Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stormin Norman




Last of the Generals with actual combat experience


Click here for related story [Washington Post]

Stormin Norman has moved on to his next command. 
We'll miss him, since he was the embodiment of what we expected a combat general to be. 
Bold, decisive, brash, profane, and capable.  He was a commander in every sense of the word, and respected by his troops.  He was  brilliant [a Mensa], multi-lingual [German, French, and some Farsi], well-educated [MS - Engineering from USC].

So many medals; but no combat experience [Boston Globe]
The cocktail circuit was Dempsey's combat training
 














Notably,
unlike Generals Petraeus, Allen, and JCS Chairman General Dempsey [aka: political generals], who have no combat experience,
General Schwarzkopf was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge -- making him the only one of these famous generals with actual combat experience.


Patton: Schwarzkopf model?
Schwartzkopf didn't blend well with the Washington Cocktail Circuit and was criticized by such non-combatants as Rick Atkinson who described Schwarzkopf  as
"a volcanic figure who threatened to fire numerous subordinates and often behaved like an imperial dictator."


Oddly, that could describe any competent combat commander, to include notables such as General George S Patton, or Vinegar Joe Stillwell.

Fighting off Washington deep thinkers such as SecDef Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, Schwarzkopf developed his Gulf War Strategy around scenarios developed in Forces Command training exercises at Fort Bragg [in which Iraq invaded Jordan] and which tied to his own scenarios of Iraqi aggression in the Middle East with Iraq invading Kuwait. 

And, the war matched that scenario as Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait to seize its oil wells and its port facilities.


Early on, there was some strife between Chairman of the JCS Colin Powell and Schwarzkopf on how to proceed with the battle plan, with Powell pressing for an immediate offensive with US troops on the ground, while Schwarzkopf insisting that the Iraqis had a 5:1 force advantage which would decimate US ground forces.  Initially, the White House bureaucrats [non-combatants] decided Schwarzkopf's plan was "terrible".  Apparently, Dick Cheney [then Secretary of Defense], was a major force pushing for an immediate ground attack.  However, after considerable wrangling, Schwarzkopf's call for an allied assault using overwhelming force prevailed.

[Powell was regarded as "political general" who had not earned his stars [his combat wound consisted of stepping on a punji stick in Vietnam] and he had never served as a division commander.  He was most remembered for his preliminary "white-wash" of the My Lai massacre.  Later, he was rewarded with a White House Fellowship as a major,  after which he rose through the ranks under the mentorship of Caspar Weinberger and promotion to four stars under George H.W. Bush.]

Coalition and Iraqi Order of Battle


Complicating Schwarzkopf's  operational scenario was the incorporation of foreign military forces from 34 countries into a coordinated "coalition".

His operational plan took months [August 1990 - January 1991] to build the logistics and the fire-and-maneuver operations, and the incorporation of air, sea and land forces in a coordinated assault.





His opponent, Saddam Hussein, had a military force of as many as
  • 1-million soldiers,
  • 850,000 paramilitary forces,
  • 5000 tanks,
  • 484 fixed-wing combat aircraft, 
  • 232 combat helicopters.
                              
    
        "The great duel, the mother of all battles has begun." [Saddam Hussein]


Schwarzkopf noted that, unlike the WWII invasion of Normandy, there was no coherent strategic objective worked out at the national level; instead, his guidance was in the form of a series of phone calls from the White House staff with no written confirmation -- thus, if the guidance were flawed, the blame would land squarely on his shoulders.

In essence, Schwarzkopf was charged with planning and executing a complex military action which was initially the defense of Saudi Arabia, then the recovery of Kuwait, and finally a massive assault against an overwhelming Iraqi military force -- and all the time arguing with White House bureaucrats that he could not accomplish his mission without sufficient forces.

So much intel - so little time
On the subject of intelligence, Shwarzkopf advised that he had the finest intelligence support that any commander had ever had in the history of warfare; the downside was that the Intelligence Community was buried under the avalanche of intelligence they received -- and were unable to analyze it.

A subsequent objective was to inflict so much damage on Iraq that it would be incapable of waging another war in the region; and the White House bureaucrats barred him from accomplishing that objective.

Nearly derailing the Allied plan was Israel's eagerness to participate with both its Air Force and its ground forces.  That action, however, would have led to Iraq's Arab neighbors joining forces with Iraq against the Coalition forces -- leading the US into a long-term regional war.  As it was, Schwarzkopf fought a running battle with Washington to appease the interests of Israel -- which was concerned that Iraq's Scud missiles would impact Israel.  Schwarzkopf noted:

"We were diverting aircraft from the overall campaign plan to address the Scuds -- which were almost totally ineffective as a military weapon.  As a result, the campaign plan was prolonged because of this diversion.  No one in Israel was killed by a Scud missile attack."

His most notable remark was "... I was in more danger in a lightning storm in southern Georgia than I would be in a Scud attack in Tel Aviv" which drew the ire of the Israelis and their powerful Washington lobbyists at AIPAC -- after which they launched their own attacks against Schwarzkopf.

Softening the target                                      [USAF photo]
 Schwarzkopf launched his 43 day assault on Iraq on 17 January 1991with an aerial bombardment of 100,000 sorties, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs to destroy Iraq's command and control infrastructure, intermediate range missile forces, weapons research facilities, and air and naval forces.

Following the "softening" of the target, he launched his 4-day ground assault, which decimated the Iraqi military in short order. 



"Moving foxholes attract the eye"

The strategy was to launch the VII [heavy] Armor Corps directly at the center of the Iraq forces while rapidly maneuvering the 18th Airborne [Infantry] Corps at the Iraqi's northern flank -- creating a modified pincer movement. 

The flaw was in the VII Corps' snail pace, and the Corps commander's apparent lack of understanding that his corps was the primary attack and exploitation vehicle.  The commander, LTG Franks, then decided to shift his attack to the south, which would have derailed the original plan --  drawing harsh words from Scharzkopf [perhaps the origin of Atkinson's description of him as "volcanic"].


