Friday, August 31, 2012

"Massive" Earthquake Hits Philippines

Massive Earthquake Hits Philippines

SUMMARY:- A massive earthquake has hit off the East coast of the Philippines. It has been felt up to an intensity VII onshore through USGS.

The tsunami was due to hit Eastern Samar Island and also the following other locations – Northern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur. It was due to have hit already and we are waiting on reports.

The latest PTWC ratings:- Only a local tsunami warning was enforced. Eyewitness reports in the east have seen 1.2m waves.

as can be expected with a massive earthquake , we are witnessing a lot of moderate to strong aftershocks. People at the coast will hardly feel them because most of them are occurring approx. 100 km out in the sea.

Update 20:00 UTC : The final earthquake value looks to be Mw7.6 instead of Mw7.9. Just 3/10ths but in reality a very big difference.

Philippines Coast Struck By Earthquakes

A 7.6-magnitude undersea earthquake struck off the eastern coast of the Philippines late today, killing at least one person in a house collapse, and a second temblor struck about half an hour later, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Media reported that power was knocked out in several cities and roads and bridges were destroyed .

A tsunami alert originally was issued for several countries including the Philippines, Indonesia, Palau, Japan and for Pacific islands as far away as the Northern Marianas, but was eventually lifted, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Benito Ramos, a retired general who heads the country's disaster-response agency, said in an advisory broadcast nationwide that residents should be on the alert for aftershocks.

"Don't sleep, especially those in the eastern seaboard…because there might be aftershocks," he said.

The first quake, originally pegged at a magnitude 7.9, hit at a depth of 34.9 kilometres and was centred 106 kilometres east of Samar Island, the USGS said.

The second earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.5, struck 102 kilometres northeast of San Isidro.

The initial quake set off car alarms, shook items off shelves and sent many coastal residents fleeing for high ground.

7.6 Quake Off Philippines

Evening Update: Israel Slams U.S. For "Lack Of Determination"

More and more details are beginning to leak out regarding the growing split between U.S and Israeli leadership. The article below contains a variety of statements which reveal just how wide this split has grown:

Israel responded bitterly on Friday to comments by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who said on Thursday that he did not want “to be complicit” if Israel were to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Dempsey’s comments were “strange” and characterized the failure of the United States to take a determined position against Iran’s nuclear drive, a source in Jerusalem was quoted as saying.

The comments “show once again that the US is not demonstrating determination against Iran’s nuclear program,” the source said, according to Israel’s Channel 2 news.

“It is strange that next to the oaths and blood libels of [Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, the production in Iran [a reference to this week's Non-Aligned Movement summit], and the [latest] IAEA report — which states that Iran is speeding up uranium enrichment under its nose — the American chief of staff decides to talk about [an Israeli strike] rather than giving a determined message to the Iranians,” the source said.

Speaking to journalists in London, Dempsey on Thursday made by far the clearest public comments from a senior American official distancing the US from any Israeli strike on Iran. He said an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which is reportedly being seriously contemplated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.” Then he added: “I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”

Israeli commentators made much Friday of Dempsey’s use of the word “complicit.” The US army chief could have said he did not want to be Israel’s “partner” or its “ally” in an attack on Iran, noted analyst Oren Nahari on Channel 1 state TV, but instead Dempsey employed a term with criminal connotations.

On the same channel, analyst Ari Shavit said that the events of the past week — including the publication of the IAEA report showing Iran expanding its nuclear enrichment program, and Iran’s hosting of the Non-Aligned Movement at which it declared it would continue its nuclear drive — showed that both diplomacy and sanctions have failed, and yet the US was doing nothing to ratchet up pressure on Iran.

Two weeks ago, Shavit noted, Israel’s President Shimon Peres publicly placed his faith in President Obama to thwart Iran’s drive to the bomb. America’s current policy, emblemized by Dempsey’s comments, said Shavit, “constitutes a resounding slap in the office for Peres and those other Israeli moderates who want to place their faith in the US.”

