By Jay B Gaskill

First read CONTAGOUS JIHAD {  }; then consider the daunting but necessary revolution in approach on the ground level that will be necessary.

First we address the inflexibilities and institutional idiocy.

Bureaucracies represent the mechanization of official personal relations.  Algorithms are the mechanization of thinking.  Neither of these inventions is particularly flexible or adaptive in real time.  But terrorist threats operate in real time; are they not particularly hampered by bureaucratic paralysis or dumb algorithms.  Hence, the task ahead….



“CIA, FBI Flagged Him for Concern, Raising New Questions About Missed Opportunities to Prevent Fatal Boston Attack

“Russian officials contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March 2011, then reached out to the Central Intelligence Agency in September of that year, citing concerns Mr. Tsarnaev might have been associating with extremists, according to U.S. officials.

“The FBI has said it interviewed Mr. Tsarnaev and conducted a threat assessment, but found nothing ‘derogatory’ that could prompt further investigation. A U.S. law-enforcement official said the case was closed after three months, after the FBI asked Russian counterparts for additional information, but received none.

“U.S. officials said Wednesday that at the request of the CIA, Mr. Tsarnaev was added to a broad database called Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, which holds hundreds of thousands of names flagged by multiple U.S. security agencies.”


If I need to explain the problem further, we are in more trouble than I thought. In my referenced earlier article, I proposed Protective Preemptive Profiling, Adding that,  “The problem to be confronted and solved is this: Superficial appearances are almost worthless.  We need to get to the otherwise private level to uncover revealing communications, attitudes and other tells.  No one advocates arrests or detentions for acts not done based only on a profile.

But there is a powerful deterrent effect by interviewing each target, explaining why he is “a person of interest and concern” and warning him that he is being closely followed.” This technique has been used by organized crime, and our people, with civilized restraint, should be allowed to use a bit of intimidation as well.

This is not a check-the-box-and-move-on exercise.

Contrast the mindless bureaucratic TSA approach that US travelers experience with every flight with the experience of someone who travels on Israel’s airline, El Al.  If you are even remotely suspicious, you are treated to an in-depth conversation with a savvy human being with the insight and the power to keep you off the aircraft.  The Protective Preemptive Profiling model must employ such people and empower them to protect us.  We have more than enough operatives who could accomplish what needs to be done, with efficiency and the necessary finesse.

My last point in the earlier piece, A Matter of Will, not Capability, bears reemphasis:

“Prevention and deterrence, accomplished through proactive, intelligent and individuated profiling, is a bargain, both in the civil liberties calculus, the human damage calculus and the national security calculus.  The missing elements are not talent and resources. It is purpose, coordination and the iron will to pursue this course against all obstacles for one simple and compelling reason.  It is how we will win.”



First published on The Policy Think Site { }and hosted blogs.

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Author contact < >






Contagious Jihad

Contagious Jihad – The new age of Entrepreneurial Terrorists


The San Francisco Chronicle has opined:

“What we know right now is that the suspects are ethnic Chechens who moved to the United States with their family in 2002. Former classmates have described Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as “quiet,” “sweet” and “normal.” The elder brother, Tamerlan, seems to have had more problems adjusting: He once said that he had no American friends, and that he didn’t “understand” Americans.

“There’s little evidence that their parents held radical beliefs, but the brothers left a trail of clues on social media about their interest in Islam and Chechnya’s long struggle with Russia. Still, it’s far too early to say what their motive might have been.”


It’s far too early to say?  The Chronicle’s recent editorial peroration was an exercise in politically-correct fantasy. The jihad motivation of the Brothers Tsarnaev was blatantly clear from the contours of the bombing event itself, even before these two jihad warriors were brought to ground. This was a cause-motivated killing, aimed at symbols of American accomplishment and patriotism, coordinated and designed for maximum horror and highest publicity. There is no other ideological motivation afoot at the moment that could come close to explaining the behavior of the Boston Massacre bombers. The jihadist signature was so clear that one retired CIA expert told media outlets that the perpetrators were either al Qaeda or faithfully copying the al Qaeda playbook. Please take note: the enemy of liberal Western civilization is not just the damaged organization called al Qaeda, but the larger jihadist ideology that links to a whole range of terrorist attacks on our homeland, diplomats, friends and allies.

In the Boston case, there may or may not ever be any solid trail of money, direction and support that our anti-terrorist experts can ever trace back to some central network, whether al Qaeda or other jihad group. Yes, the older brother Tsarnaev probably received some terror training from radical Chechnyans when he was in Russia.  But whether that was the case, we can be confident that there was a common jihad-source of ideological inspiration, instigation and ‘religious’ validation for the planned bombings.

the new threat category

We face a new trend in terrorist attacks on the US: the outsourcing of jihad mayhem operations to inspired/activated amateurs/volunteers operating with minimal or no foreign support outside of the spread of a toxic ideological package.

The toxicity and persuasive power of the jihad recruitment model poses an entirely new threat category.  We need to adjust our thinking at a fundamental level. The therapeutic mindset that seethes through the soft humanitarians who write editorials like the one I’ve just quoted cannot be allowed to affect policy makers. The stakes are too high.

We should not worry too much about “hasty” condemnations of aberrant religious beliefs, or to shy away from too “aggressive” inquiries, investigations and deep vetting of “victim” categories that are also potential threat categories. If we do, our humanitarian hesitations will just get more innocent people killed.

We need to adapt our responses to the new threat profile very quickly. The US has been on notice since 2010.  The jihad support trail in the notorious Fort Hood murders by Sgt. Hasan effectively began and ended at the web address of a bloody-minded mullah named Awlaki, who – in the minds of some apologists – was just exercising free speech

“In an interview published on Al Jazeera’s Web site, radical Muslim  cleric Anwar al says that Maj. Nidal Hasan, charged with killing 13 in last month’s Fort Hood massacre , asked for guidance about killing American military personnel in his very first e-mail.” ABC News

To his credit, President Obama put placed al-Awlaki on the CIA kill list in April of 2010. The American drone attack in Yemen on September 30, 2011 silenced Awlaki for good. Meantime, Maj. Nidal Hasan is facing the death penalty in a military court.

