“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NY Times Discloses Classified US Program to Secure Pakistani Nuclear Weapons

The NY Times has decided that it will depart from reporting on foreign policy to changing it and according to the Times, it has the blessing of the Bush Administation in doing so. It justifies the release and approval by the Bush Administraion in this language:

...The New York Times has known details of the secret program for more than three years, based on interviews with a range of American officials and nuclear experts, some of whom were concerned that Pakistan’s arsenal remained vulnerable. The newspaper agreed to delay publication of the article after considering a request from the Bush administration, which argued that premature disclosure could hurt the effort to secure the weapons.

Since then, some elements of the program have been discussed in the Pakistani news media and in a presentation late last year by the leader of Pakistan’s nuclear safety effort, Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who acknowledged receiving “international” help as he sought to assure Washington that all of the holes in Pakistan’s nuclear security infrastructure had been sealed.

The Times told the administration last week that it was reopening its examination of the program in light of those disclosures and the current instability in Pakistan. Early this week, the White House withdrew its request that publication be withheld, though it was unwilling to discuss details of the program.

In recent days, American officials have expressed confidence that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is well secured. “I don’t see any indication right now that security of those weapons is in jeopardy, but clearly we are very watchful, as we should be,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference on Thursday..."

November 18, 2007 NY Times
U.S. Secretly Aids Pakistan in Guarding Nuclear Arms

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 — Over the past six years, the Bush administration has spent almost $100 million on a highly classified program to help Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, secure his country’s nuclear weapons, according to current and former senior administration officials.

But with the future of that country’s leadership in doubt, debate is intensifying about whether Washington has done enough to help protect the warheads and laboratories, and whether Pakistan’s reluctance to reveal critical details about its arsenal has undercut the effectiveness of the continuing security effort.

The aid, buried in secret portions of the federal budget, paid for the training of Pakistani personnel in the United States and the construction of a nuclear security training center in Pakistan, a facility that American officials say is nowhere near completion, even though it was supposed to be in operation this year.

A raft of equipment — from helicopters to night-vision goggles to nuclear detection equipment — was given to Pakistan to help secure its nuclear material, its warheads, and the laboratories that were the site of the worst known case of nuclear proliferation in the atomic age.

While American officials say that they believe the arsenal is safe at the moment, and that they take at face value Pakistani assurances that security is vastly improved, in many cases the Pakistani government has been reluctant to show American officials how or where the gear is actually used.

That is because the Pakistanis do not want to reveal the locations of their weapons or the amount or type of new bomb-grade fuel the country is now producing.

The American program was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when the Bush administration debated whether to share with Pakistan one of the crown jewels of American nuclear protection technology, known as “permissive action links,” or PALS, a system used to keep a weapon from detonating without proper codes and authorizations.

In the end, despite past federal aid to France and Russia on delicate points of nuclear security, the administration decided that it could not share the system with the Pakistanis because of legal restrictions.

In addition, the Pakistanis were suspicious that any American-made technology in their warheads could include a secret “kill switch,” enabling the Americans to turn off their weapons.

While many nuclear experts in the federal government favored offering the PALS system because they considered Pakistan’s arsenal among the world’s most vulnerable to terrorist groups, some administration officials feared that sharing the technology would teach Pakistan too much about American weaponry. The same concern kept the Clinton administration from sharing the technology with China in the early 1990s.

The New York Times has known details of the secret program for more than three years, based on interviews with a range of American officials and nuclear experts, some of whom were concerned that Pakistan’s arsenal remained vulnerable. The newspaper agreed to delay publication of the article after considering a request from the Bush administration, which argued that premature disclosure could hurt the effort to secure the weapons.

Since then, some elements of the program have been discussed in the Pakistani news media and in a presentation late last year by the leader of Pakistan’s nuclear safety effort, Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who acknowledged receiving “international” help as he sought to assure Washington that all of the holes in Pakistan’s nuclear security infrastructure had been sealed.

The Times told the administration last week that it was reopening its examination of the program in light of those disclosures and the current instability in Pakistan. Early this week, the White House withdrew its request that publication be withheld, though it was unwilling to discuss details of the program.

In recent days, American officials have expressed confidence that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is well secured. “I don’t see any indication right now that security of those weapons is in jeopardy, but clearly we are very watchful, as we should be,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference on Thursday.

Admiral Mullen’s carefully chosen words, a senior administration official said, were based on two separate intelligence assessments issued this month that had been summarized in briefings to Mr. Bush. Both concluded that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was safe under current conditions, and one also looked at laboratories and came to the same conclusion.

Still, the Pakistani government’s reluctance to provide access has limited efforts to assess the situation. In particular, some American experts say they have less ability to look into the nuclear laboratories where highly enriched uranium is produced — including the laboratory named for Abdul Qadeer Khan, the man who sold Pakistan’s nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

The secret program was designed by the Energy Department and the State Department, and it drew heavily from the effort over the past decade to secure nuclear weapons, stockpiles and materials in Russia and other former Soviet states. Much of the money for Pakistan was spent on physical security, like fencing and surveillance systems, and equipment for tracking nuclear material if it left secure areas.

