Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Battle of Jutland, 100 years ago . . .


Jutland, courtesy Wiki and Grandiose - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23511058
Animation, narrated by Admiral Jellicoe’s grandson:

Full length video:

Let us remember. (And today is yesterday was also Memorial Day, USA.)

Memorial ceremony Firth of Forth, Scotland, May 28th:

Wikipedia has a useful summary:
The Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht, the Battle of Skagerrak) was a naval battle fought by the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, against the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet under Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer during the First World War.[1] The battle was fought from 31 May to 1 June 1916 in the North Sea, near the coast of Denmark's Jutland Peninsula. It was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in the war. It was the third fleet action between steel battleships, following the smaller but more decisive battles of the Yellow Sea (1904) and Tsushima (1905) during the Russo-Japanese War.
Germany's High Seas Fleet's intention was to lure out, trap and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, as the German naval force was insufficient to openly engage the entire British fleet. This formed part of a larger strategy to break the British blockade of Germany and to allow German naval vessels access to the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Great Britain's Royal Navy pursued a strategy to engage and destroy the High Seas Fleet, thereby keeping the German force contained and away from Britain and her shipping lanes.[3]
The German plan was to use Vice-Admiral Franz Hipper's fast scouting group of five modern battlecruisers to lure Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty's battlecruiser squadrons into the path of the main German fleet. Submarines were stationed in advance across the likely routes of the British ships.
However, the British learned from signal intercepts that a major fleet operation was likely, so on 30 May Jellicoe sailed with the Grand Fleet to rendezvous with Beatty, passing over the locations of the German submarine picket lines while they were unprepared. The German plan had been delayed, causing further problems for their submarines which had reached the limit of their endurance at sea.
On the afternoon of 31 May, Beatty encountered Hipper's battlecruiser force long before the Germans had expected. In a running battle, Hipper successfully drew the British vanguard into the path of the High Seas Fleet. By the time Beatty sighted the larger force and turned back towards the British main fleet, he had lost two battlecruisers from a force of six battlecruisers and four battleships, against the five ships commanded by Hipper. The battleships, commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Evan-Thomas, were the last to turn and formed a rearguard as Beatty withdrew, now drawing the German fleet in pursuit towards the main British positions. Between 18:30, when the sun was lowering on the western horizon, back-lighting the German forces, and nightfall at about 20:30, the two fleets – totalling 250 ships between them – directly engaged twice.
Fourteen British and eleven German ships were sunk, with great loss of life. After sunset, and throughout the night, Jellicoe manoeuvred to cut the Germans off from their base, hoping to continue the battle the next morning, but under the cover of darkness Scheer broke through the British light forces forming the rearguard of the Grand Fleet and returned to port.[4]
Both sides claimed victory. The British lost more ships and twice as many sailors but succeeded in containing the German fleet. However, the British press criticised the Grand Fleet's failure to force a decisive outcome while Scheer's plan of destroying a substantial portion of the British fleet also failed. Finally, the British strategy to prevent Germany access to both Great Britain and the Atlantic did succeed which was the British long term goal.[5] The Germans' "fleet in being" continued to pose a threat, requiring the British to keep their battleships concentrated in the North Sea, but the battle confirmed the German policy of avoiding all fleet-to-fleet contact. At the end of the year, after further unsuccessful attempts to reduce the Royal Navy's numerical advantage, the German Navy accepted that their surface ships had been successfully contained, subsequently, turning its efforts and resources to unrestricted submarine warfare and the destruction of Allied and neutral shipping which by April 1917 triggered the United States of America's declaration of war on Germany.[6]
A grim but important anniversary in a world that continues to play ever so carelessly with geostrategic matches. Now, with nukes in play:

Let us learn, and let us understand. END

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Matt 24 watch, 292: MSNBC on Mrs Clinton's responses on the email scandal

IG REPORT. (Note Annenberg Public Policy Center fact check.)

Video, here:

Significant though painful, as while many in the Caribbean readily see Mr Trump as questionable, there is a reflexive tendency to support the Democratic Party and its spokespeople or leadership.

