Apr 28, 2011

More "Black Market Uniform" bullshittery

Gunman Kills Foreign Troops at Kabul Airport

Six NATO service members were killed on Wednesday by a gunman wearing an Afghan Air Force uniform while attending a meeting of foreign and Afghan officers on the military side of Kabul International Airport, according to statements from Afghan and NATO spokesmen.

It was the fourth incident in the past two weeks in which a person wearing an Afghan security force uniform attacked from within a government compound.

Lemme guess, was the inside help Taliban received in the Kandahar jailbreak provided by "persons wearing prison guard uniforms"?

That we are getting Af spokesmen to tow our narrative line following recent incidents is evidence of a thus far well executed IO matrix, although this article does show some slippage

Apr 27, 2011

When Your Numbers Come Up It Sure As Hell Ain't The Lucky One


The fact that USG has gone full retard is certainly among the sub rosa details that they wish to remain out of public consciousness.  

Unfortunately for them, an old truism is operative here. 

If you wish in one hand and shit in the other, which one gets full first?

The ballooning category of public-but-classified documents has befuddled officials and led to a series of unusual pronouncements from government agencies and those who work with them.

In December, Columbia University warned international relations students that commenting on the documents disclosed by WikiLeaks online or linking to them might endanger their chances of getting a government job. The same month, the United States Agency for International Development told workers that viewing the documents on an unclassified computer at work or home could violate security rules that govern their employment. In February, an Air Force unit cautioned that employees and even their family members could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for looking at the WikiLeaks documents at home.

Some of those warnings were quickly modified or withdrawn after attracting public ridicule. But the general principle that the leaked files remain classified remains in effect, with varying consequences.

Some foreigners applying for asylum in the United States have attached diplomatic cables printed from the Internet that describe repression in their native countries — requiring the Department of Homeland Security to store their applications in special safes and to apply cumbersome security rules.

State Department employees have confided that they read leaked cables on newspaper Web sites at home rather than risk trouble by viewing them at work. A Times reporter who appeared with a State Department official on a recent panel was advised not to show leaked cables as slides — the official was prohibited from looking at them.

Dragon Lady

Madame Nhu, Vietnam War Lightning Rod, Dies

She was in Los Angeles on Nov. 1 [1963] when news flashed that Diem and her husband had been shot to death in a coup. “The deaths were murders,” she told reporters, “either with the official or unofficial blessing of the American government.” 

(You know what they say about the accuracy of a stopped clock - she nailed that one)

Apr 26, 2011

Panama's Own Charlie Brown And Lucy

McClatchy has published what is the funniest WL cable I have seen in some time. (Esp ¶ 9).  

Cable: Panama's intel chief shows anti-U.S. bias

Topic isn't really funny, but the episodes described are really special.  

(Cable is hosted by McClatchy - as safe as any of these are.)

Apr 24, 2011

One Trick Pony Put Down

Here is the sole item of some interest among Sunday's NYT Book Review items: Questioning America’s Faith in Air Power.

My only reservation is that the book is by Martin van Creveld.  Beschloss's review is worthy, though.

Speaking about mil "experts", it is gratifying to see that folks are finally catching on to some of the more egregious attention whores (need we really provide names?). One-trick ponyism gets really tired when advice keeps costing lives (and the reputation of U.S. military - you can only lose so many wars before the word gets around).

And here's an obit from page A-22 of today's NYT: Violet Cowden, 94; Flew Military Planes for War Effort

Apr 18, 2011

The Old "Black Market Uniform" Misdirect

I've been meaning to mention this for awhile. This morning's NYT reminded me.

Remember how many of the suicide attacks against American and Iraqi forces in Iraq were attributed to terrorists "wearing Iraqi military uniforms", implying that enemies were simply putting on military or police uniforms to gain access to conduct their attacks?

We did a piece on SMC in 2006 expressing our skepticism about such representations.

We have since received confirmation of our suspicions, follow up investigations nearly always ID'ed the perp[s] as real members of the security forces.

The media have been regurgitating the same narrative in Afghanistan:
It was the latest in a string of attacks targeting Afghan government and military officials in what the Taliban have called the beginning of their spring offensive. On Saturday, a suicide bomber killed five NATO service members in eastern Afghanistan A day earlier, a suicide bomber killed the police chief of Kandahar Province. In both attacks, the bombers were dressed in Afghan army or police uniforms.

The same motive for the media manipulation is in play. To acknowledge that enemies have infiltrated our only hope for a decent exit from the war (such as it is) would cast some doubt about the strategy we are hanging our hats upon.

This is far from our only problem in Afghanistan. Pak sanctuaries, Afghan gov incompetence (and corruption), challenges in getting enough warm bodies to join Afghan mil and police, and dwindling options to address all of these issues are certainly more serious obstacles.

But deluding ourselves is rarely a recipe for success in any endeavor.

WaPo, Laying It On Thick

WaPo has really been laying it on thick lately.

