We have over 1000 troops on the ground in Syria, a country whose government has not given us permission to be there and which is a very important ally of Russia. Russia, in addition to possessing items of some interest also has thousands of troops on the ground in Syria helping to protect that country (an important ally of their's) by shooting at the Jihadists we are defining as moderates and ostensibly backing. Meanwhile, while we are fighting the (mostly) different jihadis in ISIS (which Russia is also fighting). So, Russian and U.S. troops are on opposite sides of a civil war, armed and both sides are shooting at people who are trying to kill them and that the other side is trying to defend in an area where at least two factions are using poison gas. Iran also has large forces engaged against ISIS and in support of Syria but additionally is giving support to...Hezbollah. Turkey, which happens to have of one of the largest armies in the world, is also involved...mainly as a spoiler but also to exterminate our nominal allies the Kurds, who are a completely different group from the aforementioned revolutionary groups we are backing and are also fighting ISIS.
The shootdown aside, this mess in Syria is a lot more consequential than the coverage it's been getting would seem to indicate.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Sun Apr 3 22:24:53 2016 (KiM/Y)
Wonderduck, when it comes to little coastal vessels like that, I suspect it's best to apply the cockroach rule - if you found two wrecks, assume there's a couple dozen hiding somewhere you can't see.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Mon Apr 4 12:00:35 2016 (jwKxK)
Just No Idea
The inscrutable conundrum of why a college student went all stabby on a U.C Merced campus has been further clouded by the discovery of a manifesto on the corpse of the perpetrator, who has been identified as Faisal Mohammed.
A handwritten manifesto carried by a California college student whose stabbing spree Wednesday left four wounded, bore names of his targets, a vow "to cut someone’s head off” and as many as five reminders to "praise Allah,” law enforcement authorities told FoxNews.com, while insisting that neither terrorism nor religion appear to be motives in the attack.
Still no word on any of his affiliations, though ominously it has been suggested that he may be....a freshman.
"Be nice to the first years...or we might cut ya!"
That'll Learn I'm!
Well the penalty for the NASA official who gave a Chinese official unfettered access to the Langley Reasearch Center for just under two years has been sentenced....to six months probation and 250 dollars.
Woodell permitted Bo Jiang "complete and unrestricted access” to the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, according to the indictment filed October 20. The indictment stated that he had violated NASA’s security and IT regulations over a two-year period, from Spring 2011 to January 2013.
Hey now, you can't seriously expect a high and mighty bureaucrat to receive a real sentence. Laws are for the little people.
Posted by: Tom at Wed Nov 4 20:29:55 2015 (hBG9u)
I'm sorry, what is wrong with you? Have you confused NASA Langley with CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia? Do you want t put in prison anyone who's lending an unfettered access to a restroom in a McDonald's to a Chinese national? What insanity is this? It's only a freaking Langley! Not even Marshall or Michoud!
No, this is Langley Research Center, which has some fairly sensitive facilities as it does a fair amount of aerospace research and works closely with Langley Airforce Base. If they'd just given Chinese nationals access to the facillity ( that is unremarkable and there are a LOT of researchers from all over the world there) it wouldn't have been a problem. This seems to have been access to some of the sensitive areas, and in any event, the Chinese scientist in question felt the need to try and flee
Shortly after Wolf’s press conference Bo Jiang sought to flee the United States and was intercepted by federal agents at Dulles Airport on March 16, 2013. He had purchased a one-way ticket to his homeland in China. The Chinese had in his possession a laptop with a Seagate External Hard Drive "that contained the NASA unauthorized, unrestricted access information,” from NASA Langley, according to the U.S. Attorneys office.
This is pure insanity. Bo Jiang was not a Chinese spy to begin with. Wolff was grandstanding like any Congresscritter. And prosecutors grasped around for someone to indict. As a result, they found a couple of guys who were responsible to whatever regulation violations. After that, the plea bargaining ensued (against which, BTW, Instapundit rails with regularity), and one of them ened with the probation and $250 fine, which raised the ire of the ignorant.
The whole story is not worth a discarded eggshell. It's pure abuse of prosecutorial powers, and a disgrace.
You should've cued to the nature of the problem even without googling, when you read "UNRESTRICTED ACCESS information" in the quote. There was no security violation at all. It was just "unauthorized".
That's not to say there aren't thousands of Chinese spies all over. It's just that our useless counter-espionage folks could not get to them, so they trumped up charges against a random Chinese guy, then threw a book at whoever was in contact with him for the procedural violations. And then we have bloggers and their commenters demanding blood of innocents, while Chinese spies continue spying.
