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Full Text of US-China Joint Statement…With Some Snarky Comments

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 20-01-2011

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Here’s the full statement released at the close of President Hu’s visit to Washington, along with some snarky editorial comments.  It’s long on claims of progress,  short on actual solutions to festering problems.  I’ve put in bold those passages was are particularly interesting, vague,  or ridiculous.

1.      At the invitation of President Barack Obama of the United States of America, President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China is paying a state visit to the United States of America from January 18-21, 2011.  During his visit, President Hu met with Vice President Joseph Biden, will meet with U.S. Congressional leadership, and will visit Chicago.

2.      The two Presidents reviewed the progress made in the relationship since President Obama’s November 2009 State Visit to China and reaffirmed their commitment to building a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S. – China relationship for the 21st  century, which serves the interests of the American and Chinese peoples and of the global community.  The two sides reaffirmed that the three Joint Communiqués issued by the United States and China laid the political foundation for the relationship and will continue to guide the development of U.S. – China relations.  The two sides reaffirmed respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The Presidents further reaffirmed their commitment to the November 2009 U.S. – China Joint Statement.

3.      The United States and China committed to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit in order to promote the common interests of both countries and to address the 21st century’s opportunities and challenges.  The United States and China are actively cooperating on a wide range of security, economic, social, energy, and environmental issues which require deeper bilateral engagement and coordination.  The two leaders agreed that broader and deeper collaboration with international partners and institutions is required to develop and implement sustainable solutions and to promote peace, stability, prosperity, and the well-being of peoples throughout the world.

Strengthening U.S. – China Relations

4.      Recognizing the importance of the common challenges that they face together, the United States and China decided to continue working toward a partnership that advances common interests, addresses shared concerns, and highlights international responsibilities.  The two leaders recognize that the relationship between the United States and China is both vital and complex.  The United States and China have set an example of positive and cooperative relations between countries, despite different political systems, historical and cultural backgrounds, and levels of economic development.  The two sides agreed to work further to nurture and deepen bilateral strategic trust to enhance their relations.  They reiterated the importance of deepening dialogue aimed at expanding practical cooperation and affirmed the need to work together to address areas of disagreement, expand common ground, and strengthen coordination on a range of issues.

5. The United States reiterated that it welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs.  China welcomes the United States as an Asia-Pacific nation that contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. [Note: we want China to be successful.  America in return is “welcomed” by China into the Asia-Pacific region.  A strange and imbalanced interplay here,  if you ask me.] Working together, both leaders support efforts to build a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous Asia-Pacific region for the 21st century.

6.      Both sides underscored the importance of the Taiwan issue in U.S. – China relations.  The Chinese side emphasized that the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and expressed the hope that the U.S. side will honor its relevant commitments and appreciate and support the Chinese side’s position on this issue.  The U.S. side stated that the United States follows its one China policy and abides by the principles of the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués.  The United States applauded the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and welcomed the new lines of communications developing between them.  The United States supports the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and looks forward to efforts by both sides to increase dialogues and interactions in economic, political, and other fields, and to develop more positive and stable cross-Strait relations.

7.      The United States and China reiterated their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, even as they continue to have significant differences on these issues.  The United States stressed that the promotion of human rights and democracy is an important part of its foreign policy.  China stressed that there should be no interference in any country’s internal affairs. The United States and China underscored that each country and its people have the right to choose their own path, and all countries should respect each other’s choice of a development model. [Pure relativism here.  Your version of human rights is as good as mine.  That sort of attitude didn’t win the cold war!] Addressing differences on human rights in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, as well as promoting and protecting human rights consistent with international instruments, the two sides agreed to hold the next round of the U.S.- C hina Human Rights Dialogue before the third round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).

8.      The United States and China agreed to hold the next round of the resumed Legal Experts Dialogue before the next Human Rights Dialogue convenes.  The United States and China further agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of law and exchanges on the rule of law.  The United States and China are actively exploring exchanges and discussions on the increasing role of women in society.

9.      The United States and China affirmed that a healthy, stable, and reliable military-to-military relationship is an essential part of President Obama’s and President Hu’s shared vision for a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship.  Both sides agreed on the need for enhanced and substantive dialogue and communication at all levels: to reduce misunderstanding, misperception, and miscalculation; to foster greater understanding and expand mutual interest; and to promote the healthy, stable, and reliable development of the military-to-military relationship.  Both sides noted the successful visit of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to China earlier this month, and that the United States welcomes Chief of the PLA General Staff General Chen Bingde to the United States in the first half of 2011.  Both sides reaffirmed that the Defense Consultative Talks, the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement will remain important channels of communication in the future.  Both sides will work to execute the seven priority areas for developing military-to-military relations as agreed to by Secretary Gates and General Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission in October 2009.

10.  The United States and China agreed to take specific actions to deepen dialogue and exchanges in the field of space.  The United States invited a Chinese delegation to visit NASA headquarters and other appropriate NASA facilities in 2011 to reciprocate for the productive visit of the U.S. NASA Administrator to China in 2010.  The two sides agreed to continue discussions on opportunities for practical future cooperation in the space arena, based on principles of transparency, reciprocity, and mutual benefit. [The worry here has to be: Is this going to be the sort of technological exchange we’ve become used to, i.e. they get access to advanced technologies and steal them?]

11.  The United States and China acknowledged the accomplishments under the bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology, one of the longest-standing bilateral agreements between the two countries, and welcomed the signing of its extension.  The United States and China will continue to cooperate in such diverse areas as agriculture, health, energy, environment, fisheries, student exchanges, and technological innovation in order to advance mutual well-being.

12.  The United States and China welcomed progress by the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation (JLG) to strengthen law enforcement cooperation across a range of issues, including counterterrorism.  The United States and China also agreed to enhance joint efforts to combat corruption through bilateral and other means.

