Tag Archives: Chechnya

First Blood

It’s nice to see the Guardian this morning, first there is the news on Alan Rushbridger who stops being a teenager and starts heading the Scott Trust the power that be, behind the Guardian and several other media companies. Why Teenager? Well, as I see it, when you follow your passion you tend to avoid having to grow up (a sort of Peter Pan syndrome) and this man has lived his dream as I see it. I have written against the Guardian more than once, but it is clear Alan knows what he was doing and he was doing it quite well. Lastly, the bastard looks 15 years younger than his actual age (geriatric envy).

Anyway, now that is out of the way, let’s focus on some first blood. Some will have missed it, but with this jab, President Obama has started his feeble attempt in getting the Democratic Party re-elected in 2016. He needs to get an early start, because if the House Elections are anywhere near an indication, the democrats will lose by a landslide as I see it at present. The Republicans now have 246 seats against the democrats 188, which means that minority speaker Pelosi needs to seriously woe the republicans to get anything sorted, this also implies that President Obama needs to get used to the word ‘No’ a lot more then that he is comfortable with.

So, as we look at the continuation of a white horse, we look at the latest article called ‘White House under pressure as calls for CIA accountability grows stronger‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/10/white-house-cia-torture-report). Now there is nothing really against the article itself, it is just a reflection for that what seems to be. But the following parts jumped out at me.

The White House is under growing pressure to hold individuals accountable for covering up the torture of terrorist suspects, with calls coming from a senator for a purge of top CIA officials and a furious row over whether the agency kept both Congress and the previous administration sufficiently informed of the program“, which senators? To give some of these people the label ‘pussy’ seems harsh but in effect that is the truth. These people are all about ‘not getting hands tainted’, ‘I still need to sleep at night’ and ‘as long as I am kept in the dark’. The real terror world outside the US is a nightmare realm, if you can stomach it, the consequences and the acts you have to live with you do not and never will belong on the hill and you belong as a part of the Langley brotherhood, likely trained or to be trained in Quantico or Lejeune. Going up against terrorists is a dirty business and it will damage your soul, whether you believe it or not. Now, I spoke out against the acts yesterday and to the major extent I believe that it was a flawed approach from the beginning. But the reality is that bringing a terrorist into the yard for a meeting with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, having tea and a biscuit will not lead to information or determent. You must become the beast they fear. If there is one clear directive that we learned from the KGB (now the FSB) and how they dealt with the Russian Mafia, it is that a soft glove leads nowhere.

So which senator made that call? Well, the information is that it came from Senator Mark Udall from the state of Colorado, which seems to be predominantly Republican. By the way, how loud were some of these people before 2010?

The next statement: “When countries are threatened, oftentimes they act rationally in ways that in retrospect were wrong”, is one I can go along with, it is true that this happens, yet the one thing we still ignore is that the terrorist attack we saw had been so unprecedented, that any ‘rational’ response could be thrown out of the window. This compared to the Chechnyan act of parking trucks loaded with explosives next to apartment buildings and blow them (Moscow 1999), try that approach in San Francisco and watch millions go insane with rage. It is a mere and simple cause & effect. If you go into a war against such opponents you need to keep your cool and show that you are willing to do that what they could not fathom. In other words you need your own kind of monster available.

This does not change my premise that the intelligence gained from prolonged torture tends to be ineffective and mostly useless. Whatever answer in regards to state ‘we got Bin Laden this way‘ is on thin ice, regarding how many people it took to get any information on one person.

many insiders perceive as an attempt to isolate the intelligence community from Washington’s political leaders was also supported by former CIA director Michael Hayden“, which is exactly what I would consider to be a fact and the administration had some knowledge of what happened (like water boarding), yet they would never know, or want to know the details, they wanted to see results. Which calls the following to be called into question: “White House rejects claims agency misled President Bush“, which might be academically true, but ““That’s a point of some contention,” he said, when asked whether the CIA had lied to the White House. “There are some people who have said that that’s not true.”” here we see the crux, what EXACTLY was not true? You see, we get a number of ambiguous references, but did the CIA lie, or did they not reveal all facts? There is a large difference here, and as such part of this what we read becomes a deception on how ‘guilty’ the previous administration could have been. It is first blood, the Democrats seem to be pushing for a moral guilt call, in reflection on President Obama ‘stopping’ the torture procedures, yet, if we believe the Huffington Post (at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/obama-black-sites-rendition-torture_n_1812578.html), we see that like the technical support of their phone lines, it had been outsourced. The headline that gave us ‘Obama Administration Outsources Torture: Can U.S. Ever End Human Rights Abuses?‘ also tells us: “Despite the closure of these facilities, the administration’s use of extraordinary rendition has outsourced human rights abuse to other countries. Will we ever get rid of torture?” It gives a whole new meaning to the claim ‘it was not us!’

