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Entries in United States (11)

Saturday
Jan092010

Time for the Administration and the Country to 'Get Real' on National Security: Part I of II

While I have not written anything in regards to national security lately, I still consider it one of the most important topics affecting our Nation today, if not the most important.

The recent failed suicide bombing attempt on Christmas day, the attack in Afghanistan that killed CIA agents, and other incidents in the last few weeks alone look as if they are testing the system in addition to directly making attacks.

These incidents as well as some others should be a wake up call to the Administration that we are not getting it right and that we need to change the way we are responding to the threat.

While many will point out the President has recently stated we are "at War" and his use of the phrase "Ultimately, the buck stops with me." It was not until 13 days after the Christmas day failed attack that these remarks were made. Giving plenty of time for the administration to see and hear how the public wanted them to respond and then using those terms.

In the last year we have seen the Administration acting as if it we are not at war, and Napolitanos blatant non-use of the words terrorism, and war, by replacing these, and specifically the Global War on Terror with "Overseas-Contingency-Operation", and "Man-Caused-Disasters" is only one part of the problem. But lets start with this.

These changes in terms, I and many others would argue that it "Plays Down" the urgency in which we need to respond to the threat. It also can embolden the enemy in that it says you are not taking the threat as seriously as in the past.

In addition to these changes in terms having an effect, you also have the CIA under pressure from the Administration not to use certain tactics. Further more you had politicians calling for investigations into the CIA practices, and a subsequent move of giving captured unlawful combatants or illegal enemy combatants the same rights as U.S. citizens and the right to a trial of "their peers" in the U.S. judicial system. This presents a whole host of issues. Many of which I will not be able to touch on here, but lets take a look at some of them.

First, the enemy with which we are engaged does not recognize, nor have they signed the Geneva Convention. They openly and thoughtfully engage in war against civilian targets. They continue to attempt to try and kill as many civilians as they possibly can. Bin Laden has commented that he wants to see at least 4 million Americans killed, of which 2 million MUST be children. Think about that for a moment and let it sink in. They have already attacked a school in Beslan, Russia killing between 500-700 people 300 of which were children, and they would like to do this here in the United States.

Second, our troops may now have to decide if they have to read Miranda Rights to the enemy only causing more confusion to the fog of war during battle.

Third, if we are at war do we give our captured the rights afforded in the Geneva Convention or not? Even though they are illegal enemy combatants? Though they do not afford our troops, or citizens such rights? Remember Daniel Pearl who was murdered by none other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed now on trial in New York City, and how about those four contractors in Iraq burned alive.

Four, if we do afford them rights under the Geneva Convention, inserting them into the civilian judicial system and prison system or release may actually violate the following convention terms (it is a stretch but intended to highlight aspects of the legal mess created). Part III - Captivity under section II, Chapter I Article 23

No prisoner of war may at any time be sent to or detained in areas where he may be exposed to the fire of the combat zone...

Some other articles such as Article 25 which affords the prisoners some safety which you could argue that they are not safe in the general prison system. Not that I care if something happens to them, but it could cause more problems for the United States.

These issues only begin to scratch the surface of the problem with legal issues. Then there is the time when the President clearly misspoke saying that when the terrorists are convicted and executed we will see that he made the right choice. That in and of itself creates a whole other avenue of legal issues. Basically having the President of the U.S. convicting them before the trial, and what about the issue of fair trials?

While I don't want them here being subject to our judicial system in the first place how can we maintain the sanctity of our system if we allow them to be tried in this manner?

This brings me to Janet Napolitano, the current head of DHS and former Governor of AZ, who has zero experience in counter-terrorism or security who also misspoke saying that "The system worked" just days after the failed attempt. What system would that be? Where we leave it up to the civilian population to tackle and subdue those who threaten us? 

She of course a day later said "No secretary of homeland security would sit here and say that a system worked prior to this incident which allowed this individual to get on this plane."

As if this were not enough, but the fact that she is surprised that Al-Qaeda has the capability to use an "individual" to carry out a suicide-bombing attempt goes to show that neither she, nor the Administration gets or understands the threat that we face. Especially since all such attacks require individuals acting as such in order to carry them out.

Janet Napolitanos own words on video:

Then we have the head of the NCTC (National Counterterrorism Center) Michael E. Leiter who remained on his ski vacation after reports of the failed attack occurred. 

The more interesting thing about this is that the day before the attack Michael E. Leiter in an interview with NPR said the following:

"We're not going to stop every attack. Americans have to very much understand that it is impossible to stop every terrorist event. But we have to do our best, and we have to adjust based on, again, how the enemy change their tactics."

This statement is true, but coupled with the way nearly the entire Administration has reacted and handled everything about the threat again, only emboldens the enemy. Clear direction and action must be taken and it must start with our leader and President. 

Our President stayed on vacation, and gave a lax statement about the incident without wearing a tie as it was noted. In turn his subordinates within the DHS and NCTC took the same actions, and made weak statements.

Think about how the following statement while it says virtually the same thing, it also encourages our intelligence forces and those on the front lines to give it their best every step of the way.

"But every day terrorists plot and plan to try to attack us. They only have to be right once. We have to be right 100% of the time. But I know, too, that can only happen because men and women in uniform are fighting on the front lines."

