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UPDATE; Enhanced Interrogation – and new CIA Director Gina Haspel March 14, 2018

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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enhancedinterrogationWith the newly announced nomination of Gina Haspel as the country’s first female CIA director, there are some questions about her role in overseeing the ‘black sites’ where enhanced interrogation was applied to terrorists.  There are also pundits from all sides (including Senator John McCain) coming out with strong words against Ms. Haspel.  I would recommend that anyone with an interest in this country and this situation read the book Enhanced Interrogation by the man who actually designed, delivered and managed enhanced interrogation.  It changed my view.

Like most Americans I was horrified at the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks that killed over 3,000 people.  In the aftermath of the attacks, the US Government embarked on a mission to kill or capture terrorist leaders and stop another attack.  One of the most controversial measures approved to gain information was called ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ and included, specifically, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and physical coercion.  When  knowledge of this program broke, it caused an uproar in the US.  In fact, the US Senate Intelligence Committee put out a report that called the process torture.

With the publication of Dr. James Mitchell’s (PhD) book Enhanced Interrogation, the reader finally gets a first hand look at the who, what, where, why, and when of the EI program.  Before I purchased and read the book, I had some very pointed views on the idea of EI and waterboarding.  Reading the book caused me to really think about what I knew about the program and people involved.  The writing was great and the story was really insightful.  I think Dr. Mitchell did a great job on this book and telling a very difficult story.   Here is a great interview with Dr. Mitchell.   If you have any interest in this subject, you need to pick up this book!



President Trump and the Goldwater Rule January 10, 2018

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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300px-Goldwater_fact_magazineOn December 8th, 2017 the President opened the doors to allow press to watch the bipartisan discussion over immigration.  Dr. Brandy Lee of the Yale School of Medicine conducted apparently watched the testimony and conducted an interview in which the resulting article was titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” .  In this gripping article, the esteemed Dr. Lee (notice I use the honorific while she excludes such courtesy when talking about the President of the United States).  In her interview Dr. Lee sounds alarm bells about President Trump’s mental fitness to be president, etc. etc.

In fact, Dr. Lee was invited to “brief” members of congress on December 5th and 6th.  The group included “at least 1 Republican who they would not name.”  No doubt.

This is on course with the current Democratic position of applying the 25th Amendment to remove the President from Office.  As one example, in May 2017, the NY Times (surprise) wrote an article extoling the virtues of leveraging the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office (and not doubt try to replace with Hilary).

In May 2017, the same Dr. Lee was commented in an article on Liberal Outpost (no kidding) titled: “Yale Psychiatrist says Trump (again..no honorific) has a grave ________disability”.  Interestingly (to those of us who care about the rule of law and actual process) the article begins with the following:

“Psychiatrists in the United States are blocked from commenting on the psychological wellness of politicians due to the 50 year old Goldwater Rule, which states that they cannot openly diagnose the mental health of public figures who they have not personally examined.

However, the case of President Donald Trump is so extreme and potentially consequential that some noted psychiatrists have felt compelled to speak out despite the rule.”

Then, in an admitted violation of the Goldwater Rule, Lee (honorific removed) states definitively:

“This situation has come to such a critical level. In fact, a state of emergency exists and we could no longer hold back. We have an obligation to speak about Donald Trump’s mental health issues because many lives and our survival as a species may be at stake.”

So what is the Goldwater Rule?  For a short history, (thank you Wikipedia) Barry Goldwater was running for President in 1964 when a magazine named Fact published an article The issue arose in 1964 when Fact published the article “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater”.[3][5] The magazine polled psychiatrists about U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater and whether he was fit to be president.[6][7] The editor, Ralph Ginzburg, was sued for libel in Goldwater v. Ginzburg where Goldwater won $75,000 (approximately $592,000 today) in damages.[3]

Does this sound familiar?  There are experts trying to “diagnose” a sitting president for no other reason than their adorned queen did no win and ascend to the presidency.  This is nonsense. Now…the “argument” by those on the left are that the Dr. is not making a “diagnosis” under the DSM rather is simply expressing an opinion that any citizen can express.  Let me ask you.  If I said someone was crazy would you give it the same weight as a professor of Psychiatry from Yale with a DM and who has briefed congress? Of course not.  This is nonsense and we all know it.

