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June 2012

Cyber Pearl Harbor- our greatest weakness

I wrote a piece for my day job's blog about what is actually the most glaring weakness in our cyber defenses.

Industrial control systems are not sexy and most people don't even know what they are or what they do. But our enemies do, and that is a problem. This issue was pushed front and center when the Stuxnet worm attacked and wreaked havoc on these types of systems in Iran.

Read the rest and catch up on other cybersecurity issues at the Absio blog.


National PTSD Awareness Day

Today is set aside as National PTSD Awareness Day and that is a good thing. Like most serious problems we face, it would be better if it got dealt with every day, but every bit helps. There was an event today at Upper Senate Park just outside the Capitol and I attended with my girlfriend who has to deal with her severe PTSD all the time. There were a number of speakers including the Surgeon Generals from all three services and the Congressmen who sponsored the bill noting the day. But the one that made the most impact to me was Sergeant Major of the Army Chandler.

SMA Chandler PTSD Day

He told how before a deployment in 2005 he filled out the mental health questionnaire and like many others didn't tell the truth: He didn't want the problems he had to affect his ability to go to war with his unit, so he gave the answers the Army needed to hear. And his problems got worse over the years because he didn't get the help he needed. Finally in 2009 things got bad enough that he went in and began regular counseling. He told about interviewing for the job of Sergeant Major of the Army when Gen. Casey asked him if there was anything in his background that could embarrass the Army. He mentioned the mental health counseling and Gen. Casey assured him that rather than a disqualifier having been in counseling was a feature. He said that being able to speak about his own challenges and the fact that he had gotten help would empower others to do the same.

The bottom line is that almost everyone reading this knows someone affected by Post Traumatic Stress and we all need to push, pull, prod, beg and walk beside them to get them to the help they need.


Red Robin, Books, and More

If you are anywhere near Indianapolis this Thursday, Red Robin is once again hosting a fundraiser for Cooking with the Troops. Michael Z. Williamson will be autographing books provided by Baen Books between 2-4.  Come on by. Also, online, there is a Simply Fun fundraiser underway, check it out. 

And, while I'm thinking about it, I want to plug once again The Longest War (an excellent read) and The Best of Military Cartoons.  What the heck, I'll plug the Kindle version of A Different View again too. 

LW


NUMBER ONE! HE QUICK! CHARGE 1! THREE ROUNDS IN EFFECT!

Chosencompany
VIa ISAF JC, US Army soldiers from Chosen Company (not sure which Chosen) fire mortar rounds at a Taliban firing position in Afghanistan's eastern Paktia province. Photo By Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini.

BTW, keep an eye for the photog's work, Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini.  He's taking some amazing photos.


"Now, After" - Post Traumatic Stress from a Soldier's Point of View

The following short film was done by a friend of ours, SSG Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, an Airborne Infantryman who was in Iraq from 2007-2008, and then went to the USC film school.  This is one of his first films (maybe even the first), was completed in 2009 and is his autobiographical piece about his own post traumatic stress struggles while in school.  Kyle went on to graduate with honors and now runs Blue Three Productions.


Kimberlin, Rauhauser, SWATting, And Some Further Thoughts On Free Speech

Authors Note:  As with my previous post, this post is mine and mine alone.  It represents only the views of Laughing Wolf and no other author or even of the blog.  Anyone taking exception to it should look to C. Blake Powers, aka Laughing Wolf, and no other.


Aaron Walker was SWATted last night.  Given the lack of mainstream media coverage, you may not know of Aaron and how exercising his free speech has cost him and his wife their jobs and more.  Nor will I say much more than that you should read and learn about him, and how an act of kindness has put his and his family's lives in danger. 

Last night, that went to a new level with a SWATting.  If you are not aware of the term, it means that someone spoofs a call from the victim, in this (and related cases) a claim that they have shot their wife and await the cops arrival (with implied or open threat against the cops).  The goal of this "spoof" is to have a SWAT team respond and at the least subject the victim to the terror of a SWAT raid and at the worst get one or more people killed. 

