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Can you imagine the huge and cry that the press would bemoan if the congress tried this under a Republican President? Stan McCrystal Every General knows the implications of his comments. Both on & off the record. Now I am still unclear as to any quotes directly attributed to McCrystal. But, it could be that he said something knowing full well that this would win him a final trip home. Thomas Sowell has a column in this issue regarding just that. Patreaus Yes, he now has a demotion. Being assigned to the post of his subordinate unit commander, McCrystal. This should be some indication of the contempt that this White House has for him. Although I don’t know why. It was Patreaus who put into effect this policy of “if you make contact, break contact.” This to me, IS THE HEIGHT OF STUPIDITY!!! If it is not our intention to defeat the enemy on the battlefield, wherever and whenever he is met, then what the fuck are we doing there? Is this some mad man’s game of metal masturbation???!!! If he does NOT understand, that if we don’t defeat them there, that we will have to try and defeat them HERE, then this man is NOT a war fighter. He is a tool of the administration, for whom he has carried more water than Gunga Din, and has just been rewarded with a slap in the face. The fact that the Taliban has given their endorsement, should say it all. Afghan Smuggling It was announced yesterday (6/28/10), that many of the Afghan Political Elite have been flying out Billions of US dollars in AID (Agency for International Development-US State Department Office), money from Kabul airport for the past 18 months. Such were the results of a Joint Customs & DEA Investigation in Afghanistan. Yes, the rats are jumping from the sinking ship. We all knew it was coming. Russian Spies Just in case one of you ever by chance gets to see a copy of this issue; Job Well Done! But we’ll NEVER let you see us bleed! Until July, With Warmest Regards, Mark E. Juppe

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My Two Cents,

By Mark E. Juppe, Imperial, Exalted Editor For Life & Grand Imperial Pooh Baah

New Columnist Oil Spill It seems pretty clear and obvious to me that Chairman Obama never had any desire or intention of protecting the gulf shores. This to me is illustrated best by the grounding of the 16 barges by the Coast Guard because they required certifications of life vests and fire extinguishers. It is Obama’s intention to make this, THE Three Mile Island of oil drilling. By the way, I might remind all my readers that nobody died during the drama at Three Mile Island. But Jane Fonda, Jack Lemon & Michael Douglas made that that was forgotten, while making a fortune off of the movie, “China Syndrome.” No Budget The Democrats have come right out and told the pubic that they will not present a budget to the congress this year on 1 October. My thought on this subject is that they know full well that if they did, and with all of the press coverage that the annual budget gets every year, that they are doing this because the press would then HAVE to run stories on the trillions of dollars in deficit spending that are projected far beyond the foreseeable future. The fingerprints of the Government’s Ponzie scheme with Medicare & Medicaid to help pay for Obamacare will come to light, and Obamacare itself, Cap & Trade, Projected Energy tax increases, Value Added Taxation plans, all will brightly on display for all the world to see. And that such a sight will turn the stomach of even the most fanatically loyal and devote of Kool Aide drinkers!

Letters To & From the Editor
A New Subscriber & Associate… We have just been contacted by another publisher, by the name of Chris Graham, publisher of “The Counter Terrorist Magazine: www.thecounterterroristmag.com I think this is a stellar publication, with first rate articles and analysis. I highly encourage everybody to visit this site and look through the attachment below for an example of just what an exceptional magazine it is. Furthermore, Chris has put a call for contributions to his magazine. His initial request for any and all personnel and personal experience concerning FID missions. As an example, Chris pointed to the Article Sniper vs. Sniper. As for specific details, any and all interested parties can obtain details from myself or I will put you in touch with Christ directly. Welcome Chris and thank you! Vol 3 No 1 http://digital.ipcprintservices.com/publication/?i=29671&pre=1

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Mark:

The Official Newsletter of the Alphatraz Deathcamp Survivors Society & the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

run, and that they had better make the best deal they can get with our enemies. But the worst aspect of the national security policy of this administration is its clear intention to do nothing that has any realistic chance of stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. This may be the most grossly irresponsible policy in all of history, because it can leave this generation-- and future generations-- of Americans at the mercy of terrorists who have no mercy and who cannot be deterred, as the Soviet Union was deterred. All the current political theater about "international sanctions" is unlikely to make the slightest difference to Iran. Nor is the administration itself likely to expect it to. What then is its purpose? To fool the American people into thinking that they are doing something serious when all that they are doing is putting on a charade by lining up countries to agree to actions that they all know will not have any real effect. There is another aspect to General McChrystal's "resignation." Everyone seems to be agreed that Stanley McChrystal has been a soldier's soldier-- someone who knows what to do on a June 23, 2010 battlefield and is not afraid to put himself in danger to do it. Do we need more generals like this or do we need political generals who know how to cultivate Washington politicians, in order to advance their own careers? Some people see a parallel between McChrystal's A Sad Day "resignation" and President Harry Truman's firing of General Douglas MacArthur. No two situations are ever exactly the same, but by Thomas Sowell The flap about General Stanley McChrystal's "resignation" was some of the parallels are striking. MacArthur was proud not only of his military victories but nobody's finest hour. But there are some painful lessons in all this that also of the fact that he won those victories with lower casualty rates go beyond any of the individuals involved-- the general, the president among his troops than other generals had. But General MacArthur or any of the officials at the Pentagon or the State Department. too was not always discreet in what he said, and also had reasons to What is far more important than all these individuals put have contempt for politicians, going all the way back to FDR, who cut together are the lives of the tens of thousands of Americans fighting in the army's budget in the 1930s, while Nazi Germany and imperial Afghanistan. What is even more important is the national security of Japan were building up huge military machines that would kill many this country. an American before it was all over. It is certainly not politic for a general or his staff to express If we are creating an environment where only political their contempt for civilian authorities publicly. But what is far more important-- from the standpoint of national security-- is whether what generals can survive, what will that mean for America's ability to win military victories without massive casualty rates? Or to win military those authorities have done deserves contempt. victories at all? My hope is that General McChrystal will write a book about his experiences in Afghanistan-- and in Washington. The public needs Monday, June 14, 2010 to know what is really going on, and they are not likely to get that information from politicians. This is, after all, an administration that waited for months last year before acting on General McChrystal's urgent request for 40,000 more troops, which he warned would be necessary to prevent the failure of the mission in Afghanistan. He got 30,000 eventually-- and a Can Republicans Win the Hispanic Vote? public statement by President Obama about when he wants to start by Star Parker withdrawing American troops from that country. New Census data shows the continued trend that the In no previous period of history has an American president United States is becoming a nation increasingly less white. announced a timetable for pulling out troops. They may have had a According to this latest report, 48.6% of children born timetable in mind, but none of these presidents was irresponsible in the U.S. between July 2008 and July 2009 were “non-white enough to tell the world-- including our enemies-- when our troops minorities.” That’s up two percentage points from two years would be leaving. earlier, and soon the figure will cross the 50% mark. Such information encourages our enemies, who know that The largest growth demographic is Hispanics, who they need only wait us out before they can take over, whether in accounted for almost 55% of our population growth. And, most Afghanistan or elsewhere. At the same time, it undermines our allies, of this growth – two thirds – came from births, not from who know that relying on the United States is dangerous in the long Keep me posted regarding interest in Firsthand. Can be yours or another's, now or in the future. Doesn't have to be FID. I was intersted in FID, because I think that is the heart of some of the most valuable GWOT work, It seems an area that may be easier to avoid dislosure of sensitive info than some others and even though I have done FID work in Iraq, your community really holds the greatest resident expertise for this... RE The CT mag subscription push deal, I am trying to confirm with SSI to support three simultaneous efforts (you and two gear co's owned by friends/operators) as a proof of concept. Will let you know when we can pull the trigger- should be soon. Please shoot me your # and I will give a call as soon as I have news. S/F Chris Garcia (561) 267-4648

The S-1 Report

immigration.

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If Republicans make this choice clear to these folks, political change has got to happen.

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Aside from the knowledge that the country is becoming more colorful, an obvious thing we’ve got to be thinking about is what this means politically. Given that Democrats have been getting the majority of Hispanic and black votes – the two largest minorities – the straightforward conclusion appears to be that demographic trends favor the Democrat Party. In the 2008 elections, white voters, for the first time ever, accounted for less than 75% of the total vote. It’s been noted that if each ethnic group voted as it did in 2008, but made of up the same percentage of the electorate as it did 20 years ago, John McCain would be our president today. Clearly, demographic realities present real challenges to the Republican Party and the values that it is supposed to be championing – limited government and free markets. Most recent polling from Gallup shows Hispanics generically favoring Democrats over Republicans by 2 to 1. Republicans have got to make headway with this population. We need them for building the political consensus to make the critical changes to fix our country - cutting the massive growth in government that Democrats have put in motion, cutting spending to eliminate trillion dollar deficits, reducing our now massive $13 trillion dollar debt, and to come up with creative solutions to the $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities we’re now looking at in our major entitlement programs – Social Security and Medicare. And, of course, holding the line on taxes. Otherwise stated, if Republicans cannot start pulling in a bigger chunk of this Hispanic vote, it will be tough to be optimistic that we’ll be able to reverse the direction that Democrats have initiated – transformation of our country into a European style social welfare state. Can Republicans reverse this political trend? I say yes. The reason is that it is in the interests of our Hispanic citizens to support what Republicans are trying to do. We’ve got in front of us right now two contrasting snapshots of what America’s future could look like. These two snapshots happen to be our two states with the nation’s largest Hispanic populations. California and Texas. California today is America’s Greece. Over-governed, over-taxed, over-regulated, over-unionized, with excessive spending and impossible entitlements commitments. If you want to know the path that our federal government is now on, just look at California. In a recent survey by Chief Executive magazine, CEOs rated California as the worst state in the country for doing business. It is the only state they awarded a grade of “F” in the category of “Taxation and Regulation.” Over the last year and half, California lost over a million jobs and its overall level of employment is down where it was ten years ago. Its unemployment rate is several points above the national average. Texas, on the other hand, was rated number one by CEOs. A low tax, low regulation, right-to-work state, unemployment in Texas is several points below the national average. And Texas has had net positive job creation through the recent recession. Hispanics who think California is model for America’s future can keep voting for Democrats. But my guess is most will prefer the Texas model.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Club Fed for Illegal Aliens
by Michelle Malkin
Thanks to their international "human rights" advocates, Gitmo detainees receive art therapy, movie nights and video games at their U.S. taxpayer-funded camp in Cuba. Now, the left's bleeding heart lobby wants to provide similar taxpayer-sponsored perks to illegal alien detainees on American soil. Welcome to the open-borders Club Fed. According to an internal Department of Homeland Security e-mail obtained by the Houston Chronicle, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency plans a radical overhaul of the immigration detention system. No, the reforms will not increase the nation's measly, chronically underfunded detention bed capacity -fewer than 35,000 beds last fiscal year to cover an estimated illegal alien population of between 12 million and 20 million. The Obama ICE leadership is headed in the exact opposite direction. ICE chief John Morton -- the same man who signaled last month that he may refuse to process illegal aliens sent to him by Arizona law enforcement officials -- has already eliminated 50 detention facilities. This despite a DHS inspector general report released last spring exposing the federal government's bipartisan failure to expand detention space capacity to end the dangerous game of illegal alien "catch and release." Instead, among the p.c. makeover measures under consideration or about to be made by Obama's ICE agency in the next 30 days: -- "Softening" the physical appearance of privately contracted detention facilities with "hanging plants." - Giving illegal alien detainees e-mail access and free Internet-based phone service. - Abandoning lockdowns, lights-out, visitor screening and detention uniform requirements. - Serving fresh veggies and continental breakfast and providing Bingo sessions, arts and crafts classes, and, yes, movie nights. Ensuring humane treatment of detainees is one thing. This, on the other hand, is beyond ridiculous. Detention centers should be clean, safe and temporary way stations for illegal immigrants on their way out the door. These proposals turn the immigration detention centers into permanent Dave & Buster's-style comfort zones for illegal aliens biding their time until the next amnesty. Dancing lessons? Game halls? This is an invitation for abuse -- and a recipe for exploitation by smugglers and drug cartels. Open-borders and civil liberties activists will end up endangering DHS/ICE workers -- and the rest of us -- under the guise of "immigrant human rights." The left-wing campaign by the American Civil Liberties Union, change.org and illegal alien activists targeting our detention system began in earnest after 9/11. Under the Bush administration, hundreds of illegal aliens of Arab descent were detained and questioned as "material witnesses" in counterterrorism probes. The

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use of immigration laws in the war against Islamic jihadists became a rallying point for the open-borders propagandists. The New York Times hysterically reported that most of these post-9/11 detainees were held for months without charges. In fact, 60 percent of the 762 immigrants detained after the 9/11 attacks were charged within 72 hours. And the Justice Department inspector general found that there were legitimate reasons for delay in the remaining cases, including logistical disruptions in New York City after 9/11, such as electrical outages, office shutdowns and mail service cancellation that slowed delivery of charging documents. Immigrant abuse charges were hurled recklessly by the likes of Al Gore, who slandered DHS's detention program during a paid appearance in Saudi Arabia -- despite the DOJ's failure to find any such patterns. The truth got lost along the way. So did common sense. Allowing illegal alien terror suspects to roam free in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks would have been a dereliction of duty. And countless homeland security experts and DHS inspector general reports have repeatedly spotlighted lax enforcement in the detention safety net over the past decade. Hundreds of thousands of "absconders" remain on the loose because of failure (or refusal) to detain them. The immigration lawyers' racket has lobbied for compassionate "alternatives" to detention that routinely result in deportation fugitives simply ditching the process and disappearing. Their goal is not to improve detention. Their goal is to sabotage it -- all while law-breakers munch on croissants and joyfully shout "BINGO!"

Dayna. Over thirty years ago, Jerry and his then high school sweetheart, Dayna, chose to abort two of their children. Jerry deeply empathizes with any man who has taken the life of another human and lives daily with that burden and emotional trauma. The negative psychological impact of abortion on women has been well publicized, but less so have been the effects of abortion on men. In researching the topic, we found a variety of books, websites and support groups dedicated to male post-abortion trauma, as well as a number of studies on the issue. One study reported that 82 percent of male parents of a recently aborted baby (ranging from two days to 37 months) experienced depression. Another study found that men experienced anxiety, helplessness, guilt, and a dual sense of responsibility and regret during an abortion. An additional study reported that many biological fathers need professional support in dealing with abortion and its impact on relationships. According to Guy Condon and David Hazard, authors of Fatherhood Aborted: The Profound Effects of Abortion on Men, post-abortive men suffer from a whole host of problems, including relationship struggles, inability to trust friends, rage, addictions and sexual compulsions, sleeplessness, bad dreams, nightmares, sexual dysfunction, depression, fear of failure, fear of rejection, and loneliness. Fortunately, Jerry and Dayna’s story did not have a negative ending. They married after high school, but continued to be haunted by the unspoken grief and burden of the two children they had aborted. Ten years and three children later, they came to a crisis in June 25, 2010 their marriage where they needed to honestly confront the lingering effects of the two abortions. There were unresolved issues but they found helpful resources to successfully work through them and make peace with the past. Having found hope in their grief and regret, they deeply wanted others to avoid making these same mistakes. They felt the best way they could do so would be to support young people facing A Woman's "Choice" That Affects Men: Post- similar tough decisions, and decided to start a pregnancy resource center in Prattville, Ala., in this effort. Having opened its doors in Abortion Trauma 1992, “Grace Place” PregnancyResource Center continues to thrive by Jerry DeBin and serve young mothers and fathers experiencing an unplanned Author's note: This piece is co-authored by Jeanne Monahan. pregnancy even today. This Father’s Day will be a celebration for dads all over the Jerry and Dayna helped to start Grace Place to share truth country, an opportunity for children to thank and honor their fathers. about abortion, to give hope in situations that appear hopeless and to Yet for many men, the memory of involvement in a past abortion, of help restore the lives of men and women broken by abortion. They “cards they will not receive,” will be painful and palpable. also discovered that the process helped complete the healing in their In a debate where the primary focus is a woman’s body and a marriage and family. woman’s right to choose whether or not to carry a child to his or her An estimated 50 million abortions have been performed in delivery, the “other partner,” the father of the baby, is rarely given the U.S. since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. For each consideration, and is often completely disregarded altogether. The of those 50 million babies, there is a father. Even adjusting those question of abortion is myopically women-centric. numbers to allow for men who father more than one aborted child, Abortion advocates often mock pro-life men. Men are told the count of post-abortion men in America is easily 30 million. This they shouldn’t speak out because they can never become pregnant. Yet, Father’s Day let us honestly engage men in the conversation about it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to acknowledge that two women cannot abortion and its impacts on everyone involved. There remain a baby make. significant, long-term consequences of Father’s Day cards that will Less acknowledged is the fact that this decision deeply not come this week … all across America. impacts the dad, too. Wednesday, June 02, 2010 This year three Father’s Day cards will stand prominently on Jerry’s kitchen countertop, telling the wonderful story of the lives of his three grown children. But there is an empty space next to the cards which tells another story that continues to grieve Jerry and his wife,

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The Resurrection of Rod Blagojevich

removed herself from the running when she took a top White House adviser post instead. Who was the "SEIU official" Team Blago spoke by Michelle Malkin with and met? Internal communications in December 2008 fingered Obama's longtime Chicago pal and SEIU Local 1 President Tom We've had the Summer of Love and the Summer of the Balanoff. Balanoff, not coincidentally, had been appointed by Blago Shark. Now, are you ready for the Summer of Corruption? On Thursday, jury selection begins in the federal trial of disgraced former to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. Two days before Christmas 2008, legal counsel Greg Craig Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. The timing couldn't be released an official self-exonerating report outlining contacts worse for Blago's old Chicago pals in the White House. Just as Team Obama tries to bury one job-trading scandal, another one resurfaces. between Team Obama and Team Blago. Balanoff, it turns out, had indeed spoken with Jarrett. The Obama defense? Despite her muchIt's a useful reminder that Washington didn't turn Obama touted political brilliance, the legal team argued, Jarrett "did not into a business-as-usual politician. He was born and bred among the understand the conversation to suggest that the Governor wanted slimiest in their class. the cabinet seat as a quid pro quo for selecting any specific At the center of the Blago trial is the convergence of the candidate to be the President-Elect's replacement." The Blago Chicago political machine -- the corrupt Democratic Party subpoena of the president filed last month begs to differ -- and establishment, Big Labor heavies at the Service Employees directly implicates Obama: International Union and Team Obama. "...despite President Obama stating that no representatives In December 2008, the political ties that bind them all came of his had any part of any deals, labor union president (presumably under national scrutiny when federal prosecutors publicly released their criminal complaint against Blagojevich. SEIU figured prominently SEIU's Andy Stern) told the FBI and the United States Attorneys that he spoke to labor union official on Nov. 3, 2008, who received in Blago's secretly taped musings on how to profit from his power to appoint Obama's Senate replacement. So did a larger union umbrella a phone message from Obama that evening. After labor union official listened to the message, labor union official told labor union federation, Change to Win, led by SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna president, "I'm the one." Labor union president took that to mean Burger. Blago hatched a plan to snag a $300,000-a-year job as head that labor union official was to be the one to deliver the message on of Change to Win in exchange for appointing a union-friendly behalf of Obama that Senate Candidate B was his pick." successor to Obama. It's going to be a long, hot summer of Chicago corruption. Like Obama, Blago enjoyed massive campaign donations and on-the-ground support from the SEIU's Purple Army. Like Obama, Wednesday, June 16, 2010 Blago repaid his Big Labor backers with labor-friendly executive orders and legislative largesse to facilitate union organizing and carve out major portions of the health care industry for them. At the time of his arrest, Blago was preparing another executive order to expand the union power grab over an even larger portion of home health care workers targeted by the SEIU. Blagojevich did the country an extraordinary unintended by Michelle Malkin favor. As health care analyst David Catron wrote: "He has made it clear to the meanest intelligence that Obama emerged from a Here is the Obama Disaster Management Theory: In times hopelessly corrupt political culture. Barack Obama oozed from the of crisis, you can never have enough unelected, un-vetted political same stinking Chicago swamp that produced Blagojevich, and a man appointees hanging around. Nearly two months after the BP oil spill, whose formative years were spent wallowing in the muck with such the White House will now name an oil spill restoration point person creatures isn't likely to be long in the White House before the stench to oversee recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Too many czars have of pay-to-play politics begins to pervade the place." already spoiled this administration's credibility. Might as well pile on Fast-forward. Nearly two years later, Obama's legal fixers another. can't mask the Chicago-esque odor of Sestak-gate. The president's The new oil spill czar is not to be mistaken for the old oil legal team, led by chief fixer and legal counsel Bob Bauer, spill czar, U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who was officially orchestrated a Memorial Day weekend document dump intended to designated the "National Incident Commander of the Unified squash mounting public criticism of the administration's alleged Command for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico" government job offer to Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial candidate on April 30. Allen was appointed by Department of Homeland Joe Sestak. Bauer's memo acknowledged that "options for Executive Security Secretary Janet Napolitano 10 days after the disaster, which Branch service were raised with him" through former President Bill Napolitano claimed the administration had been on top of since, um, Clinton, whom White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted to "Day One." woo Sestak. Fifty-six days later, President Obama has deemed the Blago knows all about working with Team Obama through intermediaries to explore, ahem, "options." Blago's then-Chief of Staff leadership skills of Allen, Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, environmental czar Carol Browner, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar John Harris allegedly mapped out a "three-way deal" to give the and the rest of his self-declared "all hands on deck" crew insufficient. White House a "buffer" obscuring the obvious quid pro quo. SEIU would assist Obama with Blago's appointment of a union-friendly The new disaster czar also comes on top of the "National Commission candidate; Blago would get his cushy union job; and SEIU would be on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling," created rewarded down the road with favors from the White House. Team by executive order on May 22 and "tasked with providing Blago reached out to the SEIU. An unnamed SEIU official agreed to recommendations on how we can prevent and mitigate the impact of float their plan and "see where it goes." any future spills that result from offshore drilling." The Senate candidate Blago allegedly approached was top As I've noted before regarding Obama's czar-mania, this Obama adviser and Chicago political godmother Valerie Jarrett, who White House has bypassed the Senate advise-and-consent role and

Stuck on Stupid: Obama's Czar Fetish

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"Useful idiots" was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union. Put differently, a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive. In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it. The president's poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies. Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere. And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP's oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated. But our government is supposed to be "a government of laws and not of men." If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion-- or $50 billion or $100 billion-- then so be it. But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law." Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference. With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution. If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don't believe in Constitutional government. And, without Constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a "crisis"-- which, as the president's chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to "go to waste" as an opportunity to expand the government's power. That power will of course not be confined to BP or to the particular period of crisis that gave rise to the use of that power, much less to the particular issues. When Franklin D. Roosevelt arbitrarily took the United States off the gold standard, he cited a law passed during the First World War to prevent trading with the country's wartime enemies. But there was no war when FDR ended the gold standard's restrictions on the printing of money. At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law "for the relief of the German people." That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people-indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others. If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it. The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP's money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a long line of presidentially appointed "czars" controlling different parts of the economy, without even having to be confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are. Those who cannot see beyond the immediate events to the

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unilaterally created a two-tiered government. It's fronted by cabinet secretaries able to withstand public scrutiny (some of them just barely) and then managed behind the scenes by shadow secretaries with broad powers beyond congressional reach. Bureaucratic chaos serves as a useful smokescreen to obscure the true source of policy decisionmaking. While past administrations dating back to the Nixon era have designated such "superaides," none has exploited and extended the concept as widely as Obama has (we're up to the 40th appointed czar, by Washington-based watchdog group Judicial Watch's count). It's government by proxy and government by press release all rolled into one. According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, the latest commissar will have the power to oversee government efforts "to increase the health and the vitality of the species there, the wildlife and the natural beauty that we all know is the Gulf of Mexico." This will make the power-grabbing environmental lobby happy. And the new czar appointment will feed the photo-op-hungry news cycle. But instead of rushing to move "past the cleanup and response phase of this disaster," shouldn't this czar-crazy regime concentrate on the immediate mitigation tasks at hand? Folks in the Gulf don't need any more Romanov-style apparatchiks or blue-ribbon crony panels to show them the way toward relief. Florida public officials and foreign shippers say the protectionist Jones Act is preventing vessels from abroad from providing cleanup aid. And Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal has exposed White House obstructionism and delays in approving the construction of barrier walls to stop the oil spread. After waiting weeks for approval, Jindal received a green light from the White House to put up just five barrier islands -- a minuscule amount of his plan. Tired of waiting for approval of the rest of his plan, Jindal this week ordered the National Guard to circumvent the Beltway foot-dragging and start building the walls immediately. Executive leadership doesn't need to be outsourced when the executive in office knows how to lead. While Obama squawks, Jindal acts. While Washington appoints more gasbags, the National Guard is dropping sandbags. The president's czar fetish is his crisis crutch -- a desperate, public relations habit that he can't break. What 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue needs is a visit from retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, the Hurricane Katrina military relief coordinator who offered timeless and timely advice for the disaster-stricken: Don't get stuck on stupid. Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM

June 22, 2010

Degeneration of Democracy by Thomas Sowell

When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics. Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler's rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.

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issues of arbitrary power-- versus the rule of law and the preservation murderous hatred of Muslims like the Ft. Hood shooter, he of freedom-- are the "useful idiots" of our time. But useful to whom? urged Americans not to "jump to conclusions."

