Category Archives: WhatIfNews-Commentary

What If News Commentary – What Does It All Mean?

December 2011 – A Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel (our top spy drone) does a soft landing – in Iran. The Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (Iran’s Spy Agency) claim they hacked into the communications link and simply ordered the drone to land. The RQ-170’s billion dollar electronic secrets are laid bare to the Iranians. The US has still not offered an explanation.

March 2014 – Malaysia Air FLT 370 disappears from the sky after mysteriously ceasing communications and turning away from its flight path. The possibility of the 777’s fly by wire control systems being commandeered remotely are still discussed in hush tones among the security community, although denied publicly.

May 2014 – Chinese computer hackers, with full government backing, are caught red-handed stealing thousands of military and commercial secrets from the US. Even upon exposure of hard evidence, they deny the accusations, and continue their nefarious efforts to this day.

June 2014 – Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the top bomb designer of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, creates new types of explosive devices that are designed to hide inside electronic devices. The electronics are designed to sneak pass airline security checkpoints. Passengers are now required to turn every electronic device to prove the device does not play only one channel, the al-Qaeda kaboom channel.

July 2014 – An as yet unnamed group of foreign hackers was caught trying to penetrate into the NASDAQ stock market computer system. After a brief announcement to the press, the details, and the story is quickly scuttled.

July 2014 – A cadre of drunken Russian wannabe soldiers is handed the keys to a sophisticated SA-11 missile system by a drunk-with-power glamor boy who wants to be a Czar. The first attempt by this Hogan’s Hero’s group to take the missile launcher out for a spin shoots down Malaysia air Flt MH 17.

Each of these acts taken individually, demonstrates that terrorist acts around the world are constantly accelerating. However when we take the collective view of these, and the many other instances of terror now at our doorstep, it clearly demonstrates that the very face of terrorism has dramatically changed. The good old days where a terrorist could be identified as a simple minded Jihadi zealot firing his gun in the air in some far off land is over.

It’s time to ask – Who are the world’s new terrorists?

The new breed of terrorist are biochemists, engineers, and computer experts? The new terrorists are not geographically or socioeconomically bound. This new Jihadist mentality transcends country boarders, economics, and personal intelligence limitations. World class scholars harbor the same zealous idealism as the young man with the RPG on his shoulder. Geographic boarders, once used to label our enemies, have disappeared right before our eyes. ISIS identifies with a caliphate, a land with boarders only they choose.

The old breed of terrorist was limited by a lack of money, the availability of advanced weapons, and access to the intelligence (both personal and collective) that could match that of the West. The new terrorists has this and more. Today’s desperate governmental leaders have broken the time honored prohibition on sharing the world’s deadliest weapons with despots. Poster boy and teen heart throb Putin, desperate to create his legacy as the latest Russian Czar, is willing to give advanced weapons to a rag tag team of drunken knuckleheads. Bashar al-assad has used chemical weapons on his own people several times. Would he sell those weapons to Hezbollah in a last ditch effort to save his skin? Would ISIS use biological weapons on Shiite populations if a Saudi biochemist offered them?  If the Chinese economy started to dramatically loose value, would they offer a terror cell the keys to a computer virus that could dramatically harm America’s fortune 500 companies?

If the old face of terrorism represented a threat to America, this new face of intelligent Jihadi represents an Elevated Threat. Are we prepared for this new type of terrorism? Ask yourself – the last time the terrorism threat dramatically changed in Sept. 2001 from local insurgencies to a new type of global conspiracy – were we ready? What’s coming our way soon will make that tragic day seem inconsequential.

The old type of terrorist attacked airliners by sneaking bombs on board, the new breed of terrorists are plotting to shut down the entire air traffic control system. The old terrorist sought to infect the local train station with anthrax, the new regime is genetically altering e. coli strains to increase the infectious rate and lethality with the goal of effecting entire cities. The old terrorist sent out statements taking claim for attacks after the fact on their web sites, the new intelligent terrorists will use social media to inflate their reach and spread fear to the masses before an attack. The old terrorists strapped a bomb vest to his chest and blew up a London bus, the newly skilled terrorist sits behind a keyboard in Pakistan and shuts down the world’s financial systems.

