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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, Counter-Terrorism, and More

- sometimes it feels as though the media makes light of conflicts around the world. Often, they have little idea of the background behind it. Hence, we're left with a sensationalist, biased report/summary of the circumstances based on whomever they've been able to conjur. Once upon a time (a long time ago) Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived side by side in peace in the Middle East
Living under occupation - Daily Life in Occupied Palestine
History of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict
Israel and Palestine the truth [BBC ducumentry]
Why US and Israel wants to ban this video
Palestine vs Israel Conflict - Conflict In The West Bankhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjVWvcmzqF0
Israel and Palestine Explained
Al Jazeera World - Palestine Divided
Documentary on Israel _ Palestine - Occupation
Israel_Palestine - The Gaza War From Ground Level
Palestinian Terrorism Against Israel - The Beginning _ Israeli-Palestinian Conflict _ Documentary
Rick Steves' The Holy Land - Israelis and Palestinians Today
War Between Israel and Palestine - THE GAZA CONFLICT
- one of the great ironies is that people often portray the West as being the epitomy of what society should be like (peaceful, prosperous, secular, accepting, etc...). Despite this, the 'narrative' that is used by non-Westerners is that we're 'unclean' in the eyes of God. There's no doubt that this is true. If you were to think about life in the West it's almost impossible to live without sin. Along the way, the West has diverged one way while the other parts of the world have stayed and held true to a more interpretation of (supposed) covenants/agreements with God. Basically, divergences in opinions a long time ago (hundreds and thousands of years) has led to very different levels and types of development across our civilisations. If you to be honest with yourself though, most of us know in our heart of hearts there is no way that a lot of what we do is in accordance with God's teachings...
- people keep on having a go at Islamists saying that they are out to take over the world. If they were actually more attune, basically every single one of the major world religions says exactly the same thing. At some moment in time, when the world is in trouble there will be a 'Second Coming' and that particular religion will 'reign' over the entire world. Everyone will be converted to that religion... The only reason why we don't talk about radical Buddhists, Jews, Christians, etc... is that relatively speaking there aren't as many (yes, they engage in some similarly desctructive activities as well (in the past as well as present))
London's Holy Turf War
- it's obvious that some of the people who have left the intelligence services and have gone on to 'whistle-blow' are 'false flag' operations (forget about the links below. Just stories interesting stories...). They are simply there to confuse the enemy as to the current local capabilities. It's similar to the old Soviet practice of sending through one counter-defector after another to confuse the enemy. Other times they are there to sure up public opinion to make them think that the current incumbent government are more/less competent then they seem, etc... 'Doctored intelligence' is probably more normal than you would like to believe (I remember there were stories about an entire section of the KGB dedicated to this a long time ago. I wouldn't be surprised if this practice still continues). To anyone outside of this 'atmosphere/environment' you would think that they were insane. To people who are used to it, that's life...
- almost always there are those who fail to integrate when they are forced to leave their homelands. Should we pay/give them a chance to migrate elsewhere (as long as it's economically viable, things are stable elsewhere, etc...)?
- I wanted to know more about 'Sharia Law'. The one thing that is obvious is that the media only tends to focus on the most extreme/bad examples (I assure you that if you have some time you look you can make any society in any part of the world look absolutely rediculous). Obviously, there are some aspects of 'Sharia Law' that are really interesting and elegant (no apparent concept of 'financial interest' which results in a much simpler financial system, explicit rules to force wealthy people to give back to the poor, etc...) while others seem shocking given how lenient our lives seem (relatively) in the West (it will help a lot if you some Arabic and want to view some of these lectures... It becomes very confusing if you don't) There are some radically different interpretions of what Islamic life/religion/culture should be like as well... The term 'Jihad' can be interpreted as both 'violent resistence' as well as another one that revolves around spiritual interpretation and doing your best to make the world a better place in the future....
Islamic Legal Philosophy  (Yasir Qadhi, Jasser Auda & Tariq Ramadan)
The Battle for British Islam full Documentary HD 2015 !! 720p
Sharia Law 101 - the essential statistics
London's Holy Turf War
Documentary on Islam
SHARIAH LAW Myths vs Facts - Explaining Sharia Law to non-Muslims _ Dr. Sabeel Ahmedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KValbyHyJIM
How Is Sharia Law Dangerous for Western Society
Debate - Does Sharia Law Negate Human Rights
Ahmadi Muslims Debate Sharia Law with One Law for All (Maryam Namazie) at UCL
Are You Afraid of Sharia Law - Haroon Moghul
What is Islamic Sharia Law by Sh. Abdool Rahman Khan
Sharia and Other Religious Laws
Your fatwa does not apply here _ Karima Bennoune _ TEDxExeter
- one obvious (and probably already used) mechanism to break the propaganda cycle may be to promote alternative/peaceful preachers and/or religions (feeds into propaganda by being biased though...). Also, to break the cycle of enmity around the world by using commercial media networks to occasionally (but regularly and with minimum standards/criteria based on international standards. Could simply be re-broadcast online documentaries by random journalists. Minimal cost to everyone involved) give an idea of what life for people and things are really like on the other side of the world as opposed to what some people would like us to believe... Possibly, even consider opening the doors of all religions to all (within reason. There are already some programs like this)? Get to understand one anothers problems and help to fix them locally. Kill the problem further up the chain if at all possible?