When Jew-hater Helen Thomas suggested that Jews in Israel return to the lands of the Holocaust, Germany and Poland, Obama said that her remarks were "out of line, " but said it was a "shame, because Helen's someone who ... was a real institution." (So was Father Coughlin, for the record.) It would be one thing if Obama spoke softly and carried a large stick. But he speaks in velvet whispers and carries a corsage for the enemies of Western Civilization. John Brennan, by Ben Shapiro Obama's pro-jihad alleged counterterrorism adviser, explains At every point in some boy's life, he has to face down a Obama's delicacy when it comes to those who truly threaten us: bully and fight him. It's a rite of passage, a transitional moment "We're trying to be very careful and precise in our use of in which every young man must establish who he is and how far language because I think the language we use and the images he'll let his enemies go. For me, that moment came when I was we project really do have resonance." 10 years old. One of the kids at school -- he seemed 8 feet tall at That isn't true, though, with regard to those who the time -- was smacking me with a ruler across the shoulders criticize President Obama in the natural course of legitimate during P.E. class. Eventually, I'd had enough; I grabbed him political debate, nor is it true of private companies he can attack around the neck and punched him on the top of the head. His for his own political benefit. He'll slap them, punch them, nose started bleeding, to my surprise (I'm not exactly Joe scratch them, kick them with all the blustery force he can Frazier). Naturally, the principal blamed me ("do you know how muster. After all, they're his chosen enemies. much money his father makes?" she asked my dad), but the bully You can tell a lot about a man by the enemies he never bothered me again. makes. And you can tell who Obama's enemies are by the anger The same holds true of presidents. Every president has to he displays when confronted with them; Obama's misplaced draw a line in the sand. Every president has to determine just rage tells us more about where he stands than his how far he's willing to be pushed around. Every president has to teleprompter-ed utterances ever will. The problem for President decide who his enemies are, and then face them down. Obama is that the enemies he identifies seem a good deal less President Obama has decided that his real enemies aren't dangerous than the friends he seeks. Iranian genocidal dictators, anti-Semitic reporters or Muslim Ben Shapiro, 26, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is the author of terrorists. His real enemies are conservatives and corporations. three books including the national bestseller "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate How can we tell? From his rhetoric. Obama doesn't punch America's Youth," and the host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" on 810 AM in Orlando, FL. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers anyone in the face directly (not that his fists would do much and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. damage, judging from the way he throws a baseball). But he does Wednesday, June 02, 2010 lash out at his enemies with his most valuable tool: his silver tongue. When Obama talks about his enemies, his honeyed mouth becomes a blunt instrument rather than a scalpel. The supposed master of the nuances of the English language is apparently rendered stupefyingly inarticulate when faced with those he dislikes; he's suddenly a WWE wrestler pumped up on testosterone, the mic boosted to deafening levels. He calls people by Ben Shapiro out. He uses colorful and confrontational language. He threatens This is not a presidency known for its reactive speed. After physical force. British Petroleum's oil rig sprung a leak in the Gulf of Mexico, it took When faced with the prospect of Americans who don't more than a week for the Obama administration to mobilize; it has like his policies, Obama tells his followers to "argue with them been well over a month, and the administration still has no coherent and get in their face." When confronted with his administration's strategy to plug the leak. After Iranian protesters took to the streets in inability to handle the Gulf oil spill, Obama sends out his lackeys 2009, risking life and limb to defy the terroristic Ahmadinejad to threaten BP in purple terminology; " [we'll] keep our boot on regime, President Barack Obama futzed around for days before [BP's] neck," they say. This week, Obama doubled down, stating weakly condemning the regime's crackdown. that he had traveled to the Gulf region "so I know whose ass to But this week, when Israel rightly stopped a Turkish ship kick." carrying terrorist supporters from breaking the naval blockade Meanwhile, Obama's confrontational tone becomes surrounding the Gaza Strip, Obama responded within hours. "The downright dainty when faced with actual terrorists, murderers United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained," and anti-Semites. All of a sudden, the Chicago thug disappears, intoned White House spokesman William Burton. The Obama replaced by the man of considered diplomacy. After waiting for administration also embraced a United Nations Security Council crucial days to comment on the burgeoning Iranian resistance in resolution "deeply regret(ting) the loss of life and injuries resulting June 2009, Obama finally spoke ... with all the force of a small from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in mewling kitten. "I would suggest that Mr. Ahmadinejad think international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza." carefully about the obligations he owes to his own people," This is language the White House normally reserves for Obama hesitantly intoned. When Obama was faced with the

Who Does President Obama Really Hate?

The Presidential Anti-Semite Strikes Again

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actual terrorists. For example, when Britain released Pan Am bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the White House released a statement that it "deeply regrets the decision." For the Obama administration, legitimate Israeli self-defense is now on par with the release of a mass murderer. And this was clearly self-defense. The so-called "activists" aboard the Turkish flotilla aimed at the Gaza Strip were caught on tape lynching Israeli soldiers -- and declaring their intention to do so the day before the incident. These weren't members of Greenpeace. They were members and friends of the IHH, a Turkish-sponsored terrorist organization with links to al-Qaida and Hamas. Weeks in advance of the flotilla's launch, organizers were declaring their intent to break the Gaza blockade -- an act aimed directly at funneling weapons to Hamas, because Israel already sends millions of tons of aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip. But that didn't stop Obama from inserting his large proboscis into yet another situation where it does not belong. Of course, we're used to that by now. On virtually every foreign policy crisis of his presidency, this pathetic poseur has been wrong (Honduras, North Korea, Russia, Greece, Afghanistan and Iran, among others). This situation is no exception. What is exceptional is Obama's swiftness. He didn't pause for one instant to consider supporting Israel. He immediately leapt to the "nonpartisan" position, eschewing an American ally and attempting to placate the anti-Semitic international community. He drew moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel. He even went so far as to call up Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to give his condolences for those who died trying to provide support to terrorists in Gaza. Not only that, he informed members of the international community that he would be working to secure the release of captured terrorist supporters from the Israeli government. How's that for quick action? This is just another indicator of Obama's anti-Semitism. How else are we to interpret his lightning-fast, knee-jerk anti-Israel response? When an obviously Muslim man hopped onto a table at Fort Hood and shot to death 12 American military personnel and one civilian while shouting "Allahu akbar," Obama responded by cautioning Americans not to jump "to conclusions until we have all the facts." When an obviously Muslim Times Square bomber attempted to blow up an SUV during the matinee of "Next to Normal," Obama's allies were kind enough to remind us not to react too quickly to the obvious hypothesis. But when Jews defend themselves from mobs hitting them with clubs and stabbing them with shivs, the president's on it like white on rice. He's there to allow anti-Israel resolutions through the U.N. He's there to comfort terrorist backers, such as Erdogan and Hamas, from the brutality of Israeli commandos armed with paintball guns. (Yes, you read that right; they were carrying paintball guns.) There's only one world leader who was faster than Obama to the microphone: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And it wasn't by much. It didn't really matter, of course; no matter who got to the microphone first, an anti-Semite was going to issue the first statement. Obama may not be on Ahmadinejad's genocidal level, but he clearly is willing to let those who would perpetrate genocide grab the upper hand in the Middle East.

Obama and Economics: Intellectually Clueless
by Larry Elder
While in high school, I was standing at a bus stop next to a gas station. A kid tossed a candy wrapper on the station lot. Somebody yelled, "Hey, pick that up." The kid, with a straight face, defended himself. He said, "I just created a job." Someone would be hired, he explained, to pick up the trash, and this would be good for the economy. Don't laugh. The kid probably works for the Obama administration. Congress is now considering yet another "stimulus" package. But did the administration's previous one work? Of the $787 billion stimulus package, President Obama said it would "save or create" 3.5 million new jobs. Has it? The National Association for Business Economics polled 68 private-sector members. Seventy-three percent said the employment at their companies was neither higher nor lower as a result of the stimulus package. What about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office? A February 2009 Washington Times article said: "President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. "CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing." What do normal, regular, real-world people think? In December 2009, a Rasmussen poll asked likely voters whether the "stimulus" helped, hurt or did nothing. They agreed with the private-sector economists and the CBO -- the stimulus did not work. And more felt it did damage than thought it helped: "A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30 percent of voters nationwide believe the $787billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38 percent believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact." Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and commentator Ed we-need-health-care-reform-and-I-don't-care-how-much-it-costs Schultz think one way. Believers in the free market and limited government think another. As between these two camps, which one better understands how the real world works? Zogby International asked questions about economics of nearly 5,000 people. George Mason University economist Dan Klein co-authored a report on the responses given to eight basic economic questions. (Correct answers and "not sure" responses were ignored -- only flatly incorrect responses were counted.) Do housing restrictions increase the price of housing? The answer is yes. Whether the restrictions are good or bad is a separate issue. But restrictions on any good increase the price of that good -whether houses or horseshoes. Do minimum wages increase

Thursday, June 10, 2010

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The President dropped the term "war on terror" and refuses to call Islamofascists "Islamofascists." He apologetically says America is vital in maintaining world peace "whether we like it or not." He sent a videotaped message to Iran telling of our willingness to reengage the country -- if only it would unclench its fist. It unclenched more time for Iran to pursue a nuclear bomb. The administration was painfully slow to acknowledge that the Times Square truck bomb attempt involved foreign Islamic terrorists. The administration chastised Israel for settlement construction in an area of east Jerusalem that President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush and even Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat assumed would be part of Israel in any peace agreement. During Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's state visit, Obama treated him worse than a White House dinner gate-crasher. How's the hope and change working out? North Korea, in an act of war, sank a South Korean ship. Iran may now have sufficient materiel and technical knowledge to build a nuclear bomb. The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah - under the nose of United Nations "peacekeepers" -- continues to stock southern Lebanon with weapons that threaten Israel. Now comes the anti-Israel "humanitarian" flotilla. After Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, the terror group Hamas seized power. Israel and Egypt began a naval blockade of ships in and out of Gaza. Though Israel had uprooted every Israeli settler from Gaza, Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel, a bombardment that continues today. Israel already sends humanitarian aid into Gaza and allows others to do so. Israel even agreed to allow the supposed humanitarian flotilla cargo to enter, provided Israeli security could check it for weapons. And never mind that some of the flotilla's "humanitarian activists" appear to have ties to terror organizations. The flotilla's attempt to run the blockade resulted in nine deaths when the Israeli military boarded ships to inspect the cargo. As Israel's enemies hoped, Israel stands accused of a "disproportionate" response. But why the flotilla now? The most significant intervening event is the election of Thursday, June 03, 2010 President Obama. Now Israel's most important ally considers Israeli intransigence the principal obstacle to peace with the Palestinians in particular and in the Middle East in general. The activists got the message: Israel is on the defensive. Israel, with good reason, feels alone. Obama, like Bush in his second term, seems willing to accept Israel Alone a nuclear-armed Iran -- even as Iran threatens Israel with by Larry Elder annihilation. Obama apparently considers a nuclear-armed Iran Vice President Joe Biden, wrong on virtually every major inevitable, even if it ignites a regional nuclear arms race -- since Saudi foreign policy issue since his election to the Senate in 1972, nailed this Arabia, Egypt and Jordan fear Iran more than they do Israel. one: He warned that actors on the international stage would test the Give Obama credit for continuing many of Bush's policies. new, inexperienced President. Gitmo remains open, the administration finally understanding that He knew that President Barack Obama's enemies would the prison exists for a reason. He continued rendition, the terror perceive his strength-through-peace (versus peace-through-strength) surveillance program and the increased use of drone predators in approach as weakness. They do and are acting accordingly. Pakistan. He used the same "state secrets" argument to fight Candidate Obama vowed to hold high-level talks with Iran and courtroom disclosure of sources and methods. He increased troop North Korea without "preconditions." Obama promised a "reset" of all strength in Afghanistan and continues the Bush "clear and hold" things President George W. Bush, with no more talk of "victory" in Iraq strategy for that country and Iraq. and Afghanistan. He reneged on the promised missile shield defense in But Jimmy Carter governed as a strength-through-peace Poland and the Czech Republic. He waits for countries like China and president. He pressured the Shah of Iran to release "political Russia, both of which have business interests in Iran, to agree to prisoners." The shah was toppled, only to be followed by the "tough, crippling" sanctions.
unemployment? The answer is yes. Whether one accepts this as a worthy trade-off is a separate question. Is our standard of living higher than it was 30 years ago? It is. Whether we are "addicted" to oil or facing cataclysmic "global warming" is a separate issue. The other questions involved licensing, rent control, the definition of a monopoly, the definition of exploitation, and whether free trade leads to unemployment. Respondents self-identified as progressive/very liberal, liberal, moderate, conservative, very conservative, or libertarian. Who did better? "On every question," wrote Klein, "the left did much worse. On the monopoly question, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (31 percent) was more than twice that of conservatives (13 percent) and more than four times that of libertarians (7 percent). On the question about living standards, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (61 percent) was more than four times that of conservatives (13 percent) and almost three times that of libertarians (21 percent)." Maybe those with more education performed better? No, the report said. "We work with three levels of schooling: (1) high school or less; (2) some college (but not a degree); (3) a college degree or more. In our data, economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college." The left blames the financial collapse on "greed," ignoring the role played by government involvement -- Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, the Community Reinvestment Act and elsewhere. Leftists point to "insufficient regulation" on Wall Street for reckless behavior, rather than to the players' assumption that too-big-to-fail would protect them. On the BP Gulf oil spill, Obama wants to find "whose ass to kick." He's called for a moratorium on new offshore drilling. But why do we drill offshore for oil more than a mile deep? Is it that on-land and safer, shallow water areas are off-limits -- thus pushing companies to extract oil from more dangerous places? Have the restrictions on clean nuclear power altered how and where we obtain energy? Republicans, in the eight-question economics poll, averaged 1.61 incorrect answers. Democrats averaged 4.59 wrong answers. So in the President's search for "ass to kick," start here.

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President, 70 percent were comfortable or indifferent, and 13 percent had reservations or were uncomfortable." President Obama, with the assistance of devious House and Senate leadership, has gotten a health care law enacted that the majority of American voters are against. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of voters support repeal of the health care law. Under the president's leadership, the 2010 budget deficit will reach more than $1.5 trillion, about 10 percent of gross domestic product, the largest deficit since the end of World War II. We're not that far behind the troubled nation of Greece, which has a current budget deficit of nearly 13 percent of GDP. Our national debt at $13 trillion is about 90 percent of GDP and budgeted to grow by $9 trillion over the next decade. On the diplomatic front, the Obama team is not doing much better, showing every sign of permitting a terrorist nation like Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Early indications suggest that the Barack Obama presidency might turn out to be similar to the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter. That's bad news for the nation but especially bad news for black Americans. No white presidential candidate had to live down the disgraced presidency of Carter but I'm all too fearful that a future black presidential candidate will find himself carrying the heavy baggage of a failed black president. That's not a problem for white liberals who voted for Obama who received their one-time guiltrelieving dose from voting for a black man to be president, but it is a problem for future generations of black Americans.

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repressive and threatening Islamic Republic of Iran. Carter urged Americans to abandon their "inordinate fear of communism." Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev considered Carter weak and rewarded him by invading Afghanistan. This triggered a chain reaction from which the world continues to suffer. The Arabs and Muslims who fought to expel the Soviet Union then turned on the United States and the West in a grand plan for an Islamic world. Israel's response to the flotilla was an act of self-defense. The Western world's reaction has been shameful. Western countries once again fail to distinguish the arsonist from the firefighter. In 1962, the United States imposed a naval blockade -- a "quarantine" -- on Cuba. What would we have done to a "humanitarian" flotilla determined to help Fidel Castro place Soviet missiles 90 miles from Florida?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Can Black Americans Afford Obama?
by Walter E. Williams
My March 2008 column "Is Obama Ready for America?" started out: "Some pundits ask whether America is ready for Obama. The much more important question is whether Obama is ready for America and even more important is whether black people can afford Obama." Let's look at this. In 1947, Jackie Robinson, in signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke the color bar in Major League Baseball. In 1950, three blacks broke the color bar in the National Basketball Association (NBA): Earl Lloyd (Washington Capitals), Chuck Cooper (Boston Celtics) and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton (New York Knicks). Their highly successful performances opened the way for other blacks to follow -- peaking at 27 percent in Major League Baseball and 80 percent in the NBA. Without a question, the first blacks, relative to their white peers, in professional sports were exceptional. There's no sense of justice that should require that these players be as good as they were in order to get a job. But the fact of business, in order to deal with racial hostility and stereotypes of incompetence, they had to be first rate and possess character beyond question. It was not only important for their careers, it was important for their fellow blacks. At the time the sports color bar was being broken, black people could ill afford stumblebums. Today, black people can afford stumblebums in several sports. In fact, black people can afford for the Philadelphia Sixers to put Williams in their starting lineup. Any person watching me mess up royally would have to be a lunatic to say, "Those blacks can't play basketball." The bottom line is that whether we like it or not, whether for good reason or bad reason, whether it's fair or unfair, people make stereotypes, and stereotypes can have effects. In that March 2008 column, I said, "For the nation and for black people, the first black president should be the caliber of a Jackie Robinson and Barack Obama is not. Barack Obama has charisma and charm but in terms of character, values and understanding, he is no Jackie Robinson." Obama's electoral success was truly remarkable. It's a testament to the essential goodness of the American people. A June 69, 2008 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reported "that 17 percent were enthusiastic about Obama being the first African American

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Economic Myths, Fallacies and Stupidity
by Walter E. Williams
George Orwell admonished, "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." That's what I want to do -- talk about the obvious. Suppose that a person is faced with the choice of spending $50,000 on a brandnew car or paying two years worth of college tuition for his 18year-old. What is the solution? That's a stupid question. In the world of economic decision making, there are no solutions -only tradeoffs, where having more of one thing means having less of another. Having one desire fulfilled means having another unfulfilled. For example, there's no solution to our health care issues. Congress' health care law simply substitutes its judgment on the delivery of medical services in the name of helping the uninsured. The tradeoff is that Americans have less of something else such as fewer personal choices, less after-tax income and very likely a lower quality of medical services. How about the criticism that businesses are just in it for money and profits? That's supposed to be an anti-business slam but upon simple examination, it reflects gross stupidity or misunderstanding. Wal-Mart owns 8,300 stores, of which 4,000 are in 44 different countries. Its 2010 revenues are expected to top $500 billion. Putting Wal-Mart's revenues in perspective, they exceed the 2009 GDP of all but 18 of the world's 181 countries. Why is Wal-Mart so successful? Millions of people voluntarily enter their stores and part with their money in exchange for Wal-Mart's products and services. In order for that

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would "make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology." This language was a carryover from the presidential campaign, when all of the Democratic candidates bemoaned the Neanderthalic "Republican war on science," to borrow a phrase from a popular liberal book. Hillary Clinton, for instance, promised that her administration would "restore scientific integrity by supporting the independent work of government scientists" and end the "open season on open inquiry." For good or for ill, Obama beat Hillary for the nomination, but he carried the "liberals love science" torch nonetheless. At his inauguration, he pledged, "We will restore science to its rightful place." Fast-forward to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The White House issued a blanket moratorium on deepwater oil drilling. Obama cited a report commissioned by the Interior Department that purported to recommend the ban. "The recommendations contained in this report," declared the document, "have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering." Except that was untrue. In fact, it was such a glaring lie that the seven engineers who peer-reviewed an earlier version of the document felt obliged to come forward to clear the air. "The Secretary should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct," wrote the scientists, "but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions." The draft these experts saw was substantively different from the document that bore their names. The draft called for a moratorium on issuing new permits, not stopping existing drilling (a move many experts believe would be unsafe). One of the experts, Benton Baugh, president of Radoil, told the Wall Street Journal, that if the draft had said to halt drilling, "we'd have said 'that's craziness.'" Now, the experts are absolutely right that the White House is under no obligation to listen to them. Temporarily banning deepwater drilling might be the right call (I briefly thought it was myself). But it's a political call. Needless to say, there is something ugly and hypocritical about glorifying the absolute authority of scientists and sanctimoniously preening about your bravery in "restoring" that authority -- and then ignoring the scientists when politically expedient. But it is bordering on the grotesque to handpick scientists to give you an opinion and then lie about what they actually said, and implement a policy they don't endorse. (According to the Journal, the Interior Department has apologized to the scientists. But the administration publicly refuses to acknowledge it did anything wrong). The most important point isn't about cheap politics and hypocrisy. It's about the fundamental misunderstanding of the role of science in policymaking. Obama once told reporters "the promise that stem cells hold does not come from any particular ideology; it is the judgment of science, and we deserve a president who will put that judgment first." Putting aside the fact that it now appears many scientists were wrong about the promise of stem cells (at least so far), this is morally deranged. If scientists discovered that experimentation on 5-year-old children showed huge promise to cure diseases or solve the energy crisis, we wouldn't say, "Oh, well, scientists say it's OK." And, no, I'm not arguing that embryos and children are morally equivalent. I'm arguing that the answer to these questions lies in the realm of morality, philosophy and even theology more than it does in science. Scientists once believed that blacks "deserved" to be slaves and that women shouldn't work. Were politicians right to defer to the scientific consensus

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to happen, Wal-Mart and millions of other profit-motivated businesses must please people. Compare our level of satisfaction with the services of those "in it just for the money and profits" to those in it to serve the public as opposed to earning profits. A major non-profit service provider is the public education establishment that delivers primary and secondary education at nearly a trilliondollar annual cost. Public education is a major source of complaints about poor services that in many cases constitute nothing less than gross fraud. If Wal-Mart, or any of the millions of producers who are in it for money and profits, were to deliver the same low-quality services, they would be out of business, but not public schools. Why? People who produce public education get their pay, pay raises and perks whether customers are satisfied or not. They are not motivated by profits and therefore under considerably less pressure to please customers. They use government to take customer money, in the form of taxes. The U. S. Postal Service, state motor vehicle departments and other government agencies also have the taxing power of government to get money and therefore are less diligent about pleasing customers. You can bet the rent money that if Wal-Mart and other businesses had the power to take our money by force, they would be less interested and willing to please us. The big difference between entities that serve us well and those who do not lies in what motivates them. Wal-Mart and millions of other businesses are profit-motivated whereas government schools, USPS and state motor vehicle departments are not. In the market, when a firm fails to please its customers and fails to earn a profit, it goes bankrupt, making those resources available to another that might do better. That's unless government steps in to bail it out. Bailouts send the message to continue doing a poor job of pleasing customers and husbanding resources. Government-owned nonprofit entities are immune to the ruthless market discipline of being forced to please customers. The same can be said of businesses that receive government subsidies. The ruthlessness of the market discipline, which forces firms to please customers and thereby earn profits, goes a long way toward explaining hostility toward free market capitalism.

Friday, June 18, 2010

He Blinded Me With Science
by Jonah Goldberg
A little over a year ago, President Barack Obama reversed George W. Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. Just for the record, Bush didn't "ban" embryonic stem cell research, as so many critics claimed, and he didn't restrict non-embryonic stem cell research at all. He merely ruled that scientists shouldn't create any new embryonic stem cell lines, because creating life to destroy it is unethical and immoral. This view, according to Obama (and Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, The New York Times, et al.), was unscientific. Hence, his administration

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Foundations First and foremost, it needs to be noted that being aware of one’s surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations is more of a mindset than a hard skill. Because of this, situational awareness is not something that can be practiced only by highly trained government agents or specialized corporate security countersurveillance teams. Indeed, it can be exercised by anyone with the will and the discipline to do so. An important element of the proper mindset is to first recognize that threats exist. Ignorance or denial of a threat — or completely tuning out one’s surroundings while in a public place — makes a person’s chances of quickly recognizing the threat and avoiding it slim to none. This is why apathy, denial and complacency can be (and often are) deadly. A second important element is understanding the need to take responsibility for one’s own security. The resources of any government are finite and the authorities simply cannot be everywhere and cannot stop every criminal action. The same principle applies to private security at businesses or other institutions, like places of worship. Therefore, people need to look out for themselves and their neighbors. Another important facet of this mindset is learning to trust your “gut” or intuition. Many times a person’s subconscious can notice subtle signs of danger that the conscious mind has difficulty quantifying or articulating. Many people who are victimized frequently experience such feelings of danger prior to an incident, but choose to ignore them. Even a potentially threatening person not making an immediate move — or even if the person wanders off quickly after a moment of eye contact — does not mean there was no threat. Levels of Awareness

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then? Scientists built the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. I wouldn't expect pacifists to defer uncritically to those scientists' moral judgments. Scientists are technicians, not moral philosophers. While they can provide facts that inform good decision-making, they can't distill morality in a test tube. Politicians shouldn't abdicate to the guys in white coats their responsibilities to answer moral questions the white coats can't answer. But you know what the white coats can do? They can tell us whether banning deepwater oil drilling will make us safer. Too bad Obama isn't listening.

