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Archive for September, 2011
‘My life’s in danger now. I can’t defend myself, I can’t defend you’
By Joe Kovacs
“An Arizona man has filed a federal lawsuit against some of the state’s top judges, claiming they’re taking away his freedom of speech and right to own firearms, all because someone didn’t like what he wrote on his blog.
“You can’t suspend someone’s constitutional rights [for blogging],” said Mike Palmer, who is bringing forth the legal action. “Everybody in America blogs or Twitters, so it’s a First and Second Amendment issue.”
The scenario started when Palmer, a 55-year-old Christian missionary from Phoenix, was online discussing “spiritual death” often referred to in the Bible.
But, according to the suit, a woman from Prescott, Ariz., Melody Thomas-Morgan, complained to authorities that Palmer was threatening her with “death,” keeping that word in quotes in her legal filings.
Kenton Jones, superior court judge for Yavapai County, went along with the woman’s harassment complaint and ordered Palmer to surrender his guns.
“The order says that I am not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition, and directs me to turn over any weapons to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office,” Palmer told WND.
“I certainly want my gun rights,” he added. “There is no law in Arizona which allows the courts to suspend any constitutional right, but in this instance, my Second Amendment right. And, of course, my life’s in danger now. I can’t defend myself, I can’t defend you. I can’t defend my fellow man.”
From: Stars and Stripes
In 43 years, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the son of a Hollywood publicist, has graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, deployed to Vietnam, commanded an aircraft carrier strike group and the Second Fleet, detoured through Harvard Business School and become the nation’s highest-ranking naval officer.
… But it is what Mullen did last week that may be most remembered: He called out Pakistan.
In his last words to Congress, Mullen accused the Pakistan government of aiding terrorist attacks against U.S. troops and for “choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy.”
When White House officials distanced themselves from Mullen’s strong words, the chairman held firm.
From: Defense Media
Throughout the U.S. armed forces today, many feel that too few service members are receiving the nation’s top award for valor.
The Medal of Honor, in past wars a symbol of the selflessness and valor of American service members, has been mostly missing from America’s twenty-first century conflicts. Only ten Medals of Honor have been awarded for action in recent conflicts – six for Afghanistan and four for Iraq. The nation awarded 464 Medals of Honor for actions in World War II, 135 for the Korean War and 246 for Vietnam. On Oct. 7, 2011, the war in Afghanistan will enter its eleventh year, making Afghanistan the United States’ longest war if the length of U.S. involvement in Vietnam is measured from Aug. 7, 1964 to January 1973.
“Economic and political prosperity are not the final measures of human progress.
The Rome of Trajan was immeasurably more splendid than the Rome of the Scipios; yet the progress had been downwards nevertheless.
If the object of our existence on this planet is the development of character, the culminating point in any nation’s history is that at which it produces its noblest and bravest men.”
- James Anthony Froude, The English in the West Indies
Cutting Through the Lone-Wolf Hype is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
By Scott Stewart
Lone wolf. The mere mention of the phrase invokes a sense of fear and dread. It conjures up images of an unknown, malicious plotter working alone and silently to perpetrate an unpredictable, undetectable and unstoppable act of terror. This one phrase combines the persistent fear of terrorism in modern society with the primal fear of the unknown.
The phrase has been used a lot lately. Anyone who has been paying attention to the American press over the past few weeks has been bombarded with a steady stream of statements regarding lone-wolf militants. While many of these statements, such as those from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, were made in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, they did not stop when the threats surrounding the anniversary proved to be unfounded and the date passed without incident. Indeed, on Sept. 14, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, told CNN that one of the things that concerned him most was “finding that next lone-wolf terrorist before he strikes.”
Now, the focus on lone operatives and small independent cells is well founded. We have seen the jihadist threat devolve from one based primarily on the hierarchical al Qaeda core organization to a threat emanating from a broader array of grassroots actors operating alone or in small groups. Indeed, at present, there is a far greater likelihood of a successful jihadist attack being conducted in the West by a lone-wolf attacker or small cell inspired by al Qaeda than by a member of the al Qaeda core or one of the franchise groups. But the lone-wolf threat can be generated by a broad array of ideologies, not just jihadism. A recent reminder of this was the July 22 attack in Oslo, Norway, conducted by lone wolf Anders Breivik. Read the rest of this entry »
“The German newspaper, Die Welt, reported on Nov. 25, 2010 of a deal Iran struck to establish a military missile base on the northwestern shores of Venezuela. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is vying with Ahmadinejad for the title of most anti-American thug on the planet. According to Die Welt, Venezuela agreed to allow Iran establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers and Venezuelan missile officers.
Iran also granted Chavez permission to use the missiles in case of an “emergency” and for “national needs” – radically increasing the threat to pro-American neighbors like Colombia. The report says Iran planned to place a variety of medium-range ground-to-ground missiles on the base.