But while Pakistan is formally considered a “major non-NATO ally,” the program has been hindered by a deep suspicion among Pakistan’s military that the secret goal of the United States was to gather intelligence about how to locate and, if necessary, disable Pakistan’s arsenal, which is the pride of the country.

“Everything has taken far longer than it should,” a former official involved in the program said in a recent interview, “and you are never sure what you really accomplished.”

So far, the amount the United States has spent on the classified nuclear security program, less than $100 million, amounts to slightly less than one percent of the roughly $10 billion in known American aid to Pakistan since the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of that money has gone for assistance in counterterrorism activities against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The debate over sharing nuclear security technology began just before then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was sent to Islamabad after the Sept. 11 attacks, as the United States was preparing to invade Afghanistan.

“There were a lot of people who feared that once we headed into Afghanistan, the Taliban would be looking for these weapons,” said a senior official who was involved. But a legal analysis found that aiding Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program — even if it was just with protective gear — would violate both international and American law.

General Musharraf, in his memoir, “In the Line of Fire,” published last year, did not discuss any equipment, training or technology offered then, but wrote: “We were put under immense pressure by the United States regarding our nuclear and missile arsenal. The Americans’ concerns were based on two grounds. First, at this time they were not very sure of my job security, and they dreaded the possibility that an extremist successor government might get its hands on our strategic nuclear arsenal. Second, they doubted our ability to safeguard our assets.”

General Musharraf was more specific in an interview two years ago for a Times documentary, “Nuclear Jihad: Can Terrorists Get the Bomb?” Asked about the equipment and training provided by Washington, he said, “Frankly, I really don’t know the details.” But he added: “This is an extremely sensitive matter in Pakistan. We don’t allow any foreign intrusion in our facilities. But, at the same time, we guarantee that the custodial arrangements that we brought about and implemented are already the best in the world.”

Now that concern about General Musharraf’s ability to remain in power has been rekindled, so has the debate inside and outside the Bush administration about how much the program accomplished, and what it left unaccomplished. A second phase of the program, which would provide more equipment, helicopters and safety devices, is already being discussed in the administration, but its dimensions have not been determined.

Harold M. Agnew, a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory, which designed most of the United States’ nuclear arms, argued that recent federal reluctance to share warhead security technology was making the world more dangerous.

“Lawyers say it’s classified,” Dr. Agnew said in an interview. “That’s nonsense. We should share this technology. Anybody who joins the club should be helped to get this.”

“Whether it’s India or Pakistan or China or Iran,” he added, “the most important thing is that you want to make sure there is no unauthorized use. You want to make sure that the guys who have their hands on the weapons can’t use them without proper authorization.”

In the past, officials say, the United States has shared ideas — but not technologies — about how to make the safeguards that lie at the heart of American weapons security. The system hinges on what is essentially a switch in the firing circuit that requires the would-be user to enter a numeric code that starts a timer for the weapon’s arming and detonation.

Most switches disable themselves if the sequence of numbers entered turns out to be incorrect in a fixed number of tries, much like a bank ATM does. In some cases, the disabled link sets off a small explosion in the warhead to render it useless. Delicate design details involve how to bury the link deep inside a weapon to keep terrorists or enemies from disabling the safeguard.

The most famous case of nuclear idea sharing involves France. Starting in the early 1970s, the United States government began a series of highly secretive discussions with French scientists to help them improve the country’s warheads.

A potential impediment to such sharing was the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which bars cooperation between nations on weapons technology.

To get around such legal prohibitions, Washington came up with a system of “negative guidance,” sometimes called “20 questions,” as detailed in a 1989 article in Foreign Policy. The system let United States scientists listen to French descriptions of warhead approaches and give guidance about whether the French were on the right track.

Nuclear experts say sharing also took place after the cold war when the United States worried about the security of Russian nuclear arms and facilities. In that case, both countries declassified warhead information to expedite the transfer of safety and security information, according to federal nuclear scientists.

But in the case of China, which has possessed nuclear weapons since the 1960s and is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Clinton administration decided that sharing PALS would be too risky. Experts inside the administration feared the technology would improve the Chinese warheads, and could give the Chinese insights into how American systems worked.

Officials said Washington debated sharing security techniques with Pakistan on at least two occasions — right after it detonated its first nuclear arms in 1998, and after the terrorist attack on the United States in 2001.

The debates pitted atomic scientists who favored technical sharing against federal officials at such places as the State Department who ruled that the transfers were illegal under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and under United States law.

In the 1998 case, the Clinton administration still hoped it could roll back Pakistan’s nuclear program, forcing it to give up the weapons it had developed. That hope, never seen as very realistic, has been entirely given up by the Bush administration.

The nuclear proliferation conducted by Mr. Khan, the Pakistani metallurgist who built a huge network to spread Pakistani technology, convinced the Pakistanis that they needed better protections.

“Among the places in the world that we have to make sure we have done the maximum we can do, Pakistan is at the top of the list,” said John E. McLaughlin, who served as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, and played a crucial role in the intelligence collection that led to Mr. Khan’s downfall.

“I am confident of two things,” he added. “That the Pakistanis are very serious about securing this material, but also that someone in Pakistan is very intent on getting their hands on it.”


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  2. If an accurate report, the US is flying blind, as to the true status of those weapons.