Hasan was an entrepreneurial jihad murderer who – as far as we know – got no material support from terrorist leaders. He was self-recruited in the sense that the impulse to do mayhem for the cause gestated in his own experience before it was nurtured, fanned and validated by a radical Muslim cleric.

The anti-terrorist measures initiated by the former Bush administration, starting with the Patriot Act and carried forward by President Obama, especially the banking restrictions, have effectively dried up funding and logistics support for major terrorist attacks like those on September 11th, 2001. Our enemies since have adapted by adopting the entrepreneurial model, and we need to adapt accordingly.

But that requires a discussion the current media mavens and leadership elites are very reluctant to have. And time is running out.  Do we have to endure another mass killing before we “get it”?

the discussion minefield

Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas sometimes have fatal ones. This insight has never been more relevant, but rarely has it been more marginalized.  Why?  Urgently needed discussion about new security measures that address bad ideas is being curtailed.

Consider the politically correct emphasis on individual moral autonomy and the resulting hypersensitivity to criticism of other cultures. Aren’t all cultures equal? How dare we in the privileged West think otherwise! These sensitivities operate as a censor of any open and honest discussions of certain ‘hot’ topics, such as the existence of specific toxic religious elements in radical Islam. As result we a politically correct paralysis in security policy. This is an unacceptably high price to pay for cultural sensitivity, especially when a new mutation in terror had emerged that can get around our defenses.

Here is an irony for you: An atheist like the late Christopher Hitchens can fire a broadside against all religion (God is Not Great) without a whimper, but heaven help those who single out dangerous aspects of radical Islam in the public square. Leaders can issue fog-ball statements about how radical jihadists have hijacked a major religion let them dare to take it to the next step – concretely useful discussions and they are quickly shut down. Questions like, “What civil rights do you propose to destroy?” are given weight among the “use a bomb and get psychiatric help” school.

Major media outlets are still using a tip-toe approach to the deadly reality confronting us. I was struck by a piece in the New York Times, under the heading – “Investigators Dig for Roots of Bomb Suspects’ Radicalization:

“As scrutiny increased on how the brothers had been radicalized… [it was learned that] Agents had questioned [the older brother] in 2011 in response to a request from the Russian government, a year before he traveled to Chechnya and Dagestan, predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus region of Russia. Both have been ‘hotbeds of militant separatists’.”

“Tensions also escalated Sunday over how to handle the case of the surviving suspect. …[T]he administration has said terrorism suspects arrested inside the United States should be handled exclusively in the criminal justice system, and gave no sign it intends to do otherwise in Mr. Tsarnaev’s case. Moreover, there is no evidence suggesting that he is part of Al Qaeda; the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, not all Muslim extremists.”

April 21, 2013, in the New York Times

One might have written, “scrutiny increased on how the brothers became active jihadists” adding that the older brother had spent time among militant Chechnya and Dagestan jihadists” Among  the tells in this article were the use of the term “radicalization”, the blithe assertion that “ the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, not all Muslim extremists,” and the mincing reference to Chechnya and Dagestan as “‘hotbeds of militant separatists”.  It seems that even in the face of compelling evidence of a jihadi attack on Americans, maiming, killing and wounding innocent people in ways so terrible that the media felt compelled to hide the graphic pictures, the New York Times was not still willing or able to call out the enemy.

Our “enemy” is at war with Western Civilization in general and the USA in particular. The questions of the day are whether we understand that is in fact the case and whether we are prepared to act accordingly.

Like the Hydra monster of Greek myth the enemy has many heads, each one of which was formed by contact with a dangerously toxic mutation of Islam.

If we do not fully recognize that we are actually at war, pretending that we are coping with a series of violent crimes; if we seem unwilling to openly identify the nature and source of threat that is attacking us and killing our citizens; if we allow ourselves to appear timorous, like the intimidated characters in Harry Potter who were afraid to name Voldemort, then we might as well put a banner across Old Glory: WE CAN BE INTIMIDATED: KEEP IT UP; IT IS WORKING.

Any country and any leadership set that remains unwilling and even afraid, in face of compelling evidence, to identify and condemn the concerted and repeated attacks against the homeland for what they really are – an evil perversion of Islam – will never quite be able to stop those attacks.

The gravamen of the quasi-religious ideology that drives this bloody jihad, no matter where its immediate geographical origin, is the same: murderous envy.

This is an envy of truly epic proportions: envy of our material successes; envy made worse by shame at the comparative material failure of the Islamic societies; envy made insufferable because the successes of Americans were accomplished by decadent infidels. This is envy that cries out for a leveling war, a just war (for the jihadi fanatics), because a just God would surely never allow such an unfair success as America to survive unpunished.

We are being attacked by the fervent followers of a deeply perverse ideology, wrapped in religious jargon and trappings, sold to susceptible minds.  The ideology is based on a lie, the false promise of eternal glory for those warriors who martyr themselves by killing and maiming men, women and children engaged in peaceful pursuits in places and at times where, as fellow Americans and our law-abiding guests, they have the right to peace and security. The jihad exists to deny Americans the right to peace and security. No amount of appeasement or cultural sensitivity will change that.

But just to have this conversation in the public square, let alone to work out its concrete policy implications, is like walking over a minefield of politically correct sensibilities.  We are crippled by the moral ambivalence of our leaders and our media, a generation-in-power that could well have lost WWII.