Promoting High-Level Exchanges

13.  The two sides agreed that high-level exchanges are indispensable to strong U.S.-China relations, and that close, frequent, and in-depth dialogue is important to advance bilateral relations and international peace and development.  In this spirit, both Presidents look forward to meeting again in the coming year, including in the state of Hawaii for the U.S.-hosted 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ meeting.  China welcomed Vice President Biden for a visit in 2011.  The United States welcomed a subsequent visit by Vice President Xi Jinping.

14.  The two sides praised the S&ED as a key mechanism for coordination between the two governments, and agreed to hold the third round of the S&ED in Washington, D.C., in May 2011.  The S&ED has played an important role in helping build trust and confidence between the two countries.  The two sides also agreed to hold the second meeting of the High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in the United States in the spring of 2011, and the 22nd meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in China in the second half of 2011.  The two sides agreed to maintain close communication between the foreign ministers of the two countries through mutual visits, meetings, and other means.

15.  The two sides emphasized the importance of continued interaction between their legislatures, including institutionalized exchanges between the National People’s Congress of China and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Addressing Regional and Global Challenges

16.  The two sides believe that the United States and China have a common interest in promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, and agreed to enhance communication and coordination to address pressing regional and global challenges.  The two sides undertake to act to protect the global environment and to work in concert on global issues to help safeguard and promote the sustainable development of all countries and peoples.  Specifically, the United States and China agreed to advance cooperation to: counter violent extremism; prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery; strengthen nuclear security [Hello?  North Korea anyone?] ; eliminate infectious disease and hunger; end extreme poverty; respond effectively to the challenge of climate change; counter piracy; prevent and mitigate disasters; address cyber-security; fight transnational crime; and combat trafficking in persons.  In coordination with other parties, the United States and China will endeavor to increase cooperation to address common concerns and promote shared interests. [Shouldn’t these be defined?]

17.  The United States and China underlined their commitment to the eventual realization of a world without nuclear weapons and the need to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime to address the threats of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.  In this regard, both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), reaffirmed their support for the early commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament, and agreed to work together to reach these goals.  The two sides also noted their deepening cooperation on nuclear security following the Washington Nuclear Security Summit and signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will help establish a Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security in China.

18.  The United States and China agreed on the critical importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as underscored by the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005 and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Both sides expressed concern over heightened tensions on the Peninsula triggered by recent developments.  The two sides noted their continuing efforts to cooperate closely on matters concerning the Peninsula.  The United States and China emphasized the importance of an improvement in North-South relations and agreed that sincere and constructive inter-Korean dialogue is an essential step.  Agreeing on the crucial importance of denuclearization of the Peninsula in order to preserve peace and stability in Northeast Asia, the United States and China reiterated the need for concrete and effective steps to achieve the goal of denuclearization and for full implementation of the other commitments made in the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.  In this context, the United States and China expressed concern regarding the DPRK’s claimed uranium enrichment program. [Dialogue is not the problem on the Korean peninsula.  The Stalinist government of North Korea is.  Without China’s support,  that dictatorship would soon fall.] Both sides oppose all activities inconsistent with the 2005 Joint Statement and relevant international obligations and commitments.  The two sides called for the necessary steps that would allow for early resumption of the Six-Party Talks process to address this and other relevant issues.

19.  On the Iranian nuclear issue, the United States and China reiterated their commitment to seeking a comprehensive and long-term solution that would restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.  Both sides agreed that Iran has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that Iran should fulfill its due international obligations under that treaty.  Both sides called for full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. [What about China’s tech exchanges with the Iranian regime? ARe they willing to say that they will have no tech exchanges that relate to ballistic missiles and nukes?] The United States and China welcomed and will actively participate in the P5+1 process with Iran, and stressed the importance of all parties – including Iran – committing to a constructive dialogue process.

20.  Regarding Sudan, the United States and China agreed to fully support the North-South peace process, including full and effective implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  The two sides stressed the need for all sides to respect the result of a free, fair, and transparent referendum.  Both the United States and China expressed concern on the Darfur issue and believed that further, substantive progress should be made in the political process in Darfur to promote the early, comprehensive, and appropriate solution to this issue.  Both the United States and China have a continuing interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the wider region. [Why is China helping the Islamist north?  I think access to oil has something to do with it.]

21.  The two sides agreed to enhance communication and coordination in the Asia-Pacific region in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, and to work together with other Asia-Pacific countries, including through multilateral institutions, to promote peace, stability, and prosperity.

Building a Comprehensive and Mutually Beneficial Economic Partnership

22.  President Obama and President Hu recognized the vital importance of working together to build a cooperative economic partnership of mutual respect and mutual benefit to both countries and to the global economy.  The two leaders agreed to promote comprehensive economic cooperation, and will develop further a framework of comprehensive economic cooperation, relying on existing mechanisms, by the third round of the S&ED in May, based on the main elements outlined below:

23.  The two sides agreed to strengthen macroeconomic communication and cooperation, in support of strong, sustainable and balanced growth in the United States, China and the global economy:

The United States will focus on reducing its medium-term federal deficit an ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability, and will maintain vigilance against excess volatility in exchange rates. [It may be that it will be the Chinese that finally force us to cut the deficit! The Chinese are apparently NOT Keynesians.] The Federal Reserve has taken important steps in recent years to increase the clarity of its communications regarding its outlook and longer run objectives.

China will intensify efforts to expand domestic demand, to promote private investment in the service sector, and to give greater play to the fundamental role of the market in resource allocation. China will continue to promote RMB exchange rate reform and enhance RMB exchange rate flexibility, and promote the transformation of its economic development model. [This has been promised so many times before….time for some actual results don’t you think?

Both sides agree to continue to pursue forward-looking monetary policies with due regards to the ramifications of those policies for the international economy.

The two sides affirmed support for efforts by European leaders to reinforce market stability and promote sustainable, long-term growth.

