sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Topics



Riddle me This: If President Trump hates all immigrants, why does he prefer to marry immigrants?


Moving on to events in Northwestern Syria and the Afrin Region.

The Turkish armored divisions poised to eliminate Kurds from the gene pool have been dealt another in a series of setbacks that make them appear essentially helpless.

The Syrian state-run SANA news agency earlier in the day that said Syrian government forces and their allies would enter Afrin "within a few hours to support its people's (Kurdish) stand against Turkish regime's attack". The report by SANA raised fears of a potential clash between Turkish troops and Syrian forces, which are backed by Russia and Iran.

The Kurds are saying that they have no deal with Damascus and have the situation well in hand. The Syrians are using the Turkish invasion to move in from behind, take up positions and in a sense, 're-take' the Afrin Canton from the position of total Kurdish control that it now enjoys. In essence, to repatriate the region to Syria rather than Kurdistan.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, speaking at a news conference in Amman, Jordan, said his country would hit back if Assad's forces intervened in Afrin to help the YPG.

"If the regime is entering to protect the YPG, then no one can stop us, stop Turkey or the Turkish soldiers," he said.

Turkey is full of bluster because the Russians are sending anti-aircraft rocket artillery in with the Syrian Army, which will prohibit the Turks from enjoying air supremacy in the Afrin City area.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Thoughts for a Monday


In Syria, Operation Olive Branch has stalled as a few Kurds, fighting for their homes are standing up to the Turkish Army. The Turks are claiming to have killed 1,500 Kurdish men, women and children in their effort to ethnically cleanse Northern Syria of Kurds. Independent sources put the number at about 300. 

CNN-TURK is trying to be optimistic and paint a picture of Turkish valor against difficult odds. Imagine that. Turkish armored and armored infantry divisions against far fewer Kurds defending their homes -- where is the valor in that for Turks? The Kurds have been successful and fought the Turkish armored fist to a standstill. When the Turks send armor and helicopters forward, they're destroyed. 

Turks using the "law of probability" in 
assessing casualties smacks of weakness.

Some of the Turkish success has been had from sending sniper teams forward. It's low intensity and the loss of a couple of snipers here and there doesn't impact the Turkish loss in terms of absolute numbers. A couple dozen snipers won't take Afrin or hold ground for the Turks. The Turks planned to have snipers keep the anti-tank missile teams heads down wile the armor moved forward. Their problem with that metric is that the missiles range is triple or more the range of the best case sniper shot. It's a very weak move for the Turks.

There best chance for success would be to move a division of dismounted infantry forward and overwhelm the Kurds with bodies, but that would cost a lot of meat and would end up being unpopular at home. Likewise the Turks could keep sending armor in until the Kurds ran out of missiles to destroy them...

President's Day Plans

I do have plans for the day, but they revolve around hanging out in the US and letting people who work for me do the heavy lifting elsewhere. (the loyal workers would ask, "what's new with that?") I'm available on the phone if there's a foul up. And I'm around if the White House calls for advice. They are working today, holiday notwithstanding.

A friend of mine named "H" expressed surprise that I'm still working at age 62. I pointed out that it's difficult to call it "work". It's not like genuine "work" that I once did.  

I haven't watched the Winter Olympics on TV yet. I doubt that I'll do that today.

I'm eating breakfast while I type this blog. Left-over fried chicken and rolls (home made) from last night. I'm not a big left-over eater guy, but fried boneless, skinless breast filets and rolls never go to waste (they go to waist).

Have a splendid day.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Sermonette

Life, Death and Politics

On January 29, a bill came to the floor of the US Senate, which if passed, would ban late-term partial birth abortion. In this procedure, the baby is dismembered in utero and pulled piece by piece from the mother. One key lobby that opposed the bill banning the practice was the so-called Catholic lobby - members of the Senate who publicly identify as Catholics and receive political contributions on that basis.

The Catholic senators who vote to allow partial birth abortion to continue in America are (in alphabetical order for your convenience):

Maria Cantwell – Washington
Susan Collins -Maine
Dick Durbin – Illinois
Kirsten Gillibrand – New York
Heidi Heitkamp – North Dakota
Tim Kaine – Virginia
Patrick Leahy – Vermont
Ed Markey – Massachussetts
Catherine Cortez Masto – Nevada
Claire McCaskill – Missouri
Bob Menendez – New Jersey
Lisa Murkowski – Alaska
Patty Murray – Washington
Jack Reed – Rhode Island

Far more children are slain by Planned Parenthood in one day than are slain by all firearm violence in one year. While all slaying for fun and/or profit is a tragedy, the one most easily put on hold is the one supported by your tax dollars.

By way of disclaimer, I am not Catholic, but I found that lobby in the Senate voting this way seemed ironic in the extreme. I found the lack of condemnation from the Catholic Church against these US Senators to be shocking. Nothing in the press (besides the usual hatred toward President Trump), nothing in print, nothing from the Pope - no hint of excommunication of these most Catholic senators. I've waited two weeks to hear the response of the Catholic Church before posting this. At best a whimper - business as usual. 

The 'Vicar of Christ on Earth/Lion of Christ' is very vocal on the subject of ILLEGAL immigration, and on the need to embrace Muslim savages. Not so vocal on the subject of carving up a baby in utero like a Thanksgiving turkey. The man is a whited sepulcher -- that's just how I look at him. Are no lines drawn anywhere? Sure, they're elected, sitting senators and can vote as they wish, but should they do so and remain Catholic?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Stupid Progressive Rants

Start Here.

I've mentioned this topic before on my blog. In Mexico, military style weapons are illegal.

The best source of high grade military weaponry to US citizens is Mexico. They are smuggled across the border the same as drugs are and are sold for top dollar. They are sourced in the Middle East, and from military stores in Central America (sold out the back door for cash by underpaid soldiers in banana republics with no 'end user certificate').

Democrats complain about too many guns. You'd think that they would want the border wall to be constructed to keep them out -- from the country where they are more illegal than they are in the USA... if you take my point. But the Dem's could not possibly care less.

The progressive firearms arguments make no sense unless you're a chowderhead. The murderous little scrote who killed the kids in the school shooting would have obtained a firearm illegally if he hadn't bought it legally, and he might have purchased a better grade of weapon.

Build the Wall (and lock Her up).