    We giving the Pakistani full faith and confidence in their abilities. They still not allowing US access to their lab locations, let alone the warheads.

    It's worked so well for the Pakistani, even after recieving $10 Billion USD in conventional weaponry and support, that the Iranians know full well from Paki experience...
    ... stonewalling works

  3. "...the roughly $10 billion in known American aid to Pakistan since the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of that money has gone for assistance in counterterrorism activities against the Taliban and Al Qaeda."

    Bravo Sierra!

  4. t's obvious the frontier provinces are going Taleban. The Wahhabist (Taleban) MO as we all know is to ally with local thugs/sheiks/charismatic psychopaths/imams and employ ruthless intimidation against anyone who would oppose them. We've seen it enough. Afghanistan pre 9/11, Fallujah, Ramadi, the rest of Anbar and lately in Waziristan where Musharraf has his hands full trying to hold the Swat valley which is the Paki equivalent of Sun Valley, Idaho...

    Musharraf is trying to warn the west but the "liberal institutions" which argued for Saddam and against Bush's "Wilsonian visions" are demanding democratic elections in Pakistan.


  5. Thugocracy:

    Al-Qaeda has found a way using Wahabist ideology, martyrdom rhetoric and ruthlessness to overcome tribal institutions. First they find the crooked sheiks, then they get the fire and brimstone going in the local mosque. After they get the jihadist blood boiling in the youth, "Katie bar the door," no one dares stand in their way.

  6. The quest to bring democracy to the Muslims has coincided with a phenomenal transfer of wealth from oil using to oil producing states. Ironically that has resulted in the decrease in democracy for Russia and Venezuela. Meanwhile the huge US deficits created by Guns & Butter II, have transferred foreign reserves in numbers never dreamed of, to the detriment of US interests in all sorts of interesting places. Think Iran and China. Strangely enough the Neocon dream that the Iraqi adventure would be self funded by oil seems not to have happened. Anyone care to guess how Iraqi foreign reserves are doing?

    SNAFU in spades, doubled and redoubled.

  7. Here is it is sports fans:

    Since we decided to bring democracy to Iraq we have helped expand their foreign reserves from

    $3 billion to $23 billion. The problem is it cost the US, $444 billion to do so in direct costs.

    Add into that little morsel the war risk premium in the price of oil and squeeze that out of the US economy, ( your savings and income) and add future costs and you get a vision of the the cost of Islamic democracy. The amount is well over a trillion dollars. That is more than double the projected cost of the sub-prime financial mess.

    Now as Glenn Beck would say get ready to duct tape your head on:

    One trillion dollars would pay off 10 million mortgages of $100,000 each. The economic genius of George W. Bush.

  8. When the Iraqi "Mission", as authorized by Congress, has been over for at least two years, maybe three.

    Who has set up a tribute payment system to end all tribute payment systems.

    The "Dhimmi" they call it, don't they?

    Have to "save" Globalism.
    Bush and the Boners, their true loyalties, shining through.

  9. A trillion dollars, would have provided for US energy independence.
    With rufus methodologies employeed.

    But there was no such Goal of independence for US, beyond cheap rhetoric.
    The King does not allow for more than that.

    No the Goal was and remains energy dependency in an autocratic global caliphate of energy producers.

    That's the achievement of Team43 and the rest of US in the last 6 years. The Bush Legacy

    The Wahabbists win, 9-11-01 a screaming sucess, for them.
    Reality bites!

  10. Fight with "Hard Power" when the military and the Administration itself, tells US "soft power" is where the "War" is at.

    But the US cannot even field an adequate number of diplomats to Iraq to fill the current billets, let alone the expanded mission.

    Let alone enough military force to turn the tide, with force.

  11. Know your enemy
    The Washington Times

    This time, there are lots of folk that see it from my perspective, sooner.

    An anonymous online reviewer whose experience in intelligence, theology and journalism combined to produce the blogosphere pseudonym "Spengler" (Oswald Spengler's best known tome was "The Decline of the West," published in 1918) says: "Radical Islam threatens the West only because secular Europe, including the sad remnants of the former Soviet Union, is so desiccated by secular anomie it no longer cares enough about its future to produce children" Demographers can also see Muslims forming a majority in Russia by midcentury, and they may dominate Western Europe at the turn of the 22nd century.

    The Islamofascism label for al Qaeda's fundamentalist support "to save Islam" justifies the neoconservative campaign to pressure President Bush to order Iran's nuclear facilities bombed before he leaves office. But there's a slight impediment: The last four CENTCOM commanders, including Tony Zinni and Arabic-speaking John Abizaid, said any bombing of Iran, would push 320 million Arabs into the camp of radical Islam and produce an unmitigated geopolitical disaster for the United States. This, they believe, would also push a moderate Iraqi government into the arms of a "martyred" Iran coupled with a demand that U.S. forces hightail it home.

    Thus, those who advocate bombing would unwittingly play into the hands of religious extremists. Israelis say they face an existential crisis that Americans cannot comprehend. The obvious comeback is the 1962 Cuban missile crisis that was also existential for those who lived through it. But we talked to the adversary, conjugating hard and soft power into smart power — and Moscow backed down.