Eventually, the plan came together, crippling the Iraqi force -- and encircling the Republican Guard, the Iraqi main force -- it's backbone.


Schwarzkopf's strategy worked quite well, and with his initial objectives achieved, i.e., ejecting Iraqi forces from Kuwait and defeating the Iraqi Military, he then focused on achieving his final objective, i.e., destroying Iraq's capability of initiating another war.  But that objective was called off when Colin Powell directed that Schwarzkopf shut down his war due to the negative press -- which felt that he was being bullyish.  Thus, the Republican Guard, was left intact.


Allied casualties were minimal [about 500], while Iraq suffered major losses [approximately 25,000 - 30,000 fatalities]. 

Post-war trauma came in the form of the Gulf War Syndrome which was rumored to be tied to depleted uranium rounds; others link the illness to the anthrax immunizations -- which were mandatory for deploying troops.



Spook/Fly on the wall


An excellent "fly on the wall" review of the war is Rick Francona's "Ally to Adversary"; Francona spent time in Iraq during the earlier Iraq-Iran war as an area expert and fluent Arabic linguist; Schwarzkopf selected him as his interpreter and personal intelligence advisor.



Following the Gulf War, Scharzkopf was offered the nominal position of Chief of Staff of the Army, but it was clear that there was no room in Washington Society for a powerful, publicly revered figure like him; he posed a potential political threat, particularly after referring to Presidential candidate John Kerry as having "...a record of weakness that gives me no confidence in his ability to fight and win the War on Terror."   

After the election, Schwarzkopf criticized the continuing war in Iraq, and in particular, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's handling of the war.  He told his story of the Gulf War in a PBS Oral History interview -- an interesting read.















Wednesday, December 26, 2012

GOP - RIP?




GOP Dynosaurs                                                                          [Horsey - LA Times]



Is the GOP dead?  Or just moribund, in need of a transfusion?

Hmm. Three cancerous nodes: Priebus, Rove, Morris; Excise - cauterize.
[ZME Science]
Can it be repaired? Probably, but in addition to the transfusion, it needs organ transplants -- NOW!

Surgically remove the diseased house organs  [Reince Priebus, Dick Morris, Karl Rove], and the rest of the somnolent Old White Guys who preen before each other -- but have no concept of who the voters are or what the voters want.

Replace these cancerous nodes with young, healthy, energetic organs which can renew the health of the entire body.






Should the Tea Party replace the GOP?
Maybe.  Maybe not.  How about integrating them and harnessing their energy.

We chatted with a GOP strategist before the election, and provided him all the key points that needed to be emphasized to attract the mainstream voters in the November election.  We may as well have talked to a brick wall since he was convinced that voters would stream to the GOP because of the economy and that Democrats were completely disillusioned with Obama [and they were].

Thus, the election would be a slam-dunk and we would enjoy a repeat of the Reagan demolition of Jimmy Carter's campaign.

But, that didn't really work out very well, did it.

After the Election, we spoke with an old Conservative Warhorse and we agreed on all the errors that the GOP had made, particularly their focus on a range of single inflammatory issues -- none of which related to what the general voting public wanted to hear,
i.e.

Right question; No GOP answer!                         [Sodahead.com]
"How are you going to fix the economy!"


And, the GOP never bothered with an adequate response - even though it would have been easy to trot out the statistics on Romney's success in building dozens of companies through Bain Capital, which created well over a million jobs in the US and internationally.  But, they never mentioned those success stories.

But, the voters listened to Obama's promise to create jobs, even though he created virtually none in his first term.  But he did answer.



The first target of the GOP was the Tea Party.

Attacking your popular allies doesn't win the war 
The GOP attacked and destroyed the Tea Party candidates, even though the Tea Party candidates had won the popular vote in the primaries against the unpopular candidates selected by Priebus, Rove, and Morris.

But, these Tea Party people obviously wouldn't listen and follow the Party Line -- so they were a threat. They obviously weren't worth listening to since they hadn't paid their GOP dues.

So, by joining forces with the Democrats to defeat the Tea Party candidates, the GOP succeeded in ceding Congressional Seats BACK to the Democrats, and turned over more Senate seats -- STRENGTHENING Harry Reid's control of the Senate -- and causing the Tea Party to withdraw their support for the GOP Presidential candidate.

Not satisfied with demolishing Tea Party candidates, the GOP seemingly went out of its way to alienate ALL the major voting groups with their single-issue flame-outs.

Women -
The right to choose issue cost the women's vote [no matter how they felt about abortion]

Latinos -
Rapidly becoming the major minority; the GOP focused on "illegal immigrants" - translated as an attack on Latinos and all other immigrants -- legal or not.


Youth -
They were interested in JOBS!
They were interested in the ECONOMY!
Did the GOP address those concerns?
They couldn't be bothered!

Unemployed -
Yes, they voted; and even though they didn't like Obama, they didn't like the way they were being categorized by the GOP.

Blacks -
Not all blacks live in ghettos; there is a large percentage who think Conservative, and will vote Conservative, if they think the GOP will listen.

Gays -
A major economic force in the cities; the Log Cabin Republicans were a major voting bloc for the GOP -- but the GOP focused on Gay Marriage as a single issue.

Yes, there were/are constituents with strong feelings about abortion, illegal immigrants, welfare recipients, and gay marriage.  But, no matter what the Candidate's answer, those who were violently opposed to those issues weren't going to change their votes no matter what!

Can a newly elected President change the laws regarding any of those issues?
No, not really.  Those are all Congressional issues.

Should the President care?  Well, of course!
Should a Presidential Candidate get sucked into those issues?
Absolutely not!
There is no way to respond without looking like a villain to large segments of the population.

How do we fix the problem?

The solution is to fire the top layer of the GOP bureaucracy, starting with Reince Priebus
[whoever the hell that idiot is!], give Dick Morris a pink slip, and then send Karl Rove packing
[he is no Lee Atwater],
Reagan understood the problem -- and addressed it
-- and finally, start building the GOP structure with young Conservatives who understand the concept of "demographics" and "relevant issues" and "social media".


