Analysis Of The Covid-19 Pandemic

Herschel Smith · 18 Mar 2020 · 37 Comments

UPDATE 3/29 A few links, a few comments about those links, and then a link dump. Current trajectory of Covid-19.  I'll update the curve fit as often as I'm able to. Coronavirus Could be Chimera of Two Different Viruses, Genome Analysis Suggests. In December 2019, 27 of the first 41 people hospitalised (66 percent) passed through a market located in the heart of Wuhan city in Hubei province. But, according to a study conducted at Wuhan Hospital, the very first human case identified…… [read more]

    NRA Will Oppose Obama Re-Election

    BY Herschel Smith
    8 years, 11 months ago

    The NRA has staked out a position on another Obama presidency:

    The National Rifle Association will oppose President Barack Obama’s re-election next year, because the group expects an assault on Second Amendment rights if the president serves a second term, the organization’s leader said Wednesday.

    Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president and CEO, told The Associated Press on Wednesday — the eve of its annual convention in Pittsburgh — that the group’s opposition to President Obama is “no surprise,” but it felt a need to come out early and strongly.

    LaPierre believes the president has tried to “fog the issue through the 2012 election” and obscure his long-standing opposition to gun owners’ rights.

    “President Obama gives lip service to the Second Amendment, but what I really believe is going on is it’s just not a convenient time for a fight on the Second Amendment” politically for Obama, LaPierre said.

    LaPierre said Obama, as an Illinois state senator, voted for or otherwise supported handgun bans, semi-automatic weapons bans, eliminating right-to-carry laws and raising excise taxes on guns, among other things.

    “Then he announced for president and leafleted the country saying there’s no difference between Barack Obama and John McCain,” LaPierre said.

    Although Congress approved expanded rights for people to bring guns onto Amtrak trains and carry them in national parks during his first term, President Obama’s administration includes “people who’ve spent their lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment,” LaPierre said, naming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Obama’s two Supreme Court appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

    “You’ve got two Supreme Court nominations that pretty well throw down the gauntlet about what this election’s about,” LaPierre said. “One more (Obama) Supreme Court nominee breaks the back of the Second Amendment in this country.”

    “That’s what’s in store for gun owners in this country” if President Obama is re-elected, LaPierre said.

    The issue of firearms in National Parks is a ruse.  Mr. Obama didn’t give us that – the Congress did, and Mr. Obama merely acquiesced.  Besides, I submitted a FOIA request for crime statistics in National Parks over the past twenty years, and have compared the data for 2010 with previous years.  The great apocolypse of murderous rampages and robberies in National Parks due to legal carry didn’t occur (I will be releasing that data soon).

    But LaPierre has a point, in that the reaction in the lower courts to McDonald v. Chicago isn’t certain, while it is certain that at least one justice has it on her agenda to overrule the Heller decision.

    My decision to keep my NRA membership was a wise one.

    Obama’s April 13 Speech: No We Won’t!

    8 years, 11 months ago

    The reaction to President Obama’s April 13 speech at George Washington University has been, predictably, partisan and all over the map.

    Democrats have hailed it as “real leadership” and Republicans have denounced it as harsh and misleading.

    After reading the text of the speech, I have an altogether different reaction.  I wonder if any of you share it.

    Obama’s speech leaves me with a profound sense of loss.

    It is a sense of deep disbelief, that we, as a nation, could have drifted so far from our original moorings that we are reduced to this kind of speech.   That feeling is deepened by the events of  early April where the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, faced with a 2011 Budget they inherited from a reckless Democrat-controlled Congress that is on course to spend more than $1.7 trillion beyond revenues, did not have the nerve to push for more than a pittance in spending reductions.

    Even the budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R- OH) is no, real encouragement.  It takes such small steps over such a long period of time and does nothing to address the looming budget killer– Social Security– that it requires an impossible leap of faith to believe that intervening elections will not derail even this modest attempt at fiscal sanity.

    Now we are being told that the national debt limit must— MUST!– be raised again just one year after it was raised to $14.294 trillion.

    A friend recently pointed me to an opinion piece by David Brooks in The New York Times that is notable only for its inane quality.  I include it here as just a sample of how utterly clueless the State-run Media seem to be about current events.

    Brooks’ main point is that, while everything may look much the same in today’s political landscape as it has since the 1980’s, his clairvoyance is telling him that some sort of change is coming:

    If you dive deeper into the polling, you see the country is not mobilized by this sense of crisis but immobilized by it. Raising taxes on the rich is popular, but nearly every other measure that might be taken to address the fiscal crisis is deeply unpopular. Sixty-three percent of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling; similar majorities oppose measures to make that sort of thing unnecessary.

