Well, That’s Not Good

  When I was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico one of my jobs was to prepare the training resources, develop response plans, and implement the training for the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex (KUMSC). At the time this was a one of a kind facility that combined physical and electronic security systems coordinated with a computer based system. Of course, this would mean unique issues would arise.

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  The first issue reared its head during a tour of the almost completed system. The facility contains storage areas and maintenance rooms. Each of these rooms are separated by a huge blast door. How huge? I can’t tell you…lets just say…Huge. The engineers for the system were proudly demonstrating the way the door could open and close for a group of high-ranking officers. I was there to film the procedure for training.

  The engineer called the control room and asked for the door to be closed. Slowly the door began to move and in about 5 minutes finished its journey. Then there was a loud click as the locking mechanism slid into place. After a few minutes of bragging about his door, the engineer called the control room for the door to be opened. On command…the door…began to squirt hydraulic fluid all over the floor.

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For the next 8 hours, we all sat on the floor waiting for another group of engineers to fix the door. I learned some things about the officers that were so interesting, I can’t remember their names. (sarcasm)

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This would not be the last glitch by any means…I would spend many hours waiting to be rescued in the coming months.

What Went Wrong?

The typical reaction to anything that happens is to find something or someone to blame.  We want to point a finger at the problem and fix it.  So, what went wrong in Orlando?

What we know at this point is the murderer proclaimed that he was acting in the name of ISIS.  We also know that he was married, and it appears his wife knew what he was up to.  His first wife accused him of physical abuse.  He was investigated by the FBI, and they took no action to file any charges.  He was employed as an armed security guard and his fellow employees described him as unstable.

First of all, the murderer is to blame for his actions.  If we begin with the first sign of his radicalization issues his first wife should have brought him up on charges.  This alone is enough to have stopped him from purchasing a gun.  She didn’t and right now we do not know why.

If we look at the FBI investigation, we know they did not bring him up on charges.  Since we will never see the full report on the investigation we will not know what they may have missed.  Through due process, he was clear to purchase a weapon.

His fellow workers at the security firm he worked for reported that he was unstable.  His employer took no action to fire him, and even if they had fired him he could still purchase a weapon.

His present wife claims to be stupid. However, since she graduated high school and received a degree from college there is a question.  Are we graduating stupid people from colleges?  That is a rhetorical question.  Regardless of her mental capacity, knowing right from wrong is something that she will need to prove in court.  At the least she was an accomplice to murder.

We do not have enough information to blame anyone other than the murderer and those that radicalized him.

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To allow the government to make laws that deny citizens the right of due process is a violation of the Constitution.  Yet that is exactly what the government is attempting to do.  The no-fly list is created by the DHS, with no notification made to those on the list and no due process.  It does not matter that only 1% of those on the list are American citizens or not.  The 1% are allowed due process under the Constitution.

 

Right in Front of Your Nose.

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There is no doubt that freedom is dangerous. The freedom to believe and act on that belief will inevitably result in conflict. The freedom to protect yourself and others from an unlawful attack on your person and property was placed in the US Constitution specifically protect you from the government and fellow citizens.

When someone says something I do not agree with, it is freedom in action. That person is not to be physically attacked. Of course, I can, and probably will use my freedom of speech to counter them. That is the danger. Some people are willing to use force to stop someone from practicing their freedom. That force is exactly the whole point of the Second Amendment, you have the right to protect yourself.

Politicians prey on the emotion of an event. The more horrific the event is the better. They will shape the event and its cause. Then provide an answer. Don’t mind the fact the answer is a violation of our basic rights.

In the aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks it was clear that government intelligence agencies had not been communicating with each other. The Presidential directives by George Bush were a welcome change to the way intelligence agencies work together. Although I have many reservations concerning many of the Patriot Act’s provisions, the ones that concern me most are those that deal with privacy. These provisions are violations of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th amendments of the Constitution.