The S-2 Report

Surveillance & Countersurveillance
June 10, 2010 | 0856 GMT

A Primer on Situational Awareness
By Scott Stewart

The world is a wonderful place, but it can also be a dangerous one. In almost every corner of the globe militants of some political persuasion are plotting terror attacks — and these attacks can happen in London or New York, not just in Peshawar or Baghdad. Meanwhile, criminals operate wherever there are people, seeking to steal, rape, kidnap or kill. Regardless of the threat, it is very important to recognize that criminal and terrorist attacks do not materialize out of thin air. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Criminals and terrorists follow a process when planning their actions, and this process has several distinct steps. This process has traditionally been referred to as the “terrorist attack cycle,” but if one looks at the issue thoughtfully, it becomes apparent that the same steps apply to nearly all crimes. Of course, there will be more time between steps in a complex crime like a kidnapping or car bombing than there will be between steps in a simple crime such as purse-snatching or shoplifting, where the steps can be completed quite rapidly. Nevertheless, the same steps are usually followed. People who practice situational awareness can often spot this planning process as it unfolds and then take appropriate steps to avoid the dangerous situation or prevent it from happening altogether. Because of this, situational awareness is one of the key building blocks of effective personal security — and when exercised by large numbers of people, it can also be an important facet of national security. Since situational awareness is so important, and because we discuss situational awareness so frequently in our analyses, we thought it would be helpful to discuss the subject in People typically operate on five distinct levels of detail and provide a primer that can be used by people in all sorts of awareness. There are many ways to describe these levels situations. (“Cooper’s colors,” for example, which is a system frequently used

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grind to a halt. Crime victims frequently report experiencing this sensation and being unable to act during an unfolding crime. Finding the Right Level Now that we’ve discussed the different levels of awareness, let’s focus on identifying what level is ideal at a given time. The body and mind both require rest, so we have to spend several hours each day at the comatose level while asleep. When we are sitting at our homes watching a movie or reading a book, it is perfectly fine to operate in the tuned-out mode. However, some people will attempt to maintain the tuned-out mode in decidedly inappropriate environments (e.g., when they are out on the street at night in a third-world barrio), or they will maintain a mindset wherein they deny that they can be victimized by criminals. “That couldn’t happen to me, so there’s no need to watch for it.” They are tuned out. Some people are so tuned out as they go through life that they miss even blatant signs of pending criminal activity directed specifically at them. In 1992, an American executive living in the Philippines was kidnapped by a Marxist kidnapping gang in Manila known as the “Red Scorpion Group.” When the man was debriefed following his rescue, he described in detail how the kidnappers had blocked off his car in traffic and abducted him. Then, to the surprise of the debriefing team, he said that on the day before he was abducted, the same group of guys had attempted to kidnap him at the exact same location, at the very same time of day and driving the same vehicle. The attackers had failed to adequately box his car in, however, and his driver was able to pull around the blocking vehicle and proceed to the office. Since the executive did not consider himself to be a kidnapping target, he had just assumed that the incident the day before his abduction was “just another close call in crazy Manila traffic.” The executive and his driver had both been tuned out. Unfortunately, the executive paid for this lack of situational awareness by having to withstand an extremely traumatic kidnapping, which included almost being killed in the dramatic Philippine National Police operation that rescued him. If you are tuned out while you are driving and something happens — say, a child runs out into the road or a car stops quickly in front of you — you will not see the problem coming. This usually means that you either do not see the hazard in time to avoid it and you hit it, or you totally panic and cannot react to it — neither is good. These reactions (or lack of reaction) occur because it is very difficult to change mental states quickly, especially when the adjustment requires moving several steps, say, from tuned out to high alert. It is like trying to shift your car directly from first gear into fifth and it shudders and stalls. Many times, when people are forced to make this mental jump and they panic (and stall), they go into shock and will actually freeze and be unable to take any action — they go comatose. This happens not only when driving but also when a criminal catches someone totally unaware and unprepared. While training does help people move up and down the alertness continuum, it is difficult for even highly trained individuals to transition from tuned out to high alert. This is why police officers, federal agents and military personnel receive so much training on situational awareness. It is critical to stress here that situational awareness does not mean being paranoid or obsessively concerned about your security. It does not mean living with the irrational expectation that there is a dangerous criminal lurking behind every bush. In fact, people simply cannot operate in a state of focused awareness for extended periods, and high alert can be maintained only for very brief periods before exhaustion sets in. The “flight or fight” response

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in law enforcement and military training), but perhaps the most effective way to illustrate the differences between the levels is to compare them to the different degrees of attention we practice while driving. For our purposes here we will refer to the five levels as “tuned out;” “relaxed awareness;” “focused awareness;” “high alert” and “comatose.” The first level, tuned out, is like when you are driving in a very familiar environment or are engrossed in thought, a daydream, a song on the radio or even by the kids fighting in the backseat. Increasingly, cell phone calls and texting are also causing people to tune out while they drive. Have you ever gotten into the car and arrived somewhere without even really thinking about your drive there? If so, then you’ve experienced being tuned out. The second level of awareness, relaxed awareness, is like defensive driving. This is a state in which you are relaxed but you are also watching the other cars on the road and are looking well ahead for potential road hazards. If another driver looks like he may not stop at the intersection ahead, you tap your brakes to slow your car in case he does not. Defensive driving does not make you weary, and you can drive this way for a long time if you have the discipline to keep yourself at this level, but it is very easy to slip into tuned-out mode. If you are practicing defensive driving you can still enjoy the trip, look at the scenery and listen to the radio, but you cannot allow yourself to get so engrossed in those distractions that they exclude everything else. You are relaxed and enjoying your drive, but you are still watching for road hazards, maintaining a safe following distance and keeping an eye on the behavior of the drivers around you. The next level of awareness, focused awareness, is like driving in hazardous road conditions. You need to practice this level of awareness when you are driving on icy or slushy roads — or the roads infested with potholes and erratic drivers that exist in many thirdworld countries. When you are driving in such an environment, you need to keep two hands on the wheel at all times and have your attention totally focused on the road and the other drivers. You don’t dare take your eyes off the road or let your attention wander. There is no time for cell phone calls or other distractions. The level of concentration required for this type of driving makes it extremely tiring and stressful. A drive that you normally would not think twice about will totally exhaust you under these conditions because it demands your prolonged and total concentration. The fourth level of awareness is high alert. This is the level that induces an adrenaline rush, a prayer and a gasp for air all at the same time — “Watch out! There’s a deer in the road! Hit the brakes!” This also happens when that car you are watching doesn’t stop at the stop sign and pulls out right in front of you. High alert can be scary, but at this level you are still able to function. You can hit your brakes and keep your car under control. In fact, the adrenalin rush you get at this stage can sometimes even aid your reflexes. But, the human body can tolerate only short periods of high alert before becoming physically and mentally exhausted. The last level of awareness, comatose, is what happens when you literally freeze at the wheel and cannot respond to stimuli, either because you have fallen asleep, or, at the other end of the spectrum, because you are petrified from panic. It is this panicinduced paralysis that concerns us most in relation to situational awareness. The comatose level of awareness (or perhaps more accurately, lack of awareness) is where you go into shock, your brain ceases to process information and you simply cannot react to the reality of the situation. Many times when this happens, a person can go into denial, believing that “this can’t be happening to me,” or the person can feel as though he or she is observing, rather than actually participating in, the event. Often, the passage of time will seem to

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Kandahar. Nonetheless, average citizens all over the world face many different kinds of threats on a daily basis — from common thieves and assailants to criminals and mentally disturbed individuals aiming to conduct violent acts to militants wanting to carry out large-scale attacks against subways and aircraft. Many of the steps required to conduct these attacks must be accomplished in a manner that makes the actions visible to the potential victim and outside observers. It is at these junctures that people practicing situational awareness can detect these attack steps, avoid the danger and alert the authorities. When people practice situational awareness they not only can keep themselves safer but they can also help keep others safe. And when groups of people practice situational awareness together they can help keep their schools, houses of worship, workplaces and cities safe from danger. And as we’ve discussed many times before, as the terrorist threat continues to devolve into one almost as diffuse as the criminal threat, ordinary citizens are also becoming an increasingly important national security resource.

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can be very helpful if it can be controlled. When it gets out of control, however, a constant stream of adrenaline and stress is simply not healthy for the body or the mind. When people are constantly paranoid, they become mentally and physically burned out. Not only is this dangerous to physical and mental health, but security also suffers because it is very hard to be aware of your surroundings when you are a complete basket case. Therefore, operating constantly in a state of high alert is not the answer, nor is operating for prolonged periods in a state of focused alert, which can also be overly demanding and completely enervating. This is the process that results in alert fatigue. The human body was simply not designed to operate under constant stress. People (even highly skilled operators) require time to rest and recover. Because of this, the basic level of situational awareness that should be practiced most of the time is relaxed awareness, a state of mind that can be maintained indefinitely without all the stress and fatigue associated with focused awareness or high alert. Relaxed awareness is not tiring, and it allows you to enjoy life while rewarding you with an effective level of personal security. When you are in an area where there is potential danger (which, by definition, is almost anywhere), you should go through most of your day in a state of relaxed awareness. Then if you spot something out of the ordinary that could be a potential threat, you can “dial yourself up” to a state of focused awareness and take a careful look at that potential threat (and also look for others in the area). If the potential threat proves innocuous, or is simply a false alarm, you can dial yourself back down into relaxed awareness and continue on your merry way. If, on the other hand, you look and determine that the potential threat is a probable threat, seeing it in advance allows you to take actions to avoid it. You may never need to elevate to high alert, since you have avoided the problem at an early stage. However, once you are in a state of focused awareness you are far better prepared to handle the jump to high alert if the threat does change from potential to actual — if the three guys lurking on the corner do start coming toward you and look as if they are reaching for weapons. The chances of you going comatose are far less if you jump from focused awareness to high alert than if you are caught by surprise and “forced” to go into high alert from tuned out. An illustration of this would be the difference between a car making a sudden stop in front of a person when the driver is practicing defensive driving, compared to a car that makes a sudden stop in front of person when the driver is sending a text message. Of course, if you know that you must go into an area that is very dangerous, you should dial yourself up to focused awareness when you are in that area. For example, if there is a specific section of highway where a lot of improvised explosive devices detonate and ambushes occur, or if there is a part of a city that is controlled (and patrolled) by criminal gangs — and you cannot avoid these danger areas for whatever reason — it would be prudent to heighten your level of awareness when you are in those areas. An increased level of awareness is also prudent when engaging in common or everyday tasks, such as visiting an ATM or walking to the car in a dark parking lot. The seemingly trivial nature of these common tasks can make it all too easy to go on “autopilot” and thus expose yourself to threats. When the time of potential danger has passed, you can then go back to a state of relaxed awareness. This process also demonstrates the importance of being familiar with your environment and the dangers that are present there. Such awareness allows you to avoid many threats and to be on the alert when you must venture into a dangerous area. Clearly, few of us are living in the type of intense threat environment currently found in places like Mogadishu, Juarez or

June 24, 2010 | 0855 GMT

Criminal Intent and Militant Funding
By Scott Stewart
STRATFOR is currently putting the finishing touches on a detailed assessment of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the al Qaedainspired jihadist franchise in that country. As we got deeper into that project, one of the things we noticed was the group’s increasing reliance on criminal activity to fund its operations. In recent months, in addition to kidnappings for ransom and extortion of businessmen — which have been endemic in Iraq for many years — the ISI appears to have become increasingly involved in armed robbery directed against banks, currency exchanges, gold markets and jewelry shops. This increase in criminal activity highlights how the ISI has fallen on hard times since its heyday in 2006-2007, when it was flush with cash from overseas donors and when its wealth led the apex leadership of al Qaeda in Pakistan to ask its Iraqi franchise for financial assistance. But when considered in a larger context, the ISI’s shift to criminal activity is certainly not surprising and, in fact, follows the pattern of many other ideologically motivated terrorist or insurgent groups that have been forced to resort to crime to support themselves. The Cost of Doing Business Whether we are talking about a small urban terrorist cell or a large-scale rural insurgency, it takes money to maintain a militant organization. It costs money to conduct even a rudimentary terrorist attack, and while there are a lot of variables in

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One way to offset the steep cost of operating a large militant organization is by having a state sponsor. Indeed, funding rebel or insurgent groups to cause problems for a rival is an age-old tool of statecraft, and one that was exercised frequently during the Cold War. During that period, the United States worked to counter communist governments around the globe, and the Soviet Union and its partners operated a broad global array of proxy militant groups. In terms of geopolitical struggles, funding proxy groups is far less expensive than engaging in direct warfare in terms of both money and battlefield losses. Using proxies also provides benefits in terms of deniability for both domestic and international purposes. For the militant group, the addition of a state sponsor can provide an array of modern weaponry and a great deal of useful training. For example, the FIM-92 Stinger missiles that the United States gave to Afghan militants fighting Soviet forces greatly enhanced the militants’ ability to counter the Soviets’ use of air power. The training provided by the Soviet KGB and its allies, the Cuban DGI and the East German Stasi, revolutionized the use of improvised explosive devices in terrorist attacks. Members of the groups these intelligence services trained at camps in Libya, Lebanon and Yemen, such as the German Red Brigades, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), the Japanese Red Army and various Palestinian militant groups (among others), all became quite adept at using explosives in terrorist attacks. The prevalence of Marxist terrorist groups during the Cold War led some observers to believe that the phenomenon of modern terrorism would die with the fall of the Soviet Union. Indeed, many militant groups, from urban Marxist organizations like the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in Peru to rural based insurgents like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), fell on hard financial times after the fall of the Soviet Union. While some of these groups withered away with their dwindling financial support (like the MRTA), others were more resourceful and found alternative ways to support their movement and continue their operations. The FARC, for example, was able to use its rural power in Colombia to offer protection to narcotics traffickers. In an ironic twist, elements of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a right-wing death squad set up to defend rich landowners against the FARC, have also gone on to play an important role in the Colombian Norte del Valle cartel and in various “bacrim” smuggling groups. Groups such as the PIRA and its splinters were able to fund themselves through robbery, extortion and “tiger kidnapping”. In some places, the Marxist revolutionaries sought to keep the ideology of their cause separate from the criminal activities required to fund it following the loss of Soviet support. In the Philippines, for example, the New People’s Army formed what it termed “dirty job intelligence groups,” which were tasked with conducting kidnappings for ransom and robbing banks and armored cars. The groups also participated in a widespread campaign to shake down businesses for extortion payments, which it referred to as “revolutionary taxes.” In Central America, the Salvadoran Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) established a finance and logistics operation based out of Managua, Nicaragua, that conducted a string of kidnappings of wealthy industrialists in places like Mexico and Brazil. By targeting wealthy capitalists, the group sought to cast a Robin Hood-like light on this criminal activity. To further distance itself from the activity, the group used American and Canadian citizens to do much of its pre-operational surveillance and employed hired muscle from disbanded South American Marxist organizations to conduct the kidnappings and guard the hostages. The FMLN’s financial problems helped lead to the peace accords signed in 1992, and the FMLN has since become

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calculating the costs of a single attack, in order to simplify things, we’ll make a ballpark estimate of not more than $100 for an attack that involves a single operative detonating an improvised explosive device or using a firearm. (It certainly is possible to construct a lethal device for less, and many grassroots plots have cost far more, but we think $100 is a fair general estimate.) While that amount may seem quite modest by Western standards, it is important to remember that in the places where militant groups tend to thrive, like Somalia and Pakistan, the population is very poor. The typical Somali earns approximately $600 a year, and the typical Pakistani living in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas makes around $660. For many individuals living in such areas, the vehicle used in an attack deploying a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) is a luxury that they can never aspire to own for personal use, much less afford to buy only to destroy it in an attack. Indeed, even the $100 it may cost to conduct a basic terrorist attack is far more than they can afford. To be sure, the expense of an individual terrorist attack can be marginal for a group like the ISI or the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). However, for such a group, the expenses required to operate are far more than just the amount required to conduct attacks — whether small roadside bombs or large VBIEDs. Such groups also need to establish and maintain the infrastructure required to operate a militant organization over a long period of time, not just during attacks but also between attacks. Setting up and operating such an infrastructure is far more costly than just paying for individual attacks. In addition to the purchasing the materials required to conduct specific terrorist attacks, a militant organization also needs to pay wages to its fighters and provide food and lodging. Many also give stipends to the widows and families their fighters leave behind. In addition to the cost of personnel, the organization also needs to purchase safe-houses, modes of transportation (e.g., pickup trucks or motorcycles), communications equipment, weapons, munitions and facilities and equipment for training. If the militant organization hopes to use advanced weapons, like man-portable air defense systems, the costs can go even higher. There are other costs involved in maintaining a large, professional militant group, such as travel, fraudulent identification documents (or legitimate documents obtained through fraud), payment for intelligence assets to monitor the activities of government forces, and even the direct bribery of security, border and other government officials. In some places, militant groups such as Hezbollah also pay for social services such as health care and education for the local population as a means of establishing and maintaining local support for the cause. When added together, these various expenses amount to a substantial financial commitment, and operations are even more expensive in an environment where the local population is hostile to the militant organization and the government is persistently trying to cut off the group’s funding. In such an environment, the local people are less willing to provide support to the militants in the way of food, shelter and cash, and the militants are also forced to spend more money on operational security. Information about the government must also be purchased or coerced, and more “hush money” must be paid to keep people from telling the government about militant operations. In an environment where the local population is friendly, they will shelter militants and volunteer information about government forces and will not inform on militants to the government. Sponsorship

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a backlash from supporting jihadists who have turned against the state, and with the Sunni sheikhs in Iraq turning against the ISI there, funding and sanctuary are becoming increasingly difficult for jihadists to find. In recent years, the United States and the international community have taken a number of steps to monitor the international transfer of money, track charitable donations and scrutinize charities. These measures have begun to have an effect — not just in the case of the jihadist groups but for all major militant organizations. These systems are not foolproof, and there are still gaps that can be exploited, but overall, the legislation, procedures and tools now in place make financing from abroad much more difficult than it was prior to September 2001. The Need to Survive And this brings us where we are today regarding terrorism and funding. While countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua play around with supporting the export of Marxism through Latin America, the funding for Marxist movements in the Western Hemisphere is far below what it was before the fall of the Soviet Union. Indeed, transnational drug cartels and their allied street gangs pose a far greater threat to the stability of countries in the region today. Groups that cannot find state sponsorship, such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in Nigeria, will be left to fund themselves through ransoms for kidnapped oil workers, selling stolen oil and from protection money. (It is worth noting, however, that MEND also has some powerful patrons inside Nigeria’s political structure.) And groups that still receive state funding, like Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas as well as Shiite militant groups in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region, will continue to get that support. (There are frequent rumors that Iran is supporting jihadist groups in places like Iraq and Afghanistan as a way to cause pain to the United States.) Overall, state sponsorship of jihadist groups has been declining since supporting countries realized they were being attacked by militant groups of their own creation. Some countries, like Syria and Pakistan, still keep their fingers in the jihadist pie, but as time progresses more countries are coming to see the jihadists as threats rather than useful tools. For the past few years, we have seen groups like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb resort to narcotics smuggling and the kidnapping of foreigners to fund their operations and that trend will likely increase. For one thing, the jump from militant attacks to criminal activity is relatively easy to make. Criminal activity (whether it’s robbing a bank or extorting business owners for “taxes”) requires the same physical force — or at least the threat of physical force — that militant groups perfect over years of carrying out insurgent or terrorist attacks. While such criminal activity does allow a militant group to survive, it comes with a number of risks. First is the risk that members of the organization could become overly enamored with the criminal activity and the money it brings and abandon the cause — and the austere life of an ideological fighter — to pursue a more lucrative criminal career. (In many cases, they will attempt to retain some ideological facade for recruitment or legitimacy purposes. On the other hand, some jihadist groups believe that criminal activities allow them to emulate the actions of the Prophet Mohammed, who raided the caravans of his enemies to fund his movement and allowed his men to take booty.) Criminal activity can also cause ideological splits between the more pragmatic members of a militant organization and those who believe that criminal behavior tarnishes the image of their cause. And criminal activity can turn the local population against the militants — especially the population being

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one of the main political parties in El Salvador. Its candidate, Mauricio Funes, was elected president of El Salvador in 2009. Beyond the COMINTERN The fall of the Soviet Union clearly did not end terrorism. Although Marxist militants funded themselves in Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere through crime, Marxism was not the only flavor of terrorism on the planet. There are all sorts of motivations for terrorism as a militant tactic, from white supremacy to animal rights. But one of the most significant forces that arose in the 1980s as the Soviet Union was falling was militant Islamism. In addition to the ideals of the Iranian Revolution, which led to the creation of Hezbollah and other Iranian-sponsored groups, the Islamist fervor that was used to drum up support for the militants fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan eventually gave birth to al Qaeda and its jihadist spawn. Although Hezbollah has always been funded by the governments of Iran and Syria, it has also become quite an entrepreneurial organization. Hezbollah has established a fundraising network that stretches across the globe and encompasses both legitimate businesses and criminal enterprises. In terms of its criminal operations, Hezbollah has a well-known presence in the tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, where the U.S. government estimates it has earned tens of millions of dollars from selling electronic goods, counterfeit luxury items and pirated software, movies and music. It also has an even more profitable network in West Africa that deals in “blood diamonds” from places like Sierra Leone and the Republic of the Congo. Cells in Asia procure and ship much of the counterfeit material sold elsewhere; nodes in North America deal in smuggled cigarettes, baby formula and counterfeit designer goods, among other things. In the United States, Hezbollah also has been involved in smuggling pseudoephedrine and selling counterfeit Viagra, and it has played a significant role in the production and worldwide propagation of counterfeit currencies. The business empire of the Shiite organization also extends into the narcotics trade, and Hezbollah earns large percentages of the estimated $1 billion in drug money flowing each year out of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. On the jihadist side of militant Islamism, jihadist groups have been conducting criminal activity to fund their movement since the 1990s. The jihadist cell that conducted the March 2004 Madrid Train Bombings was self-funded by selling illegal drugs, and jihadists have been involved in a number of criminal schemes ranging from welfare fraud to interstate transportation of stolen property. In addition, many wealthy Muslims in Saudi Arabia the Persian Gulf states and elsewhere saw the jihadist groups as a way to export their conservative Wahhabi/Salafi strain of Islam, and many considered their gifts to jihadist groups to be their way of satisfying the Muslim religious obligation to give to charity. The governments of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Pakistan saw jihadism as a foreign policy tool, and in some cases the jihadists were also seen as a tool to be used against domestic rivals. Pakistan was one of the most active countries playing the jihadist card, and it used it to influence its regional neighbors by supporting the growth of the Taliban in Afghanistan as well as Kashmiri militant groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for use against its archrival, India. After 2003, however, when the al Qaeda franchise in Saudi Arabia declared war on the Saudi government (and the oil industry that funds it), sentiment in that country began to change and the donations sent by wealthy Saudis to al Qaeda or al Qaeda-related charities began to decline markedly. By 2006, the al Qaeda core leadership — and the larger jihadist movement — was experiencing significant financial difficulties. Today, with Pakistan also experiencing

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conduct the cost-benefit calculation before formulating his plan, getting ready and striking. On the other extreme are the criminals who behave more like stalking predators. Such a criminal is like a lion on the savannah that carefully looks over the herd and selects a vulnerable animal believed to be the easiest to take down. A criminal who operates like a stalking predator, such as a kidnapper or terrorist, may select a suitable target and then take days or even weeks to follow the target, assess its vulnerabilities and determine if the potential take is worth the risk. Normally, stalking criminals will prey only on targets they feel are vulnerable and can be successfully hit, although they will occasionally take bigger risks on high-value targets. Of course, there are many other criminals who fall somewhere in the middle, and they may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to watch a potential target. Regardless of the time spent observing the target, all criminals will conduct this surveillance and they are vulnerable to detection during this time. Given that surveillance is so widely practiced, it is quite amazing to consider that, in general, criminals and terrorists are terrible at conducting surveillance. There are some exceptions, such as the relatively sophisticated surveillance performed by Greenpeace and some of the other groups trained by the Ruckus Society, or the low-key and highly detailed surveillance performed by some high-end art and jewelry thieves, but such surveillance is the exception rather than the rule. The term “tradecraft” is an espionage term that refers to techniques and procedures used in the field, but term also implies quite a bit of finesse in the practice of these techniques. Tradecraft, then, is really more of an art rather than a science, and surveillance tradecraft is no exception. Like playing the violin or fencing with a foil, it takes time and practice to become a skilled surveillance practitioner. Most individuals involved in criminal and terrorist activity simply do not devote the time necessary to master this skill. Because of this, they have terrible technique, use sloppy procedures and lack finesse when they are watching people. Although everybody planning a criminal or terrorist attack conducts preoperational surveillance, that does not necessarily mean they are good at it. The simple truth is that these individuals are able to get by with such a poor level of surveillance tradecraft because most victims simply are not looking for them. And this is where we tie the discussion back into last week’s Security Weekly. Most people do not practice situational awareness. For those who do, the poor surveillance tradecraft exhibited by criminals is good news. It gives them time to avoid an immediate threat and contact the authorities. Demeanor Is the Key The behavior a person needs to outwardly display in order to master the art of surveillance tradecraft is called good demeanor. Good demeanor is not intuitive. In fact, the things one has to do to maintain good demeanor frequently run counter to human nature. Because of this, intelligence and security professionals who work surveillance operations receive extensive training that includes many hours of heavily critiqued practical exercises, often followed by field training with a team of experienced surveillance professionals. This training teaches and reinforces good demeanor. Criminals and terrorists do not receive this type of training and, as a result, bad surveillance tradecraft has long proved to be an Achilles’ heel for terrorist and criminal organizations. Surveillance is an unnatural activity, and a person doing it must deal with strong feelings of self-consciousness and of being out of place. People conducting surveillance frequently suffer from what is called “burn syndrome,” the erroneous belief that the people they are watching have spotted them. Feeling “burned” will cause surveillants to do unnatural things, such as suddenly ducking back into a doorway or turning around abruptly when they unexpectedly come face to face with the target. People inexperienced in the art of surveillance find it difficult to control this natural reaction. Even experienced surveillance operatives occasionally have the feeling of being burned; the difference is they have received a lot of training and they are better able to control their reaction and work through it. They are able to maintain a normal looking demeanor while their insides are screaming that the person they are surveilling has seen them. In addition to doing something unnatural or stupid when feeling burned, another very common mistake made by amateurs when

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targeted for crimes — while providing law enforcement with opportunities to arrest militant operatives on charges that are in many cases easier to prove than conspiring to conduct terrorist attacks. Lastly, reliance on criminal activity for funding a militant group requires a serious commitment of resources — men and guns — that cannot be allocated to other activities when they are being used to commit crimes. As efforts to combat terrorism continue, militant leaders will increasingly be forced to choose between abandoning their cause or possibly tarnishing its public image. When faced with such a choice, many militant leaders — like those of the ISI — will follow the examples of groups like the FARC and the PIRA and choose to pursue criminal means to continue their struggle.

June 17, 2010 | 0855 GMT

Watching for Watchers
By Scott Stewart
In last week’s Security Weekly we discussed how situational awareness is a mindset that can — and should — be practiced by everyone. We also described the different levels of situational awareness and discussed which level is appropriate for different sorts of situations. And we noted how all criminals and terrorists follow a process when planning their acts and that this process is visible at certain times to people who are watching for such behavior. When one considers these facts, it inevitably leads to the question: “What in the world am I looking for?” The brief answer is: “warning signs of criminal or terrorist behavior.” Since this brief answer is very vague, it becomes necessary to describe the behavior in more detail. Surveillance It is important to make one fundamental point clear up front. The operational behavior that most commonly exposes a person planning a criminal or terrorist act to scrutiny by the intended target is surveillance. Other portions of the planning process can be conducted elsewhere, especially in the age of the Internet, when so much information is available online. From an operational standpoint, however, there simply is no substitute for having eyes on the potential target. In military terms, surveillance is often called reconnaissance, and in a criminal context it is often referred to as casing or scoping out. Environmental activist and animal rights groups trained by the Ruckus Society refer to it as “scouting.” No matter what terminology is being used for the activity, it is meant to accomplish the same objective: assessing a potential target for value, vulnerabilities and potential security measures. Surveillance is required so that criminals can conduct a cost-benefit analysis. The amount of time devoted to the criminal surveillance process will vary, depending on the type of crime and the type of criminal involved. A criminal who operates like an ambush predator, such as a purse-snatcher, may lie in wait for a suitable target to come within striking distance. This is akin to a crocodile lying in a watering hole waiting for an animal to come and get a drink. The criminal will have only a few seconds to size up the potential target and

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watched for signs of hostile surveillance like people who don’t belong there, people making demeanor mistakes, etc. This principle can also be extended to critical points along frequently and predictably traveled routes. Potential targets can conduct simple pattern and route analyses to determine where along the route they are most predictable and vulnerable. Route analysis looks for vulnerabilities, or choke points, on a particular route of travel. Choke points have two main characteristics: They are places where the potential target must travel and where rapid forward motion is difficult (such as sharp, blind curves). When a choke point provides a place where hostiles can wait with impunity for their victims and have access to a rapid escape route, the choke point becomes a potential attack site. These characteristics are found in attack sites used by highly professional kidnap/assassination teams and by criminal “ambush predators” such as carjackers. While the ideal tactic is to vary routes and times to avoid predictable locations, this is also difficult and disruptive and is warranted only when the threat is high. A more practical alternative is for potential targets to raise their situational awareness a notch as they travel through such areas at predictable times in order to be on the alert for potential hostile surveillance or signs of an impending attack. The fact that operatives conducting surveillance over an extended period of time can change their clothing and wear hats, wigs or other light disguises — and use different vehicles or license plates — also demonstrates why watching for mistakes in demeanor is critical. Of course, the use of disguises is also an indicator that the surveillants are more advanced and therefore potentially more dangerous. Because of a surveillant’s ability to make superficial changes in appearance, it is important to focus on the things that cannot be changed as easily as clothing or hair, such as a person’s facial features, build, mannerisms and gait. Additionally, while a surveillant can change the license plate on a car, it is not as easy to alter other aspects of the vehicle such as body damage (scratches and dents). Paying attention to small details can produce significant results over time. As we noted last week — and it is worth repeating here — paying attention to details and practicing situational awareness does not mean being paranoid or obsessively concerned about security. When people live in a state of paranoia, looking for a criminal behind every bush, they become mentally and physically exhausted. Not only is this dangerous to one’s physical and mental health, but security also suffers because it is very hard to be aware of your surroundings when you are exhausted. Therefore, while it is important to watch for the watchers, watching should not involve feelings of fear or paranoia. Knowing what is occurring in the world around them empowers people and gives them a sense of security and well-being, allowing them to spot the good things in life as well as the potential dangers.

