Friday, May 31, 2013

Beware of Obama's "Navigators"





From Family Security Matters.




Obamacare ‘Navigators’: Another Sebelius Snitch Brigade?


U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius controls a $54 million slush fund to hire thousands of "navigators," "in-person assisters" and counselors who will propagandize and enroll Obamacare recipients in government-run health insurance exchanges. This nanny-state navigator corps is the Mother of all Community Organizing Boondoggles. It's also yet another Obama threat to Americans' privacy.

A reminder about Secretary Sebelius' sordid snooping history is in order here. In August 2009, HHS and the White House Office of Health Reform called on their ground troops to report on fellow citizens who dared to criticize their federal health care takeover. Team Obama issued an all-points bulletin on the taxpayer-funded White House website soliciting informant emails. Remember?

"If you get an email or see something on the Web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov," the Obamacare overlords urged. The feds even singled out conservative Internet powerhouse Matt Drudge because he had featured a video compilation of Obama and other Democrats -- in their own words -- exposing the "public option" as a Trojan Horse for government-run health care and the elimination of private industry.

Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn protested at the time that "these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program." The flagging operation was shut down, but a plethora of federal disclosure exemptions protect the Obama administration from revealing what was collected, who was targeted and what was done with the database information.

White House lapdogs dismissed the concerns of conservatives as paranoid delusions. Now, fast-forward three years. In light of the draconian IRS witch hunt against tea party groups and the Justice Department's plundering of journalists' phone records and email accounts, every tax-subsidized Obama "outreach" initiative warrants heightened scrutiny.

Obamacare navigators will have access to highly personal data from potential "customers" to assess their "needs." That means income levels, birthdates, addresses, eligibility for government assistance, Social Security numbers and sensitive medical information. They'll be targeting both individuals and small businesses. Anyone they can lay their grubby hands on. Who's getting the navigator grants and training? "Community groups" in 33 states that naturally include socialized medicine-supporting unions and Saul Alinsky-steeped activist outfits.

On Capitol Hill last week, a top Obamacare official told GOP lawmakers that navigators will not be required to undergo background checks. Criminal records are not automatically disqualifying -- and that includes identity theft. The federal rule-makers will require online training of a measly 20 hours. Health care regulations watchdog Betsy McCaughey adds that navigators "don't have to know math or insurance, but rules announced April 5 specify you have to match the race, ethnicity and language preferences of the neighborhood that will be targeted."

The Obamacare navigator corps smacks of ACORN redux, stocked with demographically tailored Democratic Party recruitment operatives, not objective, informed insurance experts.

Sebelius and her enforcers promise strict neutrality and clean conduct. The bureaucrats say there will be severe consequences for violating citizens' privacy or breaking any other laws. Pffft. The Office of Special Counsel determined that Secretary Sebelius herself violated the federal Hatch Act prohibition on exploiting her HHS leadership position for partisan activity last fall. She then tried to cover up her breach after the fact by classifying the event in which she electioneered for Obama as a "personal" appearance.

Consequences? What consequences?

Sebelius has zero credibility when it comes to reining in overzealous partisans. But she's darned good at unleashing them. During the White House pressure campaign for Obamacare, Sebelius goaded her "brothers and sisters" from the brass-knuckled SEIU. SEIU goon Dennis Rivera joined her on a White House conference call in which he lambasted tea party activists as the "radical fringe" of "right-wingers" whose protests amounted to "terrorist tactics."

Now, the SEIU is on the board of directors of Enroll America, the left-wing, Obamacare advocacy nonprofit for whom shakedown artist Sebelius has been soliciting funds.

Sebelius' corruptocracy runs deep. While she was governor of Kansas, an independent inspector general reported that her appointed health policy board had "applied pressure to alter an audit report, restricted access to legal advice and threatened to fire her for meeting independently with legislators," according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Team Sebelius was also embroiled in a ruthless vendetta and obstruction campaign against then-GOP Attorney General Phill Kline, who unearthed damning evidence that the Sebelius administration had shredded key documents related to felony charges against Sebelius' abortion racketeering friends at Planned Parenthood.

Sebelius notoriously threatened private companies and insurers who increased rates to cope with Obamacare coverage mandates. She bullied private companies to meet discriminatory and arbitrary disclosure demands. And she lashed out at newspapers that dared to report on the true costs of the Obamacare regulatory leviathan.

You can't trust sleazy Sebelius to navigate anything with her broken ethical compass. This is worse than the fox guarding the henhouse. She has unfettered authority and a bottomless budget to weaponize legions more foxes who will serve as Obamacare's eyes and ears on the ground. The snitch brigade lives.


Video: So, How Do You Suppose Things Are Going In Mali?

Holder and the DOJ To Reveal Just What Will Happen To You If You Criticize Islam On Social Media


Out of control simply does not come close to describing the Obama administration's promotion of Islam as the new religion of America.  I've read this article three times and still cannot believe it.  We have ranking federal officials carrying the water for the Islamists in this country - we even see the talking points of a group like CAIR coming through in the statements.

The message is clear America...you better get ready to submit to the ideology of the pedophile or Big Brother is going to bring the hammer down.  It's kind of a no win, don't you think?  If you criticize Islam in this country, if you don't get beheaded or blown up by a jihadi, the Federal government will see that you go to prison.

The story comes from Judicial Watch.

(Hat Tip:  Rose)



DOJ: Social Media Posts Trashing Muslims May Violate Civil Rights


In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights.

The move comes a few years after the administration became the first in history to dispatch a U.S. Attorney General to personally reassure Muslims that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is dedicated to protecting them. In the unprecedented event, Attorney General Eric Holder assured a San Francisco-based organization (Muslim Advocates) that urges members not to cooperate in federal terrorism investigations that the “us versus them” environment created by the U.S. government, law enforcement agents and fellow citizens is unacceptable and inconsistent with what America is all about.

“Muslims and Arab Americans have helped build and strengthen our nation,” Holder said after expressing that he is “grateful” to have Muslims as a partner in promoting tolerance, ensuring public safety and protecting civil rights. He also vowed to strengthen “crucial dialogue” between Muslim and Arab-American communities and law enforcement.

Evidently that was a precursor of sorts for an upcoming Tennessee event (“Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society”) that will feature the region’s top DOJ official, who serves as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and an FBI representative. The goal is to increase awareness and understanding that American Muslims are not the terrorists some have made them out to be in social media and other circles, according to a local newspaper report. The June 4 powwow is sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee.

The area’s top federal prosecutor, Bill Killian, will address a topic that most Americans are likely unfamiliar with, even those well versed on the Constitution; that federal civil rights laws can actually be violated by those who post inflammatory documents aimed at Muslims on social media. “This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian says in the local news story. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”

The DOJ political appointee adds in the article that the upcoming presentation will also focus on Muslim culture with a special emphasis on the fact that the religion is no different from others, even though some in the faith have committed terrorist acts, Christians have done the same. As an example he offers that the worst terrorist attack in the U.S. prior to 9/11 was committed by American Christians in Oklahoma City. He also mentioned the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting last year in which another Christian, an American white supremacist, fatally shot six people and wounded four others.

“Some of the finest people I’ve met are Muslims,” Killian said, adding later: “We want to inform everybody about what the law is, but more importantly, we want to provide what the law means to Muslims, Hindus and every other religion in the country. It’s why we came here in the first place. In England, they were using Christianity to further their power in government. That’s why the First Amendment is there.”

Over the years the Obama administration has embarked on a fervent crusade to befriend Muslims by creating a variety of outreach programs at a number of key federal agencies. For instance the nation’s Homeland Security covertly met with a group of extremist Arab, Muslim and Sikh organizations to discuss national security matters and the State Department sent a controversial, anti-America Imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf) to the Middle East to foster greater understanding and outreach among Muslim majority communities.

The Obama Administration has also hired a special Homeland Security adviser (Mohamed Elibiary) who openly supports a radical Islamist theologian and renowned jihadist ideologue and a special Islam envoy that condemns U.S. prosecutions of terrorists as “politically motivated persecutions” and has close ties to radical extremist groups.

The president has even ordered the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to shift its mission from space exploration to Muslim diplomacy and the government started a special service that delivers halal meals, prepared according to Islamic law, to home-bound seniors in Detroit. Who could forget Hillary Clinton’s special order allowing the reentry of two radical Islamic academics whose terrorist ties have long banned them from the U.S.?

WTF? Hezbollah Is In...Nigeria?!

From The Long War Journal.



Nigeria arrests 3 alleged Hezbollah members


Nigerian authorities today announced the arrest of three men believed to be tied to Hezbollah. Authorities also announced the discovery of a weapons cache linked to the Iranian-backed terror group in Kano.

According to Nigeria's State Security Service, the weaponry was intended to be used against "Israeli and Western interests." The BBC reported that authorities in Kano showed off "11 anti-tank weapons, four anti-tank mines, a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and 21 RPG missiles, 17 AK-47s, two sub-machine guns and 76 grenades."

The cell was reportedly active in Nigeria for a few years before being arrested. Israeli counterterrorism officials said the cell is "part of the Shi'ite terror campaign against Israeli targets throughout the world."

Nigerian authorities stated that the three members of the cell were arrested within the past two weeks and that during questioning all admitted to being members of Hezbollah. A fourth member of the cell is believed to be outside of the country.

Mustapha Fawaz was arrested on May 16 and led authorities to Abdullah Tahini, who was arrested with approximately $60,000 in undeclared cash at an airport in Kano. Talal Roda was eventually arrested at the site of the weapons. According to a Nigerian official, "The search team uncovered an underground bunker in the master bedroom where a large quantity of assorted weapons of different types and caliber were recovered."

Today's announcement comes approximately three months after Nigeria's State Security Service announced the arrest of three members of an Iranian-backed terror cell that was reportedly planning to carry out attacks on US and Israeli interests as well as on former Nigerian officials. In addition, just over two weeks ago, a Nigerian court sentenced a member of the IRGC and a Nigerian accomplice to five years in prison for illegally shipping arms in 2010 to Nigeria.

The targeting of Israeli and Jewish targets by Iran and Hezbollah appears to be on the rise over the past two years. Between May 2011 and July 2012, over 20 attacks tied to Iran and Hezbollah against Israelis and Jews abroad were thwarted. These thwarted attacks, not all of which were publicly reported, took place in Cyprus, Turkey, Kenya, India, Thailand, and Azerbaijan, and elsewhere. The only successful attack thus far was in July 2012 in Burgas, Bulgaria, when Hezbollah operatives exploded a bomb on a bus carrying Israeli tourists. On Feb. 5, Bulgaria declared that Hezbollah was responsible for the terror attack in Burgas. The two primary suspects are believed to be residing in Lebanon.

