Yours truly was a TSA screener in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. I only did it for a year before I had to quit once I realized the TSA was merely a promotional agency designed to give the public a false sense of security in order to keep them flying. This latest ‘secret warning’ can just be added to the long list of threats they aren’t capable of even identifying, let alone deterring.
It isn’t that thermite is a new threat created by terrorists. It’s been around for over 120 years and has served very useful practical purposes. Of course it was also used to bring down the towers in New York depending upon which side of the conspiracy you’re on. Either way, it’s really great stuff for super hot welding.
I remember when I was in training to be a screener. Our trainers were all military at the time as they had initially taken control of airport screening in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Mine was a munitions expert. He did his due diligence in training us on how to spot the elements that make up an IED as it was expected if anyone tried to get on-board with one they would do it in pieces to make it easier to disguise. However, he clearly had his doubts as he explained some of the various other ways he could see a terrorist bringing down a plane.
His thinking was that a successful effort would involve hiding explosive components in plain sight. The issue of thermite came up when another screener questioned him about it. Thermite wasn’t on the radar because it isn’t an explosive, it simply burns really hot, about 3000 degrees centigrade.
He said he had used thermite in the past simply due to the ease of use. Just combine aluminum and rust with a hot ignition and you create the exothermic reaction hot enough to weld iron. So in keeping with the hiding in plain sight analogy, he asked what does virtually every traveler bring with them on the plane? A suitcase. A suitcase with a built in aluminum frame. Ta da! The aluminum frame is hollow as the point is keeping it lightweight. Just fill the frame with powdered iron-oxide rust.
Now you have your two components for a thermite reaction already in place and nobody will even raise an eyebrow. It won’t trip a metal detector (because your bag went through the x-ray anyway), bomb scanner, bomb sniffing dog or any other technology out there.
But wait you say. A terrorist has to get a hot ignition source on-board, don’t they? Well no, they don’t. You can make a magnesium strip fuse (components obtainable at your local Wal-Mart) and already have the fuse in place. The TSA allows your common everyday lighter on-board your carry-on baggage for ignition.
Honestly, I have no idea why a terrorist hasn’t already done this. It’s so easy. Do a little research on where the most vulnerable point is on a plane, book your seat there and set off a super heated incendiary fire that will easily burn through the airframe, fill the cabin with toxic fumes and if done properly, ignite the aviation fuel. Result? Catastrophic explosion and lots of dead people.
And again, this can be done with everyday items hidden in plain sight. Why not do some simple pre-planning and bring down airliners simultaneously across the country, or the globe, above heavily populated areas? Could the TSA stop this? Not in a practical way. Simply eliminate all carry-on’s of any sort. The public won’t tolerate it.
BTW, for those who say shut up you fool, your tipping off the terrorists, not really. No new info here. Easily Googled. My advice is just keep flying. When it’s your time to check out, you’re going anyway. If the TSA being in place makes you feel better, good for you. America isn’t in the business of stopping terrorists, we’re in the business of making money off them.
A 30 year war against ISIS? Can Leon Panetta have such prescience? After all, just a few years ago, no one had even heard of ISIS. As reporter Ben Swann points out, the U.S. is credited with the creation of al-Qaeda, supplying Sadaam Hussein with chemical weapons and creating the power vacuum in Iraq that led to the ISIS uprising. We tend to get out in front of these things so perhaps predicting 30 years of war isn’t so far-fetched.
The story goes that Islam gone astray is something relatively new. Regular Muslims are peaceful and it is only these militant, radical Islamist’s adhering to Sharia Law that are a new curse. Really? Doesn’t history tell us of the centuries of military supremacy of Islam? Was that necessary for advancing the religion of peace?
Regardless, it seems that the U.S. may be a johnny-come-lately in recognizing the potential for creating an endless war scenario, but we’re catching on fast now. So much so that I would say Panetta is being far too short-sighted. The potential for the military-industrial-corporate complex to wage war against ideology is virtually limitless. ISIS is just the flavor of the moment.
The Heritage Foundation is out with its Quadrennial Defense Review (every 4 years). The conclusion?
Overall, the Index concludes that the current U.S. military force is adequate to meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict while also attending to various presence and engagement activities. Clearly, this is what the military is doing now and has done for the past two decades, but it would be very hard-pressed to do more and certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two, near-simultaneous major regional contingencies. The consistent decline in funding and the consequent shrinking of the force are putting it under significant pressure. Essential maintenance is being deferred; fewer units (mostly the Navy’s platforms and the Special Operations Forces community) are being cycled through operation-al deployments more often and for longer periods; and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are problematic. The cumulative effect of such factors has resulted in a U.S. military that is marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.
