civil security


Site of the Confederate Powderworks/Augusta Powderworks now the site of the closed down Sibley textile mill and future site of the CapeAugusta Digital Properties’s “Digital Fortress”
Augusta, Georgia

Towering 150 feet tall the chimney is the only original standing remnant of the Confederate Powderworks that once stretched along the Augusta Canal for two miles. Construction began in September of 1861 under the guidance of Colonel George Rains, West Point graduate and chemistry teacher, by March 1862 work had been completed on the powderworks the second largest such facility at the time and was producing 3.5 tons of powder a day and over the course of the war produced 2,750,000 pounds of powder. The facility produced the majority of the powder used by the Confederate Armies and it is claimed that because of this the Confederacy never lost a battle for want of powder.

By 1872 the facility was dismantled all that was left were piles of bricks and the chimney, as requested by Colonel Rains to stand as a reminder the chimney bears an inscription on the marble tablet reading,

“ This Obelisk Chimney — sole remnant of the extensive Powder Works here erected under the auspices of the Confederate Government — is by the Confederate Survivors’ Association of Augusta, with the consent of the City Council, conserved in Honor of a fallen Nation, and inscribed to the memory of those who died in the Southern Armies during the War Between the States”.

Between 1880 and 1882 the Sibley Textile Mill was built in its place using around 13,000 bricks from the original Powderworks the mill operated for 124 years and operations finishing denim ended in 2006 when the mill was shut down and the looms sold.

Starting in 2015 planning was put in place to refurbish the Mill for use by CapeAugusta Digital Properties a cyber security firm and will see the site initial deployment of a 7MW facility which will be expanded to 20MW in the future. The site runs on hydroelectric power from the mill’s turbines and plans are in place to use the water to cool the facility.

From war fought with lead and blackpowder to the war for data security fought with fiber optics and silicon the site is steeped in regional and even national history.


Syria and The Blood on Steve Bannon’s Hands

We learned this morning that DJT asked Steve Bannon to step down from his position at the National Security Council (NSC). 

Administration officials insisted this was always the plan and that Bannon was merely there to “deoperationalize” procedures after Susan Rice’s tenure.

First off, what the fuck does that even mean?

Secondly, Bannon still has security clearance and can still attend meetings should he choose, so the day was rife with speculation as to what is actually transpiring. One widely touted theory, that he committed the ultimate transgression and crossed DJT’s venerated son-in-law and incest proxy, Jared Kushner. 

What we do know: Bannon gets to keep his West Wing job as Chief Political Strategist. As such, he still wields enormous influence. 

Bannon’s view of Syrian refugees is akin to Hitler’s view of Jews, and I say this without hyperbole. 

When discussing Syria in recent years, on multiple occasions Bannon has invoked the hideous, dehumanizing 1973 novel, “The Camp of the Saints”, by French author Jean Rauspail. Rauspail considered dark-skinned persons not of European lineage to be dangerous, sexually voracious barbarians out to destroy Western Civilization by arriving on its shores. 

Repeatedly, Bannon compares the Syrian refugees to the grotesqueries etched by Rauspail, ignoring, or more likely reveling in the fact that “The Camp of Saints” was widely condemned as a modern day “Mein Kampf” upon its release and has only found newfound popularity among virulent white supremacists. 

This is the man advising DJT on Syria. 

This is the man who sat on the National Security Council yesterday when Assad gassed to death at least 82 Syrians, dozens of them confirmed to be children. 

My best guess?

Removing Bannon from the National Security Council was a cosmetic move to save face on the international stage. 

But we won’t save lives until Bannon is removed from the administration. 

And that won’t happen until DJT is removed from office. 

Tonight they sleep with the blood of Syrian children on their hands.
Trump Administration Considers Far-Reaching Steps for ‘Extreme Vetting’
Foreigners who want to visit the U.S. could be forced to disclose contacts on their mobile phones, social-media passwords and financial records, and to answer probing questions about their ideology, according to Trump administration officials.
By Laura Meckler

Laura Meckler at WSJ

Foreigners who want to visit the U.S., even for a short trip, could be forced to disclose contacts on their mobile phones, social-media passwords and financial records, and to answer probing questions about their ideology, according to Trump administration officials conducting a review of vetting procedures.

The administration also wants to subject more visa applicants to intense security reviews and have embassies spend more time interviewing each applicant. The changes could apply to people from all over the world, including allies like France and Germany.

