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"United 93" from Yossi Ben-Dak

When you enjoy seeing movies, you rarely find the kind of experience that should be digested fully, in order to get a better hold of when and where you live. Mission Impossible 3, better perhaps than all the previous ones, is to me still impossible. The horror movies that do so well in the mass market have a limited titillating function that I can consume only rarely and I still learn more from my regular nightmares. Even more significant is the need to be in touch with factual basis of our life, which need not contradict being entertained, by viewing a few true reality movies, from time to time.

We all know, that is those of us that are somewhat Educated, that "Deception is ubiquitous". We always want to deal effectively with uncertainties. Nevertheless, we often dare not fully comprehend evil when it faces us and is intent on having the upper hand. Mission and fake evil movies may entertain precisely because we know it is not the real smell, color and threat--and most importantly because consequences are truly inconsequential.. Spitting back more questions after we tested hypotheses and confirmed outcomes is mostly useful when real life understanding and forecasting is, thereby, enriched.

However, when so many of my friends keep asking if United 93 is a too soon film or already too late, I do have my reservations regarding both, because I think that for most people this is an experience that includes an opportunity to reexamine our mental and political awareness and muscles in a given situation that has ingredients of future realities. With imagination, it can be extended to a whole plethora of horrible scenarios. It is not too early, because it is not only a movie about a painful disastrous death of crew and passengers of a plane, that we heard so much already about in 2001. It brings home a real time, carefully scripted to be valid, background scenario of unpreparedness in terms of real US government, US armed forces, Air Traffic Control Centers, every present individual's -- and our own -- mindset. Before the threat became very obvious and particularly after, we experience a system that, in parts and in whole, was not ready to accept that others who hate us are just about finished studying us, motivated and capable, and even though they look like us, they are not. These enemies are full of "obscurantist, mass -homicidal, suicidal Islamist fanaticism" as Eclipse magazine puts it. They not only exist, but perpetuate.

Full Article.

Another Take on the Iranian Situation by Yossi Ben-Dak (Con't)...

What is strikingly uncomfortable to those of us who want to believe Iran's declared interest in only nuclear based electricity are a few facts that suggest a different promised landing for this national effort invested so far.

First is the spiritual and motivational association Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, his foreign minister Manouchehr Mottakki and a few lesser known figures have with their religious patron, Ali Haminai. This is but one reason that Ahmedinejad does talk for Iran and may guide it. There is a mystic group in Shii'ah called "Mahadiviyat" that includes numerous --but not all -- members of the Higher Religious Council running Iran. Their belief is that a Shii'ah messiah is about to emerge in several years, and the apocalyptic scenarios of overcoming the infidels with self sacrifice is the date of applying a nuclear disaster. [This exists also in radical Sunni Islam, see Sa'id Qotb's writings]. Many scholars who point out the importance to an Iranian to be accepted as a major shaker and mover in the family of nations --as a motivation for the nuclear status --dismiss these theories or believe them to be of less importance in practical politics. But these persons have little to show by way of contrary evidence. Original documentation [e.g. Indonesian interviews] and thinking patterns that have been shared by Islamic leaders who were in close touch with the Iranian President and several of the religious heads of Iran report such indications. In March, such rumors came most vividly from Kuala Lumpur when along with systematic discussions re: building stronger ties [e.g. with Petronas, the oil concern and the Export-Import Bank of Malaysia] such "latter day" reasoning for the intensity of the nuclear program were shared with a few politicians and perhaps with the Amuna Group, a Malaysian construction conglomerate. The themes were openly shared in the 900 person Palestine meetings this past week in Tehran. The Taheri review does not miss any of the in-religious organization and in-education system re-enforcers of why this perspective is so overwhelming in treating images of enemy and the current US administration in particular.

