Sunday, March 16, 2014

Where's Waldo [Malaysian Flight #370]! UPDATE

Kindergartner's Drawing of "Flight Path"     [Oh wait! That's CNN's analysis!]


1) The pilot, Captain Shah, a social activist,
     a) was a fanatical supporter of Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, 
         who was jailed for "homosexuality" just hours before Flight MH 370 disappeared.
     b) is believed to have attended a pro-Ibrahim rally at the courthouse hours before the flight.  
     c) moved his family from their home the day before the plane went missing
    ---- Are the passengers being held to exchange for Ibrahim?  -- A logical explanation.

2) The FBI has finally admitted the plane could have been hijacked.

3) All tracking information routes the flight path northwest across the Andaman Islands 
    with possible remote destinations in Pakistan or Afghanistan [see below].

4) Debris spotted has been in areas thousands of miles away from the most likely
     course of MH 370; the amount of debris spotted was enough to have built multiple
     passenger jets, or even another Space Station.  
     Yet, in all that debris, not one passenger seat spotted -- they are designed 
     to float following a crash in the sea.

5)  A satellite picked up a ping from the aircraft more than seven hours after it went missing.

6)  There are thousands of potential landing sites within the 7-hour fuel range of the aircraft


Click here for related article [WashPost

Speculation continues on the fate and current location of the missing Malaysian Flight MH370.  The Pentagon provided CNN the idiotic graphic above, which may have been produced by a kindergarten class. 
"Breaking news! Classified material indicates the plane may have turned North, or South, and it may have crashed into the ocean -- but was monitored to be flying for several hours after it crashed!"

You would think the folks at CNN would have been embarrassed to have put this nonsense on the air.

The Post reports that the Malaysian Prime Minister advised that satellites were monitoring the plane's mechanical signals for a full seven and a half hours after take-off -- which would put the fuel gauges near empty -- and would have placed it about 4,000 miles from the West coast of Malaysia at it's radar recorded location in the Strait of Malacca.

The path noted would have taken it in the direction of India, across the Andaman Islands.

That would put the plane as far West
as Iran or Afghanistan.

Of course, in that flight path, it would have crossed several international borders and, theoretically, would have been picked up on air defense radars.

According to the New York Times and Reuters, it was monitored by Inmarsat, apparently throughout the period during which it was missing; they have alluded to having its last airborne location, though they've not revealed it.

That would narrow the selection of hijackers to be from India [not probable], to Pakistan [not probable] to Afghanistan [possible] to Iran [not probable], to a false flag operation to make it appear that Iran had hijacked the plane.

What we find interesting is that, with all the technological prowess of US and foreign intelligence services, not one has offered up any information on this missing aircraft, even though it would be easily monitored by the full range of satellites -- ours, our allies, China, and Russia.

NASA brags it can monitor a meteor the size of a grapefruit from a million miles out; and, it seems only logical that our intelligence satellites, which monitor all forms of communications and electronic signals world wide, and which provide extremely high resolution imagery on all potential trouble spots, could pick up any and all signals emanating from this aircraft.

Of course, we are told that if these agencies revealed they were capable of such monitoring, the bad guys would be able to set up defensive measures to stay hidden. That would assume that the bad guys have never watched Jack Bauer in "24", and none of them is smart enough to read the newspaper or articles on the internet.  [Osama bin Laden, for example, was so ignorant that he only had degrees in civil engineering and public administration.]

Erstwhile investigators might go to Google-Earth or Landsat which use satellite imagery not terribly less capable than our intelligence satellites. Google Earth has resolution at 2.5', which would be  enough to capture the configuration of an airliner in the desert or in the jungle.

Remote Paved Road  =  Landing Strip

Our guess, exploring the topography of the region in which the plane was capable of traveling, would include western India or eastern Afghanistan.

No airports needed since a landing strip need consist of nothing more than a lengthy, flat surface, e.g., a road in a deserted area.

We discounted western India since there aren't enough deserted areas, but, Afghanistan is chock full of them.

One area that meets these conditions lies in southern Afghanistan; there are others, to include eastern Iran,

but we reckon the Iranian government would be keeping its radical elements in check these days to ensure it would not come under attack.

So, here's the summary of facts as presented in our three previous blogs:

1) 08 March: Malaysian Flight 370 "disappears" off the southwest coast of Vietnam
    Our assessment: 

    a)  Possible crash
    b)  Possible shoot-down

2) 09 March: Pilot aboard another flight reports "mumbling" from copilot of Flight 370
    Our assessment: Possible Hijack

    a) Possible BZ gas release on board, neutralizing crew and passengers
    b) Absence of Black Box transmissions indicate it was still airborne

 3) 10 March: Report that Flight 370 had changed altitude/course, but silent; still on radar
     Our assessment: Probable Hijack

     a) Massive search of suspected crash site
     b) No debris
     c) No Black Box signals

 4) 10 March: Reports that passenger cell phones still working - receiving calls, but no answer.
      Our assessment: Probable Hijack

      a) Plane is still airborne
      b) No visible debris
      c) No Black Box signals
      d) Functional cell phones
      e) Peter Bergen of CNN attempt at "Damage Control" to degrade those speculating on hijacking
          [Is CNN a government shill? Does anyone actually watch CNN these days?]

