Beyond the Cusp

December 10, 2013

Should Israel Permit the United States to Guarantee Israeli Security?

Filed under: 1967 Borders,Act of War,Administration,al-Qaeda in Gaza,Amalekites,Appeasement,Arab World,Arabs,Ariel Sharon,Bayit Yehudi Party,Civilization,Commander in Cheif,Disengagement,Ditherer in Chief,Divided Jerusalem,Egypt,European Pressure,Executive Order,Forced Solution,Foreign NGOs,Foreign Policy,Gaza,General John Allen,Hamas,Hezballah,IDF,International Politics,Intifada,Islamic Jihad,Islamic Jihad,Israel,Israeli Capital City,Jerusalem,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,John Kerry,Jordan,Jordan River,Jordan Valley,Judea,Judean Hills,Land for Peace,Likud,Mahmoud Abbas,Mortar Attacks,Murder Israelis,Muslim World,Muslims,Naftali Bennett,Naqba,Netanyahu,Oslo Accords,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Liberation Organization,Palestinian Security Force,Palestinians for the Liberation of Palestine,Partition Plan,Peace Process,PFLP,PLO,Politics,Pre-Conditions,President Obama,Prime Minister,Prisoner Release,Recognize Israel,Response to Terrorism,Right of Return,Rocket Attacks,Samaria,Secretary of State,Settlements,Smuggling Tunnels,Statehood,Syria,Terror,Threat of War,Tzipi Livni,United States,United States Pressure,US Army,US Marines,West Bank,World Opinion,World Pressures,Yair Lapid,Yesh Atid Party,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 5:09 AM
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United States Secretary of State Kerry returned to Israel for another shot at pushing the peace process forward or to at least appear to be doing so. At Secretary Kerry’s side was General John Allen whose assignment was to add gravitas to the presentation of how the latest American proposals will address all of Israeli security concerns. General Allen was reputed to have been working with aides from numerous branches within the American government in order to fulfill, as Secretary Kerry claimed speaking at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, “He is helping us make sure that the border on the Jordan River will be as strong as any in the world, so that there will be no question about the security of the citizens, Israelis and Palestinians, living to the west of it.” Kerry further noted, “Never before has the United States conducted such an in-depth analysis of Israel’s security requirements that arise from a two-state solution.” There have been rumors that the preliminary plan calls for the United States to secure the borders along the Jordan River and the Jordan Valley. This is supposed to fill Israelis with a sense of secure comfort that the same country which presumably has secured its own southern border with Mexico from illegal immigrants will be securing the Jordan River and Valley preventing smuggling of arms and personnel which could pose a threat to Israel should they reach terrorist operatives in the Palestinian areas. Currently Israelis are supposed to feel assured with the guarantees from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s promises that he will never allow Israeli security be protected by any third party forces and will always keep Israeli security in the hands of the IDF.

 

Needless to say all that has been agreed thus far is that they will discuss the different security arrangements without any single plan having been already decided. This probably does not exactly fill every Israeli with great amounts of confidence that things will turn out well. After all the Israeli people have plenty of reasons to not trust any promises of security guarantees being provided by third parties. A quick look at the history of similar promises bears their doubt as valid. After the 1956 war against Egypt allied with Britain and France reacting to Egyptian President Nasser closing the Suez Canal the United Nations placed peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula in order to guarantee the peace was permanent between Israel and Egypt. When the very same Egyptian President Nasser demanded these peacekeepers withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula in order to permit him to deploy massing of troops on the Israeli border in concert with Syria doing the same on the Israeli northern border which led to the 1967 Six Day War, the peacekeepers quietly packed up and went back to their home country. Great amount of good the peacekeepers provided as they simply melted away at the first threat of breaking the peace. Then there was the great lack of success by the UNIFIL troops before the Second Lebanon War in preventing Hezballah from placing rockets and building bunkers and other fortification south of the Litani River. Somehow during the Second Lebanon War the Israeli population was bombarded with thousands of rockets and the IDF faced well-fortified Hezballah positions with established command and control systems, anti-tank munitions and bunker systems with interconnected bunkers through extensive underground tunnels. After the Second Lebanon War the United Nations, European Union and the United States declared that the newly doubled in size UNIFIL forces would be much better able to prevent the rearming of Hezballah. Somehow Hezballah has rearmed with estimated multiple times the numbers of rockets and also rockets and guided missiles with greater ranges and larger payloads along with reestablishing their entire interconnected bunker systems and command and control hardware all under the direct inspection of the fortified UNIFIL forces. The European governments are now threatening to pull their troops from serving in UNIFIL as they estimate that such missions are far too dangerous as Hezballah has the ability to devastate the UNIFIL troops at their whim at any time. Lastly, there is the wonderful example of the European Union inspectors who were positioned in the Philadelphia Corridor between Egypt and Gaza after Israeli Prime Minister Sharon disengaged from Gaza removing every single Israeli citizen in the communities within Gaza and removed all IDF forces, equipment and facilities turning the entirety of Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority. The European Union inspectors who were stationed between Egypt and Gaza lasted almost a month before they retreated to their hotels refusing to return to their posts monitoring the border leading to the tunnel systems and other measures of smuggling arms into Gaza which includes among the items the tens of thousands of rockets and mortars that have been fired into Israel since the 2005 disengagement by Israel from Gaza and the disappearance of the European monitors. Unbelievably enough, the Egyptian military is currently providing some of the best security over their border with Gaza since the Israelis were convinced to trust Western third party security personnel to safeguard that border.