There are tons of young conservatives out there, ready, willing and very able -- who understand demographics, relevant issues, and social media -- and women's issues.  So far, they've been removed from the process; the Old White Guys' Club has kept them outside.  Much better to sit within the confines of their clubs to decide the fate of the country -- rather than listen to the Young Turks who are actually in touch with the voters and the real economy.




We need fresh blood in the GOP that can grasp the concept that building alliances wins wars.  We allied with the Soviets to win WWII -- after which they became our adversary; but, to win the war, we saw fit to ally with them.

The Future of Conservatives




We have three years to create the strategy to regain the White House.




Get rid of the top layer of the GOP "Leadership" and start bringing in the Young Conservatives who understand demographics, marketing, social media, and -- the voters!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fiscal Cliff to Fund Fannie Mae Extravagance?




Click here for related story  [Washington Post/Suzy Khimm]

The Post's e-version of Suzy Khimm's hard copy paper story on the Inspector General's Report omits noteworthy information [seems the Post didn't like the content as it makes the Administration look bad as we approach the Fiscal Cliff].  

"Median cash compensation [in 2011] for 333 vice presidents was $388,000 and for 1,650 directors $205,000 [an INCREASE of 5.4% for VPs and 3.9% for directors over 2010]. Total 2011 compensation for 2,000 senior staff was $455 MILLION.  The top 87 executives received compensation was $92 MILLION."

Huge compensation for creating huge losses
Many of these folks are the same ones who helped tank the housing industry; others have joined the plunder from Goldman Sachs and AIG -- recipients of other bailouts. 
By 2010, the bailout of Fannie Mae had cost TAXPAYERS more than $135 BILLION.  By 2012, the combined bailout cost for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack exceeded $200 Billion.

Why are there 333 Vice Presidents?
Why are there 1,650 Directors?
Why are these bureaucrats paid exorbitant salaries?
Why are we, the taxpayers, continuing to fund these high-priced DNC employment mechanisms.

Keep in mind that Fannie and Freddie are now "Government Sponsored Enterprises" -- which are the equivalent of government agencies since the government had to take them over via the TARP bailout plan.  One would think, then, that the bureaucrats should be paid on the Civil Service scale -- vs the "take as much cash as you can jam in your pockets" scale.  Instead, these faceless bureaucrats earn more than our Senators and Congresspeople, and in some cases, more than the President of the US.

Negotiating the housing market maze.
Consider also that, since 2009, these bureaucrats have created so many obstacles in the path of the housing recovery that virtually no progress has been made to resolve the foreclosure crisis -- or to ease the restrictions in the housing market. 

Their "cure" for the foreclosure crisis was to create so many obstacles for homeowners that they were forced out of their homes; for purchasers, the obstacles made it almost impossible to buy foreclosed houses -- even with cash. 

And finally, the new rules imposed have strangled the normal housing market, forcing well qualified purchasers with excellent credit and substantial down payments to wait months for mortgages to process.

In August, Treasury adjusted the bailout terms to require that Fannie wind down its investment portfolio more quickly, with profits redirected to the government -- preventing them from rebuilding capital or enabling them to return to non-government status.  This follows an earlier strategy in which Fannie made regular dividend payments to Treasury to repay the bailout.  Chairman Baucus [House Financial Services Comittee] noted that this change will ensure that the government would never recover its bailout funds, and embed Fannie and Freddie as government financial money pits. 

As we approach the Fiscal Cliff, which promises to substantially Raise our Taxes, keep in mind that the Administration will have you continue to fund these exorbitant salaries for these worthless slugs -- who will continue to live large while your lifestyle is degraded; to them, you are only the 'little people".

Something to chat with your Congressperson about during this Fiscal Cliff "crisis.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Benghazi - CIA Failure or failed scheme?



The Media urges the GOP to attack Rice  

We us the story of the Tar Baby to illustrate the awkward aspects of this cover story.
Uncle Remus tells the story of the Tar Baby, where Br'er Fox sets up a Tar Baby to trap Br'er Rabbit.
Mr Axelrod plays Br'er Fox, and the GOP plays the very gullible Br'er Rabbit, egged on by Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox-- the Media.  And poor Br'er Rabbit meets his demise, stuck on the Tar Baby -- making a fine meal for Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox.

Axelrod, grandson of Chicago Communist  leaders who advised Stalin
Here's an Uncle Remus tale:
Mr Axelrod was desperate to distract the Republicans and the Media from the Benghazi inquiries -- which would likely lead to Mr Obama's Impeachment for High Crimes and Misdemeanors.  Evidence mounted that Ambassador Stevens was to be kidnapped by President Morsi's al Qaeda assault force [as a favor to Obama in return for Obama's putting Morsi in office].

[Awkward moment in the on-site video in Benghazi capturing the assault force seen/heard on video shouting to the primary assailants (in Arabic)
"Don't shoot: Morsi sent us"]

Oops.

The Blind Sheik


The story goes that Ambassador Stevens was to be kidnapped by an al Qaeda hit team; Mr Obama would then look Presidential as he negotiated the release of Ambassador Stevens in return for the release of the Blind Sheik -- held in custody for his role in the 9/11/01 attack on the Twin Towers in New York.  [Adding credence to that story were the subsequent efforts by Mr Obama to have the Blind Sheik released.]





So, it appears Mr Axelrod may have set the Tar Baby trap -- and the GOP leapt into it.

Thus, the Obama Administration and the Media have once again succeeded in distracting the American public from Benghazi by creating -- and feeding the nonstop debate and focus on Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.  They've floated a trial balloon, intimating she will replace Hillary Clinton in the New Year -- inciting Media speculation and forcing Senators and Congresspersons to weigh in. 

Will Rice actually be nominated?
And, why, by gosh and golly; Mr Obama was so outraged -- OUTRAGED! that Republicans would question his vague intimation that Ms Rice might/could/would/should MAY BE [never stated] a candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. 