Fortunately that discussion has now begun.  Michael Gerson in the 4-22 edition of the Washington Post has written—

“As the circumstances surrounding the Boston bombings have clarified, some of the reactions have been ideologically reflexive and counterproductive. Portions of the left turned to any artifice, including an attack on ‘white privilege,’ to avoid a serious discussion of radicalism and terrorism. Even the use of the word terrorism is viewed as a threat to multiculturalism or the prelude to a new round of civil rights abuses in the war on terrorism. …. Elements of the right suffer their own form of ideological impairment. Their tendency is to regard terrorism and Islam as interchangeable. … Terrorism is the expression of a violent ideology that has, disturbingly, taken root among some Muslims. …Debates over the meaning of terms such as ‘jihad’ and ‘sharia’ are at least as complex as Christian debates over ‘just war’ and “social justice.’”  {Tied in knots by radical Islam –}

We may yet stumble our way to the necessary clarity. 

But the jihad will not wait.


Because of the prevalent moral anonymity prevalent in our hip, postmodern culture, more and more of our character judgments come from surface impressions, a smile, a style, a sense of “normal” activities, the very notion of getting “an education”, any or all of which often are just masks.  We assume that a conventional, peace-loving internal life goes with a conventional exterior life; we assume that formal education imputes formal moral values; we assume that, in effect, we can safely presume that the ‘“nice kid” across the street has absorbed and inculcated the value and moral foundation that supports modern civilized behavior.

But these assumptions are false.  The reality may be – and often is – radically different.  Morality, as it was traditionally understood, is no longer universally taught.  When moral and value lessons are taught they often are not particularly coherent with the great moral traditions that uphold Western civilization.  The values and aspirations that we assume in a casual meeting with someone often sharply diverge from those values and aspirations secretly vented online; and they may diverge still further from someone’s actual behavior.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen an interview of a neighbor about the bloody monster who lived next door, “He was such a nice person. I can’t believe he dis this horrible thing.” Translation: I never knew him…really.

We first meet someone and his or her moral character is a question.  Can we trust his “education”?  It would be safer to have an honest conversation with parents and peers.  Check out the actual formal education of someone in any technical field – engineering, information technology, the physical sciences, even the so called behavioral sciences. Something is almost always missing. The great Western philosophical and moral canon from Aristotle and Moses to the Buddha and Jesus, from Athens and Rome through the Enlightenment and the French and American revolutions, all this has been gradually dropped from the general curriculum in favor of diversity and sensitivity training…or in favor of no formal moral education at all

To the undereducated, morally clueless set, the closet jihadists who do mass murder might as well be from Mars.  The jihad warriors from bloody Chechnya and elsewhere are an enigma to the sensitive souls without a formal moral education. For these naïve minds, Evil does not exist.  Surface impressions deceive.  The sensitivity and therapeutic models fail when the real moral questions present themselves. That pierced, green haired kid might be a Gandhi. That smiling, clean cut kid with curly hair and soft eyes might be capable of blowing up a nursery.

In a different context, I have written about the cultural carriers of nihilism, the rejection of all moral restraints, by elements in the popular entertainment culture.  I’ve called these internet and media transmitted images and narratives by the term malogens (malevolent psychological pathogens, expressed in the glorification of death images, and so on), a term developed in the study of a particularly chilling murder case – See Malogens  The general pattern in jihad conversion / recruitment is very similar.

The toxic version of Islam closely tracks traditional forms but with some deadly variations.  What follows is a sketch, designed to be a guide for profilers, not a definitive statement of belief, and certainly not as a guide for followers.

The jihadist’s version of Islam begins with the tradition. The ideal template for the perfect society is achieved through submission to the will of the One Supreme Deity whose words were faithfully captured in the Quran. Those who reject the will of the One are infidels.  The holy struggle to implement the will of the One against the forces of the infidels is a jihad. The 20th and 21st century version of this employs (what I believe to be) a profound theological error as a tool to recruit suicidal and risk-taking soldiers.  The adherents of this variation assume that those faithful who submit to the will of the One will create and live in a successful, materially prosperous society, and assume further that an infidel society will fail.  When this failure did not happen, the outcome was an offense to the One, made worse because the infidels of the Great Satan succeeded by demonically exploiting their faithlessness.

This single theological variation succeeds in motivating violence, because it brilliantly exploits the power of envy and revenge and harnesses the fantasy power lures felt by the powerless and confers moral validation on acts that would otherwise be reprehensible in any culture.

The ideal target is a male who was inculcated with Islam, who is longing for purpose and power.  The appeal to grievance and powerlessness by offering grandiose deeds that are pleasing to the ruler of the universe and will be rewarded postmortem can always gain traction with certain individuals in certain times of their lives under certain circumstances.

Profiles need to start with these individuals, times and circumstances, knowing that there will be false positives. The first task of the profiler is to identify possible targets for jihad conversion, learning through experience, gaining insight and predictive clues form each case.

Because males are the primary recruits, the females in their lives and their putatively private messages to others (electronic and other) are source material for danger signs. Individuals who lead well balanced family lives, who are morally grounded in a Judeo-Christian framework (using the term to include both traditions and their secular iterations) and / or exhibit a well-founded classic secular allegiance to Western civilization, are essentially immune to the jihad conversion appeal.  This puts the profilers in the uncomfortable, but necessary position, of seeming to concentrate on Muslims.  But the target subset is much, much smaller than the Muslim population whose members are living ordinary lives in the West.

The problem to be confronted and solved is this: Superficial appearances are almost worthless.  We need to get to the otherwise private level to uncover revealing communications, attitudes and other tells.  No one advocates arrests or detentions for acts not done based only on a profile.

But there is a powerful deterrent effect by interview each target, explaining why he is “a person of interest and concern” and warning him that he is being closely followed.

A matter of will, not capabilty

When you add up the numbers of law enforcement, paramilitary and homeland security personnel detailed just for the Boston bombing investigation, post disaster, you begin the notice a possible massive misallocation of resources. What if we had stopped this?

Prevention and deterrence, accomplished through proactive, intelligent and individuated profiling, is a bargain, both in the civil liberties calculus, the human damage calculus and the national security calculus.

The missing elements are not talent and resources. It is purpose, coordination and the iron will to pursue this course against all obstacles for one simple and compelling reason.  It is how we will win.



First published on The Policy Think Site { }and hosted blogs.