The U.S. military is inadequate? Shocked? Of course not. This review contains no surprises at all. That’s not to disparage the work done by Heritage, just to point out what should be obvious to even a casual observer. To wit, Spellchek posted on this subject last month.
USSOCOM is the current, and for the foreseeable future, go to defense force protecting America and its interests. Both the budget and the role of the traditional forces are in decline. The time of deploying a national defense capable of fighting two major wars at once are gone. The Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force are an outdated model more suited for repelling invasions or conducting occupational wars abroad, neither of which appear to be likely in the future. No, they won’t be disbanded anytime soon, but their role will increasingly modified to become more of a support role rather than the primary role they’ve been accustomed to for so many years.
We’re now several years in to the Obama Administration’s announced intention to ‘pivot’ our defense priorities toward the Asia-Pacific region. So far that has meant little in actual logistics. Rather it has been an effort to do what the President loves to do most, change the wording and appearance of U.S. policy. Results don’t really matter. Intentions do. Whether it is closing Gitmo, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or anything else tied to the Bush Administration, Obama likes to make grandiose announcements of what he believes America should prioritize rather than what global events dictate.
ISIS wasn’t anywhere on the world’s radar when Obama announced his pivot. You could say that is a shortcoming of the many think tanks that heavily influence national defense. Their priorities are driven by the military-industrial-corporate complex. They do a poor job of factoring in the power vacuum left behind from our various incursions to destabilize foreign regimes that allows committed groups such as ISIS to spring up out of relative obscurity and quickly become a regional factor.
To be fair, that’s about as accurate as predicting the weather. When you practice proxy wars by supplying munitions, sometimes to both sides at one point or another, financial payoffs, and diplomatic pressure to influence outcomes you always run the risk of unpredictable fallout. Egypt, Libya and Syria are prime examples.
This is why I weighed in the changing face of our national defense priorities. Maintaining a military capable of fighting two wars simultaneously is outdated as it is an extremely unlikely event. In context, that means defending the homeland. Defending our interests abroad is entirely different. As described by USSOCOM, we are involved in activities defending our interests in dozens of countries each and every day.
Defense hawks will always promote the idea that we need to maintain a very large military as readiness is very profitable. What if the Chinese million man army marches on Washington tomorrow? Never happen. It wouldn’t go down like that if China ever did feel its oats and decide to test the waters. No navy in the world has anywhere near the capacity to quickly transport an invasion force of such large numbers of troops and modern warfare technology invalidates it as a viable option anyway.
Notice what you don’t see these think tanks spending their resources reviewing? Measuring the success of securing national interests abroad after decades of interventionist policies. Can anyone say with a straight face it has resulted in stabilizing the threat against our interests? Does it cloud perception by utilizing force to secure our economic and diplomatic interests?
In fact, there is a call to change that perception, at least within an administration. To no longer conduct covert ops which come at a high cost in public relations, foreign relations and our ability to command respect separately outside of diplomacy and economically. It’s one of those things where everyone knows we do what we do even if we go to great pains to camouflage it. The Brookings Institute, generally considered a left-wing think tank, weighs in.
The idea was to reinvigorate attention paid to the Asia-Pacific region afterenormous focus on—for obvious reasons after 9/11—Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global war on terror. And recognizing that the Asia-Pacific is by far and away the most dynamic region in the world, U.S. interests require that we enhance our engagement there and certainly not be seen as neglecting the region for other priorities.
This required conceptualizing and implementing an Asian-wide integrated strategy. In other words, integrating economic, military and diplomatic components of strategy, not separately toward Northeast Asia, China and Southeast Asia, but having an integrated approach to the entire region.
This wouldn’t mean an end to covert conducting foreign policy. It just means to attempt to integrate our various behemoth agencies better from within in an effort to achieve more focused results.
So to answer my own question, there is no thought to assess the results we’ve achieved, only to figure out how to grow the behemoth from within. Oh, and to be clear as Obama likes to say, I’m certainly not endorsing the perception tactics he prefers in which we should just be nice to the bad guys and they won’t be bad anymore. Instead, I’m asking the impossible. Assess the results of where we are now.
What am I saying? What if we had taken a different route the last 75 years? What if we had taken on foreign threats directly as they cropped up? What if we stop trying to export democracy? What if we simply annihilate our foreign threats as you should do in a war scenario and stop the massive expense of nation building? That’s not an isolationist policy. However, it also flies in the face of the goals of the military-industrial-corporate complex. Profits.
