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14 December 2009


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Fred Strack

My, my looks like someone is actually reading your blog and is concerned about retired officers conflicts of interest in lobbying the military.

Perhpas they will ask DynCorp about the conflict of interest Mr. McCaffrey has.

My current employer's policy is not allow the purchasing staff to meet with former employees operating in a sales capacity for 3 years. Perhaps a similar 'no compete' or no consultng policy should be instituted, or enforced if it already exists.

N. M. Salamon


Was aware of that Taliban offer; though the situation has changed since then: the USA is now bankrupt for all intents and purposes for any foreign adventurism. The mess is left for the next two generations, and they will have to pay for it with deminished oil supplies [possibly only from USA and Canada [for all the ent exporters have very high internal use rise, thus lowering availability for EXPORT - possibly non in 10 years -Globe and Mail article by Mr. Rubin].

Thogh thanks for reminidng us of the Bush Folly - no Bin Laden, trillion+ $ war excercis, lots of body bags and very serious physiological and psychological wounds on 300 000 + USA soliders.

Clifford Kiracofe

Charles I

"Bush refused an early offer by the Taliban to hand Bin Laden over to a 3rd country for trial."

Are you referring to the Sudanese government offer to turn UBL over to us? That was during the CLINTON Administration 1996.

"U.S. Was Foiled Multiple Times in Efforts To Capture Bin Laden or Have Him Killed
Sudan's Offer to Arrest Militant Fell Through After Saudis Said No

By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 3, 2001; Page A01

The government of Sudan, employing a back channel direct from its president to the Central Intelligence Agency, offered in the early spring of 1996 to arrest Osama bin Laden and place him in Saudi custody, according to officials and former officials in all three countries.

The Clinton administration struggled to find a way to accept the offer in secret contacts that stretched from a meeting at a Rosslyn hotel on March 3, 1996, to a fax that closed the door on the effort 10 weeks later. Unable to persuade the Saudis to accept bin Laden, and lacking a case to indict him in U.S. courts at the time, the Clinton administration finally gave up on the capture."

You may recall that the Taliban was created by Pakistan with Saudi financing and assistance. The US, one might say, gave a wink and a nod...yes, I know some will deny this blah, blah....why did Madeleine Albright refuse to turn over to the House International Relations appropriate data on the Taliban and US policy under Clinton?

I think it is safe to say that there has been a rethink about our vaunted "ally" Pakistan in some USG circles. Hence, a desire for better working relations with India...

Charles I

Holy shinola subKommander, I thought the lawyer jokes were cruel though apt but that is downright visceral humour made me laugh bravo.

Going to my Dr to morrow gotta tell her this one, thanks

Cloned Poster

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, the wars, jobs, Savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc......

I called Lifeline.

Got a call center in Pakistan . I told them I was suicidal.

They all got excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Charles I

No Clifford, I'm talking about post 9/11 Bush as in:

"Bush rejects Taliban offer to surrender bin Laden

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington

Monday, 15 October 2001

After a week of debilitating strikes at targets across Afghanistan, the Taliban repeated an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, only to be rejected by President Bush.

After a week of debilitating strikes at targets across Afghanistan, the Taliban repeated an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, only to be rejected by President Bush.

The offer yesterday from Haji Abdul Kabir, the Taliban's deputy prime minister, to surrender Mr bin Laden if America would halt its bombing and provide evidence against the Saudi-born dissident was not new but it suggested the Taliban are increasingly weary of the air strikes, which have crippled much of their military and communications assets.

The move came as the Taliban granted foreign journalists unprecedented access to the interior for the first time. Reporters were escorted to the village of Karam in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban said up to 200 civilians were killed in an American bombardment last Wednesday.

The reporters saw clear evidence that many civilians had been killed in the attack, though they could not confirm the number of deaths. "I ask America not to kill us," pleaded Hussain Khan, who said he had lost four children in the raid. In the rubble of one house, the remains of an arm stuck out from beneath a pile of bricks. A leg had been uncovered near by.

Another old man said: "We are poor people, don't hit us. We have nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. We are innocent people." Washington has not commented on the bombardment.