    There is a negativity bias in the country, especially among political independents and people earning between $30,000 and $75,000 (who have become extremely gloomy). It is hard to rally majorities behind immigration, energy or tax reform.

    At some point something is going to happen to topple the political platform — maybe a debt crisis, maybe when China passes the United States as the world’s largest economy, perhaps as early as 2016. At that point, we could see changes that are unimaginable today.

    New political forces will emerge from the outside or the inside. A semi-crackpot outsider like Donald Trump could storm the gates and achieve astonishing political stature. Alternatively, insiders like the Simpson-Bowles commission or the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Six” could assert authority and recreate a strong centrist political establishment, such as the nation enjoyed in the 1950s.

    Neither seems likely now. But in these circumstances, rule out nothing.

    Maybe it is just the cozy, isolated, elitist cocoon that Brooks inhabits, but it is fairly clear that the “new political forces” that Brooks is searching for have been on exhibition since 2009: the Tea Party movement.   How did Brooks miss the entire 2010 elections?  The enormous change in the House and even the Senate could not have slipped Brooks’ notice, could it?

    And what about the Union Mobs in Madison, Wisconsin, trying to intimidate duly elected officials from carrying out their duties (with the direct and coordinated aid of Democrat “flee-bagger” lawmakers who hid out in Illinois)?

    I am in my mid-forties, so my direct recollection of U.S. history prior to the early 1970’s is rather limited, but does anyone remember a time when the Federal government was so hamstrung and a President so disconnected from reality?

    Where does this lead us?  The U.S. is on a collision course with the proverbial, economic iceberg and what passes for leadership at the moment is debating whether our final meal should be in the dining room or out on the ship deck.

    The Great Escape – in Afghanistan!

    BY Herschel Smith
    8 years, 11 months ago

    Approximately three years ago the Taliban broke more than 1000 prisoners out of a prison near Kandahar, including some 400 Taliban fighters.  It’s happened again with more than 450 insurgents, but this time as a function of an innovative plan from both the inside and outside.

    The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville said prisoners did not break out but in fact people outside broke into the jail.

    More than 470 inmates at a prison in southern Afghanistan have escaped through a tunnel hundreds of metres long and dug from outside the jail.

    Officials in the city of Kandahar said many of those who escaped from Sarposa jail were Taliban insurgents.

    The Kandahar provincial governor’s office said at least 12 had since been recaptured but gave no further details.

    A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the escape was a “disaster” which should never have happened.

    Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said it had taken five months to build the 360m (1,180ft) tunnel to a cell within the political wing.

    He said it was dug from a house north-east of the prison that was rented by “friends” of the Taliban, and had to bypass security checkpoints and the main Kandahar-Kabul road.

    About 100 of those who escaped were Taliban commanders, he added. Most of the others are thought to have been insurgents. The prison holds about 1,200 inmates.

    “A tunnel hundreds of metres long was dug from the south of the prison into the prison and 476 political prisoners escaped last night,” said prison director General Ghulam Dastageer Mayar.

    One escapee told the BBC it had taken him about 30 minutes to walk the length of the tunnel. The escape took most of the night and vehicles were waiting at the exit point to take prisoners away.

    Kandahar’s provincial authorities said a search operation was under way.

    So far, only about a dozen of the prisoners have been recaptured. Police said they were looking for men without shoes – many escaped barefoot.

    The jailbreak is the second major escape from the prison in three years.

    In June 2008 a suicide bomber blew open the Kandahar prison gates and destroyed a nearby checkpoint, freeing about 900 prisoners, many of them suspected insurgents.

    After that, millions of pounds were spent upgrading the prison. The 2008 breakout was followed by a major upsurge in violence.

    The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says the escape is a further setback for security in the area, and for the fight against the insurgency.

    “This is a blow,” Afghan presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said. “A prison break of this magnitude, of course, points to a vulnerability.”

    The Afghan politician and former MP, Daoud Sultanzai, told the BBC that the escape exposed “the porousness of our security apparatus”.