I can under the First Amendment say that I support ISIS, White/Black Supremacists, or any other unsavory organization. This is my right, and it not a reason to subject me to government persecution. As long as I do not actually provide material support to such groups I have broken no law.

Should the government watch me? Oh yes, they should. Should I be denied my rights as a citizen? Absolutely not! The only time your rights should be suspended is upon conviction of a felony. Being placed on a government “watch list” is not a conviction. There is no charge brought by the government, there is no trial. This is a direct violation of my rights as a citizen. The fact the FBI questions someone is not a conviction of anything.

The present argument that being on a “No Fly List” is a reason to stop someone from purchasing a weapon, or carrying that weapon is a direct violation of your rights. The idea that government can, on its own authority remove your rights should scare you.

Just a Thought (20160613)

Just a Thought.

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Friends

I have many friends who are liberals. I have many friends who are conservatives. I have many friends who are somewhere in-between. However, I have no friends that I consider stupid.

My liberal friends believe in many of the same principles I do. They are not far left loons. They have well thought out reasons for what they believe. I share their beliefs, or at least understand where they are coming from.

My conservative friends also share many of the same principles I do. They are not far right fanatics. They have well thought out reasons for what they believe. I share their beliefs, or at least understand where they are coming from.

What both of these groups share with me is that our Constitution is not open to being rewritten. The basic ideas of freedom of speech, right to defend oneself, freedom from government intrusion into our private lives. These are the keys to freedom. Once we give that up under the guise of “meeting in the middle” it will be lost forever.

The US Constitution is a contract between the people of the United States and Government. “We the people” are the sovereign power of this nation. Not government. Once we allow government to become the sovereign power, we will lose our freedoms. What government allows today, it will take away tomorrow.

These are the principles that my friends and I share.

Thanks.

Don’t Give Up

I commonly post about the fun things of military life. This can make it sound like a really fun life, but there is a very serious downside.
From the time you graduate basic training until the day your retire or get out you are under constant scrutiny. It is commonly your hair, needing a shave, your boots are not shiny enough, or your uniform is not tightened up. This is annoying sometimes, but expected.
I have responded to far too many suicides during my career. The cause is almost always financial or personal relationships, most often both. The military provides classes on balancing your checkbook, but they do little to teach relationships. I’m not sure they can. Of all the problems my troops had, relationships were the ones that bothered me the most. My first wife was far from faithful, but I balanced that out by pouring myself into my trade. I deployed often and frankly liked it that way. However, I realized that the younger guys dealt with these issues differently. Some turned to alcohol, or worse. Add this to their other problems and things get out of hand.
I did not have to deal with their problems alone. There was a chain of people who were there that were trained in those areas. Sadly this chain was often overworked and under-staffed. This often meant the troop would find himself in a very bad place.
Presently 22 veterans take their lives every day. The average age is from their mid to late 40’s. These are men and women who have pushed themselves beyond their limit.
If you are a veteran there is help that is both free and confidential. The Vets Help line: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. No veteran should be left behind, or feel that the team is not still there.
Civilians can also get help at 1-800-273-8255 and just stay on the line. Suicide is not the answer. You have much to contribute, don’t take that away from us.

Tracking Terrorist’s Money

Tracking the Money

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Al-Rashid Trust (ART)

Founder: Mufti Mohammed Rashid

Narrative: Founded in 1996. ART describes itself as a charitable organization. It denounces the United States and Western countries support of Israel. They support the Taliban, and funded Osama Bin Laden. They were placed on the U.S. list of organizations that fund terrorism after 9/11.

Where do they get their money? They state that their money comes from donation, however, they also run a medical school in India under the name Al-Ameen Charitable Trust Fund. The School is almost completely Muslim, with the exception of Hindu students that they were required to enroll due to Indian government mandates. Operating as medical schools that are supported by local government is one way these groups collect money for use in radical Islamist organizations.