 

The big question is what would be the signs that the Israeli government is actually going to make the very same mistake and allow the United States to be the third party which guards the Jordan River and Valley preventing smuggling of arms and terrorists into the Palestinian state should one be formed either through negotiations or by forced application by the United States, United Nation or whatever entity is used to implement a “fair and balanced and secure solution”. The first signal that such a deal may be in the offing has already been committed. The signal that this tragedy has moved one step closer, even closer than it was when Tzipi Livni was placed in charge of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, was when Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid Party announced this week that he would be willing to back Israel taking bold steps in order to make peace with the Palestinians even if it meant breaking with Naftali Bennett and his Jewish Home Party and siding with Prime Minister Netanyahu in replacing them with recently elected Isaac Hertzog and his Labor Party which supports taking any risks necessary in order to reach a peace, any peace under any stipulations. The next step would likely be commentary coming from the more progressive members and Ministers of the Knesset who believe that bold moves and serious sacrifices may be a necessary step if it would bring a lasting peace and still guarantee Israeli security complaining that Naftali Bennet or members of his party are an impediment to reaching a peace which is just around the corner if only these hardliners would stop placing obstacles preventing meeting the necessary preconditions demanded by Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas. Should the Jewish Home Party be removed from the coalition or the Labor Party joins the coalition that would be a sign that the deal is either closed or very close to closed and that the United States is working very hard behind the scenes granting everything even to include partial “Right of Return” for the Palestinian refugees in order to force what appears to be a mutually agreed peace treaty. The time to really begin to worry for Israelis will be when these comments start to include the more stringent Zionists from within the Likud Party, the same party as the Prime Minister. The final sign after which it is a completed deal would be either Prime Minister Netanyahu removes members of the Likud Party from the Knesset for any reasons whatsoever and replaces them with known Likud Party members who have advocated peace at almost any sacrifice. Hopefully we will not see the same ploy which predicated the Gaza disengagement and Prime Minister Netanyahu forms a new party taking members from Likud, Labor, Yesh Atid, other parties and formerly unaligned politicians or former military or security commanders forming a core group around which the new government can do whatever is demanded in order to comply and bend before the United States pressures and make what will necessarily be a fateful and terrible mistake which will result in another Gaza disengagement on steroids, massive steroids. Should a deal appear to be in the making which will place third party forces to guard any border, especially the border along the Jordan River, such a deal would be a disaster in the making as these troops will not last past the first challenge and could be even worse.

