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Belmont Club

The Age of Doubt

August 6th, 2013 - 5:22 pm

CBS News says a relative of one of the victims of Nidal Hassan’s rampage has ‘one question for the court’.  It will have to wait until Hasan — who is acting as his own attorney — can prove his point. He said “the evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter.”  It will be an uphill battle for him.  For the evidence will clearly show the Fort Hood event was “workplace violence”.

The facts aren’t what they used to be. Journalists, perhaps transported to the gallows humor mood by the sale of the Washington Post, are highlighting this circumstance in a number of astonishing headlines. One story describes the belated discovery by public sector retirees that their health care benefits aren’t what they thought they were.”(Reuters) – Chalk it up as an unintended consequence of Obamacare: a growing number of U.S. employers are aiming to cut their healthcare costs by shifting retirees into the law’s new public insurance exchanges, which launch this October.”

Let me get this straight: they don’t like Obamacare? Yes this is the age of puzzlement. The words “unintended consequences”, “unexpected”, “lower than anticipated”, “higher than anticipated”, “a surprise development”, “authorities are baffled”, “experts are puzzled” illustrate the misgivings people experience these days. People are angry at getting what they want other people to have.  You would think Obamacare is something you should get waiver from.

You’ve got to take your medicine. An elderly veteran was killed by cops after refusing medical treatment in Chicago. “95-year-old WWII vet John Wrana was killed by police after he resisted medical care in his nursing home last month. According to the Chicago Tribune, nursing home staff said Wrana was being “combative” as he resisted involuntary medical treatment. Apparently, he was so opposed to receiving the care that he was threatening to harm employees with his cane and shoehorn.”

Despite the news that al-Qaeda’s core is dead The Atlantic is unaccountably concerned about a man who can make anyone’s clothes into a bomb.  ”The trained Saudi chemist behind the shoe and underwear bombs is working on an undetectable liquid explosive” so he can commit workplace violence.

U.S. authorities in recent weeks disclosed that Asiri has probably designed a sophisticated and powerful explosive device that can avoid detection by trained dogs and bomb detection machines at airport security checkpoints. And there are now concerns that AQAP–presumably at Asiri’s direction–is developing an ingenious new generation of liquid explosive that is also undetectable, and possibly being used in planned (and imminent) attacks. Operatives reportedly can dip ordinary clothing into a liquid explosive and turn the clothes themselves into bombs once dry.

That’s really nifty. From dry cleaning to fry cleaning. I’m impressed.

But Daveed Garstein Ross is unimpressed by the verbal diarrhea of the administration’s counterterrorist efforts. Referring to the play-by-play leaks to the newspapers which describe the al-Qaeda in Arabia’s stealthy advance on US consulates, Ross writes: “what’s with all the leaks?”

There is no reason to divulge that Al Qaeda’s communications have been penetrated. Gaining access to its inner discussions is no easy task: This organization is aware of America’s awesome surveillance capabilities and has for more than a dozen years adapted its communications to minimize the U.S. government’s chances of intercepting them. Al Qaeda is so secretive that there have been periods of years during which U.S. intelligence lacked the information it needed to have basic insights into the group’s inner workings.

But now officials, both unnamed and named, are busily telling the media exactly what messages from Al Qaeda give rise to concerns about the present plot. Based on newspaper accounts alone, neither Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as Al Qaeda’s emir, nor Nasir al-Wuyashi (reportedly the new general manager) will have any doubt about which messages have been intercepted — and thus they will have no doubt about which channels of communication have been compromised. And they will adapt.

The timing of these disclosures is all wrong, tactically and strategically. Officials are explaining how we know what Al Qaeda is planning before the current plot has been disrupted, and before any members of the attack team (or teams) have been apprehended. Since it’s clear from the number of diplomatic posts that have been closed that U.S. intelligence doesn’t know where the attackers are, Al Qaeda has the option of telling the plotters to stand down, after which more secure means of communication can be established. And they can try again.

What’s it with all these leaks? Why divulge the fact their innermost communications have been penetrated?  Surely Ross can guess. Why to give the attackers a head’s up … so they can abandon their efforts, amend their wayward ways, retrace their steps  – or perhaps the leaks are to make the administration look good — that’s why.