No sooner baited than the GOP grabbed this Tar Baby, and they are stuck fast to the story -- leaving Benghazi questions in the dust. 

The Republicans are soooo easily manipulated; our Communist advisor to Mr Obama must be rolling on the floor laughing at how easy even this maneuver was/is/will continue to be.  Why, he even suckered a normally objective Kathleen Parker to weigh in with a Race Card -- implying [again] that the GOP was a bunch of dyed-in-the-wool RACISTs!


Even Kathleen was suckered!



[Good Grief! How many times has the Race Card been played during the Obama Administration.

And, Great Balls of Fulminating Fire,
Kathleen Parker, how could you, of the very few objective journalists we have left, get played like that!]





But, we digress [and apologize for our outburst]

The Rice-cooking debate has focused on

a) Is she is qualified?
     -- Well, a hell of a lot more-so than Hillary was/is; being a First Lady and White Water scam artist
         doesn't quite cut it]

b) Was Rice lying through her teeth when she addressed the UN and spoke on five different
    TV shows declaring that the CIA had briefed her that Benghazi was a "spontaneous mob protest"?
     -- Well, of course she was! 

     (1)  That lie was discounted even before Mr Obama's Rose Garden brief

     (2)  She repeated the lie for almost two weeks -- long after the actual facts and videos
            were publicized

     (3)  General Petraeus, as Director of CIA, advised that the "Rice's CIA Brief'" did not originate from his CIA.  So, if it did not come from the CIA, who gave Rice the bogus "CIA Brief" .

     (4)  Is her reputation as a hateful, spiteful, evil witch prone to cursing and making obscene gestures grounds to discount her as a diplomatic representative of the US?

           -- It certainly didn't keep Mr Obama from appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State
           -- It certainly hasn't damaged the reputation of Mr Obama's First Lady with the Liberals.


Bottom Line:     
a)  Rice was just the Messenger, carrying Mr Obama's message --
     right or wrong, as an Ambassador should. 
b) Thousands of ambassadors before Rice have lied through their
     teeth to deliver their Dear Leader's message. 
c)  Would she make a better Secretary of State than, say
     John Bolton would have? 
     -- We recall that the Democrat's pilloried Mr Bolton on the basis
     that he spoke harshly to an incompetent, blundering State
     Department clerk who had failed to deliver critical documents.   

[Mr Bolton had a long and distinguished career with the State Department and USAID].

d)   We doubt Rice will be nominated for SecState; but, she has served her purpose in making
      the GOP look like bellowing, bigoted buffoons -- and once again, the Democrats were able
      to wave the Race Card!

e)   Senator Kerry will now encounter no resistance when he is nominated as Secretary of State.
      [If he is nominated for SecDef, he will not survive the public outcry from the US Military.]



Now.  Lest we too be distracted from Benghazi -- a few facts to remember:



Flash Override = Officer in Distress!
When the Consulate came under attack, FLASH-OVER-RIDE precedence communications went out and were picked up by all military commanders in the region, much the same as a police call calling out "officer needs assistance!" That message would have flashed on every military and diplomatic monitor in the US official communications system -- to include Marine One -- the President's local air taxi. 

Obama defenders point to the string of emails as a timeline of events, noting that he was visiting Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda during the attack and was unaware of the event.  But, since his helicopter is connected to the White House Comms system, and his Military Aide carries his communication devices [as well as the "football"], Mr Obama would have been engaged in the event from the first Flash Over-Ride communication. 

Updates:

GEN Ham and ADM Gaouette
1) General Ham, Commander of the African Command, immediately ordered his Deputy for Operations into action, notified the Pentagon, and was relieved almost instantly of his command.  He disappeared from sight for more than two months -- and is back in command with no further information on his replacement [who would have been "demoted" to move from FORSCOM [a senior 4-Star billet] to AfriCom [a junior 4-Star billet filled with a frocked 2-Star].  Ham is now giving highly visible press interviews -- with no mention of Benghazi.  Was he threatened, or promised a plum assignment to keep mum.

2) Admiral Gaouette, Commander of Carrier Strike Group Three [CSG3] ordered his fighter and helicopter assets to respond -- notifying the Pentagon, and was immediately relieved of his command. 
[Axelrod Spin: "Admiral Gaouette was relieved because he was a 'coup plotter'!"
Perhaps he planned to drive his carrier force down Pennsylvania Avenue?]
Subsequent official explanation:  "He was relieved for inappropriate behavior" [not further identified]. We still do not know his whereabouts, and the Navy isn't talking.

We trust that both General Ham and Admiral Gaouette will be summoned to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee and the Intelligence Committee.

SEALs KIA
3) Ex-SEALs, hired by Ambassador Stevens as contractors to investigate the unauthorized exfiltration of the captured Qadafi weapons, were quartered at the nearby CIA Safe House; hearing the sounds of the attack, they prepared to respond, and were repeatedly ordered to "Stand Down" by the CIA Base Chief.  Ex-SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty ignored the orders and headed for the compound to render assistance, and were killed after saving the Consulate staff and engaging the enemy. 


The White House denies that these men were ordered to stand down; although unofficial comments by those on the ground advise that those orders were given.

4)  The "enemy" assault force was revealed to be al-Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood, dispatched by Egyptian President Morsi -- installed with the assistance of President Obama and the King of Saudi Arabia following the Arab Spring uprising.  The Muslim Brotherhood successfully hijacked the Egyptian popular election, and took control of Egypt.

5)  The Libyan military protection force, guarding the Consulate was under the ultimate command of a Muslim Brotherhood officer, who ordered the force to "Stand Down" just prior to the assault.  A video of the assault appeared on the internet in which the assault force announced very audibly "Don't shoot us; Morsi sent us."  The video was inexplicably removed from the internet.