Mr Kabir said: "If America were to step back from the current policy, then we could negotiate." Mr bin Laden could be handed over to a third country for trial, he said. "We could discuss which third country."

But as American warplanes entered the second week of the bombing campaign, Washington rejected the Taliban offer out of hand. "When I said no negotiations I meant no negotiations," Mr Bush said. "We know he's guilty. Turn him over. There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. . . . "


Shoot first, try later.

Then they let him get away and here we are.

Clifford Kiracofe

Charles I,

Thanks much for clarification. So then we are talking about TWO US administrations somehow letting UBL go his merry way.....something a little fishy here???

I remember the case of Sandy Berger stealing terrorism related official US documents from the National Archives. Wonder if that activity included anything relating to the Sudan proposal on UBL or other UBL related material which has not been made public:

"On July 19, 2004, it was revealed that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating Berger for unauthorized removal of classified documents in October 2003 from a National Archives reading room prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission, by stuffing them down his pants. The documents were five classified copies of a single report commissioned from Richard Clarke, covering internal assessments of the Clinton administration's handling of the unsuccessful 2000 millennium attack plots. An associate of Berger said Berger took one copy in September 2003 and four copies in October 2003.[14]"

Charles I

A little fsihy!? No Clifford, its a big f*****g shark circling the waters of reality to make sure we never get too good a look and see what's really going on below the surface.

And and thus Bush had two shots at him - 3rd nation trial, then they let him walk out of Tora Bora.

We are still in Plato's Cave. The view has been refined, upon the discovery of the outside world. We no longer look at shadows on the wall, a reflection of an exterior reality and causation.

Now we all look into a shiny new pool of expanded knowledge and technology. It sure looks bigger, brighter and more real, and I can hear stuff really far away if I actually stick my head underwater - until I run out breath.

But now we see real events through a watery, changeable window on actual events. Our captors now have perfected refraction and they bend the light just so, so that our view is merely distorted. Part of observed phenomena - the beginning - appears to be in the light above the waterline but our agency is still suitably focused on watery illusions at the end of the line our new opticians instruct us to read.

Can't read the bottom line? Not to worry. You'll contentedly settle for the penultimate one, the actual conclusion too small, too arcane to be perceived, not mention apparently written gibberish. Of no concern to any but the guys who make the charts and the guys who wait to spot anyone with especially keen insight ar risk of discovering the lowest rung of truth.


My Class Report on Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a country of about 35 million square miles with about 38 million people living there. This is very similar to the size and population of Texas, and the similarity doesn't stop there. Like Texans, the people of Afghanistan are known as fiercely independent, heavily armed religious fanatics.

The Gross National Product of Afghanistan is about $20 billion per year, which is about the same as Rhode Island. The economy is built on three pillars: heroin production, government corruption, and arms smuggling.

Afhanistan has no natural resources. The only thing which grows there is Opium Poppies, and goats.

There are no cities in Afghanistan. The capitol is a walled village named Kabul, where visiting tourists are often seen sporting gaily decorated armored vests.

Afhganistan is populated entirely by minorities. The largest group is the Pashtuns, who might rather live next door in Pashtunistan, except that's in Pakistan. Some other minorities are Tadjiks, Uzbeks, Nouristanis, and a bunch of other tribes with names that I can't spell.

The primary language of the Pashtuns is Dari, a dialect of Persian (though neither the Afghans nor the Persians would admit this). Dari is spoken by 4% of the population, but only rarely to other speakers of Dari. All the other ethnic groups speak their own separate languages. In all, there are over four million languages spoken in Afghanistan! The only people in Afghanistan who are allowed to read are the Mullets, who wear towels on their heads to hide their haircuts. But they only read Arabic, which is like reading Latin, because the only Arabs in Afghanistan are rich terrorists.

The national sport is Buzkashi, which is a game like Polo, only they have no balls so they use a goat instead.

Half of the time, the climate of Afghanistan is extremely hot and dry.
The other half of the time, it is extremely cold and dry. This is because Afghanistan is located on the far side of the moon.

