Archive for June, 2012


June 29, 2012

Fox News on June 28, 2012, reported that soldiers will soon be able to scale any vertical surface without slipping, just like Spider-Man — with help from cutting-edge technology rather than a spider bite. Excerpts below from the article by Barrie Allison:

Without the use of ropes, ladders, or glue, the tech makes it possible to climb a wall carrying a full combat load. News reports earlier this month touted one such technology from Utah State University, which relies on suction cups to ascend sheer walls.

Several other programs seek to enable Spidey powers in warfighters, many inspired by the humble gecko: The tiny, 5-ounce lizard can scale a wall carrying 9 pounds of weight — a whopping 18 times its body weight.

BAE System’s Advanced Technology Center has one of the top programs and it closely mimics the gecko. The center has succeeded in creating a material that is a sort of artificial version of the bottom of the gecko’s foot.

Their material has polymer layers comprised of thousands of microscopic stalks with splayed tips like the gecko hairs.

When the material’s ability to stick to glass was tested, the result was a pull-off force of 3,000 kg per square meter.

Put BAE’s material on the palms of human hands and it’s strong enough to support a person’s weight. If you went bigger and used a T-shirt made of the material, it could hold the weight of a family car.

—DARPA (short for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has an extremely cool Z-Man program meant to develop new climbing aids that are biologically inspired by geckos as well as by spiders and small animals. One of the Z-Man results has been the “Geckskin ,” developed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with partial funding by DARPA.

DARPA’s efforts are also concentrated on nano-adhesives; the agency’s goal this year is to demonstrate a soldier with operationally relevant equipment at 250 pounds climbing a 25-foot tall wall. Next year the goal the research agency aims to hand over prototypes of the nanoadhesive to the initial Service users.
According to DARPA’s budget, $20 million this year and next will be invested into the program.


June 28, 2012

The Washington Times on June 27, 2012, reported that a Chinese general recently offered an alarming assessment that a future conflict with the United States is coming as a result of U.S. “containment” policies. Excerpts below:

The release last week of a transcribed speech by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Maj. Gen. Peng Guangqian revealed the harsh words toward the United States and those in China he regards as muddle-headed peacenik intellectuals.

Gen. Peng, a well-known PLA strategist, has a hawkish reputation and a large following in China. The speech was given in December at an event hosted by Xinhua news agency in Beijing. An abbreviated transcript was published June 21 on the Chinese military website Leiting, or Thunder.

“The United States has been exhausting all its resources to establish a strategic containment system specifically targeting China,” Gen. Peng said.”The contradictions between China and the United States are structural, not to be changed by any individual, whether it is G.H.W. Bush, G.W. Bush or Barack Obama, it will not make a difference to these contradictions.”

Gen. Peng criticized what he sees as an all-out endeavor by the United States to encircle China. “Some people keep saying that we have friends all over the world. But I have used a magnifying glass trying to find some friendly countries on a world map. And I kept looking and looking, but failed to find any except a containment circle around us longer than the Great Wall of China!” Gen. Peng said.

“The reason why China does not have an especially strong sense of crisis is that we chant ‘peace and harmony’ everywhere in the world, which was originally intended for the world to hear, but such chanting has left us kidding ourselves and paralyzed. Now no one is willing to think about war,” he said.

The Communist Party’s ultimate regime support comes from the People’s Liberation Army. Founding CCP dictator Mao Zedong famously coined the phrase, “Political power comes from the barrel of a gun.”

In 2006, the Chinese navy’s second in command, Vice Adm. Wang Shouye, was found to have kept five mistresses and embezzled public funds estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

In February, Lt. Gen. Gu Junshan, deputy chief of the PLA’s general logistics department, was purged after it was discovered he was linked to illicit real estate schemes and for what state media called “self-aggrandizement.”

Inside China, rumors of military discontent toward the Hu Jintao core leadership are widespread. At times, there has been word of an impending military coup, indicating divisiveness and unease within the senior ranks of the PLA. Those attitudes are confirmed consistently, although indirectly, by the central political leadership’s repeated calls for resolutely adhering to Hu dictates published in PLA propaganda outlets.


June 27, 2012

Kyiv Post, Ukraine, on June 27, 2012, reported that Germany’s ruling bloc of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) have stated that they oppose the isolation of Ukraine. Excerpts below:

“The isolation of Ukraine from Europe is an incorrect decision. Ukraine is a part of Europe and we should support it, so that it could follow the way it considers right,” a member of the German Bundestag from the CDU/CSU bloc Karl-Georg Wellmann said.