    In the end it matters little from the vantage point of Taliban fighters in the countryside.  As I have observed before, given the catch-and-release program, the radicalization of half-way insurgents in these prisons, and the reflexive reversion to capture rather than kill, ISAF operations that capture insurgents are becoming a literal joke among the Taliban (see prior articles).  I pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to ISAF press releases that begin with “Taliban fighters detained …”

    If this is offensive to sensibilities, if this causes an outcry over advocacy of harsh rules of engagement, if this causes moral preening over the rules of war, then so be it.  Withdraw from Afghanistan and end the campaign now.  In either case, prisons do not work in counterinsurgency.  Kill them or let them go, but putting them into a fake justice system is a worthless enterprise.

    On another level, this is bad for the campaign in that it causes continued inability to trust anything associated with the Karzai regime, whether from ineptitude or malfeasance.


    Because Prisons Work So Well In Counterinsurgency

    Afghan Prison an Insurgent Breeding Ground

    Prisons Do Not Work In Counterinsurgency

    Hamid Karzai: Defeater of the High Value Target Program

    The Ineffectiveness of Prisons in Counterinsurgency

    Jirgas and the Release of Taliban Prisoners

    Prisons in Afghanistan

    Prisons in Counterinsurgency

    Hundreds of Taliban Loose After Prison Break

    Because Prisons Work So Well In Counterinsurgency

    BY Herschel Smith
    8 years, 11 months ago

    We’ve discussed the use of prisons in counterinsurgency before, but new reports are interesting, and maybe will even change our minds on the issue.

    The Government of Afghanistan decides to set free the jailed Taliban fighters from Afghan jails as part of the Afghan peace process aiming to reintegrate the Taliban rebels with the Afghan government, officials said in Kabul.

    The decision takes at the time that the transition of security responsibilities from the international forces to Afghan security forces will start at the mid of July 2011 which is enabling the international forces to pull out troops from Afghanistan.

    Officials said that the Afghan government and the reconciliation commission have freed more than 5,000 Taliban rebels from Afghan jails including the Bagram prison running by the United States forces.

    According to officials, they aim to encourage the Taliban fighters to give up violence and joint the Government of Afghanistan in an attempt to end up a decade of war in the country.

    Recently the Afghan security forces released more than 100 Taliban detainee from prison in Ghazni province in southern Afghanistan where is known as the Taliban stronghold.

    Officials in this province said they continue releasing jailed Taliban from government prisons based on the order of the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

    Members of the Afghan Peace Council said they took this decision as an “encouragement “for Taliban rebels to lay down arms and join the Afghan government.

    However, there are concerns that the newly released Taliban fighters will rejoin the Taliban and will take part in war against the international forces and the Afghan government.

    Responding to the concerns that majority of the newly released Taliban go back to Taliban and take part in war against the Afghan government and the international forces, the Afghan peace council said the newly released Taliban members give them “guarantee” that they will never go back to Taliban and stay with their families in Afghanistan.

    “We assure the newly freed Taliban members to protect them from night raids and detention by US forces and to find them jobs.” A member of the Afghan Peace Council said.

    Meanwhile, Afghan political experts said the reintegrated Taliban members somehow keep their ties with the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan and they are behind terroristic acts in the country.

    They said several jailed-free Taliban members were behind the killing of UN staff in Mazar-I-Sharif and during the protest against the burning of Quran by a Florida based priest.

    “Those Taliban members provoked the people to kill the UN staff and burn down their office in Balkh province.” Samad Ebrihiami an Afghan journalist and political expert told La

    “The jailed-free Taliban members were among the protestors and they were carrying small-arms with themselves.” adds Ebrihiami.

    He said this is big concern for the people in Afghanistan because the jailed-free Taliban members are living in nice houses and hotels in Kabul and other province and the Afghan government allows them to carry weapons for their security, and as he said, no one knows what these jailed-free Taliban are doing.

    By the way, the Afghan political analysts said freeing of Taliban members from Afghan jails will strengthen the Taliban and will increase the Afghan security crisis.

    But surely the Afghan political analysts are wrong about this, because, you know, prisons work so well in counterinsurgency.  Right?  Isn’t that why we’re spending all of this time and manpower and money imprisoning people?  Because it adds to the effectiveness of the campaign?  It adds so much, in fact, that it’s more important to guard prisoners than it is to go on patrol, find and kill insurgents.  Right?

    Obama on Passover

    BY Herschel Smith
    8 years, 11 months ago

    Quoth Moses, in Exodus 12:12-13.

    ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

    Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

    However, Mr. Obama has a different view of Passover.

    Passover recalls the bondage and suffering of Jews in Egypt and the miracle of the Exodus, but U.S. President Barack Obama says its message is reflected in Muslim uprisings.

    In his annual message, prior to his third straight participation in the Passover Seder, President Obama stated, “The story of Passover…instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. This year that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.”

