biometric technology called “vein analysis,” “vein matching,” or “vascular biometrics.”

The vascular structure of the back of a hand is used to match a known person’s hand with that of an unknown person, to positively identify that individual.

This technology has potential to be superior to fingerprinting or iris scanners for identification purposes, as it has been pointed out that fingerprint recognition technology and iris scanners can be tricked.

Scientific papers are sparse. One recent study said “finger-vein based personal identification systems can be immune to counterfeit fingers and noninvasive to users” and the technique has some “excellent advantages” over traditional biometric characteristics, such as faces, irises, and fingerprints.

Vascular readers are used by some companies to identify employees, but are not widely used in North America. The technology is more popular in South Korea and Australia.

Mohammed is one of the terrorists currently incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Media Attacks on Sarah Palin Work

A new CNN poll indicates more Americans have an unfavorable view of Sarah Palin than ever before.

This poll comes on the heels of attacks against her in the liberal mainstream media that reached unprecedented heights after the Tucson shootings. Some on the right dispute this survey, but I suspect it isn’t far from the truth.

Concerted, deliberate propaganda attacks by the mainstream media against Sarah Palin work, and this poll adds to the evidence.

This is the traditional, boiler-plate strategy of liberals against any political figure considered a danger to them. We’ve all seen it before when the media targeted Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and many others. All too often, the media can cry “Mission accomplished!”

Far too many Americans are vulnerable to mass media propaganda. Their opinions on Palin are a direct reflection of what they see and hear in the media. Most would not know hardly anything about her otherwise. That explains Palin’s high negative numbers. Even prominent figures on the right are influenced, and talk about Palin’s “radioactivity,” which only results from media attacks without any corresponding counterattack.

Conservatives still lack a strategy for countering mainstream media hit jobs on their leaders. The result is a growing list of damaged figures that otherwise deserve a far better fate than being dismissed by their own party with the standard wisdom that anyone with high negatives is unelectable.

Liberal media outlets, as well as celebrities and others sympathetic to their cause, turn promising and “dangerous” conservatives into “radioactive” personalities with high negatives. All liberal media join the party.

It’s not about truth; it’s about creating an alternate reality designed to damage their political prospects. The truth is not considered a desirable goal; advocating the liberal party line has achieved primacy. A fantasy assessment of the conservative’s qualities has been substituted for the reality—the ultimate goal of the attack. The disparity can be seen when Democratic politicians such as Joe Biden and Barack Obama constantly utter gaffes, yet the media is largely silent.

Lessons can be learned from Ronald Reagan. The media hated him, called him a fool, and tried every stunt in the book to discredit him and his policies in the eyes of the public, yet he still overcame all that.

Palin and others on the right have their advocates, such as Rush Limbaugh and others, but sometimes it isn’t enough, and something else needs to be brought into play to effectively counter the propaganda directed at the American public. A counterstrategy is needed to protect outstanding political figures on the right against the mainstream media’s attacks.

This latest poll indicating Palin’s high negatives highlights the problem.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Obama’s China State Dinner

President Obama will host his third official state dinner Wednesday when Chinese President Hu Jintao and friends assemble at the White House for fancy grub amid promises of closer ties between the two countries.

There is much tongue wagging over the possibility of Obama assailing China on such hot-button issues as North Korea, currency manipulation, human rights, and its challenges to American naval supremacy in the Pacific. He might also want to demand that the Chinese government stop hacking into US military computer systems if his country is to be considered anything but an enemy.

The truth is that Obama will get nothing Hu and the Chinese don’t want to give him. They have already decided on what that will be, and a “beggar’s banquet” is on the menu.

Will the news media, always overprotective of Obama as one of their own, take this opportunity to question the details or even the existence of Obama’s China strategy? Does he have one? And if so, does it involve anything more substantial than wondering if General Tso is a black belt at Chop Suey?

George W. Bush nixed a state dinner for China over their human rights record, but that is no impediment for Obama, who will honor Hu with a 21-gun salute.

The question foremost on the minds of many is whether Obama will bow again to Hu when they greet each other in front of cameras? Probably, because Hu represents the sort of government (Communist) that is very much in harmony with Obama’s personal beliefs and in direct opposition to the traditional values of Western Democracy. Obama has a sad history of bowing to people who don’t deserve it and Hu meets those qualifications.

Guests: Plenty of Democratic big-wigs and donors. The Salahis? Do they dare try? Security personnel no doubt have familiarized themselves with their photos. But the likelihood of someone or other without papers gaining entry past the borders of the Obamas’ imperial gate always seems possible.

Gifts: The Obamas are notorious for their ill-conceived gifts, such as giving the Queen of England an iPod with his speeches on it, and more of the same are expected to be presented to Hu. Here are the odds-on favorites:
1. An iPod with an MP3 file of the president playing “Chopsticks” on the piano with two fingers
2. That White House toilet paper they sell in the DC souvenir shops
3. Together We Thrive t-shirts

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jonathan Pollard Clemency Appeals Continue Unabated

Clemency appeals for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard continue unabated and have been ongoing virtually non-stop since March 11, 1988. That was the day members of the Israeli parliament asked President Ronald Reagan to pardon him—a mere 1 year after Pollard was sentenced for his crimes on March 4, 1987!

