Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Ukraine crisis without blinders


An astute and succinct analysis by David Warsh:

Two Views of Russia

It was Nuland who in February was secretly taped, probably by the Russians, saying “F— the EU” for dragging its feet in supporting Ukrainian demonstrators seeking to displace its democratically-elected pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, two months after he rejected a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of one with Russia. She made a well-publicized trip to pass out food in the rebels’ encampment on Kiev’s Maidan Square in the days before Yanukovych fled to Moscow.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin said the other day, “Our Western partners, with the support of fairly radically inclined and nationalist-leaning groups, carried out a coup d’état [in Ukraine]. No matter what anyone says, we all understand what happened. There are no fools among us. We all saw the symbolic pies handed out on the Maidan,” Nuland is the pie-giver he had in mind
Victoria Nuland is a character right out of House of Cards or The Honourable Schoolboy.

Before she was nominated to her current job, Nuland was State Department spokesperson under Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Congressional firestorm over the attack on the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

So how did the Obama administration manage to get her confirmed – on a voice vote with no debate? The short answer is that she was stoutly defended by New York Times columnist David Brooks and warmly endorsed by two prominent Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona.
She is also the wife of Robert Kagan, an advisor to GOP presidents and GOP presidential candidates.

I really wonder what went though the mind of Mitt Romney and his closest advisors when they realized that the flack lying about Benghazi and leading the charge against Romney on that issue was married to one of their foreign policy advisors.

Like I said, Politico could not do that scene .justice; it requires the talents of a LeCarre or Evelyn Waugh.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The decline of Britian: From Profumo to Rotherham


In 1963 John Profumo was Secretary of State for War in Great Britian. He was caught up in a sex and spy scandal when it was revealed that he shared a mistress with a Soviet diplomat and presumed intelligence officer.

Because he realized that he had failed in his duties and had embarrassed his party and Prime Minister, Profumo resigned. He left politics completely. He spent the rest of his life doing charity work in London's East End.

In 2014 in was revealed that hundreds of children were raped and abused in Rotherham over a period of twenty years. The town authorities had evidence that this was happening but were slow to take action.

The top policeman Shaun Wright and the head of child services, Joyce Thacker, steadfastly refuse to resign.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Worse than Watergate


Stephen Hayes has a must read piece that should trigger earthquakes in DC.

Al Qaeda Wasn’t ‘on the Run’

Why haven’t we seen the documents retrieved in the bin Laden raid?

In July, Lieutenant General Flynn left his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, a year earlier than scheduled. Many intelligence professionals believe he was forced out, in part because heand many who worked for himaggressively challenged the administration’s view that al Qaeda was dying. Flynn’s views were shaped by the intelligence in the bin Laden documents.

Before he left, Flynn spoke to reporter James Kitfield, of Breaking Defense, who asked why he pushed back on the White House’s view that al Qaeda had died with Osama bin Laden. “There’s a political component to that issue, but when bin Laden was killed there was a general sense that maybe this threat would go away. We all had those hopes, including me. But I also remembered my many years in Afghanistan and Iraq. We kept decapitating the leadership of these groups, and more leaders would just appear from the ranks to take their place. That’s when I realized that decapitation alone was a failed strategy.”

Flynn recalled pushing to get information to policymakers with the hope that it might influence their decisions. “We said many times, ‘Hey, we need to get this intelligence in front of the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the national security adviser! The White House needs to see this intelligence picture we have!’?” He added: “We saw all this connective tissue developing between these [proliferating] terrorist groups. So when asked if the terrorists were on the run, we couldn’t respond with any answer but ‘no.’ When asked if the terrorists were defeated, we had to say ‘no.’ Anyone who answers ‘yes’ to either of those questions either doesn’t know what they are talking about, they are misinformed, or they are flat out lying.
Hayes also gives us another reason why ValJar and Co. where so eager to accept the resignation of Gen. Petraeus:

Officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency and CENTCOM responsible for providing analysis to U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan wanted to study the documents. But the CIA had “executive authority” over the collection and blocked any outside access to them.

The ensuing bureaucratic fight, reminiscent of the intragovernment battles that led to the reorganization of the intelligence community after 9/11, unfolded over the spring and fall of 2011. It was resolved, at least temporarily, when then-CIA director David Petraeus weighed in on behalf of the team from CENTCOM and the DIA, a move that did little to improve his standing with the CIA bureaucracy. Petraeus was angry when he learned that the CIA hadn’t been actively exploiting the documents, and as the former head of CENTCOM, he was sympathetic to the pleas from military intelligence. The dispute made its way to Clapper, who met with representatives of the warring agencies and agreed that DIA and CENTCOM should be allowed to study the documents.

The CIA provided access on a read-only basis, but even that limited look into bin Laden’s world made clear to the military analysts that the Obama administration’s public story on al Qaeda reflected the president’s aspirations more than reality.
Hayes article makes Max Holland’s work on Watergate journalism and Mark Felt/Deep Throat especially relevant. People like David Ignatius and Peter Bergen have some explaining to do.