Clip 1, a cite from the Washington Post:

Clip 2, continuing:

Clip 3, further:

The use of a server itself may not be technically illegal (I am in no position to contradict WaPo on that), but the reckless exposure of patently secret information and by implication of sources and methods very likely violates any number of laws and regulations with force of law on security. It also recklessly exposed security personnel to undue risk of life and limb in very dangerous corners of the world. 

Which is exactly what the mis-handled Benghazi matter is about, also.

Guy Benson of Townhall observes:
The only half-hearted defense floated in the entire segment comes not from Hillary supporter Mika Brzezinski, but by a Politico reporter, who suggests that perhaps not adhering to some email rules really isn't that big of a deal in the scheme of things. What this point completely misses, as Joe Scarborough points out, is the consequences of Hillary's deliberate failure to follow those rules or alter her behavior in the face of serious warnings. Because she used her unsecure bootleg server exclusively for all of her email use, she trafficked in thousands of classified emails -- including dozens at the secret, top secret and above top secret. That's the biggest reason the Powell comparison is fundamentally dishonest. In the extremely likely event that her server was penetrated by foreign hackers (the new report reveals Hillary's email guru being forced to shut down the server because it was under sustained malicious attack), hostile actors have all of that information. Information that the State Department deemed so sensitive and potentially harmful to US interests that they declined to release 22 emails in any form whatsoever, even with heavy redactions. That's the point here. National security. Hillary's arrogance is obnoxious, of course, but the stakes here are much higher than that.
Benson, in the further article on the Powell comparison, first cites Politico:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the FBI has contacted him about his use of personal email when he was the nation's top diplomat, as a review conducted by the State Department inspector general concluded that Powell and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both received classified information through private email accounts...The State Department inquiry identified 10 messages sent to Rice's immediate staff that were classified and two sent to Powell, according to Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking member on the House Oversight and Benghazi committees. The emails, Cummings said, appear to have no classification markings, and it is still unclear if the content of the emails was or should have been considered classified when the emails were originally written and sent. In an interview with POLITICO Thursday. Powell vigorously disputed the sensitivity of the information sent to him through personal email, but he acknowledged the law enforcement interest in his email routine. "The FBI has come to us," Powell said. Two FBI agents visited Powell in December for a discussion an aide described as a casual conversation about email practices during his term as secretary from 2001 to 2005...Powell seemed exasperated by State's latest claim. The agency has designated the two messages "Confidential," which is the lowest tier of classification. "Now, 11 or 12 years later, as part of a whole process of reviewing things somebody in the department says, 'Well, they're classified.' My response to that is no they were not," Powell said. " You can say your judgment is they should have been classified but at the time they were not classified.
He then comments:
(1) Yesterday evening, Hillary said, "I never sent or received any classified material," without her (legally irrelevant) "marked" caveat. This is a flat falsehood. It is an established fact that she personally sent and received classified material. The State Department's review has discovered more than 1,600 classified emails on her server thus far, with another batch still outstanding -- to say nothing of the 32,000 messages she unilaterally deleted, some of which we now know did pertain to official business.
(2) She also blames this controversy on the issue of retroactive classification, which Powell complains about, too. This gripe may apply to some of Hillary's emails, and to both of Powell's, but Hillary is being deeply disingenuous here. The nonpartisan IC Inspector General has determined that a number of her classified emails were absolutely classified at the time they originated, including top secret and beyond-top-secret intelligence. There was nothing "retroactive" about these classifications. News organizations have also confirmed that scores of her emails were, in fact, classified at the time. It was her duty to identify and protect highly sensitive information, regardless of markings . . . . 

(3) "See? Condi and Colin did it, too!" relies on a thoroughly bogus equivalency.  Above all else, neither Rice nor Powell set up and used a recklessly unsecure private emails server on which they conducted all of their official business, against "clear cut rules" implemented in 2005.  (A former CIA director and Secretary of Defense have each stated that her vulnerable server was likely penetrated by foreign powers like the Russians and Chinese).  This review identified ten -- total -- emails that have now been assigned retroactive, low-level classification levels.  Only two of them went to then-Secretary of State Powell, with the others going to Rice's aides, and both of those are now classified at the lowest level ("confidential").  As mentioned above, Hillary's server contained 1,600 classified emails and counting, including the most sensitive level of intelligence in existence (SAP, beyond-top-secret).  There is no comparison between the conduct of Hillary Clinton and that of her immediate predecessors.  Beyond her exclusive use of an improper and unsecure server, Sec. Clinton was personally and specifically warned about the vulnerability of her email scheme in 2011, when a State Department security expert sounded the alarm over foreign hackers seeking to infiltrate US secrets by targeting high-ranking officials' private emails.  Mrs. Clinton carried on with her arrangement anyway.
Benson has a TV exchange with Bernard Whitman on this general topic:

It seems there is sobering Ac 27 case study on democracy- turned- manipulated- march- of- folly food for thought here. END

PS: Fox's Hannity Show on the issues of Clinton making it to be the nominee of her party:

(The show also begins with clips from Trump's speech on making it past the 1,237 first ballot number, showing his rhetorical tactics and general manner. Notice how he tries to put down others by waving his post-it note of his main speech points, by contrast with those who use teleprompters [by implication including President Obama]; something he may live to regret should he ever have to use same. Likewise, I could not but observe "Imm-EYE-gration." Someone talked of "the election from hell" and that may be the most inadvertently insightful point of all.)

  Further food for thought.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Matt 24 watch, 291: My quick & dirty geostrategic assessment c 2016

I drew this for a UD blog post and think I should share it here:

Sobering issues. END

Matt 24 watch, 290: Rumours of an ISIS attack in Trinidad, as a policeman and a soldier are shot dead near or in their homes

ZJB News this morning led me to follow up at the Trinidad media sites. 

Details are sketchy in the accessible reports (there seems to be a tendency to lock away information behind subscription walls and paywalls these days . . . ), but I clip:

1: Trinidad Express [May 24, 2016, 10:30 pm AST] on jitters i/l/o the apparent ISIS threat and death of a police officer and a soldier:
 ALREADY jittery over social-media-spread rumours that ISIS terrorists were planning shopping-mall bombings this weekend, citizens awoke to the news yesterday that a police officer and soldier had been shot dead in attacks at their homes.

National Security Minister Edmond Dillon said an attempt was being made to authenticate the contents of the voice recording and, in the meantime, people should stay vigilant, remain calm and not be guided by rumour.

He also condemned the murder of PC Jason John, killed at 12.30 a.m. after securing his car near the family home in Five Rivers, Arouca, and that of Defence Force Cpl Jerry Leacock, shot dead in his Wallerfield home at 5.30 a.m. after confronting four intruders.
2: Express  [May 24, 2016, 10:46 pm AST] with more details on the on murder of the soldier:
THREE bandits escaped with a box of costume jewelry and a car after they robbed a Wallerfield family and shot dead a soldier ["Regiment soldier Cpl Jerry Leacock . . . an officer in the Regiment's Engineering Battalion"] who was relatives said was a devoted father and husband who swore he would always protect them.

Last night, one of the suspects was arrested and was assisting police in their investigation.
3: Trinidad Guardian, earlier [Saturday, April 16, 2016], on the threat of radicalised Muslims from Trinidad:

T'dad Guardian: Trinidadian fighters Shane Crawford, from left,
Arshad Mohammed and three other unidentified Trinidadians
pose for a photo last year. Crawford has since been killed
The state has information that over 400 T&T nationals - men, women and children - have gone to Syria and undergone military training and indoctrination with the Islamic State (Isis) and have been radicalised, Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal revealed yesterday.
“Government has information on the most significant security threat facing T&T and our generation - the threat of Isis infiltrating the Caribbean and T&T. What are you doing about it?” Moonilal asked in Parliament.

Speaking during debate on legislation to amend the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) to deepen local intelligence capabilities, Moonilal challenged Government to comment on information coming to hand that Government has received intelligence on the stockpiling of weapons in T&T and threats to the State.
4: Guardian [Monday, April 18, 2016], on a warning by an Imam:
An ASJA (Anjuman Sunnat-ul-Jamaat Association) imam is warning the Isis threat in T&T is so real, “if somebody pats you on your shoulder it could be one of them.” 

At the same time, Jamaat al Muslimeen public relations officer, Fuad Abu Bakr, said a threat to the State seems “fictitious” and even said it is a “convenient diversion.”

