Friday, October 30, 2009

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER SUPERWEAPON

America's many enemies tremble thinking about what will roll out of the weaponshops next. Consumer confidence may slump, unemployment increase, Dennis Hopper find he has cancer, but somewhere US arms manufacturers will be pushing the envelope.

"General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems division (GA-EMS) has successfully fired multiple rounds for the first time in a prototype of its new Blitzer electromagnetic railgun air defence prototype system," reads a corporate announcement.

Blitzer, sort of like The Blitz and blitzkrieg, other really winning words in the world lexicon. Or perhaps it was just named in honor of the CNN fellow.

"These tests were performed at the US Army Dugway Proving Grounds under a contract with the Office of Naval Research. Testing is scheduled to continue through to the second quarter of next year and will culminate with the launch of tactically relevant aerodynamic rounds.

"GA-EMS adds Blitzer will provide transformational, leap-ahead air defence capability against a number of threats for both naval and land-based applications."

In case, you know, we misplace a few B-52s and F-15s and the Taliban get 'em. Or in case China decides to launch a strategic bombing campaign against California. Or we decide to start bombing one of the usual candidates in the next few years and they try to fight back for a week or so.

It could happen!

Everyone knows American men hunt because they enjoy safety and the color orange, too!

The Blitzer is brought to you by the same fine company that safeguards us and Pakistan with the Predator and Reaper drones.

When a car bomb goes off in Peshawar and kills one hundred, it's certainly not because America and General Atomics haven't sicced enough wonder weapons on 'em.

More coming everyday, too.

What's that? You've just been fired?

Well, you can sleep better knowing that "with a muzzle velocity of more than twice that of conventional systems, Blitzer provides significant increases in standoff and lethality at lower cost without the need for propellant or high explosives.

"These tests are an important first step toward demonstrating the viability of a revolutionary technology that will significantly improve the safety and protection of our warfighters at sea and on land," said a General Atomics advanced robot man for the corporate p.r. statement.

Hail Blitzer! May all its test blitzes be blitzing!


A project leader from General Atomics looks on as a prototype of
the company's transformational Schlager autonomous defender is readied for shipment to the Afghanistan/Pakistan theatre for the making of things more peaceful and secure.





Pakistanis not thrilled by General Atomics stuff -- get snippy with Clinton. The nerve! Don't they know the amount of sweat, toil and God-given US-of-A savvy that goes into a Predator drone assassination mission?! Our remote flyboys have to live in condos in Las Vegas, fer cryin' out loud.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AN INSPIRATIONAL TALE IN PHOTOS

The Astonishing Life and Amazing Times of Little Kurt (A Wide World of Sports photo special)


Although disturbing, everyone admitted little Kurt Crushnutz's
impression of Jean Claude Van Damme was very good.


Little Kurt would push on the floor in displays of power
for his friends and fans. The wooden planks often groaned
and creaked during these exhibitions of might.


The young Crushnutz pensively gathers his strength in the locker
room before going out to win a local shin-kicking competition.


"Accusations that little Kurt takes muscle-building pharmaceuticals are the mischief of envious boskootniks!" asserted his weight-lifting coach. 'Boskootnik' is a regional pejorative.


The Romanian Academy of Science and Fitness had determined
the wee Crushnutz could bench press at least twice the
weight of the huskiest girl in his age group in Europe.


After a dismaying psychiatric evaluation for killing two cats and
a big dog with his bare hands, Crushnutz vowed to get right by
redoubling his efforts in the gym.


Tina Strohecker, President of the Kurt Crushnutz Fan Club
in the US, raised enough money to bring the young prodigy to
this country so he could enter the Big Pumpkin Lifting
Contest in Solvang, California.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A DAY IN PCTURES YOU COULDN'T AVOID


Good news, lads! Good news! Sign up for this and you'll
forever be spammed with daily 'job leads' that don't
exist for the paltry 'free' fee of twenty dollars a
month.



At the age of five, lil' Kurt Crushnutz was already a
lethal menace, having killed two cats and a big dog with his
bare hands.



Good news, lads! Good news! I've just signed us all up
for this dating service in which the pretty people you see
in the ads aren't anything like the psychos and horned frogs
you get to meet on-line after paying 20 dollars/month.

Monday, October 26, 2009

THE PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF THE UPPER CRUST

By now many Americans have firsthand experience with how the privileged always have their fingers on the scales of fair play and success.

The phenomenon stretches from executives on Wall Street who enrich themselves while everyone else is getting sacked to ... Ann Powers, the Official Rock Critic at the Los Angeles Times who now gets flown in and out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama -- a couple thousand miles from Los Angeles, to cover concerts like U2 in the Rose Bowl, which is within walking distance off DD's place of residence. During the same week the Times was giving the sack to various journalists from the section for which she writes.

To cut costs.

And nothing signals your single-minded and sincere interest in the very acme of cost-cutting when you shoulder the transport fees of a way out of state Official Rock Critic covering local big events -- like U2 at the Rose Bowl.

That only makes sense.

For the last year or so the Times has mercilessly hacked away at its staffers, running purges -- on average -- about every few months, to improve the bottom line as the Tribune company fell into bankruptcy.

And everyone knows that when the bottom line needs improving because of the avarice of the owner and waning circulation, one small way to do it is to cover Los Angeles from the cosmopolitan 'little LA' of the South, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide. Roll Tide! (With side trips to New Orleans or Nashville or New York.)

The logic and fairness of it is very plain, much like the need for paying bonuses to Wall Street executives of government-rescued firms lest they leave those companies they helped to fail. No one wants that talent to go away. That would be stupid and wrong.

If you need further pursuasion as to the rightness of this, take the case of Steve Lopez, the Times' very famous and very good columnist whose book was made into a big Hollywood movie in which his part was played by Robert Downey! Mr. Lopez has even been on "60 Minutes" and covers the Los Angeles street from State College, Pennsylvania!

Oh, wait! That's not true! Hah-hah. Lopez lives here.

But the Times does need to inspire and preserve its most talented. And Ann Powers won a Pulitzer for her preview of a Prince album, listened to whilst in his limousine.

Oh, wait. She didn't win a Pulitzer. No rock critic ever has. I was just pulling your leg again. The part about being in Prince's limousine was right, though.

Anyway, this peculiar state of affairs has been covered before -- by the LA Weekly.