Given the US’s publicly stressed disinclination to act, “Israel is being pushed into a corner, in a way that is really dangerous,” said Shavit. “If all these moderate players, in the US and Europe, are so concerned about a dangerous Israeli action [against Iran], why haven’t they taken any meaningful action?” he asked.

DEBKA weighs in:

In its bluntest message yet, the US administration under Barack Obama, declared that Israel is on its own if it decides to go for Iran’s nuclear program with a military operation. Thursday, Aug. 30, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered the view for the third time in as many weeks that an Israeli attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”

Dempsey then astonished his audience by saying he did not know Iran's nuclear intentions, “as intelligence did not reveal intentions.” What was clear, he said, was that the "international coalition" applying pressure on Iran "could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely."

Sanctions against Iran were having an effect, he said, and they should be given a reasonable opportunity to succeed.

The general’s timing on this assertion was unfortunate. As he spoke, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported a 31-percent jump in Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium to 189.4 kilograms from 145 in May.

It was therefore obvious to the world that Iran has not been deflected by sanctions one whit from its gallop towards a nuclear weapon capacity, a race that will continue so long as nothing effective is done to stop – or even delay - its progress.

Israel, which is in direct line of an explicit Iranian threat of destruction, was therefore publicly slapped down by its best friend. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their predecessors were shown to have wasted three years in tireless efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear peril in accord with that friend. Washington has just dumped them.

Iran’s leaders must be laughing up their sleeves at America’s futile efforts to isolate them, as they race toward their nuclear goal while showcasing Tehran as the stage for the Non-Aligned Summit attended by dozens of world leaders.

Also see:

A senior Egyptian security official said on Thursday that the balance of military power in the Middle East will change significantly in the near future, following a visit by President Mohammed Morsi in China this week.

The official, who spoke to the Arab website Al-Moheet, said that during his visit to China, Morsi signed a series of security agreements which will produce a new military reality in the Middle East. The comments were translated by Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi.

The Egyptian Air Force, said the official, is expected to dramatically upgrade its capabilities, equipment, aircraft and personnel training, in cooperation with China. He said the upgrade will surprise all parties in the Middle East and North Africa. The Egyptian air defense forces will be able defend the Egyptians against any aggression, he said.

In The News - Netanyahu To U.S.: "Time Has Run Out"

PM Tells U.S.: "Time Has Run Out" On Iran Diplomacy

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu got into a diplomatic shouting match with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro over US President Barack Obama's handling of Iran's nuclear program, saying "time has run out" for diplomacy, Yediot Aharonot cited a source as saying on Friday.

A source that participated in the meeting said that a particularly angry and stressed Netanyahu began a tirade against the US president, attacking him for not doing enough on Iran. "Instead of pressuring Iran in an effective way, Obama and his people are pressuring us not to attack the nuclear facilities," the source quoted Netanyahu as saying.

Angered about continued US rhetoric that diplomacy needs more time to work, Netanyahu said flatly: "Time has run out,"Yediot reported.

The American ambassador is said to have responded politely but firmly, telling Netanyahu that he was distorting Obama's position. Obama promised not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, he explained, and left all options on the table, including military options.

At that point, diplomatic sources told the paper, "sparks flew" in an escalating shouting match between Netanyahu and Shapiro as the stunned congressman watched.

Netanyahu and Obama may meet face-to-face on the sidelines of September's United Nations General Assembly meeting.

PM says he wants to tell world about ‘Iranian regime of terror, the greatest threat to world peace’; meeting with US president would reduce chance of strike at Iran before then

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to fly to New York at the end of September to speak at the United Nations General Assembly.

He is likely to meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the GA to discuss with him further action to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israeli sources said.

According to some analysts, a meeting with Obama at the end of September would mean that it is highly unlikely that Israel would launch a unilateral strike at Iran’s nuclear facility before then.