The Islamic State (Full Length)
ISIS Tilting the Chess Board - The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power - H. van Lynden lecture
- if you're honest our problems are very minor when compared to elsewhere
Q and A 22 June 2015 ep21 Shaky Zaky Mallah
- it's obvious that a lot of people favour 'enforced peace' where a military force is permanently required in order to maintain the peace. I'm on the other side (though I obviously have low neo-con desires). Long term deployment requires resources, lives, etc... It also means that you can afford not to build systems/structures to help maintain peace without an external force
- it's clear that ISIS have already 'dug in' and established means of countering 'aerial bombing'. The irony here is that Russian style 'carpet bombing' has been portrayed as 'inhumane' but it's probably the quickest way of 'clearing territory' (Note stats in previous blog post which indicate numbers may be similar between percentage of dumb vs guided bombs between US/Allies and other forces). They (and others including the US and it's allies) have been dropping leaflets/communicating their intentions prior to bombing. Thereafter, hopefully the people in question leave and bombers run through the area. If you 'carpet bomb' (or close to) you can clear more areas/structures quickly then precision bombing where foot soldiers are needed and intelligence to 'clear' building after building individually... A line of advancement for ground toops is easier... and there are less places to hide which could lead to a higher likelihood of longer term guerilla warfare. This strategy comes at an obvious cost. Massive, possibly un-required property destruction... Once you clear through the territory, you herd people into areas where you can 'clear' their status (rebel/terrorist or not. I know, easier said than done). You can rebuild buildings, it's much more difficult to bring people back to the world of the living
- a non-lethal/destructive version of this could just involve sonic (and other non-lethal) weapons or other crowd control mechanisms. Keep on using them until you flush all people out of an area. Herd them, clear their status, etc... Another alternative is to use sleeping aides on the local water supply (or use it in aerosol form (perhaps even seed clouds). Time delayed release agents or micro/nano-capsules with no advance warning to reduce chances of precautionary measures. Woudl break down naturally after a period of time to ensure water supply is not permanently contaminated. Guessing Soviets/Russians and US would have strong research expertise in this area based on some information that has leaked about some of their intelligence/defense/medical research). Obvious problem is dosage and getting it mixed with civilian presecriptions which could create complications, etc... Easier to 'clear' areas when people are asleep/dozed off. Practicallity, cost, etc? Decentralise distribution it so that local citizens have non-lethal means of defending themselves and finding an exit route? Obvious possible, big issues here with responsible distribution
The Drug Fueling Conflict In Syria
- the irony is that technically the 'sourge of terrorism' isn't that large. More people die from car accidents, unhealthy food, etc... I think these people are looking at the problem too simplistically. Think about the number of people who have been displaced in Syria alone from a relatively small number of terrorists...Cameron to set out Syria strategy to MPs within days
- one obvious problem with China's rapid rise rise is that they've had to adapt so quickly/learn so much in such a short space of time. Even if they don't want to interfere in the affairs of other countries they may have to. Think about how the various empires have had naval escorts of civilian trade. Should other countries be forced to protect Chinese trade even if the Chinese are economically and militarily stronger in future? In future, China may be forced to live up to it's responsibilities as global player in spite of what it may want to do...
Xi calls for structural reform of military by 2020
China Nato Anti-Piracy Drills
- if you listen some people it feels as though we create the problem ourselves at times. The reason for some of the strangeness in policy is sometimes down to political acceptablity. Some of it seems completely crazy though. One former intelligence officer I've heard said that a group of people meeting with a truck, arms, is enough to warrant a drone 'signature attack' (they could be farmers given the remoteness of some of territories we're talking about here). Where/should you draw the line? Shouldn't this be a public disussion? At times, it feels like the US/Allies were fooled into bombing Libya, Yemen, Iraq, etc... (if you know something of military strategy this could also be to cause instability in the enemy (Iran, Syria, Russia, etc...)) so that ISIS could gain a foothold. Hence, the carefulness in deployment of military force in Syria... Information from operators/troops in the area doesn't match up with what you hear/see in the media (listen to the relevant episodes on SOFREP Radio. It's interesting that there were a lot of clues to indicate that troop training wasn't going well in Iraq, that accounts by the US administration provided and that by troops are different, etc...)...
The CIA, NSA, and DHS and Counterterrorism
Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism
Unmanned - America's Drone Wars • FULL DOCUMENTARY FILM • BRAVE NEW FILMS
Counter-terrorism - Terror Technology - HISTORY DOCUMENTARY
International Perspectives on Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Ignoring U.S. Destabilization of Libya, GOP Benghazi Hearing Asks Clinton All the Wrong Questions
- it's easy to be critical in every one of these circumstances here. The obvious question, what would you do? How would it stack up against what is currently happening (and being done) throughout the world?

