Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ghailani Debacle Blamed On Bush

In what can only be described as a gross miscarriage of justice, Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was acquitted yesterday on all but one of 285 counts in connection with the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The man who played a key logistical role in the preparations for attacks that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans and wounded thousands of others now faces a minimum of 20 years, but according to Ed Morrissey, a big chunk of his sentence will be  reduced by time already served..
The administration is left with three choices in regards to Ghailani: announce that they will release him at the appointed date whenever his sentence ends, announce that they will hold him indefinitely without regard to the court’s ruling on the matter while referring the case back to a military commission despite his acquittals, or refuse to state which they will do and hope the issue falls to the next administration.  The first will mean that the US will knowingly release a master al-Qaeda terrorist with more than two hundred murders under his belt; the second will mean that the trial they staged was nothing but a sham.  And the third will be a cowardly dodge.
Morrissey left out the fourth choice…act pleased with the result because the one guilty verdict is all they needed to put Ghailni away for life, and blame Bush, (not the fact that the case was ill-suited to civilian courts),  for the non-guilty verdicts:

A senior administration official told Jake tapper:
“He was convicted by a jury of a count which carries a 20-year minimum sentence,” the official says. “He will very likely be sentenced to something closer to life. (The judge can, and very likely will, take into account things that the jury did not, and he can and will consider conduct that the jury found him not guilty of — e.g., murder). He will never be paroled (there is no parole in the federal system). There are very few federal crimes that carry a mandatory MINIMUM of 20 years. What that means is that he was convicted of a crime that is a very big deal.”
“So, we tried a guy (who the Bush Admin tortured and then held at GTMO for 4-plus years with no end game whatsoever) in a federal court before a NY jury with full transparency and international legitimacy and — despite all of the legacy problems of the case (i.e., evidence getting thrown out because of Bush-Admin torture, etc,) we were STILL able to convict him and INCAPACITATE him for essentially the rest of his natural life, AND there was not one — not one — security problem associated with the trial.”
Thomas Joscelyn at The Weekly Standard thinks they’re putting lipstick on a pig:
It is difficult to square the DOJ’s rhetoric with the carnage that was unleashed in Africa more than a decade ago. The man who helped murder more than 200 civilians was acquitted of their murders even though he is obviously guilty.
No one should be “pleased” with that verdict, even if Ghailani will likely serve many years in prison.
Doug Powers put it this way:
The Obama Justice Department said they were “pleased” with the outcome, but in baseball terminology, they barely avoided being no-hit because they got a bloop single. If they’re “pleased” about anything it’s that they didn’t end up looking like total asses.
Here is what anonymous administration officials say:
But senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private discussions, conceded that the one-count conviction, combined with big electoral wins for Republicans this month, will make it harder to close the prison.
The administration had hoped for an overwhelming conviction to help ease congressional opposition to Obama’s long-stymied plan for moving the detainees to U.S. soil. The administration must notify Congress before any transfer, and Republicans have said they would block such efforts.
“They couldn’t come close to getting that done when the Democrats were in charge,” said Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who is expected to be the next chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “There’s no way they’re going to get it now that Republicans are in charge.”
Jennifer Rubin cuts through the crap as only she can:
…what in the world was the bomber doing in an Article III courtroom? He was, quite bluntly, part of a stunt by the Obama administration, which had vilified Bush administration lawyers for failing to accord terrorists the full panoply of constitutional rights available to American citizens who are arrested by police officers and held pursuant to constitutional requirements.
Once again, the Obama team has revealed itself to be entirely incompetent and has proved, maybe even to themselves, the obvious: the Bush administration had it right. And in fact, maybe we should do away with both civilian trials and military tribunals and just hold these killers until hostilities end. You know, like they do in wars.
And Ed Morrissey has had it. He wants Holder to go:
A less arrogant — and less ideological — Attorney General would have heeded Congress’ warnings and reconsidered the wisdom of the idea of shoehorning foreign-captured war criminals into venues where they have never been adjudicated before now.  And a less arrogant administration would have not defied the will of Congress, which three times set up military commission processes for these very cases, and for the very reasons that the DoJ spectacularly failed this week.
There could be no greater failure by the DoJ in this war on terror than to get these decisions wrong, especially in light of the avalanche of criticism over those decisions and the administration’s reaction to it.  Holder should hand in his resignation before he makes the same mistake with the other terrorists our military and intelligence assets risked their lives to keep off the battlefield forever.  His continued presence insults their work, insults Congress, and insults our desire for justice for 9/11, the USS Cole bombing, the two embassy bombings, and the other terrorist attacks and plots we’ve managed to stop through a forward strategy on the war on terror.  If a resignation is not forthcoming, the Senate and House Judiciary committees should start hearings to determine why Holder remains in this position.
The problem of course, is that Holder is only a reflection of the arrogant, and leftist ideologue who appointed him. Sure, it would be nice if he were gone, but why would we imagine that Obama would replace him with anyone better?

