“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best


I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Sunday, September 15, 2013

John McCain vouched for the rebels in Syria. Guess what…

On a recent post at the Libertarian, we speculated about the following: 

"Still, according to experts, the notion that most Syrian rebel groups are tied to al-Qaida is mostly a myth. Experts say that rebel groups with ties to al-Qaida make up about 10% to 20% of the country's rebel forces fighting Assad. "
This report from Business Insider ends with the most amazing two sentences, the same that appear on the title of this post. Now, go through this with me. 

"Experts" say that rebel groups make up about 10% to 20% of Syria's rebel forces fighting Assad. Assume the figures are right and then assume they are understated by 50%. The way Washington lies and distorts facts, I may be understating the problem. We are supporting an insurgency in a civil war that is composed of from 10% to 40% al Qaeda. Here are some of the implications: 

  1. Al Qaeda, a 10-40% part of the Syrian Rebels presently is receiving assistance from the CIA. 
  2. Al Qaeda, as part of the Syrian Rebels presently has full diplomatic support from the US State Department, The Pentagon, The NSA, the Republican heads of the US House of Representatives, the Democratic head of the Senate and will soon be supported by the US Air Force and the US Navy.
  3. The major US media is supporting the Obama Administration's drive to involve the US in a civil war on the side that is being supported by al Qaeda.
  4. The proposed war is based on unproven allegations as to who used the chemical weapons.
  5. Without exaggeration, a full US attack on Syria will kill more Syrians that were killed in the gas attack.
  6. Iraq, the recent recipient of 10 years of a US war, ostensibly fought because of some connection to 911 has announced that they will not cooperate in any US aggression against Syria.
  7. The Islamist leadership in Turkey will assist.
  8. Saudi Arabia, the country that supplied money and 18 of their citizens for the attack of the US on 911, approves and supports  the US being on the side of al Qaeda against the government of Syria.
  9. The President of The United States is orchestrating this war.
  10. Almost two years ago, the same Islamic groups were involved in the US  attack of Libya. Part of the repercussions of the war in Libya was CIA involvement with shipping arms from Libya to Syria. It blew up in their face in Benghazi and every member of the Obama Administration from Obama on down lied to the American public with a fabricated story about an internet video offending Islam being the cause of the Benghazi attack and killing of four Americans.
  11. The same US President, Barack Hussein Obama, now expects up to believe the "Common Sense" notion that Assad was more likely to have used chemical weapons than al Qaeda. In a sense we are to accept al Qaeda's claims.
  12. There are no videos of the families of the children killed by the gas and no videos on the actual killings.
  13. The internet is laced with videos of al Qaeda, fighting with the rebels, butchering and murdering captured soldiers and civilians. The videos include the murder of children. The videos include the murder of a captured Syrian officer, whose al Qaeda murderer then  cut out his heart and liver and ate it.
  14. The Internet has videos of truck drivers pulled off the road by al Qaeda rebels and were then murdered in cold blood because they prayed outside the standards set by al Qaeda and the rebels.
  15. The internet has videos of priests being murdered and some beheaded while they were alive by rebels and al Qaeda.
  16. As I type this one of the oldest Syrian Christian villages, still using the  language of Jesus, is being assaulted and raped by al Qaeda. For many years this village was  protected along with millions of other Christians by the Assad government. The Assad government cannot protect them because Syria is fearful of the  US Navy under the orders of Barack Hussein Obama, poised to attack Syria.
  17. Christian members of the US armed forces are inadvertently causing the deaths of Christians at the hands of al Qaeda because of their presence and stated purpose of attacking the government and armed forces of Syria. 
It appears that we understated the problem:
Syria: nearly half rebel fighters are jihadists or hardline Islamists, says IHS Jane's report

Nearly half the rebel fighters in Syria are now aligned to jihadist or hardline Islamist groups according to a new analysis of factions in the country's civil war.

By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent, and Ruth Sherlock in Beirut
7:17PM BST 15 Sep 2013

Opposition forces battling Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria now number around 100,000 fighters, but after more than two years of fighting they are fragmented into as many as 1,000 bands.

The new study by IHS Jane's, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists - who would include foreign fighters - fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda.

Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.

There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.

The stark assessment, to be published later this week, accords with the view of Western diplomats estimate that less than one third of the opposition forces are "palatable" to Britain, while American envoys put the figure even lower.

Fears that the rebellion against the Assad regime is being increasingly dominated by extremists has fuelled concerns in the West over supplying weaponry that will fall into hostile hands. These fears contributed to unease in the US and elsewhere over military intervention in Syria.

Charles Lister, author of the analysis, said: "The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict. The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out."

The study is based on intelligence estimates and interviews with activists and militants. The lengthy fighting has seen the emergence of hundreds of separate rebel bands, each operating in small pockets of the country, which are usually loyal to larger factions.

Two factions linked to al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) - have come to dominate among the more extremist fighters, Mr Lister said. Their influence has risen significantly in the past year.