    Having constructed a link between the Arab uprisings and Chosen People’s experiencing the miracles of the Creator that led them out of Egypt and towards the receiving of the Ten Commandments, the President concluded, “As Jewish families gather for this joyous celebration of freedom, let us all be thankful for the gifts that have been bestowed upon us, and let us work to alleviate the suffering, poverty, injustice, and hunger of those who are not yet free.”

    Passover, which is a Jewish holiday, but which Christians see as a pointer to salvation accomplished in Christ (“The new is in the old concealed, the old is in the new revealed”), is all about a sovereign God accomplishing salvation for His people.  It isn’t about what man does.  In fact, the whole account screams out against reliance on what man can accomplish in his own power and for his own purposes.  It calls mankind to recognize that the only contribution to his salvation is made by God.  Just as the Israelites were powerless against Pharaoh, man contributes nothing.

    Yet the best Mr. Obama can come up with is yet another reference to warmed over, recapitulated social gospel, that silly brand of Marxism that came from South of the border called liberation theology.  Worse still, he analogizes passover with a religion that has no concept of grace or mercy.

    This is one of the stupidest things I think I have ever heard the man say, and it betrays a fundamental ignorance of everything associated with classical religious doctrine.  I think it might be worse than merely attempting to recast the scene in his own image.  I think the man actually doesn’t understand anything associated with religious doctrine at even an elementary school child level.

    Struggle For Supremacy In Space: Chinese ASAT Tests

    8 years, 11 months ago

    Does anyone else get the feeling that we may have elected possibly the least qualified, least competent and worst ideologue to the Presidency at a time in history when we can least afford this kind of mistake?

    When I read this string of articles, that is exactly the feeling I get.   We may be witnessing a tsunami of policy errors that will be no less devastating to the U.S. than those that hit Japan recently.

    Here is a disturbing article in The Daily Telegraph that sets the stage:

    The “star wars” arms race was began in January 2007 when China shocked the White House by shooting down one of its weather satellite 530 miles above the Earth.

    The strike, which resulted in thousands of pieces of debris orbiting the earth, raised fears that the Chinese had the power to cause chaos by destroying US military and civilian satellites.

    In February 2008, America launched its own “test” strike to destroy a malfunctioning American satellite, which demonstrated to the Chinese it also had the capability to strike in space.

    America stated at the time that the strike was not a military test but a necessary mission to remove a faulty spy satellite.

    The leaked documents appear to show its true intentions.

    One month before the strike, the US criticised Beijing for launching its own “anti-satellite test”, noting: “The United States has not conducted an anti-satellite test since 1985.” In a formal diplomatic protest, officials working for Condoleezza Rice, the then secretary of state, told Beijing: “A Chinese attack on a satellite using a weapon launched by a ballistic missile threatens to destroy space systems that the United States and other nations use for commerce and national security. Destroying satellites endangers people.”


    A month after the Chinese strike, America shot down one of its own satellites, ostensibly to stop it returning to earth with a toxic fuel tank which would pose a health hazard. The Chinese did not believe the explanation.

    In secret dispatches, US officials indicated that the strike was, in fact, military in nature.

    This was the state of affairs as the Bush Administration wound down and the Obama Administration took over.  When the Chinese launched another ASAT test, the Obama Administration reacted:

    The most recent cable in the collection was sent from the office of Mrs Clinton in January 2010.

    It claimed that US intelligence detected that China had launched a fresh anti-satellite missile test. Crucially, Washington wanted to keep secret its knowledge that the missile test was linked to China’s previous space strikes.

    The cable, marked “secret” said the Chinese army had sent an SC-19 missile that successfully destroyed a CSS-X-11 missile about 150 miles above the Earth.

    “This test is assessed to have furthered both Chinese ASAT [anti-satellite] and ballistic missile defense technologies,” stated the memo to the US embassy in Beijing.

    Mrs Clinton’s cable stressed that “the Obama administration” retained the Bush-era concerns over Chinese space weapon plans.

    So far so good.  Until we come to this article by  Eli Lake in the Washington Times that points out that the U.S. is on the verge of agreeing to a European Union protocol on space activities that could hamper our ability to develop space capabilities while leaving the Chinese free rein:

    The administration has signaled that it is preparing to accept the European Union’s draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities with minimal changes to the document. An administration interagency review concluded last month that the code of conduct — aimed at reducing the amount of space debris that could collide into satellites — would not damage U.S. national interests in space or limit research and development into classified programs.

