Daily Archives: July 19, 2007

Military Analyst: West Needs More Terror To Save Doomed Foreign Policy

Prison Planet | July 10, 2007

london

“Londoners pull together outside a subway station during the bombings of July 7, 2005. Could such terrorist attacks actually bolster Western resolve?” – reads the caption accompanying the photo in the Toronto Star piece.

Only attacks on scale of 9/11, 7/7 can save bolster resolve according to war studies head

by Paul Joseph Watson

The West needs more terror attacks on the scale of 9/11 and 7/7 in order to save a failing foreign policy, according to Lt.-Col. Doug Delaney, chair of the war studies program at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario.

This alarming admission can be found right at the end of a long and academic Toronto Star article about the history of conflict and why the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are doomed.

“The Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), is the military academy of the Canadian Forces and is a full degree-granting university,” according to Wikipedia .

The Star article discusses a new study which surmises that military invasions since World War 2 that require cooperation of the population of a country to succeed hold only a 17% chance of success.

“Londoners pull together outside a subway station during the bombings of July 7, 2005. Could such terrorist attacks actually bolster Western resolve?” – reads the caption accompanying the photo in the Toronto Star piece.

In a paraphrased quote attributed to Delaney, he concludes that “The key to bolstering Western resolve is another terrorist attack like 9/11 or the London transit bombings of two years ago.”

“If nothing happens, it will be harder still to say this is necessary,” adds Delaney.

By this logic, if terrorist attacks only boost the geopolitical agenda of Western governments then how is it in their interest to prevent them, and of what benefit are they to the actual terrorists – unless the terrorists occupy positions of power?

Delaney’s comments are in a similar vein to former Republican Senator Rick Santorum’s statements to a radio show this past weekend, in which he said that “unfortunate events” would occur along the lines of the recent car bomb attempts in the UK, that will change American’s views of the war.

Last month, the new chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party Dennis Milligan said that there needed to be more attacks on American soil for President Bush to regain popular approval.

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U.S. surveillance to undergo a British revolution

Christian Science Monitor | Jul 11, 2007

New York’s Lower Manhattan Security Initiative could add up to 3,000 cameras, linked to a surveillance center, by 2010.

Concerns about cameras’ intrusiveness and how law-enforcement officers will use the images remain paramount for civil libertarians and privacy advocates. Cameras today, they noted, surpass an police officer’s ability to see the surroundings: They can rotate 360 degrees, zoom in on license plates hundreds of feet away and see in the dark. They create a video record for police to archive and data-mine for decades. When used aboard helicopters and blimps, they can blanket large swaths of a city with live surveillance. All of this, they said, is open to abuse by government officials.

By Alexandra Marks

NEW YORK — The speed with which London’s surveillance cameras helped identify bombers and would-be bombers has prompted calls for extensive closed-circuit TV networks in the United States.

In New York, officials announced plans to outfit hundreds of Manhattan buses with cameras and add 3,000 motion sensors to subways and commuter-rail facilities.

In the struggle against terrorism, backers of closed-circuit television (CCTV) said the system is a forensic tool and a deterrent to all but the most dedicated suicide bombers. Sophisticated imaging technology allows cameras to alert police to unattended packages, zoom in on objects hundreds of feet away, identify license plates and “mine” archived footage for specific data.

Opponents said the technology is intrusive and open to abuse, raising serious constitutional questions. They also noted that surveillance cameras are helpless against suicide bombings and that perpetrators may use video records to try to glorify their acts.

The British system was developed in the 1970s and ’80s with little public discussion, in response to attacks by the Irish Republican Army. By the 1990s, technology improvements made it a key tool in the security cordon around central London known as the “ring of steel.”

But the United States has a different constitutional system, one that requires vigorous public debate before the government wires cities with a similar network of live, roving electronic eyes, some experts said.

“We haven’t even begun to have that debate over here about what that means in terms of surrendering privacy,” said Ronald Marks, senior fellow at George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute. “Closed-circuit television is a security measure that is effective in identifying people, but I don’t know how effective it … is at stopping them.”

Millions of private cameras already guard building entrances, chemical plants and malls. Most police departments in big cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, use surveillance cameras in high-crime areas and to identify traffic scofflaws. Most of those recordings have to be downloaded so the images can be analyzed.

U.S. cities, however, don’t have extensive live networks tied to a central surveillance center as in London. New York’s plan is the first to emulate it.

The first 115 cameras are expected to be operating by the end of the year. By 2010, up to 3,000 cameras could be installed. One-third would be owned by the New York Police Department and the other two-thirds by private security agencies working with businesses. All the images would feed into a surveillance center staffed by the police department and private security agents.

The system will be able to identify license plates and alert police to unattended packages or vehicles that repeatedly circle the same block. Eventually, it will be tied to a series of movable roadblocks that can be activated, with the push of a button, from the police department’s surveillance office.

Such systems make the environment “operationally more dangerous” for terrorists, said Brian Jenkins, a terrorism expert at RAND Corporation. “They make it more difficult for attackers, short of those who are willing to commit suicide. That reduces the number of attackers and reduces the number of bombs in the operation.”

He cited differences between the 2004 Madrid and 2006 Bombay, India, train bombings, and the 2005 London bombings. Attackers in Madrid and Bombay, who were not suicide bombers, placed several bombs and killed more than 200 people in each attack. London’s four suicide bombers had only the bombs on their backs and killed 52.

