Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Homeland Security Prose Poem

Working at a community produces some unique opportunities for collaboration. I share with my colleagues the latest about world affairs, the military or homeland security. In return, I get some interesting insights from those in the sciences or liberal arts. For instance, upon reading the DHS list of words used to scour for "threats" my good friend who chairs the English department set pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and composed this little ditty;

 Domestic Security This drill we do, the one that scatters my synapses like cops in disaster assistance mode, the building surrounded as they attempt recovery of good intentions pitching themselves through smoke out-belching windows as the structure melts below them, not that there’s no value in the exercise of cleaning up the dirty bomb that is our lives, but if national preparedness were a metaphor for what we’ve together become, we’re beyond prevention, orange alert, even mitigation of this, which I cannot stress enough, is not metaphor for the attack on the offices of my well-being, hypothetical or otherwise, unclear as I am on rules of enforcement or response or authorities under which I might address this attack of itself complete, type of the modern, roll through my chant with all your lawless music.--Author, Geoffrey Woolf

 I told him that such prose could not be left to our Facebook musings and must be shared with the masses. He responded with alacrity which in-turn generated some envy amongst his other Facebook friends. What can I say? I work at a college!

US military warns Syria as pressure builds on Obama

Last month, the United States positioned F-22 fighters in the United Arab Emirates (without much fanfare). The location of the UAE to both Syria and Iran seemed to indicate an escalation in military options for either of the situations. Now for the first time in the media, we have the United States indication military intervention in Syria is an option. It has always seemed hypocritical of the US to have led the air campaign in Libya while taking a more measured approach with Syria. The massacres being committed by the Assad regime are just incomprehnsible but so is continuing to pursue UN sanctions that are blocked by Russia and China.


At the same time, Reuters is now reporting about the "Flame" cyber weapon which appears to a stronger, more complex relative of Stuxnet. Stuxnet effectively shut-down systems in Iran's nuclear reactor facilities. Preliminary reports indicated Stuxnet was the result of some type of US/Israeli collaboration. The Reuters article does not make that connection but does indicate that "Flame" is present infected computers in Pakistan, Syria and Iran. Therefore it seems the release of information concerning "Flame" was to coincide with the US saber-rattling. The increase threats of US military intervention also seem linked to the Presidential elections with surging Romney calling for more action by President Obama.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Anarchist group vows to wage 'low level warfare' on Olympics

I blame Tom Clancy.  His novels weave complicated threads of political ambitions executed via super soldiers and spies.  You can't write 1,000 page novels without having large scale plans carried out against a global backdrop.  Clancy's novel are extremely popular amongst military and government employees, thus when 9/11 occurred it confirmed on a subconscious level the "sophistication" of all terrorist cells. But I've often wonder about just he opposite, the "death by a thousand paper cuts".  Weapons and mass destruction are very expensive and difficulty to use.  Low level terrorism (such as the Mumbai raids using just assault rifles in the hands of a well trained small unit) can be even more effective.  The Informal Anarchist Federation is creating quite a mess by damaging railroad signals.  Nothing large scale or requiring sophisticated weapons, just lifting up some concrete slabs to burnout the signal cabling.  In Italy, they went old school and shot the CEO of a nuclear power plant in both kneecaps.  Anthrax and dirty bombs may be the mainstay of terrorists in movies but the low level warfare techniques FAI may prove far more effective.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Arab Spring, one year late

The Arab Spring began last year and saw Qaddafi as well as Mubarak fall. Assad in Syria, at least for now, remains in power via violence and despite UN resolutions. The US was reminded of this when the NATO conference was held in Chicago. Images of protestors lying down in the streets of Chicago being taken away by police failed to make any real impact on the American psyche. It is thus not surprising that this little gem went largely unnoticed: "United States and NATO officials announced yesterday that the North Atlantic alliance has no intention of intervening on the violence being caused be President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It was also said that Syria was not discussed during Sunday’s NATO sessions."--press release from the Syrian American Council The US had no problems in convincing NATO to "assume" the lead in the airstrikes that helped bring down Qaddafi. But that was when Sarkozy was still the French president and the EU looked like it might still survive. Now the French have a new President and the Greek and Spanish bailouts may spell the end of the EU. The more jaundiced readers might also point out that Libya's oil fields were a far more compelling reason to launch airstrikes than ousting a vicious Syrian ruler. I personally suspect the proximity to Iran and the backing of Syria by Russia and China has been a much larger factor than the State Department wishes to acknowledge.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Francois Hollande's wife Valerie Trierweiler wants to be France's new First Lady

Somehow, it seems apropos that France's politics have been shaped and changed by sex. Sarkozy starts the latest trend with his songstress/model wife Carla Bruni. Marrying a former model and songwriter guaranteed Sarkozy celebrity status by virtue of his wife's associates. It seemed to give Sarkozy a swagger in his approach to international affairs that Mitterand would have been loathed to demonstrate. His swagger and celebrity friends rubbed the French people the wrong way. It appeared Dominique Strauss-Kahn was ready to replace Sarkozy until the former succumbed to his on sex scandal. In keeping with conspiracists the world over, the scandal seemed to flame just long enough to eliminate Strauss-Kahn as competition for Sarkozy. A sexy wife and a sex scandal has led the way for Francois Hollande to become the new president...a man who has never held an elected post previously. Furthermore, in keeping with Sarkozy and Strauss-Kahn, he has his own scandal involving his current wife who was the other woman.

Hollande is an unknown and at the very least it means the prominent role France has played in the Libyan crisis may change. If France reduces its role, then the US will be without a major European power other than Britain (which continues to reduce its own military forces)

Daily Mail

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cleveland bridge bomb plot sting operation results in five arrests

Why should New York or Washington DC have all of the fun? Cleveland has now entered the hallowed ranks of a terrorist target. Five would-be terrorists with delusions of blowing up a bridge were arrested through an FBI sting. The case shows that any moron with malicious intent can become a potential terrorist and not all reside on the Eastern Seaboard. Cleveland does not come to mind as a major terrorist target. There is no Wall St or national capitol. It is a major metropolitan area with major rail, air and Interstate lines running through the area. It should remind us that no matter how much the President assures us Al Qaeda will be destroyed, they are only one of many potential terrorists.
Washington Post