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Mad World

December 28th, 2013 - 1:32 pm

Lost in the global outrage over the NSA’s spying program is a surprising fact: the most sought-after item of US aid isn’t relief goods or money. It’s intelligence assistance. The Washington Post reports that the biggest thing many countries want with the NSA is to get on its distribution list. Take Colombia.

The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.

The secret assistance, which also includes substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency, is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. It is not a part of the public $9 billion package of mostly U.S. military aid called Plan Colombia, which began in 2000.

The power of signals intelligence was demonstrated to Colombian leaders when it was used to find and kill mega drug-lord Pablo Escobar, a saga which was dramatically recounted by Mark Bowden in his book Killing Pablo. Escobar killed practically the entire Colombian Supreme court in a single hit, destroyed a commercial airliner, ordered the deaths of top ranking police and military officials. Nothing could withstand him, except the Colossus of the North.

Colombia, readers will recall, was being fought over by corrupt politicians, drug cartels and leftist guerilla groups which are also drug cartels. In one sense it was typical of the wider world, which is often in the grip of Bad Guys. In a world of rogues the ultimate power flows from force; and the ultimate influence of the United States lies its ability to tilt the balance between one set of actors and another.  The trump card: signals intelligence.

The covert program in Colombia provides two essential services to the nation’s battle against the FARC and a smaller insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN): Real-time intelligence that allows Colombian forces to hunt down individual FARC leaders and, beginning in 2006, one particularly effective tool with which to kill them.

That weapon is a $30,000 GPS guidance kit that transforms a less-than-accurate 500-pound gravity bomb into a highly accurate smart bomb. Smart bombs, also called precision-guided munitions or PGMs, are capable of killing an individual in triple-canopy jungle if his exact location can be determined and geo-coordinates are programmed into the bomb’s small computer brain.

In March 2008, according to nine U.S. and Colombian officials, the Colombian Air Force, with tacit U.S. approval, launched U.S.-made smart bombs across the border into Ecuador to kill a senior FARC leader, Raul Reyes. The indirect U.S. role in that attack has not been previously disclosed.

The waiting list to get on the distribution sheet of the NSA is surprisingly long and a cynical person might observe that foreign complaints about it are merely roundabout ways of asking to get included on the distribution list. Consider who wants it.

The roster is headed by Mexico, where U.S. intelligence assistance is larger than anywhere outside Afghanistan, as The Washington Post reported in April. It also includes Central America and West Africa, where trafficking routes have moved in response to U.S. pressure against cartels elsewhere.

Many foreign leaders really don’t want ramen for the starving or vaccines for the the sick. What they actually crave is a way to destroy their enemies. Here’s where America comes in.

In order to complete the firing circuit, recipients of US aid have been seeking one more item: precision guided weapons and drones. The Colombians found that mere signals intelligence was not enough to kill the FARC. Even when precisely located they often escaped in the time it took for their units to hack their way through the jungle to close with them. These problems were obviated by the provision of GPS-guided munitions, “the Enhanced Paveway II, a relatively inexpensive guidance kit that could be strapped on a 500-pound, Mark-82 gravity bomb.”

To assure themselves that the Colombians would not misuse the bombs, U.S. officials came up with a novel solution. The CIA would maintain control over the encryption key inserted into the bomb, which unscrambled communications with GPS satellites so they can be read by the bomb’s computers. The bomb could not hit its target without the key. The Colombians would have to ask for approval for some targets, and if they misused the bombs, the CIA could deny GPS reception for future use.

“We wanted a sign-off,” said one senior official involved in the deliberations.

The host countries would of course prefer a blank check. But the Colossus of the North hangs on to its fragile oversight over the foreign countries and the citizens of the Colossus cling to their fragile oversight over Washington.

Pakistan, which routinely complains about the American drone attacks on its citizens was recently revealed to have a more pressing concern. How to get cut in on the program they pretended to hate so they could hit targets of their own choosing. Greg Miller and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post described how the drone program works.

Pakistan’s tacit approval of the drone program has been one of the more poorly kept national security secrets in Washington and Islamabad. During the early years of the campaign, the CIA even used Pakistani airstrips for its Predator fleet.