    Nikita Khruschchev also threatened to bury us at a time when thousands of nuclear-tipped ICBMs targeted every major U.S. city and military base. Again, smart power — otherwise known as the Helsinki process on human rights, freedom of the press and movement of people — gradually collapsed the Soviet Union.

    While countless millions of Americans tune out, Islamist extremists are marshalling their forces, including the hundreds of thousands of young men brainwashed by Pakistan's madrassas into the core belief that martyrdom against the "American Zionist crusaders" is to earn the keys to paradise. Most Muslims feel victimized while fundamentalists seem genetically programmed to understand, even encourage, the youthful urge to violence.

    In an e-mail to this reporter Nov. 14, Benazir Bhutto, the embattled Pakistani leader just released from house arrest, said: "I very much fear the risk of civil war. The longer [President Pervez] Musharraf stays, the worse it's going to get. I knew it was bad but after coming here [from 8 years of exile], I am shocked at just how bad. The militants are spreading everywhere not because people want them but because the administration unilaterally withdraws without a fight, leaving the people of the town or village at the mercy of the long-haired, bushy faced barbarians who terrorize the local population and subdue them by shooting and killing randomly. I am just wondering how long it's going to be before the militants march on Islamabad."

    Twice prime minister in the 1980s and '90s, Mrs. Bhutto continued: "It may sound dramatic, but the picture here is frightening. Pakistan is slowly disintegrating, and it seems everyone is paralyzed into ignoring the calamity that is coming. The district headquarters of Shangla Hills fell today. The local population was ready to resist but didn't have the resources. The government didn't send any reinforcements and the local administration disappeared. In fact, it seems like the buddies of the militants had already been appointed."

    Pakistan's army ceased operations a month ago against Taliban and al Qaeda in the tribal areas on the Afghan border. Army units sent to the scenic Swat Valley, inside the Northwest Frontier Province, have met strong resistance as more militants arrive from nearby towns and villages. Pakistan, one of the world's eight nuclear powers, is the ultimate nightmare scenario. The army is the custodian of secret nuclear weapons sites, deep underground. But the army is in disarray and the widely despised army chief Gen. Musharraf clings to power by enforcing martial law.

    Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.

    But the boys in DC, they have a "Plan" to CYA.

  12. The General President has been in power since 1999.
    From then, until today, Pakistan and it's "strategic depth", Afghanistan, have been nothing but a deteriorating situation.

    For which we paid well.

    But under the Administration of the Tyrant General, the jihadi have advanced militarily and politically, in Pakistan.

    Where the nukes are.

  13. This fellow, a New Republic writer, is in the LATimes this morning.

    Says the 26,000 African Union troops going into Darfur will not be adequate to the task.

    He's right about that ...

    Don't bow to the 'Muslim street'

    Intervention in Darfur may fuel Muslim anger, but that can't be an excuse to do nothing.
    By James Kirchick
    November 18, 2007

    If the enemy is Islam, if there is a "Global War on Terror", if we'll never forget and genocides should be stopped on moral grounds...

    If one takes the "if you could you should" position when it comes to saving tens of thousands of lives.

    Then there is another priority in the musselman arc, where should stopping sectarian and ethnic genocide fall in the litney?

  14. Personally, I don't see how the secular west will rally to any moral cause which might require a sacrifice of blood. (i.e Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Darfur). With no common moral foundation (such as Judaeo Christian values) there will be no consensus only the confusion of humanist multiculturalism.

    Watch the dominos fall...Woe

  15. Too many believe that evil can be overcome with dialog, appeasement and money.

  16. Mr Huckabee is charging towards the finish line, coming from behind.

    Mr Romney, after airing 5,000 tv ads in Iowa, is less than ten points ahead.

    Can a liberal boner buy the nomination, with self funded advertising and focus groups, the way the Primary System has developed?

    Or can a ex-preacher wearing out some shoe leather go make a name for himself?

  17. The Cost of Our Absurd Energy Policy

    OPEC's Dollar Concerns Overshadow Environmental Push (Update2)
    By Ayesha Daya and Fred Pals

    Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The falling U.S. dollar's effect on oil revenues overshadowed Saudi Arabia's promises to fight global warming at this weekend's OPEC summit in Riyadh.

    Saudi Arabia, considering a revaluation of the riyal against the dollar, had to fight off an attempt by Iran and Venezuela to get the group to discuss pricing oil in different currencies. Hosting the summit, King Abdullah committed $300 million to research climate change, while OPEC leaders pledged to cut emissions from oil and gas production.

    The dollar's 10 percent decline this year has cut the buying power of revenue from record oil prices above $90 a barrel. A further drop may harden OPEC's reluctance to raise supply in a bid to ease prices. Ministers at the summit said the oil market was well-supplied and recent gains were due to speculation and beyond the group's control.

    ``OPEC is in a price paralysis conundrum,'' said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Saudi British Bank, a unit of HSBC Bank Plc. ``They do care about the dollar, but if they say publicly they worry it will show they care even more.''

    Gulf Arab countries, most of whose currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, will jointly consider a revaluation in December in a bid to combat inflation, Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council said in Riyadh today. The council includes OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

    Venezuela's Chavez

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that OPEC finance ministers will study the dollar's decline.