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Year's Follies

Happy Lunar New Year 

Celebrate as you see fit.  Rock on and then there is this classic: Terrier Style


Some of you lack faith in what you don't understand. That might (or might not) go double Asian astrology and it's impact on your life. Because you're predestined to live a life based on the position of stars when you were born... and some of you were well and truly screwed. Blame Buddha, or Vishnu or whoever. You can also blame Donald Trump as many in the sly, corrupt, wicked, lying mainstream media do. Irrespective of your system of belief, the Earth Dog Year is upon us.

Next Year (2019) will be the year of the pig, which does not bode well for Jews and Mohammedans. But you may be required to eat more rashers of bacon than you usually would.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Afghanistan

First, a Pause for the Cause - 

I have a number of friends who are dead and were killed on various battlefields named and unnamed. I have a number of wrecked agents (recruited assets) who were left on the field as well. I learned recently that David W., who I worked with in the Navy is in an assisted living facility. The guy is 60, but he has the body of an 80 year old, teeth fell out, withering. There are a lot of tragedies associated with him, but my recollection of the guy is a fit guy, 6-3, very smart, very clever. Now, I'm told that he plays checkers with the Oreos.

Others survived and are doing fine. What causes one person to break and another to survive? Maybe it has something to do with will to survive. Sometime it has to do with shame. Sociopaths (Barack comes to mind) don't live with shame because they can't tell the difference between what's right and wrong. If it's good for them, it's 'good'.

Sometimes you just reach your breaking point and that's it. And with that, I'm going to drift to a rant about Afghanistan.

USA

Pardon me if I disagree with the war hawks who want the US to continue its War in Afghanistan. The early war, run by CIA and supported by US Special Forces and US Air Force (providing on-demand overhead precision bombing) worked. I think that it was a good idea. Things started to unravel and costs moved from millions to trillions when Big Army took over 

America lost 2,300 soldiers listed as killed in action in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. About 400 of those were killed in accidents (non-action events). Another 1,600 contractors were killed. About 21,000 combat wounds were sustained by soldiers and the number of contractors wounded is not readily available. The Department of Defense tends to parse those numbers.

Finding veteran suicide numbers specifically for the Afghanistan War, which we've been fighting for 17 years now is difficult. 
In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. Some sources suggest that this rate may be undercounting suicides.
The military made a concerted effort to correct that horrendous problem. Treatment and proper care can serve to slow those numbers. It did in the case of my son-in-law, a Navy veteran, judged 50% disabled from his tour in Afghanistan.

A trillion + dollars into this seventeen year long war, how are we doing?
Our generosity is destructive in itself: By pouring what are enormous sums by local standards into underdeveloped economies and societies, we corrupt those we seek to help. 
This isn’t a brand-new phenomenon. Our wealth created thriving black markets in 1940s Europe, but it really got underway in South Vietnam, where our largesse was economic napalm applied to our allies. We corrupted not only the Saigon government, but also undercut its military. We turned bureaucrats and officers into war profiteers, great and small. One of the reasons the North Vietnamese won was that they were too poor to be corrupt on a crippling scale: They may have been mass murderers, but they weren’t crooks (that came with time and progress). 
By the time we reached Iraq, we had turned nation-building efforts into a shameless looting orgy for American and third-party contractors. In Afghanistan, we turned a nation of pickpockets into grand felons.
T.E. Lawrence was a grand exaggerator and, at times, an outright liar, but he did have insights that remain useful today. Of special relevance, Lawrence noted that it’s better for the locals to do something imperfectly for themselves than for us to do it perfectly for them. Paying a warlord or politician’s entrepreneurial cousin to do the work isn’t the same thing as having the locals do it themselves—not least, because as much as nine-tenths of the money never gets applied to the road-construction or water project but vanishes like a djinn done granting wishes.

The Trump Administration seems to have come up with a "new plan", but I'm concerned that it will end up the way the old plans did. Alexander couldn't hold the place, the British fought two Afghan Wars in the 1800's and gained nothing, the Russians left and eventually the Americans will too. The question is how much more blood and treasure we plan to dump in that worthless S--hole.

What is our clear strategy? Are we there to oppose China or are we there to nation build.

"Now it is not good for the Christian's health to hustle the Aryan brown, 
For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down; 
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, 
And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East." 
            - Rudyard Kipling

China

On 2 February, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping appointed a new ambassador to Afghanistan in a sign of the Chinese decision to become more involved in Afghanistan. According to the paper, the new ambassador, Liu Jinsong, was raised in Xinjiang, western China, and was a director of the Silk Road Fund to promote investment in the Belt and Road Initiative, among other postings in South Asia. 

Comment: Liu’s appointment indicates that the Chinese leaders have decided that the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is so tied to security conditions in Afghanistan that China needs to intervene and be more assertive. The Chinese strategy relies on economic and infrastructure cooperation – essentially, greater prosperity -- to help improve security conditions.

The strategy works, but it takes a generation or two, as in Malaysia, to persuade zealots to change their life-style.

In Afghanistan, it also relies on and takes advantage of the US-led coalition to provide security. The big difference with US assistance is that the Chinese live in the neighborhood.

A Chinese-built fort in the Wakhan Corridor. On 1 and 2 February, several press outlets reported that China is in talks with Afghanistan about building and supplying a new military base in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in Badakhshan Province, which forms the Afghanistan-China border.

An Afghan defense ministry spokesman assured the press that Afghanistan would build the base. China would assist by providing funding, training and equipment. 

An Afghan defense ministry statement in January said that China would cover “all material and technical expenses for this base — weaponry, uniforms for soldiers, military equipment and everything else necessary for its functioning.”

The latest announcement provides context to reports since February 2017 about Chinese border soldiers and vehicles operating on the Afghan side of the border in the Wakhan Corridor. Some reports suggested the Chinese also would help staff the new base.

The Wakhan Corridor is a segment of the original Silk Road. In more recent times, Muslim ethnic Uighur militants and separatists from Xinjiang in western China use the Corridor for communications and supply between Uighur supporters in Central and Western Asia. Your beloved blogger took a hit and left a blood trail in the Wakhan Corridor circa 1980's, and that's all that I'm going to say about that.

Afghan border forces have proven unable to secure the border. Last May, Reuters reported that the Syrian government estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 Uighurs joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The Uighurs produced and distributed an anti-Chinese video in which they vowed to “shed blood like rivers” in China. 

A primary purpose of Chinese involvement with this base is to stop Uighur movements through the Corridor, especially fighters returning from Syria.