Are we prepared for this Elevated Threat to our very way of life?

Our security apparatus and military continue to fight past wars, not prepare for the new ones coming. We still refuse to use our imagination to gird ourselves with protective measures – until after the attack takes place. And we certainly don’t have the stomach to preemptively strike these new terrorists to eliminate the threat before the attack. Doing so may offend the leaders of Pakistan or Iran or North Korea. And we clearly do not have the internal political will to face this new Elevated Threat head-on. No, our bold leaders will wait for the attack, fight each other to get in front of the cameras, and then blame the other side for the lax preparations. Next our elected talking heads will ask the UN to issue a resolution to condemn the attack and to ask the perpetrators to stop.

Putin may be a Czar after all.

What about you? Are you prepared?

Alqueda                 or                science

Syria is Breeding Western Terrorists

Dateline July 9, 2014

Alqueda

  The headlines are ringing from the bell towers of our American news sources about a coming wave of terrorists training in Syria, soon to return to the west. Once back home they will rain down terror on us utilizing their newly acquired skills. Apparently we are not capable of stopping this carnage since – gee whiz- they have western passports.

The dialog goes something like this. A young idealistic budding Jihadist (I’ll call him Mo), from any-town USA just can’t seem to get his plans for local mayhem off the drawing boards, no matter how hard he scours the internet.  So this bomb maker in training grabs his passport and jumps on the next plane to Syria.

After a downing a few rum and cokes while watching soft core porn on his laptop (one last indulgence), the plane touches down at Aleppo International Airport where a representative from Mo’s new email buddies at ISIS is waiting for him with a cardboard sign. The sign reads “MO – Taxi to Jihad central.” The ride to the training base is long enough for Mo to read through the ideologue pamphlets in the back seat pockets of the taxi which explain why blowing up a train station full of people fulfills GOD’s plan for humans.

  Once at the training camp Mo is greeted warmly by an older father figure (I’ll call him Bad-Daddy), who assures Mo that he has made the right decision to join the fight against GOD’s enemies. Bad-Daddy continues to explain how if Mo really wants a ticket straight to GOD’s right hand, he should martyr himself with an explosive vest. When Mo asks Bad-Daddy why he hasn’t chosen such a path for himself, Bad-Daddy scowls and admonishes Mo not to question GOD’s ways.

Mo is passed off to the terrorist’s boot camp drill sergeants where over the next few weeks he is taught to keep his headscarf looking Oh-so GQ, and how to prop up his Ak-47 against the wall  just so when making his recruitment videos. Since Mo’s fight for Jihad will be short and consists only of strapping on a vest and pushing a button, his military training is somewhat truncated. No calisthenics. Mo’s ideology training is more involved.

Mo needs to learn the correct Jihadist order of the universe. Step 1. Never forget to yell Allāhu Akbar (God is Great), with great reverence when stabbing heathen Shiite babies in the face. Forgetting to credit GOD when killing babies is a sin. Never miss an opportunity to stop children from attending school by any means necessary, especially girls. Oh my, girls attending school would just ruin everything. Yes Mo, girls are better off raped, beaten and even killed than attending school.

The only memorizing Mo needs to do at camp is to learn the pecking order in human religions. Sunni – only ones to have it right, everyone else – less than human.

  With his training deeply ingrained, Mo is ready to follow his new Jihadist brothers and spread the good word at home. With his new multi-pocketed vest packed in his carry-on, Mo is dropped off at the airport. When the gate officer asks about the vest, Mo cheerily shows off his new “fly fishing vest” to the attendant and with his US passport firmly in hand, he is free to fly the friendly skies.

Gee – whatever can we do to stop this new revolving door? If you listen to the papers it will be impossible to stop the flood of the young men like Mo now sitting in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, or London from following this path to instant martyrdom.  Wait a minute – I just had a thought. What if we were to cancel the passports of every person that wasn’t military or had a provable valid reason for going to Syria or Iraq? What if we made trips to the ISIS hot spots a one way excursion so we don’t have to worry about them coming back radicalized?