In a statement Thursday, Netanyahu denounced the Non-Aligned Movement conference, and slammed the international community for its silence in the face of Iran’s “blood libel” against Israel.

“Today, representatives of 120 countries in Tehran heard a blood libel against Israel,” Netanyahu said, referring to a speech earlier Thursday by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. “This silence has to stop. Therefore I am going to the UN General Assembly, to tell the nations of the world in a loud and clear voice the truth about the Iranian regime of terror, which constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”

Residents of the city of Sderot reported hearing the “Red Alert” siren twice on Friday morning.

Shortly afterwards, a rocket fired by terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza hit a home in the city. One woman suffered from shock and the home sustained minor damage.

A second rocket exploded in an open area of the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council.

On Thursday evening, a rocket launched by terrorists in Gaza exploded in an open area of the Ashkelon Coast Council region.

Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter on Friday said that Israel will have to alter its deterrence strategy vis-a-vis Gaza-based terrorism.

Dichter's comments came during a visit to the house in Sderot hit by a rocket fired from Gaza earlier in the day

Israel cannot tolerate rockets being rained down on it, he said, stressing that Israel needs to initiate at a time of its choosing a process of devising a "complete deterrence strategy to stop the terror."

According to the IDF Spokesman's Office, some 450 rockets have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel since the beginning of the year.

Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon said on Friday he feared Iran did not believe it faced a real military threat from the outside world because of mixed messages from foreign powers, including the United States.

Ya'alon's statements came a day after Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey said that he did not want to be "complicit" if Israel chose to strike Iran's nuclear program, positing that a premature attack would dissolve the international pressure on the Islamic Republic.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said in an interview published Friday that he does not believe President Barack Obama will order an attack on Iran, now or in the future, and urged Israel to attack Iran's nuclear program on its own.

Speaking to Maariv's Tzach Yoked, Bolton said that "there is no way at this stage to prevent Iran from going nuclear without use of force. It is very unfortunate in my opinion, but I see no possibility that Obama will use military force, and therefore it falls upon Israel.

"Iran is not in a race for building one or two bombs," Bolton continued. "I think they believe that time is on their side and they will continue with what seems like a well thought-out plan, mostly because they believe that the United States under Obama's leadership will do nothing. And of course, they are afraid of Israel, but I think they trust Obama to pressure Israel not to do anything, and until now this has proved right."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Israel Stands Alone - U.S. To Israel: We Don't Have Your Back

Exactly as we would predict based on our knowledge of biblical prophecy. At least we have some honesty now and at least Israel knows where they stand (as if they didn't already know). Either way, Israel stands alone in this world:

The U.S. military's top officer made statements Thursday which appear towarn Israel that it should not expect U.S. assistance if it chooses to attack Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said such an attack would "clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran's nuclear program," The Guardian reported Thursday. He added: "I don't want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the U.S. is "closely studying" the UN International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) quarterly report on Iran, "but broadly speaking it is not surprising that Iran is continuing to violate its obligations."

"As the report illustrates," he added, "we are in a position to closely observe Iran's program."

Carney said the US has told Iran that "The window of opportunity to resolve this remains open ... but it will not remain open indefinitely."

Iran has increased its uranium enrichment capacity by at least 30% in the last four months, according to the IAEA report. It has doubled production capacity at the Fordo nuclear site, the report says

Surely Israel realizes the obvious: "studying" the IAEA report will not save Israel from Iran's nukes, nor will rhetoric. And thus far, all Israel has received from the U.S. is just that - "studying reports" and rhetoric - neither of which stops missiles or bullets.

The U.S. would rather wash their hands from any potential conflict:

The US does not want to be “complicit” in an Israeli strike that “probably” would not only fail to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, but could also undo international diplomatic pressure on Tehran, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs General Martin Dempsey said Thursday in London.