The base also embodies the new policy of involvement in the internal affairs of neighbors when it suits China’s interests. China wants to include Afghanistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


>>> ADDITIONAL  NEWS<<<

International news organizations reported that the US B-52 bomber attack on terrorist targets in northern Afghanistan two weeks ago set a record for the number of precision-guided munitions launched at one time by a single bomber. 

In terms of threat analysis, the important part of the mission was the targets. They were terrorist camps in Badakhshan Province that support Taliban operations in Afghanistan and operations of the anti-Chinese East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Xinjiang, China. The ETIM is an ethnic Uighur militant group that seeks to convert Xinjiang, China, into an Islamic state governed by ethnic Uighurs. Reportedly ETIM’s headquarters is in North Waziristan, Pakistan.

The B-52 attack appears to have been partly intended to assist Chinese efforts because the ETIM poses no threat to the Afghan government. However, it is affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaida. 

The 4 February air raid proves that Uighur terrorists are receiving training and refuge with the Afghan Taliban in Badakhshan. That further explains the recent Chinese agreement to help build and equip a new Afghan military base in the Wakhan Corridor of Badakhshan Province. The Chinese also agreed to supply Chinese trainers for the base. 

The B-52 raid probably was not the first time that US air attacks have targeted anti-Chinese terrorists, but US-Chinese military cooperation is uncommon. The raid is the first time we have seen in open sources US forces attack an anti-Chinese terrorist camp. It also occurred on the same day that China and Afghanistan announced the new base agreement. 

The US commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan said that the US will fight all terrorists wherever it finds them. It looks like mission creep relative to the mission of defeating the Taliban.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Few Thoughts on Syria

A Russian View of the Syrian Power Structure

Kirill Semenov, Director of the Centre of Islamic Research at the Institute of Innovative Development, Russia International Affairs Department (quite a title), wrote an interesting article about the change in the internal power structure in Syria. The abstract is presented for your review below:
Ever since Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1971, the three pillars of the Syrian regime have been the Ba’ath Party, the Alawite minority and the army. The current Syrian elites were formed around these three forces. The tip of the pyramid is represented by the so-called inner circle: a small group of people most trusted by the head of state. Their influence on the decision-making process stems not so much from the posts they hold, as from their being members of – or otherwise close to – the al-Assad family. The inner circle has always included separate groups, which can compete against one another. 
The military conflict in Syria has affected the structure of the inner circle. In particular, the decision-making process is now influenced by figures who have made their way to the top during the course of the civil war. At the same time, some of Bashar al-Assad’s former confidantes have been forced to flee the country and effectively defect to the opposition.
Full Article HERE.

Operation Olive Branch Update

CNN-TURK, the propaganda arm of the Turkish government claims that the Turkish military has killed 1,439 Kurdish resistance fighters since they invaded Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports more modest gains. It reported the Turks have taken control of one town, Bulbul in northern Afrin (on the Turkish border) and 23 villages and hamlets on the Turkish border.. 

During the Operation, the Observatory has documented the deaths of 163 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) forces and 211 within the Turkish Olive Branch forces, including 32 Turkish soldiers and two pilots.

One of the curious features of the recent surge in fighting in Syria is that little of it poses a threat to the survival of the government in Damascus. The worst clashes have occurred on the periphery. A consequence of that development is that a more confident Syrian government remains even less cooperative and willing to compromise in the interest of peace, except on its terms. 


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Love is in the Air!

It's Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) today and then comes the obligations to demonstrate your love - or not - at your peril the next day. There will be a lot of love and STD sharing at Mardi Gras (I'm not calling it an orgy) and I doubt that they'll store it up for St. Valentine's Day on Love Wednesday

Maybe it would be more efficient to simply take the week off work, ignore the Winter Olympics, and celebrate Mardi Gras, St. Valentine's Day, the Lunar New Year and the President's Day bank holiday in one long extravaganza. I'm sure that you take my point. Business can extend their President's Day sales. I don't shop on those holidays personally, but we can make it a win-win for those who do. Greeting cards can say, "Happy Love Festival Week". 


I have never understood St. Valentine's Day. Maybe this graphic (above) will shed some light on it for you. Maybe not. Candy is dandy but liquor works quicker. That's all the advice that I have for you.

And then we have the Year of the Dog, being ushered in two days later. Coincidence? I doubt it, but for you dog lovers, it's yet one more reason for a parade.

Are we going to do parades in America anymore or have they been proclaimed (by whomever) to be politically incorrect? Has anyone broken the news to the people in New Orleans?

Irrespective of America's new found hatred of parades, there will be celebrations in China and throughout Asia to usher in the Year of the Dog. They will have parades, burn "hell money" in the whole day-of-the-dead meets the dog year thing.

Those of you who who want to combine St. Valentine's Day and the Year of the Dog can do it doggy-style, in honor of both. What better way to combine the two? Maybe light off some fireworks while you're at it - if you don't have fireworks, create your own.

What will I be doing to celebrate? Nothing - just working, trying to earn another crust of bread to stave off the cold, the coyotes, the buzzards, the tax collectors (but I repeat myself), etc. With all the love and parties, nobody will have the strength remaining to enjoy President's Day.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Madness

Entertainment

I find the Democrat Party to be the highlight of my day. I'll come out and say it. I am entertained. It's important to look for the comic relief in life and while Barack never delivered the goods, Rep. Nancy (Nasty) Pelosi D-CA brings it.  

It's not just the face stretched to the splitting point and the weird facial ticks that likely come from that. Add in the mumbled talking points which are the precise opposite of her talking points only a year or two ago. She's funny. She fits in with the freaks and misfits who populate her district in California. In a perverse way, I'd say that she does represent them.

Congress people take her seriously because she's been able to steal a LOT of money and that is a talent that they don't want to see go to waste. The crumbs from the Pelosi table are nothing to turn your cheek at.  

She needs to run on the Democrat ticket. She really does. She could self-fund in the same way that Oprah could. All she'd need to do is liquidate a few mansions.

Meanwhile in Syrian Kurdistan

CNN-Turk  reported that the Turkish invasion managed to “neutralize” 1,068 elements of PYD/PKK (Syrian and Iraqi Kurds) and ISIL (Islamic State) in its Afrin operation. The military announced it liberated at last three villages around Afrin City. They need to report something positive.

The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units denied the Turkish claims.

Turkish airstrikes have resumed following the shooting down of a Russian warplane in Idlib last weekend. A Turkish armed forces statement claimed that the air strikes destroyed 19 targets including ammunition depots, shelters and gun positions

On 10 February, Kurdish fighters near the northern Syrian town of Afrin shot down a Turkish army helicopter, Turkey's president Erdogan announced the loss. The Turkish military said two soldiers on board the helicopter died. 