5) 11 March: India announces it is searching in its territory
    Our assessment: Hijack!

    a) Report that co-pilot had invited female passengers into flight cabin on earlier flight
    b) Transponder and all communications links cut;

Arc of Flight
6) Malaysian Military reports details of altered flight
    Our assessment: Government cover-up of hijack

      a) Vague references to "arc of flight"
      b) Contradictory statements by civil and military chiefs

      c) Flight path included climbing to 45,000 feet, then
          down to 23,000 feet, and then climbing back to possibly
          34,000 feet -- which sounds like the pilot reacting to
          BZ gas, becoming erratic before passing out, after which
          the hijacker[s] were able to seize the controls.
      d) Malaysia's head of civil aviation:
          "There are things I can tell you, and things I can't."

7)  Malaysian officials provide graph showing possible range of flight
     Our assessment/predictions:

     a)  Government seeks to show futility of search
     b)  Debris will magically appear in remote area and the search will end
     c)  Government will announce the Black Box is "irretrievable"!

8)  Reuters, perhaps in collaboration with British Intelligence, reports possible landing sites
     a)  The flight path was piloted according to navigational way-points leading to the region of the
          Andaman Islands.
     b)  Landing the aircraft in Port Blair would likely not go unnoticed; so, the plane would have to
          have continued on to a destination beyond the Andaman Islands.

9)  The reality?
     a)  False flag hijacking, with blame laid with Iran, to justify an attack on it for a heinous act.
     b)  Diversion from the Russian annexation of Crimea.
     c)  Political hijacking to exchange passengers for a political prisoner

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Malaysian plane Hijacked!

The "slight turn" was actually a U-Turn, heading West!

Click here for related story [ Reuters ]

New information released by the Malaysian military indicates the early reports on the disappearance of Flight MH370 were erroneous or false -- take your pick.

Initially, we were told it had disappeared two hours into its flight path to the southwest of Vietnam's south coast, bound for Beijing.

The Malaysian military now advises their radar tracked the plane, which, after only an hour, dropped from 35,000 feet to 34,000 feet in altitude, turned West, shut down its transponder and tracking systems, and headed into the Strait of Malacca -- quite a distance from Vietnam as was being reported earlier, and which has been the site of a massive multi-nation search operation. 

Versions of the flight path differ depending on which arm of the government is speaking
-- and, it appears the Malaysian government is withholding information. 

Malaysia's head of civil aviation, when asked why the Strait of Malacca is being searched advised:
"There are things I can tell you, and things I can't."

Meanwhile, Air Force Chief of Staff General Rodzali Daud noted there was an unidentified object on the radar at 2:15 am, roughly 200 miles northwest of Penang.

We have no actual or estimated location of the plane now, but presume it is intact and may have landed at a remote airfield. With 7.5 hours of fuel left, destinations would be numerous, ranging from Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, India, or virtually anywhere within a 5,000 mile range. 

Turning off the transponder and tracking systems made it invisible to commercial monitoring, but it still remained visible to military radar - and the military chose not to disclose their information.  The only substantive clue we had in early reports was the distress call from the co-pilot on an emergency channel, which a pilot in another plane describes as "mumbling". 

We speculated then that perhaps the crew and passengers had been overcome with BZ gas [or similar], allowing hijackers to seize control.

Co-pilot invites passengers in to cockpit
Adding to the mystery of the story line now is that First Officer Fariq ab Hamid had invited a woman and her female friend to sit in the cockpit during one leg of a flight three years ago; this allegation was supported by pictures of the four provided to Australia's Channel 9. 

If true, such conduct would literally open the door to hijackers to take control of the plane with a seductress -- and that could explain the co-pilot's mumbled transmission.

Tracking the true location of this aircraft theoretically should be a simple task given the sophistication of satellite imagery, and China has stepped up to the plate and advised it is employing ten satellites using high resolution imaging capabilities.  [we weren't aware they had 10 satellites]. 

We can track a small rock in space, but not an airliner!
We have yet to hear from JimmyBob Clapper, Director of US National Intelligence, to advise if the US has any assets capable of tracking this wayward plane.

We would think so, since NASA can track a meteor the size of a large grapefruit at a million miles, and NSA can monitor your whispers on your cell phones; so we'd hope they can track the cellphones of the passengers and crew on Flight MH370.

Oh wait, they only track US citizens these days since they have been designated "The Enemy"!