However, the Weekly's writer kept the superciliousness out of things because the Weekly fires a lot of people, too. And if your boat is rapidly sinking and you're a journalist, others places to jump to -- or to free-lance for -- are boats sinking more slowly, like the Times. So you don't say anything pointed because you'd then be even more shit outta luck if you got fired.

"The Times' Arts & Entertainment editor, Craig Turner, offered some context [on Ann Powers] in a phone conversation earlier this afternoon," reported the altie in mid-August. " 'When the issue of her relocation came up,' he says, 'our concern was that we think Ann is the best pop music critic in the country, and we thought it was important to try and retain her voice in the LA Times for our readers. We feel that she has unique insight and perspective on the world of pop music and celebrity, and we wanted to keep that if at all possible.' "

Because there's such a paucity of music journalists in Los Angeles. Not many people can do it so good, a fact that couldn't be more obvious.

For example and for the sake of illustration, there's this recent Powers bit on Adam Lambert's (a pop celebrity boy who wears mascara and paints his fingernails) new song.

"Power ballads exist to climax," she writes. "I use that final word, in all its lascivious glory, for the obvious reasons."

Or: "For those of us biting our nails about what Lambert might accomplish with his debut album ..."

To print more of this would infect your brain.



Update

A jobless mother starts a humor blog and eventually gets interviewed by NPR.

See here.

Problem: She used the name "Ann Powers" as a pseudonym. Ha-ha.

Standard defender-of-the-snobs at the Washington Post takes up cause for Tuscaloosa Ann Powers.

"Ann Powers the rock critic, who I soooorta know — I have met her and used to work with her husband at Spin — wasn’t jazzed about the existence of Ann Powers the blogger," writes the name-dropping Andrew Beaujon.

He soooorta knows Ann Powers, Official LA Times Rock Critic. And he worked with her husband at Spin! Blimey! Must investigate impudent blogger.

"I’ve called and e-mailed Ann Powers the blogger for comment but she hasn’t replied," he concludes. "I’ll update when/if she does!"

For those of you biting your nails in suspense and anticipation.

Friday, October 23, 2009

ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE CRAZY & RAPTURE


Advance to 4:00 minute mark.

One of the noticeable elements of the GOP Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy cult is the involvement of the Christian far right, those who believe in and welcome the end of all things for us while they go to heaven.

Hal Lindsey has regularly posted bits to YouTube warning of electromagnetic pulse attack on the US. In this one, he delivers the missile defense/bomb Iran lobby script of the SCUD-in-a-tub sneak attack from off the coast. (Two years ago, he mentions EMP attack here, calling it the Delilah Bomb. Scroll down to see the video.)

Readers will note the fidgeting on the issue. First, the three minute explanation on how to make oneself right and call on the Lord to be saved. Then the longer explanation on the threat that will throw the United States back to the 1800's.

But the next video explains the interest more frankly and honestly.

It's part three of a sermon on how the electromagnetic pulse effect will signal the coming of Jesus. The saved will be whisked away to heaven, everyone else left behind for Satan, the United States hurled back to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Amen, brothers and sisters!

You'll note the fly in the ointment for the other members of the Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy cult lobby is the very strong impression that the US religious far right wants the end to come on because it means they get to go with Jesus. With the rest of us Left Behind.

And an electromagnetic pulse attack, in effect a nuclear strike on the continental United States, is just right for that recipe. In other words, the national security implications of this are, for them, just a sham.

Sure it's illogical! But whoever said anything about Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy Theatre having to be logical?


Skip to about 2:50 if not inclined to endure to the entire thing.

Yes, your GOP EMP Crazy lobby: Roscoe Bartlett, Newt Gingrich, assorted missile defense hawks and the well beyond nuts religious far right.




From the archives: The Republican Party and the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy
SOUPY SALES GOT KIDS TO LOOK UP TO HIM

Reprint from 2006



In the first month of DD blog's existence, I published an old interview I did with Soupy Sales in 1991.




Soupy Sales, the unforgettable character of comedy, the man who was drummed off the air by the FCC when an anonymous harridan complained to the agency after a New Year's Eve broadcast in which Sales asked the children to sneak into their parents' bedrooms, collect all the green paper with people's faces on it and send it to him.

"That was broadcast at 7 in the evening. How many parents do you know that are already asleep then? It was just the case of a humorless station-owner getting worried," said Sales.

"Hey, if I'd gotten any money from that, I wouldn't be talking to you. I'd own the paper!"

And what about the time, Soupy, that my editor said he saw you do the routine where you wrote the letter "F" on the chalkboard [for White Fang who saw only "K" and you said "When I see 'F' you see...]

"You tell him he never saw that," Soupy interrupts. "You know, I never said that when I went to the ballgame I kiss my wife on the strikes and she kisses me on the [balls]."

"We weren't allowed to do that. You can't be that dumb and be in this business."

What about Gilbert Gottfried's "Pee Wee and masturbation rap" at the Emmy's?

"That was in bad taste. There is a difference between being in the club where people are smoking and drinking and a primetime television audience. But, you know the way the Emmy's are, everybody forgets in two weeks."

"But with PeeWee, everybody thinks you can get away with anything in the 90's. The fact is, people do not like their children following perverts. It was stupid.

"I grew up in the south and it is not so liberal there. People say, 'Didn't the cops have anything better to do?' Well, that's the way it is.

"By the way, you know why you don't see Pee Wee around much anymore?"

Duh, I dunno. Why?

"He's got his hands full."

"How can parents get their kids to look up to them?" Sales finally asked.

Gee, Soupy, I don't know.

"Stand in front of the television set."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

FOR THE DAILY SCAREMONGER, BIZ AS USUAL

Updated

Armchair Generalist points out a couple of standard biodoom articles in Foreign Policy. By standard, one means the job is to alarm you with what is might happen -- according to their expert thinking.

The work by thriller author Robin Cook is worth noting for the fact that it seems to be just a bald-faced sales pitch and standard B-movie script rolled into one. This despite Cook's protestation at the end that there will be no Hollywood ending to his Biblical flu pandemic.

"Today, there is a crying need for a new such socially conscious novel to shake up the complacent public about the high risk of an imminent, serious pandemic," Cook writes.

Others have been furiously trying to cash-in furnishing such things but not since Richard Preston and his books (non-fiction and fiction) about Ebola virus and genetically engineered biotoerror has anyone hit hard-to-ignore really big time gold doing it.