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conducting surveillance is the failure to get into proper “character” for the job or, when in character, appearing in places or carrying out activities that are incongruent with the character’s “costume.” The terms used to describe these role-playing aspects of surveillance are “cover for status” and “cover for action.” Cover for status is a person’s purported identity — his costume. A person can pretend to be a student, a businessman, a repairman, etc. Cover for action explains why the person is doing what he or she is doing — why that guy has been standing on that street corner for half an hour. The purpose of using good cover for action and cover for status is to make the presence of the person conducting the surveillance look routine and normal. When done right, the surveillance operative fits in with the mental snapshot subconsciously taken by the target as the target goes about his or her business. Inexperienced people who conduct surveillance frequently do not use good cover for action or cover for status, and they can be easily detected. An example of bad cover for status would be someone dressed as “a businessman” walking in the woods or at the beach. An example of bad cover for action is someone pretending to be sitting at a bus stop who remains at that bus stop even when several buses have passed. But mostly, malefactors conducting surveillance practice little or no cover for action or cover for status. They just lurk and look totally out of place. There is no apparent reason for them to be where they are and doing what they are doing. In addition to “plain old lurking,” other giveaways include a person moving when the target moves, communicating when the target moves, avoiding eye contact with the target, making sudden turns or stops, or even using hand signals to communicate with other members of a surveillance team or criminal gang. Surveillants also can tip off the person they are watching by entering or leaving a building immediately after the person they are watching or simply by running in street clothes. Sometimes, people who are experiencing the burn syndrome exhibit almost imperceptible behaviors that the target can sense more than observe. It may not be something that can be articulated, but the target just gets the gut feeling that there is something wrong or odd about the way a certain person behaves. Innocent bystanders who are not watching someone usually do not exhibit this behavior or trigger these feelings. The U.S. government often uses the acronym “TEDD” to illustrate the principles that can be used to identify surveillance conducted by counterintelligence agencies, but these same principles also can be used to identify criminal and terrorist surveillance. TEDD stands for time, environment, distance and demeanor. In other words, if a person sees someone repeatedly over time, in different environments and over distance, or someone who displays poor surveillance demeanor, then that person can assume he or she is under surveillance. If a person is being specifically targeted for a planned attack, he or she might be exposed to the time, environment and distance elements of TEDD, but if the subway car the person is riding in or the building where the person works is the target, he or she might only have the demeanor of the attacker to key on because the attacker will not be seen by the observer over time and distance or in different environments. Time, environment and distance are also not applicable in cases involving criminals who behave like ambush predators. Therefore, when we are talking about criminal surveillance, demeanor is the most critical of the four elements. Demeanor will also often work in tandem with the other elements, and poor demeanor will often help the target spot the surveillant at different times and places. In a situation where a building or subway car is targeted for an attack rather than a specific person, there are still a number of demeanor indicators that can be observed just prior to the attack. Such indicators include people wearing unseasonable clothing in warm weather (such as trench coats); people with odd bulges under their clothing or wires sticking out from their clothing; people who are sweating profusely, mumbling or fidgeting; people who appear to be attempting to avoid security personnel; and people who simply appear to be out of place. According to many reports, suicide attackers will often exhibit an intense stare as they approach the final stage of their attack plan. While not every person exhibiting such behavior is a suicide bomber or shooter, avoiding such a person rarely has much of a downside. One technique that can be helpful in looking for people conducting long-term surveillance is to identify places that provide optimal visibility of a critical place the surveillant would want to watch (for example, the front door of a potential target’s residence or office). These optimal observation points are often referred to as “perches” in surveillance jargon. Perches can then be

June 8, 2010 | 0856 GMT

The Limits of Public Opinion: Arabs, Israelis and the Strategic Balance
By George Friedman 18

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and Hamas weakens Fatah. And this means that at some point, Fatah will try to undermine the political gains the flotilla has offered Hamas. The Palestinians’ deep geographic, ideological and historical divisions occasionally flare up into violence. Their movement has always been split, its single greatest weakness. Though revolutionary movements frequently are torn by sectarianism, these divisions are so deep that even without Israeli manipulation, the threat the Palestinians pose to the Israelis is diminished. With manipulation, the Israelis can pit Fatah against Hamas. The Arab States and the Palestinians The split within the Palestinians is also reflected in divergent opinions among what used to be called the confrontation states surrounding Israel — Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Egypt, for example, is directly hostile to Hamas, a religious movement amid a sea of essentially secular Arab states. Hamas’ roots are in Egypt’s largest Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Egyptian state has historically considered its main domestic threat. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime has moved aggressively against Egyptian Islamists and sees Hamas’ ideology as a threat, as it could spread back to Egypt. For this and other reasons, Egypt has maintained its own blockade of Gaza. Egypt is much closer to Fatah, whose ideology derives from Egyptian secularism, and for this reason, Hamas deeply distrusts Cairo. Jordan views Fatah with deep distrust. In 1970, Fatah under Arafat tried to stage a revolution against the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan. The resulting massacres, referred to as Black September, cost about 10,000 Palestinian lives. Fatah has never truly forgiven Jordan for Black September, and the Jordanians have never really trusted Fatah since then. The idea of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank unsettles the Hashemite regime, as Jordan’s population is mostly Palestinian. Meanwhile, Hamas with its Islamist ideology worries Jordan, which has had its own problems with the Muslim Brotherhood. So rhetoric aside, the Jordanians are uneasy at best with the Palestinians, and despite years of IsraeliPalestinian hostility, Jordan (and Egypt) has a peace treaty with Israel that remains in place. Syria is far more interested in Lebanon than it is in the Palestinians. Its co-sponsorship (along with Iran) of Hezbollah has more to do with Syria’s desire to dominate Lebanon than it does with Hezbollah as an anti-Israeli force. Indeed, whenever fighting breaks out between Hezbollah and Israel, the Syrians get nervous and their tensions with Iran increase. And of course, while Hezbollah is antiIsraeli, it is not a Palestinian movement. It is a Lebanese Shiite movement. Most Palestinians are Sunni, and while they share a common goal — the destruction of Israel — it is not clear that Hezbollah would want the same kind of regime in Palestine that either Hamas or Fatah would want. So Syria is playing a side game with an anti-Israeli movement that isn’t Palestinian, while also maintaining relations with both factions of the Palestinian movement. Outside the confrontation states, the Saudis and other Arabian Peninsula regimes remember the threat that Nasser and the PLO posed to their regimes. They do not easily forgive, and their support for Fatah comes in full awareness of the potential destabilizing influence of the Palestinians. And while the Iranians would love to have influence over the Palestinians, Tehran is more than 1,000 miles away. Sometimes Iranian arms get through to the Palestinians. But Fatah doesn’t trust the Iranians, and Hamas,

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Last week’s events off the coast of Israel continue to resonate. Turkish-Israeli relations have not quite collapsed since then but are at their lowest level since Israel’s founding. U.S.-Israeli tensions have emerged, and European hostility toward Israel continues to intensify. The question has now become whether substantial consequences will follow from the incident. Put differently, the question is whether and how it will be exploited beyond the arena of public opinion. The most significant threat to Israel would, of course, be military. International criticism is not without significance, but nations do not change direction absent direct threats to their interests. But powers outside the region are unlikely to exert military power against Israel, and even significant economic or political sanctions are unlikely to happen. Apart from the desire of outside powers to limit their involvement, this is rooted in the fact that significant actions are unlikely from inside the region either. The first generations of Israelis lived under the threat of conventional military defeat by neighboring countries. More recent generations still faced threats, but not this one. Israel is operating in an advantageous strategic context save for the arena of public opinion and diplomatic relations and the question of Iranian nuclear weapons. All of these issues are significant, but none is as immediate a threat as the specter of a defeat in conventional warfare had been. Israel’s regional enemies are so profoundly divided among themselves and have such divergent relations with Israel that an effective coalition against Israel does not exist — and is unlikely to arise in the near future. Given this, the probability of an effective, as opposed to rhetorical, shift in the behavior of powers outside the region is unlikely. At every level, Israel’s Arab neighbors are incapable of forming even a partial coalition against Israel. Israel is not forced to calibrate its actions with an eye toward regional consequences, explaining Israel’s willingness to accept broad international condemnation. Palestinian Divisions To begin to understand how deeply the Arabs are split, simply consider the split among the Palestinians themselves. They are currently divided between two very different and hostile factions. On one side is Fatah, which dominates the West Bank. On the other side is Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip. Aside from the geographic division of the Palestinian territories — which causes the Palestinians to behave almost as if they comprised two separate and hostile countries — the two groups have profoundly different ideologies. Fatah arose from the secular, socialist, Arab-nationalist and militarist movement of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser in the 1950s. Created in the 1960s, Fatah was closely aligned with the Soviet Union. It was the dominant, though far from the only, faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The PLO was an umbrella group that brought together the highly fragmented elements of the Palestinian movement. Yasser Arafat long dominated Fatah; his death left Fatah without a charismatic leader, but with a strong bureaucracy increasingly devoid of a coherent ideology or strategy. Hamas arose from the Islamist movement. It was driven by religious motivations quite alien from Fatah and hostile to it. For Hamas, the liberation of Palestine was not simply a nationalist imperative, but also a religious requirement. Hamas was also hostile to what it saw as the financial corruption Arafat brought to the Palestinian movement, as well as to Fatah’s secularism. Hamas and Fatah are playing a zero-sum game. Given their inability to form a coalition and their mutual desire for the other to fail, a victory for one is a defeat for the other. This means that whatever public statements Fatah makes, the current international focus on Gaza

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threat to Israel is not world opinion; though not trivial, world opinion is not decisive. The threat to Israel is that its actions will generate forces in the Arab world that eventually change the balance of power. The politico-military consequences of public opinion is the key question, and it is in this context that Israel must evaluate its split with Turkey. The most important change for Israel would not be unity among the Palestinians, but a shift in Egyptian policy back toward the position it held prior to Camp David. Egypt is the center of gravity of the Arab world, the largest country and formerly the driving force behind Arab unity. It was the power Israel feared above all others. But Egypt under Mubarak has shifted its stance versus the Palestinians, and far more important, allowed Egypt’s military capability to atrophy. Should Mubarak’s successor choose to align with these forces and move to rebuild Egypt’s military capability, however, Israel would face a very different regional equation. A hostile Turkey aligned with Egypt could speed Egyptian military recovery and create a significant threat to Israel. Turkish sponsorship of Syrian military expansion would increase the pressure further. Imagine a world in which the Egyptians, Syrians and Turks formed a coalition that revived the Arab threat to Israel and the United States returned to its position of the 1950s when it did not materially support Israel, and it becomes clear that Turkey’s emerging power combined with a political shift in the Arab world could represent a profound danger to Israel. Where there is no balance of power, the dominant nation can act freely. The problem with this is that doing so tends to force neighbors to try to create a balance of power. Egypt and Syria were not a negligible threat to Israel in the past. It is in Israel’s interest to keep them passive. The Israelis can’t dismiss the threat that its actions could trigger political processes that cause these countries to revert to prior behavior. They still remember what underestimating Egypt and Syria cost them in 1973. It is remarkable how rapidly military capabilities can revive: Recall that the Egyptian army was shattered in 1967, but by 1973 was able to mount an offensive that frightened Israel quite a bit. The Israelis have the upper hand in the short term. What they must calculate is whether they will retain the upper hand if they continue on their course. Division in the Arab world, including among the Palestinians, cannot disappear overnight, nor can it quickly generate a strategic military threat. But the current configuration of the Arab world is not fixed. Therefore, defusing the current crisis would seem to be a long-term strategic necessity for Israel. Israel’s actions have generated shifts in public opinion and diplomacy regionally and globally. The Israelis are calculating that these actions will not generate a long-term shift in the strategic posture of the Arab world. If they are wrong about this, recent actions will have been a significant strategic error. If they are right, then this is simply another passing incident. In the end, the profound divisions in the Arab world both protect Israel and make diplomatic solutions to its challenge almost impossible — you don’t need to fight forces that are so divided, but it is very difficult to negotiate comprehensively with a group that lacks anything approaching a unified voice.

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though a religious movement, is Sunni while Iran is Shiite. Hamas and the Iranians may cooperate on some tactical issues, but they do not share the same vision. Israel’s Short-term Free Hand and Long-term Challenge Given this environment, it is extremely difficult to translate hostility to Israeli policies in Europe and other areas into meaningful levers against Israel. Under these circumstances, the Israelis see the consequences of actions that excite hostility toward Israel from the Arabs and the rest of the world as less dangerous than losing control of Gaza. The more independent Gaza becomes, the greater the threat it poses to Israel. The suppression of Gaza is much safer and is something Fatah ultimately supports, Egypt participates in, Jordan is relieved by and Syria is ultimately indifferent to. Nations base their actions on risks and rewards. The configuration of the Palestinians and Arabs rewards Israeli assertiveness and provides few rewards for caution. The Israelis do not see global hostility toward Israel translating into a meaningful threat because the Arab reality cancels it out. Therefore, relieving pressure on Hamas makes no sense to the Israelis. Doing so would be as likely to alienate Fatah and Egypt as it would to satisfy the Swedes, for example. As Israel has less interest in the Swedes than in Egypt and Fatah, it proceeds as it has. A single point sums up the story of Israel and the Gaza blockade-runners: Not one Egyptian aircraft threatened the Israeli naval vessels, nor did any Syrian warship approach the intercept point. The Israelis could be certain of complete command of the sea and air without challenge. And this underscores how the Arab countries no longer have a military force that can challenge the Israelis, nor the will nor interest to acquire one. Where Egyptian and Syrian forces posed a profound threat to Israeli forces in 1973, no such threat exists now. Israel has a completely free hand in the region militarily; it does not have to take into account military counteraction. The threat posed by intifada, suicide bombers, rockets from Lebanon and Gaza, and Hezbollah fighters is real, but it does not threaten the survival of Israel the way the threat from Egypt and Syria once did (and the Israelis see actions like the Gaza blockade as actually reducing the threat of intifada, suicide bombers and rockets). Non-state actors simply lack the force needed to reach this threshold. When we search for the reasons behind Israeli actions, it is this singular military fact that explains Israeli decision-making. And while the break between Turkey and Israel is real, Turkey alone cannot bring significant pressure to bear on Israel beyond the sphere of public opinion and diplomacy because of the profound divisions in the region. Turkey has the option to reduce or end cooperation with Israel, but it does not have potential allies in the Arab world it would need against Israel. Israel therefore feels buffered against the Turkish reaction. Though its relationship with Turkey is significant to Israel, it is clearly not significant enough for Israel to give in on the blockade and accept the risks from Gaza. At present, Israel takes the same view of the United States. While the United States became essential to Israeli security after 1967, Israel is far less dependent on the United States today. The quantity of aid the United States supplies Israel has shrunk in significance as the Israeli economy has grown. In the long run, a split with the United States would be significant, but interestingly, in the short run, the Israelis would be able to function quite effectively. Israel does, however, face this strategic problem: In the short run, it has freedom of action, but its actions could change the strategic framework in which it operates over the long run. The most significant

June 15, 2010 | 0855 GMT

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second prong of the strategy — flooding the region with ethnic Russians — is no longer an option because of Russia’s demographic profile. The Russian birth rate has been in decline for a century, and in the post-Cold War era, the youngest tranche of the Russian population simply collapsed. The situation transformed from an academic debate about Russia’s future to a policy debate about Russia’s present. The bust in the birth rate in the 1990s and 2000s has generated the smallest population cohort in Russian history, and in a very few years, those post-Cold War children will themselves be at the age where they will be having children. A small cohort will create an even smaller cohort, and Russia’s population problems could well evolve from crushing to irrecoverable. Even if this cohort reproduces at a sub-Saharan African birthrate, even if the indications of high tuberculosis and HIV infections among this population cohort are all wrong, and even if Russia can provide a level of services for this group that it couldn’t manage during the height of Soviet power, any demographic bounce would not occur until the 2050s — once the children of this cohort have sufficiently aged to raise their own children. Until 2050, Russia simply has to learn to work with less. A lot less. And this is the best-case scenario for Russia in the next generation.

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The Kyrgyzstan Crisis and the Russian Dilemma
By Peter Zeihan
STRATFOR often discusses how Russia is on a bit of a roll. The U.S. distraction in the Middle East has offered Russia a golden opportunity to re-establish its spheres of influence in the region, steadily expanding the Russian zone of control into a shape that is eerily reminiscent of the old Soviet Union. Since 2005, when this process began, Russia has clearly reasserted itself as the dominant power in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine, and has intimidated places like Georgia and Turkmenistan into a sort of silent acquiescence. But we have not spent a great amount of time explaining why this is the case. It is undeniable that Russia is a Great Power, but few things in geopolitics are immutable, and Russia is no exception. Russian Geography, Strategy and Demographics Russia’s geography is extremely open, with few geographic barriers to hunker behind. There are no oceans, mountains or deserts to protect Russia from outside influences — or armies — and Russia’s forests, which might provide some measure of protection, are on the wrong side of the country. The Russian taiga is in the north and, as such, can only provide refuge for Russians after the country’s more economically useful parts have already fallen to invaders (as during the Mongol occupation). Despite its poor geographic hand, Russia has managed to cope via a three-part strategy: 1. Lay claim to as large a piece of land as possible. 2. Flood it with ethnic Russians to assert reliable control. 3. Establish an internal intelligence presence that can monitor and, if need be, suppress the indigenous population. Throughout Russian history, this strategy has been repeated until the Russian state reached an ocean, a mountain chain, a desert, or a foe that fought back too strongly. In many ways, the strategies of the Kremlin of 2010 are extremely similar to those of Catherine the Great, Ivan the Terrible or Joseph Stalin. But it is no longer the 17th century, and this strategy does not necessarily play to Russia’s strengths anymore. The

Simply put, Russia does not have the population to sustain the country at its present boundaries. As time grinds on, Russia’s capacity for doing so will decrease drastically. Moscow understands all this extremely well, and this is a leading rationale behind current Russian foreign policy: Russia’s demographics will never again be as “positive” as they are now, and the Americans are unlikely to be any more distracted than they are now. So Russia is moving quickly and, more important, intelligently.

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Russia is thus attempting to reach some natural anchor points, e.g., some geographic barriers that would limit the state’s exposure to outside powers. The Russians hope they will be able to husband their strength from these anchor points. Moscow’s long-term strategy consistently has been to trade space for time ahead of the beginning of the Russian twilight; if the Russians can expand to these anchor points, Moscow hopes it can trade less space for more time. Unfortunately for Moscow, there are not many of these anchor points in Russia’s neighborhood. One is the Baltic Sea, a fact that terrifies the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Another is the Carpathian Mountains. This necessitates the de facto absorption not only of Ukraine, but also of Moldova, something that makes Romania lose sleep at night. And then there are the Tien Shan Mountains of Central Asia — which brings us to the crisis of the moment. The Crisis in Kyrgyzstan The former Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan is not a particularly nice piece of real estate. While it is in one of those mountainous regions that could be used to anchor Russian power, it is on the far side of the Eurasian steppe from the Russian core, more than 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) removed from the Russian heartland. The geography of Kyrgyzstan itself also leaves a great deal to be desired. Kyrgyzstan is an artificial construct created by none other than Stalin, who rearranged internal Soviet borders in the region to maximize the chances of dislocation, dispute and disruption among the indigenous populations in case the Soviet provinces ever gained independence. Stalin drew his lines well: Central Asia’s only meaningful population center is the Fergana Valley. Kyrgyzstan obtained the region’s foothills and highlands, which provide the region’s water; Uzbekistan gained the fertile floor of the valley; and Tajikistan walked away with the only decent access to the valley as a whole. As such, the three states continuously are jockeying for control over the only decent real estate in the region. Arguably, Kyrgyzstan has the least to work with of any of the region’s states. Nearly all of its territory is mountainous; what flat patches of land it does have on which to build cities are scattered about. There is, accordingly, no real Kyrgyz core. Consequently, the country suffers from sharp internal differences: Individual clans hold dominion over tiny patches of land separated from each other by rugged tracts of mountains. In nearly all cases, those clans have tighter economic and security relationships with foreigners than they do with each other.

A little more than five years ago, Western nongovernmental organizations (and undoubtedly a handful of intelligence services) joined forces with some of these regional factions in Kyrgyzstan to overthrow the country’s pro-Russian ruling elite in what is known as a “color revolution” in the former Soviet Union. Subsequently, Kyrgyzstan — while not exactly pro-Western — dwelled in a political middle ground the Russians found displeasing. In April, Russia proved that it, too, can throw a color revolution and Kyrgyzstan’s government switched yet again. Since then, violence has wracked the southern regions of Jalal-Abad, Batken and Osh — strongholds of the previous government. In recent days, nearly 100,000 Kyrgyz residents have fled to Uzbekistan. The interim government of Prime Minister Roza Otunbayeva is totally outmatched. It is not so much that her government is in danger of falling — those same mountains that make it nearly impossible for Bishkek to control Osh make it equally difficult for Osh to take over Bishkek – but that the country has de facto split into (at least) two pieces. As such, Otunbayeva — whose government only coalesced due to the Russian intervention — has publicly and directly called upon the Russians to provide troops to help hold the country together. This request cuts to the core weakness in the Russian strategy. Despite much degradation in the period after the Soviet dissolution, Russia’s intelligence services remain without peer. In fact, now that they have the direct patronage of the Russian

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the Russian-sponsored coup in Kyrgyzstan an excellent case in point. From March through May, Uzbekistan began activating its reserves and reinforcing its Fergana border regions, which heightened the state of fear in Bishkek from shrill to panic mode. Given Uzbek means, motive and opportunity, Moscow is fairly confident that sending Russian peacekeepers to southern Kyrgyzstan would provoke a direct military confrontation with an angry and nervous Uzbekistan. In STRATFOR’s view, Russia would win this war, but this victory would come neither easily nor cheaply. The Fergana is a long way from Russia, and the vast bulk of Russia’s military is static, not expeditionary like its U.S. counterpart. Uzbek supply lines would be measured in hundreds of meters, Russian lines in thousands of kilometers. Moreover, Uzbekistan could interrupt nearly all Central Asian natural gas that currently flows to Russia without even launching a single attack. (The Turkmen natural gas that Russia’s Gazprom normally depends upon travels to Russia via Uzbek territory.) Yet this may be a conflict Russia feels it cannot avoid. The Russians have not forward-garrisoned a military force sufficient to protect Kyrgyzstan, nor can they resettle a population that could transform Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, the Russian relationship with Kyrgyzstan is based neither on military strategy nor on economic rationality. Instead, it is based on the need to preserve a certain level of credibility and fear — credibility that the Russians will protect Kyrgyzstan should push come to shove, and Kyrgyz fear of what Russia will do to it should they not sign on to the Russian sphere of influence. It is a strategy strongly reminiscent of the U.S. Cold War containment doctrine, under which the United States promised to aid any ally, anytime, anywhere if in exchange they would help contain the Soviets. This allowed the Soviet Union to choose the time and place of conflicts, and triggered U.S. involvement in places like Vietnam. Had the United States refused battle, the American alliance structure could have crumbled. Russia now faces a similar dilemma, and just as the United States had no economic desire to be in Vietnam, the Russians really do not much care what happens to Kyrgyzstan — except as it impacts Russian interests elsewhere. But even victory over Uzbekistan would not solve the problem. Smashing the only coherent government in the region would create a security vacuum. Again, the Americans provide a useful corollary: The U.S. “victory” over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Taliban’s Afghanistan proved that “winning” is the easy part. Occupying the region over the long haul to make sure that the victory is not worse than the status quo antebellum is a decade-to-generational effort that requires a significant expenditure of blood and treasure. Russia desperately needs to devote such resources elsewhere — particularly once the United States is no longer so preoccupied in the Middle East. Russia is attempting to finesse a middle ground by talking the Uzbeks down and offering the compromise of nonRussian troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led military organization, as an alternative to Russian forces. This may resolve the immediate crisis, but neither the Uzbeks nor the challenges they pose are going anywhere. And

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prime minister, they have proportionally more resources and influence than ever. They have proved that they can rewire Ukraine’s political world to expunge American influence, manipulate events in the Caucasus to whittle away at Turkey’s authority, cause riots in the Baltics to unbalance NATO members, and reverse Kyrgyzstan’s color revolution. But they do not have backup. Were this the 19th century, there would already be scads of Russian settlers en route to the Fergana to dilute the control of the locals (although they would certainly be arriving after the Russian army), to construct a local economy dependent upon imported labor and linked to the Russian core, and to establish a new ruling elite. (It is worth noting that the resistance of Central Asians to Russian encroachment meant that the Russians never seriously attempted to make the region into a majority-Russian one. Even so, the Russians still introduced their own demographic to help shape the region more to Moscow’s liking.) Instead, Russia’s relatively few young families are busy holding the demographic line in Russia proper. For the first time in Russian history, there is no surplus Russian population that can be relocated to the provinces. And without that population, the Russian view of the Fergana — to say nothing of Kyrgyzstan — changes dramatically. The region is remote and densely populated, and reaching it requires transiting three countries. And one of these states would have something to say about that. That state is Uzbekistan. The Uzbek Goliath After the Russians and Ukrainians, the Uzbeks are the most populous ethnicity in the former Soviet Union. They are a Turkic people who do not enjoy particularly good relations with anyone. Uzbekistan’s ruling Karimov family is roundly hated both at home and abroad; the Central Asian country boasts one of the most repressive governing systems in modern times. Uzbekistan also happens to be quite powerful by Central Asian standards. There are more Uzbeks in Central Asia than there are Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Tajiks and Russians combined. The Uzbek intelligence services are modeled after their Russian counterparts, interspersing agents throughout the Uzbek population to ensure loyalty and to root out dissidents. It is the only country of the five former Soviet states in the region that actually has a military that can engage in military action. It is the only one of the five that has most of its cities in logical proximity and linked with decent infrastructure (even if it is split into the Tashkent region and the Fergana region by Stalinesque cartographic creativity). It is the only one of the five that is both politically stable (if politically brittle) and that has the ability to project power. And it is also the only Central Asian state that is self-sufficient in both food and energy. To top it all off, some 2.5 million ethnic Uzbeks reside in the other four former Soviet Central Asian states, providing Tashkent a wealth of tools for manipulating developments throughout the region. And manipulate it does. In addition to the odd border spat, Uzbekistan intervened decisively in Tajikistan’s civil war in the 1990s. Tashkent is not shy about noting that it thinks most Tajik, and especially Kyrgyz, territory should belong to Uzbekistan, particularly the territory of southern Kyrgyzstan, where the current violence is strongest. Uzbekistan views many of the Russian strategies to expunge Western interests from Central Asia as preparation for moves against Uzbekistan, with

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unlike Russia, Uzbekistan boasts very high demographic growth. The bottom line is this: Despite all of Russia’s recent gains, Moscow’s strategy requires tools that the Russians no longer have. It requires Moscow delving into the subregional politics of places that could well bleed Russia dry — and this is before any power that wishes Russia ill begins exploring what it and the Uzbeks might achieve together.