What were we thinking!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Missing Plane Damage Control - Updated


Click here for related story [CNN-Peter Bergen]

CNN is weighing in on the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 now to discourage speculation on the cause of the disappearance. 

Hijacking has now arisen as a possibility

Also speculated, and possibly connected to the hijacking theory, is the use of BZ gas, which would incapacitate the crew and passengers -- allowing hijackers to seize control of the plane, and which might account for the reported course deviation, as well as the co-pilot's mumbled call on an emergency frequency. 
1) The question then arises as to where a hijacked airliner might land
2) As of 11 March, there are reports that the cell phones of passengers and crew are still ringing -- improbable if the passengers' phones were at the bottom of the ocean.

Alternately, the release of BZ [or a similar agent] could cause the pilot to lose consciousness, plunging the plane nose first into the water -- leaving virtually no debris.
1) It would still be detectible by the P3 Orion's electronic detection systems; and,
2) The Black Box would still transmit signals via its ULB [Underwater Locator Beacon] - which can transmit from a depth of 14,000 feet, at temperatures as low as -55
° C.

Granted, we have no real facts to work from at this point, but, the Internet is fertile ground for educated folks with considerable expertise to weigh in with their opinion and theories -- based on what meager reporting is available.  But, we'll examine some of his ridicule of theories surrounding similar events to demonstrate that sometimes, these theorists have traction.

Bergen, a pseudo-Brit, who is CNN's National Security Analyst -- apparently based on his education at Oxford U, his British accent, and his membership in a variety of Liberal think tanks, is notable for his announcement following bin Laden's death:
"Killing bin Laden is the end of the War on Terror.  We can just sort of announce that right now."
[Quite articulate, isn't he? but not much hands on experience. And, we're glad he's dismissed the War on Terror; we can all rest more easily now.]

Bergen's Opinion piece attempts to debunk conspiracy theories on downed passenger planes with typical rolled eyes and ridicule, leaning to innuendo rather than fact to support his jibes.  That, theoretically, suffices to denigrate those who would opine their theories differing from official accounts - or his.

He cites these examples, and dismisses eye-witness or expert accounts as lacking credibility.

TWA 800:  Inexplicably crashed/exploded on take-off [17 July 1996]

The official government report advised that a short circuit had ignited a fuel tank, causing the explosion which destroyed the plane.

1) Accuracy in Media, citing aviation experts,  reported that it was virtually impossible for a fuel tank to explode in the manner described by the government report unless the jet fuel consisted of hydrogen and propane gas -- which was not the case.

2) A number of eye-witnesses [more than the one he derisively mentions] talked about a trail of fire going UP to the plane; they speculated it was a missile.
-- Bergen claims the witness[es] were unreliable.

Submarine launching SAM
3) Pierre Salinger, opined that it WAS a missile, fired from a US
 submarine in Long Island Sound.

    a) Salinger was Press Secretary to JFK and LBJ, a former WW2 Naval Officer, a news   correspondent, Vice President of Continental Airlines, and an investigator of the bombing    of PanAm 10, so, he did have quite a bit of credibility.  Nonetheless, Salinger was attacked from all quarters in a successful attempt to discredit him -- and his theory.

   b) Immediately after Salinger's allegations, President Clinton announced that Navy personnel 
        were not protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act, blocking any insider revelations/leaks.
        [nonetheless, more than one sailor came forward privately to talk to journalists].
    c) Bergen cites former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board statement:
        "He was an idiot... He didn't know what he was talking about". 

4) Now, having been an analyst of Military and terrorist matters at the Pentagon and the State Department, we had occasion to review such issues in incidents throughout the world. 
    a)  Commercial airlines frequently advised they were being electronically painted by ground
          anti-aircraft[AA] positions; on further investigation, we learned that such "Notional Targeting"
          was routine --by both friends and foes, and the targeting was merely to keep their skills intact.
         (1) So, it was up to the analysts in the Intelligence Community to prevent over-reaction by
               US forces.
         (2)  We engaged in such a crisis when Libyan AA shooters targeted a US surveillance aircraft
                in the Mediterranean, and we engaged in a Community call to call off a Navy response.
         (3)  Unfortunately, in a later incident, the Navy used that same Notional Targeting as the excuse
                for an unprovoked attack on Libya.
    b)  Our assessment on the downing of TWA 800 was that, in fact, it was a missile which was
          fired from the US submarine submerged in the Long Island Sound.
          (1)  We concluded that an eager targeteer was conducting a routine Notional Targeting exercise,
                 but failed to notice the launch systems were active, thus launching a Surface to Air Missile
                 [SAM] and blowing up a commercial airliner.
          (2)   Of course, this would be an action for which the Navy was unwilling to accept
                  responsibility, or even acknowledge the possibility that it could happen.  Thus, the
                  ad hominem attacks on Salinger -- whose experience included covering up such SNAFUs
                  while he was White House Press Secretary.
                  [Salinger's credibility was significantly greater than Mr Bergen]

EgyptAir Flight 990:  Inexplicably crashed into the ocean shortly after take-off [31 October 1999]

We're not sure why Bergen included this in the "conspiracy theory" realm.
It was pretty cut and dried as the NTSB released the cockpit recordings of the Egyptian pilot reciting Islamic prayers as he plunged the plane into the Atlantic.  There was, however, no official follow-up news to determine his motive.  The Egyptian government advised its opinion that the crash was caused by a mechanical failure.

