Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can Eric Holder protect us from the WikiLeaks threat?

Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, 
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and President Obama.

Whenever America is attacked, we have two choices:  we can roll over and die, or we can fight back.  Because we're America, we fight.  How do we fight?  We fight back militarily wherever possible, but because we are society of laws, we also fight by adjusting the balance between freedom and security.

Americans know the time for us to give up freedoms is before we are dead.  Precisely, we have to let go of our freedoms at the point when we are starting to become very afraid.  With respect to the WikiLeaks threat, we are just about at that point today. Americans are clearly terrified of WikiLeaks.   For example:

 Jihun Park  i'm afraid of the wikileaks' side effect. it may leak bloods of innocent people.

 Luke 'Wengles' James  This Wikileaks thing is quite worrying. Afraid it's going to mess up relations all over the world.

 ☆ Haroon ☆ No sleep...  Ugh scared of these wikileaks exposing.

But there's a right way, and a wrong way of sacrificing freedoms. In World War II, FDR made a mistake by interning Japanese Americans by an Executive Order (EO 9066). Because Roosevelt didn't go to Congress, the resulting internment became controversial. And it ended up costing American taxpayers a lot of money.

Fortunately, in 2001 Vice President Dick Cheney showed America how to do things the right way.  He asked Congress to pass the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001" (otherwise known as the USA PATRIOT Act.)

By timely coincidence, the terrorists followed-up the attacks of 9/11 by sending packages of anthrax to Democratic senators and leading members of the liberal news media.  Fully cognizant of the risks America faced, overwhelming majorities in both parties felt compelled to approve the USA PATRIOT Act, which was signed into law on Nov. 18, 2001.

This week America experienced what experts refer to as our "digital 9/11."   In the intelligence and defense communities, it is widely understood that the release of cables by WikiLeaks is the digital equivalent of the attacks of September 11.   Just as the strikes of 9/11 required the USA PATRIOT Act,  a similar response is called for today.   Where is Dick Cheney when we need him?

We may be in luck.  America may have a new Dick.  The Washington Post quotes US Attorney General Eric Holder today:
"To the extent there are gaps in our laws we will move to close those gaps, which is not to say . . . that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation that’s ongoing.” He did not indicate that [WikiLeaks founder] Assange is being investigated for possible violations of the Espionage Act.
The attacks by WikiLeaks have demonstrated that information can't be free.  It requires limits.   The time has come for America's lawmakers to act.

For US and Spain global arms trade is win-win (WikiLeaks)

Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile during a flight test (US Navy).  Spain recently bought 24.

DoF believes that America must designate WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization" -- and the sooner the better.  However, until the US manages to shut down or otherwise "silence" WikiLeaks, DoF will be working with other US government agencies and our partners in the US news media to help the American pubic interpret the leaked cables.

As you are no doubt aware, DoF is a big supporter of US defense contractors and the global arms trade generally.   When we sell NATO countries arms, we're giving our allies an opportunity to profit.  If you're a close friend of America, when you buy our weapons, you can later sell products that include US technology to less privilaged nations at a healthy markup.  America profits, and so do you.   It's win-win.

When the US government wants to convince one of its close allies to buy American-made weapons, we remind them that doing business with us can be profitable for them too.  For example, following is a quote from a May 7, 2007 cable from the US Embassy in Madrid (via WikiLeaks).  Addressed to the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs, and the Secretary of State, the cable concerned "US-Spain high-level defense talks":
.... Spanish Defense Ministry officials have seen you with Secretary Gates, and may raise  the issue with you in hopes of getting it top-level  attention. Defense Minister Alonso has raised the issue in public speeches and his people have raised it in meetings.  They point to Spanish purchases like 24 Tomahawk missiles and  US AEGIS combat systems for its F-100 frigates and S-80 subs,  which the GOS made over the protests of European allies like  France and Germany, and say that while MOD plans to continue a strong relationship with the US defense industry and knows that it is getting the best when it buys US, it would  appreciate a "gesture" from the US so that it can show  domestic audiences that Spain gets something out of the  relationship.  While we continue to push Spain to buy into  the Joint Strike Fighter program, we know that Spain is very  anxious to learn whether Spanish company EADS-CASA will get  the Joint Cargo Aircraft contract.  We try to remind MOD that  while there may be a dollar imbalance in the defense  relationship, Spain benefits from the relationship in other ways, not only getting the best technology for its military,  but also being able to sell products that include US  technology to third countries. 
By buying from us, friends profit with us.  The global arms trade is win-win for America and its allies.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lieberman: WikiLeaks has blood on hands in digital 9/11