Black water anyone, or do we call it coffee?

What is in a name, in an act and in any non-written, non-verbal agreement is being looked at, which means it is a discussion of innuendo, whilst the politicians hide behind ‘if it is not written down, it does not exist’, knowing that they play this game, selling whatever service they condoned for their own selfish need of re-election. That is how this reads between the lines. So when we read “Director [John] Brennan and the CIA are continuing to wilfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture. In other words, the CIA is lying,”, we should ask certain questions of Senator Udall as well, The senator, who was before that in the House of Representatives, representing the community of Boulder (where Mork from Ork used to live), representing the Judiciary and Agriculture Livestock & Natural Resources Committees, can we all agree that litigating for cattle is not really the same as discussing the finesses of intelligence?

The final part is seen with “Yet Obama’s spokesman went out of his way to defend Brennan on Wednesday, denying that he had lied about any aspect of the torture inquiry“, yes, the President would not like to get his hands tainted on fingering guilt towards Director John Brennan, yet overall this entire article reads like the Democratic administration has started regaining votes and visibility through false morality by having a Minority Democratic Senator stand up and voice thoughts that are morally right, but for the morally wrong reasons. It is almost like the initial invasion on Iraq, when you do the right thing for the wrong reasons you corrupt whatever banner you wish to hold high. In a faltered economy, virtually boosted, the losing party of the next election will feel the consequences of this depreciated position. The democrats are desperate to make sure it is not them.

There is one more quote that calls it all into question. Consider ““The lines of accountability that needed to be set up weren’t always in place and that some of these techniques that were described were not only wrong were counterproductive.”“, it is so nice that President Obama is trying to fit this into the hands of the Intelligence community, like ‘vice holds’ and ‘muzzles’, would it not be nice if he had taken that approach towards the financial industry at least three years ago? If he had done that, America might not be in the desperate economic state it is now; moreover Russia might take America serious when they discuss the Ukraine. This article is all fine, but it read like the democrats will be using this for something entirely different, I hope the people can read between the lines here, because holding certain people to account after the fact, whilst the condoning politicians remain unaccounted for is more than just a little shady.

 

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More than just Syria

The news has started to illustrate the issue I expected. I stated in my blog on September 20th “What we know about AQ is that they are about them and their needs“. That part is now coming to fruition. As ISIL they are now the third party in a civil war between two parties. My initial personal view is for President Assad and his opposition to come to an agreement and unite in a hunt for the members of ISIL/AQ, paving the way to some form of a seize fire.

Not doing so, will escalate this civil war in a plain hunt for lives who did not agree with the sharia convictions of ISIL/AQ. As Sky News now broadcasts how the victims of Syrian events are smuggled into Israeli Military Hospital where these victims are receiving lifesaving first aid and operations. A Samaritan act that will never be voiced by the victims they saved in fear of deadly reprisals. (At: http://news.sky.com/story/1147748/wounded-syrians-left-bleeding-with-the-enemy).

Isn’t it interesting that these so called Muslim ‘warriors’ are there just to ‘support’ one very specific version of Muslim faith. More important, the acts give weight to actually start open military intervention. In response to the article by the BBC (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23925037), which stand point I do support. We are now faced with their tactical blunder which we should exploit. This does however require the support of President Assad. My initial assessment is gaining weight, which was more on the side of the Russian stance that Assad was not the one firing the chemical weapons. As I had stated in my earlier blog, it would make sense that an AQ attack to draw America and Israel into this conflict was the fuse to a powder keg. As the initial attack did not happen, ISIL is now actively attacking ‘their’ enemies. When we consider the September 19th report by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013_/09/19/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSBRE98I0C120130919)

This ‘game’ had been about de-stabilisation from the very start. As stated by me “AQ only cares for AQ” and as such, any diplomatic option towards AQ should be classified as null and void.

Yet this will take orchestration of some size, yet as AQ made the mistake of getting too close to the Turkish border, the issues could change if any attack on Turkey commences. At that point the NATO members have no option but to come to the aid of Turkey, also, the Turkish President Abdullah Gul would gain massive support and popularity should it get forced into a direct conflict with AQ forces, now trying to overrun Syrian areas. These events also change the game in other ways. AQ has zero support from Russia (in light of their Chechnyan ‘friends’) and at this point the turning table exists for Iran. If they decide not to get involved, which would be fair enough, the end result remains the same; AQ would have to go it alone, with their former temporary friends as well as the Government forces of President Assad at their throats. The bottle neck comes as NATO/Turkey slam down the box in the final side. AQ will cause massive amounts of damage. That is unlikely to be prevented. This is also where I do not completely support the Guardian article by Sarah Margon (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/20/sarin-gas-syria-icc). The quote “Opposition forces have also committed serious abuses, increasingly resorting to executions and indiscriminate shelling of government-held areas.” might not be incorrect, but it might be incomplete. If AQ is part of the opposition, then we must see whether this was an actual act by what is called the ‘moderate’ opposition forces, or are these events the work of AQ and AQ minded opposition forces. So Syria is now clearly less clear cut. It is a civil war with three parties, each with their own agenda.