PanAm Flight 103:  Blew up in flight over Lockerbie, Scotland [21 December 1988].
PanAm 103 wreckage

The official [FBI] published report placed the origin of the bomb on Flight 103 as a rigged radio concealed in the baggage compartment.

   a) PanAm hired, Juval Aviv, a former Mossad counter-terrorist operative, is President of Interfor, a corporate investigations firm in New York City to investigate; he is frequently used as a source by the New York Times, Fox News, and ABC News -- but, oddly,
not by CNN [Bergen's employer].
       (1) Aviv claimed it was a CIA operation gone awry, in which they engaged the services of a
             Syrian heroin smuggler to coordinate with his Hezbollah contacts to arrange the release of
             "Western hostages"; in the CIA would facilitate the Syrian's drug operation.
       (2)  Aviv claimed Turkish extremists, working in Frankfurt Airport as baggage handlers,
              swapped out a suitcase packed with heroin and replaced it with a bomb.
       (3)  Bergen referred to Aviv's report as a "Fairy Tale" but had no basis for that categorization.
   b) Notable US government intelligence officials on board:
              (1) Matt Gannon, CIA Deputy Station Chief in Beirut
              (2) Army Major Chuck McKee, Military Attache in Beirut
              (3)  Ronald Lariviere, US Embassy Security Officer in Beirut
              (4)  Daniel O'Connor, US Embassy Security Officer in Nicosia
              (5)   Unidentified US government officer.
    c) FAA had issued a safety bulletin 15 days before the bombing warning that a Pan Am
              flight from Frankfurt to New York would be blown up by an Abu Nidal operative
              -- reportedly a Finnish woman married to an Arab living with an Arab in Helsinki.
    d) The Guardians of the Islamic Revolution claimed credit for the bombing as retaliation for
              the US Navy shoot-down of Iran Air Flight 65 in the Persian Gulf six months earlier.

Mr Bergen cites several other commercial crashes which received considerable attention by "conspiracy theorists" all of which he dismisses apparently based on his expertise in speaking with a British accent.  However, researching these other crashes, we've determined that the "conspiracy theories" held up much better under scrutiny than the official US Government reports. 

We suggest Mr Bergen return to Oxford where he can practice his British accent.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Missing Airliner Mystery - UPDATED - [11 March]

Aircraft disappeared from radar two hours into flight

Click here for related story [CNN - Jim Clancy and Andrew Stevens]

Malaysian Airlines, Flight 370, a Boeing 777-200ER, flying from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, broke contact with international flight controllers at 2:40 am, over the South China Sea -- approximately two hours into the flight of 2,300 miles.  There were 227 passengers; 12 crew.

Signals and oil slick reported here

Xinhua News Agency reported that signals [possibly from the plane's Black Box] were detected about 120 miles southwest of Vietnam's Ca Mau province.

And, the Guardian reported that possibly two 12-mile long oil slicks were confirmed in that same area.

The possibility that there were any survivors is almost negligible.

Two passengers were aboard using stolen passports - one Austrian, the other Italian.  Although one passport was reported stolen two years ago, and was in Interpol's database, many airlines reportedly don't check that database when issuing tickets.  At this point, terrorism is considered a possibility, but can't be confirmed.  If so, a bomb may have been placed aboard the aircraft and set to explode over open water to make recovery difficult to impossible.

Weather conditions were favorable, and pilots had reported nothing abnormal in their communications with ground controllers.  The flight captain has 18,000+ flying hours, while the First Officer has nearly 2,800 flying hours.

The abruptness of the end of communications and the disappearance from radar would indicate the plane exploded, or was shot down.  Since it was flying at 35,000 feet in uncontested airspace, the probability of it being a "shoot-down" is remote; leaving the probability of an explosion being fairly high.  FBI agents have been dispatched to investigate.
USS Pinkney

Rescue operations include ships, fixed and rotary wind aircraft, and satellite imagery. 

The US Navy has ordered the USS Pinkney [DDG-91], a destroyer to the southern Vietnamese coast to aid in the search.

P3 Orion

A P-3C Orion electronic surveillance aircraft is providing long-range search efforts.   It's designed to detect submarines via its distinctive tail stinger "MAD Boom" a magnetic anomaly detector -- which identifies anomalies in Earth's magnetic field -- a useful tool in finding metallic debris.