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Author contact < >



Also posted:


By Jay B Gaskill

9:30 PST Northern California

Boston’s wakeup call is our wakeup call – but US anti-terrorist professionals were already onto the game afoot: “…counterterrorism officials were examining possible links between the Boston bombers and the Islamic Jihad Union of central Asia. Chechnya is predominantly Muslim” (NBC).

Dot…dot…dot.  The Brothers Tsarnaev (26 –dead, 19 – on the lam) were biological brothers, and brothers of the Jihad, bloody-minded warriors in the tradition of the Chechnya terrorists in Russia.  Two incidents come to mind

  1. 1.      The “…bomb blast that killed at least forty-one people, including seventeen children, during a military parade in the southwestern town of Kaspiisk in May 2002. Russia blamed the attack on Chechen terrorists.”
  2. “The October 2002 seizure of Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, where approximately seven hundred people were attending a performance. Russian Special Forces launched a rescue operation, but the opium-derived gas they used to disable the hostage-takers killed more than 120 hostages, as well as many of the terrorists. Basayev took responsibility for organizing the attack, and three Chechen-affiliated groups are thought to have been involved.” (Council on Foreign Relations Report)


The politically correct idiot, writing for Salon, who opined the hope that the terrorists would turn out to be “white guys” was unexpectedly prescient – white jihadists. My two earlier posts about the jihadist signature and motivation were spot on. {See and}

The bigger lesson bears repeating and remembering.  This jihad is a pan national movement with the ultimate aim of weakening western civilization and birthing a major Islamic state, one that can stand as a world power in its own right.

I and others have written extensively on this vital topic, to wit.



Once Upon a Time, a Prophet Emerged…


Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law

Published May 10, 2011 on the Policy Think Site

Executive Summary


The West faces an Islamic super-state in the throes of gestation and birth.  Given the prospect of loosely hinged martyrs in power, Pakistan’s loose nukes and the prevalent irrationalities loose in the region, a question arises:  Will the Muslims “grow out of” this madness in time?  The situation is grave, and the death of an al-Qaeda mastermind changes nothing of consequence.

So… will “moderate Islam” (whatever that means) come to our rescue?  If not (note the ticking clock), then what are our options?  Is there a theological prong to the defense of the West?  Are there creative solutions?  First: Achieve clarity.  Deadline? Yesterday.

Then we start the heavy lifting.  In this article, I outline a five pronged response: (1) We continue our proactive offense/defense against the terror jihad. (2) We continue with balance of power maneuvers because in the short term we have little choice. (3) We get to bright line clarity on one overriding point:  No nukes for the jihad – and we become as selectively ruthless on the point as we need to. (4) While waiting for a Muslim reformation (and covertly encouraging it) we overtly support civil Islam. (5) We incorporate a stealth theology program into an unprecedented, broadband propaganda war.  Losing this struggle is not an option.

For the entire article (well worth your time) please go to this link:


Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Pull quotes, links and forwards are welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, email the author at


Gun Control Rejection Was a Failure of Trust


Obama’s Latest Gun Control Rejection Was a Failure of Trust

A clear majority of the democratically controlled Senate has rejected the president’s gun control package, and by a smaller margin, the GOP version as well.  What gives?

This failure was the inevitable blowback from the breakdown in trust that began in Obama’s first term when Obama-Care was rammed past the normal vetting and congressional hearing processes, driven to a party-line vote, supported by the president’s promises, “this is deficit neutral” and “you won’t lose your current insurance”. When these and other representations proved to be false, more and more people began to ask, “Who is this president? Is he the president who pledged to get past the partisan divide, or is he the campaigner who derided the Americans who ‘cling to their guns and religion?’”

At least 98% + of all firearm owners are law abiding.  And these women and men have legitimate concerns that the creation of a national firearms registry will be a prelude to a later confiscation program that will do a much better job of disarming the innocent than the guilty.

Mr. Obama promised that the background checks in the recently defeated bill did not contemplate such a registry, but the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) revealed that it maintains a record that amounts to the same thing, one that could be augmented by the new background checks in the defeated bill.* Concerns like these (call them paranoid if you insist) were shared by so many democrats that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried hard to avoid a Senate vote on the merits from even taking place, hoping that the GOP would invoke the filibuster threshold of 60 votes. When that ploy failed, the naked emperor was exposed. Even the GOP measure failed to pass, though it had more votes than the administration version.

No one, outside of Obama’s shrinking inner circle, is willing to trust the feds with the power to disarm the civilian population…at least, not now, not with this president.

To paraphrase Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan, “It’s the trust issue, stupid.” All second term presidents are weakened by their dwindling time in office.  But this one is damaged by a string of false representations. Mr. Obama has squandered one of the essential attributes of successful leadership: He is no longer trusted.



I am in favor of gun ownership AND better, faster and more intelligent background checks.  See two articles of mine – Gun, Germs and Stealing –at it’s not gun control; it’s shooting control  at Law enforcement at every level, with federal help, is properly tasked to keep all firearms out of the hands of convicted felons and dangerous mental patients. Anything that can be done to speed up background checks, make them more careful, intelligent, thorough, and widely enforced, will be efforts well spent. A recent headline here in California reveals that thousands of firearms are in the hands of known individuals whose possession is unlawful because they have disqualifying criminal records.  Yet I’m not reading about massive sweeps. Instead, I still see the grand gestures, like gun buyback programs from non-criminals. These are a diversion.



Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill

Author contact:










A Boston Advisory


Jay B Gaskill


By their fruit you will know them. Do they gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? {Matthew 7:16}

By their methods, motives and cold-hearted planning, you will know them. Did they gather inspiration for their notorious mass murders from morally enlightened humanists, or from known, malevolent sources? {Maxim of anti-terror analysts}


Also available online at and


My earlier post, ‘Symbols and Revenge’ {}, unpacked the motivation of the envy/revenge driven terrorists, and pointed out that the ideology of jihad is uniquely suited for dastardly attacks on civilization like the April 15th Boston Massacre.