As I noted previously, it seems that those who write about convicted Speedway bomber Brett Kimberlin, associate Neal Rauhauser, and 501(c)(3) charities Velvet Revolution and Justice Through Music Project seem to develop problems up to and including being SWATted.  This is not to say that these most interesting people actually did the deed; but, it is most interesting how crossing them leads to threats, intimidation, and what appear to be deliberate acts designed to hurt or kill those that provide honest and accurate information about them and their activities. 

Before I go into more discussion, let me make my opinion clear:  the person (or persons) doing the SWATting is not merely a coward and bully, they are without honor, integrity, and provide the definition of moral and intellectual cripple.  They not only lack significant testes or ovaries, I can state that in my opinion I've met four-year-old girls with a bigger pair than they will ever have.  No one need fear them doing anything face-to-face, for such pathetic creatures would only do so as part of a mob, and even then they will most likely be to terrified to be in the front of the mob.  I sincerely doubt they have the capability to shoot one in the back from a distance, as they must always depend on others for anything other than talk.

That said, this is exactly why I write about the subject here, a military blog.  If you go through military crests, you will see words that often talk about protecting various rights and liberties, and opposing despots and despotism.  If you take your oath seriously, it applies not only overseas, but here at home as well. 

Efforts like this are designed to intimidate, to brutalize, and to destroy those who would exercise their right to free speech.  This is the tactic of tyranny, and has no place in the Republic or the marketplace of ideas.  This I am sworn to fight. 

Since the media is strangely silent about this, I urge you to go read about the people involved and make an informed decision on the subject.  Learn about the interesting history and habits of Kimberlin, Rauhauser, and those that travel with them.  Learn what some do not wish you to learn, to the point they would be happy if people died so that you did not learn. 

Intimidation only works when people do not resist.  Resist:  go read and learn.  Resist:  share the sources and what you have learned so that others may do so. Resist:  shine a light by learning and sharing, and see what tries to scurry off when you do so. 

I do not know who is behind the threats, the intimidation, and the SWATtings.  However, I do find most interesting the common denominators involved. 

Learn about the situation by reading Stable Hand's posts at Jawa; read Aaron's posts; go read Patterico's posts; go read McCain's posts; and, go find the other excellent posts out there. 

Those who seek to disenfranchise one, seek to disenfranchise more -- and it is my opinion that such as these are of the same ilk as those that seek to disenfranchise the military vote.  Even if not, such is a thing we are sworn to oppose. 

Free speech is never free.  It is something bought and paid for in blood by our troops.  It is bought and paid for by the blood of those who continue to speak despite threat, pain, suffering, and loss.  It is bought and paid for by the courage of those who stand against thugs and other tyrants. 

Do you have it in you to make even a token payment by reading and sharing? 

The intimidation and such began in an effort to prevent people from learning about Kimberlin, Rauhauser, and their activities.  In the words of Insty, "How's that working out for ya?"

LW


There is no US national security interest in a Syrian intervention

I just wanted to make that clear as we look at the Turkish jet shoot down and the fact that Turkey has invoked chapter 4 of the NATO treaty:

That is the provision that calls on NATO member countries to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.” Turkey’s Islamist foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has announced that Turkey is calling for an emergency consultation of NATO members under Article 4 to consider a response to what it deems Syrian aggression.

Now the backstory, so you at least understand why this presents a possibility of NATO, and thus the US, being pulled into such an intervention (possibly willingly, I’ll get to that later).  It comes from Andrew McCarty at PJ Media:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a Sunni Islamic supremacist with longstanding ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Sunni supremacist organization. The Brotherhood is leading the mujahideen (called the “opposition” or the “rebels” by the mainstream media) that seeks to oust the Assad regime in Syria — dominated by the Alawites, a minority Shiite sect. Unsurprisingly, then, Turkey’s government has taken a very active role in abetting the Brotherhood’s operations against the Syrian regime, which have also been joined by al-Qaeda and other Sunni militants.

On Friday, a Turkish air force jet entered Syrian air space, and Assad regime forces shot it down. Turkey claims the jet “mistakenly” cruised over Syria, and that, by the time it was taken down, it was in international air space over the Mediterranean. One need carry no brief for Assad to conclude that, given the interventionist drum-beat for no-fly zones and direct military and logistical aid to the “opposition,” Syria rationally took the presence of a Turkish military aircraft in its air space as a provocation. Turkey insists it was not “spying” — that this was just an accident to which Syria overreacted. That would be a good argument if the regime were not under siege and if the Syrian and Turkish governments had not been exchanging hostile words (mostly, threats from Erdogan) for months. That, of course, is not the case.