The design also allows extended loiter times of up to 21.5 hours over a target area.

Additionally, China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia are participating in the search.

Of the passengers, only three were US citizens.  However, 20 of the passengers were employees of Freescale Semiconductor, an Austin, TX company. 

[Updates to this story will be added as available]

UPDATE [11 March]

Relatives and coworkers of passengers and crew are reporting that the cell phones continue to have ring tones - vs service provider message that the phone is no longer working.  If the plane had crashed into the ocean, the phones would not be functional.  So, we're concluding this may, in fact, have been a hijacking.

UPDATE [10 March]

The two men who used the stolen passports to board the missing plane have been identified as Iranians who had bought the stolen passports in Kuala Lumpur.  Their destination was Amsterdam, via Beijing.  According to their friend in Kuala Lumpur, they wanted to go to Europe to start new lives.

UPDATE [9 March]:

1) The two tickets purchased using the stolen passports were bought together, with a destination in Europe; thus, they would not have had to get Chinese visas, and the individuals would most likely have been Caucasians to match their passports.
2) One of the passports in question was stolen at a motorcycle rental shop in Thailand

3) Debris has been sighted off the coast of Vietnam which may be a door and the tail section.
4) A pilot in a plane in the general vicinity reported what he thought was a transmission from the missing aircraft's copilot; he described the transmission as sounding like "mumbling"

5) The missing aircraft reportedly went silent and disappeared from radar after climbing to 35,000 feet; if there were a bomb aboard, it could have been set to detonate with an altimeter fuse.
6) Alternatively, given the missing plane's copilot's mumbled transmission, and reports it may have been turning off course, it's possible that a gas agent, such as BZ was connected to the plane's air conditioning system, slowly incapacitating both passengers and crew over a period of two hours.  

     a) As a Central Nervous System depressant, it disrupts the functions of memory, 
         problem solving, attention, and comprehension.
     b) Higher concentrations produce toxic delirium, destroying a pilot's ability to perform 

          his flight tasks, resulting in mumbling and inability to function.  
     c)  BZ was used by the Russians in 2002 to capture the Moscow theater seized by terrorists.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Benghazi Critique by USAF Pilot

Assets available to respond to Benghazi - Ordered to STAND DOWN!                   []               
We have been waiting for the Obama Administration to end to publish the full identities of all those involved in the cover-up, and to prosecute those involved -- from Hillary all the way down the chain!
The time has come for full justice to be served.
[This post was originally published in 2013, following a number of 
similar posts with ancillary data]

We're posting this commentary by Phil "Hands" Handley [Colonel, USAF (Ret)] who wrote this commentary in response to the announcements by Secretary of Defense Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the closest rescue assets were 18 hours away in Fort Bragg, NC!  Colonel Handley, with considerable knowledge of the Air Force regional assets available, provides details of precisely what support the Air Force could have rendered, had they not been ordered to STAND DOWN!

[We've taken the liberty of adding to the map above many of the assets available in the area from the US 6th Fleet -- although the Secretary of the Navy denies any US Navy craft were in the area -- they were "deployed elsewhere"!]

Handley flew 275 combat missions, and flew operationally all but 11 months of his 26 year career in fighters such as the F-86 Sabre, F-4D, F4E, F15 Eagle, and even drove the C-130A workhorse into hazardous areas.

Unlike most of the obsequious, pusillanimous popinjays strutting the halls of the Pentagon today, his medals are real, and earned in actual combat; they include 21 Air Medals, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and the Silver Star -- so this man has credibility, more than we can say for any flag rank officer in the Pentagon today!


The combat code of the US Military is that we don't abandon our dead or wounded on the battlefield. In US Air Force lingo, fighter pilots don't run off and leave their wingmen. If one of our own is shot down, still alive and not yet in enemy captivity, we will either come to get him or die trying. 

Among America 's fighting forces, the calm, sure knowledge that such an irrevocable bond exists is priceless. Along with individual faith and personal grit, it is a sacred trust that has often sustained hope in the face of terribly long odds. 

The disgraceful abandonment of our Ambassador and those brave ex-SEAL's who fought to their deaths to save others in that compound is nothing short of dereliction-of-duty.

Additionally, the patently absurd cover-up scenario that was fabricated in the aftermath was an outright lie in an attempt to shield the President and the Secretary of State from responsibility. 

It has been over 18 months since the attack on our compound in Benghazi . The White House strategy, with the aid of a "lap dog" press has been to run out the clock before the truth is forthcoming.

The recent testimonies of the three "whistle-blowers" have reopened the subject and hopefully will lead to exposure and disgrace of those responsible for this embarrassing debacle. It would appear that the most recent firewall which the Administration is counting on is the contention "that there were simply no military assets that could be brought to bear in time to make a difference" mainly due to the unavailability of tanker support for fighter aircraft. 