Oh silly me, I forgot. That would impinge on Mo’s civil rights. Someone call the ACLU?

Can America Stop Fighting Wars of Attrition?

In simple terms, the only way to stop wars of attrition is to change the paradigm by which the U.S. fights wars from one of minimal impact, to fighting wars to win. If our plans for a particular engagement were predicated completely and solely on performing whatever steps were necessary to win the conflict, and were not based on what was politically expedient, wars of attrition would cease. Why?

Fighting to win would stop attrition wars for two reasons. If politicians understood that any conflict they engaged us in meant that the armed services would use all of their tools at their disposal to reach the singular objective of complete acquiescence by the enemy and that doing so would inescapably create significantly higher civilian losses, they would be far more reluctant to engage us in a war in the first place. Secondly, once other countries leaders understood that antagonizing the US to the point of war meant a guarantee of their own regimes demise, they would be far less likely to push us to that point. Many antagonistic leaders push the envelope simple because they know we won’t fight to win. In a morbid twist of fate, they use America’s sense of humanity against us so they can unleash their own brand of inhumanity against their own people.

In the old days, fighting a war most often meant desiring to take over land or resources from another kingdom, or to stop them from taking yours. Today, for the US anyway, fighting a war simply means protecting political interest in one place or another, and surreptitiously spurring on the economy of large corporate entities, the very engine that keeps those same politicians in power. EX: The State Department paid nearly $4 billion for projects to aid in Afghan reconstruction from 2002 to 2013. $2.5 billion or 69% of all that money went to a single company, DynCorp. Do you think DynCorp is on the speed dial of many U.S. Senators and Representatives now serving? How many of those Senators or representatives will be “consultants” to DynCorp after their time in office is over? Would you like to wager that any of that investment made in Afghanistan will remain ten years from now, five years from now?

This lack of desire to win wars is not something new. My father-in-law was a big shot at the Pentagon during the Vietnamese war. A war that was winnable by the military in three days anytime we chose. A war that was instead played out for many years and at great cost to both sides. Everyone lost except the DynCorp’s of the world. And the result from all the lives lost or changed forever? Vietnam ultimately ended up back in the hands of the original inhabitants anyway.

Yes this same sad story has unfortunately been played out many times just in our lifetime, and there is no final chapter to the book on wars of attrition yet in sight. Unless a major paradigm shift takes place in US politics that affords the military the ability to win its wars, the same pattern of attrition based losing will continue unabated. Time to buy DynCorp stock.

WHAT IF – HEALTH CARE WAS LEGISLATED LIKE SPIRITUAL CARE?

  Once upon a time, our leaders decided that religion and religious activities would have a reserved place in America. A place that would be separated from government intervention. These wise leaders decided that there would be no taxes levied, no control over the curriculum, and no interference with the business of religion. Land could be secured, incomes could be made, and the internal operations would be free from outside meddling. The free will of the people would determine the organizations fate. I ask – “Why not the medical industry?”

  Imagine a world where healing the body was awarded the same rights from the powers that be as healing the soul. Could that stance save the medical industry from the crushing weight of the outside interests? Let’s imagine what that may look like.   

   In my new town of Utopia USA, the local government, the developers, the medical professionals, and the insurance industry would all work in harmony to create a medical care panacea. How?

 Government

The government of Utopia would work with health care in the same manner as religion. It would eliminate all taxes and fees on health care providers and the physical infrastructure they use. This action would instantly drop the price point of care. The government would require from the developers that for every X number of families, land and a suitable building would be set aside for a local health clinic. This building would be reserved for purchase by a medical professional and only for the express purpose of opening a medical family practice facility.  Additionally, for every Y number of families, a short term emergency care facility will be created, and for every Z number of families a longer term trauma center must be built.