The Turks are moving still more armor into the Afrin area based on knowledgable sources and they're preparing to mount "the mother of all offensives" to seize the empty Syrian/Kurdish city once and for all. This is the third "mother of all offensives" that they've launched since Operation Olive Branch began. As some of this blog's readers have noted, it's embarrassing to the Turks that the entire Turkish combined arms military doesn't seem to have the capacity to mop up one empty city.

Reuters reported that the Syrian Kurds in Afrin are receiving some indirect help from the Syrian government. The Syrian army is allowing Syrian Kurds from outside Afrin to reinforce the canton to fight the Turks. A Turkish victory in Afrin is not certain and casualties are increasing. 

Arab media sources reported that the al-Qaida faction in Idlib, formerly the al Nusra Front, and the Islamic State continue to fight for control of Idlib.

Israel's Chip in the Game

On 10 February, Israel launched heavy air strikes against multiple Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria. The wave of airstrikes came after Israel intercepted an Iranian drone that had entered Israeli airspace.

The Israelis identified some of the targets of the retaliatory airstrikes. With a map distributed late Saturday night, 10 February, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) specifically identified long-range SA-5 and medium-range SA-17 anti-aircraft missile batteries as targets of its strikes, along with a long-range SA-2 missile defense system, all of which had been deployed around Damascus. Syria also fired SA-3 and SA-6 systems at the IDF aircraft.

The IDF said it destroyed the drone's Iranian launching site along with four additional Iranian positions and eight Syrian sites, including the Syrian military's main command and control bunker.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the war in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, posted on the 11th that at least six Syrian troops and non-Syrian allied militiamen were killed in the airstrikes. 

The Syrians downed an Israeli F-16 as it was returning from its attack mission on Saturday. The aircraft crashed in Israel near Harduf. The IDF reported that both pilots aboard the F-16 were safe, though one was seriously wounded.

Intelligence Minister Katz warned the Syrians and Iranians. Israel’s intelligence minister said on Army Radio, "They, and we, know what we hit and it will take them some time for them to digest, understand and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites…These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there and yesterday we proved that." 

The attacks demonstrated several significant points to the Syrians and Iranians. Most obvious is that the IDF can defeat five Syrian air defense systems. Syria apparently did not use the S-300 system. 

Syrian air and air defense forces will take pride in downing one IDF aircraft, but they have been a disappointment to the Soviets since the era of Marshal Ogarkov, Chief of the General Staff during the Lebanon War of 1982. In June 1982, the IDF destroyed about 80% of all Syrian fighter aircraft and all modern (at the time) Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile sites in an afternoon. Ogarkov flew to Syria to conduct the post-mortem. 

The Syrians must be a disappointment to the present Chief of the General Staff, Russian General Gerasimov as well

The IDF gave the Syrians and Iranians a glimpse at the depth and scope of Israeli intelligence about their activities. The IDF also backed up Prime Minister Netanyahu’s warning that Israel will not permit the Iranians to consolidate their position in Syria. 

Almost not mentioned is that last year the Israelis destroyed that Iranian base which imagery showed to be under construction south of Damascus. If the Iranians rely on the Syrians for air defense protection, they will be unable to build an infrastructure in Syria.

However, if Syrian air defenses improve and the IDF loses dominance in the air, the Iranians will stay in Syria and the threat to Israel will increase significantly. The Israelis cannot survive a war of attrition.

Israeli attacks have become more frequent, larger and more deadly since last summer. As the Syrian fighting declined last year, the Iranians appear to have picked up the pace of their expansion into Syria and the pace of attempted deliveries to Lebanese Hizballah. 

The Israelis are a pre-war stage of activity with the Iranians and Lebanese Hizballah. They are testing weapons, reaction times and effectiveness. The action-reaction cycle is heading towards larger clashes

Egypt

On 9 February, Egyptian forces launched Operation Sinai 2018, a major joint operation that targets Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula and in parts of the Delta and Western Desert.

Egypt's air force struck 66 militant targets in northern and central Sinai on Feb. 10, Reuters reported. On the ground, special forces, working with police, conducted raids inside cities in Sinai to seize militants, the Egyptian military said. They claimed to have killed 16 militants. 

Naval units from a Mistral helicopter carrier have continued to comb the coast of Arish, the capital of North Sinai governorate, while police and coast guards intensified security measures and patrols.

Security forces also uncovered and destroyed a media center with computers, wireless communication equipment, books and documents related to jihadi ideology. In addition, six farms used to grow illegal narcotics were found and destroyed.

Anwar Al Sadat, Egyptian Mistral Class Amphibious
Assault Ship
This is one of the few times the Egyptian Mistral helicopter carriers have been mentioned in open sources as engaged in supporting counter-terrorism operations.

President Al Sisi gave the armed forces 90 days to eliminate the terrorists responsible for the attack last November that killed 300 civilians in a North Sinai mosque. 

Al Sisi wants the terrorist threat reduced before Presidential elections, which are to be held between 26 and 28 March.

Author's Note: I find it interesting that Egypt operates two French made Mistral Class helicopter carriers while Britain is decommissioning its only two amphibious warfare ships and is eliminating 2,000 Royal Marine Commandos from the force of 25,000. Who would have ever thought that the Royal Navy would be coming in second to the Egyptian Navy? Maybe they're are hoping that the Egyptians will pitch in and help them if times get hard in the British Isles?

I haven't heard whether the British outreach to sexual deviates and Muslims within its population to join the military have been successful. If that doesn't work, they may have to resort to 'press gangs' to fill the ranks.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Third Joe (Drooling Joe)

The pro-death Kennedy Family. I'm sure that the Catholics tolerate them because they fill the collection plate. Killing the unborn for fun and profit never did phase the Kennedy Dynasty. You can't serve God and mammon. A lot of those Kennedys made an early crossing of the finish line. I'm sure that it was a coincidence.

That's progressive.

And Speaking of Dead Kennedys 

The OLD Agency took the business a lot more seriously. Oswald killed Kennedy. Ruby shot Oswald, and then died of a pulmonary embolism before he could be brought to trial. And Johnson became president. 