"Before I reveal the infectious agent of this putative coming plague, I would like to refer the reader to my 17th book, Contagion, published in 1995," he continues.

Of course, how could we have been so foolish to have ignored it?

"A cautionary tale about the hazards of bioterrorism ..." he writes.

Emily Anthes' piece on plague as a potentially coming thing also merits a bit of a takedown.

"[During] World War II, the Japanese reportedly dropped plague-infected fleas from airplanes while flying over Chinese territory," she writes. "Modern bioterrorists would probably be even more sophisticated, encapsulating the bacteria in droplets of liquid and spraying them into the air. (In fact, during the Cold War both the United States and the Soviet Union developed techniques to aerosolize plague.)"

The formula one follows when writing analyses of this sort is to cobble together information from the historical record. And then one theorizes that if the Japanese or some other country, like the BW progam in the United States could do it, it's only logical that terrorists will be able to do so.

And this strategy of argument has been employed many more times than you would think constitutes rational behavior since 9/11. In this intervening time, all these pieces tend to be structurally identical. And none produce any interesting evidence that terrorists -- like al Qaeda have had any success developing something, as in this case, plague -- at all.

On the other hand, there is considerable documentary evidence that while a certain number of Islamic terrorists have shown interest in the subject, nothing of their work amounts to more than rubbish. This key ingredient is always left out because, naturally, it spoils the terror soup.

"[Information] on whether particular terrorist groups or rogue states are actively working to weaponize plague is sparse to nonexistent," Anthes continues.

To which Armchair Generalist replies:

"Information on the topic is 'sparse' because there is no intel on terrorist development of BW agents - mostly because they AREN'T DOING IT. It's pretty simple."

Four years ago, newspaper's regularly published news attributing all manner of capabilities to Muslim extremists.

At the time, I took one such Post article apart here and -- at length -- on this blog.

The newspaper had turned up two Islamist documents from the web -- one now common piece called the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, and another simply entitled "Biological Weapons." (Again, both are covered here.)

Coincidentally, "Biological Weapons," did cover plague. The excerpts on plague were embroidered but brief cut-and-pastes from a college microbiology text.

The document itself was furnished by something called The Terrorism Research Center.

And I've always been wary, as most people should be, of the product of for-profit firms that purport to either compete with or replace functions of the work of national intelligence agencies.

The purpose then was to formulate a scary story passed off as something analytical and illuminating about the true nature of the terrorist foe.

But an inescapable fact of the war on terror is that capabilities and threats are frequently exaggerated. To get people to listen to your story or stories, to make them buy something you are selling, you must frighten them. And if the evidence at hand isn't sufficiently scary, or the people you're trying to reach aren't attentive enough, then the temptation is strong to embellish and sell the goods like something they ain't.

Four years on from 2005 (see update below), there's no significant indication that the process, the rote prognostication on coming danger, has abated.

But back to plague.

For every insistence that terrorists could be working on plague or that it might be easy to genetically engineer into an even deadlier weapon, as Anthes does for Foreign Policy, there are competing pieces of information stating the opposite. But these are never cited because they dilute the argument.

For example, at the Federation of American Scientists, a letter from a colleague of plague scientist Thomas C. Butler, a world-renowned expert until the US government railroaded him.

"During Dr. Butler's sentencing hearing I learned some other little known facts about 'the plague,'" wrote Butler's colleague. "Did you know that our own government worked for twenty years or more on methods to 'weaponize' plague bacteria? What did they find? They couldn't do it! It turns out the plague bacteria are remarkably fragile organisms, and no ready means could be found to disperse and infect people with it easily."

There's more, in a section appropriately entitled "More on the 'Plague' Scare" and you can read it here.

"[The] US and UK BW programs prior to 1969 both failed in attempts to weaponize and aerosolize the agent that produces plague, (although the USSR did succeed in that during the 1980s)," wrote biological weapons expert, Milton Leitenberg, here five years ago.



This just in, more repetition on biodoom, in case you haven't properly grasped the message:

Former Congressmen Jim Talent and Bob Graham are desperate men.

They crave attention -- can't stand being ignored. So, periodically, they show up to flog their weapons of mass destruction commission report, one that predicted a certainty of bioterrorist attack by 2013.

But back in 2008, when the report "World at Risk" was first issued, quite a few people became sick and tired of them.

"[While] many newspapers jumped on the story, it did not have quite the jolt announcements of this nature have had in the past," DD wrote at el Reg.

"Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California, Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Terrorism Risk Assessment, immediately issued a blunt press release. 'Much in the report ... is important,' it read. 'However, it's time to retire the fear card.' The American people needed to be educated about the threat, not terrified, it continued."

The report was also rewritten prior to publication, its conclusions changed to fit political purposes.

An initial pre-release copy of it contained this conclusion: "Efforts to strengthen the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention were dealt a symbolic blow in 2001 when the Bush administration withdrew its support for a new accord that had been under negotiation for six years."

The final publication reversed that stance.

While mentioning that the Bush administration's decision resulted in 'widespread international criticism,' the US government's primary objection - that 'acquiescing to an international control regime [would] potentially jeopardize sensitive US information' - along with two others, were valid. The Commission concluded the opposite of what had initially been reported in the pre-release version -- that since 'verifying compliance to the Biological Weapons Convention' has only become more difficult, the decision to walk away from the treaty was seemingly justified.

USA Today, however, allowed Graham and Talent to play the fear card once again here today for the sake of jabbing the Obama administration.

"The Obama administration is working hard to curb nuclear threats but failing to address the more urgent and immediate threat of biological terrorism, a bipartisan commission created by Congress is reporting today ..." wrote the newspaper.

And that assertion, that the government is being supplied with advice from a 'bipartisan' group is essentially a lie, too.

The Graham-Talent commission has never been any more 'bipartisan' than, say, healthcare reform. One can view it as a sort of special interest group itself -- one wrapped around the subject of WMDs, even more specifically -- bioterrorism.

Bob Graham is a ex-D Senator who behaves like a Republican, essentially the same type of function/position provided by someone like Max Baucus. Jim Talent is a Heritage Foundation far-right star most notable for his antipathy towards the "welfare class," social safety net programs for them and "militant gays" who are said to be corrupting US cultural values.