- the Soviets/Russia and the US have engaged in what feel like crazy experimentation at times. The MK Ultra program was basically research into 'mind control'...
MKULTRA Documentary  CIA Mind Control Research   Human Experiments in the United States
America's Secret War - MKULTRA Mind Control
More Proof the CIA Tried to Use Subliminals to Brainwash America
Alex Jones Documentary HD State Of Mind No Ads The Science of Ultimate Social Mind Control 720p

- didn't realise there were so many skydiving animals nowadays
Skydiving cats cause uproar

- automated conversion of webpages to PDF software options

- interesting facts/statistics about our 'heart rate'

- promising new technologies to increase energy density

- how much did mathematical patterns play in the works of Bach?

- getting image metadata from the Linux CLI

- fixing Pioneer CDJ DJ Deck problems

- Ableton Live keyboard shortcuts

- benchmarking Joomla performance

- Every day Jews are stabbed, slashed, shot, and murdered on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Beersheba. And every day the world lies about “violence on both sides,” as if Netanyahu and Israel are inciting Jews to take knives and stab Palestinians the way that Palestinian clerics on the PA payroll and Mahmoud Abbas are doing about Jews.

There can be only one conclusion. Jewish blood is cheap and getting cheaper by the day. I know of no other ethnic or religious group on earth who face daily incitement to genocide with the world making not even a peep of protest.
- The United States' top fighter jet, the Lockheed Martin F-22, has recently required more than 30 hours of maintenance for every hour in the skies, pushing its hourly cost of flying to more than $44,000, a far higher figure than for the warplane it replaces, confidential Pentagon test results show.

The aircraft's radar-absorbing metallic skin is the principal cause of its maintenance troubles, with unexpected shortcomings -- such as vulnerability to rain and other abrasion -- challenging Air Force and contractor technicians since the mid-1990s, according to Pentagon officials, internal documents and a former engineer.

While most aircraft fleets become easier and less costly to repair as they mature, key maintenance trends for the F-22 have been negative in recent years, and on average from October last year to this May, just 55 percent of the deployed F-22 fleet has been available to fulfill missions guarding U.S. airspace, the Defense Department acknowledged this week. The F-22 has never been flown over Iraq or Afghanistan.

Sensitive information about troubles with the nation's foremost air-defense fighter is emerging in the midst of a fight between the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress over whether the program should be halted next year at 187 planes, far short of what the Air Force and the F-22's contractors around the country had anticipated.

"It is a disgrace that you can fly a plane [an average of] only 1.7 hours before it gets a critical failure" that jeopardizes success of the aircraft's mission, said a Defense Department critic of the plane who is not authorized to speak on the record. Other skeptics inside the Pentagon note that the planes, designed 30 years ago to combat a Cold War adversary, have cost an average of $350 million apiece and say they are not a priority in the age of small wars and terrorist threat
- “Putin thinks he is God, who can not only rule over people’s fates around the world but also control the flow of time and the expansion of space,” Parkohomenko said. “He is above all the concerns we have here on the ground, I believe that this is incurable.”
- The irony here is that Putin’s intervention has changed the strategic calculus in Syria precisely because it is happening on a scale that Barack Obama or Cameron do not contemplate, because they are not wanton warmongers. They are mindful of public opinion and hesitate to put soldiers’ and civilian lives at risk. They run their interventions past freely elected legislatures. If the prime minister has chosen to abandon his plan to ask parliament for permission to bomb Isis, knowing he would lose the vote, it can be read as a symptom of democracy working properly. If the result is a spur towards more rigorous diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the Syrian conflict, all the better.

