Tuesday, April 27, 2010

With China's help Arizona law can work

Journalist James Fallows has an interesting suggestion about how Arizona can effectively implement its new immigration law, citing his experience in China:
I typically did not see Chinese police asking for papers on a whim. Usually something had to happen first. Maybe soon the Chinese State Security apparatus can travel to Arizona and give lectures to local police and sheriffs. They can explain how to avoid going crazy with a new power that so invites abuse. "Civil Liberties: Learning from China" can be the name of the course.
China faces similar threats to the US, including illegal immigration and terrorism.  DOF agrees that we can learn a lot from our Chinese law enforcement counterparts.  

Accordingly, the agency has invited Prof. Xu Wei of Beijing University to give a lecture.  Prof. Wei will speak about how China has countered the threats posed by illegal immigrants along the China-North Korea border.   The event, co-sponsored by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, will be held on Tuesday May 11 at 20:00 hrs in the main auditorium of the DOF Center, Joseph R. McCarthy Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C.   It is open to the documented public.

Illegal immigration supporters' protest turns violent

From a Fox News report headlined, "Violent Scenes From Immigration Rallies":
The fight over Senate Bill 1070 took to the streets of downtown Phoenix, as riot Police were called to the Capitol to control an unruly group of protesters.
Witnesses say a group protesting against SB1070 began to fight with a man who was for the controversial immigration bill.

Police tried escorting that man away from the scene, fearing for his safety, when they too came under attack by people throwing items, including water bottles.

A young man was arrested during that melee.

Things calmed down moments later, but riot Police remained at the capital to maintain some sort of order.
Not only are illegal immigrants to be feared, so are those who support them.

Illegal immigrants and the Mexican threat to National Security

Here's a quote from a 2006 USAWC Project study entitled, "Illegal Immigration: Is it a threat to National Security?":
Illegal immigration is a concern that poses a serious threat to national security. In the broadest sense, it sends a dangerous message that to the U.S. Government: its laws do not matter, it is incapable of enforcing its borders, and it cannot protect its citizens. Illegal immigration has been shown to provide cover for terrorist opportunities, spur growth in crime, and strain social resources. Although illegal immigrants come from numerous origins, the vast majority of illegal immigrants come from Mexico. Illegal immigration from Mexico has several root causes stemming from Mexican criminal elements exploiting flaws in U.S. immigration law enforcement, Mexican economic depression, Mexico’s disregard for U.S. rule-of-law, and Mexican society along with the Mexican government waging a comprehensive information campaign against the U.S.

Fear Mexico.

Mike McConnell on private-public intelligence partnerships

Op-Ed published by The Washington Post and authored by Mike McConnell:
The United States must also translate our intent into capabilities. We need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace, identify intrusions and locate the source of attacks with a trail of evidence that can support diplomatic, military and legal options -- and we must be able to do this in milliseconds.  More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment -- who did it, from where, why and what was the result -- more manageable....

To this end, we must hammer out a consensus on how to best harness the capabilities of the National Security Agency, which I had the privilege to lead from 1992 to 1996.   The NSA is the only agency in the United States with the legal authority, oversight and budget dedicated to breaking the codes and understanding the capabilities and intentions of potential enemies. The challenge is to shape an effective partnership with the private sector so information can move quickly back and forth from public to private -- and classified to unclassified -- to protect the nation's critical infrastructure.

We must give key private-sector leaders (from the transportation, utility and financial arenas) access to information on emerging threats so they can take countermeasures. For this to work, the private sector needs to be able to share network information -- on a controlled basis -- without inviting lawsuits from shareholders and others. . . .
DOF believes Americans have every reason to support this kind of initiative.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The whole world is the battlefield

Sen. Lindsey Graham, hearings of April 14:
I totally agree that if you’re going to charge someone under domestic criminal law you should read them their rights, I would just urge my colleagues to understand that when you’re fighting a war, and you capture people on the battlefield, and the whole world is the battlefield in my view, the primary goal is to find out what they know about enemy operations, get them off the battlefield, then reserve prosecution decisions later, so I hope we do not criminalize the war and we will remain flexible, pragmatic and aggressive.
You cannot escape the battlefield.  It is everywhere.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Keeping you safe in a dangerous world

The Economist observes, "...most of the top 20 are made up of American firms that specialise in selling arms or have a defence division. America's huge defence budget—it should reach some $700 billion in 2010—provides an inviting target for the country's home-grown defence industry."

The continued viability of our major arms suppliers is all that stands between your family and a dangerous world.  Write your Congressman, share your fears, and ask him to support our military.   