    ``The dollar is free fall, everyone should be worried about it,'' Chavez said in comments to reporters in Riyadh today. ``The fall of the dollar is not the fall of the dollar -- it's the fall of the American empire.''

    The final declaration from OPEC's third heads of state summit reiterated the group's commitment to ensuring stable energy supplies and promise to reduce carbon emissions from oil and gas production.

    ``The stability of the oil market is essential,'' said the statement issued at the end of a summit read by the group's secretary general, Abdalla el-Badri.

    Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates committed a further $150 million each to the OPEC environment fund, according to the Web sites of their respective state news agencies. Qatar also pledged $150 million, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said.

    OPEC energy ministers have their next meeting to discuss oil production in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 5.

    The producers' club, which supplies more than 40 percent of the world's oil, is gaining influence on the back of high prices. Importing nations have transferred $3 trillion more to OPEC than they would have since 2001 had oil prices stayed near $20 a barrel, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

  18. de Borchgrave:

    "Nikita Khruschchev also threatened to bury us at a time when thousands of nuclear-tipped ICBMs targeted every major U.S. city and military base. Again, smart power — otherwise known as the Helsinki process on human rights, freedom of the press and movement of people — gradually collapsed the Soviet Union."

    Yeah, baby. Helsinki II.

    Singin' my tune.

  19. "Personally, I don't see how the secular west will rally to any moral cause which might require a sacrifice of blood."

    - whit

    Um, the coalition of the unwilling seems to have done pretty well for itself steering clear of our latest "moral cause."

    Wanna gin up another one?

  20. You prove my point. They rather boil in a pot.

    Care to gin up another one?

  21. "Again, smart power — otherwise known as the Helsinki process on human rights, freedom of the press and movement of people — gradually collapsed the Soviet Union."

    Except that it didn't but it did make it possible for dormant and controlled Islamic fundamentalism to reawaken.

  22. Tracking nuclear weapons?


    1) How does the U.S. government go about detecting nuclear weapons and fissile material possibly aboard cargo ships?

    A radiation detection system that measures radiation (e.g., signature energy-level gamma radiation and neutrons) is employed aboard a ship or other transport vehicle along with conventional cargo to monitor for the presence of a fissile material, as would be found in a nuclear weapon, or for the presence of other sources of radiation. The detection system can be used over the course of the cargo transport, thereby enabling finely tuned monitoring for fissile material across distances of many meters extending through surrounding cargo containers. Because the system can be utilized during a ship's transport, a positive detection of fissile material can be made and acted upon while the ship is still at sea far from the destination port, where detonation of a nuclear weapon could have catastrophic consequences.

    Powerful telescopes exploring the vastness of the universe?

    Monitoring extreme radiation across the Universe

    It would be interesting to know the ability of similar spaced-based systems to track fissile material on earth.

  23. I spent the evening listening for three hours as some bimbo sat in for Dr. Wattenburg at KGO to discuss energy.Poor Dr. Wattenburg, lone voice in the wilderness. Three hours of BS, one of which was given over to how we can't build any more nuke plants. But tidal energy, there's the ticket. Conservation. Wind farms.Solar collectors, etc. Those people are living in a dream world.They don't even want the Rufus route, taking food out of the mouths of babes. Nor of course do they want to allow the US Marine Corps access to the Bay Bridge to make a recruiting video. And the oil spill in the Bay..o my gosh. The Coast Guard didn't respond in time..they could all do better, of course. Sickening.

  24. US STRATCOM’s command and control capabilities previously were focused primarily on the nuclear mission. Now STRATCOM is responsible for a full range of missions in combating nuclear and other WMD threats, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, integrated missile defence, space, network operations, combating weapons of mass destruction, and Global Strike. STRATCOM is aiming to enable the seamless delivery of tailored effects, anywhere and anytime, across the globe. The mechanism includes networking with all other combatant commands and their components, as well as with the Defense Department and other government agencies.

    Requirements for Prompt Global Strike, a US Air Force briefing from 2001 states that "US forces overseas have been reduced significantly,....while rapid power projection based in the continental United States has become the predominant military strategy." To enable effective joint warfighting across the globe, USSTRATCOM has developed a capabilities based approach to its work, allowing it to choose from a range of conventional and nuclear military options to carry out its mission to deny any adversary the ability to use WMD against the US or its allies.

    As early as September 2004, The Times (Shreveport, LA) reported that departing 8th Air Force commander at Barksdale AFB, Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson saying that 8th Air Force is now “essentially on alert … to plan and execute Global Strikes” on behalf of STRATCOM. “In half a day or less, it has to come up with the means and methods to do that, with surveillance and intelligence before the mission and reconnaissance after to determine the success of the operation.”

    In December 2005, STRATCOM said a new Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global Strike met requirements necessary to declare an initial operational capability. The requirements were met, it said, “following a rigorous test of integrated planning and operational execution capabilities during Exercise Global Lightning.” This was announced in a USSTRATCOM press release.

  25. With all due respect, Whit, I gotta take exception to the statement that the Swat Valley =Sun Valley, Idaho :)

  26. An Aussie view of Iraq. Seems their dialogue downunder is a basic same image as ours.

  27. Australia, where voting is mandatory, begins Voting and are likey to retire John Howard, according to the polls and pundits.