But we can hardly congratulate ourselves for sidestepping the quagmire. The opposite of western assertiveness in this case has turned out to be a policy of inviting despots and terrorists to fight each other to a standstill, while leaving the civilian population to fend for itself. It may feel safe to be a bystander at such a scene, but it does not feel innocent.
- "We believe that there should be no extension of British military action into Syria unless there is a coherent international strategy that has a realistic chance of defeating ISIL and of ending the civil war in Syria," the MPs concluded.
- The United States and Russia are the only two countries who maintain a triad. We’re about to spend scads of money modernizing that triad, including replacing the most advanced bomber in the world with the next more advanced bomber in the world. We don’t need to reinvest in a nuclear program meant to destroy Soviet air defenses in 1985. How large a deterrent we need is an argument worth having, but in the meantime, let’s stop trying to refight the Cold War. That mission’s already been accomplished.
- "If the trend to smaller and smaller numbers of weapon system prime contractors continues, one can foresee a future in which the department has, at most, two or three very large suppliers for all the major weapons systems that we acquire," the Pentagon's acquisition chief, Frank Kendall, told reporters. "The department would not consider this to be a positive development and the American public should not either. ... With size comes power, and the department's experience with large defense contractors is that they are not hesitant to use this power for corporate advantage."
- “Good morning, ma’am,” a member of the uniformed Secret Service once greeted Hillary Clinton.
“F— off,” she replied.
That exchange is one among many that active and retired Secret Service agents shared with Ronald Kessler, author of “First Family Detail,” a compelling look at the intrepid personnel who shield America’s presidents and their families — and those whom they guard.
- Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Wednesday that he hoped his tax plan would turn the United States into a tax haven.

In an interview with CNBC, the former neurosurgeon said he would drastically cut the U.S. corporate tax rate to between 15 and 20 percent. "I want us to become a tax haven for people because it also becomes an opportunity haven for people," Carson said.

Praising tax havens as engines of opportunity is bizarre. The purpose of tax havens isn't to invest in the local economy -- it's to park large sums of often ill-gotten money and do as little as possible with it. The economies of tax havens are a lot like the bank vaults they are built on -- stagnant. There's a reason that the Cayman Islands and havens like it are not centers of innovation and opportunity.
- The thing is, we need as many Syrians in the country to pick up and AK-47 and fight a war with ISIS. If all those people run away, especially young healthy men who can fight, then we have no soldiers to oust Assad & ISIS & Al Nusura & anybody else.

We need soldiers on the ground to do the work. If all those Syrians who want to run away and not fight for their country, I'm sorry but I have no sympathy for them. The US was founded in a trial by fire and blood. Every great country needs to oust their corrupt & evil government by force before they can make a solid new government. You can't expect the West to clean up after the Middle East all by itself, we need boots on the ground, even if they are just regular civilians trained to be a conscript army.
- You always hear of the celebrity defectors. They write best-selling books and appear on television. They can earn tens of thousands of dollars for an evening at a speaking engagement. They are eloquent as they tell their harrowing stories of dangerous flights from extreme oppression.

But there is sometimes a darker side to the stories of those who flee their homeland.

In South Korea, the statistics reveal a truth. The country's unification ministry says that 15% of the defectors who die each year kill themselves - more than three times the suicide rate for the population in general, and this is a country that consistently has the highest suicide rate of all the 34 industrialised countries in the OECD.
- It is generally accepted that the cost of the aircraft and crew of a carrier are roughly equal to the ship's purchase price.
- WASHINGTON — A now-defunct Defense Department office tasked to build a compressed natural gas automobile filling station in Afghanistan spent an "exorbitant" $43 million on the facility, according John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR).

DoD awarded Central Asian Engineering a contract to build the station for just under $3 million, but SIGAR found that between 2011 and 2014 the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations (TFBSO) had spent nearly $40 million extra.
"One of the most troubling aspects of this project is that the Department of Defense claims that it is unable to provide an explanation for the high cost of the project or to answer any questions concerning its planning, implementation, or outcome," he wrote.
The SIGAR report states that no evidence exists that TFBSO conducted a feasibility study before diving into the project. If TFBSO had done so, Sopko says, "they might have noted that Afghanistan lacks the natural gas transmission and local distribution infrastructure necessary to support a viable market for CNG vehicles."