This is simply Bull Shit, regardless how many supposed "experts" the Administration trot out to make such an assertion.

The bottom line is that even if the closest asset capable of response was half-way around the world, you don't just sit on your penguin ass and do nothing.

The fact is that the closest asset was not half-way around the world, but as near as Aviano Air Base ,Italy where two squadrons of F-16Cs are based.

Consider the following scenario (all times Benghazi local): When Hicks in Tripoli receives a call at 9:40 PM from Ambassador Stevens informing him 
"Greg, we are under attack!
        (his last words), 
Hicks immediately notifies all agencies and prepares for the immediate initiation of an existing "Emergency Response Plan."

At AFRICON, General Carter Ham attempts to mount a rescue effort, but is told to "stand down". 
By 10:30 PM an unarmed drone is overhead the compound and streaming live feed to various "Command and Control Agencies" so everyone watching that feed knew damn well what was going on.

At 11:30 PM Woods, Doherty and five others leave Tripoli, arriving in Benghazi at 1:30 AM on Wednesday morning, where they hold off the attacking mob from the roof of the compound until they are killed by a mortar direct hit at 4:00 AM.

So nothing could have been done, eh? 

If one assumes that tanker support really "was not available
what about this:
When at 10:00 PM AFRICOM alerts the 31st TFW Command Post in Aviano Air Base, Italy of the attack, the Wing Commander orders preparation for the launch of two F-16s and advises the Command Post at NAS Sigonella to prepare for hot pit refueling and quick turn of the jets.

By 11:30 PM, two F-16Cs with drop tanks and each armed with five hundred 20 MM rounds are airborne. Flying at 0.92 mach they will cover the 522 nautical miles directly to NAS Sigonella in 1.08 hours. 

While in-route, the flight lead is informed of the tactical situation, rules of engagement, and radio frequencies to use.

The jets depart Sigonella at 1:10 AM with full fuel load and cover the 377 nautical miles directly to Benghazi in 0.8 hours, arriving at 1:50 AM which would be 20 minutes after the arrival of Woods, Doherty and their team.
Providing that the two F-16s initial pass over the mob, in full afterburner at 200 feet and 550 knots did not stop the attack in its tracks, a few well placed strafing runs on targets of opportunity would assuredly do the trick.

Were the F-16s fuel state insufficient to return to Sigonelli after jettisoning their external drop tanks, they could easily do so at Tripoli International Airport , only one-half hour away.

As for those hand-wringing naysayers who would worry about IFR clearances, border crossing authority, collateral damage, landing rights, political correctness and dozens of other reasons not to act -- screw them. It is time our "leadership" get its priorities straight and put America 's interests first.

The end result would be that Woods and Doherty would be alive. Dozens in the attacking rabble would be rendezvousing with "72 virgins" and a clear message would have been sent to the next worthless P.O.S. terrorist contemplating an attack on Americans that it is not really a good idea to "tug" on Superman's cape.

Reports on Obama's frequent trips to Vegas were rare
Of course all this depends upon a Commander In Chief more concerned with saving the lives of those he put in harm's way than getting his crew rested for a campaign fund raising event in Las Vegas the next day. 

It also depends upon a Secretary of State who actually understood "What difference did it make?", and a Secretary of Defense who was watching the feed from the drone and understood what the attack consisted of instead of making an immediate response that "One of the military tenants is that you don't commit assets until you fully understand the tactical situation." 

YGBSM! ( You Gotta Be Shittin' Me)

Ultimately it comes down to the question of who gave that order to stand down? 
Whoever that coward turns out to be should be exposed, removed from office, and face criminal charges for dereliction of duty. The combat forces of the United States of America deserve leadership that really does "have their back" when the chips are down. 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Curtailing Big Brother

Since this chart was created [2010], the number of annual applications has risen above the 2500 mark

Click here for related article [Federation of American Scientists (]

This post is designed to keep interested parties aware of changes in our government's system of monitoring its citizens, and protecting us from all those terrorist [i.e., US Citizen] threats.

Today, we're reviewing and commenting on changes to the composition of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC], created via the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA].

As a result of Edward Snowden's revelations on NSA surveillance abuses, and FAS's disclosure of the details of FISC's rubber stamping of thousands of DOJ requests [note the image heading this blog post], Congress is rewriting the procedural and operational rules governing the FISC.

The judicial issue at hand is that
"...the FISC operates largely in secret and in a non-adversarial manner with the government as the only party ... [to a] non-adversarial process [which] prevents the court from hearing opposing viewpoints on difficult legal issues facing the court."

Congressional changes proposed include:

A.  A specialized Article III Court that hears applications and grants orders approving certain foreign intelligence gathering activities
B.  A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review - to evaluate and review FISC rulings.
C.  That the FISC sit en banc - i.e., all 11 judges would review applications when making 'significant' interpretations of foreign intelligence statutes.
D.  Alter the 'voting rules' of either the FISC when sitting en banc or the FIS Court of Review to create a higher threshold of government surveillance.