The commission's small roster is here: It includes an aide to Paul Wolfowitz, a lawyer for Bill Frist, and Graham Allison -- who writes one thing over and over -- how terrorists will get the atomic bomb.

The apocalyptic Graham-Talent prediction by way of USA Today was delivered:

"[Anthrax spores] released by a crop-duster could 'kill more Americans than died in World War II' and the economic impact could exceed $1.8 trillion in cleanup and other costs."

"Commission Vice Chairman Jim Talent, a Republican former senator from Missouri, says: 'The fact is, it is only getting easier and cheaper to develop and use biological weapons. ... It is essential that the U.S. government move more aggressively,'" continued USA Today.

The USA Today story does not mention that two staffers/collaborators of Tara O'Toole's -- Randy Larsen and Gigi Kwik-Gronval -- are currently in the employ of the Graham-Talent commission writing press releases. And what's notable about this that both have been O'Toole's water-bearers.

Tara O'Toole, in case readers do not recall, was chosen to be 'geek-in-chief' at the Department of Homeland Security by the Obama administration, a choice that I called: "[A] superb appointment if you’re in the biodefense industry and interested in further opportunity and growth ... Alternatively, a disaster if threat assessment and prevention ought to have some basis in reality."

Here at Wired's Danger Room.

"The Obama administration asked for $305 million in its fiscal 2010 budget request [for defense against bioterrorism]" added USA Today in today's edition.

This was "Insufficient by a factor of 10" -- according to the fresh assertions from the Graham-Talent commission, the newspaper added.

Paradoxically, the new Talent-Graham proposition, as reported by USA Today, aligns with recommendations emitted by Tara O'Toole and Alliance for Biosecurity corporate lobbying group earlier this year.

More recently O'Toole was featured in a story at the Washington Times. That newspaper reported in September:

"President Obama's nominee at the Department of Homeland Security overseeing bioterrorism defense has served as a key adviser for a lobbying group (the Alliance for Biosecurity) funded by the pharmaceutical industry that has asked the government to spend more money for anthrax vaccines and biodefense research.

"But Dr. Tara O'Toole, whose confirmation as undersecretary of science and technology is pending, never reported her involvement with the lobbying group called the Alliance for Biosecurity in a recent government ethics filing.

"The alliance has spent more than $500,000 lobbying Congress and federal agencies -- including Homeland Security -- since 2005, congressional records show."

That full story is here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

TRENDS IN TERROR PREP NET SURFING

If you run a domain or a blog and keep track of your statistics, you know that there are always a couple of files or posts which pick up global currency in Google. They accumulate views, perhaps giving you a picture of the world collected through the lens of your writing.

In another way of speaking, people, regions or countries display patterns determined by their interests, their likes, what they may be feeling about various issues, or their reactions to the news of the day. One can think of it as a variety of fingerprints left on your domain. And some countries, as DD will get to further in, have very specific fingerprints.

At DD blog, outside of the index page, the mark of regular idle net surfing is in this post -- a photo of Joan Jett showing off her impressive rock 'n' roll looks.

However, with Najibullah Zazi's beauty parlor supply store bomb plot in the news, views of a different post, tied to searches on variations of 'peroxide bomb' swamped statistics.

That post, entitled "Peroxide Bomb, Easy to Make!" is here. It was virtual flypaper.



The Google Analytics graph charting its access aligns with developments in the Zazi case as they made news.

The search keywords which made this post, as well as a couple other similar ones into hot landing pages, are listed in the next Google Analytics snapshot.



It's quite an accumulation related to peroxide bombs, one which overrode all other posts on the blog from 2006 to the present. It expanded the hits from dedicated Google search from a monthly average of 12 percent of the total traffic on the blog to about a quarter of the whole.

I decided to look back over previous years for a trend. And it does seem that a certain small number of young Muslim minds turn to peroxide bombs just prior to every September 11, as evidenced by either an unexplained spike in accesses or the exposure and rolling up of plots in progress.



This spike corresponds to an interrupted plot in Germany, one which made world news on September 5, 2007. (See here for a photo of evidence posted a couple days later>)

What about 2008?



Here a much smaller spike of interest in peroxide bombs rises out of the noise prior to September 11. Similar interest would have been hidden under the peaks displaying news of the German plot in 2007 and the Zazi case this year.

But is there a specific country which always shows a peroxide bomb fingerprint? And does it jibe with what we know about global terrorism?

The answer to both questions is yes.

Pakistan: The hard case of al Qaeda and Taliban wanna-be's and their expanding numbers

One country stands alone in DD blog web statistics: Pakistan. The only thing net surfers from Pakistan land on at dickdestiny dot com are posts which reference peroxide bomb plots, jihadist recipes and documents for making poisons like cyanide or ricin, dirty bomb schemes, and other cases involving incarcerated members of al Qaeda.

The interest is invariant and monochromatic. Because it is this way, from the viewpoint of DD blog, Pakistan always look like it has a subset of young men interested in nothing but jihad and terrorism -- a close fit with the real world. And because there are no other colorations in this interest, it can be observed for a trend.

First, let's just take a look at few randomly chosen months of data from Pakistan.



From August 1 to September 11, 2007, everything in the above list relates to bomb-making plots, poison-making documents, poison gas and the war on terror.



Above, all but one post from June 2007, related to mayhem: peroxide bombs, ricin, trying to poison animals in a training camp and failing, terrorism, etc.



Moving along to February 2008: peroxide bombs, making miscellaneous poisons, ricin, the ultimate jihadist poisons handbook, dirty bombs, the will of Allah and convicted terrorist Dhiren Barot, torture, the Manual of Afghan Jihad and ... Joan Jett. DD is making the assumption the latter was accessed by someone from the West, sent to work in Pakistan and net surfing for a nice picture on an off day.



June 2009: More of the same.

As mentioned, this interest is constant.

For all practical purposes, net surfers from Pakistan who access DD blog, and -- who by definition must access other virtual locales -- look for nothing but text on terrorism and mayhem while they are using the net. "Bounce," time-on-page and repeat visitor statistics tend to reinforce the impression that the visits are from a group of men constantly using Google to scan the net, not a group which bookmarks things in their 'favorites' tab.

The trend, citywide in Pakistan, stacks up in the following way. (DD blog compared statistics from January 1-October 13, 2008 and the same period from 2009.)