In a related article published Dec. 8, 2010 by the Hudson Institute in New York, Anna Mahjar-Barducci cites published Russian reports of additional weapon sales to Venezuela, conveniently skirting around a UN sanction against Iran. The sale includes “five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defence systems and a number of other weapons” originally contracted to Iran for $800 million. “If Iran, therefore, cannot get the S-300 directly from Russia, it can still have them through its proxy, Venezuela, and deploy them against its staunchest enemy, the U.S.” writes Mahjar-Barducci.
The Iran-Venezuela-Russia alliance establishes a missile base with nuclear weapons potential right “in the United States soft underbelly (and) many US cities will be able to be reached from there even with short-medium range missiles,” she warns.
Die Welt reported on May 13, 2011 that an Iranian engineering team had visited Venezuela in February, and confirmed the missile complex site is to be on the Paraguana peninsula – the northernmost tip of Venezuela. The article indicates that Iran and Venezuela will construct a complex of 20 meter deep underground silos for the Shahab-3 medium-range missiles. The article explains that the agreement between Venezuela and Iran would mean Chavez would fire missiles at “Iran’s enemies” should Iran face military strikes.
“General Vallely now serves as Chairman of Stand Up America, a private organization that includes numerous former military and intelligence community experts and analysts. In his September 4 article, Vallely wrote, “SUA believes strongly that Iran now possesses low yield nuclear war heads that can be mounted on the Shehab missile and deployed on the oceans in container ships with the Russian provided Club K missile launch system.” The General went on to explain that Iran’s objective is to “launch EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) weapons on U.S. Coastal cities and freeze our national grid systems.”
A June, 2011 RAND report agreed with Vallely’s analysis. According to RAND senior defense policy analyst Gregory S. Jones, Tehran’s nuclear program has progressed to the point that “it will take around two months for the Iranian regime to produce the 20kg of uranium enriched to 90 percent required for the production of a nuclear warhead.”
The window may have slammed shut on the opportunity to prevent Iran from going nuclear.”
From: Threat Level
A legal challenge questioning the constitutionality of a federal law authorizing warrantless electronic surveillance of Americans inched a step closer Wednesday toward resolution.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the second time rejected the Obama administration’s contention that it should toss a lawsuit challenging the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act. Among other things, the government said the plaintiffs — Global Fund for Women, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union and others — don’t have standing to bring a constitutional challenge because they cannot demonstrate that they were subject to the eavesdropping or suffered hardships because of it.
Over the past half century, the right of citizens in Western countries to defend themselves has eroded.
This is partly due to neglect. As our societies have urbanized, we have shown greater willingness to let professional police officers defend our loved ones, our property and ourselves. After all, more of us now live closer to police stations than our parents, or certainly our grandparents.
But the erosion of our right to selfdefence has also been a deliberate initiative by governments. Increasingly, politicians, policy-makers, academics and police have come to think that citizens who take up weapons – firearms or otherwise – to defend themselves are as dangerous to social peace as criminals.
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.
The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”
- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787
“A Taliban suicide bomber on Tuesday killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghan president and head of the government’s peace council, a dramatic show of insurgent reach and a heavy blow to hopes of reaching a political end to the war.
The killing was a strong statement of Taliban opposition to peace talks, and as the latest in a string of high-profile assassinations will increase the apprehension of ordinary Afghans about their future as the insurgency gathers pace.
“A Taliban member who went to Rabbani’s house for peace talks detonated a bomb hidden in his turban,” a statement by the Kabul police chief’s office said.”
The Evolution of a Pakistani Militant Network is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
By Sean Noonan and Scott Stewart
For many years now, STRATFOR has been carefully following the evolution of “Lashkar-e-Taiba” (LeT), the name of a Pakistan-based jihadist group that was formed in 1990 and existed until about 2001, when it was officially abolished. In subsequent years, however, several major attacks were attributed to LeT, including the November 2008 coordinated assault in Mumbai, India. Two years before that attack we wrote that the group, or at least its remnant networks, were nebulous but still dangerous. This nebulous nature was highlighted in November 2008 when the “Deccan Mujahideen,” a previously unknown group, claimed responsibility for the Mumbai attacks.
While the most famous leaders of the LeT networks, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, are under house arrest and in jail awaiting trial, respectively, LeT still poses a significant threat. It’s a threat that comes not so much from LeT as a single jihadist force but LeT as a concept, a banner under which various groups and individuals can gather, coordinate and successfully conduct attacks. Read the rest of this entry »
Bryan Prescot: “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”
Agent Alex Marlow: “Conversely, sir, when you have a nail, you can bang at it all day with a screwdriver, a shoe or your hand and get nothing except hurt.
Whereas one good blow with the hammer makes the problem go away for good.”
- From Do Unto Others by Michael Z. Williamson