I will be at the Javits center next week. (where Hillary was to have her coronation…sorry…her “acceptance speech”)…I will look up at the large glass ceiling and thank God (yes GOD) that it was not Hillary that broke that ceiling. 


“Dr” Heal Thyself or at least go…..”something” thyself.


Into Infamy: A Marine Sniper’s War – Book Review (UPDATE on Joe Chamblin) November 15, 2017

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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IntoInfamyI know Joe Chamblin. He is a very, very solid man and a truly skilled Sniper.  His ‘conviction’ was felt my most to be BS and the result of a POS Commandant that had never even attended OCS, or Bootcamp…that is right..he was a ‘transfer’ from the Naval Academy. Finally, some degree of justice was given!  Joe’s conviction was ‘overturned’. Unfortunately, it cost him his career in the USMC but he is getting closer to justice….for those who don’t know..Joe is one of the Marines who famously (not infamously) urinated on dead terrorists…who would not want to do that!?

In 2012 a video was released that showed US Marine Snipers urinating on dead Taliban fighters.  This 30 second video changed the lives of numerous Marines and was met with “outrage” from the Commandant of the Marine Corps as well as the Sgt Major of the Marine Corps (who was also a Sniper). One of those Marines, Sgt. Rob Richards died in 2015.  Into Infamy is book written by the very platoon commander who was also one of those profiled in the video.  Joe Chamblin is a combat veteran US Marine Sniper.  This book does not talk about the event but talks about the tour that these Marines served in Afghanistan. Most people likely cannot imagine the courage, skill and training it takes to operate as a Marine Sniper.  This book is as raw as it gets.  You will understand first hand what these Marines dealt with on a daily basis and the toll it took on them physically, emotionally, and psychologically.   This book gives a first hand account of the violence and carnage of warfare and the atrocities committed by the Taliban.  For those who rush to judgement on these Marines…read this book. I would challenge any reader to honestly believe they may not have done the same thing.  This book is NOT an attempt to justify any actions and doesn’t spend any time on the actual event.  When you read about the war they were fighting it becomes much more real and understandable how the actions could happen.  Overall….4.5 out of 5 stars!  You can buy at www.IntoInfamy.com or on Amazon.com.

HR 4036, the “Hack Back Bill”; Understanding Active & Passive Deterrence and the Escalation of Force Continuum. October 22, 2017

Posted by Chris Mark in cybersecurity, Uncategorized.
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SMallPirI wrote this original post several years ago but it seems to be more relevant now.   As CNN reports HR4036…”…formerly called the Active Cyber Defense Certainty (ACDC) Act and informally called the hack-back bill – was introduced as an amendment to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) last week. Its backers are US Representatives Tom Graves, a Georgia Republican, and Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat.”

This is a bill that is sound in theory and terrible in practice.  According to the Bill, (named ACDC) it would enable a company to take “..active defensive measures..” to access an attacker’s computer.  This is only applicable in the US…Think about this for a minute.  What is the evidence that I was the attacker of company A?  Maybe (quite possibly…almost certainly) a hackers is using my system as a proxy.  So some company can now attack my personal computer?  What happened to “due process”?.  If company X simply believes I am a hacker, they can access my personal data without a court order or any due process.  More profoundly, the issues it raises pose very real and very direct risks to employees of the company who ‘hacks back’.  This, I think, is unacceptable.

Having performed physical security in very real and very dangerous environments, I can personally attest to the fact that physical threats are real and difficult to prevent.  By allowing a ‘hack back’ the company faces a very real risk of escalating the situation from the cyber domain into the physical domain.  There is NO corporate data that is worth risking a human life.