Pakistan increase in 'mayhem' requests: 2008 vs 2009, by city as a percentage of the whole.


City map of mayhem requests, Pakistan. Note Quetta and Peshawar in the tribal areas, home to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

It's a bleak picture, considering the figures represent people only interested in terrorism and reading of it.

While the numbers are small, they are regular and constant.

They show DD that various things -- the escalation of Predator drone bombings/assassinations in 2009, the expansion of the US embassy, more CIA operation in the country and greater treasure thrown at the Pakistani government -- are not making Pakistan nicer or less filled with potential trouble. The level of animosity as shown by local interest has only increased, sometimes surprisingly so. If this is the US government's ongoing strategy for Pakistan, there is polling proof here that it is not working. In fact, it is having the opposite effect: More really angry young Muslim men.

The only good news here is a point DD has made previously.

Since the beginning of the war on terror, the US mainstream media has created an artificial reality concerning it, one in which terrorists are assumed to be MacGyver-like characters, capable of making WMDs from just about anything -- very easily.

All they need is to access the Internet, to download information which will make the manufacture of poisons and explosives only a little harder than adding tequila and crushed ice to margerita mix.

And because the media and our government and private sector experts have propagated this meme on a regular basis, "Peroxide Bombs, Easy to Make!" and other texts like it have serendipitously floated to the top tier in search requests on the subject, making them virtual tools with which to gauge interest.

Fortunately for us, we live in world constrained by physical reality, not by what others wish it to be or think it is in the press. If we did not, reason stands to tell us bomb and poisoning plots would be commonplace in the west, not the recent historical pattern in which a handful of failed and aspirational plots are uncovered, marked by rare but globally well-known success.

Where they are common are those places where dedicated men have experience, opportunity, a sympathetic populace, total freedom to operate and ready access to explosives -- like Pakistan and Afghanistan. In other words, where individuals have a proven and current track record of actually doing it rather than scanning the net for it -- the latter group which can, however, furnish a group of ready-minded recruits.

Since it is obvious many young men in Pakistan apparently believe in this artificial reality, like Najibullah Zazi and others rolled up before him, they surf the net for things which don't really confer upon them any capability.

That capability can generally only be had through experience and guidance by people who are trained, not by others who only believe themselves to be well-trained.

But these numbers, while small, do show a group who may already be terrorists -- ineffective ones -- or individuals who may become more dangerous and efficient if they come under the wing of those who can provide them with the means to carry out the things they have only read about. These numbers are certainly large enough to make possible the establishment of teams of terrorists, the likes of which are seen in Pakistan today.

A strategy which results in the growth of this crop is not a good one. In fact, news on Najibullah Zazi tells us he spent time in Pakistan in 2008 prior to returning to the US.

Is there another country similar to Pakistan in DD blog's stats? Yes.

It's Saudi Arabia.

DD didn't data mine it as extensively as Pakistan but the profile is similar.

An example:



Saudi Arabia from May to September 11, 2009: each archive is tied, in this case, to interests in (drum roll) -- 'easy to make' peroxide bombs, ricin making, poisoning, al Qaeda operatives, etc.

Is there a country in the news, an American bete noir, a place which is always be recommended for bombing, but which does not have a base of young men who surf for mayhem recipes?

You know the answer: Iran.



Iran logons from Jan -- April 2008. Interests: porn (dd girls, as in Digital Desire girls; three on variations of 'iran fun,' agroterrorism in Iran, one on semtex, and another looking for fans of heavy metal on blogfa, a Persian blogging site.

"(Not set)" usually resolves to posts having to do with mentions of bombing Iran like here and here -- a sadly common wish.

DD leaves readers with its statistical plot from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, as you've already figured, is a black hole. One wagers those who surf the net out of Afghanistan, the occasional logon from Kabul, are likely to be corrupt members of the governing upper class.



"Take Advice From Ninnies" -- which is what was read here has a bit on where you can stash your loot -- Macau -- if you're a crooked government leader.

There seems to be some cosmic poetry in that.




At SITREP.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

EMP CRAZY LOBBY THWARTED IN US, TRIES EUROPE

"Scientists have warned that Iran and North Korea could produce a weapon capable of paralysing Western electricity grids for months or years," reports the BBC.

Except that's a bald-faced lie.

There's no 'scientific' consensus bolstering the infamous electromagnetic pulse crazy lobby.

Thwarted in the United States, given the bum's rush after a summer-long p.r. effort and national convention, the EMP Crazy lobby has redoubled its efforts in Europe.

"US government adviser Avi Schnurr said efforts to protect the US electricity grid had already begun.

"Mr Schnurr is president of the International EMP Council, a coalition based in the US, which aims to stimulate efforts to protect against the risk of attacks using electromagnetic devices.

"Those feeding into the [EMP Crazy] network include scientists from around the world, governments, corporations and NGOs ..."

In standard EMP Crazy lobby fashion, it's 'experts' are passed off as government advisers.

Schnurr, for example, is no government adviser -- at least not with the Obama administration. He's just another ringer from the far right missile defense/bomb Iran lobby, now knee-capped by current events and politics.

"On Monday, the British Parliamentary Defence Select Committee heard how a nuclear warhead launched from a medium range missile and exploded 20 miles above the earth could cripple an entire country's power grid," continued the Beeb.

It's back to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance or whatever iconic movie passes for the same in England. (A DD blog official No-Prize for the person who can suggest an appropriate title in the comments section.)

"Mr. Schnurr said that power, water and phones could fail ... Cars could run out of fuel, cities could be gridlocked and the economy could in effect be 'shut down.'"

"The scientists bomb Iran lobbyists who [don't] advise the [current] US government, said the biggest concern for defence planners was the threat from so-called 'rogue states' like Iran and North Korea."

Disappointingly, the BBC furnished an electromagnetic pulse graphic from the Federation of American Scientists, using the arms control and enlightenment organization in the promotion of evil, arms build-up and ignorance, the opposite for which it stands.


The electromagnetic pulse crazy/bomb Iran strategy: If we make enough dreadful videos and post them to YouTube, all repeating the same deadening script delivered by the same out-of-power white guys in suits, the sheep won't be able to resist our collective genius. "It's been well known for many many years," he says.

Monday, October 12, 2009

STUMBLE AND FAIL: CAPITALISM -- A LOVE STORY


Just before going to the movie to go to the bathroom
four or five times.


