Sunday, May 22, 2016

Aviation Update

Once again an aviation tragedy gets turned into a political football.   But this isn't all about Trump. 

Yes, the Donald showed poor judgment in jumping on the terrorist bandwagon as soon as the news reports came in on EgyptAir 804.  While that might have been everyone's gut reaction, a president cannot always operate off gut reactions.  Imagine Trump in the White House reacting this way then later the crash is blamed on a mechanical issue.   And that's no endorsement of Hillary, who also got on the bomb theory bandwagon albeit after unnamed US officials leaked what might amount to the same suspicions everyone else had.


Of course those US officials were echoing Egyptian officials in the early terror pronouncement.   And yes, the media has already started a whitewash campaign to pretend that Hillary really didn't endorse the terrorism angle on day one just like Donald, and will use it as a cudgel against him.   But he allowed it.

Meanwhile, those same initial reports indicated there was no distress call from the jet to Egyptian air traffic control after it was 'handed off' from Greek controllers. Some news stories suggested there was no contact at all--the plane just went down.  That's presumably what got many in the US media going down the terrorism road.     

Now today it was reported that there was actually an extensive conversation between Egyptian ATC and the doomed plane as it made an emergency descent due to a fire.  Wow, how did that get lost?  So that begs the question: were early reports from Cairo bungled or was it a deliberate deception?  Perhaps that's why someone on the inside leaked ACARS reports to Avherald that showed the onboard fire.  

Does all this mean the Donald goofed up and there was no terror attack?  Yes and maybe no.  Yes, he goofed up by jumping the gun, but yes it might still be an attack.  We know there was a fire, it started somewhere/somehow.  Terrorists these days are likely using small incendiary devices they can get past security--recall the Daallo Airlines A321 event where the idiot succeeded in blowing himself out of the jet and killing nobody else. The plane landed safely.  He smuggled the device in on his wheelchair.  So just because the aircraft didn't suffer a complete hull failure and immediately fall from the sky doesn't mean it wasn't attacked by someone. 

Also, just because the fire might have started in the electronics bay or lavatory doesn't necessarily mean there was no sabotage involved-- see the New York Times story today about what EgyptAir employees scrawled on the outside of that very same aircraft after current president Al-Sisi couped out Muslim Brotherhood terrorist sympathizer Mohammed Morsi two years ago.  That might amount to Jihadi sabotage, which most people would consider the same as Islamic terrorism. 

Still, all this new information certainly tips the scales of likely cause away from terrorism and more towards mechanical failure.   The question then becomes why the Egyptians allowed the erroneous information to percolate in the world media for days?   Was their concern legal liability or were they seriously trying to deflect while giving them time to comb their airports for Morsi/ISIS sympathizers?  Is the submarine they are sending in meant to locate the wreckage or maybe manage it?

Whatever the case, it behooves politicians and other officials to reserve judgments on these kinds of events for at least a few days.      

MORE  5/23/16

In another example of how most media outlets shouldn't be trusted to even report on a 3td class presidential race, much less important worldwide events, now they are saying there was no extended conversation.   And no, it doesn't mean that was deception or misdirection, it was likely some media twit misunderstanding the source. 

Also, on CNN's coverage this evening they were saying that whole 90 degree 360 degree turn thing might be fiction as well, since that information was presumably gleaned from primary radar only.  If the leaked ACARS messages indeed ended abruptly only minutes into the event, along with the secondary radar transponder track, then it seems we are back to Trump's original speculation.  At least right now.  The only definitive way to settle this will be the old-fashioned way, analyzing the recorders and wreckage.   But politicos don't have time to wait.   

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A lot more than 28 pages

The media is becoming buzzed about the uproar about the 28 redacted pages in the 9/11 report that presumably fingers Saudi involvement (and Bushco protection) in the plot. Obama, while calling his administration the most transparent ever, has refused to release pages for his entire presidency for some reason.  Riyadh is throwing out a massive bluff in an effort to stop it, well, an effort to retain sovereign immunity so they won't be sued. 

With recent pressure the president has royally proclaimed he will decide on whether to declassify it during some Friday before a holiday weekend this summer.  Meaning he can either decide not to and hope the presidential elections suck all the attention away, or announce he will declassify the pages and hope it takes until Christmas to complete.   It's surprising he didn't appoint another blue ribbon panel to study whether he should declassify these or not, which is probably because he doesn't need a year or two to stall.  

Speculation has focused on the docs confirming the Michael Moore Fahrenheit 9/11 cartoon version of Bush, but stop and use some critical thought for a second.

