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I think Obama's initial response was in line with that of most American Presidents (e.g., invade Granada, invade Iraq, invade Panama, etc.). People generally behave per the norms of the society they are in; and Democrats, and a black Democrat in particular are vulnerable to the charge of being weak, of being unwilling to use force. To Obama's credit, he listened to the evidence and to the generals, and maybe to his better self, and did not go to war. I don't think he went to the dark side; he escaped the perpetual dark side that is American foreign policy.
Highlander, Indian Air Traffic Control (ATC) has said it doesn't raise an alarm as long as it can match planes to filed flight plans. So, suppose a flight plan was filed for a plane from Kuala Lumpur to Kazakhstan, but no plane actually took off from Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 did its turn, and somewhere over the Bay of Bengal, morphed into this flight, setting the right transponder codes as assigned in the flight plan (or however it is done) and interacting normally with ATC. For this to work, there might have to be some dead zone between hand-off from one ATC to the next? Is there such over the Bay of Bengal? Basic question is - is such a plot workable? Are there too many data trackers that would notice a plane did not exist on the initial leg of its flight, but appeared later? Thanks!
The world's first "hack-jacking"? (not my term).
If it was the pilot or co-pilot who diverted the flight from its path, then there isn't much I can think of that explains the subsequent events. If the hijacker was suicidal, why the turn-off of ACAR, transponder and long flight to oblivion to the South Indian Ocean? Agreed, we can never explain the actions of a crazy person. And apparently to disable ACAR the person would have to leave the cockpit- when exactly did that happen? If it is not the pilot and co-pilot: The plane was diverted from scheduled flight plan between the hand-off from the Malaysian air-control to Vietnam, the plane climbed high (to the impossible 45000 feet? or to its rated ceiling) probably to disable or kill the 239 passengers, made its way across southern Thailand to the Strait of Malacca. Then what? Why would it turn south to seemingly nowhere? (Bloomberg just reported that the most likely area for the plane is 1000 miles to the west of Perth, Australia). If the plane headed south, the motive has to be that the perpetrators don't want the plane to be found or even if located, not to be recoverable. Not the passengers as hostages, not the plane, not its cargo - none of these hold value to the perpetrators. Could the plane have been put on autopilot and the perpetrators safely bailed out? Or were they willing to commit suicide in that cause? Why might it be so vital to the perps. that the plane not be recovered? The only reason I can think of that they didn't want anyone to discover how they did what they did. Which leads to the thought that this was a dry run for something bigger. The shoe bomb, the underwear bomb, the liquid bomb - all failed in the first attempt, and all attracted immediate security counter-measures. Yes, it sounds stupid.....But why are they insisting the plane headed south towards the deep ocean? If the plane headed north, there are more plausible scenarios.
Q: Might China have a hole in its radar coverage over the China-Burma border? Could the plane have turned away from its Andaman heading and flown over Burma, and over the Myanmar-China border. I imagine the Tibet border with India is well-covered with radar but maybe not the interior of Tibet? Subsequently the plane flew over Tibet towards Xinjiang? Is this even remotely feasible? The problem with the plane landing in Myanmar is that we have a 7-hour flight to account for (unless the engines were kept running on the ground).
If INMARSAT, a British company, had information that ACARs was turned off around the time the plane's transponder turned off, but that the plane was pinging the satellite for 7 hours after take-off, why was that information kept secret for so long? Even if INMARSAT could not estimate the position of the aircraft, the fact that the airplane was alive 7 hours after take-off would immediately focus the search away from the Gulf of Thailand. Why would the governments involved permit the search of the Gulf of Thailand to continue for so many days? The only reason I can think of is, not that any vital military or technological "spy" secrets would be revealed as some say, but that deception of the hijackers was for some reason crucial. I think search-and-rescue/recovery is expensive and accident-prone. I don't think hours of monotonous scanning of the sea promotes alertness or safety. One does it because one has to, not otherwise. That information about the extended life/flight of the plane is being made public only seven-eight days after the plane "disappeared" can charitably be attributed to the necessity of deception to thwart the hijacking adversary; every other reason I can think of demonstrates malafides on the part of the Chinese, Malaysian, British, American governments. Then the question is - what was going on that deception was so necessary?