Changing the Court Composition:

US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts has appointed two promising new members to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for seven year terms:

A.  James E Boasberg of the DC Federal District Court
     1) He replaces Presiding Judge Reggie Walton
     2) Background:
          a) Law degree from Yale - 1990
          b) Graduated from Oxford -1986
          c) Clerked for Judge Nelson on 9th Circuit US Court
              of Appeals 
          d) Litigation attorney in private practice: 1991 - 1996
          e) Assistant US Attorney in Washington, DC specializing
              in homicide prosecutions
          f)  Associate Judge - DC Superior Court.
          g) Notable: In CEI v. EPA, ruled against CEI's FOIA request for
              disclosure of secondary secret emails to disguise its conduct
              of business.

B.  Richard C Tallman of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
      1)  He replaces Judge Morris S. Arnold
      2)  Background:
            a) Law degree from Northwestern University
            b) Clerked for Judge Sharp on US District Court
                 for the Western District of Washington
            c)  Assistant US Attorney in Seattle, Washington
            d) Private practice specializing in White-Collar
                 criminal defense
            e)  Notable: in Bull v San Francisco, he dissented from
                 majority opinion which endorsed SF jail procedure of
                 strip searching those charged with minor, non-violent offenses;
                 Tallman opposed as it violated the Unreasonable Search clause of 
                  the Fourth Amendment.

Other members of the FISC [with end of term noted]:
             a) Rosemary Collyer            [2020]
             b) Raymond Dearie             [2019]
             c) Claire Eagan                     [2019]
             d) Martin Feldman              [2017]
             e) Susan Webber Wright    [2016]
             f)  James Zagel                     [2008]
             g) Dennis Saylor                  [2018]
             h) Thomas Hogan               [2016]
             i)  Mary McLaughlin            [2015]


The FISC was created as a safeguard to review special operational requests to by-pass Constitutional restrictions on surveillance of US citizens.  As you can see from the chart above, the number of requests was relatively modest until 2001.  During that period, requests were reviewed, evaluated, and acted on, based on their merit.  Most were denied for lack of substance.  Those that were granted were well-documented and proved to the Court that there was a definitive need for the action.

But, then came 9/11, when all the rules were tossed out to protect us from terrorists, and George W Bush [whom I fully supported] signed the Patriot Act -- which eroded the Constitution; that was followed by the Protect America Act of 2007, and in 2008, FISA was amended to increase the secrecy of the FIS Court process; this was followed by the National Defense Authorization Act, which, when combined with the preceding Acts created in response to 9/11, shredded the Constitution's guarantees of personal rights and freedoms, and unleashed the demons of oppressive government and Big Brother

And what politician dared to vote against legislation with the labels of Patriot and National Defense, and Protect America!

The Court was then flooded with requests which absolutely, positively HAD to be acted on IMMEDIATELY lest another attack on the public be missed and end in catastrophe.  Both the Law Enforcement and the Intelligence Communities arrived with stacks of requests, the bearers panting that terrorists were en-route, ready to destroy civilization.
I can validate 100 requests an hour with my rubber stamp!

The Court was overwhelmed, and the process eventually became rubber stamping.

The Court was degraded, eventually to be headed by the malleable Judge Reggie Walton, a jurist of mediocre credentials, selected in 2007 because of his "tough on crime" attitude.

But perhaps it was because, according to one wag, he could be persuaded to endorse a search warrant scribbled in crayon on toilet paper.

[But, we don't believe that.]

The FISA and the FISC were created with the best intentions, to address a perceived threat to national security, ostensibly because only extreme measures could counter the extreme - albeit ephemeral threat.  But, the Court has been unreasonable in granting virtually unlimited access to all of America's private information, and denying public access to just what our government has collected, and continues to collect [e.g., Google's battle with the FISC to deny access to its user data.]

I take issue with the Court proceedings, particularly during the current Administration.

I feel competent to criticize since I've been part of the original process;  I directed the operations of the DOD Clandestine Service [DCS] from 1984 - 1990, the objectives of which included collection operations against threats to national security, to include  terrorist elements around the world. 

[To clarify, neither JimmyBob Clapper nor Mikey Flynn created the DOD Clandestine Service, even though that's their claim.]

Based on our experience in the DCS, I can assure you, AND Congress, that there are very few, if any, operational circumstances which justify the rubber stamping of surveillance or the spying requests by the Department of Justice or any element of the Intelligence Community, to include the NSA.

Back then, my legal staff consisted of a retired federal judge and three federal attorneys who reviewed our operational plans before they were signed into action and funded.  The authorized plans covered a broad range of anticipated contingencies, but occasionally, operational issues arose necessitating questionable actions in need of immediate review due to exigent circumstances; one such incident involved the news that a US Military officer had been targeted for assassination and we needed to employ all surveillance assets available to protect him.

