“Balochistan is a strategic center of gravity in South Asia” by Lawrence Sellin, Phd.

 

“Balochistan is a strategic center of gravity in South Asia”

By: Lawrence Sellin, Phd.

November 19, 2017

 

It seems like all the players in the South Asian power game think Balochistan, Pakistan’s southwest province on the Arabian Sea, is important – except the United States.

For the sake of argument, imagine that Balochistan reverts to its previous condition as an independent and secular state before it was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan or, more simply, is a blank space on the map.

Here are a few things that would change.

–        The single most important Taliban safe haven, training and support infrastructure would be eliminated, isolating the Taliban’s Peshawar Shura and the Haqqani Network to be dismantled piecemeal.

–        Afghanistan would have a reliable route to the sea and no longer be subjected to Pakistan’s economic stranglehold.

–        An embryonic transnational terrorist epicenter containing the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist Wahhabi groups would be prevented.

–        The flow of opium and heroin originating in Afghanistan, which fuels the Taliban, other insurgent elements and the world’s illicit drug market, would be disrupted.

–        Chinese regional hegemony as represented by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the related construction of Chinese military bases on the Arabian Sea would be thwarted.

–        Iranian infiltration and military action in Balochistan to counter groups supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabian would be halted and reduce the likelihood of another Syria-like crisis.

–        An independent and secular Balochistan would drive a stake into the heart of Pakistan’s Islamization policy and its reliance on Islamic terrorism as an instrument of its foreign policy.

 

Two questions arise from those speculations.

 

Why is the U.S. still fighting a war in Afghanistan under rules of engagement determined by Pakistan?

Why is the U.S. not exploiting opportunities to influence the strategic conditions in South Asia that might favorable affect the outcome in Afghanistan and future American influence in the region?

The ugly truth is that, lacking any new ideas or alternative approaches, the counterinsurgency and nation-building program in Afghanistan remains on automatic pilot, where everyone is being reassured that everything is going according to plan and that “progress is being made.”

Within the military bureaucracy, the tendency to give and accept happy talk is pervasive. Negative views can only be expressed as whispers in private conversations. Public criticism is suicide and, contrary to popular belief, changing the system from within is at best serendipity or at worst urban myth. In a system highly resistant to change, innovative thinking can be a risky proposition.

Military careerism fosters the development of political correctness, a finely-tuned sense of risk aversion, and a laissez-faire attitude toward demonstrable progress, where the appearance, rather than the substance of success, is a satisfactory outcome. The longer you are in such an environment, the more the bureaucracy can shape your thinking and behavior. You become a stakeholder in maintaining the status quo.

Current U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is not designed to win, but not to lose, until a graceful exit can be achieved.  Even if a long-term presence could be sustained, it is not a viable strategy when Pakistan determines what is sustainable.

The time is long overdue to take a serious, comprehensive look at the manner in which the war in Afghanistan is being conducted, whether the continued and exclusive pursuit of a yet unsuccessful 16-year-old strategy is, in actuality, suppressing our options and setting us up for future failure.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

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HOMELAND SECURITY UNCOVERS MASSIVE IMMIGRATION FAILURES by Michael Cutler

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOMELAND SECURITY UNCOVERS MASSIVE IMMIGRATION FAILURES

The devastating consequences for national security.

By Michael Cutler

 

President Trump has been rightfully demanding that aliens who are citizens of countries that have an involvement with terrorism must undergo “extreme vetting.”

This is certainly an important and commonsense requirement. However, the computer systems used by both Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) inside the United States are unable to provide CBP inspectors at ports of entry the data they need to prevent transnational criminals and international terrorists from entering the country. Nor can these systems provide the vital information and records to USCIS adjudications officers that would allow them to prevent aliens present in the United States from improperly acquiring immigration benefits such as political asylum, lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship.

Simply stated, today — more than 16 years after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 — the effective vetting of any alien seeking entry into the United States or for any alien seeking immigration benefits has been elusive goals.