Other Alias’s:

AKA: Al Amin Welfare Trust
AKA: Al Amin Trust
AKA: Al Ameen Trust
AKA: Al-Ameen Trust
AKA: Al Madina Trust

AKA: Al-Madina Trust

A1-Akhtar Trust International
AKA: Pakistan Relief Foundation
AKA: Pakistani Relief Foundation
AKA: Azmat-e-Pakistan Trust
AKA: Azmat Pakistan Trust

References: 

http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Rashid_Trust.htm

https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp1065.aspx

http://www.alameenmedical.org/

http://www.alameenmedical.org/List%20of%20UG%20admission%202014-2015.pdf

 *Moved from blogger

Terrorism In the Ancient World.

Introduction

To understand terrorism it is important to understand the difference between war and terrorism. It can be argued that war itself is a criminal act. That is a discussion for another time. Many people recognize the difference between war, terrorism and crime. Putting it into words can be difficult.

  War is a conflict between nations. War is waged within the rules that have been established by treaties. These rules cover everything from how soldiers dress to how armies interact with civilian populations. War is a violent conflict, but it is controlled violence within bounds.

Terrorism is a method that uses violence to achieve societal change. The violence used is not constrained by the rules of War. The more horrible the act the more effective the result is the axiom of terrorism. It is important to remember no matter how noble the cause may seem, terrorism is not an accepted method of war.

Historical Reference

When studying terrorism it is important to understand the history of terror as a weapon and why it is seen as an effective method. One of the earliest examples of terror as a method is found in the writings of Josephus (37-100 AD). It is important to note that Josephus, though a Jew, wrote for a Roman audience and sided with Rome. This article uses much of Josephus’s The Jewish War and his observations of the conflict. There is a great deal of scholarly discussion concerning Josephus, but this article stays out of the political discussion and attempts to stay strictly on the methods used prior to, during, and the aftermath of the war.

Background

The time period that this article is concerned with is from approximately 30 AD to 135 AD. During this time Rome was the only superpower controlling most of Europe and what is now known as the middle east.

At that time in what is now Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and part of Iraq the Romans referred to the area as Judea. Within Judea was a smaller region known as Galilee. The most important city within Galilee was Jerusalem.

  Judea was a problem for the Romans. The Jewish population and Rome had very little in common. The Jews were monotheistic (one god) while the Romans were polytheistic (many gods). The methods of worship, and the degree of belief in one god was impossible for many Romans to understand. I will not delve into this issue. Suffice it to say, the Jews and Romans were bound to be at odds on everything.

Rome had developed a method of assimilation when it conquered a new area. Its first step was to subjugate the population. They did this by conducting a census. The census would include all properties owned and was used to tax the population. The idea of paying a tax to Rome was a form of slavery as far as the Jews were concerned. The census was the spark that ignited 200 years of revolt in Judea.

Following their formula of assimilation the Romans allowed the Jewish religious practices and its government to govern the people. The exception to this were any groups or individuals that the Romans felt were a threat to their control. The Romans left no doubt that even though the Jewish nobility could rule the Jewish population, the Romans were in control.

In response to the Roman census, and taxation a rebel group was formed to resist the Romans. Josephus refers to these rebels as the Zealots. The Zealots were violently opposed to everything Roman. It was due to their violent revolt that they came into conflict with the Rabbis. The Rabbis advocated peaceful treaties.

The Zealots operated as a guerrilla force at times, and other times they operated as larger military forces. This was most evident during the Jewish Roman war of 66-70 AD. The Zealots were not terrorists. They fought directly against Roman forces and sought to occupy territory like other armies. They did not target the general population.

The Sicarii

A Study in the Strategy of Terrorism.

Judea was socially divided into three main classes.  The Roman, Priests/Nobility, and the Poor classes.  As discussed earlier, the Romans used the Priests and Nobility as a buffer to deal with the Poor.  However, within the Priests and Nobility, there were still power plays at work, and this internal strife was used to manipulate the Roman rule. This is an environment ripe for terrorist strategies.

It had become known to the Romans that the High Priest Jonathon was conspiring against the Romans.  To counter this the Romans hired Jewish assassins to kill Jonathon.  These assassins would become known as the Sicarii.