You can see a talk by Holland here. The whole thing is interesting (as is his book Leak). But there is one point that now has new resonance.

Near the end of his talk Holland says this:

"The idea that Nixon would misuse the CIA for his own political purposes-- that really was the most serious count that led to the bill of impeachment."
Hayes makes the case that this White House found CIA much more helpful than Nixon’s did. Which is why, if Hayes is even half right, then we have a problem much worse than Watergate.

RTWT and share it. Plus, it doesn’t hurt the shame a few journalists for not pursuing this story.

Related:

An Inconvenient Book (review of Max Holland Leak)

An inconvenient book (Part two)

How fake narratives get made


An interesting book by Robert Andrew Powell

The Dead Women of Juárez



Powell lived in Juarez and found that the every day reality did not reflect the stories in the US media.

After I moved to Juárez, I didn’t notice that many women being killed. Or, to be more accurate, I noticed a lot of women being killed, a frightening amount at least 167 women were killed in Juárez by the end of August. It’s just that I noticed a very lot more men being killed, almost 2000 men over the same stretch of time.
The ‘femicide narrative’ so loved by the MSM inverted what was happening in Juarez. The victims were not killed ‘simply because they were women’; they died because they lived in a city where criminals held sway and drug cartels were more powerful than the legimate authorities.

The women who have been killed in Juárez while I’ve been here appear, on the whole, to be as caught up in the drug game as most of the murdered men. I’ve read about women executed in their homes or in cars alongside their husbands, their suddenly orphaned kids running into the street crying. I haven’t read about sadistic bankers from El Paso preying on women. Very few people I’ve talked to in Juárez believe the popular femicide narrative poor factory girls being snatched off the street and killed “just because they are women” -- is the story of their city.
Powell also explores the origins of the false narrative:

While noting that the murders of women, especially in Ciudad Juárez, have received a remarkable amount of attention, the vast amount of literature on the phenomenon originated mostly from “radical scholars, interest groups, international and nongovernmental organizations, and political activists, usually with little regard to the evaluation of the available data,” [Anthropologist Pedro Albuerque: wrote. Specifically he cited “preconceived notions and ad hoc statements not supported by empirical investigation.
...
“I’d argue that it wasn’t the murdered women that the media cared about as much as it was the idea of femicide and the theories of serial killing, conspiracies, and mass male backlash against women,” [Erin] Frey told me when I reached her via e-mail at her current home in Singapore, where she works for an NGO. “I’m sick of seeing articles on the subject that are a solid piece of citationless, uncredible crap.”
Certain types of serial killers are catnip to the MSM. In Juarez, radical scholars exploited that weakness to promote their anti-globalist and feminist agenda.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

China in World War Two


Historian Richard Frank recently spoke at the US Army Heritage and Education Center on China in the Second World War. It was a great lecture filled with new insights about an all but forgotten (or worse, a misremembered) theater.

For instance, how many people knew that when it was fought the Battle for Shanghai was the largest urban battle in history?

Frank is especially good at debunking the myths of Stillwell and also of Mao's Red Army. (Neither was very effective despite the journalistic propaganda on their behalf.)

You can watch the lecture here:

“China in World War II: New History; New Perspectives for Today"

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Who are you going to believe?


Your eyes or Al Sharton's lying mouth?

An expert destroys the narrative:

STEPHEN HUNTER: THOUGHTS ON FERGUSON

Thus any insistence that Michael Brown was shot with his hands up or an inordinate number of times is simply unsupportable by the known facts. It should not be assumed or repeated in any journalism that considers itself informed and unbiased. One of the saddest aspects of contemporary journalism–I worked on great newspapers for 38 years–is that almost no one on staff knows a single fact about things that go bang in the night. Some can’t tell an earplug from a rubber bullet or a semi-automatic from a full-automatic. Thus reportage on shooting incidents is always woefully flawed by ignorance and the public is ill-served, as in this disgraceful case.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Poland: First to Fight


Originally poster 1 September 2010

The popular image of Poland in WWII is of a small nation that became the first victim of the Nazi blitzkrieg and the proximate cause of the war when Great Britain and France rallied to its side.

History records a different story. Poland fought Hitler’s Reich longer than any other nation. Her contributions to the Allied victory were significant and should be reclaimed from the memory hole.

First, about the defeat in September 1939:
The Polish Army-- almost completely unmechanized, almost without air support, almost surrounded by the Germans from the outset and, shortly, completely surrounded when the Red Army joined the aggression-- fought more effectively than it has been given credit for. It sustained resistance from September 1 until October 5, five weeks, which compares highly favorably with the six and a half weeks during which France, Britain, Belgium, and Holland kept up the fight in the west the following year
(John Keegan, The Battle for History)


Despite the defeats of 1939, the Polish nation never stopped fighting. Not only did the Home Army resist the Nazis inside of occupied Poland, but Polish forces fought on every major front of the European war.