The measures—whose full scope haven’t yet been publicly discussed—would together represent the “extreme vetting” President Donald Trump has promised. The changes would be sure to generate significant controversy, both at home, from civil libertarians and others who see the questions as overly intrusive, and abroad, with experts warning that other nations could impose similar requirements on Americans seeking visas.

“If there is any doubt about a person’s intentions coming to the United States, they should have to overcome—really and truly prove to our satisfaction—that they are coming for legitimate reasons,” said Gene Hamilton, senior counselor to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Administration officials say fighting terrorism is an urgent task that justifies tough rules. The review under way aims to replace what the Trump administration sees as a presumption toward letting people into the country toward a more skeptical outlook.

The review was called for in an executive order Mr. Trump signed last month banning travel from six-majority Muslim countries, which he said was needed to guard against terrorism. The order also directed security officials to implement a vetting program that allows for a “rigorous evaluation” of whether applicants support terrorism or present a risk of causing harm.

While much of the order was put on hold by a federal judge in Hawaii, the work to enhance vetting procedures was allowed to proceed.

Homeland Security officials say the agency is planning to significantly increase demands for information from all visa applicants, including visitors, refugees and others seeking to immigrate.

The changes might even apply to visitors from the 38 countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, which requires adherence to strict U.S. standards in data sharing, passport control and other factors, one senior official said. That includes some of the U.S.’s closest allies, such as the U.K., Japan and Australia.

The biggest change to U.S. policy would be asking applicants to hand over their telephones so officials could examine their stored contacts and perhaps other information. Visitors have had their phones examined at ports of entry, but that isn’t routinely requested during the application stage.

The goal is to “figure out who you are communicating with,” the senior DHS official said. “What you can get on the average person’s phone can be invaluable.”

A second change would ask applicants for their social-media handles and passwords so that officials could see information posted privately in addition to public posts. DHS has experimented with asking for people’s handles so they can read public posts, but not those restricted to friends.

“We want to say for instance, ‘What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords,’ so that we can see what they do on the internet,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said at a congressional hearing in February. “If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come.”

In response to Mr. Kelly’s hearing, a coalition of about 50 civil liberties and other groups issued a statement that month saying requiring passwords is “a direct assault on fundamental rights,” including freedom of expression. They also complained that the policy could be mirrored by foreign governments demanding passwords from Americans.

In addition, a DHS inspector general’s report this year found that the agency didn’t properly measure the effectiveness of pilot programs that used social media in visa-application reviews, making it hard to determine if they should be expanded.

Former DHS officials who worked on these issues during the Obama administration said that the information gleaned from telephones and social media could be helpful in assessing threats posed by applicants, but they said there are downsides, too. The effort—particularly the social-media hunt—would be time-consuming, they said, and it could drive people with bad intentions to change their practices.

“The real bad guys will get rid of their phones. They’ll show up with a clean phone,” said Leon Rodriguez, who headed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services until January and was deeply involved in refugee screening. “Over time, the utility of the exercise will diminish.”

Still, one Obama official said, telephone contacts could be particularly helpful in identifying terrorist ties, as their phone numbers could be run against various U.S. databases.

Already, the State Department has taken small steps toward tighter vetting, according to cables sent from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to embassies and consulates. In them, he orders officials to identify “applicant populations” that warrant additional scrutiny, according to documents first posted by Reuters. The department hasn’t disputed their contents. He also directs offices to limit the number of interviews scheduled each day to ensure each application is properly scrutinized.

Mr. Tillerson instructed officials to ask visa applicants additional questions, such as listing all email addresses and social-media handles used in the past five years, as well as the applicant’s travel history, employers and addresses over the past 15 years. But after the federal court put the travel ban on hold, Mr. Tillerson said in another message that to be cautious, those instructions should be put on hold as well.

The administration is also working to implement an idea first raised by Mr. Trump as a presidential candidate last August for an “ideological test” for people coming to the U.S. Such tests have been used before—for instance, to screen out anarchists, or members of the Communist Party.

“Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country,” Mr. Trump said in an August speech.

The DHS official working on the review said the types of questions under consideration now include whether visa applicants believe in so-called honor killings, how they view the treatment of women in society, whether they value the “sanctity of human life” and who they view as a legitimate target in a military operation.

The goal, he said, isn’t to filter out people with contrary thoughts but people who might act on them.

That notion draws criticism from civil libertarians.

“It could deprive American citizens with the ability to interact and gain knowledge from the full spectrum of individuals and people who hold diverse beliefs world-wide,” said Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security project.

“Our views and beliefs and opinions are protected,” he said. “Those same principles should drive our decisions about whether people would be permitted to visit the United States.”