But the files expose the explicit nature of a secret arrangement struck between the two countries at a time when neither was willing to publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone program. The documents detailed at least 65 strikes in Pakistan and were described as “talking points” for CIA briefings, which occurred with such regularity that they became a matter of diplomatic routine. The documents are marked “top ­secret” but cleared for release to Pakistan.

The complaints may all be for show. These incidents underscore a sad but undeniable fact. Contrary to the hopeful belief that “what the world needs now  is love, sweet love” most governments actually prefer NSA signals intelligence and smart-bombs.

The real problem with signals intelligence, like torture,  is that is actually useful. If it were not effective there would be no problem getting rid of it. Only things which force us to choose between convenience and our notion of morality pose a real dilemma.

It’s been thus for a long time. Hilaire Belloc, surveying the world of Britannia at it’s height, observed in his poem The Modern Traveler how that empire was maintained. Here is his famous dialogue between Sin and Blood.

And Sin and I consulted;
Blood understood the Native mind.
He said : “We must be firm but kind.”

A Mutiny resulted.
I never shall forget the way
That Blood upon this awful day
Preserved us all from death.
He stood upon a little mound,
Cast his lethargic eyes around,
And said beneath his breath:
Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not.”

The nearest modern day equivalent to the Maxim Gun is the NSA. And like the machine gun of yesteryear it may ensnare its makers in a fatal net. But in a world of drug dealers, terrorists and rogues it is temporarily so useful that we are tempted to say: “one day we will cast it away, but not yet. Not yet.”


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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Top Rated Comments   
Keeping in mind that both the benefactor and the artist creating a "Piss Mohammed" under this regime will be charged with Hate Crimes, and worse instantly. Plus any Islamic-sponsored vengeance against them will be ignored or justified by the State. Hate crimes are infinitely variable. Hundreds of examples of the "knockout game" occurring, blacks attacking Whites and especially Jews [numerous cases caught on video and after arrests are made with full confessions of motive] are dismissed by the government as anecdotal and non-existent. The one known case of a white on black "knockout game" attack drew Federal charges within 24 hours of becoming known.

There is neither equal treatment under the law, nor a rule of law itself; and that has to be taken into account.

Subotai Bahadur
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
A bomb can be to smart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luaRtGn2tsI

The problem of espionage is the management problem. Collecting data is a technical issue. Knowing what fraction is worth using is the larger concern. Having first analysts and then managers and finally politicians who can be trusted to ignore the chaff, even if pursuing it could serve selfish short term goals, to retain and apply only the important wheat that serves the larger purpose is what a successful culture produces. By degrading our culture the Left have made it less likely that our institutions will produce analysts managers and politicians who are able to serve the greater good.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Fernandez, you continue to amaze me with both your eclecticism and the range of literature, news, and media you survey. As an animator with 4 decades in the industry, I was charmed and humbled by your choice of video with which to punctuate your essay. Thank you - again, and as usual, for setting in motion another round of thoughtful comments from your readers with your provocative and insightful article.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (47)
All Comments   (47)
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Much of our aid to foreign governments is about Quid Pro Quo. And if you do not have some quid to throw around you don't look like a pro.

If we give them data then they will provide us with data and access so we can gather other data.

In Pakistan we are in a deadly embrace. Pakistan is of value only in its ability to give us insight into that which Pakistan itself has created or enabled. That insight in turn enables us to take actions to counter the associated threats. It's less an internal Paki civil war than it is a self-licking ice cream cone.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
When the worm turns...

If China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela or North Korea chose their targets, we would be hard pressed to argue too strenuously about the tactic...although we still could maintain our good intentions, we need to perpetually stay ahead of the game. And, keep a tight rein on internal rogues....perhaps even more importantly than outside ones.

If radical leftists got into bed with radical Islamists, the mischief that could be unleashed by those who mean to take America down a peg or forty would be very hard to put back in the bottle.

Reckless and lawless America, rabid and radical America, leftist and anti-Bible America...could set in motion a reversal of "good intentions" onto a path that would lead to murders in Benghazi, Iran being given "Israel's" place at the table, China could be accelerated in dominance and Russia could be rebuilt into a force again for "proper thinkers with the best of intentions".