Even if all the evidence of culpability went up in flames beyond recovery, experts would be fully justified in operating on the working assumption that this was a jihad-driven attack and they would advise us (in fact already have advised us) to prepare our future security arrangement accordingly.

The bizarre voices in our postmodern culture who are actively hoping that this evil thing was done “by white guys” are spokespersons of a particular brand of moral bankruptcy.

After all the chattering, we will eventually learn the truth about 4-15-13, including when it was planned and by whom.  However that settles out, we will still be left with one, inescapable fact:

In spite of all our kindness and generosity as a nation (far exceeding in scope, consistency and scale that of any other world power, ever) we are the target of a bloody-minded jihad movement.  The war goes on.  We cannot surrender. 


Boston Globe

‘Investigators combing through the scene of the deadly Boston Marathon terrorist attack have recovered a circuit board that they believe was used to detonate the bombs, according to an official briefed on the investigation.

‘Investigators have also recovered components of the bombs, enabling them to determine that they consisted of two 6-liter pressure cookers packed with nails, ball bearings, and other metal. The makeshift bombs were placed in black duffel bags, the official said.’



‘…authorities have been aware for many years that a common kitchen aid could be modified to exact terror.

‘Two documents – a U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo issued in 2004 and a joint Homeland Security and FBI pamphlet released in 2010 – warned about the dangers of bombs made from pressure cookers.’



‘Inspire, the glossy magazine-style publication put out by al Qaeda, detailed how to make pressure cooker bombs a few years ago.

‘There is still no public information on which group, foreign or domestic, is responsible for Monday’s act of terror. However, al Qaeda’s jihadist magazine, which is easily found online, offered detailed instructions for making the type of bomb that appears to have been used in the attack. In theory, that information could have been downloaded by anyone with access to the internet.

‘In a section called “Open Source Jihad” the magazine presented an 8-page article with the title “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

…. the fact that this type of bomb was described by al Qaeda does not mean al Qaeda is responsible for this attack. Anyone looking to create an act of terror could have easily found this information online.”’



BILL JOY, the 21st century’s prophet

‘They will not require large facilities or rare raw materials. Knowledge alone will enable the use of them.

‘Thus we have the possibility not just of weapons of mass destruction but of knowledge-enabled mass destruction (KMD)

‘The new Pandora’s boxes of …[home grown] …technologies are almost open, yet we seem hardly to have noticed. Ideas can’t be put back in a box; unlike uranium or plutonium, they don’t need to be mined and refined, and they can be freely copied. Once they are out, they are out.’

Excerpted from the famous 2,000 WIRED Article, WHY THE FUTURE DOESN’T NEED US, By Bill Joy, the American computer scientist who invented the Java  program language and co-founded Sun Microsystems.



We are Americans first, last and always.  We have enemies, not because we are so bad, but, perversely, because we are so good that we are envied and resented. We are still this world’s Brilliant Dream.



First published on THE POLICY THINK SITE

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill

Pull quotes, links and forwards are welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, please contact the author via email: .



Boston Update

See the earlier post.

The casualty count now exceeds 170.




UPDATE – U.S. law enforcement officials disclosed that the detainee mentioned in an earlier leaked report was an injured Saudi national;  he is considered a “witness”.


UPDATE – The JFK library fire is now being described as unrelated – not from an incendiary device.

BOSTON 4-15-13

UPDATE – U.S. law enforcement officials disclosed that the detainee mentioned in an earlier leaked report was an injured Saudi national;  he is considered a “witness”.

UPDATE – The JFK library fire is now being described as unrelated – not from an incendiary device.

First published on The Policy Think Site

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law










An Analysis

By Jay B Gaskill


On 9-11-01, three symbols of America’s elite status were targeted: Our most visible financial towers in New York, the national military headquarters in Virginia, and the civilian power center in DC. The first two attacks were struck, as intended, but the third was thwarted by the brave passengers of the doomed airline flight 93.

Then on 9-11-12, the US Embassy at Benghazi in Libya was attacked with RPG’s, an ambassador and others were killed.

Today, 4-15-13, the crowded terminus of the Boston Marathon in the Copley Square neighborhood was bombed – two explosions went off there, causing deadly casualties, and an incendiary device was detonated at the JFK Library without casualties. At this writing, the list of wounded, maimed and dead has not been released, but scores of people were removed from the Copley Square scene.

Sources close to law enforcement have leaked that someone, a young man, apparently spotted on a video near the explosions site with backpack, is now in custody.  That person – if we are to believe one report – is a “foreign national”, meaning from a place that has hatched number of jihadists.

As I briefly explain below, even with no suspect in hand, the Boston incident would exhibit a Jihadi signature. Of course at this early stage, we have no idea whether this particular detainee is actually culpable, and his release will be quickly justified unless evidence to connect him to the bombs is found. No American who believes in the constitution can tolerate a law enforcement sweep based on ethnicity or religion. But no reasonable American can afford to ignore the power of religious motivation.

I believe that the three attacks just described belong to a large subset of terrorist assaults against US targets by persons connected to Islamist Jihad movements. 

Between the bombing of the US Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing almost 300 men in1983, and today’s tragedy, there have been more than a hundred such incidents, most of which were thwarted attempts, some of which simply failed, yet others drew blood, among them the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 2009 Fort Hood massacre.

The overall pattern is compelling enough to ask this question: Why were all these killers and would-be killers engaged in a jihad against the USA?  Why do they keep it up?

The tie that binds these deluded miscreants together is the blood bond of pathological envy. This mindset is currently focused on the prosperous West, especially the USA, as an irritatingly powerful success that is flaunting its “decadence” (when its culture is seen through a puritanical lens).

Such envy mutates into suicidal revenge when it is combined with a special religious ingredient – we’ll call it the “You are cheating God syndrome”.  Please note that, as someone from a deeply ecumenical tradition, I refuse to condemn any of the major world religions.