“Fifty-two deaths is still tragic, but it’s better than 200,” Jenkins said.

Britain has about 4 million closed-circuit security cameras, and police said the average Briton is on as many as 300 cameras every day.

Cameras enabled police in London to identify the 2005 bombers quickly. In the attempted attacks in London on June 29, police used the cameras to track and identify the alleged culprits and arrest them.

“That accelerated the investigation, and [police] were able to reassure the public that the perpetrators of this particular attack aren’t still on the run,” Jenkins said. “That has the effect of reducing the fear and terror that the attackers hoped to create.”

Critics of such extensive surveillance said the deterrent effects are exaggerated.

“It just doesn’t work,” said Bruce Schneier, a security-technology expert in Minneapolis. As for New York’s plan to emulate London’s “ring of steel,” he said, “At best, the terrorists would go bomb Boston instead.”

Cost estimates for New York’s complete system are $90 million. The first phase, which covers Lower Manhattan and includes a surveillance center, will cost $25 million.

Concerns about cameras’ intrusiveness and how law-enforcement officers will use the images remain paramount for civil libertarians and privacy advocates. Cameras today, they noted, surpass an police officer’s ability to see the surroundings: They can rotate 360 degrees, zoom in on license plates hundreds of feet away and see in the dark. They create a video record for police to archive and data-mine for decades. When used aboard helicopters and blimps, they can blanket large swaths of a city with live surveillance. All of this, they said, is open to abuse by government officials.

Robot Air Attack Squadron Bound for Iraq

Associated Press | Jul 15, 2007

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By CHARLES J. HANLEY

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq – The arrival of these outsized U.S. “hunter-killer” drones, in aviation history’s first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill.

The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It’s outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

The Reaper is loaded, but there’s no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.

The arrival of these outsized U.S. “hunter-killer” drones, in aviation history’s first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill.

That moment, one the Air Force will likely low-key, is expected “soon,” says the regional U.S. air commander. How soon? “We’re still working that,” Lt. Gen. Gary North said in an interview.

The Reaper’s first combat deployment is expected in Afghanistan, and senior Air Force officers estimate it will land in Iraq sometime between this fall and next spring. They look forward to it.

“With more Reapers, I could send manned airplanes home,” North said.

The Associated Press has learned that the Air Force is building a 400,000-square-foot expansion of the concrete ramp area now used for Predator drones here at Balad, the biggest U.S. air base in Iraq, 50 miles north of Baghdad. That new staging area could be turned over to Reapers.

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It’s another sign that the Air Force is planning for an extended stay in Iraq, supporting Iraqi government forces in any continuing conflict, even if U.S. ground troops are drawn down in the coming years.

The estimated two dozen or more unmanned MQ-1 Predators now doing surveillance over Iraq, as the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, have become mainstays of the U.S. war effort, offering round-the-clock airborne “eyes” watching over road convoys, tracking nighttime insurgent movements via infrared sensors, and occasionally unleashing one of their two Hellfire missiles on a target.

From about 36,000 flying hours in 2005, the Predators are expected to log 66,000 hours this year over Iraq and Afghanistan.

The MQ-9 Reaper, when compared with the 1995-vintage Predator, represents a major evolution of the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.

At five tons gross weight, the Reaper is four times heavier than the Predator. Its size – 36 feet long, with a 66-foot wingspan – is comparable to the profile of the Air Force’s workhorse A-10 attack plane. It can fly twice as fast and twice as high as the Predator. Most significantly, it carries many more weapons.

While the Predator is armed with two Hellfire missiles, the Reaper can carry 14 of the air-to-ground weapons – or four Hellfires and two 500-pound bombs.

“It’s not a recon squadron,” Col. Joe Guasella, operations chief for the Central Command’s air component, said of the Reapers. “It’s an attack squadron, with a lot more kinetic ability.”

“Kinetic” – Pentagon argot for destructive power – is what the Air Force had in mind when it christened its newest robot plane with a name associated with death.

“The name Reaper captures the lethal nature of this new weapon system,” Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, said in announcing the name last September.

General Atomics of San Diego has built at least nine of the MQ-9s thus far, at a cost of $69 million per set of four aircraft, with ground equipment.

The Air Force’s 432nd Wing, a UAV unit formally established on May 1, is to eventually fly 60 Reapers and 160 Predators. The numbers to be assigned to Iraq and Afghanistan will be classified.

The Reaper is expected to be flown as the Predator is – by a two-member team of pilot and sensor operator who work at computer control stations and video screens that display what the UAV “sees.” Teams at Balad, housed in a hangar beside the runways, perform the takeoffs and landings, and similar teams at Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base, linked to the aircraft via satellite, take over for the long hours of overflying the Iraqi landscape.

American ground troops, equipped with laptops that can download real-time video from UAVs overhead, “want more and more of it,” said Maj. Chris Snodgrass, the Predator squadron commander here.

The Reaper’s speed will help. “Our problem is speed,” Snodgrass said of the 140-mph Predator. “If there are troops in contact, we may not get there fast enough. The Reaper will be faster and fly farther.”

The new robot plane is expected to be able to stay aloft for 14 hours fully armed, watching an area and waiting for targets to emerge.

“It’s going to bring us flexibility, range, speed and persistence,” said regional commander North, “such that I will be able to work lots of areas for a long, long time.”

The British also are impressed with the Reaper, and are buying three for deployment in Afghanistan later this year. The Royal Air Force version will stick to the “recon” mission, however – no weapons on board.