The existence of a legitimate government in exile and of a strong army abroad--Poland, even in 1944, had the fourth largest number of men fighting German after the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom-- lent a powerful heart to the Poles, who produced few collaborators and no puppet chief, a unique distinction in the record of European response to German aggression.


Polish airmen filled whole squadrons in the Battle of Britain at a time when Britain barely had enough fighter pilots to hold off the Luftwaffe. (The Kosciuszko Squadron shot down more German planes than any other fighter squadron during the battle). Ground units fought heroically in key battles in Italy and France.

Perhaps the greatest contribution Poland made to the final victory was in the realm of intelligence. They played a vital role in breaking the Enigma cipher system used by the German high command and shared their discoveries with the French and British.


The Poles eventually designed a whole array of mechanical aids -- some of which they passes to the British, some of which the British replicated independently, besides inventing others themselves-- but their original attack, which allowed them to understand the logic of Enigma, eas a workd of pure mathematical reasoning. As it was done without any modern computing machinery, but simply by pencil and paper, it must be regarded as one of the most remarkable mathematical exercises known to history.
(John Keegan, Intelligence in War)

In the first desperate years of the war, Engima/ULTRA intelligence enabled Britain to hold off the Luftwaffe and then the U-boat menace.

The Nazis never discovered the ULTRA secret in five years of war. That is an amazing testament to the Poles and the French still on the Continent who knew the secret but never divulged it, not even under Gestopo torture.


The Polish Underground was the number one source of HUMINT in occupied Europe for the British. They provided vast amounts on information on the German V-1 and V-2 secret weapons, the movements of U-boats, and the German military preparations in advance of D-Day.

Witold Pilecki is a name every student should know. He carried out what the Times of London called “perhaps the bravest act of espionage of the Second World War”: he volunteered to go inside of Auschwitz. His reports documented the Nazi’s extermination campaign against the Jews.








Saturday, August 30, 2014

The echo of the low dishonest decade


Why Was Hollywood at War with Poland?

The Left was very powerful among screenwriters in that period and many of the most unkind representations of Poles or Poland were the product of radical leftists, often members of the Communist Party. We must also remember that the Left had a particular grievance against Poland for several reasons. First, Poland was widely perceived on the Left as a reactionary country still preserving many of the characteristics of a bygone era. Secondly, the Poles had defeated Soviet Russia in the war of 1919-1921-a virtual sin to the pro-Soviet Left. Finally, Poland was the victim of a double assault in September 1939 by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Hence any mention of Poland immediately raised the issue of Communist collaboration with the Nazis and the brief era when Hitler and Stalin were allies. Hence for the Left, Poland was at least an obstacle and at most an object of hatred. There was no pro-Polish element in Hollywood to counter the Left’s powerful animus against Poland.


Reviews here and here

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Hefner protection racket


Previously:

"Hugh Hefner is one in a long line of preachy perverts"

Whitewashing porn
This is an old article but there is a jaw-dropping passage that destroys the Mr. Playboy's carefully crafted image:

Hugh Hefner’s Hollow Victory

Hiding in plain sight in the June 2001 issue of Philadelphia magazine is Ben Wallace’s essay “The Prodigy and the Playmate.” In it Sandy Bentley, the Playboy cover girl and former Hefner girlfriend (along with her twin sister Mandy), describes Hefner’s current sexual practices in just enough detail to give you a good long pause:

“The heterosexual icon [Hugh Hefner] … had trouble finding satisfaction through intercourse; instead, he liked the girls to pleasure each other while he masturbated and watched gay porn.”

This statement may seem either shocking or trivial. But it points to that which Hefner’s detractors have been saying for years: Pornography stifles the development of genuine human relationships. Pornography is a manifestation of arrested development. Pornography reduces spiritual desire to Newtonian mechanics. Pornography, indulged long enough, hollows out sex to the point where even the horniest old goat is unable to physically enjoy the bodies of nubile young females.
We are left, then, to ponder the original question: Why does the MSM protect and promote Hefner and Playboy? If journalists truly were the iconoclastic skeptics they claim to be, then, debunking the Playboy myth would be a thriving enterprise for the MSM.

Instead we get puff pieces that even Parson Weems would find overly sycophantic.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Flashman


A wonderful appreciation of George Macdonald Fraser's entertaining anti-hero.

Flashman and the Greatest Chronicler of the Victorian Age

Unlike Flashman, there was nothing affected about his heroism. I’d recommend his memoir Quartered Safe Out Here (1992) of his time fighting the Japanese in Burma. But he was more than a good soldier and sage commentator on the futility of modern warfare: he built his writing career, despite having no educational qualifications, to become through the Flashman novels one of the foremost experts on the Victorian era. History is never dull in the Flashman Papers.