 

Where it would be tragic if the end agreement designed the security forces guarding the Jordan River Valley to be a mixed force with equal numbers of IDF troops partnered with Palestinian Security Forces allowing for mixed teams to man the posts and patrol the border, it could be worse still. This would end the day the Palestinians decided to attack Israel which would be initiated with the murder of the IDF members of the joint patrols and posts. The absolute worst decision would be to have the Jordan River Valley completely patrolled and guarded by United States military personnel. The reason behind this is that the United States might actually feel committed to their promises to secure this border in lieu of having IDF troops on the Jordanian border and remain even after they started to take casualties including fatalities when Palestinian terrorists were committed to attack the American presence. It would not matter to the Palestinian Authority leadership, be they Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other Palestinian group, whether the targeted troops in the Jordan River Valley were Israeli infidels or United States infidels, they would celebrate either troops’ murder. This was proven after September 11, 2001, when the Palestinian people held celebrations passing out sweets, honking car horns, shooting guns into the air and other revelry in approval and support of the nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington DC and a final forth plane whose passengers stormed the cockpit resulting in crashing the aircraft preventing it from striking whatever was its target. Eventually, as casualties mounted, the American public would begin to demand the mission be aborted as they do not want their young men and women dying to protect Israel. Should the government of the United States continue to honor the agreement they foisted upon Israel and the casualties mount the American people would begin to resent Israel and some would transfer their resentment of Israel into anti-Semitism. Eventually the Palestinians would mount and succeed in a horrendous attack on the United States peacekeepers killing an unacceptable number to the American public who would be revolted by the continuation of the mission and the results could turn ugly with some using this as an excuse to act on their anger against Jewish targets in the United States. It would be inevitable that some would blame the Jews in the United States for forcing the United States government to protect Israeli lives sacrificing American troops’ lives; they would finally be able to honestly claim that American troops were being placed in harm’s way to protect Israel. There could only be very troublesome results and the Israeli leadership must never allow third party troops be placed on her borders, especially United States troops as if we desire to retain the friendship of the American people we cannot allow them to make sacrifices in our stead. May none of the events described through much of this article ever come to fruition.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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June 11, 2013

Prism, Echelon, Unlimited Data Mining, the NSA, Where Did it Start?

We are hearing stories and rumors, facts and flights of fancy, truths and misdirections, and enough information overload to the point that our heads are spinning and we end up so confused that we likely just shake our heads, take a couple analgesics for the headache and go off to forget the whole mess. Unfortunately, once we know that our every communication, our every internet search, every web site we visit, every purchase we make, and even our every move is being tracked, stored and can be retrieved any time in the future and collated to make any story desired about us believable. Add to that the fact that with computers tapes can be made in which there is nothing that cannot be produced showing us doing anything from sleepwalking to murder and saying anything from the kindest compliments to the worst treasons. When we delve deeply into the potential powers that the government could use in nefarious efforts to paint us as guilty of any crime and part of any conspiracy which they could ever dream up we realize that the powers that be have the ability to make our lives into whatever scheme their sick little minds desired. But at some point in our paranoid fog the thought creeps into our consciousness, when and how did all of this start and how long has it been turned against the people?

 

The beginning of modern data mining was espionage, both between rival city states and within city states by the different members of the ruling court. Espionage was accepted by the common person as it was something that did not affect their lives and it also diverted the ruling classes from further ruining their lives. That has all changed as it is now utilized by governments in order to control the lives of the people. Totalitarian governments have long been known to have secret police and entire departments within their governments which collected information on the general public and went even deeper on persons of interest. The targets usually contained the wealthy, political activists and anybody who was thought to be a potential problem, threat, rival or simply somebody who may need some convincing to assist with gathering information on any others. With the advent of the electronics age espionage became both more technical and also easier to employ against a wider set of targets. Even as electronic data increased geometrically, the ability to gather and store data increased exponentially far outstripping the rate of increase of available data. The unfortunate fact is that the ability to collect data has reached the dream point for the political class as they can now record everything. And since they have the ability to collect every iota of available data they have reached the obvious conclusion, they collect everything, why not.

 

The first major data collecting on masses of people in the United States where anybody who may be of use or importance was monitored for whatever secrets or damning information that could be uncovered was FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover. His files on politicians, leaders of industry, and anybody who was somebody became stories of legend. But J. Edgar Hoover would have salivated had he ever seen the NSA system known as Echelon, the forerunner of Prism. Echelon was preceded by international signal monitoring between nations but Echelon was capable of such volumes of data gathering as to make everything preceding it seem almost amateurish. Today’s data mining capabilities make Echelon appear almost primitive. Echelon was implemented over a quarter century ago and gave the NSA (National Security Agency) unprecedented capabilities outstripping their wildest dreams of the founders back in 1952. With Echelon the NSA finally realized their dream of having the capability to collect data on almost anybody their little hearts desired. But even the immense gathering powers of Echelon were outpaced by the amounts of data being generated very soon after its inception with the addition of general use of the Internet plus cell phones and a simple explosion with the advent of the electronics age. The onset of the electronics age also provided the solution to the unimaginable amounts of data generated. This presented the NSA with the opportunity to meet the challenge before them, the ability to collect all data from all sources. This required an extensive storage facility. That is exactly what the NSA just officially opened in Nevada where they estimate they have sufficient storage medium to store every electronic signal generated worldwide for the next century. Even if it only does as advertised for half that time, it will still have been an impressive system.