An attack by Israel would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” Dempsey said, adding: ”I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”

The US’s top general – the Guardian reported – said that he could not presume to know Iran’s ultimate intentions in pursuing a nuclear program, as intelligence was inconclusive on that score. It was clear, however, he maintained, that mounting pressure from the American-led “international coalition…could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.”

The general doesn't know Iran's "ultimate intentions" in pursuing a nuclear program? Huh?

Has he somehow missed the numerous press releases quoting Iran's leadership constant calls to destroy Israel? Does he read the papers? Is he tuned in to international politics? Does he even bother to read the news? It doesn't take much work to discover Iran's stated intentions.

Last week, Dempsey said that Israel and the US did not see eye to eye on the Iranian nuclear threat, admitting that Washington and Jerusalem were on “different clocks” regarding Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

The US has been working to keep Israel from launching a unilateral strike, maintianing that sanctions should be given more time to work.

Last week, the former American ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk,termed Israel’s talk of attacking Iran “a classic case of crying wolf.”

The conference of the Non -Aligned Movement (NAM) in Teheran was intended by the regime to be a propaganda event on the scale of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, marketing Iran as a regional and international leader thanks to its three-year presidency of NAM.

However, the summit is not turning out to be a success. First of all, the Iranian regime failed to learn from Nazi Germany. In 1936, in the run-up and during the Olympics, the Nazi regime toned down the public displays of anti-Semitism and even allowed Jewish athletes to try out for the German Olympic team.

This duped foreign visitors, who concluded that previous reports on persecution of Jews were an exaggeration. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in contrast, opened the event with an address attacking the Israeli regime of "Zionist wolves" and branding the United States a hegemonic meddler.

Khamenei even accused the UN Security Council of being a puppet of US influence. He thus made things extremely difficult for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, already under attack for his decision to attend the conclave.

Such remarks forced Ban's hand and he upbraided his hosts for Holocaust denial and threatening the destruction of the State of Israel. This, of course, does not exonerate the UN Secretary-General for his decision to attend the summit in the first place; it merely points out the clumsiness of the Iranians.

As upsetting as this is - we have to remember that the world events we are witnessing daily - are all part of an unfolding scenario that must take place. We are on the verge of witnessing the final events which lead directly into the Tribulation. Momentum is gaining rapidly and the world is shaping up exactly as we would predict.

In The News: Stoking The Flames Of Conflict

There are a number of interesting articles in circulation today.

A prominent Egyptian professor of political science admitted on Egyptian TV last week that institutes of higher learning in the region are purposefully stoking the flames of conflict between young Arab Muslims and Israel.

In an interview with Al-Alam TV that aired on August 17, Professor Gamal Zahran, head of the Department of Political Science at Port Said University, openly acknowledged that promoting hatred of the Jewish state is a primary goal in classes taught by himself and other lecturers.

Providing a glimpse into how Israel is dealt with in Middle East university classrooms, Zahran insisted that "the elimination of the Zionist entity is beyond debate...the only question has to do with the circumstances."

Zahran believes the right set of circumstances may soon exist to take action on his teachings.

"I believe that the [Arab Spring] provided the people with hope that one day Jerusalem and Palestine [sic] will return to them," Zahran stated. "We are constantly keeping that hope alive among the younger generation so that they will realize that the Palestinian cause is an essential one."

Exactly as we should expect. We already know that no nation will come to the defense of Israel in these days.

A group of researchers on the moon could have produced a more accurate and balanced report on Gaza than the one the UN produced this week, Israel’s ambassador Ron Prosor wrote Wednesday in a blistering letter to Security Council President Gerard Araud.

“This week, Israel’s children started their school year with the all-too-familiar sounds of sirens and explosions, as terrorists in Gaza fired six more rockets into their communities, Prosor wrote.

While Israel’s schoolchildren were taking cover in bomb shelters, the UN released yet another biased report about Gaza. Apparently, the roar of rockets flying out of Gaza has not reached the deaf ears of the UN agencies that produced this report.”