Do you think we’d have an issue with respect in the world? Do you think we’d have an issue of small time dictators feeling empowered to threaten us? Do you think entities such as OPEC would have the ability to neuter our economy?
In other words what we should have done all along is kick ass anywhere in the world quickly and efficiently. Stay out of organizations such as the U.N. and N.A.T.O., trade pacts such as NAFTA or the upcoming T.P.P and T.A.P., or anything that serves a different agenda other than ours. We had the world’s largest economy. The world’s best military. The world’s best Constitution. We had nowhere to go but down apparently.
I contend that we would be far safer today. We would not be beholden to foreign nations or special interests. We would not have to maintain a military presence in every corner of the globe because everyone would know through actions, not threats, that we could not be messed with. I’ll bet we would have done it far cheaper and with far less bloodshed than the path we chose. We let the elites and the profiteers take over and decide America’s role in the world. We squandered the rarest of chances, one that won’t likely present itself ever again.
It’s a bombshell headline.
Interesting timing, wouldn’t you say? Within 10 days of Israeli PM Netanyahu addressing Congress. And an interesting source. Al-Jazeera. Fair to say they aren’t one of Bibi’s top supporters? Let’s look beyond the timing and the source. The article states this.
A secret cable obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit reveals that Mossad sent a top-secret cable to South Africa on October 22, 2012 that laid out a “bottom line” assessment of Iran’s nuclear work.
It appears to contradict the picture painted by Netanyahu of Tehran racing towards acquisition of a nuclear bomb.
It would appear Bibi was being deceitful. Yet the next 2 paragraphs say this.
Writing that Iran had not begun the work needed to build any kind of nuclear weapon, the Mossad cable said the Islamic Republic’s scientists are “working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate such as enrichment reactors”.
Such activities, however, “will reduce the time required to produce weapons from the time the instruction is actually given”.
Isn’t that the concern over the Iranian nuclear program? That they will develop it under the false pretenses of an energy program yet continue to develop a nuclear weapons program secretly? The cable appears to support that idea.
Headlines make for the vast majority of news consumption in the world today as not to many people read beyond them. However, you must if you really want to get a complete picture. Al-Jazeera has already stated that they won’t give you that, only what they determine is newsworthy.
The news channel said that only a selection of the leaked spy documents would be published, while others “have been saved for future broadcast — ones that needed further contextualization,” and that “hundreds will not be revealed.”
Read more: Al-Jazeera to publish leaked Mossad cables | The Times of Israelhttp://www.timesofisrael.com/al-jazeera-to-publish-leaked-mossad-cables/#ixzz3SdRIIly7
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook
Why only a selection? Why won’t many ever be revealed? Could it be to advance an agenda?
Here’s another article from Al-Jazeera on the topic.
Now this article portrays a very different conclusion than the headline calling Bibi a liar.
Iran’s efforts to use official and unofficial channels in South Africa to beat western-imposed sanctions have raised concerns within South African security services, according to leaked intelligence documents obtained by Al Jazeera.
The Spy Cables provide a detailed account of Tehran allegedly using secret front companies, as well as open diplomatic channels, in its efforts to work around trade restrictions in order to obtain materials for both arms manufacture and other industries.
Hmmm. Front companies? Other industries?
A cable from the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, warned its South African counterparts that a South African company was involved in “advanced” business dealings with an Iranian “front company”.
The 2009 cable, marked for “UK/SA eyes only,” warns the South Africans that the Iranian company was secretly “responsible for the production of missile launchers” and “the development of rocket bodies”, but had “gone to great lengths to pretend” that it was a legitimate firm and “hide the fact that it is related to the missile industry”.
Now that doesn’t fit the screaming headline narrative. Nor does this.
British intelligence feared the sale of the accessories and materials by the South African company could “significantly enhance Iran’s ability to produce ballistic missiles, including some which would be suitable for carrying nuclear warheads”
Wasn’t Bibi lying about Mossad? Is MI6 at odds with Mossad? We could on and on with the contradictions, but you get the point. Little of what is revealed in the “secret cables” appears to be anything new. The CIA secretly reaching out to Hamas in violation of U.S. law that doesn’t allow negotiating with terrorist organizations? Please. The CIA sells arms to Hamas, they don’t just talk to them. Can they admit to it? Of course not, but if you’re so blinded by what is sold as official policy as opposed to what happens in the real world, you’re just a sheep waiting to be slaughtered anyway.