If those who love Communism, hard leftism...the "good intentions" might have a definition all their own.

The problem with a press that is so obviously propagandizing for one party, for one hard left ideology...that it barely conceals, if ever, its rabid unfairness, its loss of ethics, its vacation of honor...doesn't feel so badly to those who are "beneficiaries" of the "good intentions".

It is precisely at the moment that "your side" fails to act with honor for your benefit, that you must look the hardest at the implications.

If ever we get back the revisionist and pure fraud of akkkademia, or get Hollywood to treat America, the free market and Judeo-Christian congregants fairly, if we ever get the media back as pro-America/pro-Israel, pro honor/loyalty/truth....will hard leftists enjoy the experience?

Will we be tempted to give them a taste of their own medicine? Will be "benefit" from acting the same?

The answer is not an easy one, nor is the question intended to be rhetorical.

Obama and his cabal have opened a can of worms. And the worm is turning as we speak.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>>Will we be tempted to give them a taste of their own medicine?<<<

I have been re-reading Macchiavelli, and sadly being comforted by plain speaking. No, not "The Prince". That was just a pamphlet seeking patronage. His actual governing philosphies were expressing in his "Discourses on the first Decade [referring to the first ten books] of Titus Livius", Titus Livius being more commonly known today as the Roman historian Livy.

In Book 1, Chapter 18 there is a discussion of the problems of a city [State] that was once free, with a free people, who have become corrupt. Part of which is:

>>>And I will presuppose a City very corrupt, where such difficulties come to rise very fast, as there are found there neither laws or institutions that should be enough to check a general corruption. For as good customs have need of laws for maintaining themselves, so the laws, to be observed, have need of good customs. In addition to this, the institutions and laws made in a Republic at its origin when men were good, are not afterward more suitable, when they (men) have become evil. And if laws vary according to circumstances and events in a City, its institutions rarely or never vary: which results in the fact that new laws are not enough, for the institutions that remain firm will corrupt it.<<<

If we are ever a Free state again, we will not automatically revert to earlier national institutions and customs, as most of them have been destroyed; and in any case have shown themselves incapable of resistance to the totalitarians in our midst [of both parties]. There will have to be a new social and political compact, a new Constitution, with safeguards against the Left. They will not accept any such safeguards peacefully, and will attempt by any means, including violence and terrorism, to seize power again. They are already not subservient to the current law and Constitution. Since they are not subservient to and obedient to law and Constitution, they cannot be controlled by either. Thus, a taste of their own medicine is the least that they can expect.

I mention in passing an earlier Roman named Brutus, not the one mentioned in Shakespeare, but Lucius Junius Brutus [ circa 510 B.C.] who overthrew the last Roman king, Tarquin, and founded the Roman Republic. And what happened to his sons, who plotted to return to kingly rule.

Subotai Bahadur
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
A bomb can be to smart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luaRtGn2tsI

The problem of espionage is the management problem. Collecting data is a technical issue. Knowing what fraction is worth using is the larger concern. Having first analysts and then managers and finally politicians who can be trusted to ignore the chaff, even if pursuing it could serve selfish short term goals, to retain and apply only the important wheat that serves the larger purpose is what a successful culture produces. By degrading our culture the Left have made it less likely that our institutions will produce analysts managers and politicians who are able to serve the greater good.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the problem is, you can never be good at anything that is officially downgraded and disparaged from the top.

It is remarkable how many petty bureaucrats at all levels take high level pronouncements as direction. It's not just doing their dull little jobs, it is also a case of their taking speeches and other evidence of broad directions as a reason for specific actions.

If intelligence gathering is disparaged then that will translate into budget decisions and personnel actions at all levels and the capability to do it and analyze the results will be reduced.

In the early 70's, with the Space Shuttle as the chosen and mandatory launch vehicle by national policy, a USAF O-6 took it upon himself to destroy 25 Atlas boosters we had already in storage, ran over them with bulldozers, all to save a total of a paltry $1M over a 15 year period. He had no need to do that but followed national policy a monomanical fashion.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Will no one rid me of this Turbulent Priest?"

or, translated from Latin, according to a contemporary chronicler of Henry II:

"What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?"