Prosor said the officials who wrote the document “conveniently failed to mention that Hamas has brutally hijacked Gaza and deliberately targets Israeli civilians in relentless rocket attacks.”

The truth, he wrote, was “plain and simple: Hamas is responsible for the suffering in Gaza.”

Saudi Aramco, a corporation worth hundreds of billions of dollars and the world’s largest producer of oil, came under cyber attack on August 15. A sophisticated malware weapon destroyed 30,000 of the company’s computers.

In a message on an online bulletin board the attackers called themselves the “Cutting Sword of Justice,” a group unknown to cyber security experts, and said that the attack was retribution for “oppressive measures” taken by Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. The group specifically cited Saudi involvement in Syria and Bahrain — two countries where the Saudi government has reportedly aided Sunni factions in their struggle with the Alawite regime and the Shiite majority, respectively.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday stated that Zionism and the rebirth of the Jewish state would not have succeeded without the backing and support of Christian Zionism.

Netanyahu was speaking at a rededication ceremony for the landmark windmill situated at the entrance to Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the first neighborhood built outside Jerusalem's Old City walls.

"I don’t believe that the Jewish State and Modern Zionism would have been possible without Christian Zionism. I think that the many Christian supporters of the rebirth of the Jewish State and the ingathering of the Jewish people in the 19th century made possible the rise of...modern Jewish Zionism. We always had the deeply ingrained desire to come back to our land and rebuild it. ...That was made possible in the 19th century, by the resurgence of Christian Zionism... It’s well represented here today by our Dutch friends."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he plans to serve out his full term – through the end of 2013 – but recent political developments are said to be making him reconsider, sources in the Likud said. And those sources said that in recent days, Netanyahu has become much more attentive to advisers who are telling him that the time for elections is now.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called the Non-Aligned summit currently taking place in Tehran “a disgrace and a stain on humanity.”

After a meeting at his office with the governor of Lower Saxony, David McAllister, Netanyahu said that the participation of representatives of over 120 countries at the conference showed that “many in the international community appear to have learned nothing.”

His words came at the same time UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on his Iranian hosts at the Non-Aligned Movement summit to stop threats against Israel.

Netanyahu referred to statements made by the regime in Tehran in denial of the Holocaust, saying that participants at the summit were “saluting a regime that not only denies the Holocaust but pledges to annihilate the Jewish state, brutalizes its own people, colludes in the murder of thousands of innocent Syrians and leads millions in chanting ‘Death to America, death to Israel’.”

Preferably, the 3D topographic raised-relief map system of Israelthat Langfan developed back in 1991, which gives viewers a perspective on Israel – and on the Middle East – that they may not have had before. Themap shows just how important Israel is to U.S. interests – how a strong and secure Israel, far from being a strategic liability, is actually the one thing that is preventing the Middle East from falling into complete chaos.

With an Israeli presence in the high ground of Judea and Samaria and on the Golan Heights, “Israel is immune to an existential attack” by ground troops from Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. In a video, Langfan lays out the case for Israel's retention of these areas; with them, Israel can defend itself and ensure a semblance of order in the region, Without them, Iran and its radical Islamist allies would have a free hand, picking through the debris of the “regimes' ancien” of the Middle East, and eventually taking over the greatest prize of all – oil-rich Saudi Arabia, thus controlling the fate of the entire Western world.

In the video, Langfan revives the idea of the “domino theory,” which was a cause for great debate in the U.S. during the Vietnam War era. But there's no debate over what a Middle East domino spill would look like; a weak Israel without its strategic land assets would be open for attack by a revitalized Islamist front, led by Egypt, Hizbullah, Hamas, and Syria (with the likelihood that Bashar al-Assad will eventually be replaced by an Islamist government, as happened in Egypt).