    The United States and France are expected Tuesday to sign a bilateral agreement to share data on space debris.

    Peter Marquez, who served as National Security Council director of space policy for President George W. Bush and for President Obama until Sept. 29, raised concerns about the U.S. strategy. He said it could lead other states to set limits on U.S. defenses in space.

    “Implementation of the space strategy is going to be key. International norms could unintentionally limit U.S. deployment and development of satellites that track orbital debris and other satellites in space,” he said.

    “It leaves open the door also for the United States to be forced to disclose the nature of its intelligence collection activities and capabilities from orbit.”

    Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the strategy fails because it does not adequately account for the Chinese threat to U.S. satellites. “One gets the impression from this document that the Obama administration simply wants to ignore the Chinese threat in hopes it will just go away,” he said. “There is apparently no consideration of developing U.S. active defenses for space that would more effectively deter China.”

    This President is doing major damage to virtually every aspect of the United States.  Here we find that he is possibly eroding our future defenses against attacks on our vital communications and information systems to the Chinese.  At this rate, 2013 may be too late.

    Getting the Narrative Right on Southern Afghanistan

    BY Herschel Smith
    8 years, 11 months ago

    The Small Wars Journal has an interview of Professor Theo Farrell and MG Nick Carter in which the following summary statement is provided:

    There were very high hopes for Marjah. General McChrystal was looking for a ‘strategic accelerator’, something dramatic that would restore momentum to the ISAF campaign. He was looking in Helmand to inflict a strategic defeat on the Taliban, and to demonstrate the virtue of his new approach to local and home audiences. This explains the ill-advised term that there would be “government in a box” for Marjah, implying that shortly after the Marines pushed in, you would have a government established almost immediately. The Marines were perfectly on board with the idea that they could achieve such quick progress.

    When the ISAF pushed in Marjah, they discovered a very different picture. What they expected to find in Marjah was a relatively wealthy population of mostly land owners, many involved in drug trade, but confident people with pretty good economic resources. And as long as you got them on board by demonstrating the virtues of the Afghan governance, they would help keep the Taliban at bay. What ISAF discovered was that those working the land were not owners but down-trodden tenants. Also the local infrastructure was far worse than anticipated. Thus the problem was twofold: first, it was going to take some time to deliver governance and improve infrastructure; second, it was very easy for the Taliban to intimidate the locals. So whilst the Marines cleared Marjah quickly, the hold proved more troublesome.

    This is just horrible analysis.  Generals McChrystal and Rodriguez did indeed believe in the “government in a box” theory, but the U.S. Marines came from Anbar, Iraq.  They know exactly what it takes to effect counterinsurgency.  But Michael Yon tells me that to a man the officer corps of the British Army believes in the government in a box theory of counterinsurgency, probably leading in no small part to the friction between the Marines and their British advisers (it still isn’t clear to me why the Marines have British advisers).

    A somewhat clearer narrative is emerging.  Our friend Gian Gentile argues that what’s happening in Helmand is different, and points to a “story running today by Rajiv C in the Washington Post on “progress” in South Afghanistan. His article to be sure shows that progress has been made, but it has come about at the barrel of a gun through death and destruction, and not through the winning of the trust of the local population. If there was any success in Vietnam during the latter years of that war with pacification it was from the same thing; combat produced massed movements of people from rural hamlets and villages into government controlled areas. But again the point is that persuading the people to side with the government and against the communist enemy never happened.”

    Gian is referring to this report on signs of progress in Southern Afghanistan at The Washington Post.

    SANGIN, AFGHANISTAN — Signs of change have sprouted this spring amid the lush fields and mud-brick villages of southern Afghanistan.

    In Sangin, a riverine area that has been the deadliest part of the country for coalition troops, a journey between two bases that used to take eight hours because of scores of roadside bombs can now be completed in 18 minutes.

    In Zhari district, a once-impenetrable insurgent redoubt on the western outskirts of Kandahar city, residents benefiting from U.S.-funded jobs recently hurled a volley of stones at Taliban henchmen who sought to threaten them.

    And in Arghandab district, a fertile valley on Kandahar’s northern fringe where dozens of U.S. soldiers have been felled by homemade mines, three gray-bearded village elders made a poignant appearance at a memorial service last month for an Army staff sergeant killed by one of those devices.

    Those indications of progress are among a mosaic of developments that point to a profound shift across a swath of Afghanistan that has been the focus of the American-led military campaign: For the first time since the war began nearly a decade ago, the Taliban is commencing a summer fighting season with less control and influence of territory in the south than it had the previous year.