Sicarii is the latin word for “dagger men”.  The term Sicarii was used in the same way as terrorist is used today.  The Sicarii operated in a totally new way.  They did not target the Romans.  Instead the targeted the Jews.  The assassination of Jonathon is an example of how they operated.

During one of the Jewish festivals, Jonathon would be in attendance to give a blessing.  As Jonathon pushed his way through the crowd a loud scream went up from the people closest to Jonathon.  Men were screaming that the High Priest had been killed. The crowd saw many men covered in blood cradling the lifeless Jonathon.  The men were crying and shouting for the people to find the assassins.

The people became frenzied in search of the mysterious murderers.  Meanwhile, the assassins joined the crowd in calling for the Romans to help.  The call went unanswered.

This was the first recorded attack by the Sicarii.  Over the next decade, the Sicarii attacked Jewish nobility.  They were experts at killing in plain sight, and slipping away as part of the crowd. These actions led to division among the Priest and Nobility class.  Everyone was suspect.

Laws were passed by the Priests and Nobility that further burdened the poor.  Of course, this was used to by the Zealots to strengthen their forces.  The Sicarii’s actions also made it clear to the Priests and Nobility that the Romans were not able to protect them.

The Strategy of Terrorism is not for a terrorist to win in a direct battle with an opponent.  Terrorists attack the very fabric of a society.  By creating an environment in which a society is unsure of its leader’s ability to protect it, the society will be forced to change.  Terrorism is a method that uses unbounded violence to achieve societal change.

Conclusion

At the end of the Jewish War, Rome maintained control of Judea.  The Romans changed their tactic of gradual assimilation and took direct control of Judea.  The renamed it to Syria/Palestine.  They sent their most ruthless commanders to take control of the region.  The outlawed many of the Jewish religious practices.  The Sicarii eventually faded to a memory, but they proved the effectiveness to bring about social change.  It may not have been the change the Sicarii wanted.

Terrorism is a method of violence to bring about social change.  It is not bound by the rules of war and everyone is a valid target.  This makes combating the strategy of terrorism a very difficult task. What would you do to combat terrorism, without affecting the social structure of America?

 *Moved from blogger.

Operations Security (OPSEC) Violations Explained.

Someone close to me asked a very good question, “Why does the News Media discuss things that should be classified?” It is a logical question and there is a logical explanation.

OPSEC

When establishing security of an operation, a security manager will do everything they can to make sure they have covered all of the holes. However, when you are so close to a security system sometimes the holes are not as obvious. A set of eyes and ears on the outside can be invaluable.

This is where the news media fits in. They are investigators with a wide range of talent and experience. Some of them are dumb as bricks and some are extremely sharp. They are often used by counter-intelligence services to spread disinformation; they are used by the security manager to expose holes in the system.

Having been personally close to classified operations the news media has been an awesome source of what the world did not know. If an enemy was using the news media then they were certainly in the dark. On rare occasions, the news media was dangerously close. These close calls allowed us to tweak the mission and the security system. In some instances, the news media provided real-time data that profoundly changed military doctrine.

Knowing where your security weaknesses are improved security. The best part is, we don’t have to pay the news media. Of course, the news media can be a tool of its own lack of knowledge.

Case in point. I was contacted by a major news outlet’s reporter. He had no technology experience. His claim was that the military was blocking certain websites from its on-duty personnel. Of course, they do. Certain sites are forbidden, like porn sites, or sites that are known to use a malicious software. The reporter explained that the site was not one of those. I did a little investigation and discovered that although the main site was not they type to be routinely blocked, the site did trip a warning from my security software. Further investigation revealed that the site had linked a picture from another website that was well known for malicious software. When I explained this to him…he went ahead and reported that the military was blocking certain websites without cause. You can’t fix stupid. Reporters such as this are easily manipulated which makes them a known security risk and an even better source of spreading disinformation.

News reporters are constantly cultivating sources, just as an enemy would do. Although this may seem very unpatriotic, it is a valuable unintended service.