24.  The two countries, recognizing the importance of open trade and investment in fostering economic growth, job creation, innovation, and prosperity, affirmed their commitment to take further steps to liberalize global trade and investment, and to oppose trade and investment protectionism.  The two sides also agreed to work proactively to resolve bilateral trade and investment disputes in a constructive, cooperative, and mutually beneficial manner.

25.  The two leaders emphasized their strong commitment to direct their negotiators to engage in across-the-board negotiations to promptly bring the WTO Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion, consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on the progress already achieved.  The two sides agreed that engagement between our representatives must intensify and expand in order to complete the end game.

26.  The two leaders agreed on the importance of achieving a more balanced trade relationship, and spoke highly of the progress made on this front, including at the recent 21st Meeting of the JCCT in Washington, D.C. [Funny thing is that on many of these issues,  evidence of “progress” comes in the form of more meetings scheduled!]

27.  China will continue to strengthen its efforts to protect IPR, including by conducting audits to ensure that government agencies at all levels use legitimate software and by publishing the auditing results as required by China’s law. [Uh,  China has agreed to this before…and is still promising to do it.  Not a great sign that they keep their word.] China will not link its innovation policies to the provision of government procurement preferences.  The United States welcomed China’s agreement to submit a robust, second revised offer to the WTO Government Procurement Committee before the Committee’s final meeting in 2011, which will include sub-central entities.

28.  The two leaders acknowledged the importance of fostering open, fair, and transparent investment environments to their domestic economies and to the global economy and reaffirmed their commitment to the ongoing bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations, recognizing that a successful BIT negotiation would support an open global economy by facilitating and protecting investment, and enhancing transparency and predictability for investors of both countries. [There is transparency here and Chinese capital is flowing in the United States. As far as China’s transparency goes…well…] China welcomed the United States’ commitment to consult through the JCCT in a cooperative manner to work towards China’s Market Economy Status in an expeditious manner.  China welcomed discussion between the two sides on the ongoing reform of the U.S. export control system, and its potential implications for U.S. exports to its major trading partners, including China, consistent with U.S. national security interests.

29.  The two sides further acknowledged the deep and robust nature of the commercial relationship, including the contracts concluded at this visit, and welcomed the mutual economic benefits resulting from the relationship.

30.  The two sides agreed to continue working to make concrete progress on the bilateral economic relationship through the upcoming S&ED and the JCCT process.

31.  The United States and China recognized the potential for their firms to play a positive role in the infrastructure development in each country and agreed to strengthen cooperation in this area.

32.  The two countries committed to deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on financial sector investment and regulation, and support open environments for investment in financial services and cross-border portfolio investment, consistent with prudential and national security requirements. The United States is committed to ensuring that the GSEs have sufficient capital and the ability to meet their financial obligations.

33.  The United States and China agree that currencies in the SDR basket should only be those that are heavily used in international trade and financial transactions.  In that regard, the United States supports China’s efforts over time to promote inclusion of the RMB in the SDR basket.

34.  The two countries pledged to work together to strengthen the global financial system and reform the international financial architecture.  The two sides will continue their strong cooperation to strengthen the legitimacy and improve the effectiveness of the International Monetary Fund and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).  The two sides will jointly promote efforts of the international community to assist developing countries, in particular the Least Developed Countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The two sides will also, in partnership with the Multilateral Development Banks, explore cooperation that supports global poverty reduction and development, and regional integration including in Africa, to contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

35.  The two countries reiterated their support for the G-20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth and reaffirmed their commitments made in the Seoul Summit Declaration, including using the full range of policies to strengthen the global recovery and to reduce excessive imbalances and maintain current account imbalances at sustainable levels. The two sides support a bigger role for the G-20 in international economic and financial affairs, and pledged to strengthen communication and coordination to follow through on the commitments of the G-20 summits and push for positive outcomes at the Cannes Summit.

Cooperating on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment

36.  The two sides view climate change and energy security as two of the greatest challenges of our time. [Is that Al Gore I see sitting at the negotiation table? Climate change as a “greatest challenge?” Probably had to give the Chinese government some concession to get this included.] The United States and China agreed to continue their close consultations on action to address climate change, coordinate to achieve energy security for our peoples and the world, build on existing clean energy cooperation, ensure open markets, promote mutually beneficial investment in climate friendly energy, encourage clean energy, and facilitate advanced clean energy technology development.

37.  Both sides applauded the progress made in clean energy and energy security since the launch of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, Renewable Energy Partnership, U.S.-China Joint Statement on Energy Security Cooperation, and Energy Cooperation Program (ECP). [The US is buying Chinese clean tech, i.e. wind farm components, etc.  Yes,  I think they are in favor of this!] Both sides reaffirmed their ongoing exchanges on energy policy and cooperation on oil, natural gas (including shale gas), civilian nuclear energy, wind and solar energy, smart grid, advanced bio-fuels, clean coal, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and clean energy technology standards.

38.  The two sides commended the progress made since the launch of the U.S.-China Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation (TYF) in 2008.  They agreed to further strengthen practical cooperation under the TYF, carry out action plans in the priority areas of water, air, transportation, electricity, protected areas, wetlands, and energy efficiency, engage in policy dialogues, and implement the EcoPartnerships program.  The United States and China were also pleased to announce two new EcoPartnerships.  The two sides welcomed local governments, enterprises, and research institutes of the two countries to participate in the TYF, and jointly explore innovative models for U.S.-China energy and environment cooperation.  The two sides welcomed the cooperation projects and activities which will be carried out in 2011 under the TYF.

39.  The two sides welcomed the Cancun agreements and believed that it is important that efforts to address climate change also advance economic and social development.  Working together and with other countries, the two sides agreed to actively promote the comprehensive, effective, and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the implementation of the Cancun agreements and support efforts to achieve positive outcomes at this year’s conference in South Africa.