This is yet another way our “President” wants to hurt tourism to America.

We’ve seen this before…

In this photo released by the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Twitter, President Donald Trump receives a briefing on the Syria military strike from the National Security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff via secure video teleconference. (Photo: White House)

A civil security aircraft parades during the inauguration of the Nimes-Garons civil security air force base on March 10, 2017 in Nimes, southern France. # Pascal Guyot / AFP / Getty
Next step in Dem realignment: Their own CPAC
Speakers are being told to bring ideas — not just political attacks on Trump.

Edward-Isaac Dovere at Politico:

Instead of CPAC, it’ll be the Ideas Conference. Instead of at the National Harbor, it’ll be in the main room at the St. Regis Hotel, a few blocks from the White House. Instead of featuring President Donald Trump, it’ll be the first real cattle call of the Democrats nosing around 2020 presidential runs.

And it’ll be the Center for American Progress’s biggest move yet to establish itself as both the nexus of the Democratic Party’s future — and a player trying to shape what that future will be.

They’re roughly modeling the event on CPAC, the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering that’s become a prime stop for Republican leaders, and which notably gave Donald Trump his first major political platform as he was entering the fray.

“So much of our time right now is engaged, and rightfully so, in fighting Trump. On any given day, he issues one affront to progressive values after another,” said CAP president Neera Tanden. “It’s obviously critical that we provide a positive alternative of how we’re going to address the country’s challenges.”

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are all confirmed to attend, and more are expected to be added to the event, scheduled for May 16.

Speakers have been encouraged to come with substantive proposals on the economy, climate change, national security, civil rights, reproductive rights and immigration rather than just political attacks on Trump. Sprinkled through the day will be panel discussions and conversations that will bring in activists and leaders of new organizations.

CAP hopes this event will make it the nexus for all the strands of the party that have begun to take shape since Trump’s win.

New anti-Trump groups are sprouting up almost by the day, many of them with overlapping missions, ambiguous agendas and questionable resources. At the same time, several of the bigger players — including CAP, the super PAC Priorities, David Brock’s collection of organizations, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee being backed by Barack Obama and Eric Holder, and even the Democratic National Committee itself — have been trying to stake their claims on guiding the efforts against the administration.


January 30th 1948: Gandhi assassinated

On this day in 1948, Indian pacifist and leader of the independence movement, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. Gandhi was famous for his non-violent struggle for Indian independence from British colonial rule, disavowing violence and instead advocating mass civil disobedience to secure India’s independence. For instance, in 1930 he led the Salt March, which saw thousands of protestors defy the British monopoly on salt production by marching to the coastline and producing their own salt. Gandhi’s goal was achieved a year before his death, with Indian independence secured in August 1947. However, in January 1948, he was shot at point-blank range while walking to a platform to address a prayer meeting. The assasin was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who believed that Gandhi was sympathetic to Muslims and responsible for weakening India by insisting on payment to Pakistan. Gandhi was mourned across India and throughout the world, with thousands flocking to his funeral. He remains a revered figure today, honoured in India as ‘Father of the Nation’ and respectfully referred to as ‘Mahatma’ (’Great Soul’) and ‘Bapu’ (’father’).

A Brief Guide to 00′s Marvel Crossovers

Yep I’m still attempting to recap every crossover ever…

Marvel: 80s Crossovers, 90s Crossovers

DC: 80s Crossovers, 90s Crossovers

The Twelve: Apocalypse returns and tries to hunt down a dozen mutants who are philosophized to destroy him, or wage war on mankind, or maybe make him all powerful Or something….  Not even the creative team seemed to know.

Maximum Security: Aliens try to turn Earth into a giant Espcape from New York style prison for their most dangerous criminals.  Not a high point of Kurt Busiek’s otherwise stellar Avengers run. This would be the last major crossover for awhile during the Jemas/Quesada years.

The Kang Dynasty: Not technically a crossover but special notice should be given to Kurt Busiek’s 16-part magnum opus which closed out his Avengers run.  Kang takes on EVERYONE and wins conquering the world and destroying Washington DC to boot. The Avengers meanwhile are out in space and have to contend with the menace of TRIPLE EVIL before they can respond.  Did I mention there’s a fight between giant hologram versions of Captain America and Kang in space?!

Eve of Destruction: The defacto finale of the post Claremont/pre Morrison X-men years that a lot of people fondly remember but I’m not sure why. After the Legacy Virus is cured Magento tries to take over the world again. Writer Scott Lobdell’s most memorably odd moment in this one is the inclusion of a Chibi-Apocalypse from the Mojoverse which he apparently wanted to be the entire focus of the event.