Recently Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to President Obama requesting yet again his release from prison. Democratic members of Congress piled on the pressure and sent a letter to Obama urging clemency as well. Rep. Barney Frank admitted he was behind the initiative. Republicans refused to sign it.

Frank has a longstanding, well-earned reputation as someone antithetical to the intelligence community, going back to the early 1990s when he consistently sought extremely deep cuts in its budget. His role as the initiator of this letter could not possibly help in gaining bipartisan support; on the contrary, Frank’s activism could only hurt the cause of freeing Pollard.

Should we be surprised no one mentions that the 23rd anniversary of clemency appeals will arrive within 2 months? Pollard apologists like to claim that the standard sentence for someone who spies for a friendly nation is 7 years (which doesn’t apply in Pollard’s case due to the enormity of his crimes). But Israel thought just 1 year was plenty enough!

There is nothing special about the “25th anniversary” of Pollard’s incarceration. Somehow, that number is posited as a convenient termination date for his jail sentence.

Obama is unlikely to give Pollard a get-out-of-jail pass. If he did so, he would be seen in Israel (and everywhere else) as a weak sucker, whereas his predecessors—Clinton and George W. Bush—weren’t. Obama’s growing international reputation as an easy mark in over his head would only be enhanced, and he surely must know it.

If I were the POTUS and Netanyahu asked me to free Pollard in exchange for extending a freeze on construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as he did Obama, I would be insulted, because I would know he was playing me for a fool.

Pollard advocates say his has spent more time than others who committed similar crimes. The problem with this logic is that there are very few (if any!) who committed espionage on the scale of Pollard’s treachery. His “peers” in that regard would be the likes of Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, who spied for the Soviet Union.

What Pollard gave, and Israel freely and happily asked for and accepted, went far beyond what one would expect from a friendly country spying on another. The magnitude of the security breach is what one would expect only from an enemy. What other spy gave a friendly country highly classified material similar to the incredible number of documents Pollard handed Israel?

We don’t know if third countries—such as the Soviet Union—benefitted from Pollard’s thefts. Lawrence Korb keeps repeating that the Soviets never received information stolen by Pollard, but he is in no position to know that and neither is R. James Woolsey. Korb says the information the Soviet Union received “most likely” came from Ames and Hanssen. That is nothing more than idle speculation on his part.

Did Israel give some of Pollard’s documents to them in exchange for easing restrictions on Soviet Jews? Did other countries penetrate Israel without their knowledge? What about South Africa? Other countries? What happened to the documents once the US lost control of them? No one can be sure.

Our friend Israel refused to assist the US in recovering material passed on to them by Pollard. They didn’t admit he was working for them until long after his arrest when it was already common knowledge. They have badgered the US since Pollard was jailed for his release. Again, Israel behaved more like an enemy than a friend.

Korb claims Bill Clinton agreed to free Pollard in 1998, but Clinton has said no such deal was ever reached, although he was amenable to the idea. When Pollard had asked for clemency the previous time (yes, the appeals always keep coming), Clinton had noted that he had shown no remorse, his crimes were enormous, and he had caused significant damage to US security.

All reports of his behavior suggest Pollard is nothing but a scoundrel who doesn’t deserve a break. This is the character that is constantly upheld as worthy of our sorrow? Worthy of treatment like others who did a bit of lower-level espionage on behalf of our valued friends abroad? It is laughable to compare Pollard with anyone but the worst spies in our history.

At the time when Clinton was president, a number of former defense secretaries (from both Democratic and Republican administrations) joined the current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in signing a letter to Clinton urging him to keep Pollard behind bars. Recently in 2010, Clinton said he would support whatever decision Obama made on Pollard, and didn’t call for his release.

Korb has taken a special interest in this case for the past 20 years, although it’s not entirely clear why. It is fair to ask if he has received any indication from Israel, either directly or indirectly, of some sort of compensation for his services. If Korb is a leader of the Free Pollard movement, what will Israel give him in return if his work bears fruit? Or is he merely a concerned citizen expecting nothing?

The concept of releasing spies after short sentences because “they worked for friendly countries” is wrong-headed. It doesn’t matter who you spy for—friend or foe. Information is classified and kept from friends and foes alike for good reasons related to the national security of the United States. The policy of early releases in these cases should be completely overthrown. There is no reason to continue a wrong practice because that’s the way it was done before—and it shouldn’t apply in Pollard’s case, anyway.

The idea of Pollard or someone like WikiLeaks' Julian Assange deciding what US classified documents should be given to others is preposterous.

Pleas have been made to release Pollard since shortly after he was jailed. Even back in the early 1990s, his sentence was already considered excessive. That’s part of the problem—the lack of a true admission that what was done by both Pollard and Israel was wrong and never should have happened.