Expanding People-to-People Exchanges

40.  The United States and China have long supported deeper and broader people-to-people ties as part of a larger effort to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.  Both sides agreed to take concrete steps to enhance these people-to-people exchanges. [Why not offer exchange visits involving Chinese dissidents,  you know,  like the guy who just won the Nobel Peace Prize but wasn’t allowed to leave the country?  We will send Michael Moore over there for awhile.] Both sides noted with satisfaction the successful Expo 2010 Shanghai, and the Chinese side complimented the United States on its USA Pavilion. The two sides announced the launch of a U.S.-China Governors Forum and decided to further support exchanges and cooperation at local levels in a variety of fields, including support for the expansion of the sister province and city relationships.  The United States and China also agreed to take concrete steps to strengthen dialogue and exchanges between their young people, particularly through the 100,000 Strong Initiative.  The United States warmly welcomes more Chinese students in American educational institutions, and will continue to facilitate visa issuance for them.  The two sides agreed to discuss ways of expanding cultural interaction, including exploring a U.S.-China cultural year event and other activities.   The two sides underscored their commitment to further promoting and facilitating increased tourism.  The United States and China agreed that all these activities help deepen understanding, trust, and cooperation.


41.  President Hu Jintao expressed his thanks to President Obama and the American people for their warm reception and hospitality during his visit. The two Presidents agreed that the visit has furthered U.S.-China relations, and both sides resolved to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.  The two Presidents shared a deep belief that a stronger U.S.-China relationship not only serves the fundamental interests of their respective peoples, but also benefits the entire Asia-Pacific region and the world.

Big Peace

NYT: Yep, Stuxnet is a joint U.S./Israeli project — ordered by Bush

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 17-01-2011

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Greenlit by Dubya, accelerated by Obama. Or at least, that’s what the cyborg time travelers who brought the worm back from the future would have you believe. The evidence is only circumstantial, but … there’s an awful lot of it. Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Stuxnet A U.S.-Israeli Joint Effort?

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 16-01-2011

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There have been many theories advanced over the past several months about the origins of the Stuxnet worm, which has apparently played havoc with Iran’s nuclear weapons research program. Now, The New York Times is out with an investigative report that seems to indicate a U.S-Israeli fingerprint on the project:

The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where neat rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal.

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.

There are other clues, including the fact that the German-made controllers that help operate the Iranian centrifuges were examined for security vulnerabilities by a classified Energy Department laboratory in Idaho several years ago, and that the information regarding the vulnerabilities in the controllers was then used to create the effects that Stuxnet has had. The virus itself, is actually fairly amazing from a computer engineering standpoint, which argues strongly that it had to have come from a nation capable of creating such a program:

The worm itself now appears to have included two major components. One was designed to send Iran’s nuclear centrifuges spinning wildly out of control. Another seems right out of the movies: The computer program also secretly recorded what normal operations at the nuclear plant looked like, then played those readings back to plant operators, like a pre-recorded security tape in a bank heist, so that it would appear that everything was operating normally while the centrifuges were actually tearing themselves apart.

The attacks were not fully successful: Some parts of Iran’s operations ground to a halt, while others survived, according to the reports of international nuclear inspectors. Nor is it clear the attacks are over: Some experts who have examined the code believe it contains the seeds for yet more versions and assaults.

And the political angle is just as interesting:

The project’s political origins can be found in the last months of the Bush administration. In January 2009, The New York Times reported that Mr. Bush authorized a covert program to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. President Obama, first briefed on the program even before taking office, sped it up, according to officials familiar with the administration’s Iran strategy. So did the Israelis, other officials said. Israel has long been seeking a way to cripple Iran’s capability without triggering the opprobrium, or the war, that might follow an overt military strike of the kind they conducted against nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

Two years ago, when Israel still thought its only solution was a military one and approached Mr. Bush for the bunker-busting bombs and other equipment it believed it would need for an air attack, its officials told the White House that such a strike would set back Iran’s programs by roughly three years. Its request was turned down.

Now, Mr. Dagan’s statement suggests that Israel believes it has gained at least that much time, without mounting an attack. So does the Obama administration.

By some estimates, the damage caused by Stuxnet has set back the Iranian nuclear program several years at least, to the point where it is now estimated that it would be 2015 before they’d be able to construct even a rudimentary bomb. That’s arguably better than what we could have accomplished with a military strike, and it comes without the international political implications, not to mention potential terrorist blowback, that a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iran could have created.

But, there’s also something about this story that should give us pause:

“It’s like a playbook,” said Ralph Langner, an independent computer security expert in Hamburg, Germany, who was among the first to decode Stuxnet. “Anyone who looks at it carefully can build something like it.” Mr. Langner is among the experts who expressed fear that the attack had legitimized a new form of industrial warfare, one to which the United States is also highly vulnerable.

Now that we know what a properly designed computer worm can do to a nation’s industrial capacity, one would hope that someone out there is working on securing these systems. Otherwise, we could be dealing with a Stuxnet-like problem of our own some day.

Outside the Beltway

New Proof The Stuxnet Computer Virus Slowing Down Iran’s Nuke Program Joint USA/Israeli Project

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-01-2011

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According to a top Computer expert from Germany the Stuxnet virus which as been wreaking havoc on the Iranian nuclear program is just as effective as a military strike. Actually it is more effective,  it has set back Iran’s quest for nuclear capability by at least two years which is the best that can be hoped for with a military strike. And it was done without all the “mess” and human suffering which comes with a military strike

Little by little scientists are beginning to understand Stuxnet a computer worm developed with the sole purpose of doing what sanctions were not able to do, slow down the Iranian march to nuclear weapons. During the past year, Stuxnet the computer worm with a message from the biblical Queen Esther, not only crippled Iran’s nuclear program but has caused  a major rethinking of computer security around the globe (if you want to know how Stuxnet works click here).