The German parliamentarian supported the idea that Ukraine’s justice system needs to be reformed. According to him, economic relations between Ukraine and the European Union could benefit from it.

“One cannot expect foreign investment without ensuring observation of rights of a company instead of selective justice,” he stressed.


June 27, 2012

The Washington Times on June 26, 2012, reported that the Syria conflict was heating up with rebels battling the regime’s elite Republican Guard forces in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, as Turkey’s prime minister threatened to defend his country’s territory from Syrian military encroachments in response to the nation’s downing of a Turkish war plane. Excerpts below:

The increasingly fierce fighting prompted Syrian President Bashar Assad to declare that the country is “in a state of war,” while the White House remarked that Mr. Assad has been slowly “losing his grip over the country” during the 16-month-old Arab Spring uprising against the regime.

“When one is in a state of war, all our policies and capabilities must be used to secure victory,” Mr. Assad told his Cabinet…

“Before, the Free Syrian Army was trying to abide by [U.N. envoy] Kofi Annan’s peace plan,” said Abdulwahab Sayed Omar, a Syrian opposition activist based in the United Kingdom.

“Now that the peace plan is nothing more than a part of Syria’s modern history, the Free Syrian Army is trying to flex its muscles, to show that nowhere is safe for any of those generals or military units that stand side-to-side with Assad.”

Defectors from the Syrian army described how they had been instructed to identify themselves as police officers to U.N. monitors to show that the regime had been following Mr. Annan’s six-point plan of removing the military from urban areas.

“When the U.N [Supervision Mission in Syria] came to our area, we were all given police ID cards and a sheet of paper with answers to the questions the U.N. would ask,” a defecting Syrian soldier said Tuesday. “My entire military battalion was turned into a police force – on paper.”

The opposition’s strength – symbolically at least – was boosted in recent days by a fresh raft of defections from the regime forces by high-level military personnel. Activists said at least 33 left Syria for Turkey, taking their families with them.

“Every single defection boosts the morale and the capacity of the Free Syrian Army,” Mr. Omar said.

Comment: Turkey in the civil war situation in Syria should as NATO member be obliged to protect and support the rebels under international law.


June 26, 2012

Fox News on June 25, 2012, published an AP report that Turkey said it would push NATO to consider Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet as an attack on the whole military alliance. Excerpts below:

The announcement came on the eve of a meeting by NATO’s governing body to discuss the incident.

The North Atlantic Council works by consensus and all members must approve any action. The meeting on June 26, comes after Turkey requested it under Article 4 of the treaty, which allows a NATO ally to request such a consultation if it feels its territorial integrity or security has been threatened.

Asked if Turkey will insist on the activation of Article 5 of NATO, Arinc said, “No doubt, Turkey has made necessary applications with NATO regarding Article 4 and Article 5.”

The prospect of Western military intervention in Syria remains remote, despite all the tough talk.

Such action is unlikely to get the support of either the U.N. Security Council or the Arab League…

Arinc strongly denied Syrian claims that the downed plane was shot by anti-aircraft fire while flying low inside Syrian airspace. The Syrian government said Monday said the plane was hit by a short-range anti-aircraft gun to prove that the plane was inside Syrian territory.

Arinc, however, said Turkey believed the plane was hit with a laser-guided or heat-guided missile — capable of hitting the plane in international airspace.

“It was hit while flying 13 miles away (from the Syrian coast) at an altitude of 7,400 feet,” Arinc said. “It leaned on its left side and fell steeply for four miles toward the east.”

Arinc said the plane crashed into Syrian waters and its wreckage is believed to be below 3,280 feet.

Arinc also said Syria was misleading the world when it says its forces could not recognize the plane until after it was downed.

Arinc reiterated Turkey’s insistence that the plane was not spying on Syria but just testing Turkey’s radar capabilities.

“There is no doubt that Syrians deliberately targeted our plane in international airspace,” Arinc said. “It was an extremely hostile action.”

Comment: NATO on June 26, 2012 decided not to invoke Article 5. The global civil war flashpoint of Syria rages on with horrendous loss of life.