For such exigent situations, I had 24/7 access to the US Assistant Attorney General, who could authorize an operation responding to an imminent threat to national security.  These operations included NSA coordination and support; the basic caveat was that there could be no surveillance of US citizens without a clear and justifiable warrant.  If such were the case, the Assistant Attorney General would either directly authorize the operation, or, as necessary, coordinate by phone with the FISC and then grant us authorization to proceed. Such events rarely took more than 30 minutes, although we did have to provide detailed documentation after the fact.

We dealt with Intelligence collection operations as critical, or more critical than those the Intelligence Community faces today; they were fully functional and fully compliant with the existing Congressional restrictions imposed by the Church Committee back in 1975 -- the essence of which was:

                                           DO NOT SPY ON US CITIZENS!

Since 9/11, the very worst elements of the Intelligence Community took control and whispered in Congress' ear the need to destroy the Constitution to protect National Security.  The Patriot Act was strengthened with the provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] which was subsequently endorsed again by Congress in 2013, and again in 2014.

My emphasis to Congress is that the Law Enforcement and Intelligence Communities can get along quite well following the standard warrant process.  Every request to the FISC should be scrutinized  carefully, and the need for a hasty turn-around is rare.  The new appointees to the FISC bench seem quite well qualified, and the new legislation proposed to adjust the FISA/FISC procedures seems to be on the right track.

My emphasis to readers is that they urge their elected representatives to enact these proposed reforms so that we can regain the Constitutional Rights our Forefathers established for us.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

SEC: Corruption Central?

SEC Enforcement doesn't include self-regulation               [Economic Times]

Click here for related article [Jia Lynn Yang Washington Post]

After we learned a while back that a former Wall Street executive -- now employed by the SEC Enforcement Division -- had been caught tipping off his pals at his old financial firm about SEC investigations into their activities [punishment was a slap on the wrist rather than prosecution] we figured it couldn't get much worse there. 

But, we forgot.  This is the obama Administration, in which corruption is the watchword; if you're not corrupt and milking the federal government for all it's worth, you're not playing the game right.  It turns out the SEC hasn't been this corrupt since the Clinton Administration.

For background:

The SEC was formed in 1934, following the 1929 Stock Market collapse,  to monitor and regulate the Market -- Stock, Mercantile, Commodities, etc., to make sure there is no sleight of hand of, God forbid, INSIDER TRADING

For the uninitiated, insider trading is buying and selling by exploiting classified or restricted information which is not available to the public; e.g., if you read a confidential filing that IBM has a record profit for this quarter, and you buy stock figuring it will take off.  The Enforcement Division of the SEC investigates and prosecutes investors and financial gurus for Insider Trading.  For example, SAC Capital Portfolio Advisor, Mathew Martoma, face a substantial fine and several years in prison if he is convicted of "insider trading".

Old Joe; it takes a crook to catch one
Oddly, President Roosevelt appointed old Joe Kennedy [JFK's dad] as the first Chairman, not because he was above reproach, but rather, because he was the most corrupt and ruthless SOB on Wall Street, and FDR figured it took a ruthlessly corrupt guy like Kennedy to understand the ins and outs and to know where and how the corruption functioned.  To his credit, he cleaned up Wall Street, mostly by outing and prosecuting his old adversaries -- but, in the end, it all worked out.

According to a report published by UVA, The Stock Picking Skills of SEC Employees, investigated the trading activities of SEC employees and noted that they systematically beat the market by trading immediately before costly enforcement actions, based on "... privileged, non-public information."

"In short, it appears that SEC employees continue to take advantage of non-public information to trade profitable in stocks under their regulatory purview."

Now, to allay your concerns that SEC regulators are exploiting their insider information to make small fortunes for themselves, the SEC spokesman, John Nester advised
"Each of the transactions was individually reviewed by the Ethics Office, and most of the sales were required by SEC policy.  Staff had no choice.  They were required to sell."  Theoretically, these new rules apply to regulators assigned to investigate a company -- thus, they must sell -- maybe.

The researchers obtained their information under FOIA requests, but still had to work around limits on the information provided.  Examples of the SEC regulator trades included ahead of enforcement actions against
DJ Plunge [04/2010]

a) Bank of America      [04 Feb 2010]

b) General Electric       [27 July 2010]

c) Citigroup                  [29 July 2010]

d) Johnson & Johnson  [08 April 2010]

e) JP Morgan                [07 July 2010]

In these cases, SEC regulators sold their shares in these companies shortly before news of enforcement actions was released to the public.

So, under the current SEC leadership's interpretation of the regulation, it is not only acceptable to trade on classified insider information, it is expected that they do so. 

Kind of like expecting a beat cop to hold up the local grocery store; after all, he has a gun, and people with guns are expected to do criminal things -- right?