According to a report in the Sunday NY Times, Stuxnet was tested in the Dimona facility in Israel’s Negev desert. Dimona is the (officially non-existent)plant where Israel runs its (officially non-existent) nuclear weapons program

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

Officially US and Israeli officials will not discuss what has been going in the middle of the Negev, but new clues point to the fact that thevirus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.

In recent days, the retiring chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton separately announced that they believed Iran’s efforts had been set back by several years.  Clinton cited the “weak” sanctions, which have supposedly damaged Iran’s ability to buy components.  Dagan, told the Israeli Knesset in recent days that Iran had run into technological difficulties (Stuxnet) that could delay a bomb until 2015.

As the virus continues to infect Iranian computers computer experts across the world are trying to figure out where Stuxnet came from. There is nothing but circumstantial evidence and it all points to the US and Israel). For example

In early 2008 the German company Siemens cooperated with one of the United States’ premier national laboratories, in Idaho, to identify the vulnerabilities of computer controllers that the company sells to operate industrial machinery around the world — and that American intelligence agencies have identified as key equipment in Iran’s enrichment facilities. Seimens says that program was part of routine efforts to secure its products against cyberattacks. Nonetheless, it gave the Idaho National Laboratory — which is part of the Energy Department, responsible for America’s nuclear arms — the chance to identify well-hidden holes in the Siemens systems that were exploited the next year by Stuxnet.

There is also the fact that computer scientists who are analyzing the computer worm have found a file name that seemingly refers to the Biblical Queen Esther.  Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament narrative in which the Jewish Queen Esther pre-empts a Persian plot to kill all the Jews. One of the key files in Stuxnet was named “Myrtus” (myrtle) by the unknown designer. The biblical Esther’s original name was Hadassah, which is Hebrew for myrtle.

Officially, neither American nor Israeli officials will even utter the name of the malicious computer program, much less describe any role in designing it.

But Israeli officials grin widely when asked about its effects. Mr. Obama’s chief strategist for combating weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, sidestepped a Stuxnet question at a recent conference about Iran, but added with a smile: “I’m glad to hear they are having troubles with their centrifuge machines, and the U.S. and its allies are doing everything we can to make it more complicated.”

One interesting part of the program is that it was put in motion by President Bush. Yes liberals, this time you can say it, Bush did it.

The project’s political origins can be found in the last months of the Bush administration. In January 2009, The New York Times reported that Mr. Bush authorized a covert program to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. President Obama, first briefed on the program even before taking office, sped it up, according to officials familiar with the administration’s Iran strategy. So did the Israelis, other officials said. Israel has long been seeking a way to cripple Iran’s capability without triggering the opprobrium, or the war, that might follow an overt military strike of the kind they conducted against nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Langner, who runs a small computer security company in a suburb of Hamburg, had his five employees focus on picking apart the code and running it on the series of Siemens controllers neatly stacked in racks, their lights blinking.


He quickly discovered that the worm only kicked into gear when it detected the presence of a specific configuration of controllers, running a set of processes that appear to exist only in a centrifuge plant. “The attackers took great care to make sure that only their designated targets were hit,” he said. “It was a marksman’s job.”

For example, one small section of the code appears designed to send commands to 984 machines linked together.

Curiously, when international inspectors visited Natanz in late 2009, they found that the Iranians had taken out of service a total of exactly 984 machines that had been running the previous summer.

Interesting coincidence?

But as Mr. Langner kept peeling back the layers, he found more — what he calls the “dual warhead.” One part of the program is designed to lie dormant for long periods, then speed up the machines so that the spinning rotors in the centrifuges wobble and then destroy themselves. Another part, called a “man in the middle” in the computer world, sends out those false sensor signals to make the system believe everything is running smoothly. That prevents a safety system from kicking in, which would shut down the plant before it could self-destruct.

“Code analysis makes it clear that Stuxnet is not about sending a message or proving a concept,” Mr. Langner later wrote. “It is about destroying its targets with utmost determination in military style.”

This was not the work of hackers, he quickly concluded. It had to be the work of someone who knew his way around the specific quirks of the Siemens controllers and had an intimate understanding of exactly how the Iranians had designed their enrichment operations.

The reason why Stuxnet had knowledge of the workings of the Iranian centrifuges may have to do with the fact that those same type of centrifuges showed up in Dimona.


The account starts in the Netherlands. In the 1970s, the Dutch designed a tall, thin machine for enriching uranium. As is well known, A. Q. Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist working for the Dutch, stole the design and in 1976 fled to Pakistan.

The resulting machine, known as the P-1, for Pakistan’s first-generation centrifuge, helped the country get the bomb. And when Dr. Khan later founded an atomic black market, he illegally sold P-1’s to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.

The P-1 is more than six feet tall. Inside, a rotor of aluminum spins uranium gas to blinding speeds, slowly concentrating the rare part of the uranium that can fuel reactors and bombs.

How and when Israel obtained this kind of first-generation centrifuge remains unclear, whether from Europe, or the Khan network, or by other means. But nuclear experts agree that Dimona came to hold row upon row of spinning centrifuges.

“They’ve long been an important part of the complex,” said Avner Cohen, author of “The Worst-Kept Secret” (2010), a book about the Israeli bomb program, and a senior fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He added that Israeli intelligence had asked retired senior Dimona personnel to help on the Iranian issue, and that some apparently came from the enrichment program.

“I have no specific knowledge,” Dr. Cohen said of Israel and the Stuxnet worm. “But I see a strong Israeli signature and think that the centrifuge knowledge was critical.”

…Dr. Cohen said his sources told him that Israel succeeded — with great difficulty — in mastering the centrifuge technology. And the American expert in nuclear intelligence, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Israelis used machines of the P-1 style to test the effectiveness of Stuxnet.

The expert added that Israel worked in collaboration with the United States in targeting Iran, but that Washington was eager for “plausible deniability.”