But how you may ask, can the administration stand this spate of disastrous news? That is simple. It simply presents the dispatches as good news. For example, take this snippet.

Over the past couple of weeks almost 2,000 inmates, including “hundreds of terrorists,” have escaped from prisons in Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan. The series of ultra-violent, highly organized attacks has the US scared, al Qaeda celebrating in Iraq, and a whole load of embassy staff with a week off.

The party started with a bang. On the evening of July 21, suicide car bombs near Baghdad Central Prison (formerly known as Abu Ghraib) detonated, blasting open the gates. Military-grade mortar and rocket attacks followed and suicide-vested militiamen streamed into the prison. The assault was highly coordinated—while the apparent jihadists started freeing their brothers from Iraq’s nastiest correctional facility, others set up positions on the road outside, shooting police and security forces as they arrived on the scene.

At least 500 prisoners escaped, most of them “convicted senior members of al Qaeda” who’d been looking at death sentences, according to the Iraqi government. At least 25 cops and prison guards were killed, along with ten prisoners and six militants. At almost exactly the same time north of Baghdad, a botched escape using similar tactics killed 16 prison guards.

This only goes to prove that Osama bin Laden is dead!  You don’t read about him escaping do you? Or take this story from McClatchy about “rebels” seizing airbases. “BEIRUT — Syrian rebels spearheaded by al Qaida in Iraq and its local allies took control Tuesday of a crucial military airport in northern Syria, opening a vital supply line between the rebel-held north and Turkey.” Quite apart from the fact that all their terror aces, captured at such cost of blood and treasure, are now roaming about the countryside,  why would al-Qaeda be interested in opening a supply route from Turkey? Are they expecting guns from someone?

And who is that someone? ”A relative of one of the victims of Nidal Hassan’s rampage has ‘one question for the court’.” Why just one question? Or more to the point, why ask questions?  Some in the Israeli government have stopped querying the administration because they can already guess the answers. The Jerusalem Post reports that a few no longer believe the Obama administration will stop Iran.

Senior Israeli official doubts US move to thwart nuclear Iran. “The diplomatic official doubted US intentions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons at all costs. American conduct regarding Syria, contrary to declarations by President Barack Obama, shows Israel that it cannot rely on US assurances, the Israeli source said.”

And you can sympathize with with them. After all even Major Hassan can’t prove he murdered who he thought he murdered. A man can’t even plead guilty any more. The poor fellow is desperately trying to take credit for actually killing people in the Jihadi cause. Maybe Hassan should get together with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who has the opposite problem. Nakoula claims he didn’t cause Benghazi by producing a video.  But the administration’s not going to let him get away with that. You will be surprised to know that Hassan’s and Nakoula’s recollections are untrue. But as noted at the start, this is the age of puzzlement. Expect the unexpected.


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Top Rated Comments   

Unsk,
You could invest in rail travel stocks. Wait though, the federal government nationalized passenger rail travel effectively destroying that industry as something to that can attract investment and innovation. Appropriately train cars are made by Bombadier. The Spanish can tell you that rail can be targeted too. Consequently we can expect a massive extension of TSA to protect non-aviation transit systems. Shift your investment portfolio to include manufacturers of portable Explosive Trace Detectors and latex gloves. Better yet go for a play based on five thousand sniffer dogs getting deployed and invest in dog food.

Perhaps the best investment advice would be to short anything travel or tourism related and expect people to "shelter in place" watching cable and Netflix. That means the Administration strategy is working for the benefit of their backers in Hollywood and Time Warner. Maybe that explains why Time Warner Cable has cut off CBS, the producer of the awkward question?

Seriously, what would a proper offensive against al-Qaeda and the Iranian mullahs look like? Is there a workable answer between surrender or the current flailing and Kill 'em All? My belief is that some advocacy for the genocidal approach is inserted into forums like this by agents provacateurs.

Our host has provided a blueprint. Name the enemy. It is a totalitarian belief that members of one community may threaten and control the behavior of other people. This is a war, not a law enforcement or social welfare problem. In a war we identify a community that supports a threat and we attack the community until it stops the support. We do so in a controlled manner to the greatest extent distinguishing the innocent from the complicit and providing incentives to move from supporting the hostile force. But being a member of the community close to the threat, that is to say the family clan or tribe, is to be a target.