6)  Secretary of Defense defended his "Stand-Down" orders to regional military forces available to respond lest they come in "harms way" since there was insufficient intelligence on the assault force.  Mr Panetta is apparently unaware of the mission of the US Military which calls for it to put itself "in harms way" in conducting the defense of the US and its citizens.  That's why they are issued weapons, and that is what they are trained for.  Currently, all references to Panetta's "in harm's way" statement have disappeared.

7)  Secretary of Defense Panetta advised that it would have taken 16 or more hours to have flown in relief forces from Fort Bragg, NC.  A true statement. 

6th Fleet positioned off Libya

8)  But, why send in military response forces from the US Mainland when Europe is populated with US military forces, and there were/are several hundred US Navy ships in attack mode with the Fifth and Sixth Fleets, chock full of
1) aircraft carriers,
2) missile cruisers, and
3) Special Operations Forward Staging Bases such as the USS Ponce.







 a)  The response time for this massive array of US military ranged from 15 minutes to one hour; the assault continued for about nine hours.

  
24th MEU was on station
  b)  US Marines available for immediate response from the two Fleets numbered in the thousands, including the 24th MEU [Marine Expeditionary Unit] with more than 2,000 Marines --
all ready and prepared to enter combat.

   c)  The Quick Response Force [the 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team], based in Italy, is specifically equipped and was available to launch.

   d)  Also available was EUCOM's Combat Task Force [TF] 67
        -- a quick response Naval combat force which includes
        (1)  Carrier Strike Force [TF 60]
        (2)  TF 61 [the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group] with three amphibious ships,
              helicopters and embarked landing craft
        (3)  TF 62 Landing Force [Marine Expeditionary Unit] composed of 1,900 Marines, armor,
              artillery, and transport helicopters; its mission is to conduct operations ashore and/or
              evacuate civilians from troubled area [e.g., attacks on embassies], known as NEOs.
        (4)  TF 64 an invisible Special Operations multi-national unit;
               supposedly assigned to Afghanistan

   e)  Admiral Gauouette's Carrier Strike Force was complemented by Carrier Strike Forces 8 and 12; the three Strike Forces represented a massive amount of naval air power, plus attack and rescue helicopters, plus amphibious assault forces, plus two AC-130s assigned to Libya for Force Protection.

  f)  Reliable sources report that high resolution video coverage of the entire assault was broadcast from an aerial reconnaissance drone positioned over the Consulate; and the assault was reportedly viewed by the President and Secretary Panetta [and Valerie Jarrett] in the White House Sit Room.

 
AC-130 Gunship ordered to stand down
g) Now-confirmed reporting puts one AC-130 Spectre Gunship over the Consulate, leading Tyrone Woods to "paint" the targets in the al Qaeda assault force so the Spectre could fire accurately.  When the Spectre did not engage the targets, the assailants back-tracked the painting to Woods, lobbying a mortar round into his position on the Safe House roof, and killing him.  The Spectre was apparently ordered to "do not engage targets" from Mr Panetta -- at the direction of Mr Obama.

The following morning, Mr Obama conducted his Rose Garden brief to inform the Media and the US public that "a spontaneous mob" had protested an offensive video and attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, killing the Ambassador.  The Administration repeated this story for two weeks, to include having Ambassador Rice brief that story to the United Nations and make the rounds of the News programs to continue the bogus story.

Why did the assault occur?

Two answers - which coincide:

1) The assault was a scheme reportedly cooked up by Administration strategists to make Mr Obama look Presidential shortly before the election.  The offending video was translated into Arabic and then heavily marketed in the Middle East -- but barely noticed.  President Morsi, emplaced by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, with the full support of Mr Obama, supplied the assault force to kidnap Ambassador Stevens; the goal was to trade Ambassador Stevens for the return of the Blind Sheik -- apparently in response to requests from the Saudi king -- whom Mr Obama greatly admires.  Even after the Benghazi assault went sour because two ex-SEALs refused to stand down and took on the assault force, Mr Obama attempted to facilitate the release of the Blind Sheik.


Will al Qaeda use these to shoot down airliners
2) The alternate, but supplementary explanation addresses the weapons from Qadafi's warehouses, including 20.000 shoulder fired Surface to Air Missiles, that were/are being shipped to the Muslim Brotherhood, ostensibly to Syrian rebels, but more likely to arm the Muslim Brotherhood against Middle East nations -- and possibly eventually against US forces.

Ambassador Stevens' contractors [the former SEALs] tracked the shipments; Stevens flew to Italy to report his findings to the State Department and to the President.  That report could also explain why the Administration would select him for kidnapping since his investigations and reports on the missing arms would cease while he was being held captive.

Ambassador Stevens was the 
"Man Who Knew Too Much".



Sunday, December 2, 2012

CIA vs DIA



Ending CIA's control over international espionage
Click here for related article [Washington Post]


The Washington Post has provided a look at DIA's "New" Clandestine Service, "recently created" by Lieutenant General Mike Flynn.

DIA Director: LTG Mike Flynn                    [DOD Image]

We are delighted with Mike's creativity as he follows in the pattern of claiming credit for the initiative and work of others.

General Flynn has claimed credit for creating the DOD Clandestine Service; but it did  need to be revitalized, even if he wants to claim credit for "creating" it.  It was originally created in 1984, while he was still a Captain - and ineligible to participate in it.




Now, we are thrilled to death to see DIA displace CIA -- again -- in conducting Military Intelligence espionage!  But, there are those of us who recall building this organization way back in 1984, obtaining DOD and Congressional authorizations, and full funding by 1985, and coordinating its full functions within DIA to deploy clandestine operatives world-wide. 


History of DIA's Clandestine Service:

After creating an authorization document [Plan Green] to conduct Clandestine operations in Latin America [created under the US Southern Command] - and approved by the CJCS, SecDef and Congress, we worked closely with key officials within the Pentagon [Assistant Secretary of the Army Bill Clark [son of General Mark Clark], Chairman of the JCS General John Vessey] and Senators Barry Goldwater [R] and Helms [R], we gained authorization to operate globally.

