Jun 23, 2009

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Whacked GWOT Strat PSYOP Asset

A spick-and-spanny narrative has the Pakistanis turning against the Taliban. But what else can we have them say?

The last few months were really hairy in Swat and various other locales, and it was looking touch and go for our prospects in (the now officially obsolete usage -- per Bruce Riedel) Af-Pak

Per digression -- supposedly Baitullah Mehsud is in the crosshairs himself right now. Happy hunting.

A tribal leader who opposed the head of the Taliban in Pakistan has been shot dead in the north-western Pakistani town of Dera Ismail Khan, police said.

Qari Zainuddin, 26, who often criticised Taliban head Baitullah Mehsud, was killed by a gunman in his office early on Tuesday.


Earlier this month, Zainuddin criticised Mehsud after an attack on a mosque which killed 33 people.

He told Associated Press: "Whatever Baitullah Mehsud and his associates are doing in the name of Islam is not a jihad, and in fact it is rioting and terrorism".

"Islam stands for peace, not for terrorism," he had said.

Zainuddin's killing is being seen in Pakistan as a setback for the government in its efforts to isolate Mehsud as the security forces prepare for the next phase of their anti-Taliban offensive in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, says the BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Islamabad.

Earlier this month a prominent Muslim cleric who was outspoken in his opposition to the Taliban was killed in a suicide blast at his seminary in Lahore.
-BBC News Online

Jun 14, 2009

Ohnesorg Revelation

...recently in Berlin--first time back since peri-wallfall times. Commemoration:

The Ohnesorg revelation is really something. The "hidden hand of history" and all.

Even if Kurras had no orders to commit murder, the revelations will prompt Germany to contemplate its recent history once again.

Until now, no one had called into question the notion that Kurras was a "potentially fascist individual" with what German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno called an "authoritarian character."

He remains Ohnesorg's killer, but he can no longer be characterized as a puppet of a potentially fascist state. In fact, he was the puppet of a socialist state imbued with an equally authoritarian character, a realization that highlights yet again the similarities between the two ideologies.

All of this raises an intriguing question: What would have happened if the members of the student protest movement had soon discovered that Kurras was a member of the SED and worked for the Stasi?

Would an important part of German history have fallen by the wayside?

Would there have been no '68 movement, no student rebellion and no terrorist activities committed by the Second of June Movement and the Red Army Faction (RAF)?

Jun 12, 2009

Duel of the Spy Chiefs

From our boy. Shocker! [LMAO]:

Duel of the Spy Chiefs: A Turf War Exposes a Botched Reorganization

There are spy wars, and there are turf wars. But watch out when the two are combined, as in the battle over who will appoint America's intelligence chiefs abroad -- Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, or Leon Panetta, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.


The bureaucratic battle was unfortunate, but it will serve a useful purpose if it forces the White House, finally, to clarify the intelligence reorganization process that created the DNI structure in 2005.

The right division of labor is to let the CIA run operations, which begins with picking the people who will be America's point of contact with foreign intelligence services. Blair has the authority on paper to challenge that prerogative, but he was wrong to do so in practice. This is CIA turf, not just by tradition but also by common sense. Blair should back off.

Jun 11, 2009

Clausewitz on IO - The Taliban is Very Good

The plaintive (and yes, whiny) observation that the enemy is better than us in IO is getting kinda old. Kinda like the "we won all the battles in Vietnam" BS. Maybe someone should break it to them about war as the extension of politics.
U.S. fights an information war in Afghanistan -- L.A. Times


American public affairs officers previously have been slow in responding. U.S. military officials here complain that Taliban leaders are often better and faster at spreading their versions of deadly events.


[Public affairs officer Army Lt. Col. Clarence] Counts said U.S. officials understood that they needed to improve their information efforts, but often were constrained by security regulations that keep sensitive information under wraps. Taliban militants release detailed statements almost instantly because they often make up the information, Counts said.

An improved flow of information is seen as a crucial priority for Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the incoming commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, as he overhauls the Afghan war strategy.

Further underscoring the importance, the military has appointed a Navy rear admiral, Greg Smith, to oversee public affairs operations in Afghanistan. McChrystal is said to want more rapid public disclosure of information.

Recently, U.S. commanders here have expressed frustration over the propaganda bonanza provided to insurgents by the deaths of civilians in numerous U.S. airstrikes over the years.