 

Echelon caused a stir amongst many people who follow government abuses, politics and conspiracy theorists. Much of what was known in the public about Echelon was refuted by government as the NSA and others denied its existence. Eventually, like anything which requires large numbers of people to run the equipment and make the raw data into something presentable that had real uses and meaning, the secret got out and enough became known that denial was no longer possible. Armed with the experience of the warnings and denials over Echelon, the revelations about Prism are easily believed by the people and thus no attempt appears to be in the works for denial. That leaves the government with the choice of facing the music or making what they are doing appear to be both necessary and innocuous. Trust one who was a believer and ever suspicious of Echelon, Prism is every bit as dangerous with levels of misuse beyond the wildest of imaginations. We have already been witness to the powers of Prism. General Petraeus and General John Allen were early victims of the powers of Prism as they were disgraced into retirement by the revelation of their private emails. The information of their emails that were released did not result from their government email accounts but from their private email accounts. The power of Prism became evident in these two cases as once those who wished to destroy these men’s lives took the knowledge that there had been emails that might be of a questionable nature and then gathered the entire history of these emails simply be entering a query into Prism data search and waited for the results. Presto, everything that matched the query for the past decade at their fingertips to use in any manner against these men. These were private emails and before you claim they should have known better than to leave such evidence, what would your bosses think if they had access to every email, chat, instant message, tweet, and Facebook entry you have made over the past decade? Would your job be safe? What about that comment you made after a particularly bad day about that slave-master who runs your office? That is the potential damage anybody in our government with access to Prism can bring down on any citizen of the United States for the foreseeable future. I am fairly sure that Prism also is collecting data from other nations as well and its capabilities are being made available to friendly government within limits. With Prism now fully activated and connected to the immense storage facility in Nevada the government can continue collecting every electronic signal and run their queries at their convenience as the data will be available for the rest of time, well, in theory at least.

 

Some may be interested in what are the main differences between Echelon and Prism other than the sheer immensity of the data that can be stored indefinitely by Prism versus Echelon. Well, that actually is the basic difference. Under Echelon the government entered key words and phrases which could be adapted depending on what were deemed to be of interest. With Echelon they had permanent key words such as bomb, President, terror, attack, assassinate, kidnap, Echelon, and the names of important or noteworthy people. When a piece of data crossed the Echelon data input channels containing any of these keywords it was saved and if it contained the right combination or sufficient numbers of key words, it was marked for review by an actual person. Echelon was monitoring all the trans-Atlantic phone cables, satellite uplinks and downlinks, Internet providers’ data points to the Web, and numerous other data points which were considered necessary or sensitive. The main deficiency of Echelon was the amounts of data it was capable of both storing and monitoring. Prism does not have such limitations as it has the capability to take in all the data that the NSA can manage to find a method to intercept. There is no requirement for keywords with Prism. Using Prism does require keywords but they can be entered well after the data was stored, not using them as a hurdle to clear in order to be stored. When accessing the Prism database one enters the names and keywords which they wish to pull the data on just like we do when searching the Internet. The difference is Prism has far more data than the Internet and Prism can track any piece of data in its memory back to the person or people who were parties to the conversation or otherwise connected to the data. Prism has another capability that too many will be even more ominous. If you wish to track the movements of someone you only need to enter a few key numbers to gather tracking information for them from that point further. Whether Prism has the ability to track one from past data it would likely be limited to tracking where any person received a cell call or used their OnStar or tracked their lost vehicle. Any way one looks at the power and potentials for misuse of Prism, it definitely is a sign that Big Brother has arrived and we may soon need to monitor our every facial expression so that our faces do not arouse suspicions, after all there are cameras almost everywhere.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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