Starting in September 1984, we were up and running in early 1985 with full funding, an authorizing DOD operational regulation, and personnel assets acquired from the best and the brightest Armed Services Case Officers -- trained, and experienced through decades of Service operations.

CIA didn't see this one coming      [CIA Map]
Our targets were those countries which were regarded as potential threats to the US; our focus was on the Third World, since we anticipated the collapse of the Soviet Union and calculated that the US Military would be engaged in battles/wars with Third World entities as "potential adversaries" -- to include insurgencies, narcotics cartels, and terrorist organizations.

Unlike the CIA's Directorate of Operations [DO] -- burdened with former cops [DEA, ATF, highway patrol, street cops, military cops] and focused almost solely on penetrating the KGB, our military officers were fluent in the languages of the countries to which they were assigned, many had graduate degrees in regional Foreign Area Studies [history, economics, political science, etc.], and many had even attended civilian or military schools in the countries to which they were assigned. 

Among our other successes was the penetration of Drug Cartels, gun running operations, and nascent terrorist operations.  As an added bonus, our Case Officers all came with background and experience in the Combat and Combat Support Arms -- unlike CIA Case Officers whose military experience consisted of a few weeks of basic military weapons handling at "The Farm"  [not even the equivalent of Marine Boot Camp] -- usually portrayed by the Media/Hollywood as special operations and Kung Fu training [but, really? not so much].

DCI Tenet's Legacy                   [ABC]
The program was curtailed under President Clinton whose sycophant generals and incompetent DCI [George Tenet] decided that the US military need not spend such sums to create these military spies -- particularly since they competed for CIA's glory. So, all the work we did to build this organization atrophied; and, only a few months into George Bush's new term as President, he was greeted by the greatest intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor.

But, let's take a look at DIA's "new" Clandestine Service [DCS] which, according to the Post, "...reflects the Administration's affinity for 'espionage' and 'covert action' over conventional force." 

[Somehow, we're a bit uncomfortable with Mr Obama's involvement with/access to the details of espionage and covert operations -- given his eagerness to award to the Media both Methods and Sources (as he did after the Osama bin Laden action.  Will he share operational details with his pal, President Morsi, or the king of Saudi Arabia?].  He is, after all, the President; but we recall he has friends and advisors who are declared Communists, anarchists, and others linked to al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood - and ISIS.

What DCS is not authorized to do:

1) Covert Operations:  Drone strikes, political sabotage, or arming militants.
    [Currently, these are carried out by contractors or special operations elements -- under the
      supervision of CIA officers]
2) Lethal strikes or " ... other operations outside the public view."
3) Executive Action:  Assassination of foreign leaders.

[No change in the charter there; Clandestine Services, as defined, perform espionage while appearing to be engaged in other matters.  Covert operations [supposedly invisible and untraceable] are not to be confused with Clandestine operations.]

DCS Training:

All technical options are open
Case officers will continue to learn tradecraft at the CIA Farm as they have since the Military and CIA came to terms many years ago following the closure of Fort Holabird in Baltimore.  The Military provides significant staffing for matters military [e.g., learning to fire a weapon, jump out of a perfectly good airplane, etc.] and the CIA's old timers provide training on disguises, counter-surveillance, dead-drops, communications, and convincing potential agents to commit treason and spy against their own country.

Special Operations folks will train the Case Officers of CIA and DIA on self-defense processes as well as in defensive driving [not unlike what you've seen in James Bond movies -- or "The Unit".


CIA Liaison:

In many instances, DIA Case Officers will work directly with CIA Station Chiefs [COS] around the world.  Operations against Military targets will be DIA's purview, while those targeting government or non-military targets will be assigned to CIA officers.

Cooperation:

Returning to yesteryear, it appears that CIA and DIA will share resources, facilities, logistics, cover creations, and analytical support.  We did all this in the 1980s and early 1990s, before George Tenet pulled CIA and DIA apart.  The Democrats' revisionist history is that Donald Rumsfeld was at fault; that story won't fly since Tenet had annulled the CIA - DIA marriage under the Clinton regime and continued to destroy the alliance while he worked for Bush. We were appalled when W failed to replace Tenet upon his Inauguration.

Terminated Tenet - With Prejudice  [nndb]
Rumsfeld was abrasive and arrogant, but it was under his direction that Star Watcher was recreated under the new designator Strategic Support Branch.  This followed Rumsfeld's determination that the CIA, under George Tenet, had reached its nadir operationally and intellectually.  The intelligence failure leading to 9/11, Tenet's assessment that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction [leading to the initiation of the Iraq war], the attack on the USS Cole, the CIA assessment that Iran was developing  nuclear weapons in 2005  -- after it had announced in 2003 that Iran had halted the program; all these failures indicated that the CIA was an agency devoid of intellectual acuity.

Suggesting to Mr Tenet that he find other employment in 2004, Rumsfeld persuaded President Bush to end CIA's reign of terror [and operational incompetence] by creating the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] -- ending the dual hatting of the CIA Director as the Director of Central Intelligence where CIA controlled the operations of all other intelligence agencies. 

Under the DNI, the CIA then became just one of many US intelligence agencies [you'd be amazed at just how many there are].

In his urgency to shift military intelligence operations back to the Pentagon, Rumsfeld erred in attempting to add all facets of intelligence, from espionage, to Special Operations, to Executive Action, all under one organization.

However, eventually it all sorted out with the espionage operations under the direction of Army Reserve Colonel George Waldoup achieving significant success while the Special Operations were relegated to Army General Bryan Brown of SOCOM - melding the experience and skills of Delta Force, Seal Team Six,  and the Gray Fox unit which conducted technical surveillance of targets.

Rumsfeld ended DOD HUMINT subservience to the CIA by announcing that it would coordinate its operations with the CIA, but would no longer require its consent -- a long-time bone of contention between DOD and CIA.  That history included many instances in which CIA took control over operations which the Military had initiated and developed, leaving the Military no participation in either the operation or the information gathered.  That caused a bit of bad blood, particularly when the intelligence collected was critical to Military combat operations.