Confused?  Well don’t be.  This is just another chapter in the eternal war between the Sunnis and Shiites and between the religious and secular.  Turkey happens to be an Islamic Sunni enclave (some want you to believe the country is “secular” but it isn’t thanks to Erdogan) and Syria is ruled by a “secular” Shiite government which, by the way, is ideologically identical to Saddam’s Iraq.  You know, the Syrian government headed by a man this US administration labeled as “a reformer” not so long ago?  Well, it’s “under the bus” time for him.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia – that would be Wahhabist Saudi Arabia (Sunni) – have been arming the Syrian rebels along with who, oh yeah, the Muslim Brotherhood.  And that has ended up seeing good old Al Qaeda show up on the rebel side, which apparently is fine with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Brotherhood.

More:

The Obama administration, from its first days, has cozied up to the Muslim Brotherhood — both Brotherhood branches in the Middle East, and Brotherhood satellite organizations in the U.S., such as CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America. Obama has also been quietly supporting the Syrian mujahideen: coordinating with repressive Islamist governments in Turkey and Saudi Arabia to arm and train them, and reportedly dispatching the CIA to facilitate this effort. But it has thus far resisted calls for more overt participation — calls by pro-Brotherhood progressives in both parties for something along the lines of what Obama did in Libya, meaning: without congressional approval and toward the end of empowering virulently anti-Western Islamists.

There was no US interest in intervening in Libya but we did (we used R2P as the excuse and NATO as the tool).  Syria, of course, would present orders of magnitudes more difficulty militarily.  It is a much more sophisticated military power than was Libya. 

The problem?  Well while Obama may be reluctant to intervene alone, NATO might provide a perfect excuse/vehicle.  And the benefits would be fairly obvious electorally.  It would “change the subject” again.  It would make him a “war time” president (yes, technically he is now, but A’stan isn’t “his” war so he doesn’t quite get the benefit public support for his continuation in office).  And he could cite “treaty obligations” as a reason without having to go to Congress.

He also has the “good experience” of Libya as a sort of enticement to try the same thing again.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia make out rather well too.  They  get the crusaders to fight and die in their battle all so the Islamists can eventually take the prize.  The US and NATO would end up fighting to help put Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in charge in Syria.

Ironic?  Uh, slightly.

Point: This is not a NATO or US fight.  This is something that we should stay as far from as we can. 

Politics, however, will be integral to any decision made at this point, at least in the US. Domestic electoral politics.  What scares me is the possibility the Obama administration may conclude it is a good idea politically to use NATO to “change the subject” and make Obama a “war time President” hoping the advantages of that situation will make the difference in November.  And it wouldn’t be a unilateral decision, but instead receive bi-partisan support as Sen. McCain and other GOP members have been outspoken in their desire to intervene.

Call me paranoid but I find nothing in my analysis that’s at all infeasible or improbable.  In fact, having watched this administration at work, I consider it to be a completely possible scenario.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Duffle Blog: Mission Accomplished

Soldier screws up Power Point.  War ends.  Only at the Duffle Blog:

...Soldiers mobbed Dining Facilities (DFACs) across the war-torn nation in search of non-alcoholic beer to celebrate the historic event, while back on the home-front, millions of citizens took to the streets in thousands of impromptu ”victory parties.”...

Why? (mobbing in search of non-alcoholic beer...heh)

Because of an enterprising young Specialist:

...At the center of this rapid change of fortune for the US war effort in the country is Specialist Mario Flores, attached to the 21st Civil Affairs BDE, currently deployed to Camp Julien in Kabul.

We tracked down the young soldier and asked him about the now famous briefing slide.

“Well, the other night it was late and I got handed this tasker.  Usually my LT comes in and does the slide, which we then send over to the IJC for the morning brief, but he forgot to come back to work after crashing in the CHU [container housing unit] of this interpreter chick that he’s been banging.  At first I was worried about having to do it myself, but I figured nothing ever changes here, so why worry about it. But then I saw that the blocks in the assessment were all red.  I mean look at this place.”...

To find out what happened go read the Duffle Blog.