The Counterterrorism Bureau at Israel's National Security Council recently warned that Iran and Hezbollah are still looking to exact revenge for the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists and senior Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyah and are likely to do so by targeting Israelis abroad via suicide attacks or kidnappings.

Video: Syrian Rebels Taking Army Base

Video: So, Have You Ever Seen the Water Cannon To the Head Technique?


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Iranians Change Sentence For Adultery From Stoning To Sometimes Stoning and Sometimes Hanging


Gotta love the Iranians - the world has been in an outcry over the stonings in Iran for those convicted of adultery so the Iranians came back and changed the penalty by saying that the judge MAY choose another execution method if he wants...that's usually hanging in Iran, but it doesn't MAKE the judge change the method from stoning.  But hey, I'm sure all of the human rights organizations will applaud the mullahs now for such a humane response.

The story comes from The Telegraph.


Iran amends law on stoning for adultery


The controversial practice, in which stones are thrown at the partially buried offender, has provoked outcries from human rights organisations, international bodies and Western countries urging Iran to abandon it.

An article of Iran's Islamic new penal code, published earlier this week, states that, "if the possibility of carrying out the (stoning) verdict does not exist," the sentencing judge may order another form of execution pending final approval by the judiciary chief.

The article does not explain what is meant by the possibility of stoning not existing.

In Iran, executions are normally carried out by hanging.

Under Iran's interpretation of Islamic Sharia law in force since its 1979 revolution, adultery is punished by the stoning of convicted adulterers.

Women are buried up to the their shoulders, but men only up to their waists. They are spared if they manage to free themselves before dying.

Murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking are also punishable by death in Iran, which has one of the highest annual execution counts in the world, alongside China, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

At least 150 people may have been stoned in Iran since 1980, the International Committees against Execution and Stoning said in 2010.

According to local media, MPs had removed stoning altogether from the bill that they adopted. But the hardline Guardians Council of clerics and jurists, which must approve all legislation before it enters into force, reinserted it, with the new amendment.

The United Nations has urged Iran to ditch stoning as a method of execution, with its experts saying last year that adultery does not constitute a serious crime by international standards.

World criticism reached a strident pitch in 2011 when reports said a married woman, Sakieneh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was about to be stoned over "illicit relationships" with two men.

Iran halted the stoning, but Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced in 2006, is serving a 10-year sentence on separate charges of complicity in the murder of her husband in a lovers' spat.

Her stoning could still be carried out. In December 2011, a local judicial official said that judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani had decided "to wait to get the view of other religious scholars" before making a final decision.

The last reported case of stoning was in 2009, when an unidentified man was stoned to death in the northern city of Rasht.

That came despite a directive in 2002 by then judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi to suspend the practice. His call failed to force any changes to the penal code.

Video: Canadian Special Ops

ISNA Reinvents 'Sharia' for Western Consumption


From The Clarion Project.



ISNA Reinvents 'Sharia' for Western Consumption


The latest issue of the Islamic Horizons magazine of the Islamic Society of North America, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, has an article with an interesting message: The U.S could learn from Islamic law if it weren’t for the “Islamophobes” bashing Sharia.

The theme of the article is that “Islamophobes” are twisting the meaning of Sharia, and it is up to Muslim-Americans to set the record straight. In a game of semantics reminiscent of the campaign to get the media to stop using the word "Islamist" and the "My Jihad" campaign, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is now turning to the words “Sharia” and “fiqh.”

The article argues that critics are actually talking about siyasa, or Islamic administration. Sharia is “divine” and fiqh is Islamic legal rulings. Yet what the article doesn’t explain is that Siyasa is fiqh and fiqh is part of Sharia.

Once readers are told that these are three separate things, they are open to their redefining. Most importantly, fiqh is framed as a system of jurisprudence superior to the West. This fits into the theme of ISNA’s parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood, that Islam is not just a faith but an alternative civilization.

Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, once said, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”

ISNA’s magazine first argues that fiqh is not a theocratic “system of governance” because “unlike our Christian cousins, Muslims never merged ‘church’ and state.”

The article even blames the failures of Sharia-based governance on Western influence:

“The governments of most Muslim-majority countries follow the western nation-state model that centralizes all lawmaking power with the state. Unfortunately, when these states legislate selected fiqh rules (misleadingly labeled ‘Sharia’), they effectively act as theocracies because they use state power to declare and enforce ‘Sharia’ with little or no recognition of fiqh pluralism.”

In other words, Muslim theocracies exist because they were too Western.

As for “fiqh pluralism,” according to respected authorities on Sharia, this is referring to the fact that there are four Sunni schools of thought, each having their own divisions—but all of these disagreements are over details within the Sharia framework.

Reliance of the Traveler, an authoritative book on Islamic law endorsed by the top Sunni theological institution and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity) states, “The four Sunni schools of Islamic law, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’I, and Hanbali, are identical in approximately 75 percent of their legal conclusions.”

The Encyclopedia Brittanica explains that after these schools of jurisprudence were formed by the year 1258, “All subsequent generations of jurists were considered bound to … the unquestioned acceptance of their great predecessors as authoritative and could, at most, issue legal opinions drawn from established precedents.”

After ISNA’s article misleadingly compartmentalizing Sharia, fiqh and siyasa, the overall package of Islamic law is presented as something that could actually improve America as it becomes more diverse. Here are two quotes from the article:

“Rather than being a threat to American rule of law, Islamic legal theory could provide valuable insight into how to honor multiplicity without giving up individual values and identities, or unity of the whole.”

“When it comes to dealing with diversity, America could learn a lot from Islamic law, if only it could stop painting it as something that it is not.”

This message isn’t new for ISNA, it’s only that now it’s being said more delicately. ISNA’s Secretary-General from 1994 to 2006, Sayyid Syeed, was recorded in 2006 saying, “Our job is to change the Constitution of America.” That’s not the language of someone who is talking solely about spirituality and morals.

Muzammil Siddiqi is one of ISNA’s founders and was its President from 1997 to 2000. He remains listed as a member at large of the Board of Directors. In 1996, he said that Muslims “should participate in the [democratic] system to safeguard our interest and try to bring gradual change for the right cause … We must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.”

If you are thinking that these “rules” may be referring to an inner spiritual struggle against sin, consider what else Siddiqi’s said (in 2001):

“The criminal law of the Sharia is not practiced here and it is not even required for Muslims to practice the criminal law in a non-Islamic state … Once more people accept Islam, insha’allah, this will lead to the implementation of Sharia in all areas.”

The last part of this statement confirms the fact that the siyasa and fiqh are components of Sharia. The ISNA magazine’s claim that they are separate is debunked by ISNA’s own leadership.

It is often assumed that such deceptive word-play is not approved of by Islamist doctrine. Yet, here’s what the Reliance of the Traveler ruled regarding that matter:

“[I]t is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible … and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory.”

“…One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie…”

The core belief of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists is that their faith is a political doctrine for an alternative civilization. It is Allah’s guide to prosperity and the key to any civilization’s success is to follow it.

When ISNA says that America would benefit from Sharia/Islamic law, it is recommending compliance with this political doctrine. American Islamists tout this recommendation as a sign of patriotism because, in their mind, compliance with Sharia is good for America.

Instead of using the U.S. as a model for reform in Islam, ISNA’s article views Islam as a model for reform in the U.S.

Hell Unleashed In Iraq....More Attacks By Al Qaeda Kill 11, Death Toll For the Week Hits 166

Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni terror groups across Iraq continued their rampage across Iraq today killing a total of 11 people, bringing the weekly death toll in Iraq to 166 from what can only be described as Hell on earth.

It appears that al Qaeda in Iraq, after all of these years, is going to finally get what they wanted....a full scale Muslim sectarian civil war in the country.

If that happens, the streets will be red with blood.

The story comes from DAWN.


Iraq attacks kill 11 as violence spirals


BAGHDAD: Attacks in Iraq, including car bombs in Baghdad, killed 11 people on Thursday, the latest in a surge of violence that has left 166 dead in a week and sparked fears of all-out sectarian conflict.

The UN has called for Iraq's leaders to urgently hold talks to resolve wide-ranging political disputes that have been linked to the surge in unrest.

But the government's public response has thus far been limited to speeches, a shakeup of senior security officers and announcing a series of vague new measures relating to security.

Amid all the statements and pronouncements, the violence has intensified.

On Thursday morning, a vehicle rigged with explosives went off in northeast Baghdad, killing four people and wounding a dozen more, while two more car bombs in the centre of the capital killed two and wounded 14.

Two border policemen were also ambushed along the main Iraq-Jordan highway and shot dead, while three policemen were killed in an early morning suicide car bombing in the main northern city of Mosul.

Violence a day earlier, including a bombing against a bridal party in south Baghdad, killed 28 people. Security forces on Thursday barred journalists from attending the funeral for victims of the wedding party assault.

The latest attacks took to more than 580 the number of people killed in May, with more than 1,000 having died in less than two months, according to AFP figures based on reports by security and medical sources.

Iraq has seen a heightened level of violence since the beginning of the year, coinciding with rising discontent among the Sunni Arab minority that erupted into protests in late December.

Members of the minority, which ruled the country from its establishment after World War I until Saddam Hussein's overthrow by US-led forces in 2003, accuse the Shia-led government of marginalising and targeting their community.

Analysts say government policies that have disenfranchised Sunnis have given militant groups in Iraq both fuel and room to manoeuvre among the disillusioned community.

The government has made some concessions aimed at placating protesters and Sunnis in general, but underlying issues have yet to be addressed.

UN envoy Martin Kobler called on Tuesday for the country's leaders to meet to resolve long-running political crises that have paralysed the government and been blamed for its inability to halt the bloodshed, but various efforts to bring top politicians together since late 2011 have all failed.

Although the violence in Iraq has fallen from its peak at the height of the sectarian conflict in 2006 and 2007, when death tolls could run to well over 1,000 people per month, the body count has begun to rise again.

On Tuesday, the cabinet announced a series of measures related to security.

These included “pursuing all kinds of militias,” calling for a meeting of political powers to discuss developments, providing unspecified support to security agencies, and warning the media against inciting sectarian strife.

It was unclear what if any immediate impact they could have on the worsening security situation.

Video: " Pardo's Push "





(Hat Tip: Henry Bowman)


--

Video: Eff You Mr. Taliban


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Paydirt! US Drone Strike In Pakistan Kills Taliban's #2 Leader, Six Others Are Walking the Halls of Hell

 In this photo taken on October 4, 2009, new Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen with Waliur Rehman during his meeting with media in South Waziristan’s Sararogha area. — Photo by AP/File


It seems like ages since I've had something REALLY good to report but today, it's celebration time as the Taliban's #2 leader in Pakistan is deader than a doornail thanks to hellfires fired from US drones into a compound in North Waziristan.  Yep, Waliur Rehman Mehsud isn't around today to be raping little girls or killing U.S. and NATO troops and six of his fairly high up associates are nothing but splatter on a Waziristani rock at the moment as well.