Scientists have discovered water in the bottom of some craters on the moon, so American development teams have been constructing craters in villages all over Afghanistan to help the people get water. Local Afghan volunteers - often working through religious organizations - are assisting the Americans in this task. Many of them learned much about crater-building while cooperating with Russian engineers in the 1980's. No water has been found in Afghanistan yet, but we're still digging.


Hilarious. A+

Clifford Kiracofe

Charles I,

1. Speaking of nasty characters slipping through, you might enjoy a book on which I worked with my late French colleague.

Pierre de Villemarest, Untouchable. Who Protected Bormann and Gestapo Mueller after 1945. (Slough, Berkshire, UK: Acquillon, 2005).

The French edition is:
Pierre de Villemarest, Le Dossier Saragosse. Bormann et Gestapo Mueller apres 1945 (Paris: Lavauzelle, 2002).

2. I seem to recall Ms. Susan Rice was handling African Affairs for her mentor Madeleine Albright at the State Department during the Clinton Admin when the offer from Sudan to hand over UBL was declined. Diplomats at the UN today concerned about international terrorism and UBL might wish to query Amb. Rice. Do note the Rice is a Rhodes Scholar.

Charles I


"US silent on Taliban's al-Qaeda offer
By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON - The Barack Obama administration is refusing to acknowledge an offer by the leadership of the Taliban in early December to give "legal guarantees" that they will not allow Afghanistan to be used for attacks on other countries.

The administration's silence on the offer, despite a public statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing skepticism about any Taliban offer to separate itself from al-Qaeda, effectively leaves the door open to negotiating a deal with the Taliban based on such a proposal.

The Taliban, however, have chosen to interpret the Obama administration's position as one of rejection of their offer.

The Taliban offer, included in a statement dated December 4 and
e-mailed to news organizations the following day, said the organization had "no agenda of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and is ready to give legal guarantees if foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan".

The statement did not mention al-Qaeda by name or elaborate on what was meant by "legal guarantees" against such "meddling", but it was an obvious response to past US insistence that the US war in Afghanistan is necessary to prevent al-Qaeda from having a safe haven in Afghanistan once again.

It suggested that the Taliban were interested in negotiating an agreement with the United States involving a public Taliban renunciation of ties with al-Qaeda, along with some undefined arrangements to enforce a ban on al-Qaeda's presence in Afghanistan in return for a commitment to a timetable for withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.

Despite repeated queries by Inter Press Service to the State Department spokesman, P J Crowley, and to the National Security Council's press office over the past week about whether either Clinton or Obama had been informed about the Taliban offer, neither office has responded to the question.

Anand Gopal of The Wall Street Journal, whose December 5 story on the Taliban message was the only one to report that initiative, asked a US official earlier that day about the offer to provide "legal guarantees".

The official, who had not been aware of the Taliban offer, responded with what was evidently previously prepared policy guidance casting doubt on the willingness of the Taliban to give up its ties with al-Qaeda. "This is the same group that refused to give up bin Laden, even though they could have saved their country from war," said the official. "They wouldn't break with terrorists then, so why would we take them seriously now?"

The following day, asked by ABC News This Week host George Stephanopoulos about possible negotiations with "high level" Taliban leaders, Clinton said, "We don't know yet."

But then she made the same argument the unnamed US official had made to Gopal on Saturday. "[W]e asked [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar to give up bin Laden before he went into Afghanistan after 9/11," Clinton said, "and he wouldn't do it. I don't know why we think he would have changed by now." . . . "

Then Gates is quoted about the Taliban not wanting to negotiate(surrender on his terms) until ISAF has reduced their "momentum", although I think it says just above they made an offer. I can't tell whether I'm on Earth or Bizarro World anymore, like morality, what planet I'm on depends on who is speaking and its virtually all gibberish to boot.

Good luck with that, momentum, little buggers never stop moving until we leave, then they move right in.

Anyway, the momentum Gates should be worried about is the technological momentum in a dialectical form favouring any one but Nato that curious so convincingly sounds the alarm on in a post of terahertzian import(read curious)in the thread above this one.