"We're the superior fighting force, but they [the Taliban] find our weaknesses and go for them," said Air Force Lt. Col. Keith Bryza, who helps plan air support for ground units but is not involved in information efforts. "The Taliban is very good" at information operations.

Jun 3, 2009

Comrade Cell & Hurricane Nikita - About a Wall

...figured that the Cold War story might be of some interest. Always assumed that it had been a Sov decision -- as you know, that's not the kind of action that the client state would have wanted to conduct sans instructions or endorsement.

Who Ordered the Construction of the Berlin Wall?
Historians have long argued over whether East German leader Walter Ulbricht or his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev was ultimately responsible for the construction of the Berlin Wall. A newly discovered Russian document from August 1961 provides some answers.


For years, historians have been trying to clear this contradiction, and now an answer may be in the offing. It appears in a Soviet document that Matthias Uhl of the German Historical Institute in Moscow has discovered: a previously unknown record of a conversation that took place between the two leaders on Aug. 1, 1961.

By that time, the preparations for building the Wall were well underway, and the initiative apparently came from Khrushchev, as he said himself in the August meeting with his East German counterpart. A short time earlier, according to the document, Khrushchev had sent the Soviet ambassador in East Berlin to Ulbricht in order to "explain to him my idea of taking advantage of the current tensions with the West and laying an iron ring around Berlin." In the conversation, Khrushchev pointed out that "many engineers" had already left East Germany, and that something "had to be done."


Khrushchev wanted to convince the East German population that the wall being built would protect them from Western spies, and he said that the Germans would understand.

But even Khrushchev didn't appear to totally believe his own propaganda. When Ulbricht told him, during the August meeting, that he wanted to bring his economic experts into the loop, Khrushchev advised him otherwise. "You should not explain anything before the introduction of the new border regime," he said. "It would only strengthen the flow of people leaving."

If word got out about the wall construction, the Kremlin director recognized correctly, there could be "traffic jams" on Berlin's access roads. Such forms of traffic obstruction would constitute "a certain demonstration," he said.

Jacked & Hacked Spiegel Online

Jun 1, 2009

The Consumer's Guide to Intel Networks

Here's a copy of a handbook[114-page pdf] that is distributed to intelligence professionals, which, among other things, highlights some top-secret networks that until now have been, well, top secret.

Steven Aftergood, an analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, who directs the organization's Project on Government Secrecy, said about half the classified networks revealed in the 2009 "National Intelligence: A Consumer's Guide" handbook (really, that's the name) are new to him.

Those include:

-- HUMINT (Human Intelligence) Operational Communications Network (HOCNet), which provides information technology, communications and desktop services for Defense Department HUMINT needs.

-- Capitol Network (CapNet), formerly known as Intelink-P, provides congressional intelligence consumers with connectivity to Intelink-Top Secret and CIA Source. Intelink is the intelligence community's classified intranet.

-- Contractor Wide Area Network (CWAN) is NRO's Top Secret computer network for contractors.

-- The National Geospatial Intellligence Agency's Top Secret-Sensitive Compartmented Information Network.

-- The National Reconnaissance Office Management Information System (NMIS) is NRO's Top Secret network. NMIS is also referred to as GWAN (Government Wide Area Network).

-- Stone Ghost, the top-secret network run by the Defense Intelligence Agency to share information with Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. This capability also may be referred to as a "Q-Lat" or "Quad link."

Stone Ghost does not carry Intelink-Top Secret. It surfaced briefly and obliquely in a comment on an article written about a push by the National Security Agency to open up the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network to Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The Consumers Guide also disclosed the existence of two classified phone/fax networks that Aftergood said were new to him:

-- The National Operations and Intelligence Watch Officer Network (NOIWON) is a dedicated secure telephone system with a conferencing capability for the rapid exchange and sharing of high interest and time-sensitive information between Washington-area operations centers.

-- WashFax, a secure fax system intended for use within the Washington Beltway.

The Consumers Guide also hails Lt. Col. George Custer - famed for his last stand -- as a pioneer in the kind of geo-intelligence practiced by NGA. The handbook said Custer used a balloon to spy on confederate soldiers during the battle of Richmond in 1862, locating enemy encampments from high up, and, "as a result, he became one of the world's first geo-spatial intelligence analysts."

Too bad he did not have a balloon at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, where he and his men were soundly defeated.

Aftergood said Custer, at long last, "is entitled to some credit for a constructive contribution. Good for him."

-Jacked & Hacked NextGov