As such the question grows, why should we get involved? No matter how the Syrian civil war goes. If AQ is not dealt with, they will flame out wreaking havoc on both Jordan and Israel. In addition, AQ is pushing forward with pressures against Egyptian forces as well as attacks on Israel. Reuters reported yesterday the Sinai attack (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/28/us-egypt-sinai-idUSBRE98R09220130928). It will take massive amounts of discipline for Israel to keep their cool for now. Should the IDF face these attacks on the north side, as well as attacks on the Sinai Eilat side, then we, successful or not, will have to face the consequences. There are also financial repercussions. In a BBC newscast, from last November “This still means that as of Saturday night Israel had spent roughly $29m on interceptor missiles in three days.” The IDF has an Iron Dome presence, yet how much financial pressure is it under at present?

There is a linked view, which comes from the Heritage foundation, an American Think-tank. The article was by Baker Spring and Michaela Dodge. Baker is a Research Fellow in National Security Policy and Michaela is a Research Assistant for Missile Defense and Foreign Policy, so they do know their missiles. Their quote “Each Iron Dome Tamir interceptor costs more than $100,000 to produce. This is many times the cost of a Grad, Qassam, Katyusha-style rockets. But there is more to assessing the cost effectiveness of a defensive system such as Iron Dome than a simple calculation of the cost of an additional defensive interceptor compared to the cost of an additional offensive rockets.” is on target. Their assessment makes the issues not as clear cut, but what is clear is no matter which approach AQ is taking, Israel will feel tremendous pressures as these events drag on and they are not the only one.

Jordan is facing massive pressures through the Syrian refugees. The Guardian reported some of this (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jul/25/syrian-refugee-crisis-in-numbers-updated). This article is focussed on the numbers. It does mention the fact that Syria is short on roughly $2B to get anything done. What is less shown is that Jordan was never known for an abundance of resources, especially water. With an additional 3 million mouths to fill those resources will dwindle down to nil quite quickly. Consider that it will need an additional 2 million gallons of water a day, an amount that will run Jordan dry really fast. You can see how Jordan’s goose gets dry cooked. If these numbers mean little, then consider that with a water scarcity in place, their population due to refugees has grown by 50%, all because of the Syrian civil war. A possible solution would be if we could find some solution in Aqaba. It is not a quick solution, yet the option of running a pipeline from the Sinai through Eilat to Aqaba, giving all parties relief might be an option. As that part of the Sinai is in MFO buffer zone C, and if both Egypt and Israel would agree on it, then there would be an accessible place that is in ‘neutral’ space for now, allowing relief to both Israel and Jordan as they are trying to deal with water shortages for the Syrian refugees. This option might also allow for some agricultural solutions, which would deal with the long term issues that will pop up. The AQ would have to be hunted out of the Sinai, but in that regard both Israel and Egypt agree.

Why there? If that region is to have any future, then anything we start now; any action that allows for a growth of tourism in that region, like a second Sharm-El-Sheik, but next to (or close to) Eilat, could in time be the financial infuse that could grow that region to some level of prosperity. Europe and America are now in a low curve, but it will not stay that way. In addition, as tourism grows business. This option has all the makings for finding a long term peaceful solution. It could become an option which will always be a better one than non-stop flooding the region with money and goods.

In my mind (oversimplified, I admit), I see this as a solution. The Dutch are massive experts in Greenhouses. Consider that these are build close to a water plant in the Sinai, Around Eilat, Israel and close to Aqaba, Jordan. So if we can get the water there, in some form, but likely via tankers, there could be an actual push for peaceful reform. We need to get food there in several ways. Finding a way to grow some of it will down the track be the cheapest and it would start real change.

Even though this Powder keg known as the Middle East has been lit and AQ is the fuse, would it not be the master of all Ironies if Al-Qaeda becomes the glue that actually sets in place some lasting form of peace? As, whoever is running Al Qaeda, faces a possible future where a peaceful Middle Eastern alliance develops with Israel as an accepted partner by all and it was thanks to AQ. Would the howling laughter of people not drive him (or her) insane?

Graveyards and politicians both love irony in equal measure, let’s make it so!

 

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The empty stage

That was the view I had at 05:00 when I woke up switching on Sky News. As I was still dealing with painkillers it was all there was to do. Until the painkillers kick in, whatever I try to focus on will not be successful. It is an anchor weighing me down and in my entire life I have never taken that much chemicals. I will go further in stating that the amount of painkillers used in the last two weeks outstrips the sum of all painkillers used in the past 50 year. My life sucks for now!