Should be interesting to see how this plays out through the news cycle leading up to Bibi’s March 3rd address to Congress. Will the mass media look past the source and push the Obama narrative designed to undermine Netanyahu? Will they face pressure to downplay any relevance since U.S. intelligence is supposedly being outed? Perhaps we’ll see how much influence Valerie Jarrett has as the White House will shape the media narrative.
Here’s a glimpse. CNN has the story on the front page of their website.
The Drudge Report? Nowhere to be found.
The issue essentially mirrors what the Obama narrative has been. Pro-Iran, Con-Israel. Are Mossad, MI-6 and the CIA dirty? Absolutely. That’s the nature of the beast. Just as the media playing politics is.
There are a variety of sources which believe Iran has already reached a level of capability that can build a nuclear weapon in short order should it become necessary. This is why they have the latitude to bargain away any official nuclear weapons program capability in exchange for an easing of U.S. sanctions. Obama is either a willing sucker or complicit, take your choice.
They still need to do more enrichment and more development on delivery systems but that can be accomplished under a theoretically transparent peaceful nuclear energy program. Bibi spouting off in front of Congress doesn’t help achieve that goal. Anyone think it’s out of bounds to believe that Iran is behind the “secret leaked cables” to Al-Jazeera?
National Geographic would have you believe that questioning concepts makes you a conspiratorial nut job. I say thank goodness for those who question the status quo rather than simply assume sheep position because someone says so.
Science has always attempted to secure the mantle of the last word. If something cannot be explained scientifically, it cannot be so. For the most part, it’s likely a defense mechanism. The very essence of science suggests being able to rationalize a concept through a repeatable process. However, when science cannot explain all facets on a concept, the explanation gets called into question.
It wasn’t always this way. Used to be that science could tell us what was happening without being able to explain the why. That was ok. Still happens all the time, yet now when we hear ‘consensus’, we’re supposed to stop thinking. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, science sold its soul and allowed politics into the equation. Now, lying under the auspice of a consensus opinion is simply part of doing business.
It’s no accident that 3 of the examples NatGeo put on its cover are current political issues. Climate change, vaccinations and GMO’s are all being debated in town halls and courtrooms across America as much as in science labs.
Look at the suggestion from the article headline.
The obvious implication being that if you doubt science, you are unreasonable. If you really were reasonable, you would simply accept the opinion of experts at face value. After all, who are you to question when you’re the novice? Speaking for myself, I utilize a little common sense mixed in with some experience and a healthy dose of skepticism whenever I’m told this is the way it is and that’s that. If that makes me an unreasonable kook, then so be it.
The article opens with a defense of public water supply fluoridation. What’s the first thing it attempts to do? Tie in questioning fluoridation with a movie comedy. Even the title sounds kooky. Dr. Strangelove. Question it and you are kook.
The movie came out in 1964, by which time the health benefits of fluoridation had been thoroughly established, and antifluoridation conspiracy theories could be the stuff of comedy. So you might be surprised to learn that, half a century later, fluoridation continues to incite fear and paranoia. In 2013 citizens in Portland, Oregon, one of only a few major American cities that don’t fluoridate their water, blocked a plan by local officials to do so. Opponents didn’t like the idea of the government adding “chemicals” to their water. They claimed that fluoride could be harmful to human health.
Actually fluoride is a natural mineral that, in the weak concentrations used in public drinking water systems, hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay—a cheap and safe way to improve dental health for everyone, rich or poor, conscientious brusher or not. That’s the scientific and medical consensus.
Unfortunately, this is where the lie is slipped in unnoticed by the novice. The fluoride utilized in public water supplies is not the pharmaceutical grade, naturally occurring mineral referenced. Instead, fluorosilicic acid is what is commonly used. It’s a waste product of the fertilizer industry that is categorized as toxic waste. This is why there is opposition to fluoridation. It creates health issues after chronic or long-term use. The only reason it is used as opposed to pharmaceutical grade fluoride is the cost factor.
I work in the water industry and I see the effects of fluorosilicic acid firsthand. It is a corrosive chemical with an impressive warning list on the label. I see the effect it has on equipment and watch it etch concrete and glass and eat through rebar. if it can do that to concrete, steel and glass, what do you suppose it’s doing to our bodies over a lifetime even if it’s in the ‘weak’ concentration the article points out?
Controlling the terminology is the first step in framing the debate. Scientists are learning this the hard way as they made that mistake with global warming. When the inconvenient fact of winter just wouldn’t go away as advertised, they changed the term to climate change so they could account for any weather related change. But for many, it was too late. The genie was already out of the bottle.