That statement was made by Condoleezza Rice as she nevertheless warned about letting down our guard against another terrorist attack.

There is a very large difference in the way this Administration has handled the terror threat and the last Administration, and there is no doubt that the terrorists know it too.

I am sure it was not an accident that that this past week we also learned that the Obama Administration has ordered the CIA to use spy satellites to study and watch climate change instead of watching our enemies at the gate. I wonder how much more we will learn about laxes in security over the next few months.

In any case I have some solutions/suggestions that I am sure will not be followed but here they are:

First and foremost , if we are at war, and I most certainly think we are lets start acting like it. Ramp up the language, and mean it. Give full support to the CIA, Pentagon and other agencies and troops who are on the front lines fighting this war everyday. This includes support for first responders such as Police, Fire and EMS.

Second, reverse course on the decision to close Gitmo and send those who we formerly tried in a court of law to Gitmo as well.

Third, as long as we are at war, those prisoners will be held indefinitely see Part IV Under Section II Article 118 with the exception that instead of being released at the close of war we do the following.

Fourth, the illegal enemy combatants will be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity in an international court of law as at the end of WWII or we will maintain military tribunals as we were before.

Fifth, with people calling the Presidents recent statement on January 7th, 2010 "Presidential" giving him credit for taking resposnibilty for what happened, it takes more than words to fix the pervasive problems, that he now calls "systemic" and they became that way because he let them get that way by not taking it seriously.

Since this post is somewhat lengthly I have broken it into two parts. I have several more things to say and suggestions to make and will continue this in Part II to follow shortly. Some of this will be on how we can effectively protect ourselves and combat terrorism. Stay tuned.




Friday
Nov062009

Al-Qaeda Calls For Small-Scale Attacks Against The West Using Home-Made Bombs

On Monday November 2nd Reuters did a story that Al Qaeda is calling for home-made bomb attacks against the West.

It also calls for smaller scale attacks against "secular media figures and columnists who promote the policies of rulers in the world's top oil exporting region."

Abu Basir Nasser al-Wahayshi, the Al Qaeda leader of the groups wing in the Arabian Peninsula called on militants to attack airports and trains in the West and said they could easily make bombs from household materials.

His statements also said, "You do not need to exert great effort or spend a lot of money to make 10 grams of explosives, more or less. Do not spend a long time searching for materials as they already exist in your mother's kitchen," Wahayshi wrote in the article, posted on an Islamist website on Sunday.

"Make them (bombs) in the shape of a bomb you hurl, or detonate through a timer or a remote detonater or a martyrdom-seeker belt or any electrical appliance."

Wahayshi called upon people to use kives and apparently even their bare hands, "secular media figures and writers who mock the orders of religion and those who promote and justify (the actions) of infidel rulers".

"Knives are a good remedy for some and ... (for others) severe beating until they are confined to bed or lose one of their senses," added the militant leader.

Calling on militants to assassinate al Qaeda's enemies, Wahayshi stated that "It is a duty that a Muslim mujahid be busy planning to reap the heads of infidels."

Small scale attacks, especially the Lone Wolf present the biggest challenge to law enforcement since there is little to no "chatter" on these events. 

Friday
Aug282009

FEMA Issues Report on Personal Preparedness in America

The findings of this report are particularly interesting in that a large percentage of Americans who completed the survey (30 percent) have not taken steps to prepare because they believe that first responders (Fire, Police, EMS) will be able to help them after a disaster, and that more than 60 percent are expecting the same first responders to help them within the first 72 hours after a disaster.

As we have seen in recent history those who are depending on the government, be it local, state or federal and emergency responders as their primary source for help will be the most vulnerable.

In addition, only 10 percent of respondents are prepared to shelter in place in their homes if required to do so.

Click the link to read the entire report titled: Personal Preparedness in America: Findings from the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey

Friday
Apr242009

URGENT UPDATE: CDC Says Too Late To Contain Swine Flu

URGENT UPDATE: CDC saying it is too late to contain the outbreak of Swine Flu H1N1

The information is coming in fast I was the total reported cases in MEXICO is now over 1000

The cases in U.S. is around 9, CA (7) TX (2)

 

For more information see the CDC Swine Flu page

THIS IS AN UPDATE TO THIS POST:

Mexican Swine Flu Epidemic Sparks Concerns In United States and Canada

Friday
Apr242009

Mexican Swine Flu Epidemic Sparks Concerns In United States, And Canada

An outbreak of Swine Flu in Mexico has infected nearly 600 people and approximately 61 people have died as of this posting from the deadly virus.

There are also reports of 7 people infected within the United States in California (5) and Texas (2) from Swine Flu as well.

One major source of concern was that the virus included strains from different types of flu.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus in the United States was a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and humans. All seven American patients have recovered.

According to Dave Daigle, spokesperson for the CDC, "This is the first time that we've seen an avian strain, two swine strains and a human strain."

Mexico has canceled school for millions of children in Mexico City and has warned people to avoid shaking hands or kiss when greeting and not to share food, glasses or cutlery for fear of contracting the flu.

For more information on Swine Flu visit this CDC page