July 1, 2010 | 0856 GMT

The following are the 11 individuals detained in the investigation, along with summaries of their alleged activities listed in the criminal complaint: Christopher Metsos  Claimed to originally be from Canada.  Acted as an intermediary between the Russian mission to the United Nations in New York and suspects Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills. The Dismantling of a Suspected Russian  Traveled to and from Canada. Intelligence Operation  Met with Richard Murphy at least four times between February 2001 and April 2005 at a restaurant in By Fred Burton and Ben West New York. The U.S. Department of Justice announced June 28 that an FBI counterintelligence investigation had resulted in the arrest on June  Was first surveilled in 2001 in meetings with other 27 of 10 individuals suspected of acting as undeclared agents of a suspects. foreign country, in this case, Russia. Eight of the individuals were also  Left the United States on June 17 and was detained accused of money laundering. On June 28, five of the defendants in Cyprus on June 29, but appears to have skipped bail. appeared before a federal magistrate in U.S. District Court in Richard and Cynthia Murphy Manhattan while three others went before a federal magistrate in  Claimed to be married and to be U.S. citizens. Alexandria, Va., and two more went before a U.S. magistrate in Boston.  First surveilled by the FBI in 2001 during meetings An 11th person named in the criminal complaint was arrested in Cyprus with Mestos. on June 29, posted bail and is currently at large.  Also met with the third secretary in the Russian The number of arrested suspects in this case makes this mission to the United Nations. counterintelligence investigation one of the biggest in U.S. history.  Communicated electronically with Moscow. According to the criminal complaint, the FBI had been investigating some of these people for as long as 10 years, recording conversations in  Richard Murphy’s safe-deposit box was searched in their homes, intercepting radio and electronic messages and 2006 and agents found a birth certificate claiming he was conducting surveillance on them in and out of the United States. The born in Philadelphia; city officials claim there is no such case suggests that the classic tactics of intelligence gathering and birth certificate on record. counterintelligence are still being used by Russia and the United States.  Engaged in electronic communications with Cast of Characters Moscow.  Traveled to Moscow via Italy in February 2010. Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley  Claimed to be married and to be natives of Canada who are naturalized U.S. citizens.  FBI searched a safe-deposit box listed under their names in January 2001.  FBI discovered that Donald Heathfield’s identity had been taken from a deceased child by the same name in Canada and found old photos of Foley taken with Soviet film.

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2010. Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills  Claimed to be married and to be a U.S. citizen (Zottoli) and a Canadian citizen (Mills).  First surveilled in June 2004 during a meeting with Richard Murphy.  Engaged in electronic communications with Moscow. Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez  Claimed to be married and to be a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Peru (Pelaez) and a Peruvian citizen born in Uruguay (Lazaro).  First surveilled at a meeting in a public park in an unidentified South American country in January 2000.  Evidence against Vicky Pelaez was the first gathered on the 11 suspected operatives.  Lazaro appeared to communicate with a diplomat at the Russian Embassy in an unidentified South American country.  Engaged in electronic communications with Moscow. Anna Chapman  First surveillance mentioned was in Manhattan in January 2010.  Communicated with a declared diplomat in the Russian mission to the United Nations on Wednesdays.  Knowingly accepted a fraudulent passport from an undercover FBI agent whom she believed to be a Russian diplomatic officer June 26, but turned it in to the police the next day shortly before her arrest. Mikhail Semenko  First surveillance mentioned in the criminal complaint was in June 2010 in Washington.  Revealed to an undercover officer that he had received training and instruction from “the center” (a common term for the Moscow headquarters of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR).  Accepted a payment of $5,000 and followed orders given by an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian diplomatic officer to deliver the money to a drop site in Washington. Their Mission According to the FBI, some of the alleged “undeclared agents” moved to the United States in the 1990s, while others (such as Anna Chapman) did not arrive until 2009. The FBI says nine of the suspects were provided with fake identities and even fake childhood photos and cover stories (part of what would be called a “legend”) in order to establish themselves in the United State under “deep cover.” Chapman and Semenko used their own Russian identities (Chapman is divorced and may have taken her surname from her former husband). The true nationalities of the other suspects are unknown, but several passages in the criminal complaint indicate that most of them were originally from Russia. The Russian SVR allegedly provided the suspects with bank accounts, homes, cars and regular payments in order to facilitate “longterm service” inside the United States, where, according to the criminal complaint, the individuals were supposed to “search [for] and develop ties in policymaking circles” in the United States.

The FBI criminal complaint provides evidence that two of  Engaged in electronic communications with Moscow. the deep-cover couples (Heathfield/Foley and Lazaro/Palaez) and the  Tracey Foley traveled to Moscow via Paris in March

two short-term cover agents (Semenko and Chapman) were operating without knowledge of each other or in connection with the other two couples and Metsos, who did interact. This suggests that they would not have formed one network, as is being reported, but perhaps discrete networks. The criminal complaint provides evidence indicating that most of the operatives were being run out of the SVR residence at the U.N. mission. It is unclear exactly how successful the 11 accused individuals were in finding and developing those ties in policymaking circles. The criminal complaint accuses the individuals of sending everything from information on the gold market from a financier in New York (a contact that Moscow apparently found helpful, since it reportedly encouraged further contact with the source) to seeking out potential college graduates headed for jobs at the CIA. The criminal complaint outlines one recorded conversation in which Lazaro told Pelaez that his handlers were not pleased with his reports because he wasn’t attributing them properly. Pelaez then advised Lazaro to “put down any politician” (to whom the information could be attributed) in order to appease the handlers, indicating that the alleged operatives did not always practice scrupulous tradecraft in their work. Improperly identifying sources in the field ultimately diminishes the value of the information, since it cannot be adequately assessed without knowing where it came from. If these kinds of shortcuts were normally taken by Pelaez, Lazaro and others, then it would reduce their value to the SVR and the harm that they may have done to the United States. The suspects were allegedly instructed by their handlers in the United States and Russia to not pursue highlevel government jobs, since their legends were not strong enough to withstand a significant background investigation. But they allegedly were encouraged to make contact with high-level government officials, in order to have a finger on the pulse of policymaking in Washington. Tradecraft The criminal complaint alleges that the suspects used traditional tradecraft of the clandestine services to communicate with each other and send reports to their handlers. The suspects allegedly transmitted messages to Moscow containing their reports encrypted in “radiograms” (short-burst radio transmissions that appear as Morse code) or written in invisible ink, and met in third countries for payments and briefings. They are also said to have used “brush passes” (the quick and discreet exchange of materials between one person and another) and “flash meets” (seemingly innocuous, brief encounters) to transfer information, equipment and money. The criminal complaint also gives examples of operatives using coded phrases with each other and with their operators to confirm each other’s identities. In addition to the traditional tradecraft described in the criminal complaint, there are also new operational twists. The suspects allegedly used e-mail to set up electronic dead drops to transmit encrypted intelligence reports to Moscow, and several operatives were said to have used steganography (embedding information in seemingly innocuous images) to encrypt messages. Chapman and Semenko allegedly employed private wireless networks hosted by a laptop programmed to communicate only with a specific laptop. The FBI claims to have identified networks (and may have intercepted the messages transmitted) that had been temporarily set up when a suspect was in proximity to a known Russian diplomat.

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unusual behavior that would have tipped the neighbors off. All apparently had deep (but not airtight) legends going back decades that allayed suspicion. The criminal complaint did not suggest how the U.S. government came to suspect these people of reporting back to the SVR in Russia, although we did notice that the beginning of the investigation coincides with the time that a high-level SVR agent stationed at Russia’s U.N. mission in New York began passing information to the FBI. Sergei Tretyakov (who told his story in the book by Pete Earley called “Comrade J,” an abbreviation of his SVR codename, “Comrade Jean”), passed information to the FBI from the U.N. mission from 1997 to 2000, just before he defected to the United States in October 2000. According to the criminal complaint, seven of the 11 suspects were connected to Russia’s U.N. mission, though evidence of those links did not begin to emerge until 2004 (and some as late as 2010). The timing of Tretyakov’s cooperation with the U.S. government and the timing of the beginning of this investigation resulting in the arrest of the 11 suspects this week suggests that Tretyakov may have been the original source who tipped off the U.S. government. So far, the evidence is circumstantial — the timing and the location match up — but Tretyakov, as the SVR operative at Russia’s U.N. mission, certainly would have been in a position to know about operations involving most of the people arrested June 27. Why Now? Nothing in the complaint indicates why, after more than 10 years of investigation, the FBI decided to arrest the 11 suspects June 27. It is not unusual for investigations to be drawn out for years, since much information on tradecraft and intent can be obtained by watching foreign intelligence agencies operate without knowing they are being watched. Extended surveillance can also reveal additional contacts and build a stronger case. As long as the suspects aren’t posing an immediate risk to national security (and judging by the criminal complaint, these 11 suspects were not), there is little reason for the authorities to show their hand and conclude a fruitful counterintelligence operation. It has been suggested that some of the suspects were a flight risk, so agents arrested all of them in order to prevent them from escaping the United States. Metsos left the United States on June 17 and was arrested in Cyprus on June 29, however, his whereabouts are currently unknown, as he has not reported back to Cypriot authorities after posting bail. A number of the suspects left and came back to the United States numerous times, and investigators appear not to have been concerned about these past comings and goings. It isn’t clear why they would have been concerned about someone leaving at this point. The timing of the arrests so soon after U.S. President Barack Obama’s June 25 meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev also raises questions about political motivations. Medvedev was in Washington to talk with Obama in an attempt to improve relations between the two countries on the day the FBI officially filed the criminal complaint. The revelation of a network of undeclared foreign agents operating in the United States would ordinarily have a negative effect on relations between the United States and the foreign country in question. In this case, though, officials from both countries made public statements saying they hoped the arrests would not damage ties, and neither side appears to be trying to leverage the incident. Indeed, if there were political motivations behind the timing of the arrests, they remain a mystery. Whatever the motivations, now that the FBI has these suspects in custody it will be able to interrogate them and probably

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These electronic meetings occurred frequently, according to the FBI, and allowed operatives and their operators to communicate covertly without actually being seen together. Operations are said to have been run largely out of Russia’s U.N. mission in New York, meaning that when face-to-face meetings were required, declared diplomats from the U.N. mission could do the job. According to the criminal complaint, Russian diplomats handed off cash to Christopher Metsos on at least two occasions, and he allegedly distributed it to various other operatives (which provided the grounds for the charge of money laundering). The actual information gathered from the field appears to have gone directly to Russia, according to the complaint. It is important to note that the accused individuals were not charged with espionage; the charge of acting as an undeclared agent of a foreign state is less serious. The criminal complaint never alleges that any of the 11 individuals received or transmitted classified information. This doesn’t mean that the suspects weren’t committing espionage. (Investigators will certainly learn more about their activities during interrogation and trial preparation.) According to the criminal complaint, their original guidance from Moscow was to establish deep cover. This means that they would have been tasked with positioning themselves over time in order gain access to valuable information (it is important to point out that “valuable” is not synonymous with “classified”) through their established occupations or social lives. This allows agents to gain access to what they want without running unnecessary security risks. Any intelligence operation must balance operational security with the need to gather intelligence. Too much security and the operative is unable to do anything; but if intelligence gathering is too aggressive, the handlers risk losing an intelligence asset. If these people were operating in deep cover, the SVR probably invested quite a bit of time and money training and cultivating them, likely well before they arrived in the United States. According to information in the criminal complaint, the suspects were actively meeting with potential sources, sending reports back to Moscow and interacting with declared Russian diplomats in the United States, all the while running the risk of being caught. But they also took security measures, according to the complaint. There is no evidence that they attempted to reach out to people who would have fallen outside their natural professional and social circles, which could have raised suspicions. In many ways, these individuals appear to have acted more like recruiters, seeking out people with access to valuable information, rather than agents trying to gain access to that information themselves. However, all we know now is based on what was released in the criminal complaint. An investigation that lasted this long surely has an abundance of evidence (much of it likely classified) that wasn’t included in the complaint. Counterintelligence According to authorities, the suspected operatives were under heavy surveillance by U.S. counterintelligence agents for 10 years. Working out of Boston, New York and Washington, the FBI employed its Special Surveillance Group to track suspects in person; place video and audio recorders in their homes and at meeting places to record communications; search their homes and safe-deposit boxes; intercept e-mail and electronic communications; and deploy undercover agents to entrap the suspects. Counterintelligence operations don’t just materialize out of thin air. There has to be a tip or a clue that puts investigators on the trail of a suspected undeclared foreign agent. As suggested by interviews with the suspects’ neighbors, none of them displayed

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designed to destroy or disrupt al Qaeda and dislodge the Taliban. The United States commenced operations barely 30 days after Sept. 11, which was not enough time to mount an invasion using U.S. troops as the primary instrument. Rather, the United States made arrangements with factions that were opposed to the Taliban (and defeated in the Afghan civil war). This included organizations such as the Northern Alliance, which had remained close to the Russians; Shiite groups in the west that were close to the Iranians and India; and other groups or subgroups in other regions. These groups supported the United States out of hostility to the Taliban and/or due to substantial bribes paid by the United States. The overwhelming majority of ground forces opposing the Taliban in 2001 were Afghan. The United States did, however, insert special operations forces teams to work with these groups and to identify targets for U.S. airpower, the primary American contribution to the war. The use of U.S. B-52s against Taliban forces massed around cities in the north caused the Taliban to abandon any thought of resisting the Northern Alliance and others, even though the Taliban had defeated them in the civil war. Unable to hold fixed positions against airstrikes, the Taliban withdrew from the cities and dispersed. The Taliban were not defeated, however; they merely declined to fight on U.S. terms. Instead, they redefined the war, preserving their forces and regrouping. The Taliban understood that the cities were not the key to Afghanistan. Instead, the countryside would ultimately provide control of the cities. From the Taliban point of view, the battle would be waged in the countryside, while the cities increasingly would be isolated. The United States simply did not have sufficient force to identify, engage and destroy the Taliban as a whole. The United States did succeed in damaging and dislodging al Qaeda, with the jihadist group’s command cell becoming isolated in northwestern Pakistan. But as with the Taliban, the United States did not defeat al Qaeda because the United States lacked significant forces on the ground. Even so, al Qaeda prime, the original command cell, was no longer in a position to mount 9/11-style attacks. During the Bush administration, U.S. goals for Afghanistan were modest. First, the Americans intended to keep al Qaeda bottled up and to impose as much damage as possible on the group. Second, they intended to establish an Afghan government, regardless of how ineffective it might be, to serve as a symbolic core. Third, they planned very limited operations against the Taliban, which had regrouped and increasingly controlled the countryside. The Bush administration was basically in a holding operation in Afghanistan. It accepted that U.S. forces were neither going to be able to impose a political solution on Afghanistan nor create a coalition large enough control the country. U.S. strategy was extremely modest under Bush: to harass al Qaeda from bases in Afghanistan, maintain control of cities and logistics routes, and accept the limits of U.S. interests and power. The three phases of American involvement in Afghanistan had a common point: All three were heavily dependent on non-U.S. forces to do the heavy lifting. In the first phase, the mujahideen performed this task. In the second phase, the United States relied on Pakistan to manage Afghanistan’s civil war. In the third phase, especially in the beginning, the United States depended on Afghan forces to fight the Taliban. Later, when greater numbers of American and allied forces arrived, the United States had limited objectives beyond preserving the Afghan government and engaging al Qaeda

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gather even more information on the operation. The charges for now don’t include espionage, but the FBI could very well be withholding this charge in order to provide an incentive for the suspects to plea bargain. We expect considerably more information on this unprecedented case to come out in the following weeks and months, revealing much about Russian clandestine operations and their targets in the United States.

June 29, 2010 | 0858 GMT

The 30-Year War in Afghanistan

By George Friedman The Afghan War is the longest war in U.S. history. It began in 1980 and continues to rage. It began under Democrats but has been fought under both Republican and Democratic administrations, making it truly a bipartisan war. The conflict is an odd obsession of U.S. foreign policy, one that never goes away and never seems to end. As the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal reminds us, the Afghan War is now in its fourth phase. The Afghan War’s First Three Phases The first phase of the Afghan War began with the Soviet invasion in December 1979, when the United States, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, organized and sustained Afghan resistance to the Soviets. This resistance was built around mujahideen, fighters motivated by Islam. Washington’s purpose had little to do with Afghanistan and everything to do with U.S.-Soviet competition. The United States wanted to block the Soviets from using Afghanistan as a base for further expansion and wanted to bog the Soviets down in a debilitating guerrilla war. The United States did not so much fight the war as facilitate it. The strategy worked. The Soviets were blocked and bogged down. This phase lasted until 1989, when Soviet troops were withdrawn. The second phase lasted from 1989 until 2001. The forces the United States and its allies had trained and armed now fought each other in complex coalitions for control of Afghanistan. Though the United States did not take part in this war directly, it did not lose all interest in Afghanistan. Rather, it was prepared to exert its influence through allies, particularly Pakistan. Most important, it was prepared to accept that the Islamic fighters it had organized against the Soviets would govern Afghanistan. There were many factions, but with Pakistani support, a coalition called the Taliban took power in 1996. The Taliban in turn provided sanctuary for a group of international jihadists called al Qaeda, and this led to increased tensions with the Taliban following jihadist attacks on U.S. facilities abroad by al Qaeda. The third phase began on Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda launched attacks on the mainland United States. Given al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan, the United States launched operations

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in Afghanistan: alliance with indigenous forces. These indigenous forces would pursue strategies in the American interest for their own reasons, or because they are paid, and would be strong enough to stand up to the Taliban in a coalition. As CIA Director Leon Panetta put it this weekend, however, this is proving harder to do than expected. The American strategy is, therefore, to maintain a sufficient force to shape the political evolution on the ground, and to use that force to motivate and intimidate while also using economic incentives to draw together a coalition in the countryside. Operations like those in Helmand province — where even Washington acknowledges that progress has been elusive and slower than anticipated — clearly are designed to try to draw regional forces into regional coalitions that eventually can enter a coalition with the Taliban without immediately being overwhelmed. If this strategy proceeds, the Taliban in theory will be spurred to negotiate out of concern that this process eventually could leave it marginalized. There is an anomaly in this strategy, however. Where the United States previously had devolved operational responsibility to allied groups, or simply hunkered down, this strategy tries to return to devolved responsibilities by first surging U.S. operations. The fourth phase actually increases U.S. operational responsibility in order to reduce it. From the grand strategic point of view, the United States needs to withdraw from Afghanistan, a landlocked country where U.S. forces are dependent on tortuous supply lines. Whatever Afghanistan’s vast mineral riches, mining them in the midst of war is not going to happen. More important, the United States is overcommitted in the region and lacks a strategic reserve of ground forces. Afghanistan ultimately is not strategically essential, and this is why the United States has not historically used its own forces there. Obama’s attempt to return to that track after first increasing U.S. forces to set the stage for the political settlement that will allow a U.S. withdrawal is hampered by the need to begin terminating the operation by 2011 (although there is no fixed termination date). It will be difficult to draw coalition partners into local structures when the foundation — U.S. protection — is withdrawing. Strengthening local forces by 2011 will be difficult. Moreover, the Taliban’s motivation to enter into talks is limited by the early withdrawal. At the same time, with no ground combat strategic reserve, the United States is vulnerable elsewhere in the world, and the longer the Afghan drawdown takes, the more vulnerable it becomes (hence the 2011 deadline in Obama’s war plan). In sum, this is the quandary inherent in the strategy: It is necessary to withdraw as early as possible, but early withdrawal undermines both coalition building and negotiations. The recruitment and use of indigenous Afghan forces must move extremely rapidly to hit the deadline (though officially on track quantitatively, there are serious questions about qualitative measures) — hence, the aggressive operations that have been mounted over recent months. But the correlation of forces is such that the United States probably will not be able to impose an acceptable political reality in the time frame available. Thus, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is said to be opening channels directly to the Taliban, while the Pakistanis are increasing their presence. Where a vacuum is created, regardless of how much activity there is, someone will fill it. Therefore, the problem is to define how important Afghanistan is to American global strategy, bearing in mind that the

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wherever it might be found (and in any event, by 2003, Iraq had taken priority over Afghanistan). In no case did the Americans use their main force to achieve their goals. The Fourth Phase of the Afghan War The fourth phase of the war began in 2009, when U.S. President Barack Obama decided to pursue a more aggressive strategy in Afghanistan. Though the Bush administration had toyed with this idea, it was Obama who implemented it fully. During the 2008 election campaign, Obama asserted that he would pay greater attention to Afghanistan. The Obama administration began with the premise that while the Iraq War was a mistake, the Afghan War had to be prosecuted. It reasoned that unlike Iraq, which had a tenuous connection to al Qaeda at best, Afghanistan was the group’s original base. He argued that Afghanistan therefore should be the focus of U.S. military operations. In doing so, he shifted a strategy that had been in place for 30 years by making U.S. forces the main combatants in the war. Though Obama’s goals were not altogether clear, they might be stated as follows: 1. Deny al Qaeda a base in Afghanistan. 2. Create an exit strategy from Afghanistan similar to the one in Iraq by creating the conditions for negotiating with the Taliban; make denying al Qaeda a base a condition for the resulting ruling coalition. 3. Begin withdrawal by 2011. To do this, there would be three steps: 1. Increase the number and aggressiveness of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. 2. Create Afghan security forces under the current government to take over from the Americans. 3. Increase pressure on the Taliban by driving a wedge between them and the population and creating intra-insurgent rifts via effective counterinsurgency tactics. In analyzing this strategy, there is an obvious issue: While al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan in 2001, Afghanistan is no longer its primary base of operations. The group has shifted to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. As al Qaeda is thus not dependent on any one country for its operational base, denying it bases in Afghanistan does not address the reality of its dispersion. Securing Afghanistan, in other words, is no longer the solution to al Qaeda. Obviously, Obama’s planners fully understood this. Therefore, sanctuary denial for al Qaeda had to be, at best, a secondary strategic goal. The primary strategic goal was to create an exit strategy for the United States based on a negotiated settlement with the Taliban and a resulting coalition government. The al Qaeda issue depended on this settlement, but could never be guaranteed. In fact, neither the longterm survival of a coalition government nor the Taliban policing al Qaeda could be guaranteed. The exit of U.S. forces represents a bid to reinstate the American strategy of the past 30 years, namely, having Afghan forces reassume the primary burden of fighting. The creation of an Afghan military is not the key to this strategy. Afghans fight for their clans and ethnic groups. The United States is trying to invent a national army where no nation exists, a task that assumes the primary loyalty of Afghans will shift from their clans to a national government, an unlikely proposition. The Real U.S. Strategy Rather than trying to strengthen the Karzai government, the real strategy is to return to the historical principles of U.S. involvement

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forces absorbed in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the United States vulnerable elsewhere in the world. The current strategy defines the Islamic world as the focus of all U.S. military attention. But the world has rarely been so considerate as to wait until the United States is finished with one war before starting another. Though unknowns remain unknowable, a principle of warfare is to never commit all of your reserves in a battle — one should always maintain a reserve for the unexpected. Strategically, it is imperative that the United States begin to free up forces and re-establish its ground reserves. Given the time frame the Obama administration’s grand strategy imposes, and given the capabilities of the Taliban, it is difficult to see how it will all work out. But the ultimate question is about the American obsession with Afghanistan. For 30 years, the United States has been involved in a country that is virtually inaccessible for the United States. Washington has allied itself with radical Islamists, fought against radical Islamists or tried to negotiate with radical Islamists. What the United States has never tried to do is impose a political solution through the direct application of American force. This is a new and radically different phase of America’s Afghan obsession. The questions are whether it will work and whether it is even worth it.