Too often cybersecurity professionals forget that they are SECURITY professionals first and the  same rules of deterrence, escalation of force and other aspects apply.  Given this new Bill,  I felt this was a good time to again discuss deterrence (active and passive) and once again talk about the Escalation of Force Cycle.  So, what is deterrence? (warning…long post)..pic of the author off the cost of Somalia doing anti-piracy operations)

The History of Deterrence Theory:

The concept of deterrence is relatively easy to understand and likely extends to the earliest human activities in which one early human dissuaded another from stealing food by employing the threat of violence against the interloper.  Written examples of deterrence can be attributed as far back as the Peloponnesian War, when Thucydides wrote that there were many conflicts in which one army maneuvered in a manner that convinced the opponent that beginning or escalating a war would not be worth the risk.[1]  In the 4th Century BC, Sun Tzu wrote: “When opponents are unwilling to fight with you, it is because they think it is contrary to their interests, or because you have misled them in to thinking so.”[2]  While most people seem to instinctively understand the concept at the individual level, contemporary deterrence theory was brought to the forefront of political and military affairs during the Second World War with the deployment of nuclear weapons against Nagasaki and Hiroshima.[3]  

The application of deterrence during WWII was the beginning of understanding that an internal value calculus drives human behavior and that behavior could be formally modeled and predicted with some degree of accuracy.  (more…)

Ms. Frederica Wilson; Politicizing our warriors who died…shameful! October 20, 2017

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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wilsonRecently, a Special Forces team was attacked by an estimated 50 ISIS fighters in Niger.  Unfortunately, 4 US Service Members paid the ultimate price and are not coming home.  President Trump made a call to the wife of one of the fallen soldiers.  This has created a very unnecessary political storm.  I have heard numerous pundits comment on President Trump’s comments.

Before I comment further, let me understand the situation.  So the President of the United States (the Commander in Chief) calls the wife of one of his soldiers who died and who happens to be in her car with a US Representative and nobody says: “Mr. President…by the way we are on speaker phone and the Honorable Representative Wilson is in the car.”?  Not doing this certainly smacks of some ulterior motives on behalf of Ms. Wilson.  Who does this?  Nobody…. unless they have ulterior motives.

While Ms. Wilson wears ridiculous hats as part of her persona, she is NOT and NEVER HAS, been in combat.  She is NOT a veteran and, in fact, she has voted numerous times against veterans’ issues.  According to VoteSmart.org:

“…measures that Wilson opposed included a bill that could have ensured that families of four soldiers slain in Afghanistan in 2013 received death and burial benefits. […]

Despite Wilson’s claim to be “committed to honoring our service members, not only with words but with deeds,” she has voted against most bills ensuring continued funding for veteran benefits, including payments to widows of fallen soldiers, the vote-tracking site shows.

She has also opposed measures designed to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In March 2013, Wilson opposed the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act,” which prevented a government shutdown and provided funds for the U.S. military and the VA.

The bill, which passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law by the Obama administration, provided funding to the military and the VA until the next government shutdown showdown. […]

Later in the year, Wilson again voted against a resolution aimed at ensuring benefits paid to the veterans and their families would not be affected by the government shutdown in October that year. […]

The congresswoman also opposed numerous bills aimed at improving VA services provided the veterans and their families. (FoxNews.com)”

So while Representative Wilson feigns disgust at President Trump actually calling the wife of a slain soldier, she does not appear to actually support veterans.  Acta Non Verba, Ms. Wilson, Actions not Words!

With regard to the point that President Trump said that the soldier…his soldier.  (As the Commander in Chief, this soldier was under the command of President Trump): “Knew what he signed up for…” is irrelevant.  In fact, it is a nod to the bravery of the soldier.  While Representative Wilson goes to great lengths to state that soldiers “…sign up to serve and not to die…” is facile and ignorant.  She has never served and she does not understand.

Many people are taking this supposed comment as an insult or insensitivity on the part of the President…that is, in my opinion, objectively wrong…a warrior…any warrior…knows that their job has the risk of injury or death. It is the warrior ethos that enables that person to do their job in spite of the risk…that young driver in Niger was a true warrior…He KNEW the risks…but he did not cower in the face of the risks…he did his job…that is the true test of courage. As the incomparable Mark Twain said: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.”…I say to all four of those killed…”

While you laughingly referred to yourself as a Rock Star in response to General Kelly’s very pointed commentsGeneral Kelly’s very pointed comments, you ma’am are NOT a rock star.  You are a shameless human being and a blight on our system.  (I am starting the clock to see how long it takes someone to call me a racist….par for the course).  Mr. Wilson has already played the race card…. Please contact Ms. Wilson here.



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