P.s.  in the story below, "TTP" refers to the full name of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Congrats to our drone teams - nice shooting!

The story comes from DAWN.


US drone strike kills TTP number two Waliur Rehman, six others


PESHAWAR: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s deputy chief and commander of the Mehsud area, Waliur Rehman Mehsud, was killed in US drone strike on a compound in the Chashma area of Miramshah in the North Waziristan tribal region along with close aide Fahkr-i-Alam and five others, including Uzbek militants, official and intelligence sources told Dawn.com.

Intelligence as well as tribal sources confirmed that the TTP’s second top man had died along with six others in the drone strike.

Sources added that officials from the political administration had also communicated to Fata secretariat authorities regarding the death of Rehman and six others in the strike.

Besides Rehman, the other militants killed in the strike include Nasarullah, Shahabuddin, Adil, Nasiruddin, Fakhr-i-Alam and Saeedur Rehman who were present in the compound at the time of the strike, the sources said.

As the militants removed the bodies, communication intercepts among TTP militants confirmed to intelligence agencies that Rehman had been killed.

The TTP, however, is yet to confirm or deny the report of the death of their second top commander.

Official intelligence sources also confirmed that they had checked and verified the information on ground and had credible knowledge that seven people had died in the strike on the compound, including Rehman.

Political administration and military authorities in the tribal areas neither confirm nor deny such drone strikes.

Video: Your the Captain of This Ship....What Do You Do?

Could This Be Islam's Armageddon? Egyptian Sunni Jihadis Call For Sunni Attacks Across All Shia Countries





Syria.  Yep, Syria is the flashpoint of all Islam right now and in fact, the epicenter is the city of Qusayr - that Sunni city in Syria now is under siege by Syrian troops, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah jihadists and quite frankly, that sent a group of Egyptian Sunni jihadis off the cliff as they are now calling for a Holy War against Shia across the war.


Here's the statement by the Egyptians as reported at The Long War Journal:


"We call upon the Sunnis in general in the countries that are ruled by the Shiites, and the mujahideen in particular, to target these countries and move the battle inside them, in order for them to know that their punishment is painful and they are a united group that supports each other and no one disowns the actions of anyone else,"

"Hezbollah and all who participated in the attack on Qusayr and other Muslim countries must be fought,"

Now mind you, this statement came out on May 25 and we have already seen huge attacks on Shias in Iraq that killed nearly 20 people and we also reported a rare attack on the Hezbollah areas of southern Beirut.

Let's just hope that the attacks really come together - can you imagine the fun we'll have watching hell on earth released inside of Hezbollah's southern Lebanon, inside of Iran and inside of Iraq's Shia strongholds?

Mwahahahaha.


Egyptian jihadists call for attacks in Shiite countries


Twenty Egyptian jihadists have issued a statement calling upon Sunnis to launch attacks in Shiite-led countries in response to the Assad regime's offensive in Qusayr, a city in western Syria near Homs. The chief signatory on the statement is Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.

The statement was released on May 25 by Al Faroq Media, an Egyptian jihadist propaganda outfit that is openly pro-al Qaeda and regularly publishes the younger Zawahiri's messages and videos.

"We call upon the Sunnis in general in the countries that are ruled by the Shiites, and the mujahideen in particular, to target these countries and move the battle inside them, in order for them to know that their punishment is painful and they are a united group that supports each other and no one disowns the actions of anyone else," the statement reads, according to a translation prepared by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The statement is the latest sign of growing tensions over the Syrian war between al Qaeda and like-minded jihadists on one side, and the Assad regime, Iran, and Hezbollah on the other.

During a background briefing with reporters on May 21, a senior State Department official pointed to reports that Iran and Hezbollah are fighting in Qusayr. "It is the most visible effort we have seen of Hezbollah to engage directly in the fighting in Syria as a foreign force," this official said. "We understand there are also Iranians up there. That is what the Free Syrian Army commanders are telling us."

Al Qaeda's Al Nusrah Front is fighting "under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army" in Qusayr, according to Time.

In their statement, Mohammed al Zawahiri and his Egyptian compatriots say that Hezbollah and Iran must be confronted because of their actions in Qusayr. "Hezbollah and all who participated in the attack on Qusayr and other Muslim countries must be fought," the statement reads, according to SITE.

Iran and Hezbollah seek to "divide the region into mini-states that follow" their brand of Shiism, the Egyptian jihadists say, adding that the Shiites have a "deep hatred for our Sunni people everywhere that is no longer a secret, and their ritual killing of Sunnis, and Iraq is not far from us."

In addition to calling for attacks against Shiite governments, including Iran, Zawahiri and his ilk call upon all Sunnis to wage jihad in support of the mujahideen in Syria.

Sunnis "everywhere" must "deploy, whether you are light or heavy, to support and assist our people in the Levant in order to deter the aggression from them," the statement reads. "There is no excuse for anyone" to avoid jihad, it continues.

Mohammed al Zawahiri and the other Egyptians also call on "jihadi groups in the Levant that are based on the correct and clear creed" to "unite and remove differences and disputes among each other ... so that others who are not qualified will not pick the fruit of their jihad."

Mohammed al Zawahiri served under his brother as a top Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) commander in the 1990s. The younger Zawahiri routinely expresses his admiration for al Qaeda's leaders and defends the organization against ideological attacks. Other signatories on the statement include Murjan Salem, another former EIJ official, and Dawoud Khairat, an extremist who has spoken at Ansar al Sharia events in Egypt alongside Mohammed al Zawahiri. Khairat's Facebook page frequently includes posts praising al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Iran and al Qaeda

Since mid-2011, the Obama administration has pointed to collusion between the Iranian regime and al Qaeda on a number of occasions.

In July 2011, the Treasury Department exposed Iran's formerly "secret deal" with al Qaeda. This "agreement" allows al Qaeda operatives to shuttle money and fighters through Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.

At the end of 2011, the State Department announced a reward of $10 million for information leading to the capture of Yasin al Suri, the head of al Qaeda's Iran-based network.

Two months later, in February 2012, the Treasury Dept. designated Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) for supporting al Qaeda, among other offenses.

The State Dept.'s Country Reports on Terrorism for 2011, which was released in July 2012, noted that Iran "allowed AQ members to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iranian territory, enabling AQ to carry funds and move facilitators and operatives to South Asia and elsewhere."

And in November 2012, the Treasury Dept. designated the deputy head of al Qaeda's Iran-based network and "further expose[d]" how the agreement between the Iranian regime and al Qaeda works. Treasury also named the new head of the network, Muhsin al Fadhli, a Kuwaiti who has long been a key al Qaeda operative. The State Dept. also announced rewards for al Fadhli and his deputy.

The million dollar question is: How, exactly, will al Qaeda's relationship with Iran be affected by the Syrian war, which pits the two on opposite sides?

The statement by Mohammed al Zawahiri and his fellow jihadists did not come from al Qaeda proper, but the ties between these Egyptians and al Qaeda cannot be easily dismissed. Mohammed al Zawahiri is especially ostentatious about his adherence to al Qaeda's ideology. And the statement certainly represents a growing body of thought within al Qaeda's sphere of influence.

In April, Ayman al Zawahiri himself said that "the true faces of Iran and Hezbollah have been exposed, and their ugly reality has appeared in the field of holy war in Syria."

Ironically, the Assad regime sponsored al Qaeda's pipeline through Syria into Iraq during the fight against the US-led coalition. Al Qaeda in Iraq turned that pipeline against the Syrian government in late 2011, forming the Al Nusrah Front to fight the regime and its allies, which include Iran and Hezbollah.

Video: Syrian Rebel 101: The Syrian Tank Going By Might Just See You

Video: Why the Taliban Hates Our Artillery and Mortar Teams


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Epitome of Green-on-Green Attack In Afghanistan....Police Defectors To the Taliban Welcomed Back Into Police Ranks, Kill Seven of Their Fellow Officers

This is almost out of a novel....yeah, the novel would be "Dumb and Dumber Part 5."

If you can believe this, two Afghan policemen defected from their police ranks to go join the Taliban - basically they went from being police hunting the Taliban to the Taliban killing the police.  Okay, so it might happen from time to time...here's the part you won't believe...the two, after defecting to the Taliban, come BACK to the police organization ....yes, the police actually ALLOWED them back into the ranks of Afghan police.

And the rest of the story goes this way....


Two Afghan police officers who had recently rejoined the force after defecting to the Taliban, shot dead seven of their sleeping colleagues on Tuesday, a police chief said.

"As soon as the policemen fell asleep, the pair grabbed weapons and opened fire, killing all seven," Raziq said.

The story comes from The Long War Journal.


Taliban kill 7 Afghan policemen in green-on-green attack



The Taliban claimed credit for an insider attack against Afghan police forces in Kandahar province last night. From Reuters:

Two Afghan police officers who had recently rejoined the force after defecting to the Taliban, shot dead seven of their sleeping colleagues on Tuesday, a police chief said.

The killings came during a particularly bloody 24 hours for Afghan forces, with another 16 soldiers, police and bodyguards killed in different attacks, underscoring concern about government forces as foreign troops prepare to leave.

Kandahar Afghan National Police chief Abdul Raziq said the two police officers had defected to the Taliban months ago but returned several days ago asking to rejoin.

They were accepted back.

"As soon as the policemen fell asleep, the pair grabbed weapons and opened fire, killing all seven," Raziq said.

The attack occurred in the early hours in the Arghistan district of the southern province of Kandahar.

The Taliban said that a police commander loyal to General Abdul Raziq, the Chief of Police for Kandahar province, who has been the target of several assassination attempts over the years. From Voice of Jihad, the Taliban's multilingual propaganda website:

An infiltrator Mujahid of Islamic Emirate has killed all gunmen inside a check post in Arghastan district, according to officials.

Reports from the area say that at around 02:00 am today, the said officer opened fire on the enemy troops inside the check post located in Tori Gari area, killing all the 12 gunmen inside including the check post commander (Bazu from Ma'ruf district who was a close associate of Commander Razziq).

The hero later collected all the arms, ammunition and other equipment, packed it into a pickup truck and joined up with Mujahideen who later transferred him to a safe location.

The Taliban have said that they would attack Afghan forces as well as Western troops as part of the 'spring offensive.' Insider attacks were touted by the Taliban as a key tactic [see LWJ report, Taliban promise suicide assaults, 'insider attacks' in this year's spring offensive].