extremely sensitive to the geopolitical issues involved, which are significant and complex. Reconsidering Basic Strategy The economic crisis in Europe has caused the Germans, among others, to reconsider their basic strategy. Ever since World War II, the Germans have pursued two national imperatives. The first was to maintain close relations with the French — along with the rest of Europe — to eliminate the threat of war. Germany had fought three wars with France since 1870, and its primary goal was not fighting another one. Its second goal was prosperity. Germany’s memory of the Great Depression plus its desire to avoid militarism made it obsessed with economic development and creating a society focused on prosperity. It saw the creation of an integrated economic structure in Europe as achieving both ends, tying Germany into an unbreakable relationship with France and at the same time creating a trading bloc that would ensure prosperity. Events since the financial crisis of 2008 have shaken German confidence in the European Union as an instrument of prosperity, however. Until 2008, Europe had undergone an extraordinary period of prosperity, in which West Germany could simultaneously integrate with East Germany and maintain its longJune 22, 2010 | 0856 GMT term economic growth. The European Union appeared to be a miraculous machine that automatically generated prosperity and political stability alongside it. After 2008, this perception changed, and the sense of insecurity accelerated with the current crisis in Greece and among the Mediterranean members of the European Union. The Germans found themselves underwriting what they regarded as Greek profligacy to protect the euro and the European economy. This not only generated significant opposition among the German public, it raised questions in the German government. The purpose of the European Union was to ensure German prosperity. If the future of Europe was Germany shoring up Europe — in other words, transferring wealth from Germany to Europe — then the rationale for European integration became problematic. The Germans were certainly not prepared to abandon European integration, which had given Germany 65 years of peace. At Germany and Russia Move Closer the same time, the Germans were prepared to consider adjustments By George Friedman to the framework in which Europe was operating, particular from an German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will brief French economic standpoint. A Europe in which German prosperity is at risk and Polish officials on a joint proposal for Russian-European from the budgeting practices of Greece needed adjustment. “cooperation on security,” according to a statement from Westerwelle’s The Pull of Russia spokesman on Monday. The proposal emerged out of talks between In looking at their real economic interests, the Germans German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitri were inevitably drawn to their relationship with Russia. Russia Medvedev earlier in June and is based on a draft Russia drew up in supplies Germany with nearly 40 percent of the natural gas Germany 2008. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be present at the uses. Without Russian energy, Germany’s economy is in trouble. At meeting. Andreas Peschke said, “We want to further elaborate and the same time, Russia needs technology and expertise to develop its discuss it within the triangle [i.e., France, Germany and Poland] in the economy away from being simply an exporter of primary presence of the Russian foreign minister.” commodities. Moreover, the Germans already have thousands of On the surface, the proposal developed by Merkel and enterprises that have invested in Russia. Finally, in the long run, Medvedev appears primarily structural. It raises security discussions Germany’s population is declining below the level needed to maintain about specific trouble spots to the ministerial level rather than the its economy. It does not want to increase immigration into Germany ambassadorial level, with a committee being formed consisting of EU because of fears of social instability. Russia’s population is also foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Russia’s foreign minister. falling, but it still has surplus population relative to its economic All of this seems rather mild until we consider three things. needs and will continue to have one for quite a while. German First, proposals for deepening the relationship between Russia and the investment in Russia allows Germany to get the labor it needs European Union have been on the table for several years without much without resorting to immigration by moving production facilities east progress. Second, the Germans have taken this initiative at a time when to Russia. German foreign policy is in a state of flux. And third, the decision to The Germans have been developing economic relations with take this deal to France and Poland indicates that the Germans are

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take risks in areas where they feel they have no interest. NATO may not be functional in any real sense, but U.S. pressure is ever-present. The Germans and Russians acting together would be in a better position to deflect this pressure than standing alone. Intriguingly, part of the German-Russian talks relate to a specific security matter — the issue of Moldova and Transdniestria. Moldova is a region between Romania and Ukraine (which adjoins Russia and has re-entered the Russian sphere of influence) that at various times has been part of both. It became independent after the collapse of communism, but Moldova’s eastern region, Transdniestria, broke away from Moldova under Russian sponsorship. Following a change in government in 2009, Moldova sees itself as pro-Western while Transdniestria is pro-Russian. The Russians have supported Transdniestria’s status as a breakaway area (and have troops stationed there), while Moldova has insisted on its return. The memorandum between Merkel and Medvedev specifically pointed to the impact a joint security relationship might have on this dispute. The kind of solution that may be considered is unclear, but if the issue goes forward, the outcome will give the first indication of what a German-Russian security relationship will look like. The Poles will be particularly interested, as any effort in Moldova will automatically impact both Romania and Ukraine — two states key to determining Russian strength in the region. Whatever way the solution tilts will define the power relationship among the three. It should be remembered that the Germans are proposing a Russian security relationship with Europe, not a Russian security relationship with Germany alone. At the same time, it should be remembered that it is the Germans taking the initiative to open the talks by unilaterally negotiating with the Russians and taking their agreements to other European countries. It is also important to note that they have not taken this to all the European countries but to France and Poland first — with French President Nicolas Sarkozy voicing his initial approval on June 19 — and equally important, that they have not publicly brought it to the United States. Nor is it clear what the Germans might do if the French and Poles reject the relationship, which is not inconceivable. The Germans do not want to lose the European concept. At the same time, they are trying to redefine it more to their advantage. From the German point of view, bringing Russia into the relationship would help achieve this. But the Germans still have to explain what their relationship is with the rest of Europe, particularly their financial obligation to troubled economies in the eurozone. They also have to define their relationship to NATO, and more important, to the United States. Like any country, Germany can have many things, but it can’t have everything. The idea that it will meld the European Union, NATO and Russia into one system of relationships without alienating at least some of their partners — some intensely — is naive. The Germans are not naive. They know that the Poles will be terrified and the French uneasy. The southern Europeans will feel increasingly abandoned as Germany focuses on the North European Plain. And the United States, watching Germany and Russia draw closer, will be seeing an alliance of enormous weight developing that might threaten its global interests. With this proposal, the Germans are looking to change the game significantly. They are moving slowly and with plenty of room for retreat, but they are moving. It will be interesting to hear what the Poles and French say on Wednesday. Their public support should not

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Russia since before the Soviet collapse, but the Greek crisis forced them to reconsider their relationship with Russia. If the European Union was becoming a trap in which Germany was going to consistently subsidize the rest of Europe, and a self-contained economy is impossible, then another strategy would be needed. This consisted of two parts. The first was insisting on a restructuring of the European Union to protect Germany from the domestic policies of other countries. Second, if Europe was heading toward a long period of stagnation, then Germany, heavily dependent on exports and needing labor, needed to find an additional partner — if not a new one. At the same time, a German-Russian alignment is a security issue as well as an economic issue. Between 1871 and 1941 there was a three-player game in continental Europe — France, Germany and Russia. The three shifted alliances with each other, with each shift increasing the chance of war. In 1871, Prussia was allied with Russia when it attacked France. In 1914, The French and Russians were allied against Germany. In 1940, Germany was allied with Russia when it attacked France. The three-player game played itself out in various ways with a constant outcome: war. The last thing Berlin wants is to return to that dynamic. Instead, its hope is to integrate Russia into the European security system, or at least give it a sufficient stake in the European economic system that Russia does not seek to challenge the European security system. This immediately affects French relations with Russia. For Paris, partnership with Germany is the foundation of France’s security policy and economy. If Germany moves into a close security and economic relationship with Russia, France must calculate the effect this will have on France. There has never been a time when a tripartite alliance of France, Germany and Russia has worked because it has always left France as the junior partner. Therefore, it is vital for the Germans to present this not as a three-way relationship but as the inclusion of Russia into Europe, and to focus on security measures rather than economic measures. Nevertheless, the Germans have to be enormously careful in managing their relationship with France. Even more delicate is the question of Poland. Poland is caught between Russia and Germany. Its history has been that of division between these two countries or conquest by one. This is a burning issue in the Polish psyche. A closer relationship between Germany and Russia inevitably will generate primordial fears of disaster in Poland. Therefore, Wednesday’s meeting with the so-called triangular group is essential. Both the French and the Poles, and the Poles with great intensity, must understand what is happening. The issue is partly the extent to which this affects German commitments to the European Union, and the other part — crucial to Poland —is what this does to Germany’s NATO commitments. The NATO Angle It is noteworthy the Russians emphasized that what is happening poses no threat to NATO. Russia is trying to calm not only Poland, but also the United States. The problem, however, is this: If Germany and Europe have a security relationship that requires prior consultation and cooperation, then Russia inevitably has a hand in NATO. If the Russians oppose a NATO action, Germany and other European states will be faced with a choice between Russia and NATO. To put it more bluntly, if Germany enters into a cooperative security arrangement with Russia (forgetting the rest of Europe for the moment), then how does it handle its relationship with the United States when the Russians and Americans are at loggerheads in countries like Georgia? The Germans and Russians both view the United States as constantly and inconveniently pressuring them both to

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Is it just me or do others not see the major movement to whitewash God from our culture? Do our governing officials really think eliminating the Almighty is any answer to our problems? Don't they see omissions of God are also avoidances of the very being who can help us out of or through our troubles? Or do we believe that our country can experience true recovery and success without God's intervention or blessing? Does America believe it can graduate without or from God? Right now, needing our patriot assistance is Rep. Randy Forbes, whose congressional address on America's Judeo-Christian heritage has received more than 3 million views on YouTube. Forbes, along with the members of the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus, has reintroduced H. Res. 397, "America's Spiritual Heritage Resolution." The resolution would recognize our nation's spiritual heritage milestones, reject current attempts to erase all religious history from public buildings and educational resources, and establish a week for Americans to remember and reflect on the spiritual principles upon which our nation was founded. The resolution has gained bipartisan support, with 79 co-sponsors. Has your representative sponsored or supported the resolution? If not, please contact that person today to ask that he/she does so. George Washington gave a very wise and timely word in his Farewell Address to all Americans (including all government officials) who even entertain the thought that they can graduate from God. It also serves as a great "commencement address" to all graduates this spring: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." America, don't ever forget: Your Founders expected you to graduate with God, not from him. Next week, in Part 2, Chuck will discuss "the No. 1 advocate for a godless society."

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be taken for anything more than not wanting to alienate the Germans or Russians until they have talked to the Americans. It will also be interesting to see what the Obama administration has to say about this.

The S-3 Report
Tuesday, June 08, 2010

America: Graduating From God? (Part 1)
by Chuck Norris
This past week, I read a blog post that noted how prayer was banned at a high-school graduation in Indiana but not in Alabama. Then I read another news report, this one about a California high school that changed its graduation "opening prayer" to "a moment of silence." No big shocker there. Tragically, these types of devaluing religious news stories are a dime a dozen today. Spiritual regression is not only a trend but also an epidemic. The Fuller Youth Institute just reported that 40 percent of even churchgoing high-school seniors "significantly struggle with their faith and with finding a church after graduation." And other statistics show that by the time they end their college education, 90 percent will have dropped out of church. Attrition in church attendance and faith in God is definitely on the rise. And so is animosity toward America's Judeo-Christian heritage. Removing God from the public square is not new, but its pace is progressively increasing at alarming rates. Omitting any reference to God is pervasive not only in textbooks but also now at historical sites, including in Washington, D.C. In 2006, the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, to which tens of thousands of schoolchildren come each year to learn about the first English colony in America (13 years before the Pilgrims at Plymouth), omitted from its tours the first purpose mentioned in the 1606 charter: to spread the Christian religion. In 2007, the U.S. Mint "accidentally" omitted the words "In God We Trust" on the first 50,000 or so George Washington presidential dollars. The same year, the National Park Service covered up and omitted the words "Praise be to God" on the capstone replica display in the Washington Monument. Then, in 2008, the new 580,000-square-foot Capitol Visitor Center suffered a series of religious oversights and corruptions in various historical displays of our Capitol and country's heritage. Is it any coincidence that the most recently erected memorials in D.C. contain no references to God, either? And of course, the Texas textbook wars include battles over omissions and revisions of America's godly heritage in public-school curricula. Speaking of our culture's devaluing of religion, only weeks after television's Comedy Central's executives nixed a program because of its controversial depiction of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, the network announced a sacrilegious and shameful new series titled "JC," a comedy about God and Jesus Christ, who (in the programs) will be "JC" -- a regular guy who moves to modern-day New York to "escape his father's enormous shadow." And God is portrayed as a lethargic man and deadbeat father. Isn't this political incorrectness and hate language at its core? Does America really need to stoop to such deplorable depths and dung for a laugh?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

America: Graduating From God? (Part 2)
by Chuck Norris
Last week, I discussed a series of evidences about how God is being omitted from American life, culture and politics. This week, I will detail the No. 1 advocate for a godless society: our president. First, even during his campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama sarcastically belittled America's Judeo-Christian heritage and degraded its adherents with trite remarks typical of any atheistic antagonist: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation"; "the dangers of sectarianism are greater than ever";

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Christian heritage has received more than 3 million views on YouTube. Forbes, along with the members of the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus, has reintroduced H. Res. 397, "America's Spiritual Heritage Resolution." The resolution would recognize our nation's spiritual heritage milestones, reject current attempts to erase all religious history from public buildings and educational resources, and establish a week for Americans to remember and reflect on the spiritual principles upon which our nation was founded. The resolution has gained bipartisan support, with 79 co-sponsors. Has your representative sponsored or supported the resolution? If not, please contact that person today to ask that he/she does so. If Psalm 33:12 says that "blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord," how would the verse read for the nation who has given God the boot?

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"religion doesn't allow for compromise"; "the Sermon on the Mount (is) a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application"; and "to base our policymaking on such commitments (as moral absolutes) would be a dangerous thing." (See the YouTube video "Barack Obama On The Importance Of A Secular Government.") Second, President Obama denied America's rich JudeoChristian heritage before the eyes and ears of other countries when he publicly declared in Turkey on April 6, 2009, "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation." (Who are the "we" to whom he refers? Would our former presidents agree with his "we"?) Third, in countless speeches over the past year, he has sympathized with and supported pro-Islamic culture, theology and practice. The New York Times recently published a multiple-page report on how the "White House quietly courts Muslims in (the) U.S." Fourth, Obama emphatically declared as president-elect that "only government" is our savior. By advocating such, the federal government vies for divine omnipotence and deliverance, which America's Founders understood to be the Creator's roles. It was only a matter of time before such wayward power sought to control even churches. A clear example of this came out just this past month, through Obama's faith-based initiative committee recommendations. The federal government is seeking not only to minimize the language preachers use through politically correct hatecrime laws but also to alter the messages they preach, from saving souls to saving the earth. Obama's faith-based council specifically recommends "bringing the power of 370,000 houses of worship across the country to the fight of climate change by greening buildings and promoting environmental stewardship in their congregations." Lastly, President Obama has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to anti-Judeo-Christian issues, such as the Army's rescinding of Franklin Graham's invitation to the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer event, atheists' lawsuits to remove the national motto ("In God We Trust") from the walls of the new Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., the building of a mosque right next to New York's ground zero and the American Civil Liberties Union's disposal of memorial crosses for veterans in the Mojave Desert and at Mount Soledad. Ben Franklin could have been speaking before the president and Congress today when he gave these words at the Constitutional Convention: "In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?" These are three questions every Washington politician in particular needs to answer: "And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise (again) without his aid?" Speaking of aid, needing our patriot assistance right now is Rep. Randy Forbes, whose congressional address on America's Judeo-

Friday, June 18, 2010

Obama's Latest Shakedown
by David Limbaugh
President Obama's oil spill speech revealed, once again, how stunningly shameless he is. This relentless ideologue is not even marginally competent at masking his ongoing crusade to apply a wrecking ball to every sector of our economy and remake it in his own image. And I do mean "his" own image. Once again, his speech was loaded with first-person references, from "I refuse to let (Gulf Coast residents lose their way of life)" to "I expect (the new commission tasked with determining the cause of the explosion) to do that work thoroughly and impartially" to "I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party." More on that last howler in a moment. Obama's MO is so predictable that sophisticated practitioners of Marxist transformation should be embarrassed. Then again, Obama doesn't need to be subtle; he is the president -- a president who rejects the constitutional limitations that applied to his mortal predecessors. After sitting on his hands for months, he comes out rhetorically swinging with both barrels of his teleprompter blazing. First, declare a crisis -- meticulously distorting the facts, especially those relative to what caused the crisis. Second, isolate a scapegoat (along with the awful, resource-exploiting, oil-inhaling, pre-Obama America) to be demonized and bullied into conspiring with him to launch his transformational solution -- a solution that has nothing to do with solving the "crisis." In the meantime, shield the true culprits from any blame. Third, unveil his grandiose plan for salvation by the federal government, provided it first acquires structurally new powers. All the while, he not only downplays the government's culpability in all of this but also overstates its (and his) response to date. A returning space traveler watching his speech would have assumed Obama actually had been "kicking tail" throughout this "crisis" instead of partying and playing golf. Upon watching the speech, the traveler would not have experienced the megadoses of deja vu felt by the rest of us, who had watched this movie -- starring this very president -- many times before.

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school that changed its graduation "opening prayer" to "a moment of silence." No big shocker there. Tragically, these types of devaluing religious news stories are a dime a dozen today. Spiritual regression is not only a trend but also an epidemic. The Fuller Youth Institute just reported that 40 percent of even churchgoing high-school seniors "significantly struggle with their faith and with finding a church after graduation." And other statistics show that by the time they end their college education, 90 percent will have dropped out of church. Attrition in church attendance and faith in God is definitely on the rise. And so is animosity toward America's Judeo-Christian heritage. Removing God from the public square is not new, but its pace is progressively increasing at alarming rates. Omitting any reference to God is pervasive not only in textbooks but also now at historical sites, including in Washington, D.C. In 2006, the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, to which tens of thousands of schoolchildren come each year to learn about the first English colony in America (13 years before the Pilgrims at Plymouth), omitted from its tours the first purpose mentioned in the 1606 charter: to spread the Christian religion. In 2007, the U.S. Mint "accidentally" omitted the words "In God We Trust" on the first 50,000 or so George Washington presidential dollars. The same year, the National Park Service covered up and omitted the words "Praise be to God" on the capstone replica display in the Washington Monument. Then, in 2008, the new 580,000-square-foot Capitol Visitor Center suffered a series of religious oversights and corruptions in various historical displays of our Capitol and country's heritage. Is it any coincidence that the most recently erected memorials in D.C. contain no references to God, either? And of course, the Texas textbook wars include battles over omissions and revisions of America's godly heritage in public-school curricula. Speaking of our culture's devaluing of religion, only weeks after television's Comedy Central's executives nixed a program because of its controversial depiction of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, the network announced a sacrilegious and shameful new series titled "JC," a comedy about God and Jesus Christ, who (in the programs) will be "JC" -- a regular guy who moves to modern-day New York to "escape his father's enormous shadow." And God is portrayed as a lethargic man and deadbeat father. Isn't this political incorrectness and hate language at its core? Does America really need to stoop to such deplorable depths and dung for a laugh? Is it just me or do others not see the major movement to whitewash God from our culture? Do our governing officials really think eliminating the Almighty is any answer to our problems? Don't they see omissions of God are also avoidances of the very being who can help us out of or through our troubles? Or do we believe that our country can experience true recovery and success without God's intervention or blessing? Does America believe it can graduate without or from God? Right now, needing our patriot assistance is Rep. Randy Forbes, whose congressional address on America's Judeo-Christian heritage has received more than 3 million views on YouTube. Forbes, along with the members of the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus, has reintroduced H. Res. 397, "America's Spiritual Heritage Resolution." The resolution would recognize our nation's spiritual heritage milestones, reject current attempts to erase all religious history from public buildings and educational resources, and

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To be sure, the oil spill has been terrible, and BP doubtlessly bears much blame. But do any of us know all the facts? Should the president be unilaterally declaring BP's strict liability as if he were the final judge, jury and executioner -- without even affording the company any opportunity to defend itself? Alinsky-starved radicals might find it gratifying for a dictatorial president to beat up on such an evil agent of capitalism, but some of us find his approach unseemly and disturbing. Besides denying the company any semblance of due process and fairness, how about his habitual expenditure of negative energy -- pointing fingers -- instead of employing a constructive approach? No matter how culpable BP is ultimately determined to be, Obama's bullying should not deflect our attention from another culprit here: environmental extremists. Just as Obama blamed Wall Street and exempted government (liberal policies) and quasi government entities (Freddie and Fannie) for their complicity in the financial meltdown and just as he blamed doctors, pharmaceuticals and insurance companies for soaring health care costs caused mostly by socialistic governmental policies, he is summarily blaming BP and exempting unreasonable liberal environmental policies for shutting down more conventional and safer drilling methods -- and venues. As usual, he and his ilk greatly contribute to problems and then use those problems as catalysts to justify even greater doses of their destructive socialistic prescriptions. It's maddening. Just as Obama browbeat and bought off the American Medical Association and big pharma to go along with Obamacare, he summoned BP executives to his office. Flanked by Attorney General Eric Holder, who has threatened criminal action against BP, he shook down BP into forking over a $20 billion installment to defer the government's further wrath. BP is but another prop Obama has chosen to advance another plank of his statist agenda -- this time his plan to shut down our conventional energy industry in favor of new, quixotic alternative energy methods that will succeed only in propelling this nation even faster toward Third World status. I'm surprised Obama didn't give another "shout-out" to "Joe Medicine Crow" as he began his speech designed to pretend he cares about the victims of the oil spill (even his lib media enablers aren't buying it this time) -- for the sole purpose of passing cap and trade on their backs. Cap and trade has already failed, but so had health care before he finally crammed it through. Just as Obama fraudulently promised to listen to Republican ideas at his bogus health care summit after he'd shut them out of the process from the beginning, he promised to "look at other ideas and approaches from either party" on his cap-and-trade fiasco. Oh, yes, he's all about considering the ideas of others and the will of the American people. And I'm all about advancing liberalism. LOL.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The European Union Will Come Apart
by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
This past week, I read a blog post that noted how prayer was banned at a high-school graduation in Indiana but not in Alabama. Then I read another news report, this one about a California high

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establish a week for Americans to remember and reflect on the spiritual principles upon which our nation was founded. The resolution has gained bipartisan support, with 79 co-sponsors. Has your representative sponsored or supported the resolution? If not, please contact that person today to ask that he/she does so. George Washington gave a very wise and timely word in his Farewell Address to all Americans (including all government officials) who even entertain the thought that they can graduate from God. It also serves as a great "commencement address" to all graduates this spring: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." America, don't ever forget: Your Founders expected you to graduate with God, not from him.

-- While corporate profits are 30.6 percent higher than one year ago, wages are up by only 1.6 percent, less than half their rate of increase two years ago. -- Financial sector profits make up 35.7 percent of all domestic corporate profits. These gains are driven by trading revenue, which does not reflect real economic growth. Schwanninger and Sherraden report, "In the first quarter of 2010, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America earned 72 percent, 45 percent and 16 percent of their net revenue (respectively) from trading profits." -- Personal savings dropped from a high of almost 6 percent to 2.7 percent in March, 2010, so households have cut their debt by just $300 billion since it peaked in 2008. So household debt, which rose from 60 percent of GDP in 1990 to almost 100 percent in 2008, has only dropped to 97 percent. It has a long, long way to go before it goes down enough to free consumers to spend more. -- Meanwhile, retail sales have averaged only a 1.7 percent increase over the past three quarters, half of which was merely to restock inventories. Schwanninger and Sherraden note that "in a typical recovery, the rebound is closer to 3.5 percent." And most of that increase is due to expanding government cash transfer payments, which now make up 18.3 percent of personal income. "Excluding transfer payments, personal income increased just 0.3 percent since the third quarter of 2009." Wednesday, June 09, 2010 -- And stimulus spending, which has failed to generate private sector growth, is now winding down. Only 43 percent of the tax benefits and entitlement spending remain to be doled out, as does 63 percent of the contracts, grants and loans in the stimulus package. -- The strengthening of the dollar due to the collapse of the euro will dry up U.S. export trade. Exports to EU nations account for 21 percent of American and 20 percent of Chinese by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann The drop in the stock market (now about 1,000 points on exports. Schwanninger and Sherraden note that "a European slowdown will reduce demand for the two primary engines of the Dow) is a graphic indication of the stark fact that we are world economic growth." entering the infamous double dip of the recession, long feared But this second downturn in the economy will be and predicted. The economy is not in a V after all (down and then accompanied by inflation, making it worse than the first up) but in a W (down, up, down again and then, finally, up). And recession. With interest rates set to rise (because the fed is no the cause of the second dip is not the recession itself, but the longer massively purchasing securities to keep them down), cure administered to it by President Obama and the Democratic taxes set to go up (because of Obama's ideology) and global Congress. energy use about to increase, sending prices higher (because Consider the indications (data provided by New America the rest of the world is recovering), prices have to go up. But Foundation, analysis by Sherle R. Schwanninger and Samuel with no growth in real personal income and household credit Sherraden): close to all-time highs, there is not enough demand to pay the -- Gross domestic product growth has only been 2.2 higher prices, so a deeper slump will ensue. percent, 5.6 percent and 3.2 percent for each of the last three The solution? Cut -- don't raise -- taxes. And bring quarters, well below the rebounds typical in past recessions. down the deficit through massive spending cuts. Reduce our -- Total civilian employment has rebounded by only 1 percent since the depth of the unemployment five months ago. In borrowing needs by slashing our spending. Free up capital to feed job growth. 1973, at a comparable point, it had rebounded by 7 percent. In It should be evident to all that Obamanomics is a 1981, by 8 percent. In 1990, by 4 percent. And in 2001, by 3 disaster. It reminds one of nothing so much as the Medieval percent. U-6, the broadest measure of unemployment, stands at practice of bleeding the patient to make him well by expelling 17.1 percent the evil spirits that dwelt within. When the patient did not -- Housing prices have dropped by 30 percent since recover, they just bled him more and, when he died, they just 2006, and "many economists expect housing prices to decline at said that the spirits killed him. The practice of spending, least another 10 percent," according to Schwanninger and borrowing and then taxing to fuel job growth is the modern Sherraden. analogy.