Any rational person would tell you that there are a great many factors that go in to climate change. That it is very real as our climate is always changing as it goes through its cycles. That humans absolutely must have an effect on the world’s climate. Yet we have problems when the scientist alarmists make their proclamations that come and go without the advertised catastrophic effects. Yell fire in a crowded movie theater enough times without an actual fire and eventually the patrons just tell you to shut up and watch the movie.
There is a common theme behind all of these war on science topics that the article doesn’t address. The almighty buck. Do you suppose it’s a coincidence that big business is behind defending the science? You know, when scientists tell us the temperature of the sun or far away it is, there is no real debate. It isn’t called into question because there isn’t an industry behind it making money.
Climate change, vaccinations, GMO’s, fluoridation, etc., etc. have money making industry drivers. Not that it means the topic automatically is hooey, just that profits cloud the results and the intentions. We all know vaccinations work. Does that mean they work in all cases or that there may be harmful side effects? It’s when questions lead to shunning a product is when science is usually trotted out to allay our fears and keep the cash registers ringing.
Is that a war on science? Or is it concerns about your health and your wallet? The money war goes both ways. Industries which aren’t profiting from things such as climate change fund lobbyists because of the burden on the cost of doing business.
It reminds one of the epic battle industry engaged in when the nation was still in the infancy of establishing the power grid. The battle was between AC and DC, or alternating current and direct current. It was a public relations battle with scientists giving public displays as to which was safer for the public. Tesla favored AC and Edison backed DC. At the center of the debate was the consumer dollar. And science played a key role in convincing the public. History shows us that what finally settled the debate was that AC could deliver electricity cheaper than DC. End of story.
The safety of the public was key in the public relations debate and science was used as the final word. Much as it is today in what the National Geographic coins a war on science. But what they’re really after is what’s in your wallet. I guess that makes me an unreasonable doubter. Industry knows Americans are penny wise and pound foolish. We may watch the few bucks we have in our wallet closely, but we’re willing to give away the house for the greater good if the experts tell us to.
Talk about not having a life. Apparently I had nothing better to do today as I actually found myself watching Sunday morning news shows which I never, ever do. The main topic of conversation was trying to corner potential candidates by getting them to comment on Rudy Giuliani’s calling out of Obama as an America hater. Of course, each candidate tap danced around their answer so as not to appear a conspiratorial, extremist racist which you are if you agree with Giuliani.
Giuliani made his comment in a discussion concerning the Obama regime failing to call Islam what it is. No, you may say, I must have that wrong. The debate is over calling terrorists Islamic or just violent extremists. Well, that may be the media debate, but it isn’t the core debate.
The President will have us believe that Islam is the religion of peace and that the majority of Muslims around the world act accordingly. In fact, I even hear conservative pundits adopting that same stance. Why the confusion? Because the Quran tells its followers that non-believers must convert or die (no I don’t practice Islam so I realize that the faithful will say I don’t even have a right to an opinion because I’m not an ‘insider’).
So we’re told that you can’t call out the common Muslim for not adhering to the actual letter of the law as the vast majority of Christians are also non-conformists. You know, pot calling the kettle black. That’s true for the most part. In fact, it’s true for every single one of us mortals on the planet. Every one. We are sinners and can never even aspire to leading a sinless life that reaches the level demanded by God. If you’re a Christian you know we got that as a free pass as Jesus died for our sins on the Cross and we can still get to Heaven despite our shortcomings.
Why is a sinner Christian any different than a sinner Muslim? If the majority of Islam is peaceful, what’s the problem? The difference is the Holy Bible doesn’t call for its followers to kill others that don’t convert. Christians sin every day and they will never rise to the level required by the Word of God. Muslims sin every day and they will never rise to the level required by the Quran. The Quran calls for death to non-believers. The Bible calls for you to pray for them.
So the President and his supporters along with those who simply turn their nose up and agree with him on this issue can explain which God and the law he lays out is more peaceful. Islamic violent ‘extremists’ are merely following their written law. Does that make them extreme? As for the Muslim community that is peaceful and doesn’t condone violence, that’s great. However, they will have to answer on Judgement Day as to why they didn’t follow the law. Sorry, but there is a really big difference between Islam and Christianity.
There is a silver lining. If Christians are right in their beliefs and the Bible plays out as scripted, then even all the Muslims around the world who’ve been misguided and followed the Quran will be given mercy as promised. After all, we’re all just sinners.