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18 December 2009


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The problem here is not one of"sophisticated" armed forces: Officers and assumptions.

But one of not learning nor heeding our lessons learned.

T E Lawrence went through this back in 1920 and we now are going through the same thing in 2009...

Its sometimes amazing that we as a species survived this long....

dilbert dogbert

Mr Silverman,
Thanks for the reply.
As there have been several comments with Adm. Moorer's name in them I want to abuse the privileges of this blog by relating a story about the Adm told to me by my BIL (brother-in-law).
My BIL served on a little fleet tug in the 7th fleet as the executive officer - small potatoes. There was a Christmas party where the captain of the tug inserted ice cubes down the front of the dress of the good adm wife. My BIL had to dress up and take the adm's gig to the cruiser to get reamed by the adm and then go back to the tug and ream the captain.
The BIL said he had to get out of the Navy or he would have become a drunk.
BTW the BIL served two tours as a Swiftboat Driver in Nam.
Best to all.

William R. Cumming

Worrisome post and comments largely because of their accuracy!
Let US ignore for the moment that IMO the Predator Strikes in general violate currently applicable International Law. Hey the remote pilotless future of warfare is on the horizon. And it will be a two way street.

This is absurd to find out! If true then anyone in chain of command of procurement to deployment to ops should be asked to write a memo as to why they never thought about encryption and if they did why they did nothing. Then organize the memo's by author and you have personnel that should become forward observers for conventional artillery (mostly not used in the terrain of AF-PAK) and deployed with rucksacks into the mountains.
This incident gives another devastating insight into the current state of the US Armed Forces and the willingness of the Chain of Command to listen to their subordinates. Somewhere someone is accountable for this disaster. And now being reported that we met with Russians and Chinese about the problem long ago trying to enlist their "aid"! WOW!

Ali Mirza

Greetings all. The following can be considered apocryphal as I can not produce the article or links to back up this claim and am relying on memory.
I think it must've been 2004 or 2005 (not even sure of the date) when i caught a report on CNN/BBC about a middle aged gentleman (Aus?/Brit?/US?) who was trying to alert the US military to the fact that he was recieving realtime videofeed from UAV/drone aircraft in Afghanistan on his home sat tv setup. I am not at all familiar with how satellite feeds are intercepted, but reading suggests that unencrypted feeds can be caught as it bounces of the sat. The thrust of the report was that despite trying to alert the relevant authorities about the transmissions being in the clear, the issue was not being addressed or handled with the seriousness that this civilian gentleman thought should or would be necessary. The reason I remember this story is that it got me interested in sigint and how it is used. I am trying to find the relevant links.

I am a long time lurker here, this being only my second post. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Col Lang et al for this blog. It has been a pleasure to read and an education in its own right.

Ali Mirza


But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it, the officials said.

Excuse me, but wasn't it these same "ragheads" who figured out how to penetrate America's security defenses on 9/11 and fly a couple of airliners into the WTC, and another into the Pentagon itself?

These are the kinds of people our military thinks are too stupid to pick up on an unencrypted audio feed?



This made my day.

Someone up thread attributed "little brown brothers" to McKinley. It was Taft when he was governor of PI, circa 1902.

Taft also estimated that it would take "50 or 100 years" of a guiding, enlightened American hand on the Philippines tiller before the Pinoys developed "anything resembling Anglo-Saxon political principles and skills."

Merry Christmas and happy new year to all. Next year in Kabul!

Different Clue

I suspect our opinion shapers are attached to the "idea of" the idea that all cultures are equal. Since our opinion shapers have confused the "idea of" with the idea itself; they are not aware that they themselves (and a lot of the rest of us) have our own version of China's traditional "middle kingdom complex". But many of us do. Fish don't know they live in something called water, and a lot of us don't know that we don't respect the abilities of other peoples. So this could well be a mistake of offhand casual contempt for the "mere enemy".

That said, if William Cummings's suggestion that someone low on the chain must have had the proper respect and issued the proper warnings; then a forensic study of who ignored those warnings should be conducted. And those who ignored the warnings should somehow be gracefully retired.

Curious: I suspect America has been an unwitting target of "the real war" for years now. The goal has been to de-develop America's economy all the way back to zero. The war is diversionally dis-named Free Trade and Globalization. Some of the battlefields? weapons systems? are diversionally dis-named NAFTA, the GATT rounds, WTO, Most Favored Nation status for China, etc.

Speaking of China, didn't
China's computer company Lenovo recently buy IBM's personal computer bussiness?
I remember someone raising the possibility that Lenovo installs a hard spychip into every computer it makes and sells with silicon
chip hard-printed instructions to send everything that computer says or sees right straight back to China. Has anyone ever dissected a random sample of made-in-China computers or other digital tooltoys to see if they have
trojan spychips in them?

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