See, Drones are NOT new to Tyrants!

>;0)

Seriously, the problem of underlings doing horrible acts, believing themselves to be fulfilling the will of their overlords (and so gaining their favor) has a very ancient pedigree... as does the further problem of petty tyrants using instructions or rules to torment and abuse others in their thrall.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Money buys op-eds, university chairs, politicians. It writes a narrative that lasts a long, long time.

During the last thread, a commenter complained that there wasn't “a cutting-edge avante garde 'artiste' to have the balls to create a work of art called 'Piss Mohammed'”.

There's a reason for that – there's no demand. Terrorists can raise the risk to artists through their threats, but if patrons compensate artists for the risks they take, the risk might be worth taking. How much are you willing to spend to commission “Piss Mohammed”? If a benefactor puts out a commission to create anti-Islamic art, there will be takers so long as the price is high enough.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Keeping in mind that both the benefactor and the artist creating a "Piss Mohammed" under this regime will be charged with Hate Crimes, and worse instantly. Plus any Islamic-sponsored vengeance against them will be ignored or justified by the State. Hate crimes are infinitely variable. Hundreds of examples of the "knockout game" occurring, blacks attacking Whites and especially Jews [numerous cases caught on video and after arrests are made with full confessions of motive] are dismissed by the government as anecdotal and non-existent. The one known case of a white on black "knockout game" attack drew Federal charges within 24 hours of becoming known.

There is neither equal treatment under the law, nor a rule of law itself; and that has to be taken into account.

Subotai Bahadur
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps a brilliant artist who has just received a diagnosis of a terminal cancer, with only a few weeks to live.

Aw, what the heck?! It could be easily be just as much of a lousy hack as the guy who did the infamous "Piss Christ."
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course, the problem for anyone creating, subsidizing, or EVEN ADVOCATING such an insult to the PROPHET is the thoroughly documented fanaticism of Islam which guarantees there would be a very credible threat of death and worse retribution to be done unto the offenders.

If the art were created by an artist with a terminal disease, who then quickly expires and is no longer subject to earthly vengeance, the fanatical Islamists will attack any museum, curator, photographer, or publisher who dares to make the art available to the public.

"That'll teach'em to diss us!" said the Islamic fanatic, wiping his blade and stepping away from the still-spurting corpse and the still-blinking astonished severed head.

[Author's disclaimer: Nothing in this humorous comment is in any way intended as an insult to the Prophet Mohammed, or to the peaceful religion of Islam.]

Um, seriously, does ANYONE remember the fatwa issued calling for any faithful muslim to murder author Salman Rushdie after publication of "The Satanic Verses?" Or the Death Threats against the Danish Cartoonists AND the editors and owners of the Jyllins-Posten that carried their satirical depictions of Mohammed?

Of course, the United Nations then came down vehemently on the side of Islam (where it has done exactly NOT a DAMN THING TO protest the continuing murder and torment of Christians throughout the world.)

Anyone remember these things? Anyone still in doubt about whether the United Nations is friendly to the United States?
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
If there were no johns who pay for sex, there would be no prostitutes to service them. Likewise, the leftist slant of the art world is a direct result of the money poured into art over the generations by Communists and their fellow travelers. For example, the Roosevelt administration used tax money to hire artists for the WPA, earning the gratitude of artists who got hired. Meanwhile, capitalists proved themselves to be very useful idiots when they patronized art from Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera.

People with money to spend can and do affect the fortunes of artists. If you don't like the politics of an artist, boycott him. If you do like an artist's politics, technique, and message, buy his art. If only one tenth of one percent of art is Communist, that is enough to establish political hegemony over the art world if there is no other market for political art. Once there is more money to be made from selling artwork extolling Tea Party ideals than artwork extolling leftist ideology, the ideological slant of artists will sound more like the Tea Party. Despite the romance of the “starving artist”, most artists would rather not starve.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Barack Obama let pro-Obama artists raise money for his campaign by encouraging them to sell their art (read: propaganda) on his website. Artists who donated their work to the Obama campaign received free advertising for their efforts, and free advertising should never be sniffed at. How many Republicans let pro-Republican artists raise money for their campaigns? When liberals patronize artists while conservatives regard themselves as above patronizing artists, artists who want to eat tend to gravitate toward liberal causes. This is basic economics.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nearer My God to Thee (for 9 cellos) - ThePianoGuys