On Sunday, Joseph Lieberman, the great senator from Connecticut tweeted:
WikiLeaks' deliberate disclosure of these diplomatic cables is nothing less than an attack on our national security.
DoF analysts, including our well-paid contractors in the private sector, have reached the same conclusion.   America is under attack by WikiLeaks. Taking their cue from leaders such as Lieberman, concerned Americans wonder whether "cablegate" could be the equivalent of a "digital 9/11."

America's staunchest allies overseas are concerned too:
  • Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini calls WikiLeaks the "9/11 of World Diplomacy."   (One of the cables suggested that Frattini's boss, Berlusconi, enjoys wild parties with Putin.)
  • Australia's Defense Minister Stephen Smith told Sky News, "This is an act which again one has no option but to absolutely condemn it.  It potentially puts national security interests and it puts the safety and welfare of individuals at stake."
Lieberman, in a statement, has further argued that:
By disseminating these materials, WikiLeaks is putting at risk the lives and the freedom of countless Americans and non-Americans around the world. It is an outrageous, reckless, and despicable action that will undermine the ability of our government and our partners to keep our people safe and to work together to defend our vital interests. Let there be no doubt: the individuals responsible are going to have blood on their hands. I stand in full support of the Obama Administration's condemnation of WikiLeaks for these disclosures. I also urge the Obama Administration -- both on its own and in cooperation with other responsible governments around the world -- to use all legal means necessary to shut down WikiLeaks before it can do more damage by releasing additional cables. 
Of course, when Lieberman urges Obama "to use all legal means necessary to shut down WikiLeaks before it can do more damage by releasing additional cables," the senator does not mean to preclude the president access to whatever extralegal means may be necessary.

US Representative Peter King, a Republican from New York and the incoming chair of the House Homeland Security Committee (which oversees the United States Department of Fear), has requested president Obama to "determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization." King wrote in a letter to Clinton that "WikiLeaks appears to meet the legal criteria, WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States."

Malcolm P. Stag III, Secretary Fear, told Fox News in an interview this morning, "In the past WikiLeaks has sought to embarrass our national security establishment.  Now they have chosen to target our peace-and-diplomacy-loving wimps at the State DepartmentThough we may not approve their methods, they're our wimps."

"Something more than the reputation of America's leaders is now at stake," continued Sec. Stag.  "Nothing ought to be off the table in the War on WikiLeaks."

Craig Murray, a former British diplomat, writes on his blog, "These leaks will claim innocent lives, and will damage national security. They will encourage Islamic terrorism. Government secrecy is essential to keep us all safe. In fact, this action by Wikileaks is so cataclysmic, I shall be astonished if we are not all killed in our beds tonight."   

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tomorrow's TSA: more privacy, greater security

Good news for air travelers.  Changes are coming to airport security.  DoF has learned of developments that will not only tighten security, but make the entire TSA screening process more efficient.  Although hand-luggage will be screened as before, those dreaded TSA pat-downs and backscatter X-rays will soon be a thing of the past.  Incredibly, a new technology will even detect the presence of explosives hidden in body cavities.