June 25, 2012

The Washington Times on June 24, 2012, reported that Egyptians celebrated the election of their country’s first freely elected president – Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who becomes the first Islamist head of state of the Arab world’s most populous nation. Excerpts below:

Spontaneous displays of jubilation erupted throughout the capital, Cairo, after Egypt’s election commission announced that Mr. Morsi had defeated Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister before longtime President Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year.

Commission Chairman Farouk Sultan announced in Cairo that Mr. Morsi won 51.7 percent of the vote and Mr. Shafiq 48.3 percent in the June 16-17 runoff election that followed last month’s presidential balloting.

Mr. Morsi assumes a post that has been largely stripped of authority by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military panel that has been ruling Egypt since Mr. Mubarak was forced to resign amid Arab Spring protests.

Uncertainty over the Brotherhood’s intentions, especially how it will handle relations with the U.S. and Israel, has created unease in both countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish state “appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects its outcome.”

Mr. Morsi, who received a doctoral degree in engineering from the University of Southern California and has two children who were born in the United States, has criticized Egypt’s relationship with the U.S.

Brotherhood leaders…have spoken in favor of dissolving Egypt’s 33-year-old peace treaty with Israel.

The election polarized Egyptians, who worried about Mr. Morsi’s Islamist credentials and saw Mr. Shafiq as an extension of the Mubarak regime.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been banned in Egypt since 1954, but its candidates participated in elections as independents.

Earlier this month, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the Islamist-dominated parliament must be dissolved because a third of its members had been elected illegally.

In a separate decision, the court rejected a law enacted by the parliament that prohibited former senior members of the Mubarak regime from running for office. That ruling paved the way for Mr. Shafiq to challenge Mr. Morsi.

In addition, the military gave itself powers that curbed the president’s authority and put the generals in charge of overseeing the writing of Egypt’s new constitution.

It also reinstated an emergency law that expanded police powers and suspended constitutional rights.


June 24, 2012

The Washington Times on June 21, 2012, published an AP report on Sweden raising the security alert for the country’s three nuclear power plants after explosives were found on a truck at the southwestern Ringhals atomic power station. Police said they were investigating possible sabotage. Excerpts below:

Bomb sniffer dogs detected the explosives during a routine check Wednesday afternoon by security staff while the truck was in the power plant’s industrial area near its high security enclosure. Police declined to describe the amount or type of explosive material found.

Police spokesman Tommy Nyman said officers were investigating possible sabotage but had no suspects. He said the driver of the truck had been unaware of the explosives placed in the vehicle and was not suspected of being involved.

The area surrounding the truck was evacuated and cordoned off.

Four nuclear reactors are at Ringhals, 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Sweden’s second-largest city, Goteborg. The plant is controlled by energy companies Vattenfall and E.ON.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said the explosive material was found on the truck “en route from the Ringhals industrial park into a protected area … and did not enter the facility.”

Ringhals officials said an explosion on the truck would not have caused “any serious damage” to the site but did not elaborate on how they came to that assessment.

Sweden has 10 nuclear reactors at the country’s three power plants: Ringhals, Forsmark and Oskarshamn — providing about half of the country’s electricity.

Ringhals was rated at one — situation “normal” — but after the incident, the nuclear authority said it raised the security alert by a notch to 2.

Security at Swedish nuclear plants has been criticized on several past occasions.


June 23, 2012

Fox News on June 23, 2012, published an AP report on Turkey’s president saying his country will take “necessary,” but unspecified, action against Syria, a day after Damascus said it had brought down a Turkish military plane that had entered its air space. Excerpts below:

The plane went down in the Mediterranean Sea about 8 miles away from the Syrian town of Latakia, Turkey said.

“No cover up is possible,” the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Gul as saying. “There is no doubt that the necessary steps will be taken.”

Gul did not elaborate on what those steps would be.

“Our investigation will focus on whether the plane was brought down within our borders or not,” Gul said. “Because the consequences could be quite serious, there will be no clear statement before the details (of the incident) are scrutinized,” Gul said.

Comment: The shooting down of the Turkish fighter plane could open the road for NATO intervention against Syria as Turkey is a NATO member in good standing.


June 22, 2012

A totalitarian state cannot reform itself. If containment is applied to China by the United States and it is connected with similar offensive tactics as used by the Reagan administration during the 1980s the regime in Peking will collapse.

Around ninety years ago a terrible disaster fell upon China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was formed in 1921. This party was half a century later responsible for the deaths of 50 million Chinese men, women and children, maybe as many as 80 million. A disaster much worse than any natural disaster. The party of genocide still rules in Peking. The men and women responsible for the genocide are still honored. The military power of the PRC, that used to be directed at the Chinese people, is today turned against the United States and its citizens.