Second, in the past several years Iran bought weapon delivery systems, e.g. at least 14 cruise missiles of the X-55 variety from Ukraine. With a 2,500 km range, these can fly very close to the ground and hence may avoid most radar systems. The Ukrainian record of the financial and technical deal which ran through less than orthodox procurement channels suggest that certain critical parts were missing at sale point realization; yet related Iranian experimentation reported to the Arab League in March, suggest that Iran dealt effectively with improvised or alternative solutions. These missiles, then, may be more effective for threats over Israel, USA forces in the neighborhood or Europe, than the BM25 ground to ground missiles bought from North Korea. Russian scientists are busy upgrading the native Shihab 3 missile to Shihab 4 with a 2,900 km range. As FOC Neil Humbert suggested a recent JID report has indicated a Belarus preparedness to export Russian S-300SP missiles that are even more sensitive SAMs and this could not be done without Russian blessing.

Third, there are a ton of underground areas in Iran that officially have never been disclosed to IAEA and are defined as secret military areas. These were included in the estimation of Radzhab Safarov, the Director of the Moscow Center for Modern Iranian Studies. Recently, a few USA private satellite detection expert corporations have begun to map these areas and have concluded that a weaponizing work group controls weapon diminution and delivery systems.

Fourth, Egypt's President commented very bluntly on April 11 in an Al-Arabiya interview, -"Definitely Iran has influence on Shiites. Shiites are 65 percent of the Iraqis. Most of the Shiites are loyal to Iran and not to the countries they are living in." The background for this perspective is Lebanese in-fighting between the Iranian backed Hezbollah guerrillas and a group of Palestinians and Lebanese. The fact is that Hezbollah together with Islamic Jihad carries out terrorist attacks against any target chosen by Iran and openly expresses expectations to receive recent weapons publicized by Iran in its well timed Gulf exercises.

In light of the above, one might reach, correctly in my view, the conclusion that eliminating the global danger inherent in the present ideology, research and strategies of Iran is no longer an option for delayed action. Examining the location and penetration of Iran's venom against those that stand in their path, translates to a lot of preparatory steps to insure a success for what will have to be more than a surgical, one time, military treatment. Dealing with the Levant terrorists backed by Iran may be one of the first items to be considered and will have to be executed by far better planning and capacity for mid-course correction than what has been demonstrated in the past 4 years. While it is not my intention to detail what militarily may need to be done, it seems that the Iran strategy of keeping tensions high and sense of their threats salient [eg 40,000 jihadists ready to strike ....] indicates that they want war soonest i.e. a military strike that will free their legitimacy of harnessing a nuclear weapon system or other modes of conventional but large scale terror. At the very least, if war is delayed, they will get better negotiating terms for whatever comes including their leadership within all other Muslim challenges to the West, which -- being a king for a day--- has its idiosyncratic value for the Iranian elite.

However, given certain positions shared by other commenters including our own colleagues, I wanted to add a few annotations for the immediate future.

Observation 1- What the world should really be interested in is ensuring that Iran is unable to enrich uranium beyond the level required for running power reactors. This is not very difficult to ensure if Iran's enrichment effort is brought under tight IAEA supervision-- it appears to me that the strategy chosen by Iran is what they term fundamental self right execution--- so that no deal will be entertained with IAEA, or Russia, especially now that it is no longer a secret that enrichment is carried out in numerous locations; something never admitted to previously.

Observation 2- Indian Vice Admiral [ret] Dr Varghese Koithara stated very poignantly:" There will be many in the West (and in the Arab world, not to speak of Israel), who would be unhappy to see a theocratic Iran rising - even peacefully. But it is worth pondering whether such a rise can be prevented, and if even it can be, whether the price paid for it would be worth the prize". I wholeheartedly agree with the positioning of these dilemmas. However, it appears that even at this stage --3 to 6 years before a full weapon system is deployable, the orchestration of annihilation of their enemies is at least as significant an effort as achieving a status rise for the Iran. It seems irreversible for this regime in Iran.