Hillary tried the same thing with the infinitely bureaucratic and self-righteous, corrupt, moderately competent FBI with disastrous results as we now see. She picked the wrong people. She should have stuck with her cadre of killers because we know they're reliable and effective  (and have the corrupt, elite, media to spike the story). You know she's kicking herself for using the HQ Crew at FBI, who have the wits of a gerbil, the scruples of a pit viper, and produced a Laurel and Hardy style effort to bring down the presidency.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Boycot Macys

I don't care where you shop for your clothes. I have shopped at Macys in the past but won't be setting foot in one anymore - and I guarantee you that Macys doesn't care. They're trying to prop up their failing business anyway they can and the latest move is their line of Muslim attire. It represents the enslavement of women. 

No, I am not going to wear a vagina hat in protest. I simply won't patronize Macys.

Non-Muslim women in England are wearing Islamic clothing in support of the subjugation of other women. Read more on LSP's blog. I find that disturbing, but I'm sure that it's very progressive and that's all that matters.

Day 20

The Turks have been teaching the Kurds a lesson now for twenty days in Operation Olive Branch. CNN-TURK, the propaganda arm of the Islamic Republic claims that the Turkish Army “neutralized” some 1,028 elements of Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Iraqi Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State in its Afrin operation. 
Speaking to the heads of local governments, President Erdogan said the Turkish army will ‘’destroy the threat of terrorism in Idlib after doing so in Afrin. We will continue fighting terrorism, even despite the calls to stop the operation in Afrin.” 
He also said that Turkey was committed to clearing the north-western areas of Syria from terrorists in order to ensure the return of refugees to their homeland.
Playing to a gaggle of local civic leaders is not delivering Kurdish heads on a plate as Erdogan knows, but he's keeping up the rhetoric, and CNN-TURK is reporting every slurred word as if it was carved in stone on the side of a mountain. 

The turks have been launching repeated air and artillery attacks on the city that the Kurds evacuated twenty days ago to "soften up the Kurds" so that they could send in tanks and troops to march into the city. The Turkish air force ceased attacks for several days this week after the downing of the Russian ground attack aircraft, but resumed on the night of 8 February.

The Russians reportedly told the Turks that they were setting up a new air defense system in Afrin in the aftermath of the downing of the Russian ground attack aircraft near Idlib. The Syrians also told the Turks that Syria was upgrading its air surveillance and missile and gun air defense systems in the northwest.

The Turks have overreached in Syria and have not “liberated” Afrin. Their inability to control their proxy fighters finally has generated a reaction from the Russians and the Syrians.
Multiple news agencies report a surge in fighting in Syria again, mostly because of increased Syrian operations to recapture all Syrian territory and because of Turkey’s Olive Branch operations. There are eight important actors in Syria including the Saudi/Al Qaeda and none of their interests appear congruent. They even do not agree on the desirability of an end to the fighting.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Halcyon Days for Conservative Bloggers

Russian Collusion - that is the problem isn't it? It is summarized HERE (h/t Woodsterman) very well. If the corrupt, sly, elite media focused on what happened and followed evidence, the way that journalists once did, it would become more clear. Sadly what we have in America is a cynical propaganda machine that blasts on 24/7/365. 

The Democrat Party is fighting for its existence. The Hollywood moguls are all off trying to defend themselves from the me-too movement and aren't sending in million dollar checks to the DNC. In fact, the DNC will likely be insolvent by the end of February absent some serious money coming in. Hillary is on the rubber chicken circuit, telling people who to blame for her election loss (not her) and the Clinton Foundation has laid off staff because no additional money is going there either and the principal Clintons have to eat.

It's a great time to be a blogger, to sit back and watch the fireworks.

Syria Today

The distracted (and often corrupt) US news media doesn't seem to make much effort to report on international issues that do create ripples worldwide. They are focused on how much they hate President Trump and his efforts to make America great/safe/prosperous once again. They're driven by ratings and in a sense, have created the largest reality TV show in history, starring President Trump to drive those ratings (and earnings) even higher. While the 24 news cycle responds to tweets and are driven into a froth of anxiety and hatred, which they try to pass on to viewers, there are other things going on in the world.

Lately, some of my blogging focus has been on Syria because so many national and international actors are playing on that stage. 

The Turkish Army in all its majesty, is still trying to take Afrin, a small but strategic city in Syrian Kurdistan. Their goal is to kill all Kurds, even though the Kurds haven't done anything in Turkey to warrant such hostility. President and strong man Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is using the invasion of Syria to try and mask his problems at home by rallying the people to the Syrian War against the Kurds. It flopped, but the Turkish Army is still there, unwilling to lose more tanks and men, but unable to sustain the loss of face that retreating back to Turkey would mean. They have a Kurdish tiger by the tail. Difficult to hold on, dangerous to let go.

Israeli aircraft attacked targets near Damascus. Israeli combat aircraft struck a Syrian military position in a rural area near Damascus on 7 February. The Syrian army said the attack triggered Syria's air defense system which destroyed most of the incoming missiles.

The statement said several missiles were launched by the Israeli jets from inside Lebanese airspace at 03:42 a.m. local time. "The general command of the armed forces holds Israel fully responsible for the dangerous consequences of its repeated, aggressive and uncalculated adventures”. 

In Jerusalem, Israel’s military spokeswoman said, "we do not respond to such reports”. According to Haaretz, the Israeli missiles targeted a "research center" in the town of Jamrayah, just north of Damascus.

Syria said this attack was the second in three months against the facility, which press sources describe as a military research center. Haaretz reported it is a rocket and missile development center. 

In the area occupied by the US Military, US aircraft killed an estimated 100 pro-government fighters in the Euphrates River Valley after some 500 armed men, supported by tanks, rockets and artillery, began firing at a headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). A US military spokesman said the US acted in self-defense because US soldiers were in the area. He also said the US maintained continuous communications with Russian forces, also in the area, to ensure no clash with the Russians. The US said the Syrian attack injured one SDF soldier.

The Russians are not directly helping the Syrian and allied forces recover territory liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces, whom President Assad called traitors for working with US forces. More clashes are likely because Assad said he intends for his forces to recover all Syrian sovereign territory. The Russians, however, are not risking casualties or mission creep. Nevertheless, the security situation is chaotic and dangerous.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

California's Flirtation with Socialism

Stockton, California is a ghetto city. There are a lot of ghetto cities in America and it takes a lot to improve them - generally by having people with money come along, buy homes, and displace the people who made it a ghetto in the first place. The process is called gentrification. 

Stockton is also poorly managed and in 2012, they filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. 