DD went to see Michael Moore's Capitalism -- A Love Story at the Laemmle in Pasadena yesterday afternoon.

The theatre was about three quarters full. All aging boomers, myself included.

The guy to my left was a movie-long running advertisement for Flomax.

Indeed, he needed to be made the star of the next commercial for men who have to piss a thimbleful every twenty-five minutes because they have a swollen gland.

The woman to my right couldn't shut up. Like my mother used to, she had to say "Right!" and "Yes!" and "Uh-huh!" or sigh loudly after every point and beat in the movie.

Twice, a guy and a woman in the center of the row had to go to the lobby.

The audience applauded at the movie's conclusion.

Which was fine, except DD would bet that down to every single one of them, no one had any skin lost in the game shown onscreen.

They were and are not the audience Moore needs to reach to instigate change, they're the audience you reach who like seeing how awful politicians are and how corporations have looted America while overlooking that they've long escaped the fates of those onscreen. They're the folks you see in the Rose Bowl every UCLA home game.

It's just a shame. Michael Moore's movie is a call to arms. But my guess is, while profitable, it just isn't seen by the people it was made for -- those starring in it.

If it was, we'd be starting to see the formation of lynching parties.

Many subjects of Moore's film are enraging. There's Lawrence Summers' picture on the cover of TIME, Tim Geithner, and all the Goldman Sachs bagmen in government and the the Obama administration. They -- the architects of the movie's "Plutonomy" -- need to be strangled. And then comes Monday, and you read this or this.

And you realize there's still no indication that things will change -- the looters are still in charge. The mainstream media still defends the status quo. In tribute, they've done their best in trying to nibble the movie to death on Metacritic.

Sample quotes: "This is a love story, all right, but it has less to do with the flaws of capitalism than it does with Moore's unwavering fondness for the sound of his own voice, and for what he perceives as his own vast cleverness," from Salon. "Scattershot, lazy slice of agitprop, which recycles Moore's usual slice-and-dice job on corporations, while bobbing a curtsey to the current crisis," from the Village Voice.

Even the alternative publications won't guard your back anymore. Golly, they just find Michael Moore so damn irritating. And if they wrote something accurate, the publisher would schedule them for layoff -- or already has.

If you haven't seen Capitalism yet, it's worth your time and money. Just don't see it where the audience will be a lot like mine -- full of toilet bound blabbermouths in relaxed fit garments who bring their own snacks because the buttered popcorn is unhealthy and overpriced. Sadly, that will be hard to do.




Things to look for (or hear): Michigan's Iggy Pop performing a version of "Louie Louie" over the opening credits. Iggy's first 'changed' performance of "Louie Louie" appeared initially on the live Stooges LP, Metallic KO. Moore took the version from the much more recent American Caesar, for obvious reasons, once you hear it. A fer performances of it exist on YouTube, including an acoustic version performed on French TV a couple years ago.

My old Pennsyltucky home makes an appearance. Luzerne County stars for having its judicial arm collaborate with a private sector incarceration company in a criminal jail-teenagers-for-pay operation. Appear before the Luzerne County judge in Wilkes-Barre for a minor infraction, like saying a naughty thing about your high school principal on MySpace, and get bound over for private juvie prison, no appeals. Judge pockets kickback from juvie prison called PA Child Care for sending children to the same juvie prison; PA Child Care juvie prison gets money from the government to jail teenagers. It's monetizing teenagers, it's capitalism win win win!

Do you think they're watching Capitalism in Wilkes-Barre? Or is it doing bad business?

Friday, October 09, 2009

HOLY COW! GOP HEADS BLOW OFF NATIONWIDE

As it happens.

Glenn Beck advises to buy gold because the dollar is under attack. [Run commercial on FOX News for buying of gold.] Glenn Beck advises that the government is preparing detention camps and to buy gold. [FOX News runs commercial for buying of gold, then a commercial for men with stopped up urinary tracts, then gold again.]

In the comment mail here this morning: "[Obama] has really created e new international image of the USA. This will in effect reduce the number of threats as far as INTERNATIONAL terrorism is concerned."

Let's see: Al Gore -- Nobel Peace Prize. George W. Bush -- Unjust war Prize. Barack Obama -- Nobel Peace Prize.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

WHAT HE SAID

At Glenn Greenwald yesterday:

"Beyond specific policies, even the arguments made to justify these claims are redolent of the Bush/Cheney approach. With unrecognized irony, The Post article notes that 'the White House says it avoided trumpeting either the elevated threat level or the averted [Najibullah Zazi] crisis.' Really? What do you think this whole article is? It's nothing but Obama officials anonymously beating their chest over 'the averted crisis' -- just as was true for previous leaks from 'officials' claiming the Zazi plot was 'the most significant since 9/11.' Worse, in this very article, Obama officials are doing exactly what Bush officials spent years doing -- exploiting Terrorist plots and the fears they generate to justify the powers they demand. And they're using the same convoluted, manipulative logic to accomplish that.

"It's the Dick Cheney fear-mongering mantra exactly -- give us the unchecked power we demand unless you want to be killed by Najibullah Zazi -- and it's coming in equal measure from former Bush officials, Senate Democrats like Dianne Feinstein, and anonymous Obama officials."

I've written similary.

Be afraid of Najibullah Zazi -- the boogeyman who lurked in beauty parlor supply shops. Who surfed the Internet for peroxide bomb recipes, frantically sending out e-mails and hoping something would drop into his lap, allowing him to make a bomb like baking a cake.

Thanks guy, you've been a real help.

Guys like Najib Zazi are no more capable of seriously damaging the country than run-of-the-mill nuisances and fools like this man who tried to take materials related to making pipe bombs on an airplace, or this case of an anonymous nuisance and his pipe bomb or this -- still another instance -- of now arrested anonymous nuisances and their car full of pipe bombs and guns.

Howcum all the pipe-bombers didn't make news of big terror plots? Regular pipe-bomb making can almost be considered a red-blooded patriotic American hobby. Not convenient to the argument, that's why.

Are not made pipe-bombs as cool as unmade peroxide bombs?




The War on Terror Salesman

The Convenient Boogeyman -- straight out of young Muslim terorrist central casting.