Observation 3- The idea of mobilizing Beijing, Delhi, Tokyo and Moscow to do their damnedest to restrain Tehran, since in the end the Iranians will have to talk to someone and they have total contempt for both Washington and Brussels--is a British and Asian notion. However, when one considers the role of Russian expertise described above in bringing about the Iranian weaponizing capacity, the Chinese internal ethnic complexities in dealing with Iran, the presumed affinity between Tokyo and Delhi with USA, the effective strategy is yet to be born.

Clearly, as has been pointed out before, the West led by the US and Brussels has committed a few confrontational mistakes in bringing about the tension with Iran. However, it appears to me that the internal logic and evolution of the coming big time confrontation has more to do with what vision civilized nations would want to realize for a global future and what different visions have been cooked up by this devil civilization from the fourth century. It may be far more complicated than getting two sides to dialogue, and this must be our first priority. However, this calling may not necessarily assume that both sides are equally deviant from a vision of civility, just because it may make the task seem easier or doable.

Islam and The Cartoon Scandal

I am wholeheartedly in agreement with many commentators for valuable elucidation of 'Islamic rage' being manufactured to fulfill another agenda.

Best Hope for the Mideast: The Constitutional Model

The best way to deal with terrorism is to convert enemies to friends -- and the means to this end is found in the U.S. Constitution.

The Importance of Network Analysis Systems to Security Issues and Speculation

We increasingly need capabilities of a network analysis inference system in high level intelligence applications for when large data sets must be analyzed by a speculator and insufficient meaningful patterns emerge for predictions. It is altogether clear that a few commercial solutions exist to perform just that analysis, especially when an enterprise level search engine quickly returns meaningful results; however, most available search modes depend on Boolean logic. This is a query data repository where all content can be so defined, organized, categorized and analyzed, and is something that goes beyond the Meta information on the current trend or the verbal expression of ideographic phenomenon. What is defined below is an attempt to "capture" the meaningful data sets when they are not pre-known, and more importantly, the shaping patterns are not actually discerned even when data is available to the speculator....

Data & Hypotheses

When you open yourself to trust foreign sources that are broadly and globally minded, your data and conclusions may be swayed when the bias is not obvious. The problem as I see it has at least two relevant faces. One is the political bending of data released, including their suppression in whole and in part. The second is the relevancy of variables that actually determine the true value of statistics and information used in predictive models. I find that if you watch national US television news or read the New York Times or Washington Post you know far less about themes like European, African and Asian issues in time or early enough, as compared with the BBC  or French media -- which I do follow almost daily. I find the bias of BBC TV and radio very consistent and virtually predictable....

Nobel Prizes

When it comes to science, medicine and economics, I see in the Nobel institution a tool of progression in cumulative knowledge with true interest in a unified science tools and even -- more and more often -- a subtle ideology of building a multidimensional ideology for comprehension and forecasting....

A September 11 Note: Dr. Kaufman and Our Society

It seems that people that I have respected for many a year as experts who allow me, a curious mind, to avoid studying every field from the base, are variants of Dr. Kaufman. Anyone exposed to body snatchers or mind snatchers in the movie or in Jack Finney's novel or in Practical Speculation could come to similar conclusions about trading. Experiencing the darker hours of the markets with hope, sanity and analysis that penetrates the point of immediate or mid-course correction brings themes that can boost our joy of life. The antithesis of giving up to despair and to laziness starts from probing constantly whom to trust and why....

High-Risk Opportunities in Outcast Countries Present and Former?

The recent political occurrences in North/South Korea, Iran/Iraq and Libya may be of interest to those interested in new investment opportunities, especially those who believe risk-taking is necessary. Certain rationales for these gambles follow:...

"Terrorism and the Markets -- Is This the Solution?" (Aug. 24, 2005, interview of Yossi Ben-Dak by Dave Goodboy)

Prof. Joseph D. Ben-Dak is an expert in international security, responses to terror, technology and global politics. He has served in numerous high-level international posts at the United Nations and other organizations. He holds a doctorate in Organizational Sociology and Research Methods from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.