    “We start this year in a very different place from last year,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top coalition commander in Afghanistan, said in a recent interview.

    The security improvements have been the result of intense fighting and the use of high-impact weapons systems not normally associated with the protect-the-population counterinsurgency mission.

    In Sangin, Zhari and Arghandab — the three most insurgent-ridden districts in the south — the cost in American lives and limbs since the summer has been far greater than in any other part of the country. More than 40 Marines have been killed in Sangin in the past nine months, and three dozen more have lost both legs. The Army brigade responsible for Zhari and part of Arghandab has lost 63 soldiers since July.

    Read the entire report.  The Marines have been learning their way through Sangin and other parts of Afghanistan, but they have been in Helmand a long time, and already had a bloody history in Now Zad by the time Marjah rolled around.  No Marine seriously believed that he could bring Shangi La to Helmand by toting along a governor to adjudicate disputes and get largesse.  Answering for why McChrystal and Rodriguez believed in the government in a box view of counterinsurgency is the same thing as answering why the British believe it.   But don’t drag the Marines into this dispute.  It isn’t their debate.  They do things differently.

    But Rajiv’s account weapons not normally used in counterinsurgency is odd and inexplicable.  Remember Marine combat action in Fallujah?

    It’s important to get the narrative right so that we know what worked and what doesn’t.  Making excuses for McChrystal’s “ill advised term” and blaming the U.S. Marines or some other exigency for Marjah or Sangin or some other part of Helmand isn’t adding anything to the discussion.  And connecting the use of heavy weapons with something other than counterinsurgency is selling a “bill of goods” to the reader.

    Al Qaida Closer to Nukes? Don’t Bother Telling Anyone

    8 years, 12 months ago

    Here is a highly disturbing article from February that I would bet most of us never saw featured in any major, U.S. newspaper or given any time on the network news.

    According to the article:

    Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build “dirty” bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.

    A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11”.

    Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing “workable and efficient” biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

    Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.

    At a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaida was plotting a program of “dirty radioactive IEDs”, makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.

    Lest anyone think that this is an over-reaction by nervous State Department diplomats, the Indian security services have provided their own confirmation:
    The briefings also state that al-Qaida documents found in Afghanistan in 2007 revealed that “greater advances” had been made in bioterrorism than was previously realized. An Indian national security adviser told American security personnel in June 2008 that terrorists had made a “manifest attempt to get fissile material” and “have the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb”.

    Does anyone have the increasing feeling that we are trying to build ever stronger sandcastles?   The tide is coming in.  The U.S. had better have a well-thought out response.

    On second thought, given the current Administration and its responses to international crises so far, the most sensible response may be on a personal level:  food, medicines, water and ammunition.

    Taliban: One Day We Will Reach The Gates Of America

    BY Herschel Smith
    8 years, 12 months ago

    AlJazeera has an interesting video of Taliban fighters taking over bases abandoned by U.S. troops in the Pech Valley.  This is a well rehearsed theme here at TCJ.  What’s interesting about this report is what one Taliban fighter says.

    Oops.  Uh oh!  “Our jihad against American troops will continue and one day we will reach the gates of America.”  Oops.  This dude didn’t follow the script.  You know.  The script that goes “We are the Taliban and you can negotiate with us if you’ll only leave Afghanistan because we aren’t al Qaeda, are interested only in local governance and an Islamic Afghanistan, and aren’t concerned with global issues.”  Yea, that script.  That’s the one.

    I guess he has learned that global stuff from his ten years of exposure to al Qaeda fighters and the fact that they swim in the same waters.  I guess this also rather calls out our own narrative on the same subject as rather stupid.  Yes, I’m sure that it does.

    Prior: Al Qaeda Makes a Comeback in the Pech Valley

    TSA Gropes Little Girl

    BY Herschel Smith
    9 years ago

    Folks I have pointed this out before, but it stands repeating just so that everyone is aware of the facts.  As anyone is aware who has access to highly secure facilities, the practice you just watched has no positive consequence on security.  It adds nothing.  In fact, it detracts from security because it encourages rubes and morons to believe that something positive is occurring to enhance their safety and security.  The whole process is a farce – a lie.

    Security can be achieved by X-Ray machines (used in airports), metal detectors (used in airports), luggage searches (used in airports), and explosive trace detection portals (not used in airports).  The most effective way to ensure real security is to fire people like the one you just watched groping the little girl and purchase detection portals.  But we would only do that if we cared about security rather than jobs programs.

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