Clueless Tome Friedman says beware the creativeness of Najib Zazi.
LAUGHABLE COUNTRY

A laughable country is a place where there can't be healthcare reform that doesn't involve a bonanza for for insurers, the parties that have caused all the problems.

It's one where seventeen percent of the population is either flat out of work or woefully underemployed, where a president dithers over Afghanistan -- a war absolutely no other advanced western nation seriously cares about, and an Afghan coffee cart pusher who looked like a terrorist out of bad central casting creates yesterday's news and an astonishingly huge spike in hits on DD blog.

It's also a place where one finds little things that you couldn't make up if you were writing satire.

Did you know "[the] U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., is interested in receiving research proposals on the best technologies for Counter Directed Energy Weapons (CDEW) to protect Navy and Marine Corps ships, submarines, aircraft, and other weapons from directed-energy weapons such as high energy laser technology, non-lethal weapons like laser 'dazzlers,' high power microwave transmitters, particle beam technology, or pulsed high power electromagnetic systems?"

Yes, we have the biggest military in the world. And there is literally almost no way in hell to get rid of even the most meretricious weapons development projects when the state of the nation is so needful of help.

In case this doesn't appear sufficiently ridiculous to you, consider there are no foreign navies, pirate groups or bands of disgruntled and filthy ragtag insurgents in landlocked countries now capable (or out to the distant future) of attacking US ships with directed energy weapons. The US Navy doesn't even have directed energy weapons! Unless you call glorified megaphones, loudspeakers, jammers and radars directed energy weapons.

Everyone else has given up trying to outspend the US military and its unstoppable race to acquire capabilities for wars it will never fight.

Yes, the US Navy is spending money in case we have to fight invaders from Alpha Centauri! Or someone escapees from the SyFy Channel.

What this is about -- besides the usual escaped-from-oversight nonsense is corporate welfare -- in this case, taken in crumbs -- for giant arms manufacturers. But even crumbs will do, as it's a giant sucking vacuum, hoovering every opportunity to take from the national larder.

The only good news and it's very small good news: "The total amount of contract and grand awards for this program may be as much as $15 million over the six years from 2010 to 2015."

Which is small pocket change and litter in the military budget. But still -- you could use that kind of pocket change, no? Anyone could think of fifty ways to spend this money more equitably for the national community instead of giving it away to the usual Lockheeds and Raytheons.

"Navy leaders also want advice from industry and academia on whether new systems are necessary for this purpose, or if existing Navy weapons may provide solutions to countering directed-energy threats," the notice also informs. "Pulsed high power electromagnetic systems can create effects similar to electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which results for nuclear explosions."

In a better world, the President would find out about things like this daily. And he would spend a minute on the phone to the Office of Naval Research, brook no debate, and tell 'em: "Look, you're going to give up this flavor of stupid and parasitic arms research. Have a heart. Think of your countrymen instead of what defense contractor you boys want to get a job at after you leave the Navy."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

THE WAR ON TERROR SALESMAN IS BACK

Today the US government rolled out the classic pitch from authority.

In doing so, it took us back to the worst years of the Bush administration. Whenever bad men were apprehended, no matter how trivial or how far prior to actual execution of plot, they were always evidence of the very very serious threat of al Qaeda.

In this practice, nothing has changed. Just sample today's wire stories for the repetitive single source statements on the nature of the threat, insisting everyone inhale the dangerous gravity of it without a single question.

"Prosecutors said Zazi took a bomb-making course at an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, had notes on how to make explosives his laptop computer and acquired materials similar to those used in bomb attacks in London in 2005, buying acetone and hydrogen peroxide at beauty supply stores," reported Reuters.

"Atty General Eric Holder said the plot, if it had been successful, could have killed 'scores' of Americans, based on the chemicals involved, the history of similar plots and the number of people suspected of being involved."

Fifty six people were called in the London 7/7 plot, many more injured. No one in the United States has been called in an al Qaeda bomb plot since 9/11. And all the peroxide bomb plots uncovered prior to Najibullah Zazi's have been in Europe, primarily in England.

"Holder said Zazi visited Pakistan in 2008, when he allegedly attended an al Qaeda training camp ... 'There certainly was an al Qaeda connection,' Holder said [in a press conference]."

It's worth repeating that if, indeed, Najibullah Zazi visisted an al Qaeda camp and was trained there, the public has no significant indication that the nature of the training was particularly effective.

Consider what we do know about bombings for a minute or two. Bombings occur in Pakistan. They occur in Afghanistan. And they still occur in Iraq. In these places -- where there are experienced bombers -- the bomb of choice seems always to be made of high explosive, not hydrogen peroxide and nail polish remover scrounged from beauty parlors and then tinkered with.

In Los Angeles, there is no shortage of weekly shootings. Or ammunition and guns.

But what does Najibullah Zazi busy himself with in Colorado?

It's a rhetorical question which invites you to assess the threat considering only the facts, not the embellishments, which have been way too long the currency of the US government, regardless of which party is in power.

DD knows the answer to this threat assessment. If you read this blog regularly, so do you.

DD blog owns one of the pages on the Internet with the highest hit rate for variations on the meme 'peroxide bomb easy to make'. As such, it can be used to plot and graph occurences of the peroxide bomb subject in the news. And DD is preparing a Google Analytics-powered survey of the trends which sweep the website on this topic. They are not only tied to published news reports going worldwide, but also to a relatively small but noticeable number of people worldwide always searching for their allegedly so easy to make peroxide bombs.

That landing page is right here -- published in 2006. And the counter has been ticking along picking up statistics on the phenomenon ever since then.

Stay tuned -- in a future edition, this is going to get interesting.

Anyway, today DD went out once again to the mainstream media to see how many brainless stories there were, telling everyone who can read worldwide that peroxide bombs are easy to make. Anecdotally, there weren't as many of them as in past years. Perhaps because it's now virtually impossible to miss the post on DD blog when you are reporting on the subject and you Google how 'easy' it is to make them.

The sampling:

"While experts say hydrogen peroxide-based bombs are relatively easy to make with the correct recipe, Zazi was struggling." -- AP

"It's very dangerous," an exlosive expert told the news service. "In 2006, an explosion ripped through a Texas apartment where two men were making [a peroxide-based explosive]. "One was killed, the other injured."

These were Americans, by the way. Not jihadists. And it illustrates one of the problems which accompanies peroxide bomb-making.