This is like that other Occupation, there's just no way in hell Washington will ever countenance those evil acid throwing Taliban to the extent of real, as opposed to Potempkin, negotiations.


"The Future of Nursery Rhymes"

Was lookin' up fun stuff for 'em kids & I chanced upon these:

"Mary had a little skirt
with splits right up the sides
and everywhere that Mary went
the boys could see her thighs.
Mary had another skirt
'twas split right up the front
...But she didn't wear that one often."

"Mary had a little lamb
it ran into a pylon.
10,000 volts went up its @rse
and turned its wool to nylon."

"Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
And planned to do some kissing.
Jack made a pass
and grabbed her a$$
Now two of his teeth are missing."

"It's Raining, It's Pouring.
Oh s ** t, it's Global Warming."

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
The structure of the wall was incorrect
So he won a grand with Claims Direct."

"Jack and Jill
went up the hill
to have a little fun.
Jill, the dill,
forgot her pill,
and now they have a son."

Too bad I can't expose these to 'em kids 'cept those 18 & above.

Clifford Kiracofe

"Oh s ** t, it's Global Warming."


Right, well it looks like the biggest scientific hoax in history rather went down in flames at Copenhagen.

Obama was trotted out to save the day, looked and played the fool, crashed a bigwigs meeting, and could barely read through his speech thrown together for the occasion.

Seems to me the hoax and whole process was intended to:

1. generate nice fees for brokers via trading in carbon vouchers etc. Low carbon hedge funds and the like etc. as well.

2. restrain US, Chinese, and Indian economic growth as the "major polluters" to the advantage of industrial economies supposedly producing less of the mythical gasses and whatever. Europe and Japan for example?

3. transfer billions to third world potentates who would then steal the money and shift the funds to their personal offshore bank accounts.

4. I noticed some bizarros (Club of Rome types recycled) at the conference maintained that the global population would have to be drawn down by several billion souls in the coming decades....do they the enviro-Nazis propose gas chambers, mass starvation a la Stalin in Ukraine, or just what?


Professor Kiracofe:

Right, well it looks like the biggest scientific hoax in history rather went down in flames at Copenhagen.

These is ample scientific evidence to indicate that global warming is a serious, perhaps even existential, threat to humanity. There is also ample uncertainty as to the relevant predictions, since they are necessarily based on mathematical and computational models that must extrapolate the past into the future.

But dealing with those uncertainties by name-calling is not a rational means for performing informed risk-management. The uncertainty and the risk persist regardless of what pejorative terms you might choose to diminish them.

There are two common fatal mistakes that people make in dealing with risks of high impact and attendant high uncertainty. One mistake is now known as the "Cheney Doctrine", or the "one-percent doctrine" (formerly known simply as "going off half-cocked"), and it replaces uncertainty in assessment with certainty in resulting behavior. Unfortunately, we all know where that kind of ill-considered risk-management approach can lead.

The other grievous risk-management error is the act of ignoring risks that have substantial attendant uncertainties. I'd suggest that folks like Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan ought to have their names associated to this manner of risk-maladministration, as their inability to assess risk of financial collapse was translated into slandering those folks who possessed better risk-assessment skills (e.g., Brooksley Born) instead of actually doing better risk-management.

The appropriate response to take in these cases is to eschew both mistaken extremes and choose a middle path instead, based on clarity of thinking and due respect for the relevant principles of inference (in this case, the predictions of science). I don't see many politicians of any stripe pursuing this well-informed path, but then again, when was the last time that bringing politics into a technical problem helped with finding a good solution?

I enjoy reading your efforts at making light of Obama's speechifying at Copenhagen, at pointing out the financial interests lurking just off-stage in this budding crisis, and at noting the unfortunate side-effects of the resulting transfers of wealth from first-world taxpayers to third-world potentates.

And it certainly appears that the political aspects of this mess are rapidly turning into something resembling a hoax, while the financial aspects are turning into a Christmas tree laden with presents for the usual well-connected financial interests.

But the relevant science is not a hoax, and we should avoid the mistakes of Cheney and Greenspan and all others who hide from legitimate consideration of risk via ill-considered all-or-nothing responses.