  28. from bobal's aussie link:
    "In the south, those willing Iraq to defeat were gloomily predicting that the withdrawal of British troops from Basra would lead to a brutal domination of the city by Iranian-backed terrorists. That hasn't happened."

    It's happening...The Islamists are enforcing Sharia. Women by the score have been killed.

  29. Trying to get a Handle on where the aid money to Pakistan really goes. If one dollar out of ten actually does some good, I'd be happily surprised.

  30. Someone said that "if the Pakistani government is seen as fighting the extremists on behalf of the Pakistani people the people will support the effort. But, if the people see the government fighting on behalf of the US, they will not support it."

    My sense of decorum prevents me from writing what I think about the "people."

  31. Neat Stuff: Venezuela's "Never Ending" Storm, Goats in Trees, Rain of Fishes, and of course Ideeho's "Rainbow of Fire."

  32. Seems as though you're caught, whit, between tyrant envy and tyrant hatred. That's a tough spot indeed.

  33. Local laws, locally enforced ...
    the new way forward.

    In Anbar and Basra, success all around.

    Get on the band wagon, whit.
    The train is leaving he Station, the Bremmer Program is now long forgotten. Iraq for Iraqi.
    An Islamic Republic, per their Constitution.

    A oxy-moronic doublespeak document if ever there was one. Praise be the Deptartments of State and Justice.
    Team43 kickin' ass.

  34. Crystal Gayle Night! Tonight! Clearwater River Casino! Haven't been to a concert in years, recapture youth etc. Right up there with Rainbows of Fire.

  35. Musharraf is a dictator but hardly a tyrant.

  36. Depends on if you're the popular politico exiled from the country, illegally.

    If you're a Baluck, he's a tyrant.
    Has been for a while.

    A coupster that promises elections then stages another coup, just prior to those elections. Arresting the civilian leadership of the country, while releasing jihadists.

    He is no Hitler, not a Pol Pot, but he is a dictorial tryant, none the less.

    The word derives from Latin tyrannus, and from Greek τύραννος tyrannos, meaning "illegitimate ruler".

    The word "tyrant" then carried no ethical censure; it simply referred to anyone who illegally seized executive power in a polis to engage in autocratic, though perhaps benevolent, government, or leadership in a crisis. Support for the tyrants came from the growing class of business people and from the peasants who had no land or were in debt to the wealthy land owners. It is true that they had no legal right to rule, but the people preferred them over kings or the aristocracy.

    Roman historians like Suetonius, Tacitus, Plutarch and Josephus often spoke of "tyranny" in opposition to "liberty". Tyranny was associated with imperial rule and those rulers who usurped too much authority from the Roman Senate.
    Those who were advocates of "liberty" tended to be pro-Republic and pro-Senate. For instance, regarding Julius Caesar and his assassins, Suetonius wrote:

    "Therefore the plots which had previously been formed separately, often by groups of two or three, were united in a general conspiracy, since even the populace no longer were pleased with present conditions, but both secretly and openly rebelled at his tyranny and cried out for defenders of their liberty."

    If the Senate candidates are arrested, the Judges as well, there is a tyrany upon the land.

    Now perhaps it is a lesser tryany than may follow, or not. Have faith in the comman man, defended by his Army. What is happening in Paks=istan, according to most, is the Army is abandoning the fight, against the jihadi. While the para-military enforces the martial law against civil and moderate society.

  37. Pakistan Army پاک فوج motto: Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah. Translated into English, it means
    "Faith, Piety and Fight in the path of God".

  38. Meanwhile, Pak army morale hits new low after desertions at Frontier
    Manu Pubby

    NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 4: A day before President Musharraf declared emergency in Pakistan, Taliban fighters in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) showed off close to 50 ‘captured’ paramilitary troops in the Swat valley. On Saturday, Islamic militants confirmed that 100 more security personnel — mostly police and paramilitary soldiers — had been ‘captured’ in the same area. And on Sunday, the Associated Press reported that militants freed 211 soldiers in exchange for the release of 28 insurgents from government custody, including some allegedly connected to suicide attacks. The soldiers had been taken captive on August 30 as their convoy travelled through South Waziristan.

    The past few months have been extremely difficult for the Pakistani security forces. Over 1,000 have been killed fighting extremists in NWFP and Waziristan, others have been targets of bombings — in an officers’ mess, outside a cantonment and, most recently, at an air force station. Others, like the paramilitary troops, have chosen the easy way by getting ‘captured’ willingly by the Taliban.

    But Indian intelligence agencies say that what has worried Musharraf most is the extraordinarily high number of desertions from the backbone of the Pakistani army — its infantry battalions.

    Latest estimates, churned out by Indian agencies on the basis of communication interceptions, inputs from agents and independent monitors, suggest a huge increase in the number of desertions in the regular army deployed in the NWFP and Waziristan.

    Indian intelligence officials say that from October 11 to 16, the Pakistani army HQ recorded an unprecedented 160 cases of desertions among all ranks. Of this, 97 per cent took place in the NWFP and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) while the remaining were recorded in Balochistan.

    “One or two cases of desertion every month are nothing big for an army of any substantial strength. But this deluge in Pakistan has happened after operations were intensified in the areas. They don’t seem to like the idea of fighting their own people,” said an Indian official who did not wish to be named.