That's not to say there aren't thousands of Chinese spies all over. It's just that our useless counter-espionage folks could not get to them, so they trumped up charges against a random Chinese guy
That may well be the case with regards to Bo Jiang (whenever the only thing a person is convicted of is 'lying to investigators' the prosecution generally has nothing on them), however, it still looks like the NASA guys were not following security protocols. There is a bit more in the local paper here. The breach seems to involve access to a single computer rather than the unrestricted access to secure facilities which the DC piece implied.
I do not work in IT and computers are very nearly black box tech to me so I can't speak to whether or not the violated protocols were asinine and pointless or not. But it does seem that granting an unauthorized person access to a computer with sensitive information would seem to be a problem. The punishment might indeed be perfectly reasonable and the premise of my post is erroneous if that is the case, but the original article did not give that impression and I remain unconvinced that there was no disciplinary action warranted. The analogy I'm thinking of is that if one leaves the door to the armory unlocked, even if no weapons or ammunition goes missing, punishment is warranted.
(Of course given that this is the government, I'm perfectly willing to believe that the protocols that were violated by the NASA guys were some Kafaesque gordion knot of stupidity, I just haven't seen any evidence that's the case)
The analogy I'm thinking of is that if one leaves the door to the armory
unlocked, even if no weapons or ammunition goes missing, punishment is
That sounds reasonable, but then we circle to my first comment: what is there to steal in Langley? They have HL-20 that they themselves stole from Russians, which I suppose is something, but still I cannot help noticing that no classified information was accessed.
Quite a bit probably, it's a NASA research center that adjoins an air-force base and does a good deal of work with engineering colleges.
it's a sign of our good fortune that we're not.
It could also be naivete'.
Note that the premise of my post is cynically questioning the motives of the government...just from the perspective of a different set of worries. Something stinks here...whether its a whitewash or (as Pete suggests) a scapegoating is not clear to me.
I suspect, but I do not know, that Langley may be doing some interesting hypersonics research. It was their speciality historically, and Chinese should be mighty interested in it because of the emerging global strike capabilities. But that research should be strictly guarded and should not be mixed up with "unclassified" materials. I would say it's important enough to have dedicated, physically secure buildings and technical facilities.
This is the best international news I've heard all year. Turkeys descent into crazy was particularly disturbing for a couple of reasons. Turkey is in NATO. Furthermore, the ascent of islamism in a nation that had made great strides by embracing disestablishmentarianism and secularism in government was a grim barometer of the mood of the people in that part of the world.
That response is tied to something that I've blogged about in association with matters of far less importance before, I've been working on another post on the topic for months but its so damned depressing to me that it still festers in draft form. Fortunately, Ace has nailed it: You really should read the whole thing, but here is a particularly important excerpt:
This is about, specifically, the careerist, cowardly, go-along-to-get-along mores of the Upper Middle Class, the class of people whose parents were all college educated, and of course are college educated themselves; the class that dominates our thought-transmitting institutions (because non-college educated people are more of less shut out of this industry).
It is a class which is deathly afraid of social stigma, and lives in class-based fear being grouped with the wrong people, and which is more interested in Career, quite frankly, than in the actual tradecraft of that Career, which is clarity of thought and clarity of expression.
That is the bit that is getting quoted everywhere and I DO think it is making an exceedingly important point about the larger issue facing society.
The idea of a 'problem class' is on the face of it is pretty obnoxious. However, the upper middle class is an important barometer of a societies' health. This is the group that in other times were often minor nobility and they produce the bulk of a nation's great thinkers and innovators when a society is healthy.
When societies are not though, this demographic also produces about 100% of the Robspierres, Ches, Maos and disappointed Austrian painters. The herd dynamics ACE is referring to are at the core of a whole host of societal ills right now, the most troubling being the inability of so many people to stand up for anything like classically liberal principals....which is where ACE gets down to brass tacks..
One does not "support" someone's right to free speech by name-calling them and advertising how far one believes they fall outside the smug Upper Middle Class (leftist-dominated) Consensus.
One supports free speech by supporting those who speak freely.
I am so disgusted by how so many alleged thinkers seem to care more about social positioning than actual thought.
I should not advertise any hostility I may have towards Ms. Gellar to prove I'm "among the acceptable ones."
I have little to add except for this....One of the more worrisome arguments I've heard concerning political correctness recently is the idea that "...as long as the GOVERNMENT isn't shutting people up, then it isn't censorship...So kindly shut up" That argument may be technically true and indeed government enforcement of such things is a bigger evil. Its also pretty hard to pass constitutional muster in this country which is why we have these examples of things that are not technically censorship.
Well, That Was One Heck of a Speech.
Netanyahu knocked it out of the park, laying out all the myriad reasons why the proposed deal is of such concern to so many. However, it seems unlikely to change many, if any minds amongst those in power whose minds are made up.
...There are stories of even greater import than the fact that it is snowing in parts of North America in February.