Highlander, Would there be a problem getting the aviation GPS unit on-board?
Someone posted this image from showing the airplane's path per the latest Reuters scoop:
Highlander, what to make of this Reuters report? "In a far more detailed description of the military radar plotting than has been publicly revealed, the first two sources said the last confirmed position of MH370 was at 35,000 feet about 90 miles off the east coast of Malaysia, heading towards Vietnam, near a navigational waypoint called "Igari". The time was 1:21 a.m.. The military track suggests it then turned sharply westwards, heading towards a waypoint called "Vampi", northeast of Indonesia's Aceh province and a navigational point used for planes following route N571 to the Middle East. From there, the plot indicates the plane flew towards a waypoint called "Gival", south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another waypoint called "Igrex", on route P628 that would take it over the Andaman Islands and which carriers use to fly towards Europe. The time was then 2:15 a.m. That is the same time given by the air force chief on Wednesday, who gave no information on that plane's possible direction."
Suppose the plane was hijacked. a. If it was hijacked for the usual hostage scenario, we have to assume that it failed for some reason and the plane crashed. Why the wreckage hasn't been found may be because people were looking in the wrong area. b. But if it was hijacked by any kind of terrorist or criminal group, wouldn't there be chatter when the plot failed? c. If the plane was hijacked in order to have a plane, (a) is there a less onerous way to get a plane? (b) for what purpose? Suppose the plane landed somewhere, deplaned the passengers, etc., refueled and continued on far away from the Gulf of Thailand, Malacca Strait, Indian Ocean. What can one do with a Boeing 777-200? Is there some way of sneaking it up to a target to crash into without anyone suspecting? E.g., if there is a scheduled airline flight X from A to B, is there someway for a terrorist to use that fact to bring this hijacked plane masquerading as X close enough to B for it to be too late for anyone to do anything before it is realized B is an imposter? d. Was this a dry run for a bigger operation?
Aren't there possible large scale political effects of increasing inequality? Namely when a people lose hope of improving their lot over their lifetime and for their children, they may become revolutionary? E.g., someone pointed out to me that in Egypt, the average lot of people was improving under Hosni Mubarak. Looking at gross averages like the Human Development Index, Egyptians were better off than they'd ever been. And wondered why the Egyptians revolted. But even a cursory look under those averages shows a story of chronic unemployment/underemployment and increasing poverty.
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Thank you for making the demand!
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2013 on VIPS demand for evidence at Sic Semper Tyrannis
The House has already voted on Syria, in the defense budget:
The computer would debase the currency just as effectively as Bernanke.
1 reply Quote: It is a changed India today. I no longer retain my early confidence that a sustained economic boom will be like the tide that raises all the boats. Indeed, I am certain today, that it will not. I further believe that a 'modern' economy cannot create true wealth, let alone one shared with all. On the other hand, it can be destructive of what wealth we inherited and still possess. The true wealth of any nation is in fertile soil, abundant water, clean air, safe food and its people educated for independent action and free to practice it. I shall go searching for people who are trying to make India wealthy in this manner. -D V Sridharan Apr 6, 2012 End quote.
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A few things to point out: 1. There is a theme of the tall, fair, wheat-eater of what is now Pakistan and his martial capabilities versus the cowardice of the short, dark, rice eaters of the north Indian plains and Bengal that recurs in Muslim thought, especially during the Pakistan movement, 1940-47. It is still extant today in Pakistani writings and conversation. I don't know how much Pakistani generals buy into that, but I assume they are influenced. 2. In post-1857-mutiny, the British stopped hiring the short, dark, rice-eaters, who were from the regions that had mutinied, and who were the major constituents of the British Indian Army upto that point, and started hiring the people from the North-West, and this is when the theory of the "martial races" of India began. I think some of its effect still lingers in Pakistan. 3. In 1970-71, East Pakistan won a parliamentary majority; but West Pakistan refused to accept this; this is what led to Yahya Khan's delaying the convening of parliament, and ultimately to the secession of East Pakistan. 4. India's softness is taken as weakness; to avert war it is necessary that India roar. 5. To everyone from India who thinks about these things it is apparent that any real security threat to India comes from China; Pakistan is a nuclear-armed nuisance. 6. In the long term, ASEAN is much more important economically than all the countries to the west of India upto Israel put together; the Middle East is of interest to the world only because of petroleum. Hence a renewed Indian push to revive its diplomatic ties with the countries to its East.