A few days ago they had the nerve to dispute the SMC and NYT story about the 300+ folks getting their walking papers from Pakistan:
The official also dismissed reports that Pasha had demanded a reduction in the number of CIA officers deployed to Pakistan, saying, “That did not come up.”
Maybe it didn't come up in the Langley meeting between Panetta and Gen Pasha, but it sure as shit was raised a couple of weeks ago. The implication in the WaPo was that the NYT got burned.

And the same "reporter" Karen DeYoung also had the temerity - on the same day - to claim that Saudi Arabia was our main intel fulcrum in Mid-East (Jordan and Izzy might beg to differ):
Saudi Arabia, in addition to being the world’s largest oil exporter and the site of the Muslim world’s holiest sites, is the leading U.S. regional partner on counterterrorism matters.
Keeping people in the dark (or worse, misinforming them) seems to be the in-thing these days.

We have no problem with them keeping their mouths shut, but heaping BS kinda irks us.

Apr 17, 2011

Painstakingly crafted BS, aimed at D.C. -- Too Bad (Would've Been Such An Uplifting Story)

Painstakingly crafted BS, aimed at D.C.

In Afghanistan’s south, signs of progress in three districts signal a shift

If this isn't a good enough tell:

“We start this year in a very different place from last year,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top coalition commander in Afghanistan, said in a recent interview.

Petraeus has not provided his withdrawal recommendation to Obama. The four-star general said the progress across southern Afghanistan remains “fragile and reversible,” although he also has made it clear to his subordinates that he thinks it can be cemented with enough time and military pressure.
Then this seals the deal:
Intercepted Taliban communications suggest insurgent commanders are increasingly demoralized, according to military intelligence officers.
The SMC maxim isn't something to be fucked with. Apparently they think most readers cannot imagine what would happen to above ref'd "military intelligence officers" [plural] if they had - without authorization - discussed this type of intel product with a reporter (even from WaPo).

And if intercepts really were showing this, it would be operationally imprudent in the extreme to advertise same.

Since the bullshittery meter has registered a positive, the baby must be thrown out with the bathwater.

Too bad, and it would have been such an uplifting story.

Apr 15, 2011

Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers

It's a highly existential thing going on here (unlike many an other matter) -- maybe that's why we so enjoyed the book. From a review by Foreign Affairs. (Today's easter egg is a nod to V -- The Falcon)
This is the story, initially set in the nineteenth century, of seven chocolate makers -- three English, one Dutch, two Swiss, and one American -- struggling to produce salable products.
Eventually, determined entrepreneurs met the technical challenges of converting a bitter bean into the many delicious forms of chocolate familiar today. The three English firms -- Fry, Cadbury, and Rowntree -- were run by Quaker families, and the founder of the American one, Milton Hershey, had gone to a Quaker school. All the companies were imbued with a strong sense of social responsibility, founding orphanages, creating model towns, and engaging in other good works as they prospered.

Apr 9, 2011

Some Good Book Reviews

Some really good reviews from tomorrow's NYT Book Review.

Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley: Team of Rivals (quite outstanding, full of great quotes) This review reminded me of that great scene in Tim Weiner's CIA book when senior CIA were briefing Ike (the commander of the largest secret invasion in history) on their retarded Bay of Pigs plans.

How Evolution Explains Altruism

Why the Eichmann Trial Really Mattered

And from tomorrows NYT Magazine, a kinda relevant piece:

Package to Nowhere

Apr 4, 2011

Burn Qu'ran Burn (Bad Shit)

US media played down Reverand (LMDAO) Jones' Qur'an burning. Nice. No play in Afghanistan media either.

Yeah well, till our bipolar "ally" Hamid Karzai aka 'The Rug' chose to make a stink about it.

"Dave, where the fuck's Rug's lith?!"

Bad shit all around.

(Remember Petraeus called Jones personally last year and requested he tone it down.)

Apr 1, 2011

Perfect PSYOP (if that's what we have here)

Interesting NYT piece. Classic strategy, as you well know.

Get these fuckers killing each other just makes everything a bit easier.

Losses in Pakistani Haven Strain Afghan Taliban
The Afghan Taliban are showing signs of increasing strain after a number of killings, arrests and internal disputes that have reached them even in their haven in Pakistan, Afghan security officials and Afghans with contacts in the Taliban say.
The killings, coming just as the insurgents are mobilizing for the new fighting season in Afghanistan, have unnerved many in the Taliban and have spread a climate of paranoia and distrust within the insurgent movement, the Afghans said.
While the arrests have been conducted by Pakistan security forces, it is not clear who is behind the killings. Members of the Taliban attribute them to American spies, running Pakistani and Afghan agents, in an extension of the American campaigns that have used night raids to track down and kill scores of midlevel Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and drone strikes to kill militants with links to Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Others, including Pakistani and Afghan Parliament members from the region, say that the Pakistani intelligence agencies have long used threats, arrests and killings to control the Taliban and that they could be doing so again to maintain their influence over the insurgents.