And finally, no disrespect is intended here to you, and in fact, something like the exact opposite is present here, i.e., I read and learn from every word you post at SST, and thus I would ask you to not use the credibility you have rightly earned here to mischaracterize relevant questions of science.

Charles I

Actually Cliff, we Bizarros believe that the first depopulation method is the western industrial diet gone viral, plus mono-crop failure induced famine, tobacco, and yes, we believe that phenotype-specific WMD is/will be genetically engineered. By the same elites that can afford gold plated healthcare.

But we only believe this on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. The rest of the week, the earth is still flat and we hurtle towards the edge of a cliff driven by hounds, cads and charlatans who imagine they living on the last frontier - a completely self-replicating oligarchy of elites sustained by an army of privileged acolytes who manage the Soma generators.

Clifford Kiracofe


Thanks for your post. I am interested in the science and in the politics of the issue. And in the politics of the science of the issue.

The "Climategate" scandal/emails are revealing to say the very least. I look forward to a comprehensive analysis of that situation.

Prof. Fred Singer is Emeritus at the University of Virginia, where I studied geology as a freshman. From the standpoint of geologic time, it is elementary that climate does change.

I have noticed that many well known professional scientists reject the climate change contentions of the global network run out of that UK institute at U East Anglia. I even saw a report in which a Russian scientific institute claims that a global cooling cycle lies ahead.

In the Climategate situation, there appears to be deliberate falsification of a range of data for political purposes. So I look forward to the debate among the scientists moving along and becoming more public and transparent now. The public should know which scientists support which positions and then which scientists advise whom in our own government. I suppose it is also useful to see who is paying whom with respect to research grants and the like....following the money so to speak.

As it happened, I was directly involved in moving what became the 1991 update of the Antarctic Treaty System through the US Senate. As the Foreign Relations Committee Staff Member charged with the issue for the Republican side, I had the pleasure of working with Jacques Cousteau and some of the fine professionals at the State Department on the issue such as "Buff" Bohlen.

Back at this time, I also was involved with the US position dealing with the Third Session of the IPCC, Washington DC February 1990. And so on...

Charles I,

Yes, those soma generators....but I think the pitchforks will be coming out anyways. The mayor of Detroit was just quoted as saying that real unemployment there is about 50 percent...and so on.

A very interesting read reflecting the views of some of the global elite is Brzezinski's "Technotronic Era" a mid 1970s thing but indicative of the self-replicating oligarchy.

Yes, those pesky oligarchic replicants...time for a blade runner phase reversed somewhere out there in the matrix.


Clifford, Cieran, Charles I,

I respect you all as clear-thinking writers. I just want to see an honest and open debate on anthropogenic global warming. Bush, and now Obama, wouldn't allow it for different political interests.

My understanding is the earth can support two billion people living at the current American middle-class standard, nine billion living in shipping containers warmed only by the heat emitted from a fifty inch television.

Disclaimer: I have no children and am thankful for cheap power and indoor plumbing.

Patrick Lang


How about we all get over ourselves and do nuclear power like the (ptui)French? (quoting Alan Farrell). pl


Nuclear is the only reasonable alternative, and cheapest. There was a lot of resistance to nuclear power in France to begin with but that has changed according to this Quote from Wikipedia:

"Historically, nuclear power was supported by the Gaullists, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party. A 2001 Ipsos poll found that 70% of the French population had a "good opinion" of nuclear energy in France and 63% want their country to remain a nuclear leader.[14] According to reporter Jon Palfreman, the construction of the Civaux Nuclear Power Plant was welcomed by the local community in 1997:

In France, unlike in America, nuclear energy is accepted, even popular. Everybody I spoke to in Civaux loves the fact their region was chosen. The nuclear plant has brought jobs and prosperity to the area. Nobody I spoke to, nobody, expressed any fear.[15]
A variety of reasons are cited for the popular support; a sense of national independence and reduced reliance on foreign oil, reduction of greenhouse gases, and a cultural interest in large technological projects (like the TGV and Concorde).[15][16]"


Re: "How about we all get over ourselves and do nuclear power like the (ptui)French?"