One, if this were just some politically embarrassing confirmation on Bush's chummy friendship with the Sauds why wasn't it released long ago?   Two, 9/11 and Islamic terrorism didn't just spring forth on W's inauguration day, it was there dating back to his pappy's presidency at least. So, what about Saudi involvement in terrorism BEFORE Bush? Were they playing a double game with us with bin Laden, et al? 

It's possible, certainly not probable, but possible the release of the 28 pages might also pressure some sunshine on the details described in this essay going back to the 90s.  For instance, who was Ramzi Yousef, exactly? Who funded him? Who were he and his uncle KSM really working for, or against? Was there Saudi involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing, or other plots going back well before 9/11?   This of course would be seminal considering that Bill Clinton is effectively running for a third term in the White House. 

There are many reasons why even an Obama administration wouldn't release information fingering the House of Saud in the 9/11 plot, oil, obviously, but also the notion that America was going to war with Mecca and Medina.  Or the notion that 28 pages won't satisfy our curiosity.   Hillary already knows the answers to many of these questions and she's a favorite to enter the Oval Office and lock everything down for another 8 years.  Good luck getting anything out of a president allowed to get away with having a private server. 

So we return to Obama and the 28 pages.   If he does shock the world and authorize release--and the release occurs before the November elections--and it illustrates Saudi involvement in the plot DURING the tenure of Bill Clinton (when the plot was hatched), what would that do to his wife's presidential chances?   Is Obama holding a massive Trump card at the moment?

HILLARY WEIGHS IN .. already

In a slightly bizarre spectacle former Clinton insider George Stephanopoulis asks Hillary about the Schumer-Cornyn 9/11 bill, in which she claims she has no opinion on because she hasn't studied it (maybe she learned about it on TV).  After the interview, Team Hillary realized how bad this looked and responded with a statement, which is a model for law school students:
"Hillary Clinton supports the efforts by Senator Schumer and his colleagues in the Senate to secure the ability of 9/11 families and other victims of terrorist acts to hold accountable those responsible. As president she would work with Congress to this end."
Hard-hitting and specific! Hillary wants to hold people accountable!  The person who used a private server, outside of all government rules and ethics.

MORE  4/17/16

It's interesting that 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman said the following:
John Lehman, secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and another member of the 9/11 Commission, told 60 Minutes:
“We’re not a bunch of rubes that rode into Washington for this commission… We’ve seen fire and we’ve seen rain and the politics of national security. We all have dealt for our careers in highly classified and compartmentalized in every aspect of security. We know when something shouldn’t be declassified. And this, those 28 pages in no way fall into that category.”
[snip]
Lehman told 60 Minutes that he has no doubt some high Saudi officials knew assistance was being provided to al Qaeda, but he doesn’t think it was ever official policy. He also doesn’t think it absolves the Saudis of responsibility, Kroft said in his commentary.
Keep in mind the 28 pages aren't from the 9/11 Commission Report, which barely mentions Bandar, they are from a Congressional Inquiry Report initiated in 2002. The question then is whether this information was classified only by the Bush administration, or whether there were Democrats on the committee who agreed to keep it quiet.

After all, the Kuala Lumpur terror summit meeting was held in January 2000, well before Bushitler and Darth Cheney entered office.  If Saudi Arabia was working with AQ that means they were doing so under Clinton.   Did he know?  We are left with the following scenarios regarding the CIA:  1) they knew about Saudi involvement but didn't tell Clinton, or 2) they didn't know about it, and if so, why not (especially since they tracked the terrorists from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles)?  Or 3) they knew and told Clinton but he didn't do anything, or worse, told agencies to stand down.

All of those have tremendous blowback potential not directed towards Bush.   The question is will the media allow any blowback on the Clintons for anything?   They may not, but they have no control over a loose cannon like Trump at a debate, do they. 

WORD   4/19/16

This should be the final post on this topic, really on this blog, period.  Many bloggers got their legs posting on the search for objective truth about the GWoT, especially after the disinformation began.  I threw in my two cents because it seemed important.

Now Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for President of the United States, is out today using this 28 page issue to suggest Bush fraudulently attacked Iraq, exactly as far lefties have claimed for years.  Forget that it's another attempt at throwing away all history prior to Bush's inauguration.  It's maddening to see this twit out there rolling this issue to pander to moderate and lefty New York voters and think he's the frontrunner.   It's a subject that should not be 'used' for anything, it should be investigated like everything else.  