  With the facilities in place, the next major government interaction would be to exempt (or drastically reduce) lawsuits against these facilities and the practitioners within them. The risk/reward of a procedure would have to be evaluated by the patient instead of using the threat of litigation to control the outcome. Every time I climb on a ladder to cut tree limbs I have to factor in the weather, the solidity of the ground, the height of the limb, etc. If the risk is too high, I hire someone willing to take the risk or the trees do not get cut. If In Utopia USA, I needed a knee operation, I would take the time to research the best doctor and clinic. I would then weigh the possible risks vs. rewards of the procedure and decide if it was worth the risk and cost. If after the proper planning, it goes badly, so be it. Sometimes things happen.

  The last involvement by government is to require the clear labeling of all procedure costs by every doctor and clinic. Fees may be anything the doctor wishes, but like the calorie count on my food at the restaurant, the identification of the fees allow me to intelligently select the ones I want. Free market pressure will then drive prices down.

 Medical Personnel

  Without the oppressive overhead created by the current litany of taxes, fees and malpractice insurance, a practitioners costs could be lowered to realistic levels. Without the endless forms to prepare, fewer non-medical employees would be required at the medical facilities. Employee costs would be drastically reduced. Without the overhead and confusion, patients would be able to draw a direct correlation between the quality of care each doctor could provide for each dollar spent. Poor quality doctors would be moved down the food chain or out of the system altogether. The removal of these low quality doctors would mitigate even more the loss of malpractice liability.

  Doctors could become entrepreneurs again. Free market selection would continue to make the good ones wealthy, but at a cost point attainable by the clients. Without the threat of frivolous lawsuits and government intrusion, doctors could eliminate extraneous test procedures, gain back time that would be otherwise wasted on paperwork, and just maybe use that time to improve their craft.

Insurance

  Ah everybody’s favorite subject, the insurance company. If the above changes worked to reduce cost and simplify choices, the insurance companies should be able to create simplified packages of care based on cost not coverage. Ex. If I wanted to purchase an insurance plan, I could find the doctor I want, review his charges for all his services and determine a dollar amount of coverage I want from the insurance company. Then I could add on a catastrophic coverage package for the unforeseen and I would be set.    

Risk vs. Reward

  Once upon a time the US government made the decision to spare religion from the government’s endless appetite for control and taxation. They made the decision to frontload religious institutions existence by granting them freedom from oversight and put the decision making in their own hands. With that, religious organizations flourished on the free will and generosity of the attendees. Each person could choose the right organization for them, the right spiritual leader, and even the amount of earthly riches they were will to part with to proportionally compensate them for the spiritual healing they received.

  Just as with the choice one has to make with their spiritual salvation, if medical institutions were given similar protections, the free market would likewise balance the needs for our physical salvation. I hear you saying – what about the poor? Won’t they get substandard care? Do you get the same care as your Senator? Do you get the same care as Bill Gates? Will you ever? Clearly the advantages between the halves and have-nots will never change. But if the rules on the facilities are regulated everywhere, doctors and nurses will fill them, just as teachers fill the schools in poor neighborhoods. Will the care be the same in every facility, maybe not? Will it still be better than 90% of the rest of the world, absolutely?

 Next blog – driving down the medicine costs.

911 – Rerun

What If News Commentary

An old axiom in football is that if a play works once, use it again. Well, terrorist groups have continued to repeat their methods of attacks over and over for the same reasons as the wise NFL offensive coordinator recalls the same play. The terror methods these groups have employed are relatively simple to plan, easy to replicate, hard to defend, and in an eccentric way, provide a group signature they are proud of. Individual splinter groups now get direct instructions from the internet on how to carry out local attacks based on the “playbook” from the home team. We have seen the same patterns now for twelve years, so we should not be surprised to learn that dry runs preparing to use airlines as weapons have begun again. See (http://rt.com/usa/dry-run-terrorism-planes-memo-090/). Knowing how terror plans repeat themselves, and seeing the sudden renewed interest with airline dry runs begs the question – What are we prepared to do about it?

A few months ago my farther-in-law boarded a plane from Seattle to Phoenix. He is a war veteran, in his mid-80′s, and wheelchair bound. After being checked in and saying goodbye to my wife, he was being wheeled through security screening by an airline representative when a zealous TSA agent asked him to stand for a pat down. Apparently he was viewed as a threat to the other able bodied passengers walking through security without a second look. Being afflicted with dementia and barely strong enough to stand, he had difficulty understanding and fulfilling the agent’s arbitrary and capricious orders which were being barked out at him in ever increasing tones. It was very fortunate I was not a witness to this personal affront.