But there is a deeply toxic fallacy well embedded among some followers.  It goes like this: “My God (note the possessive case) guarantees our success if we just follow his way.  Therefore, when Godless infidels succeed, and rub our noses in their decadence, they must be cheating God.” The jihad combines a spirit of righteous revenge with the promise of a heavenly reward.  It is to ordinary grievance as a match flame is to pile of gasoline saturated tinder.

Those hated, godless elites were on full display on 9-11-01, 9-11-12 and 4-15, 13.

The combined symbolism surrounding this celebratory day in Boston – it was Patriots Day, also the site of a famous Marathon, an international gathering of runners, surrounded in the historical trappings of American patriotism, the home of the Secretary of State, and then there were all those soft targets from around the world.

In retrospect, it was a jihadi magnet.

We can’t fully defend every place every day, but the next combination of a special occasion and hated symbolism (from the perspective of the loosely wrapped jihad warriors) should be the cause for much increased security.


First published on The Policy Think Site

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Links and pull quotes are welcome & encouraged. For everything else, contact the author by email at .

Modeling Margaret Thatcher




The next great leader of this country – and yes there will be another great leader – would do well to model Margaret Thatcher.


The grocer’s daughter who rose to greatness in the class obsessed culture of late 20th century England, was elected Prime Minister in 1979. After having served longer than any other 20th century PM (she left office in a ‘coup’ by wobbly-kneed conservatives in 1990). Margaret Thatcher is widely acknowledged as one of the most effective national leaders of her era.  Because she was a conservative, it is fashionable for some on the left to use the occasion of her death this month to tell everyone that her accomplishments were overrated or irrelevant; that she was given credit for events that would have happened anyway.


This narrative is patently false.


British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher served during a deep recession in which the English economy was crippled by decades of post-war socialist bureaucratic mismanagement. The national debt overhang was more than the UK’s GNP.


On taking office, Thatcher began to administer her brand of tough love, and ever so gradually, the economy responded. In 1982, UK inflation fell to an annual 8.6% from a high of 18%.  But unemployment remained stubbornly elevated and Thatcher’s additional economic reforms were stalled. The UK was then essentially in the same debt-inflation-stagnation trap that every free market economist in the game has warned us about on this side of the pond – crippling debt and very little government ability to drive investment without setting off dangerous inflation.


Enter the discovery of North Sea oil.  During the 1980’s the Thatcher government was able to deploy a 90% tax on North Sea oil recovery, using the revenue from that source (i.e., using real, not fiat or borrowed money) to rebalance the debt-crippled economy and help defray the costs of reform – in which sclerotic public-owned-and-run industries were privatized, one by one, freeing up new economic activity.


By 1987, unemployment was falling and the economy was in a strong recovery with low inflation.


Here is Prime Minister Thatcher’s economic report card from 1980 to 1990:


GDP up 23.3%

Total government spending: up12.9%

Law and order spending:  up 53.3%

Employment and training spending: up 33.3%

Health spending: up 31.8%

Social security spending: up 31.8%.


We have been living through an American version of what the British Fabian socialists did to England from the end of WW II until Thatcher was elected. 


David Brooks has reminded us that Margaret Thatcher ran and governed as a ‘values’ candidate.


At a time when others were sliding toward moral relativism, Thatcher stood for individual responsibility, moral self-confidence and often, it has to be admitted, self-righteous certitude.

Put aside her personal failings, she was a militant optimist for a country slipping unconsciously toward defeatism. Beyond her policy decisions, she was part of a values shift.


Today, bourgeois virtues like industry, competitiveness, ambition and personal responsibility are once again widely admired, by people of all political stripes. Today, technology is central to our world and tech moguls are celebrated.


Tony Blair and Bill Clinton embraced and ratified her policy shifts. Millions more have been influenced by her idea of what makes an admirable individual.


The Vigorous Virtues By DAVID BROOKS



And an astute political analyst reminds us that the conservatives lost the presidency because their candidate forgot to run on his values.


This year Democrats’ arguments on values were heard. This was a “values” election as strident as the ones from culture wars past in which Christians marched against subsidies for Mapplethorpe, creationists vied for seats on Kansas school boards, and William Bennett demanded to know where the outrage was. What was different about this year’s culture war is that Republicans lost it. They ran a campaign without any of the abrasive stuff Frank disapproved of. Their presidential candidate lost himself in theories about what motivates “job creators.” Certain senatorial candidates did try to raise cultural issues. Those in Missouri and Indiana showed themselves out of practice.

The values were different, but structurally the outcome was the same one that we have seen decade after decade. Where two candidates argue over values, the public may prefer one to the other. But where only one candidate has values, he wins, whatever those values happen to be. 

From Values Voters Prevail Again by Christopher Caldwell { }:


History tends to repeat itself until either we ‘get it’ or we really get it. 


England and Japan were locked in a new, dismal normal as a result of similar fiscal problems.  In each case the austerity slump of shared deprivation lasted for more than a decade.  Japan has not yet fully recovered.  England was lucky enough to have a Margaret Thatcher and a North Sea oil boom that finally sparked a real recovery using real money.


Whatever one thinks about the candidates in the last election, we did not end up with a Margaret Thatcher in charge. To accomplish what she did will require an American president to face down the green lobbyists, among other forces, and engineer a 180 degree turnaround in energy policy.  No, Virginia, we are not Santa Claus.  Yes, Virginia, we do need to sell fossil fuel to foreign customers.  Yes, Virginia, we will be contributing a little more to the CO2 load but not nearly as much as our Chinese brothers and sisters.


IF that happens, IF the American oil, natural gas and coal reserves are opened up, IF that ignites the next real energy boom, you can thank our trading partners who insist on being paid. …And you can thank all the conservative and libertarian economists whose advice has been ignored to date.


As long as we have to repay the Chinese and other outside lenders, how about allowing a real energy boom to take hold so the rest of us can prosper?  The industry experts credibly report that the USA could be a net energy exporter within six years and enjoy that status for another two decades, at least[1].  That’s a lot of time to rebuild a damaged productive sector and establish a real economy.  …Especially using real money.