While most of the focus on insider attacks is on the green-on-blue variety, in which Afghan forces attack ISAF personnel, the majority of the insider attacks actually take place within the ranks of the Afghan National Security Forces. The green-on-green attacks usually result in the deaths of multiple Afghan personnel. Unfortunately, reliable data on the number of green-on-green attacks is not currently available.

Video: Marines Handling Taliban

New Nightmare For Israel: Hamas Is Spreading To the West Bank

From Family Security Matters.



Hamas in Gaza Sending Out Tentacles to the West Bank


In March, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank appeared before an Israeli military court and was charged with attempting to set up a Hamas terrorism cell, after being recruited for the mission by Hamas in Gaza.

Ahmed Fahida, a 26-year-old attorney from a village near Ramallah, allegedly worked under the instruction of Hamas's military wing in Gaza, the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, following directives he received via Facebook and emails, to set up a terrorism cell that would fire rockets and kidnap and kill a soldier.

This isn't the only case of its kind - a number of similar cases are being processed through military courts. These are signs that the Hamas regime in Gaza is stepping up efforts to create active cells in the Fatah-ruled West Bank.

Hamas's West Bank terrorism infrastructure has not recovered after being devastated by waves of Israeli counter-terror operations launched a decade ago, and the organization's leadership would like to change that.

Fahida's charge sheet provides a glimpse into how this is being done. According to the indictment, Fahida made Facebook contact last year with a Gazan Hamas operative by the name of Ahmed Uda, who proceeded to recruit him, and put him in touch with a third man, nicknamed Abu Ibrahim, also from Gaza.

Ibrahim and Fahida allegedly exchanged several emails, through which Fahida learned how to evade Israeli intelligence, and how to create explosive devices. Later, the charge sheet states, Fahida recruited a second West Bank resident, and the two learned how to create and fire rockets. They also planned to kidnap and murder an Israeli soldier.

The kidnap plot, according to the indictment, involved burying the soldier's body and presenting his personal items in order to deceive Israel that he was still alive, allowing for negotiations for the release of Palestinian security prisoners.

After months of preparations, "the defendant received two messages from Abu Ibrahim, telling him to begin carrying out the terrorist attacks," the charge sheet said.

Several factors are driving Hamas's efforts to step up terrorism launched from the West Bank. Hamas would like to 'cash in' on recent developments that boosted its credibility in the court of Palestinian public opinion at Fatah's expense. These events include Hamas's conflict with Israel last year, and its success in securing the release of 1,200 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. Additionally, it is unable to directly launch attacks from Gaza now due to its commitment to the truce with Israel.

Ultimately, Hamas's aim is to govern the West Bank in Fatah's place and convert it into an Islamist emirate and a hornet's nest of jihadi activity, just as it is doing in Gaza.

Hamas is able to fund its terrorist infrastructure in Gaza from a combination of sources, including donations from foreign governments, fundraising programs disguised as social assistance charities in the Palestinian territories, the Arab world, and the West, and from taxes levied on Gazan businesses and residents.

Last year, Israeli President Shimon Peres named Turkey as a sponsor of Hamas terrorism, saying that Ankara was sending hundreds of millions of dollars. Qatar in recent months gave Hamas $400 million for public works in Gaza. With no independent oversight, it is impossible to know how much of that cash might be siphoned off to terrorism. Gaza received a total of $1 billion in international aid in 2012, according to defense sources.

Although Iran significantly cut its funding since 2011, to express its displeasure at Hamas's backing of the Syrian uprising against the Assad regime, Iran continues to supply Hamas with rockets.

Divided Leadership

Since 2007, when Hamas gunmen stormed Fatah positions in the Gaza Strip and seized it in a violent coup, two de facto Palestinian entities have evolved.

In Gaza, Hamas, which is a Palestinian branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement, created an Islamist-jihadi enclave.

It transformed itself from a terror organization to a radical regime. It amassed thousands of rockets, set up a domestic security force, and institutionalized its terrorism and guerilla warfare wing, known as the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades.

Meanwhile, the West Bank continues to be ruled by the government and security forces of the secular nationalist Fatah movement, based in Ramallah.

Despite the geographical disconnect between the two territories, Hamas in Gaza has been busy attempting to revitalize its terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank. These efforts started after Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, but have increased notably over the past year, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Simultaneously, the West Bank has experienced a marked increase in violent disturbances and attacks, some of which have been organized by paramilitary terror outfits affiliated with Fatah. The Israel Security Agency (ISA - the domestic intelligence body) recently released data on violent incidents in November and December, providing a good case study of the upsurge in violence.

There were 111 violent attacks in December, including 69 fire bombings in the West Bank and 30 in east Jerusalem, three hand grenade attacks, and two gun attacks.

There were 166 attacks in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in November, including two stabbings, three via improvised explosive devices, a hand grenade attack, and 156 fire bombings. November and December represent a steep rise in violence compared to October, in which 70 incidents were recorded.

The increased rate of violence has continued in 2013, with 139 incidents in February, 125 violent attacks in March, and 139 in April, according to the Israel Security Agency.

Hamas is watching this increase in West Bank violence, and recognizes an opportunity to once again take a lead role in terrorism.

Its terrorism cells once thrived in West Bank cities such as Jenin, Qalqiliya, and Hebron, until they were extinguished in 2002, when Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield in response to a murderous wave of suicide bombings.

Yet the IDF has noted an increase of recruitment efforts during the past year involving senior Hamas operatives in Gaza reaching out to Palestinians in the West Bank.

These have been accompanied by cash transfers between the two territories (enabling newly recruited terrorists to purchase explosives and firearms), and instructions on training and target selection. As the Fahida case shows, the communications occur via phone calls, emails, and Skype. Hamas asks the squads to report to them when they are ready to act, and provides them with a list of targets.

The IDF and the Israel Security Agency have observed more efforts by Hamas to activate the cells and send them on jihad missions, including shootings, suicide bombings, and even the launching of rockets at Israel from the West Bank.

So far, Israel has been able to effectively block these efforts, thanks to the presence of the IDF in the West Bank, a wealth of Israeli intelligence capabilities there, and raids on Hamas members by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority security forces.

On a regular basis, Israeli soldiers, acting on intelligence, arrest members of budding Hamas cells, seize explosives and terrorist finances, and prevent the murder of Israelis. There have been five known raids on Hamas members so far this year.

One defense source described these continuous actions as "mowing the lawn," meaning that although the counter-terrorism raids are effective, it will only be a matter of time before they have to be launched again.

Many of Hamas's West Bank terror cell efforts are being orchestrated by Gaza's interior minister, Fathi Hammad, a wealthy man who is deeply dedicated to the cause of jihad and the cult of martyrdom.

In 2008, as thousands of Palestinian rockets rained down on southern Israel, Hammad told Hamas's al-Aqsa TV: "For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land... this is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahedeen (holy fighters), in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death like you desire life.'"

Troubling Increase in Plots

Hammad, as head of Gaza's domestic security forces, has enforced Hamas's ban on rocket fire on southern Israel, while promoting terrorism in the West Bank.

Recent examples of Israeli raids that prevented the start of a new West Bank-based Hamas terrorism campaign include:

o April 7: The Israel Security Agency and Jerusalem District Police arrest a Hamas terrorist cell in east Jerusalem, and charge its members with hurling firebombs at Israeli security forces after Friday prayers at the Temple Mount. The suspects have been charged with conspiracy to attack security forces, manufacturing firebombs, and assaulting police officers with firebombs.

o March 13: The Israel Security Agency announces the arrest of a Hamas cell based in the villages of Ras Karkar and Siluad, in the Ramallah Directorate of the West Bank. The cell was ordered by handlers in Gaza to create and fire rockets at Israel, kidnap and murder an Israeli soldier, and prepare suicide bombings. The terrorists received concrete instructions to kidnap a soldier, present his ID and cell phone for negotiations to secure the release Palestinian prisoners, and then kill and bury him at a hideout, according to the ISA. Prior to their arrest, the terrorists sent a message to Gaza saying they were ready to act within days. Security services have linked this cell directly to Hammad, the Hamas interior minister.

o March 4: Israeli security forces uncover a Hamas terror cell in Hebron that was planning attacks on Israeli targets. According to the investigation, the suspects plotted to carry out a combined explosives and shooting attack on an IDF position in the Hebron area.

o February 4: The IDF arrests 23 Hamas members, including three Hamas legislators, in West Bank cities. These raids came days after the Palestinian Authority arrested several Hamas operatives, including some who had just been released from Israeli prisons. The IDF declined to provide a reason for these specific arrests.

In the background, Hamas is trying to revitalize its civilian component in the West Bank by mobilizing student activists at Palestinian universities, pushing them to get involved in student elections, and attempting to build medical clinics and summer camps that indoctrinate children with its ideology. The most influential university is Bir Zeit, where Hamas students held a high profile march in December (an unusual event), and came in second 2012 student elections.

These actions, too, are being closely monitored by Israel.

One defense source has expressed concern that recent events, such as Hamas's eight-day confrontation with Israel in November, and the Schalit prisoner exchange swap between Israel and Hamas, which saw over 1,200 Palestinian prisoners released in 2011, are enabling Hamas to win over more hearts and minds in the West Bank.

The prisoner exchange has acted as a catalyst for soldier kidnapping attempts. According to the Israel Security Agency, 33 such attempts have been stopped this year alone - a sharp increase from 2012, which saw 24 such attempts.

A report in the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth cited officers in the IDF who warned that Hamas has stepped up kidnapping attempts to secure further releases of Palestinian security prisoners.

On a broader regional level, the Muslim Brotherhood's elevation to power in Cairo has raised the hopes of its ideological twin in Hamas of gaining regional support.

Although initial hopes for closer cooperation with Egypt appear dashed, Hamas still believes that in the long term, its strategic standing has been significantly boosted by the rise of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Turkey's strong support for Hamas.

Back in the Palestinian territories, Fatah and Hamas continue to compete for support.

The most recent Palestinian poll, published on April 1, showed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas would win 52 percent of the vote in a future election, while Hamas Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh would win 41 percent. This marks a drop in Hamas's popularity when compared to the results of a poll carried out in January, shortly after the Israel-Hamas conflict. Then, 44 percent of Palestinians supported Haniyeh, and 45 percent supported Abbas. There are several, complex factors behind the changing popularity of Hamas (and Fatah) among Palestinians, but the recent drop in Hamas's standing can be linked to the time that has elapsed since the last conflict with Israel, and the subsequent focus by Palestinians on economic and political issues.

As it pursues reconciliation talks with the Palestinian Authority - another vehicle to achieve its West Bank take-over objective - Hamas will continue to reach out from Gaza to the West Bank to reestablish its terrorist and civilian-political infrastructure.

