Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dirty Donnie the Kremlin Ho.

It getting official-er and official-er.  Now that Hilary has put a bottle in it and the Prexy has forgotten he mentioned it (although "the White House is pursuing "an investigation" that it WON'T be releasing to the pubics) the "Catholics In Action'  announced to-day that they are convinced that Putin's hackers influenced the latest US election so that Don Trump would win.   When the CIA gets that bold it must be convinced that a change of command is coming along somewhere, or that the new administration is about to de-ball the organization.  An accusation of Putin's Manchurian Candidate goes way beyond the ''birther" flap that welcomed Obama into office. It hinges on potential treachery in the highest office of the land - taken to its logical extremity - that Don knew and didn't step aside. At the very least it will hamstring whatever it was that Trump was thinking of doing about Russia or, even, the CIA.

Overview of What's happenin'

WaPo: Chapter and Verse

Like, if an organization is so concerned about the national welfare that it, single-handed, is prepared to make a case to impeach the President (where else does a charge like this lead?), would it be wise to fire anybody in command of it, if you were the potential 'impeachee' in question?

A Congressman Speaks

Trump's immediate response "These were the folks who invented 'evidence' of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction." goes straight to a massively-failed point of credibility.  But then that was probably the works of 'the Bush White House team' and a head nod when George Tennant temporarily regained consciousness for a moment. That was George sitting beside 'Cardinal' Negroponte when Colin Powell waved Karl Rove's sperm bank donation and told the UN it was a facsimile  of weapons grade anthrax from Iraq.

There's a little 9/11 'mystery of hystery' that seems to have been lost in the other general hooplah.  Wasn't there an 'anthrax attack' on America - on Washington, Florida ( the National Enquirer???) and on the US postal service on or about that fateful date?  I seem to recall federal offices in Washington being evacuated,  after they had been un - evacuated, again, following the terrorists' 'airstrikes'. While I realize the guy who did it, or was accused of doing it, killed himself and avoided prosecution. That terrorist incident went away much more pacifically did most of the others - even the Boston signage attack.

But we're back to Trump and the CIA.

John ('call me Father') Brennan  has steered America through some turbulent times and into some stormy weather.  Not only has he 'overwatched' the 'biggies' in Afghanistan and Iraq,  he has supervised America's sleuthing exercises in Libya - he was the better half of the State Department-led fiasco in Benghazi - those 'rescuers', when the bad guys killed the ambassador, were CIA operators. (The saga was duly recorded in film.). It was the CIA that set-up the first 'Syrian Freedom Army' - in Turkey,  and it was the CIA that got the Gulf states and the Saudis 'up' for 'a poke' at Assad.  The CIA was 'destabilizing' Yemen for a couple of decades before they gave that up as lost cause, evacuated and armed the Saudis to wreck the place. They still operate the 'drone and cruise missile strikes program' to clean-up what the royal Arabs miss. But John's 'piece de resistance' was the extension of anti-communist freedumb to gallant little Ukrainia. Brennan has been there often enough that they don't even bother getting out the red carpet any more. And every time he shows up, he's followed by some C17s full of humvees or body armor or M4s for the 'good guys' who fight Putin and defend Europe from his invasions. Brennan could be looking at all that, thinking, "Bye bye I'm off to see Negroponte."

 But he's 'manly', and Irish, enough to think, "Feck dat! I'm going to nail the Orange man before he gets me."  And outgoing NSA honcho Clapper's going to help him.

Hence to-day's announcement that the CIA 'knows' that Russian-affiliated operatives were responsible for leaking the emails that effectively torpedoed the Clinton campaign.  Those emails that are now being touted as the 'generators' of 'False news' that some people erroneously believed and that prevented them electing a real winner.   Not that any of those leaked emails are wrong, or contrived, or Russian,  themselves - just the way some 'bad' people 'choose' to read them. Some pretty important people have fallen on swords over the contents of those emails. And Hillary has had personal  'email problems' for almost 5 years.  Brennan should know about that, too.

Friday, December 02, 2016

If that One Goes, We'll be up here all Day.

An old joke about some unsophisticated passengers on an airplane that was losing engine power - and being increasingly delayed - has the punch line used as the title for this screed.

Sadly it's a matter of physics that what goes up, and weighs more than air, must come down. Air planes are no exception to the rule.  It wasn't long after mankind started to experiment with flight that the first air 'disasters' followed.  That we have made remarkable advances in the fields of reliability and aviation safety is not to be denied, but aircraft continue to come back down in ways outside the design brief, with tragic consequences.

A recent sad story of another sports team annihilated in an air crash has come to us this week from Colombia. A crash involving a four-engined British BAE 146 'commuter' airliner that was carrying a Brazilian soccer team occurred as the aircraft was preparing to land at Medellin in Columbia.  To-day it appears that the aircraft may have run out of fuel, resulting in a complete loss of the electrical system and the subsequent crash. there were 9 survivors out of the 80 some people aboard.

As such things usually are in to-day's world of instant communications and selfies , a lot of minor details have already come out. The soccer players were enjoying the opportunity to compete in high-level play for a 'continental' cup. Naturally they were photographing each other and streaming those and video.  There are probably more disturbing recordings on the way.  There were a couple of 'out of the ordinary' things that did show up - involving soccer players interacting with the crew. One showed two players visiting the captain in the cockpit, another showed players interacting with another officer in the cabin - they seemed to know the crew, having, apparently, used that charter airliner before. A third video has surfaced of an interview with the 'second officer'  on the flight, a young Bolivian model,  on her first, and as it turned out last day on the job as a commercial pilot.

Interview with Flight Crew

Interestingly,  the charter airline has come under some scrutiny too. Originally situated in Venezuela and started by a government official there, La MIA airline ran into money trouble almost from the start and wound-up being owned by three regional governors, before shifting operations to Bolivia where the company's three  aircraft were registered. One of the current owners was at the controls of the downed plane. In light of the crash, the airline's license has been suspended pending the inquiry.

 A couple of other details have come to light since the crash. apparently the captain opted not to 'top up' the plane's fuel before leaving Bolivia.  The fuel situation didn't seem to be a concern as the plane passed over or near  a number of other airports on its way to Medellin in the northern part of Colombia.  When the pilot did declare an emergency and ask for landing priority, another aircraft has just 'beat him to it' and was already making its emergency approach.  The flight radar record indicates a substantial decrease in the aircraft's altitude during the last few minutes of the plane's flight. If that was done while the plane still had power, the lower altitude might have contributed to a lack of surviveability when the engines failed and electrical power was lost. The plane was 9 kilometers and a mountain ridge away from the airport.  If altitude was decreased after power was lost, it may have been a panic reaction to the loss of radar visibility, and an action that doomed the plane. The pilot obviously not being able to see the airport, was asking for landing vectors - the heading to approach for a landing. He was on course to the airport when the plane struck the mountainside.

They don't happen often but when they do aircraft crashes are still spectacular tragedies.