The September 28, 2017 Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General’s (DHS OIG) report, “CBP’s IT Systems and Infrastructure Did Not Fully Support Border Security Operations,” noted:

CBP’s IT systems and infrastructure did not fully support its border security objective of preventing the entry of inadmissible aliens to the country. The slow performance of a critical pre-screening system greatly reduced Office of Field Operations officers’ ability to identify any passengers who may represent concerns, including national security threats. Further, incoming passenger screening at U.S. international airports was hampered by frequent system outages that created passenger delays and public safety risks. The outages required that CBP officers rely on backup systems that weakened the screening process, leading to officers potentially being unable to identify travelers that may be attempting to enter the United States with harmful intent.

On September 25, 2017, a report was published by DHS OIG on the distressing issue of individuals with multiple identities in US fingerprint enrollment records receiving immigration benefits. This disastrous situation has profound national security and public safety implications. Yet the report stated in part:

As of April 24, 2017, 9,389 aliens USCIS identified as having multiple identities had received an immigration benefit. When taking into account the most current immigration benefit these aliens received, we determined that naturalization, permanent residence, work authorization, and temporary protected status represent the greatest number of benefits, accounting for 8,447 or 90 percent of the 9,389 cases. Benefits approved by USCIS for the other 10 percent of cases, but not discussed in this report, include applications for asylum and travel documents. According to USCIS, receiving a deportation order or having used another identity does not necessarily render an individual ineligible for immigration benefits.

That last sentence should give us all serious cause for pause.

Apparently the “get to yes” philosophy of the Obama administration still permeates management at USCIS where adjudications officers were ordered to do whatever they had to do in order to approve virtually all applications for various immigration benefits.

We will, a bit later on, take a look back at how the Obama administration dismantled a program that sought to uncover immigration fraud and imbue the immigration benefits program with integrity.

But let’s first consider some additional facts.

The official report 9/11 and  Terrorist Travel was issued well over a decade ago and focused specifically on the ability of the terrorists to travel around the world, enter the United States and ultimately embed themselves in the U.S. as they went about their deadly preparations to carry out an attack.

The report noted:

Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.” Mohammed Salameh, who rented the truck used in the bombing, overstayed his tourist visa. He then applied for permanent residency under the agricultural workers program, but was rejected. Eyad Mahmoud Ismail, who drove the van containing the bomb, took English-language classes at Wichita State University in Kansas on a student visa; after he dropped out, he remained in the United States out of status.

Under the title “Immigration Benefits” the following paragraph on page 98 of the same report states that

[t]errorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.

These multiple serious failures of the immigration system today are hardly new.

Roughly one year ago a disturbing DHS/OIG Report prompted me to write an article about Weaponized Immigration. I focused on the fact that 858 aliens who had been ordered deported were improperly granted United States citizenship through the process of naturalization due to the fact hat their fingerprints were not on file because they were not properly uploaded when INS, the predecessor agency to DHS, digitized these fingerprints.

As bad as that was, that report went on to state:

Later, ICE identified missing fingerprint records for about 315,000 aliens who had final deportation orders or who were criminals or fugitives, but it has not yet reviewed about 148,000 aliens’ files to try to retrieve and digitize the old fingerprint cards.

The report noted that in 2010 a program known as “Operation Janus” was created to identify aliens who may have committed immigration fraud, yet the report documented that in the final months of the Obama administration, inexplicably, the Operation Janus working group was disbanded, stymieing efforts to identify aliens who had committed naturalization fraud and thereby seriously undermining national security.

While it was in operation, the working group of Operation Janus identified wrongly naturalized aliens who had been able to parlay their U.S. citizenship into sensitive jobs at airports and seaports and at least one of these individuals became a law enforcement officer.  Consequently, appropriate actions were taken to denaturalize some of these individuals and seek criminal prosecutions, although only a small percentage of these aliens were dealt with effectively.

What was even more disconcerting was that some of these aliens were citizens of “Special Interest Countries,” that is to say, countries that are associated with possible terrorist links.

Nevertheless, consider how many politicians from both political parties are determined to provide lawful status to unknown tens of millions of illegal aliens whose true identities are unknown and unknowable. These politicians all know that the immigration bureaucracy is unable to effectively deal with its current workload. Any massive legalization program would cause this already failing system to implode.