Here Comes the Double-Dip Recession

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So what? Doesn't every administration have corruption? When I patiently explained that no other administration in modern American history had set itself up as loftily as the Hope and Change reformers had done, or when I cited endless examples of Obama's broken promises on everything from lobbyists to transparency to Washington business as usual, liberal critics changed the subject again: The Summer of Corruption Plot Thickens RACIST FASCIST EVIL FOX NEWS RIGHT-WING HATE by Michelle Malkin MONGER! In Chicago politics, there's an old term for the publicly Two major job-trading scandals plus the start of the Blago subsidized pay-offs and positions meted out to the corruptocrats' trial this past week -- on top of a year's worth of uninhibited White friends and special interests: boodle. House wheeling and dealing, broken transparency pledges, Justice In the age of Obama, Hope and Change is all about the boodle. Department stonewalling and brass knuckle-bullying of political So it was with the stimulus. And the massive national service opponents -- have finally turned the once-derided thesis of my book expansion. And the health care bill. And the financial reform bill. And "Culture of Corruption" into conventional wisdom. the blossoming job-trading scandals engulfing the White House. Obama sold America a Chicago-tainted bill of goods. A There's always been an ageless, interdependent relationship nation of slow learners is finally figuring it out. between Windy City politicos and "goo-goos" (the cynical Chicago term Friday, June 04, 2010 for good government reformers). Chicago-style "reform" has always entailed the redistribution of wealth and power under the guise of public service. And it has inevitably led to more corruption. In March 2010, this column first took note of allegations by Democrats Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff that the White House had offered them jobs in exchange for dropping their respective bids against Lift the Siege of Gaza Obama-favored incumbent Sens. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and by Pat Buchanan Michael Bennet in Colorado. White House legal counsel Bob "The Fixer" Bauer's attempt to bury questions about the Sestak affair with a In June 1948, our wartime ally imposed a blockade on Memorial Day weekend document dump failed. So has the attempt to Berlin, cutting off and condemning to death or Stalinist domination 2 make Rahm Emanuel-enlisted former president Bill Clinton the sole million Germans, most of whom, not long before, had cheered Adolf scapegoat. Hitler. Bauer's memo mentions "efforts" (plural, not singular) to woo Harry Truman responded with the Berlin airlift, in perhaps Sestak. But the White House refuses to divulge what offers besides the most magnanimous act of the Cold War. Clinton's were extended to Sestak. Moreover, White House spokesman For nine months, U.S. pilots flew into Tempelhof, carrying Robert Gibbs has now denied that Team Obama was involved in the everything from candy to coal, saving a city and earning the eternal one Clinton offer that has been publicized -- an unpaid appointment on gratitude of the people of Berlin, and admiration everywhere that an intelligence board for which Sestak was ineligible. moral courage is admired. After months of silence, Romanoff finally stepped forward this That was an America that lived its values. week to acknowledge that the White House had dangled several And today, President Obama should end his and his positions before him, too. He released e-mails detailing not one, not country's shameful silence over the inhumane blockade of Gaza that two, but three different paid positions offered by White House Deputy is denying 1.5 million beleaguered people the basic necessities of a Chief of Staff Jim Messina -- whose boss, Emanuel, was subpoenaed decent life. this week by impeached former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Time to start acting like America again. Illinois to testify in his Senate pay-for-play corruption trial. That bloody debacle in the Eastern Mediterranean last So, can I say "I told you so" now? Sunday was an inevitable result of Israel doing what it always seems In July 2009, when "Culture of Corruption" was first released, to do: going beyond what is essential to her security, to impose liberal critics scoffed: collective punishment upon any and all it regards as hostile to Israel. How could you possibly write a 400-page book about Barack Israel claims, and film confirms, that its commandos Obama's rotten administration when he's only been in office six rappelling down onto the Turkish ship were attacked with sticks and months?! metal rods. One was tossed off a deck, another tossed overboard into When I proceeded to rattle off case after case of Chicago-style a lifeboat. back-scratching, transparency-trampling and crooked special interestBut that 2 a.m. boarding of an unarmed ship with an dealing in the new White House, liberal critics such as "The View's" Joy unarmed crew, carrying no munitions or weapons, 65 miles at sea, Behar interjected: was an act of piracy. What the Israeli commandos got is what any B-b-b-but what about Bush? Why don't you write a book armed hijacker should expect who tries to steal a car from a driver about Bush? Wha-'bout-Bush? Wha-'bout-Bush? Wha-'bout-Bush? who keeps a tire iron under the front seat. When I pointed out that I had reported extensively on And the response of these highly trained naval commandos cronyism in the Bush era (see Harriet Miers, FEMA and the to the resistance they encountered? They shot and killed nine Department of Homeland Security), and when I further pointed out passengers, and wounded many more. that while the Bush-bashing market overflowed, there remained a But we have a blockade of Gaza, say the Israelis, and this massive vacuum of critical analysis of Obama, liberal critics sputtered: flotilla was a provocation. Indeed, it was. And Selma was a

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provocation. The marchers at Edmund Pettus Bridge were disobeying orders of the governor of Alabama and state police not to march. Yet, today, liberal Democrats who regard Martin Luther King as a moral hero for championing nonviolent civil disobedience to protest injustice are cheering not the unarmed passengers trying to break the Gaza blockade, but the Israelis enforcing the blockade. Where were these fellows when "Bull" Connor really needed them? Comes the retort: Israel is a friend and ally, and we stand with our friends. But is not Turkey a friend and ally of 50 years, whose soldiers died alongside ours in Korea and who accepted Jupiter missiles targeted on Russia, even before the Cuban missile crisis? Was it not Turkey whose citizens were wounded and killed in the bloody debacle? Why are we not at least even-handed between our friends? On the trip to Israel where he was blindsided by news that Israel would build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, Joe Biden told Shimon Peres, "There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel's security." And that is the problem. America is a superpower with interests in an Arab world of 300 million and an Islamic world of 1.5 billion -- interests Israel treats with indifference if not contempt when it comes to doing what she regards as necessary for her security. While Israel had a right to build a wall to protect her people from terror attack, did she have a right to build it on Palestinian land? While Israel had a right to go after Hezbollah when her soldiers were shot on the border and several kidnapped, did Israel have a right to conduct a five-week bombing campaign that smashed Lebanon, killing hundreds of civilians and creating upward of a million refugees? While Israel had a right to go into Gaza to stop the firing of crude rockets on Sderot, did she have a right to smash utilities and public buildings and kill 1,400 people, most of them civilians? Is whatever Israel decides to do in the name of her security fine with us, because there is "absolutely no space" between our interests and hers, our values and Israel's values? Even with Winston Churchill's Britain, there was "space" between us on strategic goals and national policies. Israel has a right to secure Gaza to deny Hamas access to weapons, especially rockets that could reach Israel. But that does not justify denying 1.5 million people what they need to live in decency. According to The Washington Post, "80 percent of the population (of Gaza) depends on charity. Hospitals, schools, electricity systems and sewage treatment facilities are all in deep disrepair." With our silence, we support this. And we wonder why they hate us. Obama should tell the Israelis that Joe got it wrong. There is space between us. The Gaza siege must end. And America will herself be sending aid, but will also support Israel's right to inspect trucks and ships to see to it no weapons get through to Gaza. Let's start behaving like who we once were.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Convenient Villian

On May 29, two days before Israel's botched raid of six "humanitarian" ships bound for Gaza, Robert Naiman, the policy director of something called "Just Foreign Policy," wrote an item on the Huffington Post headlined "Gaza Freedom Flotilla Shows Awesome Power of Nonviolent Resistance." Naiman waxed lyrical about how the moral authority of nonviolence had compelled Turkish-controlled Cyprus to help the flotilla while Greek-controlled Cyprus had allegedly caved to Israeli pressure in refusing to help the heirs of Gandhi (it couldn't have been because the Turks were up to no good). "All this," Naiman gushed, "and the main confrontation between the Israeli occupation authorities and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has not yet begun." Roughly 48 hours later, the "main confrontation" unfolded. In fairness, the majority of "peace activists" on the ships were nonviolent, offering passive resistance. But on the last boat Israelis boarded, the supposed disciples of peace attacked the Israeli commandos. These new Gandhians beat the Israelis with metal bars and even threw one Israeli overboard. Funny, I'm no expert, but that's not how Gandhi behaved in the movie. Maybe there was a sequel with Chuck Norris as the Mahatma? "Gandhi's back, and this time it's personal!" The commandos had been equipped with paintball guns out of deference to the professed pacifism of the activists. But when the goons attacked, out came the real sidearms. Nine "humanitarians" were killed. Now, one wouldn't expect Naiman to take Israel's side. He'd lose his social justice decoder ring for that. But one might expect him to at least lament the failure of his comrades to stick to their principled nonviolence. One might also expect kosher pigs to fly. After the incident, Naiman returned to the Huffington Post not to lament the outbreak of violence but to salute the resolve of the "humanitarians." He opened with a question: "How do you know when someone is serious about pursuing a strategy of nonviolent resistance until victory for justice is achieved?" And then he answered it: "When they refuse to turn back in the face of state violence. Damn the commandos. Full speed ahead." He then went on to celebrate another propaganda ship heading toward Gaza. How do you know when a proselytizer of nonviolence is full of it? When he doesn't object to the use of violence. Among Israel's friends, there's a deep and wide consensus that the "flotilla fiasco" was a public relations disaster, proof that Israel doesn't know how to work with the global media to shape world opinion. The first part is almost indisputable at this point. The raid was a disaster. As for the second part -- that Israel's problems are about public relations -- I'm not so sure. The assumption is that world opinion is open to hearing Israel's side of the story. But that hasn't been the case for years. From the "Jenin massacre" that was no massacre to the idiotic charges of "genocide" that erupt across the Arab world, the moment Israel defends itself from missiles or "martyrs," the presumption is always that Israel is the villain. When it turns out the facts support Israel, it's at best a footnote or proof the Israelis have manipulated the media. Question: If Israel is always hell-bent on murder, massacres and genocide, why is it so bad at it? If its battle plan called for a slaughter, why kill "only" nine people? Why not sink all of the boats?

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This is infuriating and dangerous nonsense, as Matt Ridley demonstrates in his mesmerizing new book, "The Rational Optimist." Let's start with biofuels. Ethanol production steals precious land to produce inefficient fuel inefficiently (making food more scarce and expensive for the poor). If all of our transport fuel came from biofuel, we would need 30 percent more land than all of the existing foodgrowing farmland we have today. In Brazil and Malaysia, biofuels are more economically viable (thanks in part to really cheap labor), but at the insane price of losing rainforest while failing to reduce the CO2 emissions that allegedly justify ethanol in the first place. According to Ridley, the Nature Conservancy's Joseph Fargione estimates rainforest clearcutting for biofuels releases 17 to 420 times more CO2 than it offsets by displacing petroleum or coal. As for wind and solar, even if such technologies were wildly more successful than they have been, so what? You could quintuple and then quintuple again the output of wind and solar and it wouldn't reduce our dependence on oil. Why? Because we use oil for transportation, not for electricity. We would offset coal, but again at an enormous price. If we tried to meet the average amount of energy typically used in America, we would need wind farms the size of Kazakhstan or solar panels the size of Spain. If you remove the argument over climate change from the equation (as even European governments are starting to do), one thing becomes incandescently clear: Fossil fuels have been one of the great boons both to humanity and the environment, allowing forests to regrow (now that we don't use wood for heating fuel or grow fuel for horses anymore) and liberating billions from backbreaking toil. The great and permanent shortage is usable surface land and fresh water. The more land we use to produce energy, the less we have for vulnerable species, watersheds, agriculture, recreation, etc. "If you like wilderness, as I do," Ridley writes, "the last thing you want is to go back to the medieval habit of using the landscape surrounding us to make power." The calamity in the gulf is heartrending and tragic. A thorough review of government oversight and industry safety procedures is more than warranted. But as counterintuitive as it may be to say so, oil is a green fuel, while "green" fuels aren't. And this spill doesn't change that fact.

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Meanwhile, is it really the case that Hamas is objectively "good" at public relations? Or Hezbollah? Or Iran? Really? I just don't see it. To me, these PR operations are less "Wag the Dog" and more Baghdad Bob (the Monty Pythonesque spokesman for Saddam Hussein's regime). But instead of everyone laughing at the lies and idiocy, millions of people nod their heads in agreement. North Korea recently sank a South Korean ship. The international reaction has been muted and sober. Turkey -- the Palestinians' new champion -- has been treating Kurdish nationalists harshly for generations; no one cares. The Russians crush Chechens, the Chinese trample Uighurs. Real genocides unfold regularly in Africa. Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb. Hamas is openly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. So is Iran. And yet the only villain as far as much of the world is concerned is Israel. Always Israel. But none of these facts matter. Indeed, it's tiring even to recount them in an environment where big lies matters more than obvious truths, where self-defense is "aggression," where restraint is "genocide," and where the heirs of Gandhi wield steel pipes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oil: The Real Green Fuel
by Jonah Goldberg
A rolling "dead zone" off the Gulf of Mexico is killing sea life and destroying livelihoods. Recent estimates put the blob at nearly the size of New Jersey. Alas, I'm not talking about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As terrible as that catastrophe is, such accidents have occurred in U.S. waters only about once every 40 years (and globally about once every 20 years). I'm talking about the dead zone largely caused by fertilizer runoff from American farms along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya river basins. Such pollutants cause huge algae plumes that result in oxygen starvation in the gulf's richest waters, near the delta. Because the dead zone is an annual occurrence, there's no media feeding frenzy over it, even though the average annual size of these hypoxic zones has been about 6,600 square miles over the last five years, and they are driven by bipartisan federal agriculture, trade and energy policies. Indeed, As Steven Hayward notes in the current Weekly Standard, if policymakers continue to pursue biofuels in response to the current anti-fossil-fuel craze, these dead zones will get a lot bigger every year. A 2008 study by the National Academy of Sciences found that adhering to corn-based ethanol targets will increase the size of the dead zone by as much as 34 percent. Of course, that's just one of the headaches "independence" from oil and coal would bring. If we stop drilling offshore, we could lose up to $1 trillion in economic benefits, according to economist Peter Passell. And, absent the utopian dream of oil-free living, every barrel we don't produce at home, we buy overseas. That sends dollars to bad regimes (though more to Canada and Mexico). It may also increase the chances of disaster because tanker accidents are more common than rig accidents. But wait a minute -- isn't that precisely why we're investing in "renewables," to free ourselves from this vicious petro-cycle? Don't the Billy Sundays of the Church of Green promise that they are the path to salvation?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Inviting War

by Oliver North

WASHINGTON -- Sixty years ago this month, the North Korean People's Army, enticed by the Truman administration's announcement that Korea was no longer within the "U.S. defensive perimeter," launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel -the arbitrary demarcation line drawn by the United Nations between the Republic of Korea and the communist north, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The onslaught was so successful that in a matter of just three days, Seoul was captured and the poorly trained and equipped ROK military was smashed. Hundreds of American advisers and hastily deployed reinforcements were killed, captured or listed as missing in action. By mid-July, the remnants of U.S. and ROK forces were driven into a tiny defensive perimeter

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Americans once again are distracted by economic woes and a Gulf oil spill. The U.S. intelligence community is leaderless and in nearly total disarray. Our southern border is an open passage for unlawful entry at best -- and a virtual invasion path for well-armed enemies at worst. The Iranian regime, having brutally suppressed its internal opposition, overtly is arming Hezbollah, Hamas and alQaida while racing to acquire nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. The vicious despots running North Korea -- having escaped any retribution for repeated violations of international law - commit an act of war, and the U.S. backs down. Meanwhile the Obama administration is intent on turning the U.S. military, already engaged in a two-front war, into a laboratory for radical social experiments. Even Jimmy Carter didn't try that.

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around the port of Pusan. Three years and more than 150,000 American casualties later, an armistice ended the fighting -- but not the war. Ever since, American national security policy has been based on the idea that attacks against the U.S. homeland, our national interests and our allies could be prevented by "containing communism" and maintaining sufficient nuclear and conventional forces to deter aggression. American intelligence capabilities were focused on knowing what our adversaries were up to and sharing that information with our allies. Until Jimmy Carter came along, it was a strategy that generally worked. Carter decided -- and Congress agreed -- to gut U.S. defense and intelligence budgets, dramatically reduce the U.S. military presence in the Republic of Korea and replace deterrence with "diplomatic engagement." America's adversaries wasted no time in taking advantage of his perceived naivet<é>e and weakness. Though the U.S. withdrawal from South Korea was stopped thanks to a major political movement launched by World War II hero Maj. Gen. Jack Singlaub, other American allies weren't so fortunate. While Americans here at home were distracted by economic woes that included double-digit inflation and interest rates, Panama, Nicaragua, Iran, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and eventually Afghanistan all succumbed to "revolutionary" regimes or outright invasion during Carter's mercifully brief tenure as commander in chief. He used the threat of reduced arms sales and aid for Israel to initiate the novel concept of a "Palestinian homeland" during negotiations for a peace treaty with Egypt. Though Ronald Reagan restored the idea of "peace through strength" and carried out his promise to confront Soviet expansion, we still are paying the price for the Carter administration's ineptness and misfeasance. The undetected nuclear weapons programs in both North Korea and Iran trace their lineage to Carter's intelligence cuts. As a consequence, two of America's most steadfast allies -- Israel and the Republic of Korea -- now face the clear and present danger of existential annihilation. Both democracies are literally under the gun - and getting little but platitudes or worse from the Obama administration. After the Cheonan, an ROK navy patrol boat, blew up in international waters, killing 46 sailors March 26, Seoul's military -- as our mutual defense treaty requires -- turned to the U.S. for advice on how to respond. The O-Team counseled caution -- urging the South Koreans to invite an "international committee" to conduct a "fair, impartial and transparent investigation" to determine what happened. They did -- and the panel found overwhelming evidence that the Cheonan had been sunk by a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine. The Obama administration's response to this overt act of war: to refer the matter to the United Nations. In Pyongyang, the brutal regime that has starved its people to build nuclear weapons now promises "total war." It's even worse for Israel -- abandoned by the Obama administration and beleaguered by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon's detonating on Tel Aviv, renewed rocket attacks on civilians from Iranian-supplied Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and a rearmed, Iranian-supplied Hezbollah terror movement in southern Lebanon. Last week's flawed effort by Israel Defense Forces to inspect a socalled "humanitarian aid flotilla" for weapons and military equipment has resulted in international opprobrium because nine "activists" aboard the vessels were killed. The O-Team's response: to demand that the United Nations conduct a "fair, impartial and transparent investigation." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has to be thankful no one insisted on a U.N. investigation after more than 70 were killed in Waco, Texas, in April 1993.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Doomed?

by Oliver North

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- It was a gentle rebuke while I stood in line to pay for a cup of coffee at a truck stop just off Interstate 95 a few miles from Fort Bragg: "You folks in the media have a hard time getting things right, don't you?" "How's that?" I responded to the bearded gentleman behind me. I had seen him dismount from the cab of a Peterbilt over-theroad, long-haul 18-wheeler. He looked to be about my age and was wearing a gray T-shirt emblazoned with one word: "Army." "You're Ollie North," he said, acknowledging that my sunglasses and a black "Fox News" baseball hat weren't much of a disguise. He introduced himself as a U.S. Army veteran of the war we had shared four decades ago in Vietnam. He kindly noted that I had been embedded with his son's unit in Afghanistan, and as we exited the restaurant, he got to the nature of his complaint. Pointing to a newspaper vending machine on the sidewalk, he said: "That headline, 'Afghanistan Now Longest U.S. War,' is wrong. And I've been hearing the same thing on the radio for the past 500 miles. Anybody who thinks Afghanistan is our longest war doesn't know history, and that means we're doomed to repeat it. I've crisscrossed the Trail of Tears a couple of dozen times with this rig. My great-great-grandfather fought the Apach'es for better than 20 years. And Afghanistan is nothing like Vietnam. You set 'em straight, Colonel." I replied, "Roger that," and with his challenge ringing in my ears, we shook hands, mounted our metal steeds and rode off in different directions. It didn't take much research in readily available archives to confirm that my truck driver historian was right about Afghanistan's not being America's longest war. The U.S. Army's campaigns against Geronimo, Cochise and other Apache leaders in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas went on continuously for nearly 40 years. Though Afghanistan has surpassed Vietnam in duration, it isn't even our longest foreign military engagement. That distinction belongs to U.S. military operations during the Philippine Insurrection -- which began concurrently with the end of the Spanish-American War, in 1898, and lasted until 1913. Notably, the number of U.S. casualties suffered in the Philippines -- more than 7,100 -- is approximately the same as the number of U.S. casualties to date in Afghanistan.

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administration intentionally scaling back clean-up efforts in the Gulf in an attempt to maximize the damage so Democrats in Congress will have an excuse to take effective control over yet another major sector of our economy and impose crippling and draconian new taxes on the American people? We first learned of this controversy reading Sher Zieve who wrote in the Canada Free Press: "Obama is doing the bare minimum so that destruction will be at an all-time maximum -- in order to shove his Cap and Trade bill (which will complete our destruction) down our throats." Zieve added: "The BP oil disaster was custom-made for The Obama. The effective oil-skimmer systems utilized by the Saudis and others would work to greatly minimize the damage being caused to the US Gulf Coast. But, The Obama continues to drag his heels as States and lives are destroyed." Fox News reported that when the Dutch government offered to help us clean up the oil spewing from the leaking BP oil rig, Obama initially turned them down cold. Norwegian and Dutch firms offered to help us too, but Obama said no. It is reputed that the Roman Emperor Nero played his fiddle while Rome burnt to the ground so he could falsely blame the disaster on Christians and thereby rationalize a campaign of persecution against them. Is it possible that Barack Hussein Obama and statists on Capitol Hill are using this crisis as an excuse to drive prices up at the pump, drive your utility bills through the roof, regulate your behavior and diminish your standard of living in this already queasy economy? This much is certain -- in spite of what Obama told the American people during his Oval Office address to the nation, he did not adequately respond to this crisis. The administration has clearly failed in terms of organization and the use of resources available to the federal government. Moreover, it's now indisputable that statists on Capitol Hill are attempting to exploit this disaster to push so-called cap and trade legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently revealed: "At the same time as Americans wonder when this gusher will ever be plugged, we hear word that the administration and my good friend the majority leader want to piggy back their controversial new national energy tax -- also known as cap and trade -- to an oil spill response bill that could and should be an opportunity for true bipartisan cooperation. So here again, we see the administration using a crisis, in this case the disaster in the gulf, as an opportunity to muscle through Congress another deeply unpopular bill that has profound implications for small business and struggling households." But why let something as trivial as the truth get in the way when it comes to pushing an extreme "green" agenda? Liberals like Barack Obama made this problem worse so they could "solve" the problem and, as we've come to expect, they plan to "solve" the problem by making it worse. So, true to form, Obama declared a moratorium on off-shore drilling and to make matters worse, Obama wants to institute a massive new energy tax, masquerading as sound energy policy (socalled cap and trade), that will dramatically raise the cost of just about everything you produce or consume, deprive you of income, control your behavior and repress your liberties. Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, once said that you should never let a good crisis go to waste and Barack Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill aren't about to let this crisis go to waste. He may pontificate about holding BP to account but Obama and his

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All of this begs the question: Why all the false comparisons between Vietnam and Afghanistan? The short answer -- mainstreammedia ignorance -- is too easy. The stark differences between Afghanistan and Vietnam -- how they started, the nature of our enemies, and how they were, and are, being fought -- ought to be obvious to anyone. In Vietnam, we went to war to support a beleaguered ally that was being overrun by a foreign-directed insurgency and an invading army that was directly supported by two superpowers, the Soviet Union and Communist China. The military force we sent to fight in Southeast Asia was largely conscripted and eventually disheartened by dissention at home. During the war, more than 58,200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines were killed and another 153,000 were wounded. Nearly 2,500 remain missing in action. We went to war in Afghanistan because radical Islamic terrorists who launched from there killed 3,000 innocents on U.S. soil on 9/11. The enemy we face there today is an opium-financed insurgency that obtains support from elements in Pakistan and Iran -but nothing on the scale of what our enemies received in Vietnam. The all-volunteer U.S. military deployed in the shadows of the Hindu Kush is the best-educated, most technologically advanced and now the most combat-experienced fighting force the world ever has seen. To date, more than 1,080 Americans have been killed in action; more than 6,200 have been wounded; and we have one MIA. My trucker-cum-media critic was right; there are few parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan. The only real similarity is in the possible outcome. We had better pray they are not the same, for the disaster wrought in Vietnam nearly wrecked our military. The T-shirt the trucker's son gave him says it all. The U.S. Army will celebrate its 235th anniversary June 14. Like the Army George Washington was appointed to command, it is an all-volunteer force, and therefore morale and winning are crucial. During the brutal winter of 1777-78, Washington wrote that he was "sorely vexed" by politicians unwilling to provide essential equipment, supplies, medicine and uniforms to his troops. Today in the city that bears his name, politicians are dickering over how "deep" they can go in cutting our defense budget. The present commander in chief has decided to treat the young men and women of our military like lab rats in a radical social-engineering experiment. These actions could well prove more lethal to our military than the winter at Valley Forge -and determine the outcome of the present and any future war. Finally, my veteran-historian, long-haul trucker-philosopher's admonition about not knowing history was only a little bit off. George Santayana actually wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." Let's hope those we elect to Congress this November won't allow our military to be doomed.

June 24, 2010 June 25, 2010

Could the Obama Administration be Blocking Gulf Clean-up Efforts Intentionally?
by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
At first blush this sounds like an outlandish question with a conspiratorial twist. The corollary question goes like this: Is the Obama

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It's what happened in 2002 at the Appalachian School of Law. Hearing shots, two students went to their cars, got their guns and restrained the shooter until police arrested him. Likewise, law professor Glen Reynolds writes, "Pearl, Miss., school shooter Luke Woodham was stopped when the school's vice principal took a .45 from his truck and ran to the scene. In (last) February's Utah mall shooting, it was an off-duty police officer who happened to be on the scene and carrying a gun". It's impossible to know exactly how often guns stop criminals. Would-be victims don't usually report crimes that don't happen. But people use guns in self-defense every day. The Cato Institute's Tom Palmer says just showing his gun to muggers once saved his life. "It equalizes unequals," Palmer told "20/20". "If someone gets into your house, which would you rather have, a handgun or a telephone? You can call the police if you want, and they'll get there, and they'll take a picture of your dead body. But they can't get there in time to save your life. The first line of defense is you."

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leftist cronies fully intend to exploit this crisis to sneak liberty-stealing cap and trade legislation past the American people.