Friday, April 9, 2010

Changes to USNCTC communications guide reflect longstanding DOF policy

We've received numerous citizen inquiries about how the new Obama terrorism communications policy will impact DOF.  For the most part, recent changes to the WWWGCTC of the USNCTC reflect longstanding DOF policy.  For the benefit of the public, following are excerpts from a staff-edited summary of the new policy, with comments dictated by DOF Directorate Secretary Malcom P. Stag III:
An 2008, the US National Counter-Terrorism Centre produced a document, called “Words that Work and Words that Don’t: A Guide for Counter-Terrorism Communication,” which encouraged government agencies and officials to avoid characterizing Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups as “Islamic” or “Muslim,” as that could “unintentionally legitimise” their tactics.
Sec. Stag: With few exceptions, DOF has followed this new policy since its inception in 2004.   We have been critical of other agencies that have not adopted what some deride as "political correctness" on our part.
The document that the Obama administration is consulting for drafting the new strategy — “A Guide for Counter-Terrorism Communication” — urges US officials to “avoid labelling everything ‘Muslim.’ It reinforces the ‘US vs. Islam’ framework that Al Qaeda promotes.” It reminds US officials that “a large percentage of the world’s population subscribes to this religion” and “unintentionally alienating them is not a judicious move.”
Sec. Stag: DOF seldom uses the label "Muslim." Instead, the Department talks mainly about "danger," "terrorism," and we emphasize "risk."
Urging officials not to use the word Islam in conjunction with terrorism, the guide notes that, “Although the Al Qaeda network exploits religious sentiments and tries to use religion to justify its actions, we should treat it as an illegitimate political organisation, both terrorist and criminal.”
Sec. Stag: This part of the guide needs some more work.  We are talking about an illegitimate political organization "with an army". They forgot to mention that part.  They may be criminal, but we do not want the public to think of Al Qaeda fighters as mere common criminals or community organizers.  We must portray them as soldiers of a powerful -- and yes, illegitimate -- organization.   
Instead of calling terror groups Muslim or Islamic, the guide suggests using words like totalitarian, terrorist or violent extremist — “widely understood terms that define our enemies appropriately and simultaneously deny them any level of legitimacy.
Sec. Stag: Totalitarian, terrorist or violent extremist -- all good words.
By employing the language the extremists use about themselves, the guide warns, officials can inadvertently help legitimise them in the eyes of Muslims.

“Never use the terms ‘jihadist’ or ‘mujahideen’ … to describe the terrorists,” instructs the guide. “A mujahid, a holy warrior, is a positive characterisation in the context of a just war. In Arabic, jihad means ‘striving in the path of God’ and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies Jihadis and their movement a global Jihad unintentionally legitimises their actions.”
Sec. Stag: Approved. "Terrorist" sounds just as scary.
The guide also bans the use of the word caliphate to describe Al Qaeda’s goal. The term “has positive connotations for Muslims,” says the guide, adding, “The best description of what (Al Qaeda) really want to create is a ‘global totalitarian state.’”
Sec. Stag: The phrase "Beware the Caliphate" has dependably scared English-speaking peoples for almost a century.  On this account, it would seem a shame to abandon a phrase that has proven track record.  But over the past decade, with the American public ever more ignorant, fewer citizens have a clue what a Caliphate is, let alone why they should  fear one.  As per our moto [ed. note: timendi causa est nescire,  "ignorance causes  fear"] this trend is indicative that our overall approach is succeeding.  Approved.
A longer document — “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims” — says officials should use “terms such as ‘death cult,’ ‘cult-like,’ ‘sectarian cult,’ and ‘violent cultists’ to describe the ideology and methodology of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.” It recommends eschewing the terms Islamist or Islamism — the advocacy of a political system based on Islam – while referring to terrorist groups.
Sec. Stag: DOF approves.  Americans hear the term "death cult" and they think "suicide cult."  Nobody is afraid of a suicide cult.  And only the freaks are lining up to join one. Most recently, we had the Branch Dividians in Texas who blew themselves up.  Christians!  These organizations pose a danger mostly to themselves.  How  many Americans have heard of the Om cult in Japan that gassed a subway?  If it didn't happen in America, Americans don't remember or care.  Americans don't fear cults.  It's a wise move to discard all these terms.
The document urges officials to consider describing Al Qaeda’s ideology as “Takfirism” — the practice of declaring Muslims who disagree with extremism apostates who can be killed.
Sec. Stag: They've got to be kidding.  DOF won't be using that term.

Editor's summary
DOF gives the new communications guide its qualified approval -- pending submission of the above noted revisions.  Essentially, the federal government will retain ample linguistic latitude to frighten Americans, it's just that officials will no longer be quite so culturally insensitive in their choice of words.  From the perspective of DOF, that's always been the essence of good communications policy. 


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jane Harman on Anwar al-Awlaki

Rep. Jane Harman (D) of California, who chairs the homeland security subcommittee on intelligence, calls Awlaki “probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us.”
Obama is determined to assassinate this American citizen.    But until we get him, Jane Harman's statement affirms that Americans have all the more reason to be afraid.

President Obama orders execution of Anwar al-Awlaki

Anwar al-Awlaki may be an American, but he's also a radical Muslim cleric. By targeting al-Awlaki for assassination, the president reminds Americans of a growing danger, thus helping to persuade Americans that they have reason to be afraid.

Take good hard look at the adjacent photo of the notorious al-Awlaki that DOF staff located on the Google.  Notice the figure waving a jihadi flag in the background.