    Other indicators, again gathered through various channels, point to a lowering of morale in troops fighting Taliban militants. A JCO committed suicide on October 18 in South Waziristan — inputs suggest that it was a protest against the army’s action in the region.


    Intelligence data suggest that another reason for the bad morale is the abysmally low kill ratio of elite troops against the Taliban fighters. Data put forward to top defence and intelligence officials says that the ratio is 1:1.37 — for every five Taliban fighters killed, three Pakistani soldiers die. This, in counter-insurgency operations, is simply unacceptable.

    Reports also say that the lack of public support from back home is also affecting the morale of troops. A recent communication intercept of a Pakistani Army officer’s conversation with his family revealed that all telephone lines of troops fighting in the area have been disconnected from the civilian network and soldiers are forbidden to leave camp.

    “The army seems to be afraid that if a soldier calls home or talks with an outsider, he will be decried for fighting his own countrymen. Troops have been insulated from the outside world to fight the war,” the official said.

  39. The conservative base from which the Army draws it's strength, is sympathetic to the jihadi.
    Pew polling seems to confirm that.

    The liberal constitutionalists, exiled and returned, may be corrupt, criminal even, but the charges are well known. As to both the two exPrime Ministers, only one of which can return. To then be arrested.

    Crass manipulation of the electorate.

    But representing the educated, moderate, secular society. Under attack from the jihadi sympathizers, at best. As for years the Army has sponsored the jihadi, now for the blowback of those policies.
    With NATO immobile in Afghanistan.

  40. "They don’t seem to like the idea of fighting their own people..."

    No shit.

    It's not their natural territory to begin with. And every incursion buys them more ill will.

    Plus they just suck. No target package of ours they couldn't fuck up.

    They really shouldn't be there at all. Too high profile and out of water.

    So here we are.

  41. Interesting on topic piece at westhawk, for those that care enough to care.

  42. Read the Westhawk, Rat. Thanks. He's just talking MAD again it seems.

  43. Treat them as an adversary.

    Sending them into who's camp?

  44. Westhawk

    Lord only knows what will happen. Tomorrow morning might bring a dead Musharaff, a dead Benazir, a military coup gainst Musharaff, a split in the army, only Coyote knows for sure, and he hasn't made up his mind yet. Maybe Israel strikes Iran. Maybe Olmert falls. Who the heck knows. It's hard not to be really pessimistic in these days.

    Global warming has caused an early snow in Spokane.

  45. I quess someone better ask Hillary what we should do. We may end up with the Habu option, sooner rather than later.

  46. NOVA is having a program on supervolcanoes right now. Just read a book named "Supervolcanoes" La Garita is the mother of them all.

    La Garita 1,200 cubic miles ejected

    Toba 670 cubic miles

    Yellowstone 590 cubic miles

    Paintbrush Tuff
    Topopah Spring Tuff 290 cubic miles

    Long Valley 120 cubic miles

    Toba--app.75,000 years ago is theorized to have wiped most of us out,and , in a genetic bottleneck, caused us, with all our outward differences, to be, basically, clones of one another. Brothers and sisters, we all are, like the Good Book says.....

  47. Mt St. Helens--little over 1 cubic mile ejected

    RIP Harry Truman

  48. Sun Nov 18, 08:52:00 PM EST


  49. Didn't know about La Garita, Bob. I did see the Yellowstone one on a program awhile back. I had thought that was the biggest.

  50. Hey, it's workin' in Anbar, Trish.

  51. I don't think God's listening.

  52. One person who was briefed on the proposal prepared by the Special Operations Command staff members, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because the briefing had not yet been approved, said it was in the form of about two dozen slides. The slides described a strategy using both military and nonmilitary measures to fight the militants.

    One slide showed a chart that categorized one to two dozen tribes by location — North Waziristan and South Waziristan, for example — and then gave a brief description of their location, their known or suspected links to Al Qaeda and Taliban, and their size and military abilities.

    The briefing said that United States forces would not be involved in any conventional combat in Pakistan. But several senior military and Pentagon officials said elements of the Joint Special Operations Command, an elite counterterrorism unit, might be involved in strikes against senior militant leaders under specific conditions.

    Two people briefed on elements of the approach said it was modeled in part on efforts in Iraq, where American commanders have worked with Sunni sheiks in Anbar Province to turn locals against the militant group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the homegrown Sunni extremist group that American intelligence agencies say is led by foreigners .
    “The face on this would be a local one,” said one person who has been briefed on the proposal. But that person cautioned that whether a significant number of tribal leaders joined an American-backed effort carried out by Pakistani forces was “the $64,000 question.”

    Allah, trish, OMFA

  53. When Pakistan detonated, and then announced the news of their first nuclear weapon, the Pakis went into a state of nuclear induced euphoric delirium (NIED).

    They love their bombs. They will not be deNIED. Any thoughts of a US strike to take their beloved bombs will make things worse. The likelihood of a 100% successful operation is Hollywood. The best we can do is pick a horse that looks like a mudder and let him ride.