The point of this particular event, and the myriad other forms of lamentable “security” now thrust on the public, should bring to our minds a far more serious question. Have we once again become enamored by the minutia in our security in the quest for peace of mind? Has the impression that we now have the upper hand over our adversaries been so imprinted on us by the media that we have forgotten to view the bigger picture?

For the most part we have their playbook, we know many of the teams advanced players, and we full well understand that 911 round two is on the drawing board. There is little doubt that the plan is is being coached up in the pregame warm-ups and the plan is now being rehearsed in an airline near you. All the while the local news continues to reassure us by showing the quick capture of low level sacrificial lambs and with well-worn videos of training camps where men jump across monkey bars and fire the ubiquitous AK 47s into the air.

Are we being duped again, or will we actually be ready when a new variation of an old successful play gets called?

 

 

What if Somali Pirates were no Longer Tollerated

Somali Pirates ‘Soundly’ Defeated
Beersheba, Israel

When several Israeli citizens were killed when their ship was attacked by Somali pirates last month, many believed it was just a matter of time before the Israelis delivered some form of retribution. It appears that the first response by the Israelis has now been carried out. According to a French navel spokesman, two suspected Somali pirate vessels have been found floating adrift at sea days after an apparent attempt by them to take over an Israeli ship delivering electronic goods to South Africa. Both pirate vessels were discovered disabled and the crews on-board both vessels were found dead from starvation and exposure.

Despite not directly taking responsibility for this high seas drama, an Israeli spokesman for the Knesset commented today, “It is always the desire of the Israeli people to protect themselves from any individuals, and from any corner of the earth that means us harm. That resolve includes attacks at sea”.

WhatIFNews has discovered that an Israeli electronics company from Beersheba, which has been widely rumored to have had close ties to the Israeli Navy, is now marketing a ship defense system that may be responsible for the two wayward pirate ships. Under tremendous security, WhatIFNews was given a demonstration of this system on condition we guaranteed the anonymity of the company and all individuals involved.

Representatives from the Israeli company took our reporter to an underground testing facility to give us a demonstration. The underground room was dominated by a large scale water tank complete with a simulated shoreline and an assortment of remote control model boats. The models ranged from oil tankers all the way down to outboard skiffs. We were assured that all of the models were created to scale. On the larger boats, a series of what looked like small speaker boxes were attached along the railings on the side and rear of each boat.

We watched the demonstrations from a sealed room on the second floor that overlooked the water tank. In each demonstration, one of the larger boats with the speakers would be sent up the center of the water and one of the smaller boats would approach it. Every time the smaller vessel had approached to approximately one meter away from one of the larger boats, the engine on the smaller boats would begin to sputter and eventually would stop running.

After the demonstrations were complete, the General Manager granted our reporter time for a few questions.

WhatIFNews – “Thank you sir for the demonstration of your product. You said earlier that you hoped all ships sailing in these troubled waters would have one of your acoustic systems on-board soon for their protection, yet you are not allowing us to name your product or company name. How are the shippers going to find out about you without advertising or allowing the news media to let the world know you have such a product available?”

GM – “I can assure you that everyone that needs to know about us already does.”

WhatIFNews – “I see. Its not to hard to surmise that your system sends some type of electromagnetic wave outward from the origination ship that disables the electronics in the pursuing boats. Does this wave also incapacitate or harm the people on the pursuing boats?”

GM – “The design of our system is roughly designed as you surmise. It creates pulses of energy similar to a concentrated sound wave. This wave has the effect of destroying all electric and electronic devices within close proximity. We did not create our system with the intent of creating injury to humans. Of course we haven’t had any volunteers to see what the effects may be, and we have no intention of spending anytime with that study even if we did.”

WhatIFNews – “So your device is designed to be used for defensive purposes only.”

GM – “That is its only intended function.”

WhatIFNews – “Has this device been tested to ensure it will bring no harm to marine animals?”