One thing can’t be denied, the Stuxnet worm has been a major obstacle to Iran’s desire to obtain nuclear weapons, saving Israel from having to attack Iran at least for a while.  Who ever developed the virus lets hope they are working on a follow-up because 2015 is not that far away.


Joint Statement Denounces Bogus Email and Mailers in RPOF Race

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-01-2011

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by Javier Manjarres

The joint statement released by RPOF Chairman candidates Dave Bitner and Deborah Cox-Roush is in response to an anonymous and bogus email sent out yesterday purportedly by the group MADD out of Tampa, Florida. This email attack is the latest in a string of cowardly anonymous attacks that from all indications originates from a known political operative out of the Tampa Bay area with local GOP and Democrat ties. Bozo, we know who you are, and who you are ‘in-bed’ with.

From Marc ‘The Capo” Caputo at the Miami Herald:

“The latest anonymous mailer sent to voting members of the Republican Party of Florida is reprehensible and goes over the line.  There is no place for personal attacks in this election and those responsible are engaging in actions beneath all that the Republican Party symbolizes and represents.

This election is about the future of our party and nothing more.  We condemn any candidate embracing the politics of personal destruction and invite everyone running to publicly pledge to stick to the issues and sharing ideas that will further the success of our party.”

Dave Bitner and Deborah Cox Roush

The Shark Tank

Sen. Mark Udall (D) Polls The Joint Chiefs: All Agree They Can Implement Repeal

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 03-12-2010

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Over at the Wonk Room, Igor Volsky reports on a tactic taken today by Sen. Mark Udall. Several of the top military brass testifying today indicated that they were hesitant to institute the repeal in a time of war.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) — a strong proponent of repeal — said that the amendment included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) offered the perfect compromise: the certification process provides the military with the flexibility not to implement repeal right away, while undermining the possibility that the courts would force the Armed Forces to act quickly. Every Service Chief agreed that they were comfortable that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would take their concerns into consideration before certifying repeal and admitted that they could effectively implement the policy change.

Critics were quick to point out that such a compromise could stall the implementation of the repeal until the end of the Afghanistan war. (And longer, should other conflicts arise before then.)

Joe. My. God.

Joint Chiefs chair to troops: If you don’t want to serve with gays, quit

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 02-12-2010

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Uh oh.

This isn’t really aimed at the troops, I think. Rather, he and Gates have simply reached the end of their respective ropes with McCain’s endless backpedaling on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Maverick’s chief concern at today’s hearing was that servicemen will quit in droves if forced to serve alongside gays in combat. Mullen’s reply: Oh [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Portland, Oregon refused to participate in Joint Terrorism Task Force in 2005

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-11-2010

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And Friday it almost reaped the bitter fruits of that decision. Leftist/Jihadist Alliance Update: “Politically correct Portland rejected feds who saved city from terrorist attack,” by Byron York in The Examiner, November 28 (thanks to Pamela Geller):

In 2005, leaders in Portland, Oregon, angry at the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror, voted not to allow city law enforcement officers to participate in a key anti-terror initiative, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. On Friday, that task force helped prevent what could have been a horrific terrorist attack in Portland. Now city officials say they might re-think their participation in the task force — because Barack Obama is in the White House.

Reading the FBI affidavit describing Islamist terror suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s plan to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square is a chilling experience. Mohamud, a Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen who attended Oregon State University, told undercover FBI agents he dreamed of performing acts of jihad in which hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans would die. “Do you remember when 9/11 happened when those people were jumping from skyscrapers?” Mohamud asked the agents, according to the affidavit. “I thought that was awesome.” [...]

What is ironic is that the operation that found and stopped Mohamud is precisely the kind of law enforcement work that Portland’s leaders, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected during the Bush years. In April 2005, the Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw Portland city police officers from participating in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren’t violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs. [...]

In the Mohamud case, it appears that Portland’s anti-law enforcement stand might actually have influenced Mohamud’s decision to undertake an attack in the city. According to the FBI affidavit, the undercover agents asked whether he worried that law enforcement would stop him. “In Portland?” Mohamud replied. “Not really. They don’t see it as a place where anything will happen. People say, you know, why, anybody want to do something in Portland, you know, it’s on the west coast, it’s in Oregon, and Oregon’s, like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

Now, there are indications that the Mohamud case might cause city leaders to change their mind about the FBI and the war on terror. Current mayor Sam Adams, who says he was not aware of the Mohamud investigation until after Mohamud had been arrested, told the Oregonian newspaper that he might as the city council to reconsider the decision to pull out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Because he now realizes the city was wrong? Not at all. “[Adams] stressed that he has much more faith in the Obama administration and the leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s office now than he did in 2005,” the paper reported.

Yes, it’s so important to have Faith In Obama.

Jihad Watch

US, South Korea start joint military exercises; China panicking?

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-11-2010

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What is there to talk about?
American Thinker Blog

White House Official: China Needs to Do More, US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Possible in Coming Days

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 23-11-2010

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A White House official tells ABC News that the U.S. is going to spend a great deal of effort trying to get China to take a more “robust” stand against North Korea’s actions. “We need to send a strong signal…

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Political Punch

Joint Chiefs chair Mullen on “achieving energy security in a sustainable world.” - “A fully burdened cost of diesel fuel approached $400 a gallon”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-11-2010

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Simply put, we cannot think about energy after we get there – wherever there may be. Energy security needs to be one the first things we think about before we deploy another soldier, before we build another ship or plane and before we buy or fill another rucksack….

As glaciers melt and shrink at a faster rate, water supplies have been diminishing in parts of Asia. Rising sea levels could lead to a mass migration and displacement similar to what we have seen in Pakistan’s flood. And climate shifts could drastically reduce the arable land needed to feed a burgeoning population as we have seen in parts of Africa.