The men made the comments in response to questions from the T&T Guardian on disclosures by UNC MP Dr Roodal Moonilal in Parliament, last Friday, that 400 nationals had received military training in Syria, and had been indoctrinated by Isis and radicalised.
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon later confirmed this but said he had information that the number of those who went to Syria was closer to over 100. A state witness also released information on CrimeWatch television show on CNC3 last week, saying female Isis suicide bombers are already in T&T.

She said there are plans to strike central Trinidad and tall buildings in Port-of-Spain and an attempt to overthrow the Government. She claimed members of the T&T Regiment and police officers are involved. She said Isis followers have been training in various parts of Trinidad and have already been equipped.

The T&T Guardian spoke to the ASJA imam who asked that his identity be protected. He said he recognised two of the men in a T&T Guardian photograph published in last Saturday’s newspaper.

“They are both from Warrenville in Central. One of them worked in a store.
“Somebody is financing them along the way. Someone who works for $300 in a store cannot even save to go Venezuela. Something is attracting them. The US dollar.” He described these young men as “misguided.”

On the infiltration of Isis into T&T’s Muslim community, he said, “I believe there would have been some inroads into the local Muslim community that could pose a threat.

“If somebody pats you on your shoulder it could be one of them. You have to be careful how you tread. Yes, I believe Isis is a threat to us in Trinidad.”

The imam named certain mosques which may be on the “radical” side. He said Isis and its followers are giving a bad name to Islam.

“Suicide bombers and all those sorts of things we don’t support. I do not believe any imam coming out of ASJA will support such things. Those things are totally alien to our religion. We do not support brutality. We believe we are to peacefully do the will of Allah and we preach peace.

“We will not support masjids who adhere to the teachings of Isis.
It looks like the international news headlines may be beginning to become regional news, reflecting the two tidal waves challenge often discussed in this blog:

Food for thought, and a warning to take reasonable precautions and pro-active steps. END

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ac 27 test, 15: The Seven Mountains commanding heights of a community

I here wish to put up a "slideshow" framework for analysing and understanding  how sound reformation must address community transformation, by way of adapting the seven mountains framework championed in recent years by Lance Wallnau and others:

What is the culturally dominant worldview and what is its agenda for society, policy, law, the state, etc? 

 Schaeffer's line of despair analysis, as modified and extended may help us:

particularly given the propensity of the lower storey to "eat up" the upper:

And so, we end up with a worldviews "cap" that shields us from reality, calling forth genuinely prophetic, visionary intellectual and cultural leadership to break through the worldview roof and shield from reality:

Is the present course of our civilisation in reality a march of folly . . . ? 

 Certainly, the apostle Paul counselled in no uncertain terms:
2 Cor 10:For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ . . . [AMP]

And, Jesus, in his world famous Sermon on the Mount, observed:
Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]. [AMP]

Also, he warned -- in one of his hardest sayings:

 John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. 32 And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” . . . . 
43 Why do you misunderstand what I am saying? It is because [your spiritual ears are deaf and] you are unable to hear [the truth of] My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what it natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.
45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me [and continue in your unbelief]. [AMP]
Let us ponder, then, a handy modern animal myth, lemmings headed over the cliff:

that is, more analytically:


. . . so that we need to bring together strongly participative community consultations under principles of sustainability in light of SWOT-alignment BAU vs ALT factors:

also, the community dynamics FAO identified:

with the 3-4-5 governance factors as a handy way to focus:

 . . . where we understand our strengths and weaknesses as decision-makers, duly informed by Boyd's OODA loop:

. . . and hopefully culminating in an agreed programme of action backed by a critical mass committed to genuinely sustainable change for the good:

Yes, sound policy level reform of the community is hard to do, and needs to reckon also with the inherent instability of democracy that requires constant, committed, well informed vigilance and public spirited support to sustain it:

Yes, a sobering cluster of thoughts, but such are what we must face collectively if we are to have hope for moving our civilisation forward to safe harbour. 

For sure, we cannot afford the price of a march of manipulated folly where the majority imposes imprudence because it underestimates hazards and over estimates how much control we have and/or how clever we are, as Ac 27 so succinctly warns. END

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Matt 24 watch, 289: Robert Spencer does a Q&A on Jihadism vs the politically correct partyline promoted by Western leaders


Food for sobering thought as we ponder the upcoming issue, can a nation or a civilisation be mass brainwashed leading to a march of folly and ruin? END