Stockton Mayor Tubbs
Now they have a new plan - a “universal basic income” of $500 every month to every resident. At present, they're funding their project with private money (a fool and his money are soon parted). The plan is touted by Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs as the way forward to a bright future.

Nearly half of the population is hard core unemployed (no work history, high school drop out, drug addicted, living on government largess). The other half (45%) speak a language other than English and work off the books for sub-minimum wages, and as you might well imagine, Stockton is a sanctuary city. People who may work in Stockton, don't live there. You don't hear that refrain but it's accurate. One of the more thriving businesses in Stockton is the bail bond business...but the bondsmen don't live in town either.

Cheap illegal immigrant labor has depressed wages and other-than-citizens took the jobs previously held by Afro-Americans, leaving them with no work history, no hope of employment, no interest in education and drug addicted.

Oakland, California, a more depressed, vicious, drug-addicted and nasty ghetto city than Stockton, has taken the idea and doubled down. In Oakland, a startup is giving around $1,500 a month to a handful of selected recipients, with the aim also to study how financial health and well-being are affected.

Commentary - Money for nothing and chicks for free is an entertaining notion. Among those already living in a government housing project, receiving aid from a plethora of government sources, unemployed and with addictions to substances (the whole spectrum), another $1,500 a month will be spent - however. But what does that DO? Will the depressed and addicted residents of the projects use the $1,500 to find gainful employment? Don't hold your breath.

In an effort to re-generate the sub-prime lending disaster that crashed the American economy, California liberals are desperately concerned that people of color who can't qualify for loans don't receive them from lenders. There is a cry of de-facto racism

Eventually they will run out of other people's money.

Midweek Musings


FBI & Barack

Most people who have been put in the position to work with the FBI found them to be a serious challenge to deal with as an organization. There is vast and unrelenting ego that exceeds what one would normally anticipate from highly placed federal bureaucrats.
Disclaimer: I have a friend who worked at the Bureau (and rose to be assistant director over their 'enterprise crime' division - essentially organized crime) that I was partnered with for about five years and still trust him with my grandchildren's lives so my statement is not a blanket statement.
These ongoing revelations about what amounts to treason at the very highest levels of the FBI must be a galling pill for the larger bureau to swallow.  I was in court on Monday (not as a defendant) and ran into a couple FBI Special Agents who know me and they ducked their heads and said, "Ok, LL, have at it." I went easy on them telling them that "Famous-But-Incompetent" was something that everyone accepted as a fact, but none of us suspected pervasive treason at the very highest levels of the organization (other than Hansson, a Russian spy who ran FBI Counterintelligence). They agreed. Who would say otherwise? The evidence is clear and convincing and there will be more coming.

I asked, "what about your old boss, Barack?" They shrugged. It's very likely that Barack was briefed on these operations, that he approved the unmasking of Trump campaign names as part of the fraudulently obtained FISA warrants and collection. You don't hear much from Barack these days. He's maintaining a very low profile. Which members of the Obama Administration would rat him out if offered immunity in exchange for testimony? Keep in mind that these are people who would sell their mother's virtue to the highest bidder.

>>>Breaking News<<<

Since this blog post went live this morning, we have this from the Daily Caller:
Texts From Anti-Trump FBI Officials Reveal Obama Wanted ‘To Know Everything’ About Clinton Investigation
Newly discovered texts exchanged by FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page reveal possible involvement by former President Barack Obama in the 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, Fox News reports. 
“Potus wants to know everything we’re doing,” Page told Strzok in a text message dated Sept 2, 2016. Page then described preparing former FBI director James Comey to brief Obama on the details of a particular investigation.
Democrat Party Charm

Right, there's no charm at all. President Trump is optimistic and is drawing his strength from what had once been the Democrat Party's base. The Democrats have become the party of sour pessimism and that's a losing combination for politicians.

President Trump doesn't appeal to many because of his style. Even though I was a Trump supporter from the beginning, I understand. However, he's playing the Dems like a fiddle. He has identified himself and his Party as the organization that identifies with the American Flag, with economic opportunity, rising wages, full employment and a bright future. While Trump offers America, mom, and apple pie, the Dem's offer a turd sandwich and remind America that President Trump is a Russian spy.

Turkey vs Kurds

Turkey is embarrassed that the might of a Turkish armored division can't move a relatively small force of Kurdish infantry out of Afrin. The Turks have reinforced and that makes things look even more silly -- but every time they move tanks forward, the Kurds blow them up and post the videos on YouTube. CNN-TURK doesn't cover the humiliating loss of expensive German made Leopard 2 tanks to the Kurds.

I heard from a source close to the conflict that the Turks also lost some armored personnel carriers in the Afrin area.

The Iraqi Kurdish news service, Rudaw, which is sympathetic to the Syrian Kurds, closely follows the Turkish offensive and the Kurdish resistance. It reported the Turks have made little progress in Afrin canton. It also reported that the Syrian Kurds are rallying to the defense of Manbij, in anticipation of Turkish attacks.

Iran's Opinion

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi called on Turkey to end its offensive in Afrin. He warned the operation would bring back terrorists.
Qassemi said, “The continuation of Turkey’s military operation will facilitate the return of instability and terrorism to Syria.” He also said that Turkey should follow-up all Syria-related developments within the framework of the Astana peace process.
The Iranians have not made many public comments about the Turkish invasion of northern Syria since it began on 20 January. They have their own Kurdish problems. Criticism of Turkey implies no support or sympathy for Syrian Kurds. Iran’s security concern is that Turkey’s troops will create a security vacuum in northern Syria that terrorists will again be able to fill. And that means that the US will not leave the area. As long as the US has an army in the field in Syria and the Levant, Iranian leverage is neutralized.

Qassemi’s warning about the risk that terrorists might return is reasonable because the Turks keep promising to withdraw from Syria when they are finished wiping out the Kurds (down to the last child - they way that they did with the Armenians). That condition presumably means when the security power structure in northern Syria is destroyed.

Qassemi’s also seems to be issuing a more general warning against Turkey’s obvious ploy of using its military forces and its proximity to stake a claim to influence Syrian affairs. Iran understands Turkey is a challenger to the Assad government and to Iran’s position in Syria. 