The scarcity of and potential competition for resources like water, food and space, compounded by an influx of refugees if coastal lands are lost, does not only create a humanitarian crisis but creates conditions of hopelessness that could lead to failed states and make populations vulnerable to radicalization. These challenges highlight the systemic implications and multiple-order effects inherent in energy security and climate change.

Admiral Mike Mullen gave a pretty remarkable speech last month, particularly for a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He was speaking at the Pentagon’s Energy Security Event, “Empowering Defense through Energy Security.”  Here are extended excerpts:

… at the University of Arizona … an engineer named Vincent Polowski (sp) shared with me that he believed the number-one national security challenge in the 21st century would be climate change. Vincent is not alone in his concerns. And we are in fact seeing evidence of climate change’s potential impacts on our security.

Near the polar cap, waterways are opening that we couldn’t have imagined it a few years ago – opening trade routes, presenting both opportunity and vulnerability and rewriting the geopolitical map of the world. And it’s not just the people of Arizona who are thinking about these things.  Americans around the country are starting to connect the dots between energy, security and our future.

My friend and columnist Tom Friedman has spoken eloquently about – of the growing need and awareness to rethink our views on energy and minimize our dependence on overseas energy sources that fuel regimes that do not always share our interests and values while not further damaging a world that is already becoming overheated, over polluted and overstretched.

We in the Defense Department have a role to play here. Not solely because we should – should be good stewards of our environment and our scarce resources but also because there is a strategic imperative for us to reduce risk, improve efficiencies and preserve our freedom of action wherever we can.

So this morning I would like to offer my perspectives on how we think about energy, its relationship to our security and ultimately how I believe we need to look at this much more broadly as we plan for the future.

Now as I begin, while these issues are deeply important to our future, I certainly do not claim to be an expert on energy, security or climate change for that matter …

Quite simply, like most of America, my shipmates and I operated under a “burn it if you’ve got it” mentality. We were providing supporting fire off the coast of Vietnam and when we needed fuel we got it. A few years later, in fact, the very first ship I commanded, the USS Noxubee, was a gasoline tanker dedicated to keeping fuel flowing throughout our fleet.

Now, I do not want to imply that we were deliberately wasteful or reckless. We just held a very conventional view that fuel was cheap, easy and available, without ever really connecting it to any broader geopolitical implications. Clearly, that is not the world we’re living in today.

Many of us here this morning are acutely aware of the cost and challenge in terms of both blood and treasure of providing energy to our forces in Afghanistan today. And recent headlines of NATO fuel convoys being attacked only serve to remind us of these vulnerabilities. DOD is using 300,000 barrels of oil every day. The energy use per soldier creeps up every year. And our number-one import into Afghanistan is fossil fuel.

Yet there is no doubt we are making some progress. Secretary Mabus, who will speak towards the end of this session, is leading the Navy on an ambitious path to cut the nontactical petroleum by 50 percent by 2015 and sail great, green fleets by 2016.

The Air Force as well is pushing forward, focusing on three goals of reducing demand, increasing supply for renewable and alternative sources and changing the culture. And Gen. Schwartz is here and, in fact, for the last several years, from my perspective, the Air Force has led the way in this area.

In fact, all the services are moving forward. And many of these innovations, including most of the 80 showcased today in the courtyard are starting at the tactical level. Just recently, the Marines of India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton arrived in Helmand with a complement of solar-powered, electricity-generation capabilities, insulated tents and ultra-efficient electronics.

When we consider the estimates of a fully burdened cost of diesel fuel approached $ 400 a gallon and required 1.3 gallons of fuel to use per gallon delivered at some forward-operating locations, these benefits start to really add up. This translates to fewer Marines maintaining fuel storage and distribution systems, fewer Marines dedicating their lives to protect the convoys in the routes used to deliver the fuel, or as this conference theme tells us: Saving energy saves lives.

In a similar systems approach, the Army out of Fort Irwin employed insulating foam on the roofs of its overseas deployment structures to save millions per month in air conditioning costs.  And they are now working on a shower-water recycling system for their forward operating bases. Now as much as I applaud this latest innovation, I’d probably recommend that Gen. Chiarelli, who is here today, continues to wear his shower shoes until they work out all the kinks. (Laughter.).

But I specifically mentioned this effort because while it may not sound like an energy issue on the surface, when you consider the costs of transporting – (inaudible) –fresh water, we can see how important it will be to take a holistic view of energy security and, more broadly, our overall sustainability.

Simply put, we cannot think about energy after we get there – wherever there may be. Energy security needs to be one the first things we think about before we deploy another soldier, before we build another ship or plane and before we buy or fill another rucksack. And the demand for energy is not going to ease anytime soon.

Friedman reminds us that this hot, flat and crowded world has introduced 3 billion more people to the global marketplace, all wanting their own version of the American dream, fueling an ever-growing need for energy to drive the goods and services thereby to make their lives better.

In short, the world isn’t what it used to be whether we wish it to be so or not. And we can either lead the change or be changed by the leadership of others. I prefer the former. And this endeavor, one that is so central to our future, our global future, calls out for America’s leadership. In fact, in the national security strategy, President Obama writes of American innovation being a foundation of America, American power and leadership.

And this concept, in particular, will be critical to achieving energy security in a sustainable world. And while leadership at the top certainly matters, this can’t be just a top-down effort. True innovation doesn’t work that way. Every one of us, every American must play a part – changing how we live, how we work and perhaps most importantly, how we think about these challenges.

So to start with, let’s agree that our concept of energy must change. Rather than look at energy as a commodity or a means to an end, we need to see it as an integral part of our system; a system that recognizes the linkages between consumption and our ability to pursue enduring interests. When we find reliable and renewable sources of energy, we will see benefits to our infrastructure, our environment, our bottom line and, I believe most of all, our people.

