Friday, January 13, 2012

Haq the Hack, II

The children born of thee are sword and fire,
Red ruin, and the breaking up of law
--Idylls of the King, Alfred Tennyson

[cont. of 12 Jan 12 post] --

The very best operatives will be selected only after severe scrutiny and a filtration process. "confidential sources" -- as referred to in the AFP piece -- need not apply. The U.S. is playing into the terrorist's game plan when expending resources chasing men like Irfun Ul Haq, who is precisely a buffoon.

A candidate must commit a capital crime before being admitted to the inner sanctum, and it is there where the U.S. should direct its resources. This is important because U.S. agents or "confidential sources" are not legally permitted to commit a capital crime like murder in order to be infiltrate any group. The big guys are not Boy Scouts; they operate like the Mafia or many other criminal gangs. A "made" guy will seldom turn against the organization if he values his family ties.

Al Qaeda assets also add true religious fervor to their qualifications. The operatives who carried out the Twin Tower attacks were most certainly not recruited by a "confidential source".

If terrorism is a hydra-headed monster, then attacking the little snake heads is an exercise in futility, another version of whack-a-mole Try infiltrating a group in Waziristan with a
confidential source and see what happens. Our policies of netting the little guys are based in appearances vs. effectiveness; we aim the spear tip at inappropriate targets.

Misunderstanding the threat and its capabilities, our leaders ascribe a military paradigm to a reality that exceeds that simplistic view. The military threat is the "far threat", which poses a threat to the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq; it is NOT a danger to U.S. internal security.

The real threat to the U.S. is the operational assets that may or may not have official cover, or at least the compliance, of our erstwhile allies. The 9-11-01 conspirators are the yardstick for this threat: They were not military and they are not readily replaceable.

It takes years to develop a deep threat asset, and simply attaining a training camp will not suffice; it is merely the first step in the filtration of future assets. Military training teaches only military skills, and no such skills were used on 9-11. This is a simple observation, but one usually overlooked.

Our policies are simplistic eye candy, movement with negligible progress. A major pursuit before these petty dragnets of smugglers of imaginary personnel should be ascertaining the latest conformation of al Qaeda, along with its emerging leaders and assets. Months before leaving the CIA, director Leon Panetta said that al Qaeda had no more than 200 assets worldwide, but the statement did not evaluate their operational abilities.

NEXT: Historical context

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, as I see it, we are currently presented a golden opportunity to penetrate - albeit indirectly - the inner sanctum(s) of the terrorist groups.

As the old regimes fall across the ME and are replaced by govt's that include representatives of the hard core Islamic factions, we now are able to openly and legitimately have conversations with these people.

They are going to find that running a large, relatively modern country, is a bit more difficult than they might have imagined. The answers to their problems are not going to be found by simply perusing the pages of the Koran.

They will also discover, like all politicians, the art of compromise.

We - the US and UK/European countries - can help ameliorate a lot of what ails their economies. We can promise to support - or at least not condem - their legitimacy (i.e. we won't subvert their govt's). In exchange, they can assist us with by reducing anti-US rhetoric and by running joint counter terorism op.s (as the Saudis do today).

I think they would see the wisdom of cooperating *if* we approach them in the right way.

Or we can condemn them and work to undermine them, as we did with the Iranian govt,hamas, etc and we can perpetuate the PWOT indefinitely - or until the whole region goes up in flames with associated damage and costs to us.

I think this is the only way to be successful concerning anti-US terrorism; assuming that success is defined as keeping terrorist attacks to the minimum possible given a world that will always contain a few crazies and where shit happens.



Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:26:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, I should add some supporting evidence for the potential of my approach, lest anyone think I sit around smoking dope and dream up "why can't we all just get along" solutions to complex problems.

Here are two prime examples:

1. In 2003 Iran made overtures of the nature I describe.
2. In 2001 the Taliban offered to hand over OBL in exchange for not getting invaded.

There is ample supporting documentation that has come out subsequent to the events that suggests that both 1 and 2 were genuine offers. The Bush admin. turned them both down because their policy was regime change; period. And they were goofy enough to actually think they could bring this about quickly, easily, and with success extending into the distant future.

In fact, the Bush admin (Rice particualry) even denied that Iran had asked to come to the table. It was only when other US participants in the offer came out and wrote op ed.s etc that the reality of the offer became public. The Taliban offer was dismissed as being disingenuous. Some US sources close to the actual negotiations are saying that it was a real. I digress......


Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 10:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

CIA success in the AFGH invasion was a result of the Iran cooperation with the plan.
Iran and the US should want the same thing in AFGH.
Your thoughts are valid. You may pass go.

Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

If things would flow as you describe i think there would still be large scale active and passive support. this could/would be either official, quasi or non-state supported.
i don't believe that the Saudis are interested in anything other than enlightened self interest at the official level and active/passive support at the unofficial level.
as you know i'm ALWAYS skeptical of 3rd country sources of intel.
your logic is solid , but it's an illogical world.

Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Agreed re; 3rd country sources. It is difficult enough to distinguish between signal and noise. With 3rd country you then have to rely their ability to do so, but also to distinguish between information and disinformation. That said, if you have a relationship with the 3rd country you can better understand motives and incentives and even that illogical part of their motivations. Knowing these things, because you've been activly engaged, helps with the above challenges.

Also, being actively engaged means that there is opportunity to meet insiders that can be turned and then work, from the inside, for us.

There will always be a base of passive and active supporters. My approach diminishes that base and diminishes the remaining base's fervor. More importantly, my approach increases the likelihood that we can follow the pipelines from base to the apex/big snake heads.

It's all about improving the odds. When evaluating options it's not a search for the perfect one; it's identifying the one that works best given the current environment (but you knew that already).


Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Your thinking is good- probably a result of reading an Army inspired blog.
tomorrow my art on the pissing thing will go on.

Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. Ok thanks, Jim. Looking forward to a combat vet's take on the pissing incident.


Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

we are crossing wires a little here.
my essay is about the legal aspects of dismantling, or neutralizing a terror group. Your cmts are more oriented to the political approach implemented thru state dept programs.
both are needed and worth while.
i'm generally speaking domestic legal approach.
i left a cmt. on Abu muq -on the side bar concerning the pissing contest.

Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah I see the crossed wires now, Jim. I misunderstood what you were getting at. Yes I was speaking to State dept programs as a base to jump off intelligence and clandestine ops. So maybe not entirely crossed. I have little to say about the legal aspects other than don't shred the Constitution in the process.


Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, The comments on Abu Muq are , in the majority, outrageously retarded and they remind me, once again, why I generally avoid mil blogs and enagaing vets in discussions (with a few note worthy exceptions, presented company included in this category of course).

I have a sense that the current generation of volunteers is coming from a different America than I grew up in. The USMC in particular seems to have developed a recruiting strategy that selects/prefers sociopathically inclined riff raff. A couple years back I heard an interview with a DI - I think DI because I can't remember clearly. What I do remember distinctly is that Marine stating that Bikers and gangsters make the best combat Marines. They get what they asked for. When i came of age bikers and gangsters were considered undisereable trash; incapable of adopting mil training and discipline. Now they are desireable and their culture is glorified in movies, music videos, etc. Strange, the outlaw culture has assimilated as much as it has been assimilated by the mainstream.

In part i think this because there are so many non-volunteers and, older, draft dodgers, that are looking for a vicareous power rush. Seems like some of these post over at abu. At any rate, they are ubiquituous all they to the top of civie society.

Everything has become so crass. Where are the gentlemen (and women)? Why is the bludgeon so celibrated and the rapier always deemed so femme these days?


Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 9:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

all is good. i focused on the legal approach because of Haq.
when you discuss incidents like the Cole , then that's where your approach is the only effective coa.

Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 12:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis writes,

Everything has become so crass. Where are the gentlemen (and women)? Why is the bludgeon so celebrated and the rapier always deemed so femme these days?

...so true, sadly. I prefer the rapier, myself; I have always appreciated art forms. I am saddened, too, by the crassness I see about me.

I often feel like Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 8:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here's another thing - why is femminine considered bad anyhow? Why is it used as an insult?

IMO, what the world needs right now is more yin energy. Yet everyone wants to get all yan - even women. Once "liberated" so many end up using the new found freedom to imitate men and our "manly" behaviors. I recognize that they want to get "in the game" with a level playing field - and they should be able to - but the character of game itself is the problem.


Monday, January 16, 2012 at 6:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis asks,

why is feminine considered bad anyhow?

There is much to say on this topic. Humans always tend to metronomic behavior, i.e., Manichaean viewpoints. Personally, I like being a girl, but also support gender parity based on qualities other than sexual bits.

IMHO, the feminine got entangled with the simulacrum feminine, and the posturing and disingenuousness which that entails. This is not to imply the opposite: That male / masculine behavior is more authentic (though that may often be the case in the stereotypical forms of gender identity which we've adopted.) So we have actors today doing a dance with each other, afraid of being duped or one-upped.

IMH -- and not very p.c. -- opinion, pop culture wise we're experiencing an odd imbalance after, oh, let me trace it to Rosanne, et. al. Big, mouthy women, and sometimes not-so-big lesbian women, have led the charge for equality in the media. So that is one prevailing media template.

Ann Coulter for the Republicans would demonstrate the worst encapsulation of what I am speaking of: "Feminine" (so some say), yet informed (they think), hard and vulgar. The best of all worlds? I think not.

In the workplace, women have mimicked what they perceive as "male" behavior, without understanding all that entails; as a result, they become "uptight", less-than versions of the male. I am not speaking here of capabilities, but only of their personas.

I could go on, but suffice to say "feminine" is not / should not be seen as a pejorative. We are men and women, and the ideal day will not be when difference is eradicated, IMHO. We have evolved to enjoy certain roles; I am not defending any behavior which is dismissive or denigrating, but only respectful and interested.

Vive la difference.

Monday, January 16, 2012 at 4:22:00 PM GMT-5  

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