GM – “We designed the system so that the high intensity pulses would ride on top of other benign frequencies that are at sea level. This way no abnormal energy is ever delivered into the sea itself. The range of the pulse is also kept to a minimum. Therefore no sea creatures are at risk.”

WhatIFNews – “It’s easy to see how the pursuing vessel and its inhabitants are neutralized from the attack, but how will its use deter other pirates from just taking the place of the ones lost?”

GM – “Until now there has been very little for the pirates to worry about when attempting to take over a ship. Maybe one out of 100 ships have any armed resistance, and the number of Navy vessels available to interdict them are no more than a drop in a very big bucket. However, our system can be installed surprisingly inexpensively. It will soon be proven to have a 100% success rate for ship to ship deterrence. I don’t think it will take too long for word to get around the African coast, once it becomes widely adopted, that attacking ships will mean sure death.”

WhatIFNews – “You said the device is not designed to be offensive, so won’t the pirates just go home and try again, hoping the next ship that comes by sails without it?”

GM – “Let’s put it this way. If your pirate vessel is disabled and is floating 500 kilometers offshore, your buddies won’t likely be heading out to get you. Our country, and other countries we have talked to, will not be risking their resources on these disabled pirate vessels. Despite that, a few of the disabled vessels will find a way home by getting a lucky break. The surviving few will prove to be a witness to the others on shore that the risks are no longer worth the rewards. With a near zero rate of success against ships that have the system, and facing a high possibility of slowly starving at sea, we expect the rate of these pirate events to diminish rapidly in the days ahead.”

What If We Fought Wars – To Win?

When I was a young boy, I learned that today’s enemy was often tomorrow’s friend. The change of allegiances between boys on the schoolyard often came about for simple reasons. A new mutual friend, a teacher intervention, or even by discovering that they shared the same affinity for a sports team.

As I became more aware about the bigger world, the one that extended beyond the school yard, I discovered the same change in allegiances had often occurred after wars between countries were fought. In WWII our bitter enemies, Germany and Japan, later became two of our staunchest allies. This seemed puzzling. After seeing films about the blitz, the air war over London, and of course what we unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I wondered how these countries could so quickly become allies.

Over the years we have fought intense wars against England, France, Spain, and even Mexico. Conversely, we have fought on the same side as Russia, in an effort to defeat the Germans. Then, even before that conflict was decided, we secretly started to plot against them and they against us. The race between the US and Russia for German intelligence at the end of WWII was an all-out brawl that quickly led us into the cold war.

What about the flip side of that situation. Many of our current allies plot against us every day. Sometimes so overtly it’s scary. A classic example is Pakistan. They claim to honor our relationship and have no problem accepting billions our aid money, but then they were caught red-handed hiding the most wanted terrorist on earth in their bosom. Saudi Arabia makes great noises claiming to be America’s greatest partner in the Middle East, yet they continuously provide money and arms to many terrorist groups that oppose us.

So if our friends often end up as enemies, and our enemies often wind up being friends, what if anything can we deduce from this? Should the very possibility that our current enemies may someday become our ally be considered into the equation when deciding to go to war? If we do decide to stretch our Military might against another country, when should that fight be considered over?

Back in the schoolyard, fights were usually halted when one of the two combatants was too sore, or scared to continue. Often, that happened before the first punch was thrown. What was typically behind this change in heart by the young combatant to continue to fight? Often it was because the boy was convinced that the other boy was not going to stop swinging until the fight was well and truly won, and not after only the first bruise appeared. But that willingness to quit the fight by the first boy only comes about when the other boy has a history of not stopping every time the loser called UNCLE. The fight often never starts when one of the boys is known by all to fight to win.

So on the world stage, what would happen if the boy with the biggest punch(US) had a history of not stopping throwing punches until the antagonist was well and truly defeated, and the regime that took up the fight in the first place was annihilated (literally or figuratively) every time? Would our politicians be slower to start the fight if the fight was not minimalized? Would our enemies back down sooner and would future wars be prevented if the US was known to Fight Wars to Win?

What do you think?