Scientific Background
Analysis of blood samples taken from both the shoe and underwear bombers detected the explosive chemicals PETN and TAPN.  This means that trace amounts of plastic explosives enter the bodies of would-be bombers through the skin.  Scientists at MIT and Los Alamos National Laboratory have discovered that these compounds react radioactively with fucidic-ketrodimerol.  This means that a mildly radioactive catalyst agent containing fucidic-ketrodimero is capable of producing rapid ionization of PETN and TAPN in the human body. Hence the new TSA plan.

New TSA Screening Process 
Ticketed passengers will simply be required to orally ingest a tiny vile of uranium-sulphide-fucidic--ketrodimerol (UrSoFkd).  Having been tested extensively on small animals, with a radioactive half-life of only nine hours, this chemical is considered completely safe.   When mixed with aspartame, focus groups report that the tangy orange potion tastes delicious.  Artificially sweetened UrSoFkd will be marketed in the United States by IPIG under the trade name Securatine®.*

Presently, plans call for administration of Securatine® to happen at the airline check-in counter.   By the time your have made your way to TSA security, your body chemistry will be suitable for screening.  At the TSA checkpoint, you will be asked to walk, fully attired, behind a sensitized non-emitting screen that will register the ions given off by the Securatine®.   Detection of suspect passengers by TSA officers stationed at monitors will be easy and unobtrusive.
* Securatine® is a registered trade mark of Icarus Pharmaceutical Industrial Group (NASDAQ: ICRX).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The first responsibility of a defense secretary

United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

What is the first responsibility of a Secretary of Defense?  

Malcolm P. Stag III, Secretary of Fear, commented at a breakfast meeting today: "I spoke to Sec. Gates on the way to the office.   Gates is first-rate defense secretary.  The man understands the first job of a defense secretary."

Sec. Stag pointed to a copy of The Hill, a political newspaper, and asked Easton Syme, a senior DoF defense industry liaison, to read aloud from an article.

Easton, a tall fellow with a CIA background, stood up and read the title: "Secretary Gates: On deficit, Defense Department is 'not the problem'."     He continued reading:
"Defense Secretary Robert Gates took a swipe on Tuesday at the proposal from the co-chairmen of President Obama's deficit commission to slash the Pentagon budget by $100 billion.

Gates said that such drastic cuts could devastate the military's force structure without any big impact on the nation's red ink.

"The truth of the matter is when it comes to the deficit, the Department of Defense is not the problem," Gates said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council on Tuesday. "I think in terms of the specifics they came up with, that is math not strategy."
Secretary Stag thanked Easton and said: "I would also like to address the moral question here."  Stag continued,

"Starting at an early age, American children learn what they have to fear: terrorism, drugs, the social activists, and the illegal immigrants. The Four Fears.  Many young American children want to grow up to become heroic warriors.  The youth of America yearn to prove themselves on the global battlefield.

"It's not for lack of fear that Americans become great, it's fear that makes courage and heroism possible. Reduce the defense budget and you deprive tomorrow's heroes access to the battlefield."

"But I digress. We, the staff of the Department of Fear, working with our colleagues in other agencies -- defense, Homeland, TSA, ICE, and the CIA -- carry a great burden. Yes, we have to defend America. But to do our job well we first have defend our budgets.  That means helping the American People to prioritize fear."

FearSec Stag took a sip of orange juice and said, "The Department of Defense is under attack.   Secretary Gates needs our help.   We will be there for him."

Everyone who had been seated at the breakfast table stood up and cheered.    

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twitter highlights for week of Nov. 7-13, 2010

Every week, DoF staff scour Twitter to learn the ways Americans are using new media to share their fears about terrorism with others.     Following are some tweets from the past week that caught our attention:

Mk_Moore (Melissa Moore) I am scared to fly in this country. Thank you, TSA, for fighting terrorism.

  (Dara Katz) Scared to tweet about terrorism, and ... that group who does it a lot. Have I lost the war for us?

(Chachi de jesus)  tskk.. i hate it when there's terrorism attacks...  scared to go to the mall.

To keep up with the best of twitter, follow us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rebecca Wolf appointed Undersecretary for New Media

Honoured guests line up for security screening prior to entry into DoF Center for the ceremony.