Political Hack: Damage complete
Unfortunately, today's world of espionage was undercut by Mr Obama's appointment of still another political hack, Leon Panetta to direct the CIA; his incompetence became fairly evident with multiple CIA failures.  Mr Obama shifted Panetta to the Pentagon after appointing General Petraeus to run the CIA. 

At the Pentagon, Panetta was relatively harmless; but Petraeus had his work cut out for him in undoing Panetta's damage.  The CIA politicos worked relentlessly to undercut Petraeus, and succeeded in undermining his credibility by leaking information about his affair to the FBI -- and the Media [following their pattern of destroying Porter Goss - W's appointee].

Bottom Line:  We're not sure who the new CIA Director will be, although we've speculated and made our recommendations.  But, with the reemergence of the DIA Clandestine Service as the equal of CIA, the DNI [Jim Clapper] can now exercise his true role in managing the entire Intelligence Community -- no longer dealing with the CIA as an independent agency.

We wish the DIA Director, Mike Flynn, all the luck in the world.  We trust the new CIA director will be capable, and we hope the new Secretary of Defense won't dismantle Mike Flynn's new organization.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Palestine - The Nation

Palestine to be recognized as a "non-member state"    [Naharnet]

UN Votes to recognize Palestine
It appears the upcoming vote on the United Nations' recognition of Palestine as a "non-member state" could be a Middle East game changer -- it will legitimize Palestine as a political entity -- though not a member of the UN, yet. Support from neighboring Middle East states has enhanced President Mahmoud Abbas' [Fatah Party] prestige and builds his diplomatic credentials while Hamas has played the combatant role.

The violent confrontation between the Palestinian Hamas faction and the Israeli military, complete with videos of the resultant carnage in Gaza, have not served the image of Israel well.

We believe the combination of both Palestinian roles encouraged the UN to look favorably on Abbas' petition for statehood status as an alternative to a continued belligerent status between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

M. Begin - Designated Terrorist [KGB file]
The Palestinian statehood process is reminiscent of Israel's formative days, when Menachem Begin, labeled by the Soviets [NKVD (aka: KGB)] and later by the Brits as a "terrorist"; he led the Irgun faction in a series of attacks on the British colonial government forces which culminated in his bombing ofAra the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 -- killing 91 Brits, Arabs, and Jews.

Much like the political strife between Palestinian factions, Begin's violent Irgun was in direct conflict with the Haganah political faction; but later, they joined forces to fight the Arabs.

In 1947, the UN approved the partition of British-administered Palestine, resulting in the dual Jewish and Arab states. Somewhat later, Begin was elected Prime Minister of the UN-recognized state of Israel, thus he transitioned from Terrorist to Diplomat to an internationally accepted National Leader.  As the old saying goes "One man's terrorist is another's "freedom fighter".

Arafat - in healthier days
The UN vote comes in the midst of the exhumation of, and the investigation into the death of Yasser Arafat, who died mysteriously while under Israeli "house arrest" in 2004.  Israel denied any culpability; but, today's forensic science is tough to beat.  Arafat's widow agreed to the exhumation of his body to be tested for Polonium, which had turned up on some of his personal effects.

It seems that Polonium-210 is a highly effective, and very deadly assassination tool.  Mr Putin used it effectively to eliminate former a KGB agent, Alexander Litvinenko, whom Putin regarded as menacing to his political career.  Although today, Polonium is easily recognized and tracked back to the assassin, eight years ago, Arafat's death was presumed to be of natural causes, and he was quickly buried; unlike Radium, which hangs around for three millennia, Polonium-210 evaporates after about 275 days.

Polonium-210
Size of a grain of salt
Who'd have dreamed that eight years later, his body would be exhumed and the forensic squints would be analyzing skin samples.  Although the Polonium-210 has long since disintegrated, there may be evidence of its presence through identifiable breakdown particles as the cause of death.  It's lethality is gauged at about 250,000 times that of hydrogen cyanide, so a dose the size of a grain of salt would be enough to have destroyed all of Arafat's major organs.




Now, the reason suspicious Palestinians are pointing the finger of suspicion at the Israelis is that Polonium-210 is not produced in high volume; that is, only 100 grams are produced each year under highly restricted environments -- in only the US, Russia, and, oops, Israel as part of the process of creating weapons grade fissionable material.

Creating an analytical environment relatively immune from Israeli accusations of "tainted evidence", Al Jazeera managed the study by taking Arafat's clothing and tissue samples to Switzerland's Lausanne University Institute of Radiation Physics, and to independent laboratories in France, Russia, and Switzerland.

So, the results of this inquiry should be announced in the not-too-distant future, and the UN may be unhappy with the findings.

President Abbas

In the meantime, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, will likely be pleased with the UN vote.  To the consternation of the Israelis, Palestinian "statehood" will give the Palestinians international legal status in declaring national territorial water and airspace rights.  Thus, Israeli violation of those rights will come with diplomatic and economic penalties imposed by UN member states -- and possible economic isolation.

Monday, November 26, 2012

CIA: Spies or Assassins?


CIA Lobby.  They used to conduct "espionage"
Now they kill people with Drones


Click here for related story [Washington Post]
Now that General Petraeus has resigned as Director of CIA, the rush is on to find a politically acceptable hack -- or pro -- to manage it.

Sabotaged by CIA's Law Enforcement Mafia [Fox]


Petraeus resigned to circumvent Mr Obama's potential use of Executive Privilege to prevent Petraeus from testifying before Congress on the Benghazi assault.  Petraeus took over a highly politicized CIA and had to fight the Old Guard there while they attempted to manipulate him -- thus the "leaks" to the FBI.
[Even Porter Goss, a former CIA operative and DCI under Bush, was undercut by the CIA Old Guard who undercut him at every opportunity].