We must also consider how many cities and states have declared themselves to be “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens who entered the United States surreptitiously or who may have lost their lawful status because of the serious crimes that they committed.  These jurisdictions have become magnets for foreign criminals and terrorists and undermine national security and public safety.

The immigration system lacks meaningful integrity while the Damoclean Sword of terrorism hangs above our heads each and every day.  Every year thousands of innocent victims lose their lives to criminal aliens, yet the immigration anarchists and their allies in the media castigate anyone who would dare suggest that the United States must act to secure its borders and enforce its immigration laws, branding them xenophobes, racists and haters.

Suicide is not an act of compassion.  All of the failing and dysfunctional elements of the immigration system must be repaired as swiftly as possible — not as a prerequisite for any additional action, but simply as ends unto themselves.  The potential for massive losses of life should provide the clear imperative for getting the job done- for once and for all.

 

Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue.

 

The Corps Has ? West Point and The Long March Through American Institutions

 

 

Looks like General Caslen and others are missing the 5 9’s reliability.

 

A letter to:

Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen, Jr.

59th Superintendent
U.S. Military Academy, West Point

Dear General Caslen,
I have just read your long letter prompted by the Rapone affair.  I have
also a lot to write about the situation.

First, I am not pleased with LTC Heffington’s story in his affidavit.  In my
day no officer would have deigned to argue with a cadet, even a First
Classman.  He would have simply told the cadet to return to his room.  If
the cadet disobeyed he would have called the Officer of the Day to have the
cadet physically moved to his room.  And he would have written up the cadet
for disobeying the direct order of a superior officer, plus disrespect to an
officer and being out of uniform.  LTC Heffington may well lament the rot in
the administration and training of cadets, but he obviously was a part of
it.

Second, why was no investigation begun in November 2015 based upon LTC
Heffington’s affidavit?  Regardless of what the investigation would have
concluded, the fact that none was initiated is another example of the rot
that is permeating the USMA.  Somebody simply decided to pass the problem
along to the Army.  In addition, why was he allowed to graduate?  As a
professed Communist he could not truthfully have sworn allegiance to the
Constitution of the United States.  Yet he apparently lied and did.  His
views were known and yet he was permitted to commit perjury.

Third, you write “While we do not compromise standards, we are a
developmental institution.”  When did West Point become a “developmental
institution?  What does that even mean?  West Point was created in order to
furnish standard-setting, career officers for the United States Army.  And
it did that job well until the latter half of the twentieth century.  And it
accomplished its mission on an “attritional” and a  “zero tolerance” basis.
What does “developmental” mean?  Maybe it means that a cadet can be caught
lying twice, but if he is caught lying a third time, i.e., he has not
“developed”, he will be sent before the Honor Board, that may even decide
the cadet needs a little more “development” and gives him three more
chances.  I remember that when I was a plebe, and maybe even my first day, I
was made to understand that lying or quibbling was not allowed and would
mean rapid dismissal.  Maybe “development” means being able to discuss an
order given by a superior officer.  Rot!  Maybe “developmental” means that
an upper classman inspecting a plebe in ranks (if such a thing is still
tolerated) says “Mister, your shoeshine looks better today than yesterday,
but it still needs some work.  So, try to do better tomorrow.”  Rot!

Fourth, you write, “These changes have increased the realism, toughness, and
challenge of our developmental programs, resulting in the most capable and
confident young leaders of character that we have ever produced”.  This is
gratuitously denigrating all previous graduates.  Do I need to remind you
that previous classes produced leaders that saved this country more than
once.  Your statement is pure PR.  How can you possibly know that the
present generation of cadets are “the most capable and confident”?  Have you
conducted any objective survey?  Furthermore, the mission of West Point is
not to produce capable and confident second lieutenants.  Its mission is to
produce the men and women who will lead the Army in the future.  They should
be trained not to be second lieutenants, but future colonels and general
officers.  At the 70th Reunion of my class last May you addressed all the
reunion classes.  I took the opportunity to ask you what was the average
recent percentage of graduates who remain in the Army beyond their 5 year
commitment.  You evaded replying to my question by stating that it was as
high as that of ROTC graduates.  You seemed to be satisfied with that level.
It is not good enough.  Graduates of the USMA are meant to set the standards
for the discipline and conduct of the personnel in the United States Army.
But if a graduate serves only his/her five years, his/her impact on the
standards of the Army is minimal to nil.