And the benefits from sustainability won’t just apply to the military. For while we account for more than 90 percent of the government oil consumption, we represent less than 2 percent of our national usage. Yet we know that government-led innovations and technology innovations like GPS, the cell phone, the Internet have dramatically benefitted our nation before.

So we have to consider the entire system with all its connections and all of its interdependencies. The national security strategy recognizes these connections and interdependencies and concludes that strength and stability at home equate to credibility and influence abroad. And more specifically, that the way our nation gains access to, develops and consumes energy has significantly – has significant security implications.

This effort is not merely altruistic. It is essential. Failing to secure, develop and employ new sources of energy or improving how we use legacy-energy systems creates a strategic vulnerability and, if left unaddressed, could threaten national security. And every one of us bears responsibility. We ought to think about energy efficiency relative to how we drive our ships, our planes, our tanks and deploy our soldiers and Marines.

There are important things to look at to be sure. But we can also make improvements closer to home. For instance, each of the services is bringing several bases up to a net-zero energy standard within the next few years – goals I enthusiastically support.

These efforts will not just achieve savings in the long run but will ensure the environment around our bases is cleaner and healthier for our people and their surrounding communities. At Twentynine Palms, California, for example, a new micro-grid controller will make the Marine Corps’ largest base an even better neighbor by reducing its energy consumption, diminishing its carbon footprint and better enabling it to be independent of California’s power grid when needed.

And these measures may help us avoid mandates to divert resources away from operations, towards medical and environmental rehabilitation due to unfortunate or unintended consequences associated with Industrial-era energy and activity. Beyond these immediate benefits, we may even be able to help to stem the tide of strategic security issues related to climate change.

This is no small matter. In addition to the newly developing waterways near the polar ice caps in 2008, the National Intelligence Council identified 20 of our bases that are physically at risk as a result of a rising level of the ocean. In regards to what the cause of these changes is, the impacts around the world could be sobering and far-reaching….

One way we can foster more service and progress is to take a long view on how we design our next generation of ships, vehicles and aircraft. When the Air Force fields its next-generation tanker it will be more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and transportation. From a maintenance-per-flight-hour perspective, it will reduce costs in terms of money, time and man power over the lifecycle of the aircraft.

And we here in town are not that focused on lifecycle costs and lifecycle impacts of what we design. We need to be much more so. Too often, we focus on a platforms capability while artificially ignoring environmental and energy costs that all come with a price to pay – some financial and some, frankly, that are generational and even more profound….

And our successful departure from fossil fuels to renewable, sustainable energy will quite likely depend on these future leaders and innovations that they bring forward. So we need to listen to them.Ultimately, as we gain proficiency in generating sustainable, renewable energy sources as a nation we build national strengths and stability….  I am proud of the work that the men and women of the Department of Defense are doing, the work many of you are leading to ensure we turn our own energy security from a vulnerability to a strength it could be.

Few of us can argue that the need is not there. Many of us can see that the right technology is emerging. And I hope all of us can agree that the time for change is now. Thank you.

I wish all of us could agree that the time for change is now.

Climate Progress

Kids, A Joint Is Not A Condom

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 10-11-2010

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National Institute of Drug Abuse experts recently answered teenagers' questions about drugs in an online forum. Crushable rounded up some of the best ones. A gem:

some guy – St. Henry District High School, Kentucky: can smoking a joint be a form of birth control

Dr.Ruben Baler
: I am not aware of any evidence that suggests marijuana would be a viable mode of birth control.
thanks for the question.

Edith Zimmerman calls the chat "one of the funnest things online right now."

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Frmr. Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman: ‘We Haven’t Lost’ To Nations With Open Gay Servicemembers

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-10-2010

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This morning, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton suggested that openly gay servicemembers could undermine the U.S. military, telling ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that the United States has never lost a war to a foreign country that allows open service:

AMANPOUR: Would you support [ending don't ask, don't tell] if the Pentagon review says it’s time to get rid of it?

SHELTON: If the men and women in uniform at the fighting level, particularly the Marines and Army say, ‘no it doesn’t make any difference to us,’ and therefore it won’t break the readiness of our great armed forces…

AMANPOUR: Why do you think it would? I mean some of the great allies of the United States have. Whether it’s Canada, whether it’s Britain, France, Australia, even Israel allows openly gay men and women to serve in the military. And they have great armies, great militaries.

SHELTON: They have great militaries, great armies. But if you check the historical records, Christiane, as you know, we’ve never lost to any of them. We are the top of the pile. We are the best in the world. And we want to stay that way.

Watch it:

Shelton’s argument is confusing because “the historical records” also show that the United States has not engaged in armed conflict with these nations since they’ve allowed open service and their experiences actually reveal that open gay servicemembers don’t undermine military readiness or effectiveness. (H/T: @tcmassie)

Wonk Room

Saudi & Egypt in joint military exercise: Target Iran (at least in theory)

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 22-10-2010

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The supposed-to-be secret Saudi and Egypt military exercise that happened on October 17-21, 2010, is described as follows:

This week’s joint exercise was conducted in Egypt’s northern desert up to its Mediterranean shoreline, an area whose terrain is similar to conditions on the Persian Gulf coast of eastern Saudi Arabia. Although Iran was not named, the two armies practiced responses to “enemy landings” in the kingdom’s eastern regions, where its oil fields, facilities and ports are situated. The script provided for Egyptian forces to be rushed to the area under attack and join up with the Saudis to throw the invaders back while at the same time a joint Saudi-Egyptian commando force standing by in the northwest would make for the western coast of Iran and launch a counter-attack on Revolutionary Guards bases.

Color me skeptical, but I always read Arab on Israel first, and Arab on Arab (or Persian) a distant second.

Liberty Pundits Blog

A rare joint interview

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 03-09-2010

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State puts out this image of Hillary Clinton in a rare joint interview with reporters from Israel’s Channel 2 and Palestine TV, capping a few days of feel-good moments.

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Ben Smith’s Blog