A square in Jerusalem has been named after this so-called “national hero.” The existence of the square seems a slap in the face to the United States. I wonder if the square includes a plaque citing the exact amount of money Israel paid him? Quotes from prosecutors on the damage he inflicted to the US? Is there true remorse here? I’m not seeing that. There is only remorse that he got caught.

Israel’s behavior from the moment Pollard was arrested has been inconsistent with the behavior of a friendly nation. The lesson to be learned is how to be a friendly nation—and why. It is still a lesson to be learned.

Pollard was described by his Israeli handlers as a “one-man intelligence agency” for Israel. "The breadth and volume of the US classified information sold by defendant to Israel was enormous, as great as in any reported case involving espionage on behalf of any foreign nation," federal prosecutors charged.

Ronald Olive, in his book Capturing Jonathan Pollard, assessed the damage: at least 360 cubic feet of classified documents and over one million pages—and probably much more than that. The amount of stolen material staggered investigators. He stole everything he could get his hands on. Was a document useful to Israel? He didn’t spend any time judging anything, he simply pilfered it all!

Treason on an unprecedented scale—that is Pollard’s claim to fame. Who else in the history of espionage could say he stole so much for a friend of the US? Or even for an enemy? And for this, Pollard’s sympathizers think a short 7-year prison term would have been adequate?

The Israeli “patriot” was paid for his treason as well. He didn’t do it out of a loyalist spirit for Israel, he did it for money. What other foreign countries was he willing to “do business with” as well? South Africa? Others?

Netanyahu’s harping on this sore issue can only damage the “special relationship” the US has with Israel, which already took a hit the day Obama was elected president. I’m not sure he’s really worried about that. But Netanyahu knows with Obama he has a chance of success, because anything is possible until Obama leaves.

Funny thing, the unsavory creatures people choose as their heroes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CNN Portrays Loughner As a Sensitive Poet

CNN has published 2 poems apparently written by Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner.

Some are questioning why CNN would give publicity to a murderer's schoolwork, but it fits in with the typical liberal approach for laying a foundation of compassion and forgiveness for criminals and terrorists.

The same poetry card was played with the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, as I wrote about here before. Lawyers have tried to portray those terrorists as sensitive poets who did no one any harm and are unjustifiably incarcerated without any proof against them, etc.

We know now that many of the Guantanamo terrorists who were released went back to their old ways.

CNN is playing the same game. Loughner is a poet! He is a sensitive person despite all evidence to the contrary. CNN's point? No death penalty. That's their goal.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Respected Journal to Publish Evidence of ESP

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a highly respected psychology journal, will soon publish a paper presenting strong evidence of ESP.

Many scientists are described as either amused or scornful.

This paper may or may not prove to be a landmark event in the history of psychology, but some type of ESP, albeit limited, seems possible. The problem is to figure out under what conditions ESP occurs and what can be divined with it.

The New York Times article poses questions that I think completely miss the point about the true nature of ESP:
[I]f ESP exists, why aren’t people getting rich by reliably predicting the movement of the stock market or the outcome of football games?

The answer, of course, is that ESP doesn’t allow for such detailed understandings of future events. The phenomenon of glimpsing the future may be far more fleeting and shadowy than that. Reading future numbers and scores, if theoretically possible, may require specific prerequisites currently unknown to us.

The fact that no one gets rich by seeing future lottery numbers says nothing pro or con about the possibility of ESP. The question simply misreads the ephemeral nature of the phenomenon, and reproduction of results may be incredibly problematic.

Studies are now underway to replicate the results.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dead Birds & Fish Defy Scientific Explanation

Massive numbers of dead birds & fish have now been found in many locations around the United States, Sweden, Brazil, Paraguay, New Zealand, Haiti, the UK, and Australia, with more countries likely to be added to the list.

The deaths defy scientific explanation. One theory bandied about is that the birds died as a result of the sound of loud new-year fireworks. But reports of dead birds haven’t been made in previous years around January. Why this year and not before?

The synchronization of so many bird and fish deaths suggests the intriguing possibility that a force unknown to science is at work.

Daphne Du Maurier wrote a short story called “The Birds” in 1952, in which birds deliberately attacked humans. The symbolism of the story suggested the birds represented communism attacking a democratic western world during the cold war after World War II. Alfred Hitchcock based his famous movie on this story (excising the cold-war symbolism).

In this current mystery we see the birds behaving in the opposite manner: instead of attacking us, they simply die, and we humans are mere spectators, not targets.

The second mystery, after the idea of an unseen and unknown force at work, is the possibility that the deaths portend some future event on a planetary scale, as the international nature of the problem suggests.

Many people see what they want to see here, and I find their theories less than compelling. The most prominent are pollution, global warming, the end times, and the like. The solution is elsewhere, and the scientific examination and testing of the bird corpses will not be fully enlightening.

Biologists claim mass die-offs happen almost every day and are unrelated. Only now with the internet do people pay attention, but clearly that doesn't explain why no one has noticed until just now.

Others say mass bird deaths are rare, and "science is struggling to explain these things."

The proffered explanations remain unconvincing.