There are institutions that enable and shelter the enemy. They can be government bureaus, private businesses and ostensibly charitable foundations, schools and religious organizations and their physical structures. They should be destroyed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But look right here at PJMedia, with this crappy interface - replacing one that wasn't glorious, but overall was better than this, for the mere users.

I could tell you a similar story about this place I started work this week, the lack of expertise and the organization that stands on its own, er, toes preventing improvement - but mostly, they don't even realize how awful, and how unnecessarily awful, they are.

This is the story of our age. I think I'll take up golf. If I'm really bad at it, then I'll fit right in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's normally dangerous and idle to speculate. But as long as the reader understands what follows is merely a thought experiment, here's what I think of the puzzling events of the last few days.

First recall that one of the goals of being "in contact" is to obtain information. The Obama administration's policy has been to break contact. The hidden cost of breaking contact is dried up on the ground sources of information and forced an increased reliance on signals intelligence as well as humint provided by host countries, which unfortunately are sometimes penetrated by the AQ.

Second, the jailbreaks and other recent developments rudely revealed the fact there were things they did not know. Suddenly the administration was pointedly reminded of its vulnerabilities.

Third, they responded in the way they knew how by killing 4 guys they thought were key to something. But subsequent analysis showed it hardly slowed operational preparations which meant they had whacked an irrelevant set of guys. There was a network out there they didn't fully understand.

Fourth, the analysts concluded there were multiple targets of which the consulates were one possibility. But they weren't sure if there were other targets. So they resorted to the oldest trick in the book. They leaked the consulate target and monitored the al Qaeda comms to see how they would respond. "MI has water distillation problems" Remember that ploy? They are waiting to see if AQ will redeploy or continue.

Taken together we can understand the situation on two levels. The first is that the administration is in strategic crisis. Their warfighting method is failing in certain critical respects. They may also have a tactical crisis. They are now talking about "homeland threats" and "implant" and "clothes bombers" because that is the other possibility after the consular targets.

They're not sure what the target is, though it may be big. In any case, they are managing expectations, being unsure of whether they can manage the enemy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (73)
All Comments   (73)
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This is a test. For the last week I have been unable to post on any PJ Media site. When I tried, I received a message "You are not allowed to add comments" message in red. Today I finally was able to locate and contact PJ Media Support, and was advised by them that I was .... accidentally .... banned from posting comments. And that the ban has been lifted. This is a test to see if I have been restored to the world of the living. And an advisory to other commenters, in case it happens to them. I admit that when I was cut off I more than passing suspected that the exchanges with Sean Spicer of the RNC at another part of PJM were the reason.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's okay. I didn't get any offers to sign Barack's online birthday card, either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dworkin Barimen,
Whoopsie.
How long until the insurance companies pull the plug on air travel? What to do? What to do? How about great-grandson of Quantitative Easing? Does anyone think that will work?

Now all the enemy has to do is get a few seaborne cargo containers to blow up. They don't even have to be nukes or particularly dirty. They could even just have a tanker discharge into a harbor until the hold is an explosive vapor and and offer to let her blow. The result would be up to a kiloton in power. They just need to demonstrate the potential to use cargo ships as weapons. Once they do then we are back in the 19th century, only we're relatively poorer and they have better toys.

blert,
I concur with the preference to keep one old BC style thread rather than use the reply button, although I am inconsistent myself. Thank you and Unsk for your replies though. My "likes" are given. Oddly Eastern Libya was the home of the relatively moderate old royal family.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"But as noted at the start, this is the age of puzzlement. Expect the unexpected."

Billy Beck's term was "The Endarkenment".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
@AlArabiya_Eng
#BreakingNews - Activists: #FSA downs Iranian cargo plane at #Damascus International Airport. #Syria


https://twitter.com/AlArabiya_Eng/status/365198048537747456

Oops. Guess those MANPADS from Libya might be starting to pop up...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Prepare for war.

"And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.”

Their Harvard and Yale degrees will not save them.

"I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.”

War is coming. Real war; global war; and it will give lie to the words “World War I” and “World War II."

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
On the other hand, it might be a whole lot shorter than either of the others.