The Iranians know that Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units posed no threat to Turkey. The Kurds did not attack Turkey’s territory and had only a few exchanges of gun fire with Turkish Army troops after they illegally entered in northern Syria in Operation Euphrates Shield. Iran knows the Turkish justification for operations in Syria is phony and wants the tripartite Astana process to retrain the Turks.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Last Story from CH

My friend, identified as "CH", has since passed away and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He rose to the rank of Colonel in the US Army. He was also an area expert in East Asia and more particularly in China.  He was home based in East Asia Division but he also worked in the Near East At one point in time he was a body double of the Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi (Shah of Iran) when there had been a plot against the Shah's life. (Imagine a country boy from Arkansas as the Shah's double...let that sink in.)

He was a devoted father, a good husband, whose wife worked for CIA as did he and she is still employed there to this day.

Interpol General Secretariat, Lyon, France
If you're at CIA and they want you to retire and you're reluctant to go, it's was not uncommon during the time he worked there to show up and find your desk missing and it's contents archived, with a small box containing your personal effects where the desk once was. The number to your personal safe, changed. Some take the obvious hint, and others take a few weeks to let it sink in. They prowl the halls of the HQ building(s) holding a coffee cup or look for friends to pass time with and then succumb, and turn in their papers. 

CH was not a church going man and though he had definite opinions about Mohammedans that were in line with my own, religion did not play a large role in his life. I want to mention that here before we move forward. This is in no way a polemic or sermonette and I think that CH would be offended if I made it one. It's simply his account. Take it at face value, if you will.

CH had a significant heart attack circa 2006 and because he was living in Maryland, they hauled him down the street to Bethesda Naval Hospital. As a vivid critic of the US Navy, he claimed that somebody wanted him killed and that if they'd wanted him to survive, he would have been taken a longer distance to Walter Reid Army Hospital. However, survive he did.  


Parc de la Tête d'Or
A couple of years later we were both in Lyon, France at the Interpol General Secretariat. We had rooms at the Hilton Hotel, just down the Rhone River from Interpol. One afternoon was free, so we decided to go across Parc de la Tête d'Or (the large park near the General Secretariat) to a market and buy the components of a lunch, sit by the lake and eat said lunch. Mrs. CH had him on a strict heart-healthy diet, which he ignored while on the road. As we walked he said the following. 
"You know I had a heart attack and died there on the table. I was dead for quite a long time - a few minutes. I watched the doctors and nurses work on me and understood that I had passed on and had a complete feeling of peace. I also knew that I had a decision to make. I could go back into my body and live a bit longer or I could move on. It was not an easy decision because mortal life is hard and living is always a challenge and brings the pain of mortal clay. Moving on was happier, but I wouldn't have the opportunity to spend the time with my grandchildren that I wanted to and see my youngest son marry. I knew that my wife would do fine without me, but I would miss her. 
"As I hovered in the room, I made the decision to return for a season and no sooner did I do that then I was back in my body, alive, and looking into the operating table lights and the masked faces of Navy Doctors. naturally trying to hide their identities. 
"My point is this: I want you to know that I am living on borrowed time. I made a decision and I think that it was the right one, but every fear or misgiving about dying vanished with that experience. Today it's something that I'm not running toward, but I'm not running away from either. It will happen and I'll pass. Don't worry or fret when that happens because I'm not going to be unhappy about it at all. In fact, I'm looking forward to it." 
We found a market, bought bottles of carbonated lemonade, a fresh baguette to split, ham, cheese, some remoulade to spread,  and potato chips (crisps to my British readers) -- assembled sandwiches had a nice lunch and I don't remember what else we discussed. As with most private meals, we shared opinions and 'solved all the world's problems, if only the world would listen.'

RIP


Monday, February 5, 2018

"Sea" Stories from CH

Some of you expressed an interest in more stories by CH, who served in the US Army and then with CIA.

My friend, identified as "CH", has since passed away and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He rose to the rank of Colonel in the US Army. He was also an area expert in East Asia and more particularly in China.

We had lively discussions about whether the Senior Service (Army in the USA) was superior to the Navy (and Naval Infantry/Marines) or not. This reached a crescendo during the Army/Navy Game. CH forgave me for being in the Navy since the NOBC 1130's such as myself were not very service-conscious and hated everyone with equal vigor. Many of the 1130's who migrated into the CIA ended up in Special Activities Division, which is where CH was assigned during an operation in Iran, a denied area. After that he calmed down and many of his prejudices were assuaged.

I worked with CH in China at a point in time after that detailed below. He (eventually) spoke every dialect fluently, which is something I never came close to mastering. I also worked with him in France and his spoken French left something to be desired. He came with me to Calvi, Corsica once where I had been seconded (briefly) to the Second French Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment (2REP). His Corsican was worse than his French, but no worse than mine.
As with the meetings with Aldrich Ames (previous posts on this blog), CH e-mailed these short articles to me. He's gone, they're not sensitive and the names of people were either acknowledged (overt) by CIA at some point or are redacted.


FIRST DAY AT CIA

By CH

My first day at the CIA was spent walking around getting checked in by personnel, health clinic, security, etc. Walking with me was another person selected for the Career Trainee Program (CTP), Jack Downing. As we walked the halls here and there, I tried to find out more about Jack. He told me he was just back from Vietnam where he served as a Marine officer. I told him I had been there with the Army. I asked what made him think of working for the CIA, and Jack said that he had two degrees from Harvard and that he was fluent in Chinese.

Jack Downing, CIA Station Chief,
Kuala Lumpur - Later DDO
When I told him that I spoke some Vietnamese but that I really wanted to learn Chinese, Jack told me to forget it, that Chinese was too hard to learn. He spouted off the old Chinese saying, 天不怕地不怕只怕洋鬼子说中国话 “Tien bu pa, di bu pa, zhi pa yang guizi shuo Zhongguo hua.” (Don’t fear the heavens, don’t fear the earth. Only fear the foreign devil who speaks Chinese.) “You see how hard that is to say, with all the proper tones?”, he said to me.

Well, I thought that was pretty cheeky of him, so after a few more steps down the hall, I asked Jack if he knew the words to “that old favorite Marine hymn”, and I began singing the lines from the “Dog-Faced Soldier” (I wouldn’t give a bean to be a fancy pants Marine, I’d rather be a dog-faced soldier like I am . . .), whereupon Jack balled up his fists and would have punched me, right there in the halls of the CIA, had not some passersby intervened. But Jack and I got along after that.

Jack later learned Russian, and became a huge success in the CIA as the Director of Operations. I got some revenge, however, many years later when our Chinese language instructor invited Jack and me, and a few other people, to dinner. At the dinner, I spoke only in Chinese, but Jack had to resort to speaking English now and then. It was a small victory, to be sure, and the only one I could manage, but it did feel good.