"Because of the Islamist make up of such a large proportion of the opposition, the fear is that if the West doesn't play its cards right, it will end up pushing these people away from the people we are backing," he said.  f the West looks as though it is not interested in removing Assad, moderate Islamists are also likely to be pushed further towards extremists."

Though still a minority in number, ISIL has become more prominent in rebel-held parts of Syria in recent months. Members in northern Syria have sought to assert their dominance over the local population and over the more moderate rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The aim of moderate rebel fighters is the overthrow of their country's authoritarian dictator, but jihadist groups want to transform Syria into a hard-line Islamic state within a regional Islamic "caliphate".

These competing visions have caused rancour which last week erupted into fighting between ISIL and two of the larger moderate rebel factions.

A statement posted online by Islamists announced the launch of an ISIL military offensive in the eastern district of Aleppo which it called "Cleansing Evil". "We will target regime collaborators, shabiha [pro-Assad militias], and those who blatantly attacked the Islamic state," it added, naming the Farouq and Nasr factions.

Al-Qaeda has assassinated several FSA rebel commanders in northern Latakia province in recent weeks, and locals say they fear this is part of a jihadist campaign to gain complete control of the territory.

As well as being better armed and tougher fighters, ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra have taken control of much of the income-generating resources in the north of the country, including oil, gas and grain.

This has given them significant economic clout, allowing them to "win hearts and minds" by providing food for the local population in a way that other rebel groups cannot.

ISIS has also begun a programme of "indoctrination" of civilians in rebel-held areas, trying to educate Syria's traditionally moderate Sunni Muslims into a more hard-line interpretation of Islam.

In early September, the group distributed black backpacks with the words "Islamic State of Iraq" stamped on them. They also now control schools in Aleppo where young boys are reportedly taught to sing jihadist anthems.

It seems it is some sort of a long-term plan to brainwash the children and recruit potential fighters," said Elie Wehbe, a Lebanese journalists who is conducting research into these activities.


  1. McCain should be thrown out of the Senate

  2. The Guardian is reporting that Obama is exchanging letters with the Iranians

    An exchange of letters between Barack Obama and the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has set the stage for a possible meeting between the two men at the UN next week in what would be the first face-to-face encounter between a US and Iranian leader since Iran's 1979 revolution.

    Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, is also due to meet his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the UN general assembly meeting in New York, adding to guarded optimism that the June election of Rouhani, a Glasgow-educated moderate, and his appointment of a largely pragmatic cabinet, has opened the door to a diplomatic solution to the 11-year international standoff over Iran's nuclear programme.

    Tehran took the Foreign Office by surprise, tweeting on Rouhani's English-language feed that the president would also be prepared to meet Hague, something the UK had not even requested.

    "Tehran has responded positively to UK's request. President Rouhani's meeting w/WilliamJHague on the sidelines of UNGA has been confirmed," the tweet said.

    "We would be happy to meet," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said, "but we have had nothing formal from Tehran about it."

    Diplomats said that the tweet reflected the new Iranian government's eagerness to make diplomatic headway on the nuclear issue, which has been at an impasse for several years. A Hague meeting with either Rouhani or Zarif could clear the way to restoring full diplomatic ties, which have not existed since the British embassy in Tehran was ransacked by a mob in November 2011.

    In a television interview aired on Sunday, Obama made clear that there was a diplomatic opening with Iran, not only over the nuclear question but also over Syria. He confirmed earlier reports that he and Rouhani had "reached out" to each other, exchanging letters.

  3. He confirmed earlier reports that he and Rouhani had "reached out" to each other, exchanging letters.

    LOL Too funny...

    Iran? Diplomat "breakthru"??


    Iran wishes us DEAD. We are the great satan. they will accept any BOWING and appeasing we do and then slit our throats.

    Waiting for the maddie... 13th hidden iman ya know...

    But go ahead tell us how great a people they are....

  4. Therapy helps...but screaming obscenities is faster and cheaper!

  5. "The determination the international community shows regarding Syria will have a direct impact on the Syrian regime's patron – Iran," Netanyahu said.


    However, Obama insisted: "What they should draw from this lesson is that there is the potential of resolving these issues diplomatically. You know, negotiations with the Iranians are always difficult.

    I think this new president is not going to suddenly make it easy. But you know, my view is that … if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact you can strike a deal."

  6. It is just the standard form, what the number is Form blah blah, it may have to do with acreage reporting.

    I am definitely not coming up there tomorrow....I feel like......crap.

    Big lightning storm up your way.

    This of course puts old Bob into a metaphysical mood..

    It is an old image of enlightenment.

    Big deal in the Hindu world.

    In our culture think of Paul to Damascus.

    I know myself, the first rule of wisdom.

    I know I will end up writing to my Hindu niece later on tonight.

    But she is used to it by now,

    Sometime you and Sean can take me out to dinner, and I will explain the mono-,myth.

    The lawyer deserves her fee. the well read deserves a meal, once in a while.


  7. President Barack Obama has warned Iran that the United States would be prepared to launch a military strike if it developed a nuclear threat.


    He however added that Putin had played an important role in securing a deal over Syria's gas stockpiles.