All this can be avoided, however, if the U.S. supports Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria and in the Golan. The video also mentions the importance of Gaza, which Israel has since abandoned – resulting of tens of thousands of missiles being fired at southern Israel by Hamas, and inspiring Hizbullah to attack Israel with tens of thousands of its own missiles from the north. If that is the result of abandoning the small territory of Gaza – which does not even have strategic defensive height and is surrounded by sparsely populated desert areas – what would be the result of Israel's abandonment of the much more important territories in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan?

Also in the news:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Evening Update: Russia Leaving Syria?

If true, this is a strange twist and one has to wonder just what is really going on. If Russia is indeed leaving Syria, then speculation is appropriate regarding their reasons - after all, we have to assume that their intelligence in the region is extensive - so what do they know?

Russian naval vessels have unexpectedly departed the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartus and Russian arms shipments to Syria have been suddenly discontinued.

According to our military and Russian sources, these drastic steps must have been personally ordered by President Vladimir Putin. He is believed to have acted over the objections of some of his army and naval chiefs. This would explain the mixed statements issuing from Moscow in recent days about the disposition of Russian personnel at the naval base in Tartus and Russian military personnel in Syria.

Russians are rapidly drawing away from the Syrian arena to avoid getting caught up in the escalating hostilities expected to arise from military intervention

Russians have taken five significant military steps with regard to Syria in the last two weeks:

1. They cancelled a large-scale naval exercise dubbed “Caucasus 2012” scheduled to start mid-August in the eastern Mediterranean opposite the Syrian coast;

2. Warships from three fleets - the Northern, Baltic and Black Sea – concentrated opposite Syria have dispersed and returned to their bases;

3. Syrian President Bashar Assad was notified that Moscow was halting military aid to his army - except for intelligence updates and advice on logistics from Russian military advisers;

4. Moscow has not clearly announced a freeze on arms shipments, including replacement parts for Russian weapons, which make up the bulk of the Syrian army's weaponry. Officials have only said, “There are no large Russian weapons shipments planned in the near future to Syria."

5. The only Russian naval ship left in Tartus - a floating Russian Navy PM-138 shipyard – is also under orders to depart Tartus and return to the Black Sea in September.

A Russian source disclosed that all the remaining Russian personnel in Tartus have gathered on the floating shipyard, except for two officers on shore. This vessel and the remaining personnel are evidently packed up and ready to sail at any moment out of the Syrian port.

Now for a new segment that may be daily:


For weeks now there have been all sorts of stories of various government agencies buying up millions of rounds of ammunition. Try as they might, those agencies/the US government have/has not been able to present a plausible story to convince American citizens that they are NOT up to something nefarious.

Sad to say, we just don’t trust our government anymore ... not that we’ve trusted them a great deal for a very long time, you understand. But the level of trust that we had—previous to the Obama Administration—has plummeted right through the floor.

We have been pummeled with lie after lie from Washington until we have become saturated with their prevarications and like a “soaked” sponge, we simply cannot hold any more.

Now, allow me to be clear: I have no idea what the government has planned for those millions of rounds of ammo they have ordered. It’s for darn sure the US military cannot use them—on the battlefield. But, I know of no law precluding them from using that ammo within the borders of the US. (At least one state has certain restrictions on the sale and use of hollow point ammo.) They just can’t shoot America’s enemies with it on a foreign battlefield.

What we know for sure is—basically—NOTHING. A number of gun owner organizations are pressing for a congressional investigation of these massive purchases of ammunition by (and reportedly for) government agencies that, at first glance, seem to have no use for this type of man stopping/killing ammo.

That we are even having THIS conversation only adds to the feeling of unease permeating America today.

It just doesn’t FEEL like America, anymore. In fact, America has begun to favor a banana republic, especially at our air terminals. Law enforcement officers dressed in black—and some in military fatigue-type uniforms—toting semi-automatic long guns, lends to the feeling that America’s citizens are more hostage than free.