World Health Organization Once Again Calls Off Polio Vaccinations In Pakistan When Aid Worker Is Attacked and Killed By Islamists

 A Pakistani health worker gives polio vaccine to a childPakistan. -AP Photo


The campaign by the Taliban and other hard line Islamic groups in Pakistan to halt the vaccination of children in the country keeps going strong as a woman who was part of a vaccination team has died after the attack on her team while out immunizing the children.

So, let's check that on the "macho" scale - the Taliban scored the maximum on this one because not only did they ensure the death and disfigurement of children, they also murdered a woman in cold blood.  Mohammed would be so pleased.

The story comes from DAWN.


Attack on polio team leaves one woman dead, another injured near Peshawar


PESHAWAR: An anti-polio vaccination team came under attack by unknown gunmen in Kaga Wala village in Badbher area in the suburbs of Peshawar on Tuesday leaving one lady worker dead and another injured, police officials told Dawn.com.

The casualties were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

The (World Health Organisation) WHO has announced suspension of anti-polio activities after the incident.

Lady Reading Hospital officials told Dawn.com that one of the attacked woman had succumbed to her wounds whereas the condition of the other injured woman was stated as critical.

The polio team was not accompanied by a policeman for security because of whc hthe assialants easily managed to escape from the site of attack on foot, according to local eyewitnesses.

Security forces cordoned off the site of attack as a probe into the incident went underway.

Video: Muslim Brotherhood Cleric Calls Jews "the descendents of Satan"

Video: British Couple Arrested For Holding British Flag, Complaining Muslim Goes Free


Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013: Some Gave All







To a Vietnam Vet....I've Never Met





I decided to repost this from Memorial Day 2011.




To a Vietnam Vet I’ve Never Met
by Holger (May 25, 2011)



First of all, let me simply thank you for your service to this country. And from the bottom of my heart, I want you to know how very proud I am of what you did for me in serving in the Vietnam War. To this day, I watch documentaries and videos of the war and every time I do, I am brought to tears by the sacrifice of our troops, that ultimate sacrifice. But the tears that fall from my face are not only for those who gave their lives over there, but for those who came home to America and felt the backlash of a people confused and angry and misinformed.

Yes, I have seen how they treated you as you set foot upon our land and yes, I have talked to some of your brothers who shared those stories of humiliation. I can only tell you how sorry I am that you, a fighting man, had to endure that. Even though I am only a civilian, I have enough close friends who have been in the military to know how important it is for you to feel the love and admiration and support of the people back home, and to see how some of the American people lashed out at you breaks my heart.

I want you to know, sir, that not all of us were lined up to treat you that way. But I have an admission to make, a confession actually. I was not one of those who spit on you or called you names. I was not one of those who burned the flag. I was one of those who stayed home and let you arrive here in America on your own…alone. I was one of those who felt I had to secretly hide my support of you and your brothers. Yes, I was one of the cowards.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I want you to know how sorry I am that I wasn’t brave enough to stand at the airports and the docks that day to welcome you home – to shout out how proud I was of you. To this day, I’ve lived with that shame.

But I hope today, that perhaps you can finally feel proud of your service and that this might be a long overdue welcome home and that maybe, just maybe, I can put my burden behind me as well.

I made a vow long ago that it would never happen again and since then, I have welcomed home the troops from various wars, I have stood along the roadside holding the flag as fallen heroes have passed by in their hearses. And yes, it will never happen again to another U.S. troop what happened to you.

I wish you peace this day. I wish you could know how proud I am of you.

--

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Whoa! Syrian Rebels Target Beirut - Two Grad Rockets Hit Hezbollah Section of City, Four People Wounded

 Two wounded men are treated by their friends after two rockets hit their houses in Beirut


You absolutely gotta love this - Islamic terrorist rebels in Syria are now lobbing rockets INTO Lebanon and two of their Grad rockets, for the first time, actually hit the capital of Beirut and those two rockets landed right in the heart of Hezbollah run southern Beirut wounding four people.

Nasrallah has promised victory in Syria for the Lebanese people...hmmm...I don't seem to remember the Lebanese people saying they had a dog in that fight.

The story comes from The Telegraph.



Two rockets aimed at Hizbollah area of Beirut leaves at least four people wounded


"Two Grad rockets hit the southern suburbs of Beirut. One rocket struck a car showroom where four people were wounded and vehicles were damaged," the source told AFP.

It was the first time the Lebanese capital's southern suburbs have been targeted during the two-year-old conflict in neighbouring Syria, where Hizbollah has thrown its military might into the regime's fight against rebels seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Sunday's blasts came just hours after Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed "victory" in Syria.

"I say to all the honourable people, to the mujahideen, to the heroes: I have always promised you a victory and now I pledge to you a new one" in Syria, he said at a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of Israel's military withdrawal from Lebanon.

Nasrallah said Hizbollah would always stand by its ally Assad and his regime, stressing that its own interests were at stake.

The fighting in Lebanon has already spilt over into the country's second city, the northern port of Tripoli, where 30 people have been killed in a week of clashes between pro-Assad Alawites and pro-rebel Sunni Muslims.

Video: Hellfires from Heaven

Pakistan Taliban issue fresh threat to kill Musharraf


It's been a long time since Pervez Musharraf was in Pakistan and when he was in Pakistan, he was busy dodging al Qaeda assassination attempts...well, now he is back in Pakistan and he's going to have to dodge new threats to his life...this time from the Taliban.

The Taliban have issued a fresh new death threat on the former Prime Minister and for those that think it is just an idle threat...well, remember what happened to Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan.

The story comes from DAWN.


Pakistan Taliban issue fresh threat to kill Musharraf


PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday issued a fresh threat to assassinate former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who is currently facing a barrage of legal cases in police custody.

The retired general has been detained in his farmhouse on the edge of the capital Islamabad since April 19 on charges of conspiracy to murder former premier Benazir Bhutto, sacking of judges when he imposed emergency rule in 2007, and the 2006 death of a Baloch rebel leader.

Before his arrival in March, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) threatened to kill him for his alliance in the US-led “war on terror” and attempts to clamp down on militants, when he was in power.

TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan on Sunday issued a fresh warning in a video message posted on Taliban website Umar Media, saying “Soon we will punish this Satan (devil) to death for his wicked deed”.

Musharraf went to the top of the Taliban hit list after ordering the army in 2007 to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad, where radicals were holed up. The operation left more than 100 people dead and opened the floodgates to attacks in Pakistan.

“From Balochistan to Waziristan, Musharraf threw this country in blood and fire, he is the killer of hundreds of innocent students of Lal Masjid (red Mosque),” Ehsan said.

A Pakistani court on Wednesday refused bail to Musharraf over the detention of judges.

The ruling came two days after a court granted him bail over the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a gun and bomb attack in 2007.

Video: Egyptian Cleric: 'There Will Come a Day When We Are Masters of the World'

Video: Working Mortar Prep In Syria Has Its Disadvantages


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Inside Story - Just How Iranians Weapons Go Through Syria To Hezbollah





From The Jerusalem Post.




In Depth: How Iranian weapons go through Syria to Hezbollah


For 20 years, Israeli intelligence has been playing a game of cat and mouse against the weapons smuggling axis of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in a battle in which "every imaginable method is employed."

In the last few months, electricity and telephone services have been occasionally disrupted without warning in various areas of the Bekaa Valley and other regions near Lebanon's border with Syria.

The Lebanese Daily Star recently provided the explanantion for the unclear phenomenon.In a report released some two weeks ago on Israel's efforts to prevent the flow of missiles and advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon, it was stated that the electricity and telephone service was not being disrupted accidentally, but rather intentionally. Hezbollah is behind the disruptions of service in attempts to make it difficult for Israeli intelligence services to get information on weapons caravans, which begin in Iran, pass through Syria and end in warehouses and underground bunkers in Lebanon.

According to foreign reports, the Israel Air Force has thwarted at least three attempts to transfer surface-to-surface missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and additional weapons systems from Syria to Hezbollah since January. However, when there is sometimes no electrictiy or telephone service, communications between the intelligence command, operatives and agents repsonsible for getting information on the ground, become more difficult, and electronic intelligence gathering methods(SIGINT) are disrupted.

Hezbollah's intelligence and information security operatives understand that if the disruption of electricity and telephone networks is too consistent or regular, the enemy - mainly Israeli intelligence, although others also gather intelligence on this subject - can learn the "print," the pattern in which the networks are taken down. Therefore, they use deception tactics, disrupting networks even when there is no operation to transfer weapons being carried out.

For almost two decades, the Israeli intelligence establishment, led by Military Intelligence and the Mossad, has been playing a game of wits, and cat and mouse with the intelligence establishments of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Israel is trying to obtain as much information as possible on the weapons supply
"food chain," beginning with Iran's decision to supply weapons, through their transfer to Syria and until their arrvial at the bunkers.

These bunkers, according to foreign reports, are concentrated mainly in Shi'ite villages in the Bekaa Valley and in the Dachia quarter in southern Beirut - the location of Hezbollah's central command, which has been rebuilt in recent years after having been almost completely destroyed by the IAF during the Second Lebanon War.

"This is a battle in which every imaginable means is employed," Amos Yadlin, MI chief up until two-and-a-half years ago and current director of the Institute for National Security Studies stated.

From Kalashnikovs to M600s

The two decades of supplying weapons can be divided into three periods. The first began in the 1990s, during the tenure of former Syrian president Hafez Assad, and was charactrized by great caution on the part of the Syrian regime. Damascus allowed Iran to transfer arms to Hezbollah occasionaly, but only
relatively small amounts of light weapons: Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition, mines, mortars and some anti-tank weapons.

"Some of the weapons were supplied in an organized manner," a former senior intelligence officer who was involved in the issue told Sof Hashavua, "But there were also personal smuggling operations. Syrian Army officers, without the knowledge of their commanders, and certainly unbeknownst to the leadership in Damascus, sold an anti-tank missile and a mortar here and there, and pocketed there profits. The smuggling was carried out in a simple fashion: the weapons were loaded on a truck and hidden under some kind of merchandise, like boxes of vegetables."

The second period began after Hafez Assad's death in 2000. His son Bashar gradually began to expand ties with Iran, until they eventually became what they are today: a strategic alliance. As part of this alliance (but also as part of Assad's own personal initiative) relations between Syria and Hezbollah were
also cultivated. "Ever since he defended his assumption of leadership in the previous decade, Assad has really admired [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah and sees him as a leader and role model," said another
intelligence officer with whom I spoke.

In this period as well, Syria's behavior was measured and thought out. Most of the weapons being supplied to Hezbollah were Iranian, and the deliveries included Scud surface-to-surface missiles and Fateh-110 precision missiles. These missiles give Hezbollah the ability to hit almost any target of value in Israel, including the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona.