"CBS 2 asked the Illinois Institute of Technology chemist to explain how easy it would be to make an explosive using acetone and hydrogen peroxide." -- CBS2 in "Are Two Chemicals Over the Counter Terror?"

But Najibullah Zazi was not a chemist from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

"Not much training is needed to concoct a peroxide bomb, and it doesn't have to be accomplished in a remote camp," opined the Tampa Bay Tribune. "Information about bomb-building is all over the Internet."

And if there is some significance to this 'fact,' then it is surely astonishing that bombs are not going off daily in the United States. Rather than in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where many real bombers appear to be.

It is certainly appropriate that individuals like Najib Zazi be dragged off the street when their workings are discovered. But there's nothing good in immediately reverting to form and ringing the same old 'terrorism terrorism terrorism' alarm bell.
THE CONVENIENT BOOGEYMAN

"During a visit to the National Counterterrorism Center just outside Washington in McLean, Va., Mr. Obama hailed successes against Al Qaeda and its allies 'especially in recent months and days,'" said the New York Times.

"Obama cited in particular the arrest of Najibullah Zazi ... who authorities said was trained by Al Qaeda in Pakistan in preparation for an attack in the United States.

"Because of [counterterrorism workers], and all the organizations you represent ... we’re making real progress in our core mission – to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and other extremist networks around the world."

When an individual like Najibullah Zazi is held up as an example of the big bad terrorist our agencies are fighting and winning against, you know the president is relying on his staffers to comb recent headlines, not actually doing his own homework.

Zazi -- the subject of much comment on this blog, including the Sunday post on Tom Friedman's counterintuitive/anti-common sense conclusions -- is a handy Lenny-Skutnick-from-Hell device, pulling a Skutnik being the slightly insulting description for a practice in which presidents and politicians pick some convenient name from the news for making a laudatory point.

Today's practice shows it's still business as usual in the famous 'war on terror' -- the enemy is everywhere but good ol' American know-how and right is takin' 'em down.

Do you feel better now? Have you told your counterterrorism worker you loved him today? Since we're doing such a good job defining the enemy, shouldn't we be breaking our arm patting ourselves on the back?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

WHAT'S OLD ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE CRAZY UP TO?


Ol' Pulse Crazy -- posing a 'catastrophic' threat to your common sense.

Besides getting in the news for running an enterprise in which small businesses are given awards of recognition in return for contributions, squeezing a gratuity out of some small "Christian liberal arts" school in North Carolina.

"The audience at the Montreat College lecture will meet a 'renaissance man,' said Newt Gingrich's co-author, a faculty member at the school, to the local newspaper.

He Twitters, too. The nation waits with bated breath.
CLUELESS TOM

One major obstacle to clear and critical thinking on terrorism is the famous nationally-read pundit who is upside down on everything.

Today's perfect example: Tom Friedman of the New York Times.

Friedman marvels at what he believes to be the ingenuity of recent terror plots.

"Or how about this ... Two weeks ago in Denver, the F.B.I. arrested Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old Afghan immigrant, and indicted him on charges of planning to set off a bomb made of the same home-brewed explosives used in the 2005 London transit bombings," he writes. "[Zazi] allegedly learned how to do so on a training visit to Pakistan. The Times reported that Zazi 'had bought some bomb ingredients in beauty supply stores, the authorities said, after viewing instructions on his laptop on how to build such a bomb. When an employee of the Beauty Supply Warehouse asked about the volume of materials he was buying, he remembered Mr. Zazi answering, ‘I have a lot of girlfriends.’

"These incidents are worth reflecting on. They tell us some important things. First, we may be tired of this 'war on terrorism, but the bad guys are not. They are getting even more 'creative.' "

In the real world, there's no shortage of evidence on the lack of creativeness of terrorists. Including the Zazi case, we have a now well-documented string of terrorist plots in which the conspirators run to buy up beauty store peroxide so they can have a stab at making peroxide bombs.

Only one of these plots, carried out in the last five years, was successful. And DD blog has written about the practice, again and again and again, even including pictures, formulas and explanations of what the terrorists were aiming at.

See here at SITREP, for a summary.

See here for a teaser to an upcoming analysis on how wanna-be Muslim terrorists globally scan the world network for the same old recipes on bomb-making, believing they can find something which will allow them to make a WMD as simply as baking a cake.

See here how Friedman's newspaper -- yes, the NYT -- checked with DD when an interrupted peroxide bomb plot hit the news two years ago. A reporter even furnished photographic evidence for examination.

The terrorists are not tired, Friedman says. Perhaps this is so. Maybe Najibullah Zazi never became tired. However, by the evidence in the public record, their thinking certainly appears to be tired, overrated and worn out.

Pundits like Friedman have been incredibly damaging to rational thought on the subject. Instead of actually looking at the recent historical record, they immediately jump to a wrong and misinforming whoopie cushion conclusion -- that the terrorists are -- in this case -- 'creative.'

Creative is not the word DD would use to describe would-be peroxide bombers.

Creative intelligence is also not what comes to mind when one thinks of a terrorist so stupid he accepted a Ford Explorer Sport Trac from strangers, the FBI -- as it turns out, who told him it was loaded with a truck bomb.

"Yeah, I know that if I walk around fuming at mosque or in public about the Great Satan long enough, someone is sure to offer me a truck bomb, no strings ... yeah, that's right!"

Yet Friedman jumps to the opposite conclusion, flying in the face of common sense and critical thinking.

And what happens when someone like Tom Friedman writes such a column? It gets copied around the world, used everywhere as proof of the powerful and ingenious nature of the terrorist threat, cited by others to frighten lay readers and observers into numbness, to cement or create security policies all out of proportion to the true nature of the threat. It is employed as a proof and argument from famous authority.

The only good thing which comes from Tom Friedman-like writings is a very small good thing. Would-be terrorists read the western press assiduously. Because many actually seem to believe everything in it, they too think such plots are ingenious, so they attempt to repeat them, with results which are generally fortunate for us.

In other words, worry about the person somewhere who doesn't believe all the crap written and recited by the famous at the top, who doesn't spend a good portion of his days hoping someone will give him a truck bomb, haunting beauty parlor supply stores, or surfing the Internet for various recipes to be scribbled on note paper.



Equally despressing: How often this occurs. See here from SITREP, back in May. Similar story, different famous journalist.