China believes that all means are legitimate to achieve its totalitarian ends. It suffered the witless Great Leap Forward, the maniacal Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966 and the post-Mao massacre at the Tiananmen Square 1989. The Chinese are still subject to the CCP’s own version of gulag, laogai, and anybody can be sent to forced labor camps without a court trial, or “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

The Chinese version of perestroika without freedom of speech has been the introduction of economic reform to strengthen the CCP grip on the population. This kickstarted the then moribund Chinese economy. Reforming an evil government carries risks. CCP has made it clear that there might be changes in the economy, but the party may not be challenged.

What legitimizes the CCP without Marxism-Leninism? Nationalistic and resisting the United States, Peking will in the future be a demanding negotiator over Taiwan.

It has been said that the overall costs for the United States of the Cold War was 12,800 billion dollars. New such costs can be avoided if the CCP rule in China is challenged in the coming decades. The collapse of the Soviet empire did not lead to chaos and a republican model can be offered for the administration of mainland China in the event CCP collapses.

First containment and then the so called American Adaptation described by American attorney and author Laurence Beilenson is the answer to the growing China threat.

The basis of Chinese strategy is the classical dictum to subdue the enemy without fighting (Sun Zi, Wu Zi and Guan Zhong). China believes that after Hong Kong and Macao the United States can be bullied into letting it have Taiwan.

The United States is best served by using containment and then offensive strategy toward China. That will hasten the collapse on the mainland and lead to the reintroduction of republican structures. This could be a future model to avoid chaos. Now is the time to turn the tables on the dismal Western policies from 1939 to 1949.

The timetable should be a reversal on the mainland in time for at least for the 100th anniversary of China’s greatest catastrophe, the forming and rule of CCP. There is a need for a new China strategy of the West for at most the two coming decades to achieve what is needed in cooperation with the United States allies in Asia. A collapse of the CCP hold over the mainland would remove the greatest threat to the survival of Western civilization. After a China regime collapse the West can devote itself to a greatly needed revival assuring a peaceful and prosperous development for the coming centuries, a development which all other cultures can benefit from without risking their identity.

Of course new threats may arise against Western civilization in the future but the removal of the CCP from power in Peking would give the West time to prepare for these new threats.


June 22, 2012

Washington Times on June 19, 2012, published an AP report on the United States planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region as Iraq adjusts to the withdrawal of American combat forces and the world nervously eyes Iran, according to a congressional report. Excerpts below:

The study by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee examined the U.S. relationship with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — against a fast-moving backdrop. In just the past two days, Saudi Arabia’s ruler named Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, the Saudi defense minister, as the country’s new crown prince after last week’s death of Prince Nayef, and Kuwait‘s government suspended parliament meetings for a month over an internal political feud.

The report, obtained by the Associated Press in advance of Tuesday’s release, provided precise numbers on U.S. forces in Kuwait, a presence that Pentagon officials have acknowledged only on condition of anonymity. Currently, there are about 15,000 U.S. forces in Kuwait at Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Camp Buehring, giving the United States staging hubs, training ranges and locations to provide logistical support. The report said the number of troops is likely to drop to 13,500.

Several members of Congress, most notably Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, pressed for a residual U.S. force to remain in Iraq, but the failure of the two countries to agree on whether American troops should be granted legal immunity scuttled that idea. Instead, officials talked of positioning a strong U.S. force just across the border in Kuwait. The strategy preserves “lily pad” basing that allows the military to move quickly from one location to the next.

As it recalibrates its national security strategy, the United States is drawing down forces in Europe while focusing on other regions, such as the Middle East and Asia. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has said he envisions about 40,000 troops stationed in the Middle East after the withdrawal from Iraq. By comparison, a cut of two Army combat brigades and the withdrawal of two other smaller units will leave about 68,000 troops in Europe.

The report also recommended that the United States promote the development of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League while strengthening bilateral links to the six countries; seek opportunities for burden-sharing on operations such as missile defense, combat air patrol and maritime security; and push for the integration of Iraq into the Arab fold.

The report emphasized that the region is critical as a counterbalance to Iran, whose conventional military includes 350,000 ground forces, 1,800 tanks and more than 300 fighter aircraft. It also has ballistic missiles with the range to target regional allies, including Israel.