Syrian intelligence officers coordinated the transfers in their territory, under the authority of Assad, and his special consultant and confidant, General Muhammad Suleiman, who also served as the coordinator of Iranian arms transfers to Hezbollah.

Suleiman was killed in 2008 by sniper fire while dining with friends on the balcony of his home in the port city of Tartus. The fire came from a ship anchored not far from the beach, and according to foreign reports, Israel was behind the assassination.

Syria transferred missiles and weapons from their warehouses to Hezbollah only in isolated cases. In one of these instances, old and imprecise Scuds were transferred. In another case, following the attack on the nuclear core in September 2007, attributed to the IAF, Assad decided, as an expression of his
frustration and even revenge, to transfer new, more precise missiles - M600 missiles.

The M600 is the Syrian version of the Iranian Fateh-110 - a guided missile with a range of approximately 200km. The combination of a large, one-ton warhead with relatively high precision and a long range gives Hezbollah abilities that it never had before, such as accurate firing on strategic targets like airports,
emergency warehouses, power plants and more. Israel's defense systems - neither the Iron Dome nor the Arrow - are capable of coping with this threat. The system which is planned to provide an answer for these missiles is the Magic Wand (also known as David's Sling), which is still in development.

The third and last stage in relations between the triangular axis began with the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011 and has continued since. The process was gradual: As the rebles took control of more and more territory, the Syrian Army began to empty some of their warehouses and to transfer them to more
secure storage facilities in areas under Hezbollah control in Lebanon. At least at the beginning of the rebellion, the Syrian motive was not to arm Hezbollah. According to American sources, the Syrians only wanted to keep their weapons systems from falling into the hands of the rebels.

Rest of the story at the link above.

Video: The Only Good Jihadi Is a ........

Just a Bloody Shame...8 Taliban Jihadis Killed When Their Truck Full of Explosives Goes Off Prematurely At Afghan Mosque

Karma.

Justice.

Vengeance.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

The story comes from Zee News via The Religion of Peace.



Mosque blast kills 12 in eastern Afghanistan


Kabul: Authorities in eastern Afghanistan say explosives transported by suspected Taliban militants accidentally detonated while they were stopped at a mosque, killing 12 people.

Local official Qasim Desewal on Saturday said that four civilians and eight militants died in the blast during evening prayers the night before in Ghazni province's district of Andar.

He said that the Taliban had apparently stopped at the mosque while traveling and the explosives they were carrying went off while they were inside.

The Ghazni explosion was on the same day as Taliban fighters supported by a suicide car bomb attacked a compound for international aid workers in the capital.

Kabul police today raised the siege death toll from two to four, including a 6-year-old child, two compound guards and one policeman.

Muslims Lay Waste To Stockholm, Sweden For the 6th Night In a Row


So let's say we do a poll now of the Swedish people and ask them if letting every tom, dick and hairy Muslim into the damn country was a good idea.  How will "multiculturalism" score in an impromptu poll in a Swedish pub just about now?

The streets of Stockholm are worse than the streets of Karachi and Marxist damn politicians in Sweden are no where to be found...hiding in their little bunkers hoping no one remembers how they were the ones that brought this plague to Sweden.

The story comes from Times of India.



Sixth night of Stockholm riots as Britain, US issue warnings


STOCKHOLM: Stockholm experienced a sixth straight night of riots early Saturday, with cars torched in several immigrant-dominated suburbs, as Britain and the United States warned against travelling to the hotspots.

Nearly a week of unrest, which spread briefly Friday night to the medium-sized city of Oerebro 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of Stockholm, have put Sweden's reputation as an oasis of peace and harmony at risk.

The unrest has also sparked a debate among Swedes over the integration of immigrants, many of whom arrived under the country's generous asylum policies, and who now make up about 15 percent of the population.

An AFP photographer witnessed a car engulfed in flames before firefighters arrived in the Stockholm district of Tensta. Cars were incinerated in three other areas of the capital as well, according to the Swedish news agency TT.

"I've never before taken part in anything that lasted so long and was spread over such a wide area," police spokesman Lars Bystroem told TT.

Another police official said earlier that Stockholm police were about to receive reinforcements from Gothenburg and Malmoe, the country's second- and third-largest cities, but declined to disclose how many would arrive.

In the city of Oerebro, police reported a fire at a school as well as several cars ablaze, but quiet had returned around midnight. The unrest in Stockholm had "rubbed off", police told TT.

About 200 right-wing extremists were reported to cruise around Stockholm suburbs in their cars late Friday, but intense police surveillance apparently prevented any kind of serious violence.

The nightly riots have prompted Britain's Foreign Office and the US embassy in Stockholm to issue warnings to their nationals, urging them to avoid the affected suburbs.

Firefighters were dispatched to 70 fires the night between Thursday and Friday, extinguishing torched cars, dumpsters and buildings, including three schools and a police station, the fire department wrote on Twitter. This was down from 90 blazes the night before.

Parents and volunteer organisations who have patrolled the streets in recent nights have helped decrease the intensity of the unrest, police have said.

Police, who have so far concentrated on putting out fires, are beginning to round up people suspected of criminal acts, so far arresting at least 29.

"Even if we don't intervene, we regularly make video recordings and get information from the public. That way we can get people a couple of days later," police spokesman Bystroem told TT.

The troubles had begun in the suburb of Husby, where 80 percent of inhabitants are immigrants, triggered by the fatal police shooting of a 69-year-old Husby resident last week after the man wielded a machete in public.

Local activists said the shooting sparked anger among youths who claim to have suffered from police brutality and racism.

One of the rioters in Husby told Swedish Radio that racism was rampant where he lived, and that violence was his only way of being noticed.

"We burned cars, threw rocks at police, at police cars. But it's good, because now people know what Husby is... This is the only way to be heard," said the rioter, identified only by the pseudonym Kim.

Stockholm county police chief Mats Loefving said Friday the rioters were local youths with and without criminal records.

In addition, "in the midst of all this there is a small group of professional criminals, who are taking advantage of the situation to commit crimes like this," he told Swedish Radio.

A 25-year-old who grew up in Husby said he didn't think the riots had anything to do with the shooting.

"I'm not saying there are no problems... but people are glorifying this a little bit," said the man, who declined to be named, adding that the rioters were often aged 12 to 17.

"I can imagine they get a big kick out of seeing themselves on TV," he said.

Due to its liberal immigration policy, Sweden has in recent decades become one of Europe's top destinations for immigrants, both in absolute numbers and relative to its size.

But many of those who have arrived struggle to learn the language and find employment, despite numerous government programmes.

Official data show unemployment was 8.8 percent in Husby in 2012, compared to 3.3 percent in Stockholm as a whole.

Eric Zemmour, a right-wing French commentator known for his controversial views, meanwhile told RTL radio the riots showed that the Swedish "kingdom of social democracy and of political correctness" was little different from countries like Britain and France.

From Russia With "Love"

From Family Security Matters.



From Russia with Love, Again


National Defense Industrial Association, Reserve Officers Association and Air Force Association Capitol Hill Breakfast Forum with Mark Schneider, Senior Analyst, National Institute for Public Policy, and Stephen Blank, research professor of National Security Affairs, Army War College, on "Future Russian Strategic Challenges." (For additional information on NDIA/AFA/ROA seminars contact Peter Huessy at phuessy@afa.org).

MR. PETER HUESSY: I want to thank you all for being here at the next in our seminar series on nuclear deterrence and missile defense. We're honored today to have two much respected l speakers. Our first speaker is going to be Mark Schneider, who is the senior analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy. And as you know, he and I wrote a piece on Russian missile defense that appeared in Gatestone Institute about six weeks ago. Steve Blank is our other speaker, and he is research professor of national security affairs at the Army War College. And Steve's going to be here in Washington with the American Foreign Policy Council in August.

So, on behalf of ROA and AFA and NDIA, I want to thank you two gentlemen for coming down to talk to us about what I think is a very serious issue. And that is - I remember Dr. Kissinger once quipped that the reason we have arms control in the United States is so we can argue about what American military nuclear forces to eliminate, as opposed to what Russian forces should be eliminated. So would you please welcome our friend from NIPP Mark Schneider?

(Applause).

MR. MARK SCHNEIDER: Thank you. I'm going to speak today about the strategic challenge that Russia poses to the United States, and it's a quite serious one. Russia is increasingly anti-democratic and hostile to the United States. Xenophobia is widespread in Russia. The Kremlin is currently encouraging nationalism and militarizing the country. It constantly attacks the West. And a sizable number of the Russian population sees neighboring countries as part of the Russian zone of influence.

Now this is not me speaking, this is taken from a recent statement by Alexei Kudrin, who until September of 2011 was the finance minister of Russia, and who has just been publicly offered a cabinet position by Vladimir Putin.

The most serious aspect of the Russian threat to the United States is their nuclear use doctrine. They have the lowest nuclear use threshold in the world. Russia reserves the right to introduce nuclear weapons into conventional warfare, and they characterize this, amazingly, as "de-escalation" of the conflict.

In December 2012 the U.S. National Intelligence Council in a report stated, quote, "Nuclear ambitions in the United States and Russia over the last 20 years have evolved in opposite directions. Reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security strategy is the U.S. objective, while Russia is pursuing new concepts and capabilities for expanding the role of nuclear weapons in its security strategy."

In 2009 the then-commander of the strategic missile force, Lieutenant General Andrey Shvaichenko, outlined what Russian nuclear targeting was about. And actually, there were two or three similar statements made by other generals in roughly the same time period. What he said was, "In peacetime they [he means the strategic nuclear missiles] - are intended to assure deterrence of large-scale non-nuclear and nuclear aggression against Russia and its allies. In a conventional war they ensure that the opponent is forces to cease hostilities on advantageous conditions for Russia by means of single or multiple preventive strikes against the aggressors most important facilities. In a nuclear war, they ensure the destruction of facilities of the opponent's military and economic potential by means of an initial massive nuclear missile strike and subsequent multiple or single nuclear missile strikes."

According to then-chief of the general staff General Nikolai Makarov in 2009, quote, "The strategic nuclear force is for us a sacred issue," unquote. And he said they will provide them whatever level of funding is necessary. Senior Russian officials, including both military and civilian, routinely make nuclear threats, including direct targeting threats against the United States and our allies and threats of preventive or preemptive nuclear attack. That's very common. Indeed, Putin has done that on several occasions when he was president.

There are only two countries in the world that make these types of nuclear threats routinely, and they are Russia and North Korea. In this regard, China is a poor third, but it's apparently catching up because it has just dropped "no first use" from its white paper on national security that was released in the last couple of weeks.