Guns Save Lives
by John Stossel
It's all too predictable. A day after a gunman killed six people and wounded 18 others at Northern Illinois University, The New York Times criticized the U.S. Interior Department for preparing to rethink its ban on guns in national parks. The editorial board wants "the 51 senators who like the thought of guns in the parks -- and everywhere else, it seems -- to realize that the innocence of Americans is better protected by carefully controlling guns than it is by arming everyone to the teeth." As usual, the Times editors seem unaware of how silly their argument is. To them, the choice is between "carefully controlling guns" and "arming everyone to the teeth." But no one favors "arming everyone to the teeth" (whatever that means). Instead, gun advocates favor freedom, choice and self-responsibility. If someone wishes to be prepared to defend himself, he should be free to do so. No one has the right to deprive others of the means of effective self-defense, like a handgun. As for the first option, "carefully controlling guns," how many shootings at schools or malls will it take before we understand that people who intend to kill are not deterred by gun laws? Last I checked, murder is against the law everywhere. No one intent on murder will be stopped by the prospect of committing a lesser crime like illegal possession of a firearm. The intellectuals and politicians who make pious declarations about controlling guns should explain how their gunless utopia is to be realized. While they search for -- excuse me -- their magic bullet, innocent people are dying defenseless. That's because laws that make it difficult or impossible to carry a concealed handgun do deter one group of people: law-abiding citizens who might have used a gun to stop crime. Gun laws are laws against self-defense. Criminals have the initiative. They choose the time, place and manner of their crimes, and they tend to make choices that maximize their own, not their victims', success. So criminals don't attack people they know are armed, and anyone thinking of committing mass murder is likely to be attracted to a gun-free zone, such as schools and malls. Government may promise to protect us from criminals, but it cannot deliver on that promise. This was neatly summed up in book title a few years ago: "Dial 911 and Die." If you are the target of a crime, only one other person besides the criminal is sure to be on the scene: you. There is no good substitute for self-responsibility. How, then, does it make sense to create mandatory gun-free zones, which in reality are free-crime zones? The usual suspects keep calling for more gun control laws. But this idea that gun control is crime control is just a myth. The National Academy of Sciences reviewed dozens of studies and could not find a single gun regulation that clearly led to reduced violent crime or murder. When Washington, D.C., passed its tough handgun ban years ago, gun violence rose. The press ignores the fact that often guns save lives.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Free to Choose
by John Stossel
America's current struggles notwithstanding, life here is pretty good. We have a standard of living that's the envy of most of the world. Why did that happen? Prosperity isn't the norm. Throughout history and throughout the world, poverty has been the norm. Most of the world still lives in dire poverty. Of the 6 billion people on earth, perhaps 1 billion have something close to our standard of living. Why did America prosper when most of the people of the world are still poor? Milton Friedman taught me the answer. More than any other American, Friedman, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976, clearly warned the world about the unintended consequences of big government. "We've become increasingly dependent on government," said Friedman. "We've surrendered power to government; nobody has taken it from us. It's our doing. The results -- monumental government spending, much of it wasted, little of it going to the people whom we would like to see helped." That's from Friedman's PBS TV series "Free to Choose," which aired 30 years ago and became the basis of his No. 1 bestseller by the same name. We'll celebrate the anniversary of "Free to Choose" on my Fox Business show tomorrow night. The title says a lot. If we are free to make our own choices, we prosper. That was a new idea to many back then. At the time -- when inflation and interest rates were in double digits and unemployment approached 10 percent -- people thought a wise government could ensure economic growth, guarantee full employment and eliminate poverty. Friedman explained that the opposite was true, that bigger government had brought us "burdensome taxes, high inflation, a welfare system under which neither those who receive help nor those

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regardless of whether they support the "regime" in Phoenix. That's collective punishment. And why isn't the world outraged by the wholesale deprivation we're inflicting on the North Koreans? Why do we even bother talking about sanctions against Iran, which will surely hurt the average Iranian more than the mullahs and the kleptocrats running the Revolutionary Guard? We've been maintaining an embargo against Cuba for half a century. In the lead-up to the Iraq war, the supposed voices of peace and sanity argued for "giving the sanctions time to work" and "keeping Iraq in the box" -- the "box" being a stiff sanctions regime. What was so great about the sanctions against South Africa if they too were a form of collective punishment? Only one blockade is deemed indefensibly beyond the pale: Israel's blockade of Gaza. Why? Because it imposes "collective punishment." The U.N. Human Rights Council, which rarely finds time to condemn the barbaric practices of its own members, routinely denounces the blockade as a crime against humanity. The blockade, which is surely causing real suffering, is entirely the fault of Hamas and the Palestinians who support it. When the brutal terrorist outfit consolidated power in a bloody coup, it proceeded to rain down missiles indiscriminately on Israel for years (talk about collective punishment). Israel finally launched a strike to stop the attacks and was, predictably, denounced as an aggressor by the usual suspects. Even now, Hamas won't accept the supposedly vital humanitarian cargo seized by the Israelis last week. Why? Because it's lost its propaganda value, and because it's been sullied by Jewish hands. Recently, I debated my friend Peter Beinart on television about the flotilla incident. In the current New York Review of Books, he tears into liberal American Jews for their support of the blockade, a symbol of Israel's descent into illiberalism. He laments that about 80 percent of Gazans are on food aid and -- allegedly -- many staples are being denied the Gazans. "Chocolate is not something that can be turned into a missile," Beinart told me on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor." "And yet, it's not allowed to be imported into Gaza." Meanwhile, the White House, which initially leaked that there would be "no daylight" between the U.S. and Israel over the flotilla, now wants to use the international furor to leverage Israel into loosening the blockade. By all means let the Gazans have their chocolate. Though as William A. Jacobson, a Cornell law professor and legalinsurrection.com blogger, notes, claims that such items are banned should be taken with a grain of salt. But this is a terrible moment to consider abandoning the blockade. Why? Because it would rightly be seen as giving the organizers and supporters of this seaborne propaganda stunt a victory. It would signal that America can be conned. It would reward Turkey's outrageous insult to us (a NATO ally) and to Israel, a longtime friend of Turkey. It would undermine Egypt and other Arab governments (including Fatah) that don't want Iran's clients in Hamas strengthened (their propaganda notwithstanding). And it would signal that Iran is the most important power in the Middle East. Alas, it seems President Obama cannot think straight about Israel because he has so many preconceived notions about it and his role on the world stage. Like so many liberals, he claims to be "realistic," but he actually sees things through a literary prism, living in a world of symbolism and metaphors. It's amazing to read news reports about how the blockade

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who pay for it are satisfied. Trying to do good with other people's money simply has not worked." No, it hasn't. So why, 30 years later, is America doing so much more of it? Because people still have not learned Friedman's lesson. Because of that, I give money to a charity that offers teachers free copies of some of my TV news videos that explain the benefits of free markets. The video most popular in high schools is one in which I ask students, "When so many nations remain poor, why did America become prosperous?" Many answer, "Because we have democracy." Yet India has democracy, and India has been poor for years. "India is overpopulated," they say. They don't know that India has the same population density as New Jersey. Other students suggest that America prospered because of our natural resources. But Hong Kong has no natural resources. It's basically a rock. It is also more densely populated than India. Yet, in just 50 years, Hong Kong went from poverty to American levels of wealth. How? In "Free to Choose," Friedman explained that it was the free market. Overlooking the amazing Hong Kong skyline, he said: "This miracle hasn't been achieved by government action -by someone sitting in one of those tall buildings and telling people what to do. It's been achieved by allowing the market to work." Walking down a crowded street, he added, "They are free to buy from whom they want, to sell to whom they want, to work for whom they want. Sometimes it looks like chaos, and so it is, but underneath it's highly organized by the impersonal forces of a free marketplace." At the time of his series, India was a symbol of enlightened central planning. "India has tremendous economic and human potential," Friedman commented. "The human tragedy is that in India that potential has been stifled by the straightjacket imposed by an allwise and paternalistic government. Central planning has condemned India's masses to poverty and misery." What counted most for Friedman was that people should be free to try innovative ideas and succeed ... or fail. "The free market enables people ... to trade with whomever they want; to buy in the cheapest market around the world; to sell in the dearest. ... (B)ut most important of all: If they fail, they bear the cost." "Most important of all." It's clear what he would have thought of today's government bailouts.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Israel's Gaza Blockade: It Works
by Jonah Goldberg
Outraged by Arizona's immigration policies, the Los Angeles City Council wants to boycott the Grand Canyon State. When will the United Nations condemn Los Angeles for its callous pursuit of collective punishment? To be sure, the boycott is mainly symbolic, but at least in principle the measure is aimed at hurting all Arizonans

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"serves as a symbol" of this or that. "You know what else the blockade serves as?" asks Commentary's Abe Greenwald. "A blockade. It separates Israel's sworn enemies from those who would help them arm and kill Israelis. Oh, and by the way, as a blockade, and not a symbol, the blockade works." Alas, such realism has no place in this debate.

To suggest that Obama should devote his full attention to fixing a single problem (a leaking oil well) that the federal government has no competence or responsibility to fix is not leadership but childish fantasy. Making rules for deepwater drilling is a legitimate function of government, and so is holding polluters accountable for the damage they cause. Plugging oil wells is the function of oil Sunday, June 13, 2010 companies. The federal government does have a responsibility to help mitigate the harm done by the leaking petroleum. But Obama does not need to be on hand for it to carry out that mission, any more than the chairman of Toyota needs to be carrying a wrench on the factory floor. If the president cannot formulate a policy and direct those Why, Oh, Why Doesn't Obama Save Us? under him to carry it out, he has no business being president -by Steve Chapman because there is no other way to be president. Not long ago, Barack Obama was pilloried for being too When his critics accuse Obama of being detached and activist, too meddlesome and too inclined to see himself as the messiah. passionless, they are really faulting him for being calm, rational and He was forcing health care reform down our throats, running General realistic. Those qualities, a contrast to the cocky style of his Motors, wrecking the financial system and promising to make the immediate predecessor, are what got him elected. If Americans had oceans recede. wanted a leader to channel rage or grief, they would have chosen But that was a different guy, from a parallel universe. The someone more demonstrative. President Obama we all know is a passive, detached do-nothing. Or so Obama has gone wrong -- as conservatives have often been we have been hearing since the British Petroleum oil spill gained our correct in pointing out -- when he has pressed against the limits of his attention. rightful powers, taking on responsibilities far greater than the federal Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican who once government should assume. A president who does too much is far denounced Democrats for scheming to "increase dependence on more dangerous to life, liberty and property than one who does too government," now demands that Washington do more for his state. little. Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who recently So if Obama is erring on the side of circumspection, more called on Congress to zero out the Environmental Protection Agency, power to him. When he was running for the White House in 1968, challenges the administration to "save the Louisiana coast, save the Democrat Eugene McCarthy was asked if he felt he would be a good fisheries, save the wetlands." president. "I think I would be adequate," he replied. Here is a goal for Funny how nobody said that at the 2008 Republican national Obama that conservatives as well as liberals should be willing to convention, where the chant was "drill, baby, drill." Back then, real endorse: Just be adequate. men didn't protect sea turtles. Steve Chapman blogs daily at "For 35 days, he hasn't used the full force of our newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/steve_chapman. To find out more government," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., complained of the president about Steve Chapman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate last month. That's right: a conservative lamenting that Obama is being writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at too cautious and prudent in his deployment of federal power. www.creators.com. What's next? Griping that he's not enough of a socialist? COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM It may not be a surprise to find Republicans damning Obama Monday, June 07, 2010 when he does and when he doesn't. But it is novel for them to act as though the president is an omnipotent national father, without whose tender care we are all lost. "America wants a leader, not a politician," proclaims former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, writing in USA Today. He says Obama should emulate former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who The Simple Path to Middle East Peace after the 9/11 attacks "camped out at Ground Zero" to lead the response. "There is no substitute for being there," Romney lectures the by Star Parker president. Television personality Art Linkletter, who recently passed away at age 97, had the secret for achieving peace in the Middle This is part of Romney's ongoing campaign to make sure no East. one ever again takes him seriously. Obama is not a mayor. He is Linkletter, who experienced many setbacks and tragedies commander in chief at a time when we are fighting two major wars, in his life, observed, “Things turn out best for the people who make confronting a North Korea that recently sunk a South Korean naval vessel, trying to prevent Iran from getting nukes and grappling with an the best out of the way things turn out.” Adherence to this simple bit of wisdom sums up why Israel international crisis involving Israel. He is also responsible for directing policy and making budget has been a story of success and miracles and why the Palestinian Arabs languish. decisions involving numerous federal departments and agencies that Take the case of Gaza, that is getting so much attention exist because the GOP, after all, didn't abolish them during its time in now. power.
The Israelis decided to unilaterally pull their presence out

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of Gaza in 2005 and turned control for its administration over to the Palestinians. It presented an opportunity for the Palestinians to show the Israelis and the world that they could govern themselves and pave a path for prosperity and peace for their people. Were circumstances ideal? Certainly not. But that’s the point. Circumstances are never ideal. Our only choice is always, as Art Linkletter said, to “make the best of the way things turn out.” But in a culture of blame and entitlement, your problems never get solved because they are always someone else’s fault. You can never move forward because circumstances are never ideal. As the Israelis readied to withdraw, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister announced “We are telling the entire world, today Gaza and tomorrow Jerusalem.” Instead of focusing on starting to build on what they had, the focus was the ongoing political agenda against the Israelis. Soon the Palestinians were embroiled in a civil war, killing each other, until the terrorist group Hamas gained the upper hand in Gaza. Next on the agenda was smuggling in arms and shooting missiles into Israel. Meanwhile, as result of the Israeli political decision to withdraw from Gaza, 8500 Israelis that were living there were evicted from their homes and forced to move and build new lives elsewhere. A group of these families picked up and moved several miles inland into a barren patch of arid desert along the Gaza/Egyptian border. They used the funds the Israeli government paid them as compensation for their property to invest and build a new agricultural community in the middle of nowhere. There are now 180 families living in Halutza (Hebrew for “pioneer”). They pipe in desalinated water from the Mediterranean coast, fertilize the sand, and grow produce. Today, five years after being evacuated from Gaza, they are exporting $50 million dollars a year of organic potatoes, carrots, and peppers from their new community. Art Linkletter would call this, “making the best of the way things turn out.” Halutza is the history of Israel in microcosm. Taking difficult and unfortunate circumstances and building anew. Only 62 years after its founding in the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel has a per capita GDP almost on par with industrialized European nations, has the highest per capita venture capital investment in the world, and has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any non-US country. Intel Corporation’s facility in Israel is its only microchip design facility outside the US and is responsible for the design of most Intel chips powering our personal computers today. All this accomplished under constant siege and war because the Palestinians have rejected every proposal to live side by side since they first rejected the state they were offered by the United Nations in 1947, which gave them more territory than they claim would satisfy them today. A culture of blame, entitlement, and hate is a path to nowhere. This is as true in the Middle East as it is in America’s inner cities, put on the government plantation years ago. In 1957, Golda Meir, a future prime minister of Israel, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington. She said, unfortunately prophetically, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” The world is still waiting.

The Summer of Corruption Plot Thickens
by Michelle Malkin
In Chicago politics, there's an old term for the publicly subsidized pay-offs and positions meted out to the corruptocrats' friends and special interests: boodle. In the age of Obama, Hope and Change is all about the boodle. So it was with the stimulus. And the massive national service expansion. And the health care bill. And the financial reform bill. And the blossoming job-trading scandals engulfing the White House. There's always been an ageless, interdependent relationship between Windy City politicos and "goo-goos" (the cynical Chicago term for good government reformers). Chicago-style "reform" has always entailed the redistribution of wealth and power under the guise of public service. And it has inevitably led to more corruption. In March 2010, this column first took note of allegations by Democrats Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff that the White House had offered them jobs in exchange for dropping their respective bids against Obama-favored incumbent Sens. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and Michael Bennet in Colorado. White House legal counsel Bob "The Fixer" Bauer's attempt to bury questions about the Sestak affair with a Memorial Day weekend document dump failed. So has the attempt to make Rahm Emanuel-enlisted former president Bill Clinton the sole scapegoat. Bauer's memo mentions "efforts" (plural, not singular) to woo Sestak. But the White House refuses to divulge what offers besides Clinton's were extended to Sestak. Moreover, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has now denied that Team Obama was involved in the one Clinton offer that has been publicized -- an unpaid appointment on an intelligence board for which Sestak was ineligible. After months of silence, Romanoff finally stepped forward this week to acknowledge that the White House had dangled several positions before him, too. He released e-mails detailing not one, not two, but three different paid positions offered by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina -- whose boss, Emanuel, was subpoenaed this week by impeached former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois to testify in his Senate pay-for-play corruption trial. So, can I say "I told you so" now? In July 2009, when "Culture of Corruption" was first released, liberal critics scoffed: How could you possibly write a 400-page book about Barack Obama's rotten administration when he's only been in office six months?! When I proceeded to rattle off case after case of Chicagostyle back-scratching, transparency-trampling and crooked special interest-dealing in the new White House, liberal critics such as "The View's" Joy Behar interjected: B-b-b-but what about Bush? Why don't you write a book about Bush? Wha-'bout-Bush? Wha-'bout-Bush? Wha-'bout-Bush? When I pointed out that I had reported extensively on cronyism in the Bush era (see Harriet Miers, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security), and when I further pointed out that while the Bush-bashing market overflowed, there remained a

Friday, June 04, 2010

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during the elections last year. And then they said publicly that they were going to leave." I made this same point three months ago in this space when I reiterated my call from November for us to get out of Afghanistan: "If we need a credible 'local partner,' our local partner needs a reliable, supportive 'large brother' (to wit: the United States). But by first hesitating to support Mr. Karzai, then saying we will support him -- but only for 18 months, then publicly admonishing him to end the endemic corruption, then leaking the fact that his own brother is a major drug smuggler, we have undermined and infuriated him, without whom we cannot succeed in Afghanistan." Then this spring, as the toxic relations between Mr. Obama and Mr. Karzai became the subject of newspaper headlines rather than mere diplomatic gossip, Mr. Obama invited Mr. Karzai to the White House to be treated right royal. Fine food and fine words could not undo the fatal damage done to the alliance by the public White House words of the previous year. Mr. Karzai was intent on undoing American policy, and he has succeeded. The essence of Mr. Obama and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's strategy for counterinsurgency and "population-centric" mini-nation-building was to: (1) Build up allied troop levels quickly, (2) as a first step, drive the Taliban out of Marja, an insignificant town of 60,000 in Helmand province, and set up some governance to demonstrate the feasibility of our "clear, hold and build" strategy, and (3) go on in June to execute the Kandahar Offensive, which would overwhelm and replace the Taliban in their spiritual homeland stronghold. Gen. McChrystal called this the "decisive" battle of the nine-year-old Afghan war. But as early as April, the London Times reported, "Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, threatens to block NATO offensive (in Kandahar)." This entire strategy was premised on inducing Mr. Karzai to let us help him set up minimally competent local governance on which the local people could rely. It was openly said that we would get rid of Mr. Karzai's powerful mobster brother, Wali, in Kandahar as a necessary precondition for good governance. But Mr. Karzai, who had lost faith in the U.S., didn't cooperate. No decent governance could be set up in Marja, where Taliban executions of U.S. friendly locals are being carried out in daylight, in public. Mr. Karzai has refused to remove his brother, and the White House has moved up the date to judge our success in Afghanistan from June 2011 to December 2010. U.S. Brig. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges, director of operations for southern Afghanistan, told the London Times: "Our mission is to show irreversible momentum by the end of 2010. That's the clock I'm using." Gen. McChrystal has shifted his strategy away from population-centric nation-building to Special Forces night raids against the Taliban. Then, last week, Gen. McChrystal begrudgingly announced, "The Kandahar operation (previously scheduled to ramp up in June and largely conclude by August) will unfold more slowly and last longer than the military had planned." According to British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, who commands allied forces in Kandahar, "One would hope that by November-time, one is demonstrating positive trends." Thomas Paine, during the Revolutionary War, argued in "The Crisis" that there are serious moments in the life of a country when "to deceive is to destroy; and it is of little consequence, in the conclusion, whether men deceive themselves, or submit, by a kind of mutual consent, to the impositions of each other." We are at such a moment in this forlorn war in Afghanistan. Only self-deception can justify the continued sacrifice of

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massive vacuum of critical analysis of Obama, liberal critics sputtered: So what? Doesn't every administration have corruption? When I patiently explained that no other administration in modern American history had set itself up as loftily as the Hope and Change reformers had done, or when I cited endless examples of Obama's broken promises on everything from lobbyists to transparency to Washington business as usual, liberal critics changed the subject again: RACIST FASCIST EVIL FOX NEWS RIGHT-WING HATE MONGER! Two major job-trading scandals plus the start of the Blago trial this past week -- on top of a year's worth of uninhibited White House wheeling and dealing, broken transparency pledges, Justice Department stonewalling and brass knuckle-bullying of political opponents -- have finally turned the once-derided thesis of my book "Culture of Corruption" into conventional wisdom. Obama sold America a Chicago-tainted bill of goods. A nation of slow learners is finally figuring it out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Afghan War Becoming a Bloody Farce
by Tony Blankley
Since last summer, President Obama has publicly doubted whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai's corruption and incompetence make him a fit partner for our policy goals in Afghanistan. Now, according to Saturday's New York Times: "Mr. Karzai (has) lost faith in the Americans and NATO to prevail in Afghanistan." Regretfully, both presidents are correct. Neither of them has a national partner in whom he can place any reasonable confidence. The two governments cannot agree on a common fighting strategy. Nor can those facts be materially changed in time to make a difference, given President Obama's firm commitment to start withdrawing troops no later than the middle of next year. The current price for staying is approximately one American troop fatality a day (plus several wounded and an undisclosed number of killed and wounded American contract employees). British troops are being killed at the same rate proportional to their troop level. The fatality rate for the remainder of NATO forces (proportionally) is about one-fifth the Anglo-American level of sacrifice. As these truths become more broadly understood and accepted, I think more Americans -- Republicans and Democrats, hawks and doves, liberals and conservatives -- will come around to the lamentable conclusion that a continued, substantial U.S. militarily presence in Afghanistan will do no good for the United States or the long-suffering people of Afghanistan. As the New York Times article Saturday went on to observe regarding Mr. Karzai's state of mind: "People close to (Karzai) say he began to lose confidence in the Americans last summer, after national elections in which independent monitors determined that nearly one million ballots had been stolen on Mr. Karzai's behalf. The rift worsened in December, when President Obama announced that he intended to begin reducing the number of American troops by the summer of 2011. 'Karzai told me that he can't trust the Americans to fix the situation here,' said a Western diplomat in Kabul. ... He believes they stole his legitimacy

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our finest young men and women in uniform. Given the two presidents in command and their irreversible dispositions toward this war and each other, failure is virtually inevitable. For a lesson in how wartime allied presidents ought to struggle to work together for victory, consider the Franklin D. Roosevelt/Winston Churchill partnership. What is not inevitable is the number of American (and allied) troops who must die before failure becomes undeniable.

their mortgage on time. He has bailed out his buddies in the banking industry and nationalized the auto and health industries for the benefit of his union friends. He has insulted the Cambridge police and defended Muslim terrorists like Maj. Nidal Hassan. He has utilized advisers who are Marxists (former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones), anti-Semites (foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, special adviser Samantha Power, National Security Adviser Adm. James Jones), racists Wednesday, June 16, 2010 (Attorney General Eric Holder), sycophantic pro-Islamists (Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan), kooks (Director of White House Office of Science and Technology John Holdren), perverts (Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings), and paid thugs (Rahm Emanuel). When Obama took office, the national debt was just under Is President Obama the Worst President in $10 trillion. Now it is $12 trillion, and by 2015, it will be at least $19.6 History? trillion. Unemployment under Obama increased to 9.7 percent, up from 7.6 percent when Bush left office. The inflation rate has yet to by Ben Shapiro explode, but most economists believe it will have to unless Obama I host a radio show on WEUS 810 AM in Orlando, Fla., on drastically raises taxes, destroying the economy even further. Sundays 1-4 p.m. EST. On last week's show, I had firebrand Carter can't touch this guy. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as a guest. "Is President As for Buchanan, the man was a symptom of his times -- an Obama better or worse than Jimmy Carter?" I asked her. "Worse. active supporter of admitting Kansas to the Union as a slave state and Easily worse," she replied. She went on to say that without question, of Chief Justice Roger Taney's execrable opinion in Dred Scott. He Obama was the worst president in U.S. history. was also responsible for a near-war in Utah against the Mormons, Is it true? inflation of the currency, and the abominable state of the Union's There are only two other true contenders for the title of military position at the beginning of the Civil War. "worst president in U.S. history": Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan. It would be difficult for Obama to top this record of pure Warren G. Harding's tenure was corrupt but not disastrous, and Andrew Johnson's presidency failed because of his Southern roots and disgrace -- after all, he doesn't have to face down the internal specter of a looming war over a major moral issue like slavery, so his tenure wrongful adherence to extreme states rights concepts in the aftermath can't be as cataclysmically destructive. But like Buchanan, he'll try to of the Civil War, not because his administration effectuated any grave subvert American principles all the same. damage to the nation. Only Buchanan matches the record of In short, Obama may not be the worst president in incompetence, failure and wrongheadedness pursued by Obama. Take Jimmy Carter, for example. He was responsible for the American history. But he's easily the worst American president in modern history -- and we'll have to reassess the case in two and a half fall of the Shah in Iran and the subsequent rise of the Ayatollahs. He years, because there's no sign Obama will change his ways. There is emboldened the Soviets to invade Afghanistan. He oversaw the Three Mile Island incident and presided over a high unemployment rate of 7.1 good news, though. All of America's worst presidents served one term, and American recovered. That's because if any of them had percent and staggering inflation and interest rates, both of which topped 18 percent by early 1980. His presidency saw gas rationing and served a second, America could have been utterly decimated. Americans had better wake up and place Obama in his proper context shortages, the surrender of the Panama Canal and the boycott of the by 2012, or it may be too late for recovery. 1980 Olympics. Pretty bad by any measure. Ben Shapiro, 26, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law During his entire first term, Carter's record doesn't touch the School. He is the author of three books including the national Obama administration's record in its first year and a half. Obama has bestseller "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's already tacitly OK'd the Iranian nuclear program and derided Israel's Youth," and the host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" on 810 AM in nuclear program. He has allowed Iranian protestors to be slaughtered Orlando, FL. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features in the streets without so much as a peep for days on end. Obama has allowed the Russians to sponsor an uprising in Kyrgyzstan that resulted by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. in the removal of a U.S. airbase. He has lent legitimacy to an Islamist COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM. Turkish government and sold American debt to a communist Chinese government that supports North Korea. He has presided over the largest oil spill in world history in the Gulf of Mexico and spent his efforts blaming everyone but himself. He's poised to raise our taxes at the end of the year. He's pushing for comprehensive "immigration reform" that will really act as an amnesty for illegal immigrants. He has denigrated Arizona before Mexico, bowed before the king of Saudi Arabia and the Chinese president and the Japanese emperor, hugged a Venezuelan quasidictator, and undermined a constitutional uprising in Honduras. He has pushed carbon taxes and gas taxes and estate taxes. He has propped up unfit mortgage borrowers and penalized those who pay

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