Just a note to update you concerning an exciting development. On Thursday afternoon Dr. Rebecca Wolf was appointed Undersecretary for Community and New Media, a new position at DoF.

Rebecca graduated from Harvard University in 1992. After a four year stint at Goldman Sachs, Rebecca attended the University of Chicago where she earned a Ph.D. in economics. In 2004 she was recruited by L. Paul Bremer to serve as the Iraq Market Liberalization Liaison. Rebecca returned to Washington in 2005 where she worked at Treasury.

The appointment ceremony took place at DoF Centre in downtown Washington. Among the distinguished guests in attendance was former Vice President Dick Cheney, His Excellency the Columbian Ambassador to the United States, and Sec. of Fear Malcolm P. Stag III. A number of corporate vice-presidents attended, including Charlie Steele of Raytheon, Steve Gore of Northrop, Mark McCormick of BAE. Non-profit organizations represented included FreedomWorks, the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council.

Rebecca will be overseeing the future development of this blog, and our efforts to connect with the public through social networking. You can find Rebecca on Twitter.

Welcome to the team Rebecca!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Road map to a profitable US victory in Afghanistan

Sun Tzu taught that the art of war is not concerned only with winning, but how you win.   This point relates to the fundamental challenge facing the American military in Afghanistan.

If a new product being developed by Raytheon, a patriotic defense contractor, gets the hundreds of millions of dollars in funding it so clearly deserves, US troops will soon be deployed wearing exoskeletons. According to a CNN report, these machines will endow American men and women in uniform with superhuman, "bionic" powers. Resembling Iron Man, the American soldier of the future will be able to lift ten times his weight.   There remain a few small issues the engineers need to resolve.  For example, any soldier equipped with the Iron Man device must carry around an enormous power generator.  An individual claiming to be a US soldier, commented at CNN:
I am a soldier. Please, for the love of God, stop giving us more junk to carry. We have too much stuff as it is.   If I posted my hand receipt on this sound off, you would be shocked. For example, I have 12 sets of eye protection! I only have two eyes!

Each time we get new stuff, the military rarely has us turn in the old stuff. It just keeps stacking up. I have 6 duffel bags full of issued gear.  It weighs more than I do, and takes up more room than I do. Do you realize how much money is being spent to transport all this?

Also, the gear is often designed with an original intent, which rarely gets honored by leadership. They favor good looks and uniformity over functionality...
We wear so much armor and gear in combat it is difficult to move. It slows us down. If forces us the take more breaks. It creates heat risks...

Finally, beware of the true motivation behind these new creations. Greedy companies try to act like they care about supporting troops, but in the end, they do it for profit, not patriotism...
Of course, US soldiers know better than to criticize patriotic American defense corporations. Therefore, it is doubtful that the individual who left the above comment actually serves in our military. An impostor working for CNN, some member of the liberal news media, is most likely responsible.

Nevertheless, DoF intelligence suggests that the gist of the comment is true. The US soldier may be reaching a breaking point beyond which he cannot carry any more cool stuff. If we cross that line, should our brave soldiers start collapsing from exhaustion on the battlefield, Congress is likely to call for an official inquiry. At that point, there’s a real risk that the entire military procurement process could be opened-up to public scrutiny.

Fortunately, DoF has a plan.  The authors of an astoundingly prescient DoF report spell it out.   Read the Executive Summary for yourself:
Author: Saturn Cell, United States Department of Fear
Title: "A twelve-year road map to a profitable US victory in Afghanistan"
Classification level: Unclassified*
... Our idea is to entice the Taliban into carrying an equally heavy load of flashy-looking stuff.  This will give the American soldier a fighting chance against his once-nimble enemy.  The Pentagon need only find ways to covertly supply the Taliban with the same quantity of gear that US troops have been forced to carry.
Slower-moving, will the Taliban remain an enemy capable of stoking fear in our hearts? That’s a good question. DoF experts remind us that a designated enemy’s capability is not correlated with its capacity to frighten the public.  DoF analysis maintain that sharper dressed and more heavily equipped, Taliban fighters will frighten Americans as never before, increasing public support for defense expenditures.