Russia routinely exercises its strategic nuclear forces very openly against the United States in a variety of conflicts, scenarios ranging from strategic nuclear exchanges to theater nuclear exchanges. Russian strategic nuclear forces engaged in a major exercise two weeks before the U.S. presidential election in 2012, when the Kremlin announced a strategic nuclear exercise in which Putin personally directed the nuclear missile launches.

Russia has virtually eliminated its reduction of legacy nuclear forces. Information that was released by the State Department - this is Russian data - in April of 2013 indicate that the number of Russian delivery vehicles actually increased in the two years that New START has been in effect. The number of warheads has declined by 57, but that's apparently just the result of different counting rules that were used in New START compared to the original START Treaty. New START rules don't count in New START submarines going into overhaul.

Russian nuclear modernization programs are amazingly broad by post-Cold War standards. Russia has actually announced the complete modernization of its strategic missile force, both submarines and ICBMs, by 2021. Putin, in April 2012 announced the procurement of 400 new ICBMs by 2020. The Obama administration has said that they are in the process of developing and deploying several new MIRV'ed strategic missiles, both ICBMs and SLBMs, including a new heavy ICBM. And they're currently deploying a new long-range nuclear ALCM.

Reportedly, the new Russian heavy ICBM will carry 10 to 15 warheads. In May 2012 Russia announced the testing of a "new" ICBM. This is apparently the Yars-M, which the commander of the Strategic Missile Forces has just announced will be deployed this year.

The Russians are also talking about something called the Avangard. Now this may or may not be the same missile as the Yar-M, or it may be a further development of the Yar-M. The title of the missile, or the name of the missile, Yar-M, translates into a major modernization or improvement of the MIRV'ed version of the SS-27, which the Russians initially deployed in 2010. So they're already modernizing a missile that's three years old, which is amazing.

They've announced that they're going to develop and deploy a new heavy bomber, a stealthy B-2-like bomber. Recent press reports suggest that the first one will be available in 2020. Now we don't really know whether that's the first prototype or the first production airplane, but in any event in the 2020s they're going to be introducing a major new bomber.

They're in the process of introducing the new Bulava SLBM and the new Borei-class submarine. This year they announced that the fifth and sixth of these submarines will be laid down this year. That's literally the first time since the end of the Cold War that more than one ballistic missile submarine has been laid down in a single year.

They've also announced there will be what they call fifth generation missile submarine carrying both ballistic and cruise missiles that will be available by 2020. And the Russians have announced the development - and press reports say the decision has been made to deploy - a rail mobile ICBM, apparently another version of the SS-27. The problem is that the New START Treaty doesn't say a word about rail mobile ICBMs and this is clearly, at least in the Russian view, in my view as well, not limited by the New START Treaty.

So we are seeing a major modernization program. In comparison, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, summed up what we are doing. And this is a direct quote.

"We are not modernizing. We are not modernizing. That is one of the basic - basics I would say -- principles and rules that have been part of our nuclear posture review and part of our policy."

And that's a remarkably candid description of current policy, which basically at best only partially modernizes our force and replaces systems when they're 40 to 80 years of age, literally. And we have not yet committed to continuing the ICBM force beyond 2030. And none of this takes into account the impact of sequestration, which has got to hurt the possibility of actually implementing the program, such as it is.

What is the administration's reaction to this unprecedented in the post-Cold War period enhancement of Russian nuclear capabilities? Basically, it's more nuclear reductions. We're making nuclear reductions, according to the information released by the State department, much faster than is necessary to comply with the New START Treaty.

We are pursuing minimum modernization programs and we're going to do more arms control. Well, what is this new arms control known to be about? Well, the administration describes it as an intent to negotiate with the Russians further reductions in deployed strategic nuclear systems and limits on both non-deployed nuclear weapons of all types and tactical nuclear weapons.

According to press reports, they are considering numbers in the 300 to 1,100 range for deployed nuclear warhead. Recent reports have suggested about 1,000. The State department advisory committee said 700.

And there are press reports, including in the New York Times, that they intend to evade advice and consent, that they are going to propose to the Russians a political commitment, non-legally binding. And I think the obvious reason for this is they don't expect a good outcome in this negotiation of something that could get serious Congressional support.

And I suspect they will have big problems with the Russians in doing this. The Russians have repeatedly announced they have no interest in post-New START nuclear arms control. This includes Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister, who said this three times during the Russian ratification procedures relating to the New START Treaty. He said also that they intend to increase their number of delivery vehicles and deployed nuclear warheads. And he gave dates for those developments.

Assuming the Obama administration somehow or other gets the Russians to agree to anything like near-term nuclear negotiations, the question is can they come up with anything that meets their objectives or anything that is remotely verifiable? I'm very pessimistic on both of those issues. Their reported desire to evade Congressional oversight suggests that they don't expect to come out with something that's any good or in any real sense of the word "verifiable."

We have two basic problems with verification of the type of agreement the administration has announced that it has been trying to achieve. The first one is the old problems, how do you count deployed nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles? We have a very poor base for this in the New START Treaty because everything is degraded that was in the original START Treaty, which in turn was never designed to deal with numbers this low. And the cheating potential is significant as you have with what is apparently going to be proposed to the Russians.

The number of inspections has been reduced considerably. The types of inspections have been reduced. The number of notifications have been considerably reduced. Almost the entire mobile ICBM verification regime that was in the START Treaty is gone in New START. The telemetry regime is virtually gone in the New START Treaty.

So for the old problems, we have a seriously degraded verification potential and there's no indication the administration will seek to try to fix any of these problems. One of the biggest traditional problems is the administration - as Paula DeSutter, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance pointed out - we've got the same regime as in the old START Treaty for counting warheads despite the fact that the Russians violated it from day one in the START period to the end of the expiration of the START Treaty.

On top of this we have the much more difficult problem of counting nuclear weapons or tactical nuclear weapons. That problem is really two-fold. First, we don't really know how many nuclear weapons or tactical nuclear weapons the Russians have. Estimates are - including the administration's estimates - are ten-to-one Russian advantage in this area. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James Miller says they have from 2,000 to 4.000 tactical nuclear weapons. Now the problem with that is that Russian sources very frequently have much higher numbers.

So we start out by not really knowing what they have. And another big problem is, how small have they gotten? We know what they were in the 1980s. We were really doing a lot of work on Russia in the 1980s. We knew they had very small nuclear weapons, 155-mm nuclear shells, nuclear backpacks, small strategic nuclear weapons.

We have pretty good information from Russian statements and Russian press sources that they've gotten smaller since the end of the Cold War, but we don't really know how much smaller. But let's assume best case they're as big as they were in the 1980s. Well, we are starting out with the problem of trying to monitor and control things which are one to two orders of magnitude smaller and lighter than anything that has been subject to strategic arms control monitoring under any previous treaty. And worse than that, we have no experience whatsoever in doing this sort of thing because of the fact that Russia has rejected every proposal that we've every made to establish any form of transparency or verification regime relating to or involving such nuclear weapons. So we've got a real problem.

And how is the administration setting about to deal with this? Well, we do know, if you track their statements, that they very rarely talk about "verification." They talk about "transparency." Now transparency is a much lower standard because almost anything can be deemed to be transparent whether or not it has any serious effect in giving you a verification capability.

You hear some really goofy statements out of the senior levels of the State department verification bureau about verifying nuclear weapons numbers by social media. Now I don't think that's a particularly effective way to do this. So basically, I think they're going to fail in their efforts with the Russians. I don't even think that it's technically possible to do some of the things that they claim they're going to do, and that they expect to fail and that's why they're talking - at least that's what their friends are saying - about evading Senate oversight.

Thank you.

(Applause).

MR. STEPHEN BLANK: I'm going to give you the bad news.

(Laughter).

Thank you very much, Peter, for having me again. This might be the last time in Washington that I say I'm not speaking on behalf of the Army, the Defense Department or the government. These are my personal views. And it's difficult to add much to what Mark has said because it's been a remarkably thorough and incisive performance. But I hope I can answer some more questions of relevance to these issues for us today.

First of all, I want to talk about the Russian mindset going into these things, not just what they're doing but what they're thinking, to the extent that they reveal that, and then talk about some current issues. For example, the March 15 decision to - well essentially it's going to mean the termination, at least under this administration, of the fourth phase of the EPAA. What happens after 2017 when we have a new government is anybody's guess.

After you've heard what Mark had to say, you might want to ask yourself, why? Why is a country, who when the deputy foreign minister gave an interview in 2011 saying luckily we have no major enemies, building so many nuclear weapons? Neither are they only building all these nuclear weapons and installations? We are currently witnessing a 33 trillion ruble overall rearming of the Russian military by 2020. That's about $800 billion, depending on the exchange rate.

Now there is no doubt that between 1990 and 2008 essentially there was a procurement holiday, for all intensive purposes, in the Russian military. The military was busted. They need to recapitalize their military, and that's an unarguable proposition.

But to the extent that they are building this kind of military, it is clearly intended to take on, on the one hand, the U.S. and NATO; and secondly, the enemy that they will never speak about in public but which does preoccupy a lot of military thinking, namely China. Now if you look at a map, the Russian Far East, which directly adjoins China, is what we call an economy of force theater. It is a theater than can only survive by self-sustaining itself.

If a war broke out between Russia and China, and now and then Russian military and political officials actually allude to the possibility of a Chinese threat, within a day the Chinese could take out the Trans-Siberian Railway and essentially isolate the area from the rest of continental Russia. Therefore, the only recourse that the Russian military has in a contingency with China is nuclear.

Now because of its conventional nuclear inferiority to NATO and the United States, despite this enormous conventional rearmament program, nukes are the priority. And given the fact that as we know in the Russian military 20 to 40 - if not more - 20 to 40 percent of the budget is stolen -- last year they fired the defense minister who himself was in on it, some of the graft -- it is more than likely that the conventional goals will not be completely met and that the reliance on nuclear weapons will therefore continue to a greater degree than other nuclear powers of a comparable nations, namely the U.S. and China, rely on nuclear weapons for their defense programs. That's pretty obvious.

Now, beyond that, we have reasonably good evidence - I was just in Helsinki two weeks ago and talked to a Finnish analyst who does this - we have reasonably good evidence that short-range nuclear weapons are deployed with the Russian army in the west strategic direction. That's basically facing Poland and the Baltic states. We have been told that tactical nuclear weapons are going to be deployed with cruise missile on ships. That was stated openly a few years ago. We don't know a lot about tactical nuclear weapons as Mark said, but that's an example.

Again, why? Fundamentally, this is a government that has what the German philosopher Carl Schmidt called "a presupposition of conflict." It sees itself as threatened on all sides. I have, in a study that's coming out, an article I've written. And you can see this if you go the Russian foreign policy concept. It's in English on the foreign ministry's web site, maybe on the president's web site as well, a threat assessment that essentially NATO and the U.S. are advancing, are creating threats to strategic stability - that's missile defenses - and that the likelihood of war in and around Russia's frontiers is growing.