First people to blow away a certain small place wins.
Any takers as to what, specifically, I am referring?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
21.422495°N 39.826165°E to be specific.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hint?

It's considered a must-see, once in a lifetime place...A sort of mecca for over a billion people dispersed across the planet.

...On the other hand, it just might be an important river city between Virginia and Maryland.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I hadn't considered the second possibility. But you're right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sobering to contemplate ain't it?

I think the disparity of required force is a large part of the reason why fed.gov is crapping itself into shooting our collective foot.

In any case it does not bode well for us little guys trying to shore up the foundations of our Liberty.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Military-grade mortar and rocket attacks followed and suicide-vested militiamen streamed into the prison”

Congress has defaulted its authority. Let the senators take their titles of nobility that exempt from the laws repressing us little people. The Republic is over. If the US is an empire (as so many Leftists assert), then let it be an empire.

Rule. The. World.

Why strike at the slave when you can strike at the master?

Let the Empire attack the root causes of terrorism: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, Pakistan. Appoint proconsuls to rule the conquered territories. The world needs peace and prosperity more than it needs Islam, national determination, and democracy.

Forward! Vorwarts! To the Future!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Overheard recently:

Akeem: Omar, my brother-in-jihad, I have a new plan to slaughter the infidels, those sons of pigs and monkeys, in their own homeland! And there is no need to keep secrets that will be announced by the White House on television!

Omar: Oh, rejoice, if this is true I will forever give thanks to Allah, blessed be his holy, all-merciful, ever-miraculous, ...

Akeem: Cool it, Omar, you're interrupting.

Omar: Then tell me, Akeem, what is the plan?

Akeem: I am going to join the American Army openly as a Muslim, disrupt meetings announcing my love of Allah and Mohammed, his prophet. Then, after all my colleagues are sick of me, I will load up some heavy iron and blast the sh*t out of them!!!!!!!

Omar: Oh, righteous plan, Akeem; truly thou will got to heaven and hump them 72 virgins!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To think such a plan could work would require a willing suspension of disbelief.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are a lot lower than they are of dying in a car accident, unfortunately,” Obama said.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/315871-obama-we-dont-have-a-domestic-spying-program

I think the guy at last found the perfect milieu for his act. Or was he being serious?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To put it into a cinematic context:

"These are not the spy-bots you've been looking for".
~waves fingers with a magicians flourish~
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"he was threatening to harm employees with his cane and shoehorn”

There is so much sadness and evil in the world. How are we to bear it?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Once upon a time, he could have thrown a shoe at the President and suffered no repercussion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The "facts" aren't what they used to be? Wretchard, when where they? In what golden era or heroic age was facticity established beyond the doubts of reasonable men? When could one expected what was expected?

I'd be cautious of such nostalgia, for the past never seemed stable at the time the decisions had to be made, the mist of "fact" determining the foggy matrix of choices that all seemed bad. The Obama administration in strategic and tactical crisis? Isn't that true of all administrations when confronted with, well . . . crises? The previous administration had no clue what it was doing when encouraging elections in the Gaza Strip in 2006 (despite Israeli warnings), nor what the long term consequences were of paying Sunni insurgents, with American blood on their hands, to simply chill out for a year.

And was it a mere tactical crisis that misled Clinton's efforts to kill Osama bin Laden, or a strategic miscalculation on the part of H.W. Bush's administration to leave Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq? Did Ronald Reagan the man have any real idea why he was selling TOW missiles to Iran? What did Kissinger say to the North Vietnamese in '68 to scotch the peace talks and when did FDR really learn about a planned attack on Pearl Harbor?

There is an overabundance of fault and foolishness to critique in the present, but in doing so let us not implicitly transmogrify the past into a children's tale.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Children’s tales indeed! Lest we forget the most tragic of all… It was Camelot of the 1960’s! Lucky was this Country to have survived such derangement as the Narcissistic evil that was call JFK, a cocktail drug induced sex addict that nearly vaporized most of the world! while his wife immortalized beyond Hildabeast elevations, only thought of her own self image in her elitist group, one wonders if Jackie didn’t force Bobby to “do” Marilyn Monroe in before she ruined all their lives!!! Yes the 3 evil K’s of Massachusetts happily are gone and resting in the place the most deservedly earned!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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