Ultimate War: Our first Ultimate Crossover.  The US Government orders The Ultimates to get in a punch-fest with the Ultimate X-Men.

Avengers Disassembled: The Avengers are attacked by a bizarre series of seemingly random assaults that are revealed to be caused by the Scarlet Witch who has gone insane because of a leftover plot-point from John Byrne’s West Coast Avengers run.  This marks a transitional period in which Bendis moved away from doing beloved thoughtful character driven comics like Ultimate Spider-Man & his Daredevil run to not universally beloved big loud books.

Ultimate Six: The Sinister Six form and attack not only Spider-Man but the White House.  The Ultimates come to the rescue.

Secret War: Not to be confused with Secret Wars (1984) or Secret Wars (2016.) Nick Fury uncovers a plot by the new prime minister of Latvaria to build an army of villains and engages in some dubious tactics to take her down.  Has some beautiful painted art by Gabriele Dell'Otto but it’s still a distant third place among comics with “Secret War” in the title.

Ultimate X4: The Ultimate X-Men meet the Ultimate Fantastic Four and ultimately fight.

House of M: Scarlet Witch magics a kinda neat alternate Earth ruled by Magneto into existence.  Then Marvel editorial decides to throw in the whole “No More Mutants” thing and X-Men line is mucked up for years.

Ultimate Nightmare/Ultimate Secret/Ultimate Extinction: A broadcast that disrupts Earth’s television and radio signals causes people to commit suicide. Both S.H.I.E.LD. and the Ultimate X-Men investigate and the Ultimate version of Vision debuts. It turns out the cause of this is the Ultimate version of Galactus who some kind swarm of robot space locusts that shoot feet lasers. Yeah…

Annihilation: Marvel’s cosmic heroes and villains alike unite to battle a massive inter-dimensional army lead by Annihilus. Easily Marvel’s best crossover of the decade and both a successful Nova series and the Guardians of the Galaxy would spin off from this.

Civil War: Congress passes a law requiring all super powered individuals to register with the American Government. Both the pro and anti-sides react in pretty stupid ways.  Some genuine thrilling action pieces but the plot is a hot mess. Needless to say the movie’s a lot better.

Ultimate Power: Linkara’s having a field day with this one. The Ultimate Universe Reed Richards sends inter-dimensional probes to the Squadron Supreme’s Universe and things go horribly wrong. Like Greg Land’s art…

World War Hulk: Hulk returns from space after his “Planet Hulk” adventure and is kind of steamed but responds in a dumb way.  Read Planet Hulk instead.

One More Day:  Spider-Man sells his marriage to the Devil and J. Michael Straczynski’s popular run on the Spider-Man ends in a story so awful that he almost had his name removed from the book.

Annihilation: Conquest: Ultron seizes control of the Phalanx and becomes a threat to the whole galaxy.  Not as good as the first Annihilation but worth checking out.

Messiah CompleX: Cable wants to save a baby so he can prevent his horrible apocalypse future.  Bishop wants to kill the same baby to prevent his horrible apocalypse future.  Wackiness ensues.

Secret Invasion: The Skrulls spend years putting together a well thought out infiltration of Earth’s super hero teams and then blows it by engaging an attack on New York in broad daylight.  Good dumb fun.

War of Kings: Hey remember Vulcan that third Summers brother that they tried so hard to make us care about?  Well here he is going to war with The Inhumans. You care about the Inhumans right?

Ultimatum: Hey remember when Marvel’s Ultimate Universe was the hottest thing in comics?  Remember when the line was so popular Marvel actually billed them as the gold standard by which the rest of their books were judged?  Remember how all it took was one bad Ultimates series and a miserable gorefest of a crossover to send the whole brand tumbling to irreversible decline? Could this possibly be the dumbest thing Marvel ever did?

Messiah War: Cable & Bishop are still fighting over Baby Hope.  Cyclops decides to send the brand new All-Stabby X-Force to Bishop’s timeline and… dear god.  I feel like I’m coming to the crushing realization that X-Men Crossovers always suck.

Uptopia: At the height of Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign period he decides to form his own evil team of X-Men.  This doesn’t go over well with the real X-Men, the All Stabby X-Force, or even his own Cabal team-mates.

Necrosha: See Blackest Night

Fall of the Hulks/Hulked Out Heroes/World War Hulks: The end of Jeff Loeb’s Hulk run is a big, confusion, ridiculous mess about Modok forming an evil team of super geniuses. Among other things their plot revolves around turning several superheroes into Hulks.  I see no way that could possibly backfire. Still it’s a lot better than Ultimatum.