And they've been saying this kind of thing for about five or six years now. It's not just a new wrinkle in Russian thinking. Putin, on February 27 speaking to a Ministry of Defense colloquium, quote, "We see instability and conflict spreading around the world today. Armed conflicts continue in the Middle East and Asia, and the danger of the export of radicalism and chaos continues to grow even in our neighboring regions"

Note that Syria is a neighboring region. That's a Soviet border, not the Russian Federation's border. In other words, Russian defense planning starts with the idea that the Soviet border is still our frontier and therefore we do not fully accept the sovereignty and territorial integrity and independence of the post-Soviet states.

Later, Putin said, "At the same time we see methodical attempts to undermine the strategic balance in various ways and forms," missile defense. "The United States has essentially launched the second phase of its global missile defense system. There are attempts to sound out possibilities for expanding NATO further eastward."

That tells me that they have bought an intelligence assessment that doesn't exist, that is basically fabricated. There's nobody in this town or in Brussels talking about expanding NATO. It's not going to happen anytime soon. Yet Russian intelligence and the government obviously believe this, and that's already a sign of something dangerous.

"There is also the danger of the militarization in the Arctic. All these challenges, and they're just a few of the many that we face, are a direct concern to our national interest and therefore also determine our priorities." And you get dozens of such statements from Russian officials of this kind.

And the foreign policy concept is also essentially one that talks about the decline of the United States, the rise of Asia, economic chaos as a result of the current global crisis, the scramble for resources and so forth. If you read the foreign policy concept, you will understand - and especially if you've studied Russian history, and one of my sins is I did - this is essentially a threat assessment that derives from Lenin's 1916 book "Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism." What we are dealing with, even though this is not a Soviet government, it is a government that still has a Leninist mentality with regard to national security stripped of the Marxism.

There are internal enemies, i.e. those who want reform; and there are external enemies, and they're the same people. Not only that, the external enemy, the United States, is threatening us militarily. And as a result, we have to be able to deter the United States. We cannot have a relationship of cooperation, with cooperative security, with one of deterrence. Deterrence presupposes hostility.

The same is true with regard to China, even though China is our closest friend and so forth. Nonetheless, the nukes are there and the Chinese know it. And when the Chinese say something or do something that's antithetical to Russian interests, they remind them.

For example, in 2010 the Chinese government got up and said basically the Arctic belongs to mankind and not to any particular state. The Russian commander-in-chief of the navy at that time, Admiral Vysotsky reminded the Chinese that the Arctic is indeed Russian, so they claimed, and that the navy was prepared to enforce that claim. And when the prime minister Wen Jiabao came to Moscow they took him to visit the nuclear command complex, just in case.

We do the same thing. I mean, that's a kind of psyop. Just remember who you're dealing with here, sir.

The point is, this is a government with a Leninist threat assessment and cast of mind regarding the outside world. This defense buildup, part of which Mark described - the convention one has been published essentially and is available in various articles and statements -- was suppose to last until 2020. But now, the government is talking about achieving a breakthrough comparable to that of the 1930s. In other words, Stalin's five-year plans.

And as the Deputy Minister of Defense Rogozin jokingly said, he sent the defense industries that aren't keeping up with requirements a copy of a letter that Stalin wrote to the defense industry in the 1940 basically saying that if you don't shape up we'll shoot you. Now thankfully we are beyond those days, but this is the kind of people we are dealing with.

What is essential here to understand is that therefore we have a skewed threat assessment -- we have a semi-Stalinist or wanna-be Stalinist industrialization drive - in which nuclear war is not unthinkable. If you read enough Russian military literature, Mark knows this very well, Russian commanders now and then are perfectly frank in talking about nuclear - not only exercises, but operations. As I said, short-range nuclear weapons - the Iskander, and the Iskander missile comes both as a conventional ballistic missile or it can be converted from conventional to nuclear. And if you fly it at low trajectory it can become a missile under the INF category in distance. Those are probably - those are deployed in the western strategic direction opposite Poland and the Baltic states and Finland as well.

We just had an incursion into Swedish airspace two weeks ago, which the Swedes did not pickup. NATO did, but the Swedes didn't and it was very embarrassing. We have a new base being built in Belarus which the Poles say will be used for offensive purposes.

We have continuing nuclear exercises. The Zapod 2013 exercise with Belarus - Zapod means west in Russian - there will probably be a nuclear component, just as Zapod 2009 was. And that ended with a simulated nuclear strike on Warsaw. Vostok 2010 - Vostok is east - ended with a simulated tactical nuclear strike against a Chinese army group in the Far East.

We have an administration that, as Mark said, has an ostrich-like policy. Or, if you like the three monkeys: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. We have the abiding belief in many quarters in town, which is a belief that we would all, I think, like to share - going back to Robert McNamara if not before - that nuclear weapons serve no useful military, strategic or political purpose. You can't use them.

Now that has become an article of faith in many quarters and it's a wonderful idea. It would be nice if the world were so constituted that we could believe it. But if you look at the facts, it ain't so.

Now this is not to say that I am going around advocating nuclear use or that other states are. So far, we haven't gotten that. But, everybody who has nuclear weapons, if they have not taken a holiday from reason, understand perfectly well what the benefits are to them in both the political and military sense.

And it is imperative for us, if we're going to understand how to deal with Russia -- and for that matter any nuclear power whether it's Pakistan, North Korea, Israel if they have nukes, and so on -- that we understand the way they think about it. This kind of idealistic ethnocentrism distorts policy. It distorts strategy and undermines our efforts to achieve our goals because it not only corrodes our ability to get arms control agreements and defend the interest of the United States and its allies, it undermines our ability to secure our regional security interests as well.

The reset with Russia, for example, aimed not only to alleviate tensions in a general sense with Russia, but in the belief that the Russians could contribute to issues that are important to us if we understood issues important to them. We buried NATO enlargement. Now, NATO enlargement wasn't going to happen even if John McCain had been elected president because Germany and France were dead set against it. And there's nothing anybody here could do to change that opinion. Nevertheless, we shelved it.

On human rights - and I think to our everlasting shame -- we have been basically silent. And I'm old enough to remember when that was not the case. On regional security issues, this administration has basically neglected Eastern Europe, as East Europeans will tell you. We really do not have much of a policy in the Caucasus, except essentially waiting on events.

And in central Asia we talk about the so-called - and so far the money isn't there. It's a bluff. And what we got out of Afghanistan - we're going to be out of Afghanistan and have basically lost a lot of leverage with regard to Central Asia - and we don't have the money to invest there the way Russia and China do.

On Syria, we have an administration that appears to be paralyzed in the face of a true disaster: 70,000 people killed, over two million, maybe 2.5 million refugees. The alternative to doing absolutely nothing is not necessarily sending in the U.S. army. There's an array, a spectrum of things that could be done and none of them have been.

And as a result, we have paralysis here because everybody is bewitched by the Iraq example. Syria is not Iraq. That doesn't mean we just blindly send in the troops, but again, you have to understand what you're dealing with, and we don't. We are paralyzed by this example and we have no clarity of what we want or whom we want to support to get whatever it is that we might want.

As a result, Russian obduracy has prevailed. This horrendous decision to arrange for a conference, which probably will hopefully never come off because the rebels and Assad won't sit down with each other, is another example of a unilateral and unreciprocated concession to Russia. So is, in my view, the decision on March 15 to terminate the fourth phase in Europe and relocate much of the missile defense structure and infrastructure to the Asia Pacific to deal with the North Korean threat.

Whether or not North Korea actually has the means to threaten U.S. territories, let alone CONUS, the continental United States, I can't say. The Pentagon says yes, and we can go with that. They certainly can threaten Japan and South Korea, and they always need to be reassured.

Nevertheless, and even if you take the argument that both the Bush and the Obama administration have made, that the missile defense system is not intended against Russia and that it can't be intended against Russia if you know elementary geography and physics and because of the size and diversity of the Russian nuclear arsenal, the termination of the fourth phase was a most unfortunate decision. Now again, if we were aiming to stop Russian missiles, the interceptors that are going to be on the fourth phase or were supposed to be on the fourth phase of the EPAA, would have had to travel 50 percent faster than they can, traveling six kilometers a second rather than four. That's 50 percent faster, to intercept Russian missiles, and they won't be able to do that.

So there's no threat to Russia. There never has been a threat to Russia. We have said this to the Russians going back to Bob Gates and Condi Rice and maybe even before that. And yet, the Russians continue to insist and believe otherwise.

As I mentioned to you, we have a system in Russia where the intelligence apparatus is out of control. And we know from Russian history, innumerable times, where these guys deliberately inflate the threat. If the military says it's a threat, it's a threat.

Now in this country that kind of stuff wouldn't be allowed for a minute. Part of my job is to contribute to the gathering of intelligence - not intelligence, but information and research as to what constitutes the threat. And all of us know that every day in this town and throughout the country the nature of the threat assessment confronting the United States is a matter of public debate. And we don't simply take the Pentagon's assessment for granted or the NIC's assessment for granted and accept it. And then the Congress has its say and the academic and expert community and private industry, all those people contribute to this.

In Russia, if the intelligence community says it's a threat, and they obviously are going to make it a threat, it's a threat. So you have a (government ?) threat assessment, a lack of democratic control over the means of force, a presupposition of hostility to the West, an attempt to create a quasi-Stalinist military buildup, in the belief that Russia is facing greater threats than it ever has, which is the exact opposite of the truth, and greater reliance on nuclear weapons. In the face of that, unreciprocated concessions, such as the withdrawal of the EPAA fourth phase.

While the things that Mark talked about in his discussion should fill us with foreboding because, as Donald Kagan memorably wrote, peace does not preserve itself. If we have the illusion that nuclear weapons have no useful strategic military or political purpose - even though, god forbid they should ever be used, and that we are going to essentially unilaterally disarm in a kind of graceful glide path - we are creating a condition where peace cannot be preserved, whether it be at the regional or, god forbid, at the global level.

And when we have an administration that has made it clear that intends to make promises to Congress and then go back on them, as has been the case, that's also troubling. As you all know, regardless of who the president is and which party dominates the White House or Congress, if the president writes a letter to Congress saying I'm going to do X and I promise you that, it's not smart or good politics to go back on that. But that's what's happening, as Mark talked about.

So I think this is a time when we should be increasingly anxious strategically; not panicked, but we should begin to get up there and start saying, exactly where do you intend to take us and why and how, to the White House and demand explanations. Not only do we have the right as citizens, we have the obligation to do so. And what's more, we need to bring back the strategic community in this country in all of its components to the ability to think like the other guy thinks.

Thank you.

(Applause).