By nicedeb

Rescuers find wreckage of missing US F-22 fighter jet

Air Force rescue personnel have found the wreckage of what they believe to be the F-22 Raptor that went missing on Nov. 16 from Elmendorf Air Force base in Alaska, according to a statement put out by the service tonight.
Search and rescue crews have found the apparent wreckage of an F-22 Raptor Nov. 17 that was assigned to the 3rd Wing here.
However, the pilot is still missing.

“We’re still doing an active search for the pilot,” the AP quoted Col. Jack McMullen, commander of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf, as saying. “Perhaps he ejected.”

Despite the extreme Alaskan weather, the pilot may have a chance at survival, McMullen told the AP.
“They have survival gear,” McMullen said. “He’s Arctic trained to survive in that environment. He’s got the gear on. He’s got stuff in his survival kit, so that he could hunker himself down and fight the extreme cold.”
McMullen provided more details on the incident in an Air Force press release:
“Last night a two-ship (flight) of F-22s, Rocky One and Rocky Three, were finished with training … about 100 miles north of here,” Colonel McMullen said.
Everything was normal until about 7:40 p.m., he said, when Rocky Three fell off the radar scope and the pilot lost communications.
“The other pilot (Rocky One) went to a tanker, got gas and then continued to look for the mishap pilot,” Colonel McMullen said. “He could not find him. At that time, the Alaska Air National Guard scrambled a C-130 and rescue helicopters. They searched the entire night.”
About 10:15 a.m., an Alaska Air National Guard helicopter found a site that fits the data and the description of where rescuers thought the mishap probably occurred, Colonel McMullen said.
“They found the crash site,” he said. “They were unable to land at the crash site and take a closer look. We scrambled another helicopter that should be in the area in the next few moments.”
Steve Trimble over at Flight Global notes that this is the second F-22 loss in little over a year, and third overall, bringing the total number of jets that will ultimately be fielded to 185, unless more are built.

The F-22 costs $143 million apiece according to the Air Force (although its critics claim the real cost is far higher) and before this latest presumed crash, the Raptor had a Class A mishap rate of six to seven per 100,000 flight hours, according to the folks at Strategy Page.

A Class A mishap is any incident involving an aircraft where over $1 million worth of damage occurs.
It should be noted that reaching this threshhold is fairly easy with the Raptor given its low-observable coatings and other high priced features. In fact, a “minor” collision last year between an F-22 and a Canadian CF-18 parked on the ramp at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida was declared a Class A mishap.
Hoping they find the pilot alright.
– John Reed

Manny Pacquiao fight earned $77 million in pay-per-view sales

The pay-per-view buys of Manny Pacquiao’s fight with Antonio Margarito last Saturday may surpass those for the Oscar dela Hoya fight in 2008. Mike Koncz, Pacquiao’s chief adviser, said Tuesday that all indications point to 1.4 million buys at $54.95 a pop, and it means total sales of roughly $77 million. And an extra income of $10 million for Pacquiao, who was guaranteed $15 million for the fight. Things could even get a little higher than that. “The numbers say we’re going to hit 1.4 million or 1.5 million buys. The early trackings say we can hit 1.5 million,” said Koncz. “And my guess is if it gets to 1.5 million that’s the highest for this year.” — Philippine Star