Fifth, you make a big deal of the ratings various publications give West
Point as a university.  West Point is not a university.  It is a school to
train standard-setting, career U.S. Army officers.  Incidentally, cadets
receive a university-level education.  You should care more about how many
of the graduates remain for a career in the Army than that such-and such a
publication ranks the USMA #? as a liberal arts/engineering/whatever
university.  The same goes for athletics.  Can you tell me that the
standards for admission are not today warped/waived in order to bring in a
star athlete?  Can you tell me that special academic assistance is not given
to members of Corps Squads, particularly football.  Can you tell me that
every prospective cadet must take a written exam and, good athlete or not,
must pass it in order to be allowed to enter?

Sixth, you make a big deal of having intercollegiate athletic teams with an
overall record of .590.  So what!  West Point was never supposed to be an
athletic powerhouse.  I don’t believe the MacArthur quote that used to be
engraved over the entrance to the gym meant intercollegiate athletics, in
which only a small minority of the cadets participate.  I believe it
referred to intramural athletics.  I am all for intramural athletics.  I
firmly believe that there is too much emphasis placed today on
intercollegiate athletics at West Point.

Seventh, you make a big deal about decorations recent graduates have
received.  What about second lieutenants out of OCS or ROTC?  Didn’t they
get any?  Did they get less ?  Maybe, because they weren’t “developed”.
Maybe, because they performed less well.  Heroism is not a virtue exclusive
to West Point.  What was once upon a time exclusive was the commitment to
graduate standard-setting career officers.  This OCS and ROTC do not and
cannot do.  OCS and ROTC base their standards, or at least they used to, on
those of graduates of West Point.

Eighth, you make a big deal that some recent graduates have been assigned to
divisions overseas.  Where have you been?  What’s so uplifting about that?
Every member of my class after finishing his branch Officers Basic Course
was assigned overseas-everyone.  No big deal.

Ninth, I graduated under the previous so-called “attritional” and “zero
tolerance” system (as did all classes up to at least 1966.  See Rick
Atkinson’s “The Long Gray Line”, the story of the Class of 1966).  I
“developed” from a boy to a man on my own.  Nobody gave a damn whether I
“developed”.  I was expected from the first day to live up to the standards
of the Military Academy.  It was up to me in meeting them to “develop”
myself.  I seriously doubt that any of your “best and brightest” could even
have lasted through my plebe year.

Lastly, this letter started because of Second Lieutenant Rapone.  Obviously
he didn’t “develop” as well as he should have..  How many more cadets are
being graduated under the “developmental” system who do not come up to what
have been the traditional standards of West Point:  Duty, Honor, Country?
How many cadets are being graduated who have no intention, and never had any
intention, of being career Army officers / I doubt seriously that the
American taxpayer would be overjoyed to realize that he/she is paying,
what?, a half million dollars to give somebody a university education so
that he/she can leave the Army as quickly as possible and go into a
money-making civilian career.  Although if there are a number of Rapones
whom you allow to graduate, it’s in the Army’s interest that they get out
fast.

Benjamin L. Landis

 

“Benjamin L. Landis retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel after a 27-year
career that included service with the Military Assistance Advisory Group at
the U.S. embassy in Paris and as Senior U.S. Liaison Officer with the French
Forces in Germany.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and the
French Army Ecole d’  Etat-Major, and has an MSA from The George Washington
University.  After retirement, he was Director of Administration and Finance
for several major law firms in Washington.  He is the author of Searching
For Stability: The World in the Twenty-First Century.”
Support References:

“How are people graduating from West Point so radicalized? Users on /pol/ think they may have found the answer: Professor Rasheed Hosein,” they tweeted.

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Redding, California boy becomes pied piper of patriotism.

From CBS News:

California boy becomes pied piper of patriotism

After visiting his grandpa’s grave in Redding, California, and realizing that not every veteran in the cemetery had a flag, 11-year-old Preston Sharp decided to change that. He took on odd jobs and solicited donations to buy flags and flowers for every veteran in his grandpa’s cemetery and beyond.

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