  54. Gen. Musharraf’s regime was negotiating with Geo (similar demands for other channels too but I don’t know the specifics asked from ARY) with following main demands:

    * Shut down programs by Dr. Shahid Masood, Hamid Mir and Kamran Khan

    * Fire The News Islamabad editor Ansar Abbasi and some others.

    * All talk shows and other programs are first recorded and the tapes sent to authorities and are only aired after necessary filtering and removal of inappropriate contents.

    Media Crackdown

  55. I don't know who the admin is trying to impress/reassure with that one (Steve and the gang at Threatswatch, maybe) but it's a no go. And they know it.

  56. At least Bush had company while he ignored the explosive growth of the organization that attacked us on 9-11, even as he opened the doors wide to cheats, drug-dealers, murderers, and terrorists at home.
    This report describes his buddy Mushie being similarly incompetent in Pakistan, dismantling the most effective force they had when he took over.
    Too bad the cardboard cutouts these two parade to display their prowess will do nothing to protect us when the s... hits the fan.

    Biking has replaced fiddling as the activity of choice to employ while the Empire burns, but that's all she wrote, folks.
    Anthropology, Policing and Soldiering In al-Qaeda's Pakistani Insurgency

    We have made a concerted attempt to distinguish between the employment and deployment of Pakistani Police and paramilitary forces (Frontier Corps and constabularies) and the employment and deployment of the Pakistani Army when news coverage vaguely refers to Pakistani “troops” or “soldiers” being killed, captured or deserting in the conflict with the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the NorthWest Frontier Province (NWFP) inside Pakistan.
    This is very important in understanding the state of affairs there.

    Former head of Indian Intelligence, B. Raman, notes the distinction well and includes ethnic/tribal distinctions as well in a report from the South Asia Analysis Group’s International Terrorism Monitor . The unusually long excerpt is necessary, but read the report in full for additional context.

  57. Biking while Paskistan Burns, and the Homeland becomes Amexico

    WASHINGTON, July 17 — President Bush’s top counterterrorism advisers acknowledged Tuesday that the strategy for fighting Osama bin Laden’s leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan had failed, as the White House released a grim new intelligence assessment that has forced the administration to consider more aggressive measures inside Pakistan.

    At the White House, Ms. Townsend found herself in the uncomfortable position of explaining why American military action was focused in Iraq when the report concluded that main threat of terror attacks that could be carried out in the United States emanated from the tribal areas of Pakistan.

    She argued that it was Mr. bin Laden, as well as the White House, who regarded “Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.”

    Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state, acknowledged that Al Qaeda had prospered during the cease-fire between the tribal leaders and General Musharraf last September, a period in which “they were able to operate, meet, plan, recruit, and obtain financing in more comfort in the tribal areas than previously.”

  58. Westhawk, Short Version:

    Writing in today’s New York Times, Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon discussAmerica’s military options in the wake of a possible collapse of Pakistan’s government. The authors start off sensibly enough by describing Pakistan’s insuperable conditions:
    After declaring that stabilizing Pakistan is beyond the means of the United States and its allies, the authors then go on to describe a U.S. military expedition to do just that:
    Messrs. Kagan and O’Hanlon are depicting a fantasy. The best way to stir up a large-scale civil war in Pakistan and ensure Pakistan’s conquest by radical Islamists would be to inject a large Western military expeditionary force into the country. Pakistani society is substantially anti-American; a large Western army inside the heart of the country would be a dream-come-true for the Islamists.

    Contrary to the authors’ assertions, the U.S. cannot accept responsibility for Pakistan’s political course. The U.S. military has no ability to influence Pakistan’s politics and would only make matters worse if it tried.


  59. Stick this in your state's rights riff, 'Rat:

    "He went through a whole faux- bemused riff on Hillary’s driver’s license twists without ever uttering her name:

    “First, she was for the idea, and supported Governor Spitzer, who wanted to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
    Then she was against the idea.
    Then she was for and against the idea.

    And then finally she said it should be decided on a state-by-state basis.

    This is the only time in her career that she’s ever decided anything should be decided on a state-by-state basis.

    You know something? She picked out absolutely the wrong one.

    I mean, this is one of the areas that is given to the federal government to deal with under our Constitution, the borders of the United States, immigration.”

    Rudy laced his speech with faith references, including the assertion that America has “a divinely inspired role in the world” and a mission to “save a civilization from Islamic terrorism.”

    Hillary has her work cut out for her. Rudy will not be so easy to spank.

  60. Post-Debate Questions
    [Bill Bennett]
    Why is everyone saying Hillary Clinton's performance was so boffo and her answer on licenses to illegals — "No" — was so cool when it directly contradicted her answer earlier this month? This is what Kerry did — in favor before he was opposed — that we flogged him for for the duration of the campaign.

    Why isn't this an anchor?

    And why right now aren't Republican candidates shouting about immigration from the rooftops and putting Dems in a box?
    Obviously, Bill missed Rudy's speech!

  61. What I would give to have a security cam view of Trish's living room if Rudy was "forced" to push the Button on Pakistan!

  62. ...she'd be running around in circles screaming:
    "The Revolutionary Guards are an NGO, you Idiot!

    There WAS no other plan for the non-occupation of Iraq!!!
    ...fade to interference.

  63. Open Immigration, Trish!
    We are the Whirled.
    Vote Paul!