Current candidates range from outrageously unqualified hacks to the acceptable; one is qualified for the position.  Petraeus was an excellent Director, but ran afoul of the  CIA hierarchy which has been intent on converting the CIA into a techno-paramilitary surveillance agency -- without portfolio -- but with Drones, and with an eagerness to play soldier -- even though most Case Officers had never served in the Military.

We don't need another politician heading up the CIA.  We've recently had two there, Panetta and Tenet, both incompetent, insecure, self-serving political hacks whose only background in Intelligence consisted of being spoon-fed by CIA lobbyists while they were on Congressional committees -- which continued once they assumed the leadership role.

Let's keep in mind that the mission of the CIA has traditionally been the conduct of Clandestine [i.e., espionage] and Covert [i.e., paramilitary] operations.  Covert operations were carried out with Military Special Operations support.


I've got a secret    [CIA]
Clandestine operations involve HUMINT, or Human Intelligence, using Case Officers/Agent Handlers and support elements to spot, assess, recruit, and manage foreign humans to commit treason and turn over highly classified and sensitive materials of their governments to the CIA.

Such operations generally take years to establish since they entail lengthy spotting and assessing processes, a number of support personnel in the recruitment and vetting process, followed by complex communications processes, and finally, tasking the agent to actually spy and report.  Thus, the Spook Community grieved when Mr Obama outed the principal agent in the Osama bin Laden assassination - plastering his identity and photo for all the world to see -- and destroying years of clandestine operations and exposing the entire support network.

Special Support Staff
Also supporting these clandestine operations were an extraordinary group of highly qualified and well trained Analysts in addition to Psychologists to assess potential foreign agents, and Documentation Specialists who created false passports, drivers' licenses, birth certificates -- and even Social Security Cards [similar to the documentation created for Mr Obama -- but of much higher quality].  Thus, a recruitment of a single recruited agent might entail more than 100 personnel in a variety of support roles.

Over the past 30 years, however, the CIA has drifted away from its traditional espionage role with the dissolution of the USSR, and has moved into the paramilitary realm, staffed with former law enforcement officers from ATF, DEA, State Police, and even street cops -- to rationalize and justify its existence,  leaving its espionage role to the DOD Clandestine Services [quite a role reversal!].

Today's CIA analysts have been consumed with Middle East military OB [Order of Battle] and trying to connect the dots for terrorist organizations, plus a contingent of target assessment "analysts" directing drone strikes -- all of which should be the mission of the Defense Intelligence Agency -- not the CIA.

In essence, the CIA has become a self-serving organization, borrowing missions from DOD, DIA, and NSA, conducting its own wars, and essentially becoming the President's personal military intelligence/police unit.


The CIA needs to return to its original mission of espionage in order to gain intelligence on the plans and intentions of our actual and potential adversaries.  Petraeus had begun to shift the mission emphasis from video games to espionage, but the senior CIA power structure worked to undercut him in order to preserve their paramilitary and Covert Action role.



The Candidates:

1)  Jane Harman
Served nine terms in Congress [CA-D] on the Armed Services, Intelligence, and the Homeland Security committees.  Married to billionaire Sidney Harman, owner of Newsweek -- a potential media leak mechanism. Her dynamic pro-Israel position and close ties to AIPAC forced her out of her Committee position.

She now heads up the leftist Wilson Center.  She has been schmoozed by CIA lobbyists -- who claim to love her, likely because she allowed them to do whatever they pleased.

[The Director of CIA should be both apolitical, diplomatically neutral, and competent to understand Intelligence processes; serving on Congressional committees is not a substitute for experience - as verified by the buffoonery of Panetta and Tenet].


2)  Michael Morrell
Acting incumbent Director, rose through the ranks as an analyst to Director of Intelligence -- the post Bob Gates held before rising to DCI.  Morrell is an analyst by trade, and not an operator; thus, he knows tradecraft only as an observer and consumer.
A nice guy, but not a good pick for Director.


3) John O Brennan
Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.  He was an analyst who maneuvered himself into a Station Chief [COS] slot in Saudi Arabia in 1996.  On his watch, he was apparently too busy strutting around and mirror-gazing that he failed to detect al-Qaeda operatives planning [and succeeding] to blow up Khobar Towers, killing 19 US Servicemen.  Had Brennan been conducting clandestine operations -- even bilaterally with the Saudis, this operation would likely have been detected and terminated.  Brennan has no operational experience and appears to function by bluster instead.

Brennan later made a name for himself as Bush's Terrorist advisor by grandstanding and holding press conferences on terrorism issues; he was also the advocate of "enhanced interrogation" techniques.  He later criticized Bush for not responding immediately to his expert advice -- which consisted of periodic announcements that the "terrorist threat is imminent!"  Bush should have fired him for incompetence.

Not a nice guy; grandstander; pontificator; he has ticket-punched without producing; and of these candidates, would be the most likely to abuse the position.  And, he holds a much higher opinion of himself than do others.


Vickers: Field experience in SpecOps
4) Michael G Vickers
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence,  previously ASD-SO/LIC&IC [SpecOps/Low Intensity Conflict], served with the Army Special Forces -- attached to the CIA to  advise the Mujahideen resistance forces against Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan. He sports an MBA from the Wharton Business School and a PhD in International Relations from Johns Hopkins - SAIS.
Of the visible candidates, Vickers seems the best choice as an educated, relatively apolitical guy with hands-on expertise.

We believe that Vickers understands the mentality of the CIA and can function very effectively herding the CIA cats [i.e., the law enforcement mafia that has gained control of the CIA].   He should finish what Petraeus started and ditch the "Law Enforcement Mafia" which hasn't a clue as to how to run espionage ops.


RECOMMENDATION:

We highly recommend Vickers' selection and that he weed out the overly political left-overs from the morally bankrupt Tenet/Panetta regimes and reorganize the CIA to accomodate its original mission of Clandestine Services -- the espionage arm.

He should retain Morrell as Deputy Director to coordinate analytical support to the Clandestine Services.  Ultimately, he should divorce the CIA from paramilitary operations and instead, serve as the linkage between the Special Operations Command and DIA for all operations involving military assets and activities.