Now Secretary of State John Kerry enters the stage.

His speech is focussing on the fact that we all have our own opinions, yet we do not all have our own facts. It is about the evidence of Sarin. The UN report confirms that this was the case. We knew all that. His report is now on the view that it was all the fault of Assad. This is all an emotional speech on how it is all the fault of Assad.

I need another painkiller!

The UN report, as reported by others are all about the fact that Sarin was used, yet the UN report as stated by others did not state WHO was the one that fired these missiles. Am I watching another spin report, all about emotion and posturing? This should still be about removing the chemical weapons, which I agree with is a needed thing. Yet, the theatre unfolding now is about other things. It is about the binding resolution! Should I now see this as a secretary of state throwing the equivalent of a tantrum?

No it is not! Apparently the US side parties involved want to bind this under Chapter 7 so that the resolution is binding. And again China and Russia are possible standing as a barricade in these times that require solutions. It seems that Russia is still playing politics (as a politician would), but this is about a lot more than just the chemical weapons I reckon. Like a chess player President Putin is moving his pieces little by little. Is he keeping his ‘friend’ out of harm’s way, or is he trying to guarantee a multi-billion dollar deal with President Assad? If that is so, he could end up with a 3.75% commission (which is the average commission for a junior salesperson), adding up to an easy $5 million, which is not a bad day’s work. Can I please get a spokesperson position at $250,000 a year?
I need the income!

So we are looking at a play to set the binding resolution through application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII. This part contains Articles 39 to 51. This is the part that Assad would not like. The binding resolution means that President Assad could be taken towards a time line, if ignored, or if stall tactics are shown then a military option opens up as can be read in Article 45 ‘In order to enable the United Nations to take urgent military measures, Members shall hold immediately available national air-force contingents for combined international enforcement action. The strength and degree of readiness of these contingents and plans for their combined action shall be determined within the limits laid down in the special agreement or agreements referred to in Article 43, by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee.

Why am I on the fence? The simple truth is that the Russian claim that the attack was a provocation, fired by the opposition forces is not that unreal. There is supporting evidence of two kinds.

The first is that the locations of the chemical weapon stacks are not all known. For all we know the opposition have been by chemical location for some time. The second part is that I have had my reservations why Al-Qaeda would get involved in a situation where they are on the same side as America. That never made sense. What we know about AQ is that they are about them and their needs. Since when was their position ever on the side of ‘another’ population (read the Syrian people)? I cannot claim mastery of knowledge here, I could be wrong. Yet the tactical position they have to find weapons against Israel and America would be too appealing. The fact that AQ provoked an act that gets America in another war, possible drawing Israel in as well was not that bad a strategy. It seems to have worked. So is the Sarin the baton that is getting passed on and on? Let’s not forget that the AQ is a party of interest in all of this, so whatever we think is going on is less clear then most suspect.

If we know that the Syrian forces had certain equipment, is it a possibility that they had been captured? The part I have an issue with is that with all those satellites, no one is watching the events in Syria, if so, then where is that footage? John Kerry made the quote “There is no indication, none, that the opposition is in possession, or has launched a CW variant of these rockets” it seems to be a reflection on the 122mm improvised rocket. The fact that he speaks of ‘indication‘ means that either he has no INTEL on this (or was handed it), or no one was able to record this. With all those satellites in orbit, this is an issue that I have a problem with.

I reckon that the satellite views do exist, but there is likely not enough information proving which party instigated these fireworks. If so, then it would be out with the press and all to see and judge. It is nice to play this game, but you need evidence, and that is what is lacking on the US side. Yes, Sarin was used, but by who? It is the question that haunting us all and we see again a polarisation of views Russia on the side of their buddy President Assad and the US taking up the other side.

The only positive of all of this is that another nation is joining a non-chemical weapons group, although it is a little late to that party. The only issue remains is whether AQ got access to the CW missiles and if so were they able to syphon any of them to other locations? This is what has Russia spooked most of all. The reason is that there are links going back well over half a decade that AQ has links to Chechnya terror groups. If they end up with only one missile, then the cooking mixture for utter panic in the streets of Moscow will be not far behind. Chechnya fighters have several options for entering Russia and getting close to Moscow.

If there is validity in my approach to these events, then this could mean that Russia will only be ‘cooperative’ for as long as it takes to know whether AQ has access to the missiles and whether they are sending a few on to their ‘friends’. After that Russia is likely to return to a stance that the US would classify as ‘their un-cooperative selves’. These all link together as we the people have been numbed by spin, misdirection and stories of all kind by several sources, many with their own agenda. We are numbed like a patient on too many painkillers. The longer this lasts, the more emotional political presentations get, up to the moment that this approach becomes utterly counterproductive.

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