UN employee resigns amid allegations he was elected to Hamas leadership - 23 April 2017

Suhail al-Hindi, an United Nations Relief Works Agency employee who was allegedly elected to the Hamas leadership, resigned from his position at the UN body, the Palestinian news site al-Rishalah reported on Saturday.
UNRWA Spokesman Chirs Gunness confirmed Hindi is no longer employed by UNRWA. “I can confirm that Mr. al-Hindi is no longer working for UNRWA. It is not the policy of the Agency to discuss the terms of departure of individual staff members,” Gunness said in an email statement.
UNRWA suspended Hindi in February, pending an investigation into the allegations against him.
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, which is responsible for coordinating civil, economic, and security affairs in the Palestinian territories, accused Hindi of being elected to the Hamas leadership in February.  
“The name Suheil Ahmad Hassan al-Hindi has emerged as one of those selected for membership in the Hamas politburo,” COGAT said in a report published on its website.
Hamas held leadership elections for its Gaza branch in the beginning of 2017, but has yet to announce all of their results.
Hindi has vehemently denied that he was elected to the Hamas leadership. “I have no relation to that issue in any way and I will sue the parties that are throwing around my name on social media and new sites,” Hindi said in early February.
UNRWA Employees’ Union Secretary General Yousif Hamoudna told al-Risalah on Saturday that Hindi’s resignation is unrelated to the allegations against him, without elaborating. Hamoudna added that Hindi plans to continue to serve refugees through alternative means.
Hindi was a teacher at an UNRWA school and the chairman of the UNRWA Employees’ Union in Gaza.
COGAT was not immediately available to comment on Hindi’s resignation.


February 21st 1965: Malcolm X assassinated

On this day in 1965, African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated aged 39. Born as Malcolm Little in Nebraska in 1925, his family were forced to relocate when the Ku Klux Klan threatened his father, who was active in the black nationalist movement. Malcolm’s father was ultimately murdered by white supremacists - but the white police insisted it was suicide - and the family disintegrated. The young Malcolm dropped out of school and became involved in crime, eventually going to prison for burglary in 1946. While imprisoned, he was exposed to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, who argued that the white man is the devil and cannot live peaceably with blacks, who should establish a separate black nation. Malcolm was powerfully affected by this ideology, and changed his last name to reject the ‘slave’ name he had been given. After his release from prison, Malcolm X became a preacher in New York, calling for black self-defence against white aggression. His eloquent advocacy of black nationalism and the neccessity of securing civil rights “by any means necessary”, including violence, made him a respected, but also feared, figure. Malcolm X was feared by white and black Americans, as some civil rights activists worried that his more radical message threatened the strategy of non-violence espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.. While his fame contributed to the Nation of Islam’s growing popularity, Malcolm began to split from the organisation, disillusioned by Elijah Muhammad’s hypocrisy and alleged corruption. He formally left the organisation in 1964, and visited Mecca, an experience which tempered his rhetoric and led him to abandon the argument that whites are devils. At this point, Malcolm changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, returning to America influenced by socialism and pan-Africanism and more hopeful for a peaceful resolution to America’s race problems. As he was preparing to speak at a rally for his recently-founded Organisation of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, Malcolm X was shot 15 times by three members of the Nation of Islam. In death, his legacy loomed large over the civil rights movement, and African-American activists increasingly urged black power for black people. Malcolm X remains one of the most famous and respected figures of the civil rights movement, and his seminal autobiography is considered one of the most important books of the twentieth century.

“We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”


The Spanish El Tigre Model 1892,

An interesting part of Spanish firearms history, the El Tigre was a licsensed copy of the Winchester 1892 lever action rifle created by John Browning.  Throughout the later 19th century Winchester exported many rifles to Spain, which were wildly popular with Spanish hunters and sport shooters.  By World War I Garate y Anitua purchased a license to manufacture their own Winchester 1892.  Chambered for .44-40, the new rifles were called El Tigre (tiger) rifles.

Between 1915 and 1937, 1,034,687 were produced, slightly more than the number of Winchester 1892 rifles produced in the US.  Most were sold to civilians as hunting rifles, although a number were used by the Civil Guard, police, security guards, and prison guards.  Because of the rifles popularity, many were pressed into service during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s.  While not a military rifle, they were common and easy to use by irregular forces who fought with the republicans against the Spanish fascists.