Portland Trailblazers Star Oden Out For Season

It’s one of the most puzzling injuries ever seen by medical officials affiliated with the Portland Trailblazers.  The team’s number one draft pick in 2007, Oden has shown flashes of the skill and brilliance that earned him the top pick spot over current NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.  However, while no one can deny Oden’s basketball IQ and defensive prowess, there’s one small problem:  Greg Oden cannot stay healthy.  He missed his entire rookie season after requiring microfracture surgery on his right knee, and now Greg Oden will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season after getting microfracture surgery on his left knee.

According to Portland trainer Jay Jensen, the injuries to Oden accumulated practically overnight.  “Two weeks ago today, Greg was seen by Dr. Roberts and he had a normal exam.  He had no fluid in his knee at all.  He had a normal exam.  We were solely concentrated on continuing to get him stronger and increasing his confidence, his ability to play on the court.”  However, that didn’t last.  After practicing with the team in Los Angeles, Oden complained of knee problems the next day and Jensen had him reexamined, with horrifying results.  “I looked at his knee and it was significantly increased.  It was at that time that I mentioned it to Dr. Roberts and he agreed that it was time to get an MRI on Greg’s knee.” According to Jensen, Oden’s knee MRI looked, “Like a nine iron taking a divot out of the grass, it’s a hole in that part of the cartilage.”

For the record, Greg Oden has never played a complete NBA season.  His 82 career games have been spread across two seasons, with Oden banking 61 games last year and 21 this year.  You hate to see a nice kid like him struggle with injuries, but he just might not have the strong tendons and skeleton needed to play professional sports.

 by Ron Hogan

China internet hijack: a guide

Cyber terrorism is a growing threat, and of increasing concern to governments around the world. But just what did the latest alleged cyber attack by a Chinese telecommunications firm involve, and what purpose did it serve?

cyber terrorist
Hackers and cyber criminals could scan diverted web traffic for sensitive information, and use the data gathered to implant viruses or botnets in secure computer systems Photo: CLARE

China Telecom, a state-owned business, has denied US claims that it hijacked 15 per cent of the world’s web traffic for a total of 18 minutes earlier this year.
This included traffic to and from the websites of the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, the office of the US defence secretary, the US Senate and Nasa, as well as more general internet traffic.
It is unclear whether the company was denying that traffic passed through its web servers at all on April 8, or simply that it was not diverted through its servers on purpose.

The United States has claimed that the diverted data might have allowed “a telecommunications firm to compromise the integrity of supposedly secure, encrypted sessions”, though there is no evidence, thus far, that any information was harvested from the diverted traffic.

The diversion was supposedly triggered when China Telecom issued a false notification from its servers to internet traffic on the web that told the traffic that the quickest way to reach its destination was to re-route through China Telecom’s servers.

The diversion, which affected predominantly US web traffic, remained in place for 18 minutes. It is unclear how, or by whom, that instruction to divert was rescinded.

Security experts said that cyber criminals could scan the diverted web traffic to build a list of the internet addresses of everyone who communicated in that period. Using that information, cyber criminals could create fake addresses, emanating from seemingly trusted sources, to trick web users in to clicking on links in emails or on websites, or opening apparently authorised attachments, which could actually plant a virus inside a computer system.

Such activity would be particularly worrying if a virus was activated on a highly secure network, such as military systems.

Worryingly, it seems the problem could happen again in future. The Border Gate Protocol – the mechanism by which traffic is routed around the web – is a fundamental building block of the internet, but lacks any true security measures to prevent malicious re-routing of traffic, says technology expert George Ou of Digital Society.

“Like most other fundamental building blocks of the internet, it was initially implemented with no security in mind and it continues to live without security because changes on the internet are so difficult on a living system that doesn’t tolerate outages,” he said.

The US government has stressed that it’s impossible to say if the diverted web traffic has been used for malicious purposes. It has also stressed that communications between government departments are encrypted prior to transmission.