Virginia must be so proud of its Republican State Senators!
The real lesson is - fund the jihadis and get bitten by them. One classic case is Pakistan, that funded jihadis and now the jihadis have slipped the leash, and killed over 30,000 Pakistanis during the last ten years. Another case is the US in Afghanistan. Secular Afghans pleaded with the US administrations not to fund the mujahideen, to no avail, defeating the Soviet Union was a higher priority. Now the US has spent more than a decade in Afghanistan, accomplishing very little. To the US' credit, they seem to have learned a lesson, and have been careful in Libya and Syria (so far) not to fund the religious extremists. What has this to do with Israel? Well, Israel funded Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO. This from 2002, Quote: Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel "aided Hamas directly -- the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies. Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official. .... All of which disgusts some former U.S. intelligence officials. "The thing wrong with so many Israeli operations is that they try to be too sexy," said former CIA official Vincent Cannestraro. According to former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson, "the Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism." "The Israelis are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer." "They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it," he said. End quote. The same article mentions the mistake the Egyptians also made, in funding jihadis and regretting it later, but does not go into detail.
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The issue for our time is whether we are willing to undertake the discomfort and uncertainty of transforming our economy and its use of energy so that its impact on the biosphere of the earth is sustainable. Will we be Washingtons or will we be Jeffersons?
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A retd. Colonel's view of Petraeus: Quote: He was not the originator of the armed forces current doctrine on COIN. He did not triumph in Iraq employing that doctrine. The improvement in the security situation there happened because he was clever enough to accept marine and Special Forces sponsorship of the "awakening" of the Sunni Arabs to the fact that they did not wish to live under Al-Qa'ida rule. This led to the creation of the "Sons of Iraq" who, for a time, virtually wiped out the Sunni jihadis. This gave the Shia Arab dominated government a chance to at least partially assert its power in some parts of the country. This serendipitous set of events was carefully parlayed in the US media into the creation of an image of Petraeus as the heir of George Marshall. Iraq is slowly becoming a satrapy of Iran. Should Petraeus have credit for that as well? End quote.
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Or this: or this: or this: or this: Let us not have the fakery of an austere Islam paraded here.
Here: Per F.B. Ali, this does not exist (or ought not to exist).
To demean and ridicule the Prophet is to strike at the emotional core of being of every Muslim. It is an attack on their sense of identity, on who they are, on the very basis of their existence. (The dynamics at work here are similar to those that cause denial of the Holocaust to be such an extremely sensitive issue for Jewish people. Both are existential issues). Denying the Holocaust is telling Jews that no, you were not slaughtered in the millions in Europe during the Nazi era. Denying the Prophet - each of us who is not Muslim does it every time we hear the Azaan. Great man maybe, but not with the monopoly on knowledge of God, nor the sole way to heaven, salvation, nor the last we're going to hear from God. We are implicitly or explicitly denying the veracity of the Prophet. And yes, we know that Muslims are offended by that, and long for the day when the whole world will be Muslim, and we will thus be out of the state of jahiliya that we currently are in. This is **far** from an existential crisis for us!!! And we, we are not supposed to be offended by this attitude of Muslims, certainly not riot, and instead be grinfucked into extinction.
There is even a paper: SOCIAL PROTEST IN LATVIA 2006-2009: POLITICAL DISENCHANTMENT AND IDENTITY FORMATION By Diana Kalainska Submitted to Central European University Department of Political Science In partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Political Science Supervisor: Professor Bela Greskovit
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2012 on What I learned in Latvia at Dani Rodrik's weblog
And here is news of a trade union protest from June 2009. "Several thousand people protested on Thursday against harsh Latvian budget cuts needed to win more international loans..."
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2012 on What I learned in Latvia at Dani Rodrik's weblog