  8. The lightning did not hit Ernest Hemingway.

    He is our truly great writer of when the lightning don't hit,

    The light hit Walt Whitman and Ted Roethke.

    "This first heaven of knowing"

  9. Just take a look into "After The Storm" for instance.

    It is despair from beginning to end.

    In the end, he can't even fuck the woman.

    That is despair.

    But he was a great writer.

    1. You see Sam how he can't fuck her at the end?

      This is despair from the Hem point of view.

      I think it is well written bull shit.

  10. An old man walks into the barbershop for shave and a haircut, but he tells the barber he probably can't get all of his whiskers off because his cheeks are wrinkled from age.

    The barber gets a little wooden ball from a cup on the shelf and tells him to put it inside his cheek to spread out the skin. When he's finished, the old man tells the barber that was the cleanest shave he's had in years. But he wanted to know what would have happened if he had swallowed that little ball.

    The barber replied, "Just bring it back in a couple of days like everyone else does..."

  11. The United States’ disservice to Afghan translators

    By Dakota Meyer and Bing West, Published: September 15

    Dakota Meyer, a retired Marine sergeant, was awarded the Medal of Honor fighting alongside Fazel in the battle of Ganjigal. Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense, embedded as a media correspondent with Meyer and Fazel shortly after that battle.

    Four years ago, a bleeding Afghan interpreter, Fazel, staggered out of an ambush in Ganjigal Valley in eastern Afghanistan. Trapped inside the valley were four Americans. Asked to help rescue them, he said, “I have a wife and baby. But I will go back.” Fazel returned to the battle, killed several Taliban fighters and carried out the bodies of the fallen Americans.

    Since that fight, the Taliban has been determined to kill Fazel, who has served with U.S. units for five years and has received 15 certificates and letters of commendation attesting to his work record. Shortly after the ambush, Fazel applied for a visa to the United States.

    Since he applied, the State Department has issued almost 2 million visas to immigrants. The visa section at State was repeatedly informed that the Taliban was hunting Fazel. But for four years, there was no movement. Last month, Fox News reported the neglect, and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the senior commander in Afghanistan, insisted that Fazel receive a visa “as soon as possible.” A few days ago, an overjoyed Fazel got his visa.

    On the one hand, this is a happy ending to a nearly five-year odyssey. But it is depressing that a four-star general had to personally intervene to resolve the case of someone clearly loyal to the United States. Fazel risked the lives of his family because, in his mind, he was an American, fighting alongside his fellow grunts. Ask any company commander returning from Afghanistan, and he can tell you about another Fazel, equally deserving of a visa.

    What’s happening is a failure to keep faith with those who fought beside us. The State Department has defied Congress by denying visas to thousands of interpreters who, like Fazel, fight alongside our soldiers. Congress has authorized 1,500 visas per year for Afghans who have assisted us; the State Department annually approves about 200. In a letter to President Obama, more than a dozen members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, complained that in the past five years, State has issued only 12 percent of the available visas. An analogous program for Iraq has been similarly stalemated.

    To qualify for a visa, Afghan interpreters must provide recommendations from U.S. officers and be interviewed and approved by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The next step is the bottleneck: If approved there, the application must be reviewed by security committees in Washington. These panels have no incentive to say yes and a huge incentive to say no in order to avoid blame for any future incident. For example, two Iraqi refugees living in Kentucky were arrested in 2010 for shipping weapons to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. But the refugees in Kentucky had not laid their lives on the line for American soldiers; they weren’t recommended by U.S. officers who had served alongside them.

    Every person granted a visa poses some risk. A dozen Saudis with visas attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. Two refugees from Russia’s Chechen conflict attacked Americans in Boston this spring. Yet last year, the State Department issued visas to more than 20,000 Saudis and 100,000 Russians — without repetitive reviews by security committees. Witholding visas for Iraqi and Afghan interpreters does not make sense; our country is discriminating against those who have proven their loyalty and work ethic.


  12. {…}

    The State Department’s reputation is hurt by its discrimination. Many of us in the military who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan rarely saw U.S. diplomats out at the district and village level. The task of nation-building was foisted upon the military, which pitched in to aid our diplomats. Our soldiers never leave a comrade behind, but State is leaving the interpreters behind. The result is that generals proffer faint praise for State when testifying before Congress but in the hallways offer searing judgments to staffers. The military helped the State Department, but State is not helping the military.

    Some lawmakers have not forgotten. The National Defense Authorization Act for 2014 would extend and improve these visa programs in Iraq and Afghanistan, including strict oversight. Congress needs to pass that legislation. Because Afghan interpreters have pledged their loyalty to U.S. soldiers, they are in mortal danger as we leave. Afghanistan may end as badly as Vietnam did.

    Secretary of State John Kerry threw away Vietnam decorations to display his disgust with that war. Of all U.S. officials, Kerry should be the most resolved not to see Afghanistan veterans throw away their medals in disgust because their comrades — the interpreters — were left behind. Forceful management by the State Department can fix this problem. If that is institutionally too difficult, then give the responsibility to Gen. Dunford. Thousands of combat veterans are watching.