It's equally maddening to see Bill Clinton poised for a THIRD TERM in the White House after everything that has occurred since he left, stuff partially caused by his failures to stop AQ from growing during the 90s, as "path to 9/11" indicated.  The media?   They do not care about objective truth they care about the coronation of his wife as the first woman president because they love her and the concept of her.  This despite her disqualifying display of ineptness and lack of judgment in the personal server story alone (Benghazi not included).   The fight has basically been lost.  But here's one more attempt to pass along some rational thought.

John Schindler: why we need to discuss more than just Saudi Arabia.   

Friday, March 25, 2016

Transparency Clinton Style

Say what you will about the bizarre spectacle that is the GOP primary, the primary alternative continues to display her own special clown act.  Here's an example of where she thinks the public deserves transparency...
Hillary Clinton says barring any national security risk, she would like to open up the government files on Area 51 to the public if she is elected president. “I would like us to go into those files and hopefully make as much of that public as possible,” she told Jimmy Kimmel Thursday night on his late night ABC talk show. “If there’s nothing there, let’s tell people there’s nothing there.”
And here's a situation where she doesn't think the public deserves transparency:
The previously undisclosed February 2009 emails between Clinton from her then-chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, raise new questions about the scope of emails from Clinton’s early days in office that were not handed over to the State Department for record keeping and may have been lost entirely. Clinton’s presidential campaign has previously claimed that the former top diplomat did not use her personal "clintonemail.com" account before March 2009, weeks after she was sworn in as secretary of State.
Pretty telling, eh?  No wonder the kids like Bernie. 

In the meantime, video is making the rounds of a national security stemwinder Mrs Clinton puffed out recently in the shadow of Brussels wherein she compares her steady leadership against Trump's when it comes to kicking some terrorist arse and gathering our friends to help.

And such a strategy might be an effective, especially if propped up by the media, except for one thing--most of what she's talking about doing are things Obama is currently NOT doing, and she was an integral part of his administration when the Arab Spring in Syria gave rise to ISIS.   

But Obama is trying to help.  He's been slow-rolling his fight against the JV squad since 2012 but lately it seems progress is being made with the loss of their number two and the counter-attack to recapture Mosul underway.  The Syrian Army is retaking parts of their country after a dose of Putey Poot.  ISIS may indeed be on the run now.  All of this may time out perfectly for November. 

But again, not so fast.  There are still ISIS cells in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere, plus thousands of radicalized wannabees sprinkled around the globe.  Obama will have to answer to his policy of "Assad must go" if Assad becomes more firmly entrenched.  That's his legacy problem, but nobody will really care.  But Libya?  That's on Hillary.  Which is low-hanging fruit for a player like Trump.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Winning!

This picture Drudge put up today is certainly a classic.



Is there any other picture that better captures the Obama foreign policy?  He's got the slight head-up tilt with the subtle s**t-eating grin knowing he's standing in front of a massive picture of the murdering Che while knowing he's supremely ticking off some of his real enemies in the process.  Even if he's not consciously doing so, it fits.  

But there he is, standing at attention representing the imperialist racist nation he's spent the last seven years tying to reform through 'hope and change'.  That change was moving America away from a country that stood firm before tyrants and tinpots to one that feels their pain and never has a discouraging word.   Imagine how Obama would have treated Saddam Hussein.  Then consider how he treats the Tea Party and most Republicans.  Ask Dinesh D'Souza who the true enemy is.   

Now, there's nothing wrong with reaching out, as Nixon did with China, as Reagan did with the Soviets.   But there is something to be said for maintaining national dignity and not giving away the store while doing so.  That includes not standing there grinning in front of a f*cking Che mural.

Some may say this is just a strategy.  Super smart three-dimensional chess Obama is just playing the commies.  Well OK, but it needs to work.  Consider that China and Vietnam are still communist countries.  Donald Trump is getting a lot of traction talking about how China is manipulating their currency at our expense.  'Success' isn't just cheap electronic stuff.  Hopefully.  

No doubt the Chamber of Commerce types were among the biggest supporters of this outreach, who if asked will blow the trumpet about how these new markets will foster freedom while the dictator continues to round up dissidents.   Actually, the people who stand to gain most from this new declaration of surrender rapprochement aren't the average Cubans, it's corporate America, who are stumbling all over themselves trying to get down there.

One might think Democrats would not support this kind of thing in principle, but they have one prime principle and it's called 'winning'.  Getting there is all part of those hazy shades of flexible gray.  To them winning is helping their guy here.  But stand back and look and it almost seems, in the hazy gray mist, that there's a tad bit too much warm fuzzy to some of the support, something kinda Bill Ayers-ish.  Maybe it depends on the definition of winning.   

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Side Tracks

RIP Keith Emerson from ELP.



The infant age of the synthesizer displayed here..