ARRESTED IN CHINA

By CH

In 1968. after completing the Career Trainee Program (about a year of training in both intelligence collection techniques and paramilitary operations), I was sent to two years of full-time Chinese language training. The first of those two years was here in Washington, then to Middlebury College for a summer intensive course, then to Taiwan for a year.

My first trip to China in late 1978 was with the China Round Table of the Society for International Development, a kind of China Watchers club here in Washington, DC, comprising diplomats, scholars, spies (I was under cover), etc. In those days, it was not easy to get a visa to go to China, but our group was able to get a visa.

Anytime a CIA employee wants to leave the country, he/she must obtain permission, so I put in my request. Most curiously, while my request for permission to go to China was not approved, it was not disapproved, either. At every level up the chain, I encountered the same "non-answer" to my request. When I finally got to the office of the Chief of Security, the late Robert Gambino, I figured I would get a "yes" or a "no". He had a very large office, and behind him was a virtual rainbow of telephones: black, green, red, white, and blue—all dial telephones, standard for those days. After listening to my request, Gambino turned and picked up the black telephone (open, public line) and made a call. He called someone and said “Hi, this is Gambino over at the Agency. We have a Case Officer here by the name of CH who wants to go to China. What do you think?” I was horrified!! He had given out my name and Agency affiliation over the open telephone line!! Well, he was the Director of Security, so I just kept my mouth shut. After a minute or so, he turned to me and, incredibly, said he could not say “Yes”, and he could not say“No” to my request. I told him that I would then just have to go to the Director, Stansfield Turner, and Gambino sheepishly agreed that was what I would have to do. There is a lot of interesting detail on how I actually got to Turner's office and how I eventually obtained his permission (actually that of Turner’s side-kick, Rusty Williams) to go to China, but for now I'll just say that I got the green light.

When we got to China, we found it to be exceedingly drab and poor. Still reeling from Maoism and the Gang of Four, every official still began his/her comments with "在我门伟大的领袖毛主席. . . ". Well, I first ran into that silliness on train going to Shaoshan, Mao's birthplace. Engaging the female conductor (lie che zhang) in chit-chat, I told her that in the United States we didn't have females serving as conductors, so I could say that she was the cutest "lie che zhang" I had ever seen. She blushed and giggled--then quickly caught herself and struck a pose out of some Maoist propaganda show and said "Ni keyi shuo wo wei renmin fu wu, ye keyi shuo wo zai zhengzhi fang mian hen ke kao, dan shi ni jie dui bu keyi shuo wo piaoliang!" (You may say I serve the people, or that I am dependable in political matters, but you may not say that I am cute.) And with that, she rushed back to our tour guide and registered a formal complaint. 

Well, there were many such encounters I could detail, but the most exciting and instructive encounter I had was in the Forbidden City. Tired of hanging around the group, I took off by myself one day and went to the Forbidden City (Gu Gong). I took along with me a bottle of Beefeaters Gin that I had brought with me to China, but had not drunk, because I liked the Chinese beer and wine so much. I planned to give that bottle of gin to someone as a token of friendship. When I got to the part of the Gu Gong that had many ancient cedar trees (unfortunately, the trees have gone), I found some old men hanging around, and I told one of them that I was looking for a 70 year-old man.

I explained that was my father's age and I had something for him. Well, as happened almost everywhere in China I opened my mouth and spoke Chinese, a huge crowd gathered. Truly, easily 100-200 persons, mostly men, gathered around me to ask questions about my family, how I got to China, and, of course, where I learned to speak Chinese. Finally, someone said that they had found a 70 year-old man, and I was introduced to Mr. Wang, a tourist from Shandong Province. I gave Mr. Wang the bottle of Beefeater's gin and explained that it was a present from my father who wished to express his friendship for the Chinese people. The crowd wildly applauded. But almost immediately, two men stepped into the center of this scene, and one said "Bu xing! Zai xin Zhongguo women bu song li wu!" (In the new China, we don’t give gifts.) The crowd's good cheer was immediately dampened. The two men who made the ruling were obviously men of authority. For one thing, they wore leather shoes. Most people in those days wore only "bu xie", the Chinese style cotton sneakers.

I thought that maybe I should just let things go at that, but I wanted to dig those guys a bit, and I wanted to see just how the crowd would react, so I turned to the crowd and said "But coming here and giving the bottle of liquor was my father's orders. How can I return home and tell my father that I did not do as he directed?" Hearing that, the crowd roared with approval (truly, a huge roar), saying such things as "yes, it's his father's orders", "he's a good son", etc. The two Public Security guys were shocked at the volume of the crowd's comments, so they just darted away. And, after a few more minutes to say goodbye to old Mr. Wang, I, too, left the scene and headed to other parts of the Gu Gong. But I knew that I probably had not seen the last of the matter from the police. And, as I walked through Bei Men (North Gate), heading out towards Mei Shan (Coal Hill), a young policeman accosted me and invited me to follow him. I laughed and said that I really didn't have time, that I had to catch a bus to get back to the hotel. But he insisted, and used the phrase I thought I would never hear: "Bu qu bu xing" (you must go). And that really means “you are under arrest”.

So, I followed him over to a police post just outside of the Gu Gong. Inside, I was told to stand over in the corner by the stove. Guess who was already standing there by the stove? Old Mr. Wang from Shandong Province, and he was still clutching that bottle of Beefeaters gin. And he was white as a sheet. I tried to appear nonchalant as I stood there warming my hands by the stove, but I was more interested in what a senior policeman on the other side of the room was saying into a telephone. He spoke so fast I couldn't understand him, but he finally put the phone down and loudly said "Ke yi" as he motioned to old Mr. Wang and me. So, we were escorted to the door and released. Outside, a small group of people, including children of all ages, was waiting for Mr. Wang. One told me that they were his family members. And they did not seem to have much enthusiasm for talking to me, so I said goodbye and took a bus back to the hotel.

Seven years later, I again traveled to China. One evening in Beijing, I was invited (along with several others in our group) to a banquet hosted by the Public Security Bureau. (Odd, but I don't remember the details of the invitation.) Seated at my side was some ranking official who, at one point, asked me what I planned to do the next day. I said I might tour the Forbidden City (Gu Gong). He then said "Han Xiansheng, je ce, keneng you ren yau guo lai song ni yi ping jiu." (Mr. CH, this time a person may just come over and give YOU a bottle of whiskey." Good to know the Public Security Bureau keeps good records.