The average Afghan likely can't afford the cost of converting a car to run on compressed natural gas, which can cost about $700 per car. The average annual income for an Afghan is about $690, the report notes.
- “While Russia’s little green men in Crimea are widely known, insufficient attention has been paid to China’s little blue men in the South China Sea,” he said. “It’s so different from what the US does. People aren’t familiar with it, it’s hard to wrap their heads around it.”
“This is not a type of force we understand well enough,” Erickson said. “They could conceivably achieve some advantages through elements of surprise and confusion. Then even if we know who they are and what they’re doing we might have great difficulty dealing with them because of our rules of engagement. China could go out of its way to mis-portray some of these personnel as random patriotic fishermen, as vocal ‘residents’ of these ‘islands’ in the Spratlys. They’re very good at that kind of propaganda warfare.”
- “The enemy has started its work,” Jafari told a crowd at an event billed as the first anti-American event after the nuclear agreement. “We must understand the threat of infiltration and prevent certain actions.”

Marking “Fight Against International Arrogance and Imperialism Day” on Nov. 4, the Revolutionary Guards followed Jafari’s warning with their own statement on the dangers of “infiltration” and “sedition.”
- At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.

The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.

The explosive devices are a “hallmark weapon” of Iran’s Quds force, a paramilitary group that operates outside of Iran’s borders, according to sources familiar with the report. It has been determined that only Iranian-backed operatives use these weapons in Iraq.

U.S. military leaders disclosed in testimony before the Senate that Iranian terror activities have claimed the lives of around 500 U.S. soldiers, which accounts for at least 14 percent of all American casualties in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.
“Is it sound policy to give money to a terrorist nation that is at war with us?” Stethem asked, referring to the more than $150 billion in cash assets that will be released to Iran as a result of the recent nuclear accord.
- “The spread of a shallow understanding of Islam renders this situation critical, as highly vocal elements within the Muslim population at large — extremist groups — justify their harsh and often savage behavior by claiming to act in accord with God’s commands, although they are grievously mistaken,” said A. Mustofa Bisri, the spiritual leader of the group, Nahdlatul Ulama, an Indonesian Muslim organization that claims more than 50 million members.

“According to the Sunni view of Islam,” he said, “every aspect and expression of religion should be imbued with love and compassion, and foster the perfection of human nature.”
- The CIA-led policy in the Middle East works like this. If a regime is deemed to be unfriendly to the U.S., topple it. If a competitor like the Soviet Union or Russia has a foothold in the region, try to push it out. If this means arming violent insurgencies, including Sunni jihadists, and thereby creating mayhem: so be it. And if the result is terrorist blowback around the world by the forces created by the US, then double down on bombing and regime change.

In rare cases, great presidents learn to stand up to the CIA and the rest of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. JFK became one of the greatest presidents in American history when he came to realize the awful truth that his own military and CIA advisors had contributed to the onset of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The CIA-led Bay of Pigs fiasco and other CIA blunders had provoked a terrifying response from the Soviet Union. Recognizing that the U.S. approach had contributed to bringing the world to the brink, Kennedy bravely and successfully stood up to the warmongering pushed by so many of his advisors and pursued peace, both during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. He thereby saved the world from nuclear annihilation and halted the unchecked proliferation of nuclear arms.
- If the research is successful, the scientists said that such a high energy density will be comparable to gasoline, enabling an electric car with a battery that is a fifth the cost and a fifth the weight of those currently on the market to drive from London to Edinburgh on a single charge.

However, the researchers said that, while the results are promising, there is still a lot of work to do, and that practical lithium-air batteries are still at least a decade away.

"While there are still plenty of fundamental studies that remain to be done to iron out some of the mechanistic details, the current results are extremely exciting," said Grey. "We are still very much at the development stage, but we've shown that there are solutions to some of the tough problems associated with this technology."

- as usual thanks to all of the individuals and groups who purchase and use my goods and services

Cheesy Tomato Based Pasta Recipe, Adding Subtitles to Video Files, and More

This is the latest in my series on quick, easy, and tasty meals:   http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2018/08/cheapeasyhealthy-tomato-based-pa...