The insidious gradual erosion of economic and other liberties imposed over decades can’t be dismantled in short order.  These restrictions have imposed cumulative political load on commerce. Such bureaucratic burdens cumulatively amount to saddling a sleek race horse with a Clydesdale’s load, then expecting it to run like the wind.  But the load CAN be dismantled, provided there is a positive, optimistic program to restore freedom …And that those all of who love freedom and understand the stakes are willing to do the necessary work; and get past all of the wedge issues that tend to paralyze the rational, pro-business politicians.


I have not even touched on foreign policy.  Suffice it to say that one needs only to connect a few dots to understand our current peril.  When US forces decisively overran Iraq, Korea’s miniature madman-in-residence, little Kim, went into hiding, terrified[2].  Not long after the major domo-in-residence of Libya, Kaddafi the late, promptly coughed up his nuclear weapons program.  The deceased mini-madman of North Korea and the now dead hero of Libya were intimidated. This is the ripple effect of a decisive demonstration of purpose, will and capability by great power.  It works on thugs every time. Every deadly war was preceded by the misperception of weakness. The perception of policy ambiguity and irresolution of an otherwise powerful adversary (in thug-world, the translation is ‘cowardice’) operates to embolden thuggish leaders to take otherwise unreasonably aggressive risks. The failure to head-off, deter or militarily prevent North Korea’s nuclear missile program from becoming operational will embolden Iran. The ‘deploy a nuke and get a scolding’ logic is no different than the ‘use a gun, go to your room’ nonsense that reaps crime waves.

So we can look to the example of the Iron Lady for guidance on protecting the peace as well.  As William Kristol wrote on April 8, 2013

“Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II—three who won the Cold War … are no longer with us. Their examples remain. They knew what they believed but also knew they had to justify their beliefs…. They stood firm when in power, and they took risks to get there, challenging the conventional wisdom and the respective establishments of their nations or institutions.” {}


Margaret Thatcher – we do miss you.





Copyright 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, attorney at law, as first published on the Policy Think Site


Forwards, links and pull quotes welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, contact the author via email

[2] Kim Jong Il took refuge in an impregnable mountain fortress, called Cheol Bong Li, a little under ten miles from central Pyongyang.  There, he hurried past tank units of the Korean People’s Army, descending down a lengthy underground corridor, deep beneath Guk Sa Bong mountain.  The command compound that awaited him—designed to withstand a nuclear strike—consisted of two sprawling floors, including a series of war rooms that would enable Kim to control the military during a foreign attack. See

CO2 ON Trial – Insufficient Evidence


Guilty or Not Guilty: The Evidence is Insufficient 

No denying that the earth is warmer – in the aggregate – than, say, in 1917. The conventional wisdom is that carbon dioxide, the gas that plants ‘inhale’ and that we animals exhale, is guilty.  What if the conventional wisdom is wrong or misleading?  If CO2 is not the culprit, what is?

Not everyone has read the recent Economist article acknowledging the decade-long disconnect between rising CO2 and essentially flat world temperatures over the same period, because the conventional wisdom media is very, very slow to publish anything that ‘denies’ the global warming ‘consensus’. The current 10 year long period of stable world aggregate temperatures is being described as a “warming “pause” – but not a pause for reflection about the underlying assumptions.

THE ECONOMIST March 30, 2013

“OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”


Contrary to conventional wisdom, CO2 – allegedly the guilty-as-charged greenhouse gas, has gone on strike, no longer “forcing” world-wide heat increases.  What’s up?

As the physicist Wm. Happer of Princeton wrote in the journal First Things

“Other things being equal, more CO2 will cause more warming. The question is how much warming, and whether the increased CO2 and the warming it causes will be good or bad for the planet.

“The argument starts something like this. CO2 levels have increased from about 280 ppm to 390 ppm over the past 150 years or so, and the earth has warmed by about 0.8 degree Celsius during that time. Therefore the warming is due to CO2. But correlation is not causation. Roosters crow every morning at sunrise, but that does not mean the rooster caused the sun to rise. The sun will still rise on Monday if you decide to have the rooster for Sunday dinner.”


And as Dr. Happer observed in the Wall Street Journal last year-

“It is easy to be confused about climate, because we are constantly being warned about the horrible things that will happen or are already happening as a result of mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But these ominous predictions are based on computer models. It is important to distinguish between what the climate is actually doing and what computer models predict. The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with model predictions.”


Anthropogenic (human caused) climate forcing may well be operating.  But do we have a handle on the mechanism?  Are we (like those clueless medieval physicians) merely bleeding the patient?  Is the patient really sick? Or are we warding off the onset of a new cooling period?  If  we humans collectively are powerful enough to warm the entire planet earth, just how are we doing it?

I recall the arguments of the environmental scientist, Dr. William F. Ruddiman, who first advanced a provocative thesis in 2005. His proposal was never really addressed thereafter. LINK –

Dr. Ruddiman advanced two important points:  (1) Human land use and agricultural activities over the last eight millennia have done as much to alter the climate as the more recent wave of industrialization; (2) This warming effect is not bad; according to Ruddiman’s calculations we otherwise would be in the midst of an ice age.

“New evidence suggests that concentrations of CO2 started rising about 8,000 years ago, even though natural trends indicate they should have been dropping. Some 3,000 years later the same thing happened to methane, another heat-trapping gas. The consequences of these surprising rises have been profound. Without them, current temperatures in northern parts of North America and Europe would be cooler by three to four degrees Celsius–enough to make agriculture difficult. In addition, an incipient ice age–marked by the appearance of small ice caps–would probably have begun several thousand years ago in parts of northeastern Canada. Instead the earth’s climate has remained relatively warm and stable in recent millennia.”

“…about 8,000 years ago the [greenhouse] gas trends stopped following the trend that would have been predicted from their past long-term behavior, which had been marked by regular cycles… [H]uman activities … – primarily agricultural deforestation and crop irrigation – must have added the extra CO2 and methane to the atmosphere.  These activities explained both the reversals in gas trends and the ongoing increases right up to the start of the industrial era.”