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gosY-UrpHcA&list=RDiO7ySn-Swwc
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry wretchard, I am Oscar the Grouch on this one. Every country would be foolish if it did not spy on its enemies and its allies. That said, is it really a good thing that a scumbag full of lowlife countries wants to be friends with the NSA? Is that really a recommendation for the NSA?

Secondly, there's supposed to be an "intelligence" part to spying that sets spying apart from the robotic gathering of data. Especially the robotic gathering of data on American citizens. Is the NSA an "intelligence" agency or just a knuckle dragging brute that serves the bully needs of a State which commands that all citizens be its servants.

On balance I think the NSA is more an agency of U.S. self sabotage than a gatherer of intelligence that serves the U.S. national interest. I have no time for the self sabotage but plenty of time and understanding for intelligence gathering that serves the national interest.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Also agreed.

It's nice and tempting to use this "power" of intelligence to perhaps resurrect the American Hegemon, but if you can't sort out who your real enemies are first, the much more complex and difficult task of who you give actional intelligence to needs to be held in serious check.

To give one a glimpse of contortions of Buraq's policies I give you this from Zerohedge:http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-28/blame-petrogold-how-turkish-government-may-be-casualty-119-billion-golden-loophole

Now I know some think Zerohedge is some Russian propaganda front, but this post pisses on the US, Turkey and Iran, and seems to ask who is playing who?

Buried deep in this post of this gold for oil scandal, is the idea that Turkey was selling gold to Iran to do an end run around American Sanctions on Iran with Buraq's consent. So while Buraq was allegedly playing 'tough" again with Iran with his sanctions back in 2012, he was really allowing Iran to bypass them with help of our so called ally Turkey and Buraq's BFF Erdogan. And I thought Turkey and Iran were on opposite sides of the Syrian thing. Well maybe not.


All this calls into question of what the hell is really going on, and puts a very intense bright light on the fact that Buraq seems awful willing to play ball with our enemies a lot more than our friends. So how are we to trust this traitor in the White House to dole out intelligence to our so called ' friends"?
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16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agreed, but the trouble is that the virtual civil war that has been building in the country for decades and is now reaching critical mass because of financial constraints is over the meaning of “the national interest.” Various groups and institutions respond differently with different definitions of key words. There is no consensus on what that is, even among the grownups.

Is it promoting democracy abroad while ignoring voter fraud at home? Is it ensuring the safe passage of consumer goods from countries which gleefully sabotage the US or undercut domestic industries? Is it protecting the homeland while refusing to secure the borders? Is it trumpeting the benefits of capitalism while bailing out huge companies and financial institutions with taxpayer dollars? Readers, no doubt, can add to the list of contradictory initiatives.

What Obama has done with his domestic and foreign “policies” (the quotes are there because it isn’t clear if they deserve that term) has made this incoherence flamboyantly obvious. VDH had a column recently on NRO (The End of Ethics) pointing out the corrosive effect of the cynicism that flows from the need for power and asking how the damaged institutions which are the foundation of the republic are to be repaired.

Monday morning resolutions are not going to work and neither is trying to be everything to everybody and every country because this or that constituency will be mollified or bought. Perhaps the one good thing about Obamacare is that it will be the trial that forces a solution to this conundrum.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
WHEN SOMEONE DROPS A DIME

It may have been Lord Palmerstone who said the country has no friends, only interests, though it is highly likely it was said, and not for the first time, by someone in Mesopotamia and it got written down in cuneiform. Whatever, the NSA program serves our country’s interests, whether by helping a friend like Columbia or an enemy like Pakistan. And so it is that many of the countries we help have internal political forces to contend with, and so affect outrage at our actions. But we know better than to even be annoyed at this. There are still some grownups in this country, though you have to look hard to find them.