The cost of supplying both our own troops and the Taliban with lots of stuff to carry will be substantial, ensuring the profitability of the defense industry into the second fiscal quarter of 2014.

The downside to this plan is that should the accumulation of stuff by both sides continue beyond early 2015, the day will come when neither side is able to move, thereby ending the Afghanistan war in a peaceful stalemate.  That’s why at some point it will become necessary for the Pentagon to curtail deliveries of stuff to US troops while continuing to drop appealing brand-name kit behind enemy lines.  Our lighter, swifter, more agile forces could be assured victory by as early as 2022. 

Under this DoF plan, the prospect that expenditures on the war in Afghanistan will not significantly increase beyond 2014 presents all the more reason for the president to scout new theaters of operation from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula.  
*DoF preemptively declassified sections of this report after discovering that WikiLeaks had obtained a copy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Time to permanently close the Washington Monument

Our military defended the Washington Monument during the 2008 inauguration.  (staff photo)

The Washington Monument, standing 555 feet tall, is an obvious target for the terrorists. Fortunately, the federal government is considering where to locate a permanent "visitor's centre" (Washington-speak for an airport-style security processing facility).   But current plans don't go far enough.

The Washington Post makes an excellent point:
Closing the interior of the monument, the construction of which was suspended during the Civil War, would remind the public of the the effect that fears engendered by the current war on terrorism have had on public space.  Closing it as a symbolic act might initiate an overdue discussion about the loss of even more important public spaces, including the front entrance of the Supreme Court and the west terrace of the Capitol.  It would be a dramatic reminder of the choices we as a nation have made....
DOF agrees the monument should be closed.  Concerning the various post-9/11 security measures undertaken at other popular tourist locations, see "The architecture of fear."  DOF believes that any risk that the closure of the Washington Monument would initiate "discussion about the loss of even more important public spaces" is remote (when was the last serious public "discussion" about anything?).

However, with regards to the Washington Monument, DOF maintains that even the closure of the interior of the monument would not go far enough.     That's because the monument stands on a hill overlooking the White House.    We believe continued pubic access to the hill on which the monument stands is both risky and inappropriate.

The planned DCCM will be constructed between the WH and the WM on the Ellipse.

DOF proposes that the section of the Mall that lies between 17th and 15th streets be permanently closed to the public.   Beyond a security fence, DOF recommends that the 10,000 square foot glass-enclosed "visitor's centre" -- which has long been proposed by the National Parks Board -- be situated across 15th Street.   This would afford visitors a secure vantage point from which to view the monument.   Alternatively, visitors should soon be able to admire the Washington Monument from the tower of the planned DCCM (see bellow).

Why is it desirable to close off a section of the Mall?   1) From a security standpoint, public access to a hill located above the White House affords terrorists "higher ground" advantage -- a risk we don't have to take; 2) Fencing off an entire section of the Mall, more so than the closure of the monument, will remind the American People of the dangers posed by terrorism;  3) Closing the hill on which the monument stands will serve as a sign of respect for the American presidency.  Symbolically, should mere citizens be permitted to stand on higher ground than their Commander in Chief?  We think not;  4) DOF anticipates that restricting access to this particular section of the Mall will increase visitor traffic to the Dick Cheney Carbon Memorial (DCCM).  As explained in a recent post, the planned DCCM will be situated on the Ellipse.   Far more than a monument to the petroleum industry, DCCM will offer visitors an education in the risks posed by terrorism and the heroic efforts of the Cheney Vice Presidency to ensure the survival of the Republic.

A public comment meeting on the Washington Monument security options will be held from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the National Park Service's National Capital Region Headquarters, 1100 Ohio Dr. SW.   If you live in the capital region, DOF urges you to attend. It's a chance to share your fears with your fellow citizens and the NPB.