Dr. Ruddiman’s hypothesis was partly based on the discovery of changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun (known since the 1970’s to affect climate). Long term heating and cooling patterns are linked to “regular changes in the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface”.  In effect, the ice ages and the shorter, warmer interglacial periods are driven by the interplay of thee orbital cycles “which operate over 100,000, 41,000 and 22,000 years” and sometimes reinforce each other.  The rise of human civilization within the last 6,000 years coincided with the retreat of the huge glaciers that “had blanketed Europe and North America for the previous 100,000 years”.

An ice core taken from Vostok Station in the Antarctic in the 1990’s preserves a record of trapped ancient air bubbles going back 400,000 years.  “…for example, methane concentrations fluctuate mainly at the 22,000-year tempo of an orbital cycle called precession.”

Skipping most of the technical details of Dr. Ruddiman’s argument, I gleaned that methane, CO2 and temperature levels went off-pattern in the last several thousand years and that this change tracked the development of human agriculture. For example, rice paddies generate excess methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.  There was a substantial warming effect that “escaped detection” because “it was masked by natural climate changes in the opposite direction”.

Ruddiman and two colleagues, Steven J. Vavrus and John E. Kutzbach, have calculated that human activities, agriculture and industrial combined, have prevented a substantial cooling.  “In effect, current temperatures would be well on the way toward typical glacial temperatures had it not been for the greenhouse contributions from early farming practices and later industrialization.”

Until the outlines of the current warming trend were understood, scientists in the 1970’s were predicting that another ice age was only a “few hundred years” away.  Ruddiman now asserts that – “If anything, such forecasts of an ‘impending’ ice age were actually understated: new ice sheets should have begun to grow several millennia ago because human-induced global warming actually began far earlier…”

In a publisher’s description of Ruddiman’s 2005 book (Princeton University Press 2005), Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate, we were told that “The ‘Ruddiman Hypothesis’ will spark intense debate.”

I’m still waiting for that debate.  Shouldn’t it make policy makers the least bit uncomfortable that the climate arguments resemble theological ones in an atmosphere (pun intended) that is hyper sensitive to heresy?

Climate scientists acknowledge the existence of several possible drivers of the observed global warming patterns over the last 80 years, some more plausible than others.  Among them are these:

a)      Solar forcing, due to changes in the net heat energy transmitted by the sun to the earth’s atmosphere that vary due to a variety of factors, including variations in the earth’s orbit and solar radiation output changes;

b)     ocean surface heat variations;

c)      greenhouse gas forcing, noting that the single most potent greenhouse gas is water vapor, then methane and CO2;

d)     land use and atmosphere changes (some due to human activity) that alter surface heat reflectivity;

e)      changes (so far unexplained) in ocean current circulation patterns;

f)       miscellaneous other “suspect” factors such as subsurface ocean volcanic activity and even cosmic ray surges that may affect water vapor formation have limited support as candidates.

We must ask, why was so much emphasis placed on CO2 emissions? Three reasons leap out:

  1. CO2 emissions increases roughly coincided with the modern industrial period; and were approximately correlated with the modern warming period (noting that we really only have reliable modern records of world temperatures);
  2. The methane sources were poorly documented as they were mostly agricultural; and water vapor was dismissed as the driving cause as “just weather”, i.e., as something that was assumed, a priori, to be an effect of  warming, not a causative agent;
  3. Tests of those pre-ancient Antarctic ice cores revealed a strong correlation (over much longer time spans than the modern period) between temperature rises and C02.  But there was an undisclosed CAVEAT: The embarrassing problem that the CO2 increases lagged the temperature increases by about 800 years was a fact not disclosed in Al Gore’s movie, Inconvenient Truths.  This has been “explained” by asserting that the original heating was caused by greenhouse gasses (really a conjecture), and that the outgassing of water-trapped CO2 in the oceans has accelerated the warming.

We know from tests under ideal and artificial conditions that CO2 has a heat trapping effect.  But how does that work under the large scale, dynamic conditions of the real world? Computer models have been developed mostly by extrapolation, not by rigorous testing.

Greenhouse gasses work by absorbing incoming visible light and UV radiation and emitting heat-transmitting infrared radiation (that is trapped on earth as heat) by absorbing the former and emitting the latter.[1]

To date, no country, corporation or agency has attempted the following experiment:

In the real world, the greenhouse warming effect takes place in columns of moist or dry air many miles tall, from surface to the troposphere. Thousands of floating smart sensors, aloft for several hours can track local temperatures, incoming solar radiation, scattering radiation -including the infared band, and the presence of CO2, water vapor and methane. Data would be captured by monitoring aircraft or balloons. This data harvest would be fed to a computer farm.  This experimental model can be repeated in hundreds of locations around the globe. Because, so far, the computer models have been embarrassingly off the mark, we can be confident that the resulting data set will refute or modify some of the key greenhouse gas assumptions. To date, suppositions and guesses (disguised as climate algorithms) have driven policy.  Why not actual empirical findings?

Are such experiments doable? Of course they are. Will they be expensive? Yes, but compared to what?  We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in CO2 remediation without a realistic clue whether that investment will pay off at all.

The climate arguments for drastic CO2 curbs resemble theological ones in a heresy-sensitive atmosphere.  The current “warming pause” needs to be a pause for review.  Why not use it to utilize real science to generate real data?


Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law,  as first published on The Policy Think Site and hosted Blogs Links, forwards and pull quotes are welcome.  For other permissions and comments contact the author by email at or at .

[1] In order of abundance, the greenhouse (heat-trapping) gasses are: water vapor, CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone (a modified form of oxygen). Potency varies. For example, on a pound for pound basis, the heat trapping effects of methane are said to be 72 times stronger than CO2. Moreover, methane gas has large indirect warming effects that have not yet been studied. Water vapor, though highly variable, accounts for most of the greenhouse effect, while CO2 accounts for about 20%