Pay no attention to my cries
Of outrage at your acts
Of savagery and spying eyes
We all know that the facts
Are that we need you to provide
Intelligence and drones
And since we’ve not a thing to hide
You’re free to tap our phones
We love your GPS and yes
To make the perfect loop
We also know that GPS
Means Government Phone Snoop
Without the snoops the bad guys win
We sleep beneath the sod
But nonetheless we have to spin
That you are playing God
So understand we must cry out
And blame you every time
But we’re so glad that you’re about
When someone drops a dime

16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>>Whatever, the NSA program serves our country’s interests<<<

I am far less worried about the NSA serving the country's interests vis-a-vis other countries than I am about them serving the personal and political interests of the office holders of the State against the American people.

Subotai Bahadur
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
In this context it is worth recalling that Obama by executive action very early in his first term, set aside a group within the Department of Justice and placed it at the disposal of INTERPOL, simultaneously EXEMPTING Interpol from the laws of the United States, and any Constitutional limits on their behavior. The effect of this is that it places beyond any writ of Habeas Corpus, any person detained or arrested by Interpol, EVEN IF THAT ARREST IS AT THE DIRECTION OR REQUEST OF U.S. AUTHORITIES. It also exempts such detentions or arrests from FOIA requests.

Here's the link to the White House listing of that executive order:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-amending-executive-order-12425

Any doubt about this man's commitment to the U.S. Constitution?????

You may argue that the intent and behavior of Interpol is above reproach.

THAT IS NOT THE ISSUE.

The issue is that Obama has ceded U.S. sovereignty to an organization external to the United States, and explicitly granted them immunity from United States law and Constitutional restrictions. The behavior of Interpol agents then, cannot be effectively challenged by citizens of the United States without the full cooperation of the United States government. We are then utterly dependent on both the continuing integrity of Interpol AND the integrity of U.S. authorities.

Right now, the U.S. Department of Justice is utterly politicized, and the President of the United States (1) refuses to allow his appointed Attorney-General to be questioned under oath about the DoJ program that deliberately allowed military-grade weapons to be delivered across the U.S./Mexico border to known murderers in Mexican Drug Cartels; (2) personally designates human targets for lethal drone attacks in sovereign nations WITH WHOM WE ARE NOT IN ANY DECLARED STATE OF WAR, and (3) has asserted that he has the full authority to designate U.S. citizens for the same targeting IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY CRIMINAL CHARGES or CONVICTION.

The list of abuses, especially selective "extra-Constitutional" revisions to legislation passed by both houses of Congress, and executive orders that violate specific Constitutional limits on the powers of the President, could go on for pages.



16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
The title of this post instantly brought to mind perhaps the best short ad I've ever seen; it usually makes any "Best 10" list.

even if you don't play video games, if you have not seen this I think you'll be quite impressed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccWrbGEFgI8
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I recall hearing that the Colombian Govt at one time located Escobar and even sent in strike aircraft to hit his house. But the house was so close to civilian homes - people that Escobar no doubt lavished money on - that the attack had to be called off, lest innocents be harmed. PGMs fixed that problem.

By the way, by a USAF order from the 70's, they are NOT "Smart" Bombs. Some in the Air Force leadership was concerned that the term Smart Bomb implied that our other bombs were dumb.

I first heard about GPS guided bombs around 1990, while they were still classified. The implications were obvious at once. The previous PGM's, from Project Aphrodite B-17's in the ETO, to to drone Hellcats in Korea, to Bullpups in the 60's, to laser guided bombs in Vietnam and Desert Storm, all required the attacking aircraft to either actively guide the weapon to the target or to lase the target until impact - often while being shot at the whole time. GPS bombs are "fire and forget" weapons; you enter the envelope required to give the bomb sufficient energy to reach the target, let it loose, and then get out of Dodge.

The Bat missiles used by VPB-109 in WWII, the US air launched homing torpedo in WWII, and the later Maverick TV guided missiles were all Fire and Forget weapons as well, but had much greater limitataions than the GPS guided weapons.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment

A digital edition of "The Modern Traveler" can be downloaded, free, from the Internet Archive site:

https://archive.org/details/moderntraveller00belluoft

16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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