Col., sir:

That's a great idea, if we could convince the conspiracy theorists that terrorists & other extremists aren't in the process of takin' over a nuclear power plant for whatever devious purposes. Too many tom clancy novels I guess.

Professor Kiracofe:

I'm not familiar with issues on climate patterns or environmental disorders. But it sets me wonderin' as well whether all this is really just some over-hyped media spectacle like you've mentioned: a "Climategate" (nice coinin' of words with the use of that unholy event linked to the late president). Point #1 you've slated seems highly probable, followed in reverse sequence #3 & #2.

Greed is good & in this Society of the Spectacle greatly helped by the media out to earn a buck.



How about we all get over ourselves and do nuclear power

That could work, if we could solve two fundamental problems:

(1) what to do with the resulting waste products, and

(2) how to contain the resultant risk of non-proliferation of everything from special nuclear materials to the relevant nuclear know-how for making WMD.

Problem (2) is infinitely simpler than (1), but I can't say I see many signs that humanity is doing a particularly good job at it, so I'm cautiously pessimistic about finding successful solutions for either.



I just want to see an honest and open debate on anthropogenic global warming.

I would welcome that prospect as well, and especially the "open" part.

As per Dr. Kiracofe's suggestion, transparency on the funding issue would be very useful, especially since funding on one side of this so-called debate is already quite transparent (e.g., the details of federal funding for climate research are readily determined), but not so much for the other (e.g., private foundation sources are generally harder to discern, but those are suspected of funding many voices in the climate-change-denial camp).

One important element that gets lost in the mix is that the relevant science is still emerging, so it's difficult to make the kind of clear-cut pronouncements that societal interests often demand. We humans don't seem to be very well-wired for handling uncertainty, but if we want to best utilize the fruits of science and technology, that's a skill we ought to learn, and fast.

Mark Logan

On nuclear: Why not like the French? I would say primarily because we have cheaper alternatives.

While it is certainly the cleanest in terms of carbon generation,it faces some formidable barriers in the US.

First is cost. You can find a lot of data on cost per kilowatt hour, and
currently for coal and natural gas most are within the 3-4 cent and nuclear
is in the 10-11 cents range. We have a very large reserve of natural gas,
and so does Canada, and this makes investors quite skittish. Add to that the history of bond defaults in the industry and it's
not all that hard to see why no one has been very eager to start one, although the press is full of statements that about barriers being primarily regulatory. More on that later.

Second I would say is lack of experience. The people who built nukes in the country have almost all retired, and even if they were still around the industry has taken many leaps from those times. It is difficult, no, make that impossible to find a US contractor who will give a firm quote on the undertaking of starting one
from scratch. The French are the ones with the expertise, and in fact are
partnering with some US firms on a few projects now. This barrier is certainly surmountable in the existence of favorable economics, but nevertheless limits internal enthusiasm in the constrcutions industry greatly, IMO.

Last on my list are those much touted regulatory barriers, of which NIMBY I call a big part of. We really have become much, much more timid in our willingness to bulldoze opposition to large scale undertakings than we once were. Permitting can be nearly intermit able, and
construction slowed by extreme caution. So much so that typical time frame's are well over a decade. Projections of economic viability that far out involve a lot of sheer guessin'.

Is it the smart way to go? I believe that question depends mostly on how
serious we are about cutting carbon emissions.



The evidence for or against depends on which side you listen to, the big one being do CO2 levels precede or lag temperature increases?

Read an article by a scientist who was a believer in AGW that stated there was a huge variation in the temperature increases between various models and the alarmists (Gore) always picked the worst case scenarios. He thought that was harming the public's understanding of the science.

Mr. Whole Earth, Stuart Brand, is an advocate of nuclear power. He's been involved with the environmental and back-to-the-land movement for a long time, when global cooling was the BIG FEAR.

You're right about facing uncertainty. That's why so many people walk around staring at those little screens in their hands, ignoring the world around them, and the more they ignore the world the bigger their FEAR becomes.

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