This piece in the Atlantic has been widely linked to and deservedly so. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing. It gives one of the best overviews on the motivations of ISIS. It also explains in layman's terms the rationale behind what to those of us on the outside seems to be bizarre and frankly crazy behavior. They are not crazy. They are completely rational and logical given the premises they operate from. Nor are they ignorant as the group is led mostly by highly literate eschatologists who are, like many of the greatest monsters of all time convinced that they are going to make the world a better place and bring about heaven on earth. This is hard for people to get their heads around because it is simply so alien. They genuinely consider themselves to be virtuous. This is really beyond our modern experience, save possibly for the NAZIs, though even they were sufficiently uncomfortable with their atrocities that they tried to conceal them rather than using them as recruiting tools. The piece defies excerpting and you really should read the whole thing, but if you absolutely must get the Cliff's notes version or simply want to review the piece in bullet point format, Suburban Banshee has got your back. Take particular note of point #1.
In other news, it seems that ISIS is even more active in North Africa than previously supposed, having secured territory in the festering hell-hole formerly known as Libya, where they demonstrated their ability to operate with impunity by beheading 30 Egyptian Christians in the open on the beach, in broad daylight. In addition to a display of confidence the location choice is sending another message as well. It would appear that the ISIS "Barqa Province" in Africa consists of two coastal enclaves the smaller of which includes the city of Derna, an austere seaport, with a depth of only 15 feet, but it is a rail hub and has the logistical benefits that ports have.
Perhaps more worrying in some ways is the fact that the ISIS takeover of Derna is not exactly breaking news. It happened in August of last year . AFD did an in depth post on that unhappy development at the time. It makes for sobering reading.
Hifter’s personal army and the Libyan military, as I noted in my earlier post, are being more or less crushed in Benghazi, representing eighty percent of all deaths (military, Islamist, and civilians) in Benghazi from mid-October to mid-November alone.
Hifter/ Haftar is a Libyan general leading an anti-islamist coalition.
This map is from Wikipedia and may be outdated, but it gives some idea of the mess that Libya has become. ISIS controlled areas are black and mainly cities, the grey areas are controlled by Ansar-El-Sharia, which is reportedly allied closely with ISIS (and given the eschatological underpinnings of ISIS, may be only nominally separate).
Do note that Derna, in addition to being a railway hub and small port has some disadvantages, should we as a nation, ever rediscover our resolve. Being on the coast it is inherently susceptible to an amphibious assault, and I'm sure that the USMC would not mind to revisit the place.
I have a problem with this idea that ISIS are not crazy. They are functionally incapable of dealing with reality, because they have uncritically adopted nonsensical premises. They want to bring about the apocalypse, but there's no such thing.
Jordan and Egypt are doing the only appropriate thing when dealing with people like that: If they disagree with you so deeply about the nature of reality that their goal is to remove you and everyone else from it, you have to remove them first.
And while they thrive in chaos, they have no chance at all in the face of any modern army with intelligence and air support. Plus, it looks like their inherent structure is such that as soon as they start suffering setbacks, they'll fall upon themselves and eat one another.
Together with the fact that everyone in the region hates them and their plan to retake Constantinople (!), that doesn't bode well for their long-term existence.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thu Feb 19 00:37:16 2015 (2yngH)
They thrive on chaos and denial, but you are right about their chances in a stand up fight. This same group was curb-stomped by the US and Commonwealth forces and driven far underground until we pulled out. The problem is that they are growing with great speed and are an idea as much as an army. I'm doubtful that these guys would not get curb stomped again, but if they are given time to metastisize much more, the cure could be debillitating for the west, especially if Russia, and/or China decide to move when these asshats are providing a distraction.
The good news is that it's inherently a crab bucket. Plus they've brought along a whole bunch of people who like to argue the correct interpretation of doctrine, and have no inherent problem with killing each other off if they think the other guy is incorrect. Plus newbies, many of whom seem to be equal parts professional Internet trolls and professional terrorists.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Thu Feb 19 22:08:41 2015 (ZJVQ5)
So the Jordanians and Egyptians are dropping live munitions on internet trolls?
Best. War. Ever.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Fri Feb 20 00:31:11 2015 (PiXy!)
Well, yes, I do have to admit a bit of schadenfreude from watching the Jawa Report's lists of Jihadi troll casualties.
In other news, apparently Jihad Watch has plenty of documentation that Libyan jihad groups want to be ISIS' little invasion of Italy, so maybe they really do want to go after Rome. I had wondered why they were interviewing the new Swiss Guard commander about whether they were ready for threats from ISIS. (And of course his answer was yes. It's not all halberds and freaky period uniforms over there.)
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Sat Feb 21 23:20:57 2015 (ZJVQ5)
But being poked to death by a fellow in pantaloons would be epic ignominy.